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Friday, June 30, 2017

CNN hits a new LOW

The third part of the Project Veritas videos on CNN has been released today.  In it, a producer for the CNN weekday morning show, New Day, is on video saying this:

1.  The voters in the USA are complete morons.

2.  President Trump is "bat-shit crazy".

3.  The President doesn't care about anything that matter to the average Republican.

4.  At least 90% of the people at CNN agree with him on these views.

5.  Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway is a "horrible woman" who "looks like she got hit with a shovel".

I suggest you go to the Project Veritas site and see all three of the videos if you haven't yet seen them.

Meanwhile, just imagine that rather than the media saying this about the President, his staff and the country's voters, it was President Trump saying that some cable news personality (say Mika B) looks like she got hit with a shovel and is bat-shit crazy.  We would have non-stop coverage of that "horrible assault" which no doubt threatens the end of the world.

So Who Can Explain This?

Just yesterday, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders told MSNBC that allegations that he used his office to pressure banks to make a large loan to Burlington College when his wife was president of that institution are nothing but lies.  Instead of talking about what he and his staff did regarding that loan, however, Sanders used the question to attack President Trump and his supporters.  It was a weird moment even for Sanders and MSNBC.

Let's look at what we do know.

1.  Mrs. Sanders, as president of Burlington College, applied for and got a huge loan so that the school could buy a property that was to be used for expansion.

2.  In the loan application, Mrs. Sanders told the banks that the school had over $3 million in pledges which would be used for the expansion once the property was acquired.

3.  After the loan was made and the property acquired, it turned out that only just over half a million dollars in contributions were made, a far cry from the more than $3million Mrs. Sanders had represented to the banks on the loan documents.

4.  Mrs. Sanders left her job as president of the college and Burlington College never used the property for expansion.  Not long after that, Burlington College went under and shut its doors.

5.  Senator Sanders has been a public employee for most of his adult life.  The senate is the highest paying job he has ever held.

6.  Even though he has never had a very high paying position, Sanders still has managed to amass enough of a fortune that he owns three homes including a very expensive vacation home.  It is unclear how Sanders manages to support these homes and his life style on his salary as a senator.

Now let's move on to what has been claimed but which we don't know for certain.

1.  It is claimed that when Mrs. Sanders sought the loan for the property acquisition, her husband the senator put pressure on the banks to make the loan.  Sanders denies this.

It's worth noting that if Mrs. Sanders told the banks the college had over three million in pledges when it really had something more like half a million, that is a federal crime:  bank fraud.  That crime carries severe penalties with it.  Further, if senator Sanders used his office to help his wife get that bank loan, it could also be a federal crime.  That would depend on the details of what actually happened.

We know that the FBI is investigating the bank loan and the Sanders connection to it.  We also know that both the senator and his wife have hired high powered Washington lawyers to represent them in connection with this matter.

It's funny.  In the Russia/Trump investigation, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, but we hear about it from the media non-stop.  In the Sanders investigation, there is a great deal of troubling evidence, yet the mainstream media doesn't even bother to cover the story.

I want someone to explain how Sanders has never had a job that paid him well but he has amassed a rather large amount of money as well as three homes.  That's not something the senator can claim to be a lie.  He really ought to provide us with an explanation.

More Fire Across the Israel/Syria Border

For the third time in a few days, fire from Syrian territory landed in Israeli territory on the Golan Heights.  As had happened the previous times, the Israelis responded by firing back at the source of the shelling inside Syria.  It is believed that the shelling from Syria is wayward artillery that was meant to hit one side or the other in the civil war raging in Syria.  Still, given that this has happened so frequently of late, one has to wonder if this is an intentional provocation by the Assad regime and its Iranian allies to try to make themselves appear as the true adversary of Israel.

Up to now, none of the many Syrian shells and missiles have caused casualties inside Israel.  I have to wonder whether this has led to a smaller Israeli response.  This is a dangerous flashpoint which could easily lead to Israel's getting involved inside Syria.  Hopefully, that will not happen.

I'm Tired Of This -- I Think We All Are

Yesterday, the House passed two important immigration bills, the President's executive order temporarily stopping entry to the USA for people from six countries with terrorism problems went into effect, the Senate GOP dropped plans to get a revised healthcare bill in place before the weekend, and the new president of South Korea came to the White House.  So what was the big story covered by the media?  President Trump said in a tweet that Mika from Morning Joe had been bleeding from a face lift when she came to Mar-a-Lago over New Year's Eve.  Really, the tweet was the big story in the news.

I'm tired of this nonsense.  Anyone who ever looked at Mika on TV can see that she has had work done.  Many aging women (Mika is 50) in TV news have had cosmetic surgery.  It's no big deal.  But President Trump said she was bleeding; oh no!  This is suddenly a threat to the Republic!  The media is going crazy!  In the last twenty years, we had Bill Clinton who had sex with an intern in the Oval Office, but the same media said it was "just sex" and no big deal.  We had Barack Obama who set the IRS on his political enemies, ran guns to the Mexican cartels, left Americans to die in Benghazi and lied about it, and used lies to sell Obamacare to the American people.  For the media, however, Obama could do no wrong.  But now, when Trump comments on Mika's facelift, all hell breaks loose.

Simply put, I don't care one bit if Mika Brzezinski had a facelift or not.  I don't care if Mika is depressed, crazy, or low-IQ.  The truth is that essentially no one across America cares about it either.  No one watches Mika.  My guess is that if you showed a picture of Mika and Joe, her co-host on Morning Joe, to 1000 Americans at random, fewer than 100 would even be able to identify her.  Nevertheless, the media is treating this latest tweet as if it is the equivalent of the start of World War III. 

I realize that the media wants to destroy Trump.  This Mika tweet is just a reason for the pompous fools on TV to condemn the President.  But again, no one cares unless they are already one of the Trump-haters.  The media keeps saying, "but he's the president of the United States, and he should not do this."  Again, I don't care.  He's a human being who has been relentlessly and dishonestly attacked by these same media people.  They lie, then they lie again, and then they lie some more.  They say vicious things about the President, attack his wife and his children, even his pre-teen son Barron.  They think that's fine and that President Trump should just sit there and take it.  They attack everything he does with lies.  Just today the New York Times had to retract a story it wrote that US intelligence agencies agree that the Russians were trying to help elect Trump last fall.  It's not true, so the Times finally took it back. 

Look, there is a job for the media to do.  Most important, it should tell people what is happening in the world.  That's right, it should report on the actual news.  It should report that news TRUTHFULLY.  There can be different points of view; we all understand that.  There cannot be different facts, however. 

What we have now from the media is not news.  It's complete BS.  I want the media to stop with the phony claims of victimhood.  I want the media to stop with the Fake News.  I want the media to be honest.  I'm tired of all the crap the media is pushing -- I think we all are.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Let's Not Miss the Passage of Kate's Law by the House

There's so much going on today that the vote in the House to pass Kate's law as well as a cut off of funding for sanctuary cities is being given little coverage in the media.  These are critical events, however.

Let's start with Kate's law.  It provides that illegal aliens who have been convicted of a felony and deported are subject to five years in prison if they re-enter the USA illegally.  Think about that.  The only people it affects are men and women who commit a serious crime in the USA and who are then deported.  It is meant to give law enforcement a tool to deal with violent criminals who just keep coming back into the USA after being deported.  Most of the Democrats oppose this bill, although I cannot understand why.  It is not anti-immigrant.  Those who enter the USA illegally are unaffected by the proposed law unless they are convicted of a serious crime.  Even someone deported six times is unaffected unless he or she does something like murder or rape or armed robbery as well.  Those who oppose the bill are helping criminals to walk our streets.

It's worth noting that the about an eighth of the Democrats in the House voted for the bill.  Every Republican save one also voted to support the bill.  The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.  If it gets the support of roughly the same percentage of Democrats there, the bill will be very close to having the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster.  I seriously wonder if Democrat senators want to campaign for re-election after having sided with illegal alien criminals instead of the safety of the average American.  My guess is that the bill will be passed.

The sanctuary city bill is a different matter.  There will be a majority in the Senate to support the bill, but my prediction is that the Democrats will filibuster to prevent passage.  Polling data shows the vast majority of voters favor stopping local governments from becoming or continuing as sanctuary cities or counties.  Nevertheless, I doubt there will be nine Democrats who will buck the party leadership to support this measure.

No matter what, though, the passage of these two bills by the House is a major event.  It brings the Trump agenda on immigration one step closer to completion.  It's particularly poignant that these bills passed on the day that the President's Executive Order banning entry to the USA from certain countries goes into effect.

The Transit State of Emergency

In a move that only makes sense in New York City, the governor Andrew Cuomo declared a "state of emergency" regarding the transit system.  What this means is that after decades of political interference in the transit system, things have deteriorated to such an extent that the governor is pushing aside the management in order to have more political interference.  It's the liberal answer to everything:  more government.

The problem in New York is that almost every component of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is failing to perform.  The subways are experiencing all manner of delays and there have been frequent breakdowns and even derailments underground.  The commuter trains of the LIRR and MetroNorth have seen multiple derailments and endless delays particularly at Penn Station, the Manhattan Terminus of the Long Island Railroad.   The buses are overcrowded.  Even the bridges and tunnels are seeing an uptick in delays.

To be fair, the number of people using these systems has been skyrocketing over the last 15 years.  Nevertheless, the lack of maintenance for the system and the misallocation of assets have left the system falling apart.  It just cannot handle the current burdens.  it's not that the systems lack capital expenditures.  It's just that those expenditures are squandered by mismanagement and a lack of control.  Here are some examples:

About 20 years ago, the MTA began serious work to build what is called the Eastside Connector.  This is a rail link that allows trains from Long Island to go to Grand Central Terminal rather than Penn Station.  This modification will let the quarter of a million daily commenters from Long Island go to the eastside of Manhattan rather than the westside.  It will be a convenience that should make the commute easier for up to 100,000 riders each day.  Construction began about 2002 and was to be complete by 2008.  The project is still not complete.  Meanwhile, the cost estimate for the final project has gone up by roughly 20 billion dollars.  That's between four and five years of the total capital budget for the MTA.  Why is that?  Probably the most important reason is that the politicians decided that the new lines coming into Grand Central Terminal required an entire new level to be built underneath the existing station.  They could have approved bring trains to the current station; it had the capacity to handle those trains, but the politicians wanted something to show the people.  As a result, billions of dollars and many additional years were spent to get votes by impressing the people.

After 9-11, the transit stations near the site of the World Trade Center needed to be rebuilt as the new buildings there went up.  Once again, the stations could have been completely renovated without a major change to their footprint.  That would have been much less costly and taken much less time, but the politicians wouldn't have it.  They needed a magnificent new series of stations so that they could impress the voters.  As a result, billions more were spent and years of delay ensued.

There's more than just these two examples, many more indeed.  The point, however, is that if a superior system had been installed in these locations without all the politically required extras, there would have been something like an extra fifteen billion dollars available for maintenance of the existing system.  That's more than enough to have prevented all the recent problems and even to have improved the riding experience for the bulk of the passengers. 

It's truly odd that the same people who caused this mess are now moving to fix the problem by giving themselves MORE control.  If you have a surgeon who botches an operation, it doesn't make sense to go back to the same doctor for followup surgery; you try to find someone competent.  In New York, however, logic never matters.

Poor Mika

Pity poor Mika Brezhinski (or however you spell it).  President Trump tweeted something nasty about her this morning when he mentioned that she and her co-host on Morning Joe were at Mar-a-Lago over New Year's Eve and Mika was still bleeding from a face lift.  Isn't it horrible that the President would say such a thing about her.  He also called her "crazy".

The tweet has been condemned by a bunch of politicians in DC as unpresidential.

No one, however, seems to say anything when Mika calls the President "unbalanced", "mentally ill", "narcissistic", an "idiot" or "deranged".  Nor has anyone explained why it is ok for a host of a little-watched news show to hurl insults at the President but horrifying for him to respond.

One thing is certain.  Mika is not a victim.  She is, rather, a major spouter of hatred every day on TV.  There is no excuse for her daily performance. 

I don't blame the President for responding in kind to her attacks.  I doubt that many people do. 

Senator McCaskill Goes Down the Drain

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri may have just lost her bid for re-election.  She has been disclosed as a liar, as a senator who filed false financial disclosures, and as an investor in an opioid manufacturer.  That's not the sort of background most voters want to support.

A few months ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters that his meeting with the Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak was the result of his normal work as a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee.  Senator McCaskill quickly tweeted that she had been on that committee for ten years and had never met with the Russian ambassador.  She went on to say that ambassadors meet with senators on the foreign relations committee not the armed services committee.

Within a day or so, McCaskill was left with egg on her face when people uncovered two different tweets that McCaskill had sent two years earlier discussing meetings she had just held with the Russian ambassador.  In other words, McCaskill was telling a whopper when she claimed to have NEVER met with the ambassador.  That was bad, but then it got much worse.  It was disclosed that McCaskill had attended a dinner at the residence of the Russian Ambassador.  That was pretty bad, but then it was uncovered that McCaskill had actually paid over eight hundred dollars to attend the dinner.  As investigators looked into that payment, McCaskill had no choice but to disclose that the payment for the dinner came from a family foundation set up in her husband's name.  That foundation was created so that the family's investments in an opioid manufacturer would no longer have to be disclosed on McCaskill's financial disclosure forms filed with the Senate ethics office.  So Claire was hiding her investment in a merchant of death, but it gets worse.  It seems that since the foundation was set up four years ago, McCaskill never disclosed it on those financial forms as required by law.  She is now going back to retroactively correct those forms.  That is truly bad.

It's funny that all this happened because McCaskill tried to use a phony attack on the Attorney General to embarrass the Trump Administration.  Still, it's a good thing that Missouri voters will have this information when they vote on McCaskill's re-election efforts in 2018 (if she even bothers to run.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sometimes It's Truly Beyond Belief

By now, you have probably seen the CNN segment in which a group of reporters discuss the attitude of the White House towards "journalists" and the supposed danger in which that attitude places the journalists.  It's an eye-opener, truly amazing.  You have a woman who is a foreign correspondent who says she goes to war zones and believes that the people there are "emboldened" to attack her because of the things the attitude that the Trump White House displays towards reporters.

Think about that for a minute.  What this reporter is saying is that she goes to Syria to report on the fight against ISIS and that while she is there, the enemy is more likely to attack her because of something President Trump said about the media.  That is so idiotic that it's hard to know where to begin to discuss it.  First, does she think that the ISIS soldiers are watching news reports about what the President has to say about the media.  What show is that?  Is it "Media Buzz" in Arabic?  Second, does she really think that ISIS soldiers care what President Trump has to say?  How dumb is that?  Third, does she really think that the terrorists would not have killed her in the past if possible?  Remember Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was killed by the terrorists when they captured him; president Obama had not bad mouthed reporters and yet Pearl was murdered anyway.

Finally, it is beyond belief that these media people really want America to see them as victims.  They have spent the last nine months demonizing the President.  You name it, and they have accused President Trump of it.  They don't seem to care about the truth; witness the phony story this week that got three CNN reporters fired.  They don't care about the law; witness the frequent disclosure of sensitive national security information published by the media even when it harms our safety.  They are incredibly snide and nasty people; all you have to do is watch for a few minutes to see that.  But if President Trump calls the "Fake News", they cry and complain and claim to be poor victims of the mean Mr. Trump.  I say again, it is beyond belief.

What A Difference A Debate Makes

In the second quarter of 2017, Fox Business Network drew more viewers than CNBC for the third consecutive time during the key parts of the day.  For year after year in the past, Fox Business trailed CNBC, and then something major happened:  there were debates among the Republican presidential candidates on both networks.

The CNBC debate was seen by most viewers as the most vicious attack by the media on the GOP candidates.  It seemed more like a debate between the candidates and the moderators than one among the candidates.  By contrast, the Fox Business debates were reasonable, direct and informative.  The audiences for the debates on both networks were either the largest or second largest number of viewers ever to see a program on the network.  Once those debates took place, the numbers for CNBC started to sag and the corresponding ratings at Fox Business started to soar.

It's interesting to think that the display of bias by CNBC in the debates would affect business viewers to such a great extent, but it surely did.  It's nice to think that for once, the media can clearly see the results of one-sided coverage. 

Should the USA Push To Partition Syria?

For the last five years, the country of Syria has not really existed.  Instead, there have been zones including one controlled by the Shiite/Alawaite ethnic group with Assad as its leader, one controlled by the Sunni terrorists of ISIS, one controlled by the ethnic Kurds (who are also Sunni Muslims), one controlled by the non-ISIS Sunni rebels, and some other small areas that have no clear control.  The shifting size and shape of these zones is the major legacy of the civil war that has raged all this time.  Some time in the next year, the ISIS zone ought to be completely overrun, and the terrorists relegated to hit and run attacks that will kill and maim people but not give ISIS any territorial control.  At that point, will the three zones reunify into Syria once more?  The simple answer to this question is a big NO.

The Kurds have been trying for the last century to get a country of their own.  They are the largest ethnic group in the region which has been denied a country.  Kurds are a major minority in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.  If the Kurdish regions of those countries were to join together, Kurdistan would be a major power in the region.  It would also most likely be a friend of the USA as the Kurds have been for the last fifty years.  Now that the Kurds rule a significant chunk of Iraq and Syria, it is hard to imagine the group giving up that control.

The Alawaites in Syria have ruled for nearly the last fifty years.  The Assad family led this small group which has only about one-eighth of the population into total rule over the majority Sunni population (roughly three-quarters of the people.)  The Alawaites will want to keep their control, but absent ongoing support from Russian and Iranian troops, there is no way that the Alawaites can retain much of the country other than parts of the Mediterranean coast.  If the Alawaites continue to assert control over the Sunnis, a continuation of the civil war is inevitable.

The Sunnis in Syria are the overwhelming majority, and they have pushed through the civil war to regain control of their homeland.  Nothing short of Sunni control is going to satisfy this group.  These people have seen nearly a half million of their fellow Sunnis murdered by the Assad regime, and they have watched millions be made into homeless refugees.  They want peace, but they also want to control their own destiny.

Partition of Syria into three regions would solve much of this problem.  The Kurds could have the northeastern region near Turkey where they already are in control.  The Alawaites could have parts of the Mediterranean coastal region.  The Sunnis could have the remaining portion of the country.  It is a recipe for a lasting peace.  It would also, most likely, lead to a migration of each group into its own area, thereby greatly reducing ethnic and religious strife.

The problem with this plan would be convincing each group to accept it.  The Assad regime used to control the entire country, and it would be loathe to give up the dream of reestablishing such control.  Were Russia to promote such a partition, however, it would leave Assad without an ally of major importance.  Russia would likely be satisfied so long as the port of Latakia (where Russia has a naval base) and the region around the Russian air base remain in Shiite/Assad control.

On the other hand, Iran would likely fight against this plan.  The Iranians want a road between Iran and Lebanon that they totally control.  If the Sunnis took control of the eastern three quarters of Syria, they would be hostile to Iran and would thwart the Iranians goals.  If Russia stayed neutral, Iran would be likely to carry the burden of supporting Assad alone.  On the other hand, were the Russians to push for partition, the Iranians would not likely be able to keep the Assad regime in power.

Other regional players would also have strong views on this plan.  Turkey would like to see a Sunni nation to its south, but it would find the establishment of a Kurdish country intolerable.  The Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians would all be very happy to see the Iranians kept from establishing their land bridge to Lebanon.  Israel would also be happy to see a partitioned Syria with none of the pieces having the strength of the whole and with Iran being denied its land bridge.

From an American perspective, partition would be a good result.  It would weaken Iran.  It would remove a flash point with Russia.  It would reward the Kurds who have been our most faithful Muslim allies in the region for decades.  It would also create conditions under which radical Islamic terrorism is least likely to flourish or grow.

Hopefully, our State Department is contemplating this problem.  It will not be a simple matter to achieve, but it is worth the effort.

There They Go Again

We're back today with the stories about how the Trump White House is in disarray.  In other words, it must be a slow news day, so the mainstream media has to go back to this old chestnut.  The subject today is the news that the Senate delayed a vote on the GOP healthcare bill until after the July 4th recess rather than prior to it.  That delay has even engendered a report in New York magazine from Ryan Lizza that the entire Trump presidency is about to go down the drain.

Seriously, do the people writing these stories remember that they wrote almost the same stories word for word when the House delayed the vote on the House healthcare bill?  It took about a month, but the GOP came back and passed that House version of the bill.  Somehow, the GOP overcame the "total disarray" and chaos about which the mainstream media wrote endlessly, and they passed the bill.  Now we're getting the same hit pieces from the mainstream media.

It's ought to be interesting to see what happens if the GOP passes the bill through the Senate in two weeks from now.  All these "experts" and "pundits" should step forward and admit that they were totally wrong.  Of course, they won't do that.  Instead, they will tell us about how any attempt to move the healthcare bill to a conference committee will be impossible because of chaos at the White House or in the GOP ranks in Congress.  On the other hand, if the House leadership just puts forward the Senate bill for passage in the House, the "experts" will tell us how the effort is doomed due to "disarray" in the caucus.

I don't know what will happen with the Senate bill.  I do know for certain, however, that none of the so called experts or pundits know what will happen either.

The media so love the idea of connecting chaos with anything Republican or Trump, that I can forsee stories in 2025 about how the plans for the Donald Trump presidential library are being delayed due to chaos on the building committee.  It will be the same BS then that it is now.

A Few More Media/Democrat Lies

I just read a puff piece from Yahoo News about Dr. Tranh, a California pediatrician who is seeking the Democrat nomination for Congress in a California district currently represented by Republican Ed Royce.  It's an amazing story because the supposed reason why Tranh is running is a lie.  According to the report the deciding factor for Dr. Tranh in making her decision to run came when the House passed its version of the GOP healthcare bill.  Here's how the good doctor put it:

"It was the speed of that vote, the secret way it was done, that just pushed me.”

Consider that for a moment.  Then remember these real facts:

1.  Before the House bill was put on the floor, there were hearings held by three separate committees about the bill.
2.  Those same three committees had to vote on the bill before it could progress to the floor for a vote.  In two of those committees, the bill was amended before it moved forward.
3.  The bill was put on the floor of the house, but no vote was taken for roughly six weeks.
4.  When the bill was brought forward for consideration, it received no more and no less than the same amount of debate and consideration on the floor than any other important bill voted on by the House.
5.  This means that the process in the House which Tranh claims drove her to run gave every American and every House member about three months to consider the provisions of the bill that was passed.  That is certainly not something done in secret.  It is also something that was not done quickly by House standards.  By comparison, in 2010 when the House passed Obamacare, the text of the bill was not unveiled until two days before the House voted.  No member of the House had time to even read the entire 2000 plus pages of the Obamacare bill.  The GOP House healthcare bill is less than 200 pages and everyone had ample time to study it before the vote.

So what do we have?  We have a Democrat candidate who either has no idea what is happening in Washington with healthcare (in other words, an ignoramus) or who is a blatant liar (in other words, a typical Democrat.)  We also have a media that will publish things that are clearly false so long as they make the GOP sound sneaky or mean.


Obama and Dr. Seuss

The latest news that president Obama knew all about Russian efforts to interfere with the US elections since early 2016 but did essentially nothing about them is outrageous.  Once again, Obama dithered and then chose to do nothing.  It sounds like all those chemical weapons attacks in Syria during the Obama years.  It sounds like the problems facing the economy about which Obama did nothing.  Indeed, Obama's lack of action is despicable.  It's so outlandish that maybe it would be a good story for a children's rhyme. 

It would go something like this:

One hack, two hacks;
Meanwhile Obama's lyin on his back.
Three Russians, four Russians;
Now Obama's doing nothing.
One phish, two phish;
Obama knew ain't that delish.


Van Jones and the Nothing Burger

Project Veritas is circulating a video today in which they have CNN contributor Van Jones saying that the whole Trump/Russia think is just "a big nothing burger."  It's being trumpeted as if this is big news.

Really?  It is now big news when a CNN contributor admits reality?  By now, except for a few crazies on the left, everyone in America realizes that the Trump/Russia thing has no basis in fact.  Indeed, calling it a "nothing burger" doesn't do it justice.  It's closer to a "complete hoax".

Think about it.  We are over one year into these investigations and there's not one bit of evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  That's way beyond a nothing burger.

The story now is not that the investigation is silly and a waste of time.  No, the big story now is how the mainstream media pushed this story for month after month after month while knowing the entire time that they had no basis for the claims that they reported.  This is a story of propaganda being pushed by a committed group of leftist journalists.  This is a story of members of the elites who thought getting their own way was more important than respecting our democracy or keeping our nation safe.  This is actually a story of privilege run amok.

So in reality, the Trump/Russia story is not just a nothing burger.  No, it is a manifestation of everything that is wrong with American media and most of the American left.

Funniest Line of the Day

I just read an article in the NY Post about how CNN retracted its erroneous story regarding the Trump transition team and Russia and then fired the three reporters/producers who created the story.  The Post says that CNN was responding to the threat of a 100 million dollar libel action by the subject of the story.  It was just another recounting of the matter, but it contained what has to be the most unintentionally hilarious line I've seen in a while.  Here it is:

Meanwhile, a CNN insider said staffers are furious at “having lost the moral high ground because of this story.”

The idea that CNN ever held the moral high ground is ridiculous.  Remember, in just the last month CNN fired Kathy Griffin for her intolerable behavior.  Then it fired Reza Aslan and cancelled his weekend show because of his low life comments about the President.  Before that, it got the story about what Comey would tell Congress 100% wrong, and that was just the latest in a string of erroneous stories based upon anonymous sources.  Some "moral high ground!"

Why In Secret?

Yesterday, the House Intelligence committee questioned John Podesta in a session that was closed to the public.  Podesta was the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and it was his email account that was hacked and then released slowly by Wikileaks.  Before working for Clinton, Podesta had been part of the Obama White House staff.

So here's the big question:  why was Podesta questioned in secret?  Nearly every other witness has been interrogated in public.  Podesta most likely told the panel why the Democrat National Committee refused to let the FBI see its computer system to verify who had done the hacking.  Podesta could have explained how it was that his own computer was hacked.  The story that has circulated is that he fell for a phishing attack; someone sent him an email with an attachment which he opened, and that infected his system with malware.  Podesta could have told us when he first learned that both the DNC and his own computer were hacked.  We know that there were no emails from the Podesta account dated after the spring of 2016, and the belief is that Podesta was told at that time of the hacking and cut off the hacker's access.  Podesta could tell us why the Clinton campaign and, perhaps, why the Obama administration did nothing regarding the hacking.  Supposedly, president Obama told Putin to "cut it out" when it came to the hacking, but why was nothing else done?  With all these important pieces of information that the public ought to know, why was Podesta questioned in secret?

If the committee were controlled by the Democrats, I could understand the secrecy.  They would want to avoid embarrassment for Podesta, the Clinton campaign and president Obama.  The committee, however, is controlled by the GOP.  Why is all this being done in secret?

Something is very wrong here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Per Curiam Means They All Agree

Since the Supreme Court ruled that President Trump's executive order barring entry to the USA for 90 days for people from six countries that have particular problems with terrorism could go into effect for the most part, the media has been doing its best to downplay this enormous victory for Trump.  Some of what the mainstream media has been pushing is just totally phony.  For example, the Court ruling was issued "Per Curiam".  That phrase means that this is the order of the court and the opinion was not written by a particular judge.  It also indicates that the decision is unanimous.  There was a partial dissent on a small point, but on the major issue of whether or not the president has the power to issue this order and have it enforced, there was unanimity.  In other words, despite the weeks and months of the media and "experts" telling us how the Trump order discriminated or was unconstitutional, the entire Supreme Court just blew away that position.  Think about that.  It means that justices Kagan, Sotomayor and the other liberals all ruled in favor of the President.

The media, however, has been reporting that we don't know the breakdown of the Court because it was not announced.  This is either a blatant lie or the report of an ignoramus who knows nothing of how courts work.  We know the ruling was unanimous on the key points.

One has to wonder if the reporters and "experts" who told us how the President would surely lose in the Supreme Court will now take a step back to consider how they got it so wrong.  My guess is that by tomorrow we will see the first story in either the NY Times or the Washington Post about how Russia hacked the Supreme Court decision.

Let's Hope The Warning Is Enough

The White House announced last night that intelligence indicates that the Assad regime in Syria is getting ready for another chemical attack and that, should that attack take place, the regime would pay a very heavy price.

Think about that for a moment.  It's an incredibly scary announcement.  A few months back when Assad launched a sarin gas attack on civilians in a town held by the Sunni rebels, President Trump responded by destroying the airbase from which that attack had been sent.  In ten minutes, Assad lost over 20% of his air force.  It was a crushing blow.  And yet, Assad is once again preparing a chemical attack.  What does it mean?

First of all, we do not know the intended target of the chemicals.  It could be another site held by the non-terrorist Sunni rebels.  It could be a position held by the Kurdish forces.  It could be an ISIS position.  There's no way to know right now.  Indeed, it is even possible that the attack could hit a position where there are American special operations troops.  Or maybe Assad has decided to drag Israel into the mix and he will hit the Israelis with the chemical attack.  Any of these moves would be crazy, yet, any are possible.

Right now, the Assad forces are winning in their battles in Syria.  Further, the non-Assad forces around Raqqa are slowly recapturing that city from ISIS.  It will not be all that long before all of the ISIS forces will be destroyed.  There will still be ISIS terror attacks, but the ISIS threat will no longer justify an American presence in Syria.  That would end US air strikes which protect many of the rebels who have been helping us defeat ISIS.  It would also swing the balance or power much toward the Assad regime.  In other words, Assad ought to be happy with his current position and not want to roil the waters.  Nevertheless, he is preparing for a chemical attack.

What has happened?  Is Assad embarrassed that he sat by while the USA took out an airbase after the last chemical attack?  Is Assad embarrassed that in recent days each time Syrian artillery spilled over into Israeli territory the Israeli air force struck back ten times stronger than the Syrian attack?  Is Assad worried that the USA and its coalition partners are planning to help the Kurds and the Sunni rebels set up separate regions within Syria that will remain outside the control of Assad?  Are the Iranians, Assad's main ally, telling Assad what to do?  We don't know, we just don't know.

Then there are the Russians.  They have already protested against the White House announcement.  In typical fashion, the Russians have even denounced the statement's calling this "another" chemical weapons attack because they refuse to accept that the attack which led to the US cruise missile strike ever occurred.  If Assad uses chemical weapons again (sorry Vladimir), will the Russians sit by when the US launches a punitive strike?  One would hope so, but that's far from clear.

This is a very perilous situation. 

One thing is certain, however.  America is no longer in the ostrich response mode.  During the Obama years, Assad used chemical weapons seventeen times before president Obama would even acknowledge that these attacks had happened.  Obama kept his head in the sand hoping that the chemical attacks would just go away.  President Trump and his team have adopted a much more proactive approach.  America is warning Assad not to go ahead with a second attack.  Maybe this will dissuade Assad, maybe not.  At least, though, the USA is now trying to shape events, not run from them.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Funny Thing About Economics....

It's a funny thing about economics:  certain rules always apply no matter what the politicians and the ideologues say.  For example, if you raise the price charged for something, people and businesses will try to use less of it in order to save money.  This is basic economics, and nothing and no one is immune to the rule's effect.

I was reminded of this tonight when I read about a study done regarding the effect of the new $15 per hour minimum wage in Seattle.  The study was done by a local college professor who is quite liberal in his politics.  His findings were that after Seattle raised the minimum wage to fifteen bucks per hour, businesses responded by cutting hours for employees, automating certain jobs, and (in small businesses) having the owners do more work themselves.  The hourly wage went up for those on the minimum wage, but as a group their weekly incomes went down substantially.  The new minimum wage made labor more expensive, so employers found ways to use less of it.

Think about that.  For the last five years, the only proposal that Democrats have had regarding how to deal with income inequality and a stagnant economy has been to raise the minimum wage.  Seattle, which is part of the liberal Democrat homeland, went all in and raised the minimum wage by a lot.  And what did it do?  It caused greater income inequality as the poor saw their incomes DECLINE.  It had no effect on the Seattle economy.

The real truth is that no matter what lie the Democrats push, the basic rules of economics still apply to life.  These are rules that cannot be dismissed or reversed with legislation.  Hopefully, some day the Democrats will realize this.

The CBO Follies

The Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Republican senate healthcare bill today.  There's only one way to describe the CBO's findings:  RIDICULOUS!!

Let me explain:

According to the CBO, if the bill were passed, there would be 15 million fewer people insured in 2018 than would be the case under Obamacare.  The CBO says that this number would increase to 22 million fewer people with insurance by 2027 under the senate bill than under Obamacare.

Those are the numbers in the headlines, but few people actually know how the CBO comes up with those figures.  Here's something that essentially no one has heard:  the CBO estimates that between 8 and 9 million people who the agency claims would have coverage under Obamacare in 2027 would get that coverage when their states decide to expand Medicaid coverage.  That is crazy.  When Obamacare was passed, states were required to expand the eligibility for Medicaid or lose certain benefits.  That rule was challenged, and the Supreme Court struck it down.  The Court held that states had the choice whether or not to expand Medicaid coverage, and that the states that kept the old definition could not be penalized for making that decision.  As a result roughly half the states did not expand Medicaid coverage.  These states have kept the old Medicaid coverage standards for the last five years.  The CBO, however, assumes that all of these states will suddenly decide to adopt the wider Obamacare standards even though the cost of doing so would be high.  Simply put, that's crazy.  States that didn't opt for wider coverage during the period when the federal government pays the entire cost, are unlikely suddenly to change their minds when the feds no longer pay the whole cost.  What all this means is that just under half of the supposed increase in the number of uninsured is the result of a crazy assumption by the CBO.

Here's another little known fact:  the 15 million additional uninsured in 2018 simply cannot be.  Under the senate bill, Medicaid coverage is unchanged in 2018.  Since Medicaid remains free for those who qualify, no one is going to drop out of the program because of a change in the law.  There are only just over ten million people with policies purchased on the Obamacare exchanges in 2017.  Surely some will choose not to renew their policies once the individual mandate is gone, but that is highly unlikely to be more than one or two million people.  Most of the people buying individual insurance will want to keep being insured, and remember that under the Senate bill, there will still be subsidies in 2018 for those who need help with the premiums.  So where does CBO come up with its 15 million figure?  The answer is that CBO assumes that private employers who now provide healthcare coverage will drop that as soon as the law no longer requires it.  Indeed, some 13 million employees are supposedly going to lose that coverage.  Again, that's ridiculous.  For the last four years, premiums have gone up and up and up.  Employers with fewer than 50 employees were not required by law to keep providing insurance, yet between 98 and 99% have done so.  There have been almost no employees who lost coverage as a result.  The employers realize that they must provide coverage if they want to keep their employees from leaving for other jobs.  This will be the same once the employer mandate is gone.  It is crazy to assume that large employers will drop coverage when small employers who find it harder to finance the costs have not dropped coverage.  Remember, the CBO itself says that premiums under the senate bill will be 30% lower than under Obamacare, so there is a clear reason why MORE employers would provide coverage under the Senate bill than under Obamacare.

So put all this together and you find that in 2018, the CBO has overestimated the number who lose insurance by something like 13 million people.  Add to this the 8-9 million who come from the CBO's imaginary assumptions about more states adopting new Medicaid qualification rules, and you find that nearly the entire 22 million people that the CBO estimates will lose coverage by 2027 are not really there.

This analysis is clearly too complicated to interest most people.  They just hear the bogus total number.  The truth is something quite different.  We need to get the word out.

Pulling Security Clearances

It's time to start pulling the security clearances of people who worked in the Obama administration.  It's now been made clear that there have been a whole series of leaks by former Obama staff people who retain their clearances.  It is normal practice to allow people from former administrations to keep those security clearances, but the ongoing avalanche of leaks requires that this policy be modified.  The leaks have gotten to the point where they damage national security or the security of our allies.  They need to be stopped.

Let's be clear, pulling the security clearance for someone like Ben Rhodes won't end the leaks even if Rhodes is the leaker.  Nevertheless, it will make clear to the people doing the leaking that the administration is serious about the problem and that they may soon find themselves on the wrong side of the law for leaking classified info.

More Media Misrepresentations

I just read an article about a change that the Republicans are making in the senate to their healthcare bill.  Under the change, anyone who goes without health insurance for more than 63 days will have to wait for six months before they can get new insurance.  According to the media, this is a "heartless" proposal designed to protect insurance companies from having to sell insurance to those who are sick.

This is total nonsense.  Let's look at this for a moment.

First, let's suppose that right now, under Obamacare, a 26 year old person decided not to buy insurance for 2017.  That person is uninsured, and Obamacare requires that he or she pay a fine for failing to have insurance.  Now let's assume that this person decided in April finally to buy insurance.  Can he or she just go on the exchange and purchase a policy?  The simple answer is NO.  Under Obamacare, once you drop insurance coverage by your own choice, you cannot buy a policy until the next open enrollment period.  That means that once you do not have insurance you cannot get insurance again until January first of the next year.  In other words, the person who dropped coverage under Obamacare last February will be barred from getting insurance for eleven months and has to pay a fine on top of that.  That makes the existing Obamacare law much harsher than the proposal put forward by the Republicans in the senate.  Strange, isn't it, that the media doesn't call the existing Obamacare law "heartless".

Second, there's a very good reason for this provision.  If someone could buy insurance only once he or she got sick, there would be no reason for anyone to purchase insurance.  It would make more sense to keep the premiums and go to get insurance only once it is needed.  Sure, you might have a few days of expenses to deal with before the insurance kicked in, but most people could live with that.  The problem is that if many people opted for a buy-as-needed insurance plan, the premiums for the rest of us would go through the roof.  The six month waiting period is meant to provide an incentive to people to buy insurance. 

So we have a perfectly sensible new law with a less harsh alternative to the existing Obamacare law.  The media calls it "heartless".  The truth is that the media is wrong.  The law isn't "heartless"; the media is "mindless".


A Summary of a Year's Worth of Efforts

In 2016, before the national political conventions, American intelligence agencies began an investigation into the activities of the Russians in connection with our elections.  Very quickly, those investigations started looking for collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  After the election, the investigations got much more intense.  Since the inauguration, we have seen investigations by various House and Senate committees which have joined the FBI, CIA, and NSA investigations.  The media has also gone all out looking for collusion or cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Since it has been over a year since these investigations began, I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to try to summarize the evidence which has been found that supports the existence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Here is a rather exhaustive list of all of that evidence:


That's right.  After more than a year, there is still not a single piece of evidence to show collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Nothing, nada, zilch, zero.

It really is time for this waste of time to end.

The Key to the SCOTUS Ruling on The Travel Ban

The Supreme Court ruled today on whether or not to allow enforcement of the ban on entry of people from six countries that have major problems with terrorism.  Previously, two federal courts of appeals had put a stay on enforcement of this executive order in place.  The Trump administration had appealed to SCOTUS and asked that the stay be lifted so that the travel ban could be enforced.  The Justice Department argued that the president had the clear power to impose the ban.  The lower courts, however, decided that statements that President Trump had made during the campaign showed that the intent of the ban was really religious discrimination which would violate the First Amendment.  To say the least, the lower court decisions turned constitutional law on its head and ignored some long-standing precedent from the Supreme Court.

SCOTUS lifted nearly the entire stay that the lower courts had put in place.  There will be further hearings on the issue next fall, but there are still some key points in the decision which must be noted.

1.  First of all, the decision to lift most of the stay was unanimous.  There was not a single justice who thought that the court should limit the power of the president to impose these sorts of restrictions under existing law.  This is key.  Remember, there are four liberal justices who one would to rule against Trump if the result were just political.  These justices, however, ruled in favor of established law.  There was a partial dissent by three justices, but that was over the Court should have left any part of the stay in place.

2.  The Supreme Court gave no weight to the argument that the President's statements during the campaign could alter the real meaning of the language used in the executive order.  This is well established law, but the lower courts ignored it nevertheless.  Here too there was not a single justice who supported the lower court position on this point.  Most likely it will be fully addressed in the further arguments in the fall, but today's ruling makes clear that the outcome will favor established law.

The decision today is a major victory for President Trump.  It guarantees presidential power.  It reduces judicial interference in the issue of immigration.  Most importantly, it makes clear that the endless protests of the executive order came from people who just wanted to ignore the law.  The Supreme Court has ended that now.

The Cutting Edge

Have you heard what have the Democrats in the Senate been saying about the Republican healthcare bill?  If you have been listening to them, you have learned that the GOP bill slashes Medicaid funding.  It cuts that program by so much that it will leave people to die.  This is not just what some moronic Democrat like Chris Murphy says; it is also what the intelligent Democrats have been saying.  The problem is that it is completely untrue; it is a knowing lie.

Here's the reality:  Under the Republican bill, funding for Medicaid is INCREASING each year for the next ten years.  When you increase something, it is hard to call that "slashing" the funding, as the Democrats have been doing.  With more money for Medicaid, it is hard to see how that leaves people to die.

What the Democrats are doing is the old Washington con job.  They want the funding to increase even faster than the GOP bill would do.  As a result, the Democrats say that the slower level of increase is a major "cut" in spending (except it isn't.)

There is nothing wrong with debating the merits of the healthcare bill.  That debate ought to be honest, however.  It seems that honesty is just too much for the Democrats to accept.  Once again, rather than debate the merits, the Democrats instead are arguing that Republicans want to leave the poor to die.  It may be that the argument works well in sound bites; nevertheless, they are doing a terrible disservice to the country by framing the argument by telling lies. 

We need to spread the truth.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

What is Happening On The Golan Heights

For the last two days, artillery and rockets from Syrian territory have landed in the Israeli section of the Golan Heights.  The fire supposedly is spillover from poorly aimed guns, etc. in the battle between the Assad forces, ISIS and rebel forces in Syria.  Israel, however, has a longstanding policy of responding to any shelling, missile or other attack that hits Israeli territory whether or not it is claimed to be accidental.  As a result, there was Israeli air strikes and artillery fire at military targets in the region where the fire came from.

On the first day, it was possible to believe that the Syrian attack was accidental.  When it was repeated on the second day, the likelihood of it's being the result of poor aim decreased dramatically.  Most likely, this is fire on Israel in the hopes of drawing the Israelis into the battle.

It may well be that Iran and its Syrian puppet Assad are trying to drive a wedge into the strengthening relationship between Israel and the Sunni Arab powers like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.  If so, this does not seem to be working.  First, the Israeli counterfire has been aimed squarely at the Assad forces since they launched the fire in the first place.  Second, Isreal's hitting Assad forces or Iranians or Hezbollah is not going to upset the Sunni Arab countries. 

This is a dangerous move by Assad and the Iranians.  Were Israel provoked into a major response, it could deal a crippling blow to the Assad forces.  It is highly doubtful that Russia would step in to protect Assad from such an attack.  Iran does not have the ability to prevent it.

Hopefully, the firing will end after two days.

So Which Precedent Do We Use?

There's an article in New York magazine talking about the big "victory" the Democrats got from their recent loss in the special election in Georgia.  It's the usual stuff about how close Democrats came in a solid red district.  Of course, they still lost and losing doesn't count.  But what did the GOP's candidate 4% victory margin really mean?

It raises the question of which precedent to use.  New York magazine, of course, points to the victory last November of Tom Price in the congressional race.  Price won by 23%, so a 4% margin is much, much smaller.  Others, point to the Trump victory over Hillary Clinton in this district by just over 1% in the same election, so the GOP's 4% margin is much better.  Which is the proper benchmark to use?

The reality is that there is no real answer to this question, but there is still much to say on the point.  Dr. Price had been representing the district for a while, so he had all the advantages of an incumbent.  That should add something like 5% to his vote total, something that would raise his margin by 10%.  On top of that, you have the reality that the Democrats didn't really contest the district last November.  That too added to the margin of victory for the GOP.  If that failure to run a credible candidate or to campaign vigorously led to another 5-7% margin shift, then in a strongly contested race without an incumbent, the margin would have been between 6-8%.  The 4% margin that the GOP won in the special election is right in line with that.  These figures are just more numbers that are being used to justify a result, but they are as good as any other numbers.

The real truth is that the Georgia special election showed us that there has not really been a big shift in the electorate since last November.  Democrats may convince themselves that I am wrong and that there's been a big shift.  That won't make it so, however.  Indeed, the Democrats are likely to be sorely disappointed if they just rely on some sort of anti-Trump fervor to win in 2018.  They will still need a real program that appeals to American voters, and that is something that they just do not have as of yet.

Another Day Another Lawyer

The news is telling us that there is yet another Washington big wig who is lawyering up for scandal/criminal investigation.  This time it's Bernie Sanders and his wife who have hired a high powered attorney to deal with an investigation into possible bank fraud by Mrs. Sanders when she obtained millions in loans for the college in Vermont of which she was president.

I just note this because it is a criminal investigation into something that actually happened.  It is not conjecture; it requires no unnamed sources.  No, Jane Sanders got these millions in loans allegedly based upon faulty information given to the banks.  If she knew the information was false when she furnished it to the banks to get the loans, she is guilty of a bank fraud. 

Isn't it refreshing to think that there are still investigations that are aimed at actual acts that would be criminal.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Hard To Imagine This

Saudi security forces cornered a suicide bomber who was attempting to blow himself up in the Grand Mosque in Mecca.  That is the single most important holy place in all of Islam.  Sunnis, Shiites and all other Muslims hold it to be holy, and yet, an Islamic terrorist was trying to blow it up.  That's like a group claiming to be religious Catholics trying to blow up the Vatican or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.  It just makes no sense.

Perhaps the hope of the terrorists was that by destroying the Grand Mosque, the Muslim population of the world could be roused into action of some sort.  It's a bizarre sort of logic, however; it relies on there being no proof of who carried out the attack and acceptance that the attack came from elsewhere.

It is truly hard to imagine that this has happened.

Time For A Repeat Of an Old Trump Smear By the Media

It must be a slow Friday.  The Hill had to resort to repeating an old chestnut in order to get in today's smear of President Trump and his administration.  According to The Hill, chief of staff Reince Priebus is most in danger of losing his job at the White House because President Trump doesn't like the total chaos he sees in his administration.  The story is not meant to be funny, but it is a joke.

Think of it this way:

1.  This is at least the fifth time in the last six months we have been told that Reince Priebus is about to be fired.  Each time, the story is attributed to unnamed sources.  Somehow, it never has happened.

2.  Over the last six months, we have seen stories in the mainstream media about the imminent firing of Steve Bannon, the expected imminent departure of Kellyanne Conway, and the firing of Sean Spicer.  None of those happened.  Instead, Spicer is in the process of being promoted.

3.  The mainstream media has pushed the idea of chaos in the Trump camp repeatedly.  First we were told that the Trump primary campaign was in chaos.  Trump then won the primaries.  Next the GOP convention preparations were in chaos.  The convention went off without a hitch.  During the campaign against Hillary Clinton, it was a mantra of the mainstream media that the Trump campaign was in total chaos.  Hillary's campaign, on the other hand, was supposedly organized and running perfectly.  Then Trump won the election, and the post election books revealed that the Clinton campaign was a total mess.  That brought us to the chaos the media told us about in the transition team.  That process, however, went smoothly.  Since the inauguration, we keep being told that the White House is in chaos.  Nevertheless, the President has taken a lengthy series of actions to fulfill his campaign promises.  There seems to be no chaos.  The media also told us how the entire Republican party was in chaos; yet somehow, the GOP has managed to win every contested seat up for a special election.

Let's put it this way:  there is no chaos.  There is no reason to think that Priebus is on his way out.  This is just total nonsense pushed by the media because they've run out of other negative things to discuss about the President.  In short, it's Fake News. 

Who Are These Ghouls?

The assistant director of the Democrat party in Nebraska was fired yesterday when audio surfaced of him saying that he was glad the congressman Steve Scalise had been shot and he hoped Scalise had died. 

I'm not going to go into the details of this; they are too ghoulish to repeat.  What sort of political leader hopes for the assassination of his opponents?  The guy may be a Democrat, but he surely does not believe in democracy.

The chair of the Nebraska party fired the guy after audio of his comments was made public.  I wonder if she had previously heard what had been said but kept him on because there was not yet any proof of the statement.  It wouldn't surprise me.  Democrats are the party that tolerates an incredible amount of hate from their people.  The media plays it the other way, always blaming the GOP for hate, but the hate itself comes mostly from Democrats.

The Dishonest Assault on Healthcare; Why Do Dems Have No Solution?

The Republicans in the senate unveiled their healthcare bill yesterday.  Within minutes, we were told by Democrat after Democrat that the bill is "mean", that it would "leave people to die", that it would "kill people" and that it was designed "to give tax breaks to the rich."  Those comments came too soon for any of the senators who made them to have even bothered to read the proposal.  It was nasty criticism without knowledge.

Why is it that the Democrats just attacked the motives of the GOP without even addressing the content of the bill's specific provisions?  Why didn't the Dems tell us who would be left to die and why?  There's a simple answer to this:  they have no viable alternative.  They don't even argue that Obamacare is working; the new Democrat strategy is to blame the failure on the Republicans.  That's pretty funny and totally wrong.  Obamacare was passed by the Dems and hasn't been changed since then.  Their plan has failed, so they blame the GOP.  The Dems have no fix, so they impugn the motives of the GOP which is trying to correct this mess.

One of the biggest parts of Obamacare was the expansion of Medicaid which provides medical coverage for the poor.  Under the GOP plan, coverage under Medicaid stays unchanged for another three years and then the requirements for coverage are modified for only NEW enrollees into the program.  In other words, everyone on Medicaid now stays on Medicaid into the future.  The Dems say that this will leave people to die.  That's a knowing lie.  But consider this:  the GOP plan also allows states more flexibility to control the Medicaid program for that state.  If a state wants to check eligibility every three months, it will be able to do so.  Now it can only check once per year.  If the state wants to start a program to bring down the costs of the program by promoting some pro-health program, it can do so.  Right now, the only way states have to bring down costs is to pay doctors less.  As a result, and here's the shocker, people who have Medicaid coverage have no better health outcomes than people who are uninsured.

Let me say that again:  the USA is spending billions each year to provide Medicaid coverage for the poor, but those with the coverage do no better healthwise than those who stay uninsured.  MEDICAID DOES NOT WORK!!!  This is a national disgrace, and it is a particular disgrace for the Democrats.  They ignore that the program has failed and just fight with lies to preserve it.

The new healthcare bill is complicated; that's for sure.  I have actually read the bill, and it requires a lot of time just to figure out the full meaning.  I'm not going to tell you that everything in there is good; I don't know that -- it's just too complicated to make such a snap judgment.  I do know, however, that the Democrats' response is dishonest and despicable.  They don't have a clue what's in the bill.  They are fighting to preserve the rotting corpse of Obamacare, a program that died last year.  The end result of that fight may help them politically, but it will be at the expense of the American people.  They have no solution, so they are just trying to make the problem worse.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Time To Call

Do you live in Texas, Wisconsin, Utah or Kentucky?  If so, it is time to call senators Cruz, Johnson, Lee and Paul to tell them to vote for the Obamacare repeal/replace bill in the Senate.  These are the four senators who say that they are currently voting against the bill in its present form.  You need to tell these senators that if the bill fails because of their vote, we will be left with the disaster of Obamacare.  Millions will lose coverage as insurance companies withdraw from the market and costs skyrocket.  Make clear to these senators that they were sent to Washington to change Obamacare, not to perpetuate it.  You need to call today.

Senator Blumenthal Is Just Telling Lies Again

Like every other state, Connecticut has two senators.  One is a complete moron; that's Chris Murphy.  The other is intelligent and quite knowledgeable about the law.  Senator Blumenthal was the Attorney General of the state for an extremely long time before he was elected to the Senate.  That knowledge of the law, however, is something that requires Blumenthal to be honest in his public statements.  Unlike Murphy who sometimes says idiotic things because he just doesn't understand, Blumenthal knows better.  That makes statements like the one today into total lies.  Let me explain:

President Trump said today that he knows of no tapes of his conversation with Jim Comey the former FBI director.  Blumenthal rushed to the nearest microphone to claim that the President's effort to shape Comey's testimony by talking about possible tapes is "obstruction of justice".

Think about that.  Trump didn't ever say that there were tapes; only that Comey better be concerned that there could be tapes.  So what effect does that have?  It makes Comey wonder if there are tapes or not.  Comey was about to testify under oath to Congress, and he had to be concerned that there might be tapes that could show his testimony to be false if he made stuff up.  The only protection Comey had from a possible charge of perjury, would be to tell the truth.  After all, if Coney told the truth, he wouldn't have to worry about tapes; they would just confirm what he said.  In other words, what President Trump said put pressure on Coney to tell the truth. 

Senator Blumenthal well knows that pressing someone to tell the truth is not obstruction of justice; in fact, it is exactly the opposite.  Obstruction is present only when someone seeks to interfere with an investigation or to prevent the truth from coming out. 

So we have senator Blumenthal -- who well knows what constitutes obstruction -- telling a lie on that subject.  Sure, Blumenthal is not under oath, so his lie is not criminal.  Nevertheless, Blumenthal's lie is morally repugnant.  Blumenthal has to learn that the American people deserve the honest facts even if they are not going to provide a political benefit for Blumenthal and his party.

The "Secret" Plan

The GOP majority in the Senate is supposed to release a summary of its plans for the healthcare bill today.  It is an outline of the full bill that is just about complete and which will be released by Monday.

For the last month, the Democrats' battle plan in opposing the bill has been to denounce that it is being drafted "in secret".  We are told that it is undemocratic to draft a bill in secret.  Of course, Obamacare was drafted in secret, but that was by Democrats, so it doesn't count.  Of course, the House bill to which the Senate GOP is responding is fully public and has been so for months, but that's not worth discussing because it's not secret.  Supposedly, not a single Democrat has been able to learn what is in the GOP bill.

In the last few days, however, the Democrats have been shifting from the "secrecy" of the bill to denouncing its content.  For example, yesterday, the senators from my state of Connecticut both made detailed statements about how one feature of the GOP Senate bill or another will cause problems and be terrible.  It's not worth reviewing those statements; that's not my point.  No, I want to focus on one question that this shift in tactics reveals.

If the Senate GOP bill is really being developed in secret and the Democrats are unable to know what is in it, that means that the current shift to denouncing the content of that bill is dishonest.  After all, if the Democrats don't know what is in the bill, how can they denounce specific provisions?  On the other hand, if the Democrats do know what is in the Senate GOP bill and are actually speaking about real provisions in that bill, then they have been telling lies for weeks about how the bill is being developed in a way that keeps them in the dark.  In short, it is impossible for both of these to be true.

It's just more lies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Democrats Do It Again

The two special elections are over.  In South Carolina, the GOP candidate won election to Congress.  In Georgia, the GOP candidate won election to Congress.  They're still counting votes in Georgia, but the Republican has a major lead with around 80% of the vote counted.  For the Democrat to pull out a victory, he would have to get more than 60% of the remaining vote and the areas where votes remain to be counted will not produce that kind of result.

Think about that.  The Democrats spent over thirty million dollars in this campaign.  It's an extraordinary amount.  They outspent the GOP by at least 50%.  This is a district that President Trump only carried by just over 1% and tonight the GOP seems to be winning by a much larger margin.  No amount of money brings triumph to Democrats when they have no plans and just offer negative campaigning.

Without a doubt, the story of this election will disappear from the mainstream media which will go back to all Trump bashing all the time.  Nevertheless, there is a lesson to be learned here even if the Democrats and the media ignore it.  The supposed dislike of the American people for President Trump may exist inside the liberal bubble.  In the rest of the country, however, not so much.  The GOP in Washington better realize this and get to work on the Obamacare repeal and tax reform.

Emoluments or Imagination?

You may have heard that a large group of Democrats in Congress are suing President Trump for his supposed violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.  I heard this discussed on cable TV panels, but half the time those taking part in the discussion cannot even pronounce "emoluments" let alone explain what the clause means.  Here's a short explanation:

First let's start with what the Constitution actually says:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

The Constitution prohibits an American from getting a title of nobility from our government.  That was a way to prevent the creation of a permanent ruling class like the ones in Europe.  Then the Constitution prohibits any government employee or office holder from taking a gift of any sort from a foreign country unless Congress approves.  No cash, no article, no title, no office can be received from a foreign government.

Second, let's consider why it was that the clause is in the Constitution.  Remember that after the Revolution and before the Constitution, the United States was governed under a document called the Articles of Confederation.  During the five years or so that this was the governing document, there were foreign powers who were making gifts to American statesmen.  For example, the King of France gave all manner of gifts to people with whom he dealt.  Benjamin Franklin got a diamond covered gold snuff box, for example.  Others got pensions or offices from the king.  The members of the Constitutional Convention wanted to end that practice.  They wanted to make sure that no one working for the government or holding office would succumb to bribes disguised as gifts.  That brought about the Emoluments Clause.

Third, let's look at how this has been interpreted in the past.  The Supreme Court has never ruled on this provision of the Constitution.  Congress has passed an act that regulates how and when federal officials can accept gifts from foreign governments.  For example, it is customary for visiting foreign leaders to give gifts to the President.  Items of this sort are held by the government as government property, although the sitting president is allowed to use them.  You may recall that when Bill Clinton left office, he tried to take some of the gifts he received with him, but he had to return them.

Fourth, let's look at the Democrats' argument.  They contend that the Constitution requires President Trump to get approval from Congress before any of his various properties can accept business from foreign governments.  In other words, the Democrats are not trying to stop gifts from a foreign country like Saudi Arabia to Trump; instead, they want to prevent the Trump hotel in DC from letting Saudi diplomats stay at that hotel.  This is a laughable argument.  The clause in the Constitution is designed to prevent bribed disguised as gifts.  It is not intended to prevent all business transactions between an American federal employee and foreign governments.  Consider this example:  suppose a member of Congress owned a vineyard where she and her husband grew grapes and made wine.  Suppose further that those grapes or wine were sold to a Chinese company owned by the government or to an embassy in Washington or a consulate in Los Angeles.  That's not an imaginary situation; instead, it is exactly the situation of Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader of the House and one of the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit.  Has Pelosi violated the Constitution by failing to check out exactly who is buying the grapes and wine from her vineyard?  Has she violated the Constitution if she knowingly is selling grapes to a company owned by a foreign government?  Of course not.  A business she owns is engaging in normal commerce, just like the Trump hotel in DC engages in normal commerce.  Anyone can come to the hotel and rent a room or hold a function.  The hotel does not have to investigate whether or not the person staying there is having his bill paid by a foreign government.

How about another example:  let's suppose that a president had written a few books, something like Dreams of My Father by president Obama.  President Obama got royalties from every purchase of that book by anyone.  If the government of Kenya decided to buy 2000 copies to give to government employees before Obama made his visit to that country, is that a violation by Obama of the Constitution?  The Democrats would argue that since a foreign government did business that put cash into Obama's pocket it must be a violation.  That, however, is laughable too.

The real point is this:  the Constitution wanted to prevent bribes disguised in the form of gifts.  It had no intention to prevent normal commerce.  The suit by the Democrats is nothing but a way to waste more time in court while screaming about it on TV.

Why The Left Doesn't Understand Liberty

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled UNANIMOUSLY that it was unconstitutional for the government to refuse to issue trademarks because the wording was derogatory.  The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech without government interference; the right to censor trademarks is government interference with speech.  I wrote about this yesterday at some length.  Today, however, I want to focus on the reaction from the liberal media to the decision.

USA Today ran an article calling the outcome a victory for "government sponsored bigotry."  Instead of the denunciation of the Court's finding in favor of free speech, USA Today could have just as easily run an article headlined "Why Political Correctness Should Beat Freedom of Speech".

The entire concept of free speech is that the government is not allowed to interfere with what people can say with only a very few exceptions.  You cannot call for the violent overthrow of the US government.  You cannot say things that are designed to cause injury or violence; it's the old "you cannot shout 'fire' in a crowded theater."  Free speech will not protect you if you participate in a criminal act.  It's not free speech to go into a bank and say "this is a robbery; give me the money."  That's about it for major exceptions.

You would think that the fact the ruling was unanimous would clue in the fools at USA Today.  It hasn't.  They are still living in the PC bubble.

What's The Strategy In Syria?

We got a typical "report" from the mainstream media, this time from The Hill, which discusses how the US role in Syria could "escalate" in the near future.  The reporter points to recent confrontations between US and Assad regime forces during which US planes shot down an Assad bomber that was attacking local American allies who were fighting ISIS, US planes shot at Assad ground troop who were also attacking those allies, US forces shot down a drone of Assad or Iranian ownership that had fired on US led forces, and, of course, the major missile attack that took out about a quarter of the Assad air force after Assad used chemical weapons again in the conflict against civilians.  Because this is more confrontation with Assad than took place during the entire eight years of the Obama administration, it is viewed as a sign of imminent escalation.  It's hard even for the media to criticize using missiles to stop attacks on civilians with sarin gas or using planes to for self defense or the defense of allies.  As a result, the "report" says that these "may" have been good things, but it then complains that we have no "strategy" in Syria.  Reading this article, you would think that our involvement in Syria is something like a haphazard military version of total chaos; we're in Syria, but no one knows why.  President Trump, we are told, just has no strategy.

It's rather disgusting that the mainstream media cannot be bothered to tell the truth.  The President has made it clear what US forces are doing in Syria.  Let's consider actual reality:

1.  American forces were introduced to Syria by president Obama, not by President Trump.  Obama ordered US air power to attack sites in Syria and then he sent special operations forces to assist and train local Syrians who were fighting ISIS.  Today, the only major addition by President Trump to these forces came when he ordered the cruise missile strike in response to the use of sarin gas by Assad.

2.  President Trump announced a clear goal in both Syria and Iraq:  it is US policy to see to it that ISIS is "destroyed".  It has also been announced as US policy that we seek no fight with Russian, Iranian or Assad regime forces but that we will use force in self defense or in defense of our allies if they are attacked.

3.  Obama had announced that America's goal was that "Assad must go" but then Obama backed off and negotiated deals which abandoned that goal.  Trump has not reimposed regime change as an American goal.  Trump, however, has not run away from taking steps that diminish the Assad regime when it does things that violate international law or attack our allies.

4.  Trump said a few months ago that the future government in Syria is up to the Syrian people.  That has not been changed by the White House.

This means that there is a clear strategic outline for the USA in Syria.  The idea that there is no strategy is ridiculous.

To be fair to the reporter for The Hill, it is possible that they expect President Trump to outline American tactics in Syria.  After all, Obama used to tell our enemies in advance what we would be doing and when we would be doing it.  President Trump has made clear for a long time that he would never discuss tactics.  That does not mean, however, that we have no plan, just that we don't intend to tell it to the enemy in advance.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Otto Warmbier Has Died

The American student who was released by the North Koreans thanks to the efforts of President Trump, Otto Warmbier, has died.  The NKs returned Warmbier a few days ago, but he was in a vegetative state after having suffered massive brain damage while in North Korean custody.  No one outside of North Korea knows what happened to Warmbier; we do know however, that the North Korean explanation that he had botulism is not true.  Anything is possible from injuries due to constant beatings to almost anything else.

It is still disgraceful that the NKs did not return Warmbier sooner once it was clear he would never recover.  It is also disgraceful that president Obama never lifted a finger to try to gain Warmbier's freedom.

It is a very sad story.

A Victory For Free Speech Over Political Correctness

The Supreme Court gave free speech a major win today.  It came in a case dealing with the granting of trademarks by the Patent Office.  A rock group called The Slants was denied a trademark on the ground that the name disparaged others and was offensive.  The group fought the ruling and has now won.  The Court ruled that the government cannot limit the speech of the trademark applicants on the basis that it considers the trademark to disparage others.  And make no mistake about it; this was not a close decision.  The court ruled unanimously by a vote of 8-0 (Justice Gorsuch did not take part in the case which was argued before he was sworn in.)

The biggest impact of this decision is the major blow that it strikes against the PC police who want to censor everything from t-shirts to team names.  Remember, in 2014, the Obama administration rejected the trademarks for the Washington Redskins on the basis of the same law which has now been rejected by the Supreme Court.  The Redskins ought to have clear trademarks for that name again in short order.  If I want to trademark "Crooked Hillary", "The Orange Oopa-Loompa", the "Loony Left", "Fascists for Trump", "Secular Christians" or even "Radical Islamic Terrorists", there will no longer be any problem from the Trademark and Patent Office.  Offensive speech cannot be stopped by the government.  That's an important part of free speech.

It would be nice to think that some of the campus liberal fascists who try to squelch free speech will hear this decision and change their ways.  I doubt it will happen, but it certainly ought to.

Now A Terror Attack in Paris

A terrorist with a car containing a bomb rammed a van filled with Paris police on the Champs Elysee in Paris this morning.  The car exploded on impact and the drive was killed.  First reports indicate that none of the police were killed but some suffered injuries.  The terrorist had an AK-47 and some other weapons in the car, but fortunately he never got to use them.

We are now hearing that the dead terrorist was on a watch list kept by the French authorities of terror suspects.

This attack comes on the heels of the van attack in London in which pedestrians were mowed down as they left a local mosque.

It has gotten to the point that there is really nothing more to say about these terror attacks.  We all just need to redouble our resolve to see that the purveyors of evil like ISIS and al Qaeda are destroyed.  We also have to make sure that Americans do not reach the point of getting triggered.  It will never be acceptable for there to be retribution against anyone other than the terror groups themselves.

More Syria News -- It Just Gets Worse

Here's the latest breaking news from the AP

BREAKING: Russia says it will treat US-led coalition planes in Syria, west of the Euphrates, as targets after US downed Syrian jet.

So what does this mean?  Will the Russians actually shoot at American planes?  If they do, will the American planes shoot at the ground anti-aircraft installations of the Russians?  I doubt it will get to that, but it does seem as if a major game of chicken is being started over the skies in Syria. 

This seems to be a test by the Russians of American resolve.  It is a typical move by Putin.  Yesterday, the USA acted very un-Obamalike and shot down a Syrian plane that was bombing US allies on the ground.  Now Putin is testing our willingness to continue to defend our allies.  This is the point at which Obama would have cut and run (if he ever had gotten this far.)  I don't expect that from President Trump.  If the Russians are met with strength rather than weakness, they will stop pushing.

Hopefully this can be smoothed over before things get worse. 

So How Special Will The Georgia Special Election Be?

I just read a piece from the Daily Beast about the special election in the sixth district in Georgia.  The author is telling us in advance that any victory by the Democrat will spell doom for the GOP and President Trump.  While this is both premature and ridiculous, it still didn't stop the author from doing all she could to slant the piece beyond that.  For example, she tells us that this is the most expensive race for a House seat in history, but she neglects to say that the Democrat has outspent the Republican by about two and a half times.  Both sides got their message out, but the level of overkill by the Democrat is important.  In fact, if the Democrat loses after an avalanche of spending like that, it is the Democrats who ought to be worried that they will never win again. 

More important than all the rest, however, is the misleading discussion of the importance of this race to Trump.  Last November, the President won this district by one percent over Hillary Clinton.  That hardly makes it a surprise that the race would be close now.  We already knew that these are voters who don't buy into the Trump message and persona.  On top of that, the Republican candidate does not have the advantage of running against someone as disliked as Hillary Clinton.  Nevertheless, if the Democrats finally win one of these special elections, we will surely hear about it for weeks or months even though it really won't mean much.

Of course, the early voting statistics seem to favor the Republican, a fact which the Daily Beast chose to ignore.  If Karen Handel, the GOP candidate, wins the election, we will quickly be told that this is just a Republican district and the results are meaningless.  After that, the media will never mention it again.

The real truth is that special elections don't really mean much.  So far in 2017 through all the races across the nation in special elections, there has been a net of one state legislative seat that switched parties.  It's hardly a noticeable move.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Another Attack In London

Tonight, a van drove into a crowd of worshippers leaving a mosque in London after the end of Ramadan prayers.  There were many injuries and possibly some deaths.  After the van stopped, one of the passengers jumped out.  The attacker was taken down by the crowd and held until police got there.  He is in custody, although his identity has not yet been released.

It seems rather certain that this is yet another terror attack in London. 

We don't know yet if this is an attack on moderate Muslims by yet another crazy Islamic terrorist or if it is a revenge attack by a non-Muslim as a result of the other recent Islamic terror attacks.  In either event, it is the move of madmen.

Correction:  An earlier version of this post said that the attacker had tried to stab people nearby after hitting them with the van.  Although reported by the media, this detail now seems wrong and has been deleted.

More News Out of Syria

US fighters shot down a Syrian air force bomber about an hour ago.  The bomber had just attacked coalition forces involved in the attack to drive ISIS out of Raqqa.  The forces hit were America's Syrian allies.  The Assad air force strike was being followed by a land attack from the Assad forces on those same American allies.  That attack by the Assad forces was stopped in its tracks by American air power which menaced the Assad ground forces until they pulled back.

The US command issued a statement saying that it would defend American allies engaged in the fight against ISIS.  This sends a clear message to Assad, Iran and Russia about the limits beyond which the USA will not allow them to go.

Hopefully, once the ISIS forces are wiped out, there will not be a follow on battle between the Assad forces and America's allies on the ground.  Still, the action by the USA today is completely different from the usual response during the Obama years which was to do nothing and then to protest to Moscow.  Obama might have even sent John Kerry to Moscow to chide the Russians about the misconduct by the Assad forces. 

What a difference it makes to have a leader who is not afraid in the White House.