Search This Blog

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Making Decisions on Coverage

In the last few days, there have been some really big stories, and then there are the stories that the mainstream media covered.

Here's a big story:  East Texas centered on Houston got swamped with a huge flood due to Hurricane Harvey.

Here's what the mainstream media focused on:  The First Lady wore stiletto heals as she boarded Air Force One on the way to visit Texas.  Okay, that was just one part of the coverage, but it was made into a big deal.

How about another big story:  the jury for the corruption trial of Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey was chosen with the trial starting in a week.

The media covered this:  a real estate broker in Moscow sent an email to a lawyer at the Trump Organization and said the deal he was pushing would make Trump president.  (It's worth keeping in mind that there was not even a response to the email from anyone in the Trump Organization.)

Then there's this story:  North Korea launched a missile which headed towards Japan and then entered Japanese airspace before finally going over Japan and crashing at sea.  This launch could have engendered a counterattack on North Korea.  It certainly was a major violation of international law, and was an act of war as that term is defined by law.

Here's what the media covered:  President Trump said that talking to the NK's had failed for 25 years and would not work now.  Defense Secretary Mattis said that the USA was not out of diplomatic options.  The media says there's chaos at the White House.

These are three major stories, and only one was given much coverage by the media.  Someone ought to find out who makes decisions as to what to cover at media organizations.  Whoever that is ought to be replace by someone who can recognize important news when it happens.

Help From Iran/Assad/Hezbollah? No Thanks

Something very important has happened in Syria, and it has gotten almost no coverage.  The event was the bombing of a convoy carrying ISIS fighters in central Syria.  That may not sound like something unusual, but you need to background to understand why it is.

About a month ago, the combined forces of the Assad regime, Hezbollah, Iran and the Lebanese army attacked a pocket of ISIS held territory on the border between Syria and Lebanon.  The ISIS forces were cut off from any assistance by other ISIS soldiers, and they were routed rather quickly by the attacking force.  At that point, a cease-fire was negotiated.  A key provision of the deal was that the ISIS fighters (around 400) would be transported out of the area and taken to an ISIS held town hundreds of miles away on the Syria-Iraq border.  The effect of that deal was to remove ISIS fighters from areas held by Assad/Iran/Hezbollah and place them instead into areas from which they could attack Iraq or the forces in Syria allied with the USA.  The normal route with defeated troops would have been to hold them as prisoners, but Assad and his allies decided instead to just ship them east to fight Assad's opponents.

The USA learned of the deal with ISIS and immediately protested against it.  When nothing was changed, the USA said that neither America nor its allies had been part of the deal and that we were not bound by it.  The Assad/Iranian deal with ISIS went ahead anyway, although the Assad forces tried to keep secret when the ISIS forces were being moved.  That secrecy was unsuccessful.  Buses that were carrying the ISIS forces across Syria were attacked from the air and the convoy was stopped.  The ISIS fighters, so far, have not been able to join their fellow terrorists in the east.  There is no word on casualties among the ISIS terrorists.

This event is important in a number of ways.  First, it shows that under President Trump, the USA will no longer bow to diplomatic niceties that are against our interests.  Most likely Obama would have refrained from attacking the convoy because it was part of a "peace deal".  Trump put the interests of American troops and our allies first.  Second, the entire idea of the convoy sending ISIS fighters off to the "American sector" shows just how the Assad/Iranian/Hezbollah forces think of the USA.  We are just another enemy, so sending one enemy (ISIS) to fight another enemy (America and its allies) is a good thing.  Third, this entire event ought to teach anyone who thinks that we can deal with Assad in a post-Civil War Syria, that they are wrong.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Do They Even Understand What They Are Saying?

I just happened to see a short bit of the Lawrence O'Donnell show on MSNBC (I can't take more than that.)  O'Donnell had Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times as his guest.  The two of them were discussing tax reform, and I heard them agree that a tax change that brings back to the USA three trillion dollars in corporate profits currently parked overseas to avoid taxation would not create any jobs.  I know I frequently use hyperbole as I write about things, but what I am about to say is completely accurate:  this agreement by O'Donnell and Kristof is the single most idiotic statement on economics ever made on American TV.

Think about it.  Imagine for a moment that the tax law changes and American corporations bring three trillion dollars in cash back to this country from Europe and Asia.  That's more than 15% of our entire economy.  All that money has to go somewhere.  If it gets spent on consumer goods, it will mean that enormous additional amounts of production of such goods will be needed.  That will stimulate the economy in a major way and add millions of jobs.  If the cash gets invested it will stimulate the economy to an even greater extent.  Again, that means millions of jobs.  No matter where the cash goes, it will have a major beneficial effect on our economy which will create millions of jobs.  In short, O'Donnell and Kristof are so caught up in their hatred of President Trump that they are willing to say obviously idiotic things just so that they can be negative towards the President.


A Neo-Nancy?

House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement this afternoon condemning the Antifa group for its vicious attack on peaceful demonstrators in Berkeley over the weekend.  At the moment, Pelosi is that only big name Democrat to have condemned the Antifa group even though Antifa has been engaging in violent attacks across the country.  It should be a simple matter for other Democrats to condemn the violent leftist thugs, but they are silent.

So why is that?  Here's a possible answer.  Pelosi has now drawn attacks on social media for her condemnation of the Antifa goons.  It's being speculated that Pelosi is angry about the moves to take down monuments to Confederate leaders in Baltimore in particular.  Pelosi's father was the mayor of Baltimore many years ago, and he was responsible for erecting many of those monuments now under attack.  According to the posts from the usual nameless crazies on social media, she is just condemning Antifa because she sees the attacks on the monuments as attacks on her father.

To say the least, this has to be one of the stupidest lines of attack ever.  Pelosi is extremely calculating, almost at the Hillary Clinton level.  She would not care about some statue that got put up in Baltimore 50 years ago.  Her focus would be on what is politically advantageous now.

Hopefully, Pelosi's statement will put pressure on some other Democrats to speak out against Antifa.  There can be no place in America for those who use violence to silence their opponents.  On that, we should all agree, even the Democrats.

The 3% Solution

When he took office, President Trump said that his goal was to get US economic growth back to 3% per year.  The response from the mainstream media and the Democrats was unanimous; they said that a 3% growth rate was "unrealistic" because the 2% or lower of the Obama years was the "new normal."  They explained that slowing population growth and declining productivity growth doomed America to the stagnant sort of growth we experienced under Obama.  They also condemned President Trump for raising expectations of quicker growth while knowing full well that such growth could not be achieved.

This morning, the government came out with the most recent estimate of the growth rate in the second quarter of this year.  It guessed it....3%.  That's right, the same 3% that was unrealistic and unachievable was what the country managed during the second quarter according to the latest government stats. 

So did the media pundits and "experts" announce that they had been wrong?  Did they explain why they were so wrong so soon?  Of course not.  There's been very little coverage of the higher growth rate achieved by the economy.  To the extent I have seen any coverage, it has centered mostly on claims that this faster growth rate is really the result of Obama's policies rather than Trump's.  Of course, there's been no explanation why Obama's policies failed so miserably for eight years and only began to finally work once Trump took office.

To be fair, we are talking about only one quarter.  Further, the second quarter has been growing more rapidly than the first for a number of years now.  Most likely, there is a flaw in the way the government measures growth which makes Q2 look better and Q1 worse.  Nevertheless, we did hit 3% growth, and it looks like the economy is continuing to accelerate.  The latest estimates by the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank (known for making accurate predictions) for Q3 have the growth rate coming in at something like 4%.

The real truth is that the US economy can easily grow at more than 3% so long as it is unleashed from unnecessary government regulations.  Growth can be even faster if taxes, particularly business taxes, get cut.  This truth flies in the face of leftist/Democrat dogma that only the government can manage economic growth and that we need more, not less, government interference with private industry.  That dogma is in the process of being shown once again to be faulty.

It's important to keep all this in mind as the push begins for tax reform. President Trump spoke on the subject today in Missouri.  The American people need to make Congress understand how important a reduction of business taxes and general tax reform really is.  We need the millions of new jobs that economic growth will bring.  We need the higher wages that will rise with the higher GDP.  We need to have more people who can provide for themselves by working rather than who are stuck in the terrible trap of government welfare programs.  Tell your congressman.  Tell your senator.  They need to vote for tax reform which contains clear tax cuts.  If they do, the economy will grow, the country will become much more prosperous, and even with lower tax rates, government revenues will rise.

Racism in a Song

I just watched President Trump give his speech in Missouri explaining the need for tax reform including business and personal tax cuts.  When the speech was over, the streaming service on which I was watching started to play The Star Spangled Banner.  Our national anthem was denounced earlier this week by some on the left who called it "neo-Confederate".  Even though both the music and lyrics were written at least 50 years prior to the Civil War, the left now tells us that it was actually an attempt by modern-day Confederates to keep alive their positions after the actual Confederacy lost that war.

I have to say that I listened more carefully to the words of the anthem, than I have in a long time.  It's all about someone wondering if the American defenders of Fort McHenry have managed to hold out against the naval bombardment of that fort by the British navy during the War of 1812.  The fort was on an island in the harbor of Baltimore, Maryland, and the only way those on the short could tell if the US forces in the fort had survived the bombardment was to see the American flag still flying over the fort at sunrise (or as the writer calls it, "dawn's early light").  There's no mention of North or South.  There's no mention of slavery or race.  There's no mention of any divisions within the USA at all.  Simply put, there's no way to find any racist or neo-Confederate language in the Star Spangled Banner at all.

So how is it possible that the left is now denouncing the national anthem?  Do they think that we are all just so dumb that they can say anything and we will accept it?  Actually, as I write that sentence, I guess the answer to it is YES.  After all, just think about how many otherwise intelligent people watched Antifa thugs smash heads and bodies while telling us that they are just fighting Nazis and then accepted those statements as valid.  For people who saw the videos of the various beat downs inflicted by Antifa, it was a question much like the old joke, "who are you going to believe; Antifa or your own lying eyes?"

We cannot simply decide to ignore reality and accept lies.  We cannot throw away America's history just because the far left thinks it will help their cause.  Idiotic and phony charges of racism cannot be allowed to influence our behavior.  We need to fight real racism, but the constant sightings of non-existent racism by the left must be ignored and then stopped.  Charges that divide us for suspect political purposes must be rejected.

Reinventing Economics At The New York Times

According to an article in the New York Times, it's a "myth" that corporate tax cuts mean more jobs.  That's rather strange.  Indeed, it goes against the commonly accepted view in economics.  Most likely, the Times no longer subscribes to established economics because it's racist or sexist or something like that.

Let's review some basic ideas.  First, the single biggest driver of sustained economic growth is business investment.  Each dollar invested produces more than a dollar of growth because there is a multiplier on the spending.  In other words, if a company builds a new plant, all of the vendors and workers who get paid for the construction in turn spend that payment and then they spend or invest that money which causes others to have cash to spend, and so on.  A dollar spent on government investment also has a multiplier, but since it uses tax money, it takes that dollar away from people and businesses first.  As a result, the growth it produces is much less than private investment.  Consumer spending also produces a multiplier, but it is a one-time effect.  In other words, a new plant built by a business will produce additional goods for many years, while a consumer buying new clothes only happens one time.  There's a clear theoretical explanation for these effects in economics, but to put it simplistically, the best way to increase economic growth is through business investments.

Second, higher economic growth means a growing demand for labor.  If a business sells 20% more shoes after it builds a new addition to its shoe factory, there have to be workers to run the machines that make those additional shoes.  There can be some of the additional production that needs no additional workers because of higher productivity, but on the whole, the additional growth means more workers are needed.

Those two facts mean that anything that increases business investment will produce higher growth rates in the economy and that will mean more jobs.

So, does a lower corporate tax rate mean more investment by business?  The clear answer is a resounding YES!  If taxes are lower, then the net profits kept by the business on a new investment are higher.  For example, if a new plant produces a $100,000 profit before taxes, the business keeps $65,000 when taxes are 35%, but it keeps $80,000 when taxes are 20%.  The higher the projected profits from an investment, the more likely it is to go ahead.  So, lower taxes mean more investment.

This is not hard to understand.  It is not controversial.  It is just standard economics.  So why is the New York Times choosing to ignore it? 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

All Options On The Table??

The White House announced that "all options are on the table" in response to the North Korean missile shot over Japan.  Really?  No they are not.  We're not going to war over this.  We're not going to blockade North Korea's ports.  We're not going to announce a no fly zone over North Korea.  We might send Dennis Rodman back to visit Kim Jung Un, but what would that accomplish?

The truth is that the USA is not going to respond to the NK's missile with a whole host of options.  We are going to go for more sanctions, more discussions with China, and the like.  So if that's the case, why does the White House bother to announce the "all options" language.  It's not for the NK's.  They already have figured out that they can do just about anything without getting a military response.  Nope, it's for the Chinese.  North Korea is their client, a country wholly dependent on Beijing for staying alive.  Even the North Korean military could not function without Chinese assistance since over 90% of North Korea's oil and gasoline comes from China.  Were that cut off, the NK forces would be in a major bind.  Washington wants the Chinese to wonder if the USA will actually respond militarily to the NK's.  In that regard, President Trump's uncertain nature is a big plus.  Trump is unpredictable, and that is something that the Chinese fear.  Indeed, China has now gone farther than ever before in trying to rein in the NK's.  It voted for major sanctions in the UN Security Council and it says that it will actually enforce those sanctions.  The Chinese no doubt thought that they had managed to put themselves in a position in which they could meet the demands of President Trump while not squeezing the NK's too much.  

Now, however, Kim Jung Un has ruined that Chinese calculation by shooting a missile over Japan.  The Chinese know that Kim did this intentionally.  Not only did that missile act as a slap in the face to the USA and South Korea, it was also Kim telling the Chinese that he, not they, is in charge of North Korea.  This may lead China to cooperate in further sanctions.  Hopefully, it will.

The real question in the short term is whether or not the NK's will actually attack some South Korean outpost or ship.  That's the next step up the ladder of escalation.  If that happens, the White House will no doubt announce that all options are be on the table, but in such event, they really might be.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Losing Sight of Reality

Tonight, there are two major stories that should dominate the news.  The rain in Texas continues to come down in buckets.  Reporters are saying things like "only" another ten inches of rain is expected in the next 36 hours in Houston.  The city is flooded and it is just getting worse.  Adding another foot or so of rain is a natural catastrophe, the likes of which have not been seen for a long time.  Then, on top of the continuing storm in Texas, we have a new man-made storm in North Korea.  Kim Jung Un had his people launch a ballistic missile that crossed over Japanese air space.  Unlike the other missile launches this year which stayed away from other countries, Kim's latest one went over top of Japan.  It's a step closer to war.

Both of these stories are extremely important.  So what do you think that Rachel Maddow covered tonight on her program on MSNBC?  It was all Trump/Russia.  There's nothing really new, but Rachel decided to go over it all one more time.  It was staggering to think that millions of Americans in the greater Houston area are in danger and many are in extremis, and the star of MSNBC is spending her supposed news show discussing old nonsense.

I know that I always accuse the left of living in a bubble; indeed, it's something I strongly believe.  Still, it's an amazing thing to learn that in Liberal land, the region that exists in DC, Manhattan, Hollywood and a few other precincts across America, the plight of Houston doesn't even invade the consciousness of the media.

Missiles over Japan

North Korea launched a missile which then flew over Japan a few hours ago.  It makes me wonder what will happen next.  Will the USA respond by sending a missile over North Korea?  If we did that, the NK's might well start a full scale attack on South Korea, Japan and the USA.  This is a very serious situation.

One thing is certain:  the supposed "restraint" being shown by the NK's is not real.  We are closer to war in Korea than we have been in many years.

I just hope that if the USA decides to confront the NK's, that we don't use half measures.  Symbolic acts make no sense here.  If there is to be a military confrontation, then we ought to take out as much of the NK armed forces as possible.

Is This Possibly True?

Remember the Syrian refugees?  There are huge numbers who fled the Syrian Civil War and ended up scattered around the world.  A great many entered Turkey and have been living in Turkish cities.  Well now, Turkey is allowing the "refugees" to go home for some Muslim holidays so long as they return by October 15th.  According to news reports, "A local Turkish official, who asked not to be named, said 40,360 Syrians had crossed over so far with around 4,000 people now crossing every day."

Did I miss something?  These are people who fled persecution going home for the holidays?  Can this possibly be true?  And if it is true, why is Turkey letting them come back?  If it's good enough to go back for the holidays, how bad can it actually be in Syria now that ISIS is on its deathbed?

This is one of those stories that is so bizarre that I wonder if it is true.  Strangely, it seems that it is true.

Denouncing Violence

Consider this question:  when, if ever, is it appropriate for individuals to use violence in a political debate?  Is it appropriate to go to a dinner at which funds are being raised for a memorial to those killed on 9-11 and start a fist fight because you don't want the memorial built?  Is it okay to meet a neighbor at the supermarket and then start punching when that neighbor says she is going to work for the congressional campaign of someone you don't like?  Is it acceptable to see a sign in a store window stating that The Gap will soon open in that location and to respond by smashing the window and setting the building on fire because you don't like the styles sold at that store?

Hopefully, you answered that none of that violence is acceptable.  (If not, you may want to consider seeking psychiatric help for your anger issues.)  Violence is the antithesis of democracy.  It is not letting the majority rule, but rather letting the strongest and most lethal rule.

None of this is rocket science.  It's all rather obvious.  So tell me then, why is it that the mainstream media is publishing pieces justifying the unprovoked violence being used by Antifa across the country?  Yesterday's riot in Berkeley is a good example.  There was no violence of any sort until the Antifa thugs decided to intervene in a rather small demonstration.  It wasn't a Nazi or KKK demonstration.  It was just a demonstration supporting free speech.  For Antifa, however, it was an affront to their creed, something that had to be destroyed and not just opposed.  And when the Antifa thugs charged into the crowd, why did the police stand by and do nothing?  People were beaten and the police watched.

I don't care if the thugs are right wing or left wing or even nothing more than Rotary Club members.  Violence has no place in politics in this country.  We all need to denounce it.  We all need to denounce ALL violence.

Are These Real Polls?

There are two polls out that questioned Republican voters in Arizona and Nevada with regard to the 2018 senate race.  In Nevada, incumbent senator Dean Heller is losing his party primary by 39 to 31 to Tarkanian.  That's a terrible result for an incumbent within his own party.  If Nevada is surprising, then Arizona is astounding.  In the GOP primary in Arizona, senator Flake is losing to Ward by 47 to 21%.  The idea that a sitting senator is getting only a fifth of the primary vote is something unimaginable.

If these numbers are even remotely close to the actual numbers, I doubt that Jeff Flake will even run for re-election.  There's no point to getting crushed in a primary.  Heller's case is less clear cut.  He might be able to recover, but it certainly is not looking good.

Keep in mind that Flake has been hyper critical of President Trump and has even opposed the border wall, not exactly a good position in Arizona.  Heller also made clear that he opposed the Obamacare repeal, another position unlikely to win friends among Republican primary voters.


They Can't Wait To Make It Worse

I just heard CBS News call hurricane Harvey the "worst natural disaster in American History."  Huh?  It may be the worst flooding in a major city, or maybe not.  I surely isn't the worst natural disaster.  Just in Texas alone, there was a hurricane that hit Galveston around 1900 the killed nearly 7000 people.  THAT was a terrible disaster.  Harvey is causing a lot of damage; of that there is no question, but the worst disaster is a stupid overstatement of the sort that the mainstream media just cannot resist.

The truth is that right now, we just don't know how bad it is or will become.  It's still raining, and the floods will just continue.  People are being rescued, but we don't know how many, if any, are getting caught in flood waters and drowning.  We also don't even know the full extent of the property damage.

The media coverage of Harvey reminds me of how the media covered Katrina over a decade ago.  I remember Anderson Cooper and Geraldo Rivera (on different networks) standing in the French Quarter of New Orleans reporting on the rapes and murders that had occurred in the "lawless" mess that was the relief station in the local domed stadium.  They railed against the authorities' lack of caring about the people in that stadium.  Of course, they had never been in the stadium or had someone from their network check it out.  They just reported the rumors as facts.  When it turned out a few days later that there had been no rapes and no murders, the story was buried.  The whole thing had been a lie, but most people never heard the truth.

Someone asked me yesterday why the media doesn't report on how the storm is hitting the average homeowner in Houston.  When I told him that the reason was because the media just doesn't know the answer to that question, he got angry and told me that it just could not be.  Sadly, however, it is exactly that.  We get stories of a boat rescuing some people or of another anecdote.  We never hear what percentage of the homes in Houston are underwater.  Think about it.  The media doesn't know and can't report how many homes and businesses have been affected, not even in rough numbers.  Nevertheless, they report that this is the worst disaster in American history.  What does that tell you?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday's big news

There's a lot of news tonight.  In Texas, the rain just keeps coming.  It's not quite 40 days and 40 nights, but it's more than anyone alive ever saw before in the USA.  The new storyline is "why didn't they evacuate Houston?"  The answer is that the governor of Texas told people to evacuate, but the mayor of Houston said to stay put.  By tomorrow, the media will make this President Trump's fault rather than pointing to the Democrat mayor.  It won't matter.  Too many people are paying the price for staying in the city. 

In Berkeley, California, there was a riot by the Antifa as they attempted to shut down a small rally in favor of prayer and free speech.  Even though there were no Nazis at the rally, the Antifa denounced the participants as Nazis, a charge which somehow requires the media to describe their riot as actually fighting against hatred.  The irony is great because the Antifa carried shields that announced their fight against hate; then they used the same shields to smash people over the head.  The local police did not step in to stop the melee.  Once again, a local leftist mayor let a group of leftist thugs beat and intimidate any opposition.

The news that probably got the most attention tonight was the season finale of Game of Thrones.  I won't discuss it in order to avoid spoilers for anyone who has yet to see it.  All I can say is that it was a rather major disappointment. 

Using Bolshevik Tactics

In 1917, the Russian government was overthrown in a revolution led by the Bolsheviks.  That group had the allegiance of only a tiny portion of the Russian people, but it used massive street violence to take control of St. Petersburg (which was then Petrograd) and Moscow and then spread that control across the country in as civil war against the White Russians.  The provisional Russian government which was then led by Alexander Kerensky did not deploy its forces to stop the Bolsheviks.  For the next 75 years, the world paid the price for that mistake as the horrors of Soviet Communist totalitarianism were force upon hundreds of millions across the globe. 

At the moment, it seems as if the Antifa group is trying to repeat the Bolshevik tactic with the assistance of the media.  We had a march in Charlottesville by groups that included Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists.  One of those crazies drove his car into the crowd and killed a woman.  At that march, the Antifa engaged in violence from the other side.  As this happened, the police did nothing.  The cops did not try to keep the two sides separated; they just moved back to let the slugfest proceed.  That was bad enough.  But it has now gotten worse.  Since Charlottesville, there have been marches in support of free speech which the Antifa labeled "pro-hate" or "Nazi" and then showed up to break up.  In Boston, there was some violence by the Antifa.  That is being replicated in Berkeley today.  There are only scattered reports so far, but it seems that the police in Berkeley are once again holding back from stopping the violence.  That is unacceptable.

It does not matter what side one is one; violence at a demonstration is unacceptable.  Antifa, Nazis, white supremacists and everyone else has the right to speak without fear of violence.  Just remember, once we stand by and let anyone be silenced for their views, no one is safe.  No one knows the future.

More Global Warming Nonsense about Harvey

Today's "news" brings a whole host of articles blaming Global Warming for hurricane Harvey.  What nonsense!  I've written before that Harvey is the first major hurricane to strike the USA in 12 years.  That is a record period without such strikes.  We were told by the Gore in his movie that this sort of storm would become commonplace, but instead this is the first in 12 years.  Obviously, that storyline is ridiculous, so today we have a new one.  We are being told that the intensity of Harvey and the serious flooding is due to global warming.  Again, this is total nonsense.  Harvey was a strong storm, but it lost its strength quickly once it hit land.  At the moment, it has top winds of only 45 miles per hour.  The problem with Harvey had little to do with its strength and came almost entirely from its path.  Usually, hurricanes move in one general direction at something like 10 to 15 miles per hour once they hit land.  That means that for the area hit with the brunt of the storm, that bulk of it is over within 10 hours or so.  Because of the lineup of other weather in the region, however, Harvey has stalled over the Texas coast and is predicted to stay there for another 2-3 days.  The winds have died down, but the heavy rains continue.  This brings floods.  They are floods caused by the location of a ridge of high pressure that is blocking the path of Harvey, something that has nothing to do with Global Warming.

This was much the same case with Sandy five years ago.  Sandy wasn't even a hurricane when it came ashore in New Jersey.  (That's why they called it "superstorm" Sandy rather than hurricane Sandy.)  The problem for the Northeast, however, was that as Sandy approached up the coast, there was another low pressure area coming from the west.  This second low was a non-tropical sort of storm.  As Sandy approached, the two storms merged into one large one that meant much more rain, longer strong winds and a bigger storm surge.  On top of that, Sandy came in on a path unlike any hurricane had taken for almost 80 years.  It was aimed perfectly to do maximum damage across New York City and the land along the eastern end of Long Island Sound.  Remember, Sandy came ashore in southern New Jersey, but the worst damage was more than a hundred miles north of that point.  It was a bad storm, but it had nothing to do with Global Warming.

Sadly, it seems that so many people feel compelled to blame everything on Global Warming.  It's beyond ridiculous. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Today's Latest in the War On Statues

In New York City's Central Park, there is a statue of a sled dog named Balto who led a team of canines bringing much needed medicine to an Alaskan outpost during a serious outbreak of illness in the 1920's.  After Balto and other dogs pulled the sled and its driver to deliver the meds, the dog became something of a celebrity.  The statue in New York is a celebration of that celebrity.

I know this sounds like a joke, but there is a move now to have that statue taken down.  A group of cat lovers claim that the statue of the dog upsets them when they see it in the park and they believe that Central Park should be a haven, a refuge, a "safe space" for all city residents.  For them, this dog statue has to go.

There's no word yet on whether or not NY mayor Bill DeBlasio is in favor of giving Balto the boot.  Knowing DeBlasio as we do, however, we can only assume that he will decide shortly once he has gotten the results of polling done by his political advisors.
I guess we already have BaltoMore.  If they dump the statue, Central Park will be BaltoLess.

Is This Early Bargaining -- or Is It For Real?

There are news reports that President Trump will rescind the Obama DACA executive order next week.  DACA is Obama's program that let illegal aliens who came to this country under the age of 16 and who are not in trouble with the law to get work permits and to stay here with no threat of deportation.  It's a program that most Americans support (according to polls -- so who really knows).  The program, however, has a major problem; most likely the program itself is illegal.  American law provides that illegals are to be deported no matter how old they were when they came to this country.  No president has the authority to change the law absent an act of Congress, and Congress never acted here.  Obama claimed that he was just exercising prosecutorial discretion, but that would never stand up in the Supreme Court.  Prosecutorial discretion deals with individual cases, not the altering in one move of how two million people will be treated.  That requires Congress.

During the campaign, candidate Trump said that he would rescind all of Obama's immigration executive orders.  The only one that he has not rescinded is DACA.  The President has also said that he has great sympathy for these people who came to this country as children, especially since many of them do not even have memories of their countries of origin.

All of this makes me wonder if this announcement is just early bargaining for a big deal on immigration.  The deal would provide legislation that made DACA into actual law and also provided full funding for the border wall and expedited its construction.  Funding for border security would also be increased so that the additional agents who have been promised can actually all be hired.  There might be some other provisions to the deal, but this would be the basic outline.  President Trump's announcement that DACA is about to go would then just be designed to make clear to Democrats that if they don't get behind the border wall, they will soon see the DACA people getting tossed out of the country.

A proposed deal of this sort would put the Democrats in a difficult position.  After all, their main problem with the border wall and increased enforcement has been that it will not work.  Even most Democrats don't take the position that they want an unprotected border over which thousands of people and tons of drugs travel illegally day after day.  Opposing the deal would put the Dems in the position of valuing twenty billion dollars more than the keeping the DACA people in the country.  For the President, this deal would get him off the hook on having to deal with DACA.  He could tell his strong anti-illegal immigration supporters that he kept these DACA people in the country in order to make sure that the border got fully secured.  Most of them would accept that too.  Further, DACA does not provide citizenship, just the right to be here legally.  Trump could then restate his position that only those who come here legally have the right to become citizens.

Of course, since one is never quite sure what is going on based upon media articles, it may be that the President is not about to rescind DACA or, alternatively, he is about to do that and is not looking for a deal.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Pardoning Joe Arpaio

It's hysteria night on the left.  President Trump issued a pardon to Joe Arpaio who was convicted of criminal contempt because he had the police in Maricopa County Arizona continue to determine the immigration status of those who were arrested despite a court order to halt the practice.  The common refrain on the left tonight is that President Trump showed "contempt for the rule of law" with this action.

There really is a perfect one-word response to the uproar over the pardon.  Here goes, "HUH?"

Let me explain.  In the USA, the "rule of law" starts from the Constitution which supersedes all other statues, regulations and court rulings.  In other words, following the Constitution is the ultimate respect for the "rule of law". 

Here's an excerpt from Article II of the Constitution:  "The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."  That's right, the President of the United States has the absolute power, for any reason he thinks appropriate, to grant a pardon for federal offenses except in cases of impeachment.  That's exactly what President Trump did tonight.  He followed the law.  He did not breach the rule of law in any way.  The hysteria that Trump did something wrong here is ridiculous, idiotic, and just plain wrong.

Remember, the only reason for the pardon power held by the president is to forgive the crimes or possible crimes of an individual.  In other words, every pardon has the effect of keeping someone out of prison or other punishment.  Arpaio is an 85 year old man who was the head of law enforcement in his county for almost 15 years.  His supposed crime is not a felony but just a misdemeanor.  There's no reason that the guy should have to continue to go through this legal mess, so Trump pardoned him.

Think about some other recent pardons.  President Obama pardoned a Puerto Rican terrorist who bombed buildings in New York and killed multiple people in service of the cause of an independent Puerto Rico.  None of the people upset with the Arpaio pardon said even one word in criticism of Obama pardoning a murderous terrorist.  President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, an extremely wealthy man whose wife just happened to make enormous gifts to the Clintons right before her husband was pardoned for his role in massive swindles of thousands of Americans.  Again, none of those upset tonight said anything about the Rich pardon.


Harvey According To The Media

Hurricane Harvey is a major storm.  It's the first major hurricane to hit the USA since 2005.  It has to be taken seriously.  Still, I have just seen two articles that falsely blame climate change for the intensity of this hurricane.  It's an unbelievable claim.

In the past, the USA got hit by a major hurricane at least every two or three years.  In the early 2000's, the global warming crowd told us that according to their models, America would see both stronger storms and more frequent hits from them.  Then we had twelve years without even one major storm hitting the country.  That is the longest stretch since records were first kept without a major storm.  In other words, the global warming crowd wasn't just wrong in its prediction, it was spectacularly wrong.  Now that record setting stretch is ending with Harvey, so what does the media do?  It blames global warming for the storm.  That's so dishonest, it's actually funny.

Is Trump the ONLY Issue?

President Trump is very lucky in his enemies.  The Democrats and the Republican NeverTrumpers seem to care about and speak about nothing else besides the President and crazy left wing causes.  (To be fair, the Republican NeverTrumpers don't mention the crazy left wing causes; that's just the Democrats.)

Consider this.  What are the issues getting the most attention these days from the Democrats?  Is it healthcare, taxes, economic growth, jobs???  NOPE!  It's statues of people who led the South in the Civil War, and that issue is broadening into statues of other American leaders that the Dems now consider reprehensible.  Outside of DC and the offices of various far left groups in New York, LA and Boston, how many Americans think that the statues are an important issue?  We already know that fewer than 30% of American voters even support the removal of these statues, but I ask again how many voters consider this an important issue for the country?  One recent poll put the figure at 3%.  THREE PERCENT!  That's just a statistical error.  It means that essentially no one cares about the statues.  But this is the big issue for the Democrats these days.

And what are the Republican NeverTrumpers talking about?  They want the President to resign.  They don't think he's "presidential".  They think he's an embarrassment to the country.  And yet, the Trump in the White House is exactly the same Trump who was on the campaign trail last year.  America voted to make him president, and these Republicans want the will of the people to be subverted and then overturned.  After seeking to undermine the process set forth by the Constitution, these NeverTrumpers then try to claim to be true conservatives.  Sadly, they just don't seem to get that conservatism is not another name for hatred of the president.  Still, they don't talk about anything but Trump either; they are much like the Democrats in that regard.

About a month ago, the Dems came out with their new slogan, "A Better Deal".  They have a slogan, but they haven't yet told us what it stands for.  We know that Hillary Clinton ran an entire presidential campaign with no real positions other than to point out that she wasn't Trump and that his voters were "deplorable."  Hillary lost.  Maybe the Democrats need to change their slogan from a Better Deal to "The Same Mistake".

The GOP and the President haven't been doing great lately, but at least they are talking somewhat about actual problems facing the country.  If they can switch to talking about those issues all the time, they will guarantee a GOP victory next year.

Frank Rizzo Redux

The War On Statues is now taking aim at one which depicts former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo.  Rizzo was a Democrat who ran the city during the 1970's after being police commissioner for many years prior to that.  He was what was called in those days a "law and order" candidate.  He won two big victories (the mayor is term limited) with the support of most Philadelphia communities.

Today's attacks on the Rizzo statue brand him as a "racist", something which is not true.  Under Rizzo, the Philadelphia police force had the highest percentage of minority cops of any large American city.  He also began the practice of pairing black and white officers to patrol minority neighborhoods to combat the perception of biased police.  As mayor, he led a rebound of the city's economy, one which greatly helped the minority communities.  Rizzo's crime, however, was that he would not talk the talk of the Democrat left.  If he were alive today, he would likely have abandoned the Democrats like most of the blue collar voters of Pennsylvania did in 2016.

It's crazy to think that the loony left wants to get rid of someone like Rizzo on phony grounds just because he didn't like them.  The War on Statues has already morphed from targeting Southern Civil War figures and moved onto anyone the left doesn't like.  In NYC, the leftist mayor is talking about getting rid of Grant's Tomb and Columbus Circle, among other monuments.  Grant, of course, is the general most responsible for the DEFEAT of the South in the Civil War and Columbus did nothing but try to establish a new route to the Far East for Spain and then discover America in the process.

I'm waiting to see if there is a move to rename JFK Airport in NYC.  After all, President Kennedy demeaned women on a nearly constant basis while he was in the White House.  I can't wait to hear about the women who get upset landing in Kennedy airport.  And since the push for statue removal comes from the far left, let's not forget that JFK tried to overthrow Castro in Cuba.  Oh, the horror! 

Is This A Warning Signal?

Ford announced today that it will "look beyond credit scores" in making decisions on financing new car purchases as a way to "increase sales".  Think about that.  A major car manufacturer is going to push sales by selling cars to people with poor credit.  That sounds a lot like banks giving home loans to people with poor credit.  Sure, the size of the loans is much smaller when the subject is cars, but the concept is the same.  Does is make sense for Ford to lend money to people who may not be able to pay it back?

This kind of news makes me worry that the lessons of 2008 were not learned.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Reinventing History in New Jersey

The level of idiocy or dishonesty (you decide) in the media regarding New Jersey is incredible.  I just read a column denouncing the trial of senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey as a Republican plan to gain a senate seat.  You see, if Menendez is convicted and must resign, a Republican, Chris Christie, gets to appoint the replacement senator.

Think how idiotic this is.  First, Menendez was indicted by the Obama Justice department.  The GOP would must have been super cagey to get Obama to take steps to get rid of a Democrat.  Second, Menendez only must resign if he is convicted.  That means Menendez must go only if he committed a felony.  Again, the GOP must have been super cagey to get Menendez to break the law.

The truth is that we have a Democrat senator who is accused by a Democrat DOJ of committing a felony.  If the charge holds up, the senator has to go.  It's not a political plot.  It's called enforcing the law, something the media just does not seem to understand.

Here We Go -- Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit the Texas coast tomorrow night.  If all goes as predicted, it will be the first major hurricane to hit the USA in 12 years.  That is the longest stretch without a major hurricane strike since ever recorded in the USA.

So take a step back and think about this.  In 2000, Al Gore and his group (the "Gorenishts") told us endlessly that global warming was about to cause a major upsurge in extreme weather situations.  America and the world would be beset by enormous storms, tornadoes and floods.  Only by stopping carbon emissions could we hope to slow the inevitable march towards destruction by these megastorms.  That was followed by a period in which there were remarkably fewer storms, tornadoes and floods.  Indeed, a hurricane like Harvey is now so rare that for many people it is the biggest hurricane in their lifetime.

Given how wrong the global warming predictions were, you would expect a recognition by the global warming crowd of their error and an admission that the computer models that predicted these storms were wrong.  But that's not what happened.  Instead, without missing a beat, "global warming" became climate change, a major upsurge in extreme weather became a decline in major storms but they say that it still is all due to higher carbon emissions.  In essence, everything is due to climate change. 


Don't The Programs Ever End?

If you ever see ads on TV or hear them on the radio, you probably know about HARP, the government's program to help certain people refinance their homes to lower interest rates.  The program only covers people with mortgages obtained prior to April of 2009, and it is intended to help those who have little or no equity in their homes.  In other words, HARP was a mechanism designed to help those who got hit hard during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

Here's the biggest question about HARP:  Why is this program still in existence?  It was passed to help people in the financial crisis; that's nearly ten years ago.  Interest rates on mortgages have been very low for very long.  Anyone who wants to refinance either already did so or has had ample opportunity to do so.  Nevertheless, the government keeps paying for the program and advertising to promote it.  It's just throwing money supposedly to help people who have refused that help for at least eight years.  There's no reason to believe these people are going to change their minds now.

This is the government's typical response to a problem.  It sets up a new program and then never thinks about it again.  How many billions of dollars have been wasted on HARP in the last three years?  The first five years of the program surely helped some people refinance to lower interest levels, but why did the government just keep going after that?  The program ought to have been shut down once its usefulness ended.  America just had no need to keep spending cash for a problem that really no longer existed.

September will bring another expiration date for HARP.  Hopefully, the Trump administration will be sensible and let the program actually expire (unlike Obama).  That would be responsible leadership rather than just throwing money at a non-existent problem.

Events That Go Unnoticed

Two major moves came from the Trump administration this week that the media is just choosing to ignore.  First, the USA imposed sanctions on a group of individuals and companies for their doing business with North Korea in a way that helps that country's nuclear program.  Nearly all those sanctioned were either Chinese or Russian.  Under Obama, the USA just winked at such behavior.  It practiced strategic patience (a fancy way of saying "doing nothing") with the NK's and watched others violated supposed sanctions as well.  President Trump has changed that policy.  No doubt both the Chinese and the Russians are annoyed that their companies have been sanctioned.  Second, the USA withheld $300 million in aid to Egypt due to that country's failures regarding human rights violations. 

So why has the media ignored these two stories?  To be fair, there was some mention of the Egyptian story, but it was mostly about how the American move interfered with the visit to Egypt of the task force led by Jared Kushner.  There was almost complete silence about why the funds were withheld.  After all, the media can't have President Trump pushing for human rights; he's a Nazi, right?  It ruins the narrative.  And when it comes to imposing sanctions on Russians, well, we surely can't be told about that.  Trump is just a puppet for Putin, right?  He would never do anything that might be detrimental to Russia, right?

The silence on these two inconvenient stories by the media discloses the agenda of that group.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Some New Rules For Preventing Racism

As the War on Statues (or the Hiatus from History) progresses, there is a new directive out today from the Central Committee of the Anti-Racism Collective.  Here it is in its entirety:


After careful consideration we have established these new standards for spoken and written English language as well as the use of symbols.  Each of these standards is designed to remove traces of racist history from America.

1.  Because the letters C, O, N, F, E, D, R, A, T, S, M, and I are present in the name Confederate States Of America, they will now be banned from written usage.  All words should now omit these letters since their usage might trigger some people by reminding them of the Confederacy.  By way of example, since the "Democrats" is composed entirely of racist letters, that party name should now be written as "Z".  We were going to use "X" but decided that since XX could be construed as sexist (as opposed to XY) use of "Z" made the most sense.

2.  All people who have names that were held by any Confederate office above the rank of Captain will now be banned from ever appearing in public.  Those in this group who wish to avoid this ban, must change their name to "X". 

3.  Anyone whose ancestors lived in the South prior to 1865 will be deprived of American citizenship. 

4.  All paintings held in public museums in which people are shown must be removed from display unless they depict at least one person of color, one person of Asian origin, and one person who can be seen as struggling against the patriarchy.  All other works must be destroyed.

5.  All literature will be screened by the staff of the central committee and must comply with these new rules or be destroyed.  We will have book burnings every other Tuesday to get rid of the offending works.

Battlefront News In The War On Statues

The University of California is the site of one of the latest skirmishes in the War on Statues.  It seems that the horse ridden around the football field by the USC mascot prior to the games is named "Traveler".  [WARNING the next sentence may be a trigger for some.]  It seems that general Robert E. Lee's horse during the last years of the Civil War was named Traveller.  OH, THE HORROR!!!  As a result, there is a move at USC to rename the horse.

This explains a great deal.  I've seen televised USC football games and I recall seeing nearly the entire student body either faint or break in wails and cries when the mascot and Traveler appeared.  I never understood why until now.  The students were obviously all triggered by the name of the horse and its similarity to Robert E. Lee's horse of 150 years ago.  The upset at games is even worse when USC plays UC-Davis because that school's name includes the last name of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. 

Is there anything that shows the idiocy of the left more than this?

What's next?  Will Congress rename the important labor law called the Davis-Bacon Act?  After all, Davis must offend many, and Bacon should upset Muslims and Jews as not halal or kosher.  Will Sheila Jackson - Lee be expelled from Congress because she has not just one but two Confederate generals in her last name?  At a minimum she ought be stonewalled.


You Can Always Count On Hillary

The nation faces all sorts of problems, so what's the big headline of the moment?  Hillary Clinton says in her new book that she wanted to call President Trump a "creep" at the second debate last fall.  It's hard to believe that anyone could possibly care what Hillary Clinton has to say on any subject.  She lost and she ought to be yesterday's news.  But the idea that Hillary thought about calling Trump names is actually pretty funny.  During the campaign (and for years before that), nothing came out of Clinton's mouth that hadn't first been tested with a focus group.  She couldn't possibly call Trump a creep during the debate unless her staff had first tested to see the reactions of voters to that move.  After all, Clinton was the opposite of Trump.  Her every move was scripted; nothing was spontaneous. 

Hillary got a multi-million dollar advance for this book and the big headline is on the question of calling Trump names.  Amazing.  As a former partner of mine used to say, "We're living in troubled times."

ESPN (ESpecially Politcal Network)

Sometimes, you have to wonder who thinks this stuff up.  ESPN removed an announcer who was scheduled to do play by play from an upcoming game because the guy's name is Robert Lee and the game was in Virginia.  Really, this is the truth.  The guy is of Asian background, and had nothing to do with the Civil War, but ESPN was concerned that his name might cause a misunderstanding.

To call this a bizarre example of insanity by ESPN is an understatement.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Nobody Does It Quite Like President Trump

If you watched the Trump rally in Phoenix Tuesday night, you saw a truly masterful performance by the President.  He began with about ten minutes on the subject of his response to Charlottesville.  The President read sections of his various statements issued on the subject of that attack.  The funny thing, of course, is that Trump read all the sections of the statements that the media ignored.  Just by reading his own words, Trump put the lie to the nonsense that he had somehow sided with the white supremacists, Nazis and KKK.  NO, he had specifically condemned those groups, and he read those sections of his remarks.  Instead of distorted commentary from TV pundits with a narrative, Trump put forward the actual statements he made.  The effect was electric.  Anyone listening could understand just how dishonest the media had been.

Trump also went into the issue of Obamacare in some depth.  He kept talking about how the repeal bill had failed in the senate by one vote.  Of course, that one vote was cast by John McCain of Arizona.  Without mentioning McCain by name, Trump put great pressure on him.  Of course, knowing McCain, the pressure will probably make him even more stubborn on the issue.

It wasn't just an interesting performance by President Trump.  The media coverage was also worth noting.  Prior to Trump, there was a short speech by Vice President Pence.  It was covered by Fox News.  MSNBC didn't even have coverage of the rally at that point.  CNN had a split screen picture; one-half was Pence and the other half was protesters outside the hall.  There weren't many protesters there, but CNN gave them equal billing.  The commentators were talking only about the protests, however.  When the President started to talk, MSNBC had a panel discussion over a silent picture of Trump.  CNN had a bit of the speech.  Fox News continued to televise the rally.  My prediction is that when the ratings come out on Wednesday for cable news, we will see that Fox News won the evening by enormous numbers.  Why would anyone tune in to see a panel discuss Trump over a silent picture of the President when you could hear Trump's own words on another station?

This Is Really Getting Interesting

The New York Post is reporting that the FBI now suspects that those Muslim IT guys hired by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and some other Democrat congressmen were stealing sensitive information from the computer systems they managed and selling it to Pakistani and RUSSIAN intelligence. agencies.  Here's a nice summary from Herman Caine's website. 

Think about what this means.  Late last Spring, just prior to the Democrat National Convention, Wikileaks released a batch of emails and other documents from the Democrat National Committee that showed party officials actively working with the Clinton campaign to keep Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination.  The disclosures were so outrageous that the chair of the DNC had to resign and leave the convention.  Of course, that chair was Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  The intelligence agencies blamed the release of these emails on the Russians.  Still, the DNC refused to let the FBI have access to its computer systems; the conclusion that it was the Russians is based upon what a consultant to the DNC (who was, of course, paid by the DNC) said.

Could it be that the information about Wasserman Schultz came from these IT guys selling it to the Russians?  Could it be that the Russians never actually hacked into the DNC computers?  That would mean that much of the Trump/Russia story that got so much attention for so long is actually a coverup for the real story which is the negligence of Wasserman Schultz which led her to hire IT guys with essentially no experience who turned out to be spies?  Is this the ultimate victory for political correctness in Wasserman Schultz's office?

It's funny.  Ever since the IT guys were arrested while trying to flee the country, the Trump/Russia story has disappeared from the mainstream media.  We hear nothing about Mueller.  There are no more stories from unnamed sources throwing dirt at some administration personality or another because of Russia.  It's all gone.  We went from 100 decibels to 0 in just a second or two.  Certainly, if the mainstream media put together that it really was the group of Muslim IT guys who took the data off of Wasserman Schultz's computers rather than Russian hackers, the media would have stopped talking about it.  After all, it would otherwise make them look foolish when their errors and lies get disclosed.

This is really getting interesting.

UPDATE:  It's important to note that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held a "town hall" meeting on CNN last night.  It went on for quite a while, but somehow the CNN group did not ask Ryan a single question about Russia.  Is this further proof that the media like CNN knows the jig is up?

The Consistent Lies From Chris Murphy

It seems like most politicians lie on occasion.  Sometimes, there are big lies like Obama's "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan."  Sometimes, the lies are about events in the past that the pols think they can change, like senator Blumenthal's stories about his combat tour in Vietnam (that never happened.)  The challenge for the listener is to be a skeptic.  Don't believe everything you hear, particularly if it comes out of the mouth of a politician.  Still, even with this as a basis, there is one politician in my state who seems to take dishonesty to a new level.  That is senator Chris Murphy, our Democrat junior senator.

Here's the latest example:  Murphy tweet this morning the following message:  "Predictable: Republicans planning to cut corporate taxes by raising individual taxes."  Murphy attached an article from Politico to back up his claim.  There's a big problem with this tweet, however; it's completely untrue.  The article is a report on the status of the work of the group of six people who are putting together the final tax plan for the Republicans.  The six include the Secretary of the Treasury, as White House adviser, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, and the two chairmen of the tax writing committees of the House and Senate.  Murphy is not in the group and has not been in their meetings.  He's just reading reports like everyone else.

Let's take a look at what is being reported.  The Politico article to which Murphy refers says that the GOP plan is for "cutting both the individual and corporate tax rates."  Gee, that's not what Murphy said.  He claims the GOP is raising individual taxes; that's not true.  There may be some changes in particular deductions according to the article; the most likely is to reduced the cap on mortgage interest deductions.  That would only affect the richest Americans with huge mortgages.  Of course, if individual rates are reduced, even these people would not see increased taxes, so again, Murphy is wrong.

The reality is that there is no way anyone could read the Politico article and think individuals were going to get tax increases.  Certainly no one listening to what the GOP has said could think that.  There is no way that Murphy is so out of touch that he sincerely believes what he wrote.  The only conclusion is that he is intentionally being dishonest.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Trump on Afghanistan

The President spoke on national TV tonight to discuss policy regarding the war in Afghanistan.  It was a very good speech which contained a few key points.

First, and for me, most important, Trump said that he recognized that a quick withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan would lead to unacceptable results.  It would create a vacuum like the one Obama created by hightailing it out of Iraq in 2011; that vacuum was filled by ISIS and Iran.  Particularly since there are more terrorist groups operating in the Afghanistan region than anywhere else on earth, we cannot take steps to recreate that nation as a safe haven for terrorist activities.  One 9-11 designed in Afghanistan is enough.

Second, the USA will no longer stand silent as Pakistan gives safe haven to terrorists like the Taliban.  We will expect cooperation from the Pakistanis on this point or there will be consequences.  This is enormously important.  Hopefully, it will motivate the Pakistanis to get more involved in ending terrorism.

Third, the USA will not operate by time tables and public announcements of coming battles.  This too was a slam of the Obama policy of setting cut off dates and having discussions in public of troop levels and distributions.  The Taliban will not know when more troops might arrive.  Nor will the Taliban know how many are coming or where they will be going.  This will make it much harder for the Taliban to plan their strategy.

Fourth, the USA is calling on its allies to step up their commitments to the Afghan war.  During the Obama years, America's allies and their contributions in Afghanistan were nothing more than an afterthought.  If we can actually get real help from NATO, it would be an important addition.

This speech is not going to change events in Afghanistan tomorrow.  It may not even change things three months from now.  It does, however, make clear that in the long run, we now have a leader whose goal is victory in Afghanistan.  The Obama policy of kicking the can down the road has ended.  That's a big plus for this nation. 

Tonight's Speech on Afghanistan

President Trump is going to address the nation tonight regarding Afghanistan.  The address comes at the end of a detailed policy review of America's position in that nation.  According to reports, the President is going to authorize sending another 4000 troops to Afghanistan, but it would not surprise me if the media got the story wrong.

After more than a decade and a half, it's time to change how the USA deals with the issue of Afghanistan.  We cannot follow the Obama policy of putting men in while announcing their imminent withdrawal.  If we are going to stay, then we need to try to win.  Hopefully, the days of equivocation are over.  We cannot just let our soldiers sit in the line of fire as targets without having a plan to provide them a path to victory.

Some Good News

The Islamic terrorist who drove a truck through the crowd in Barcelona is dead.  He was cornered and died in a shoot out with the Spanish police.

It's not a usual thing to cheer for the death of a fellow human being, but this is good news.  The terrorist apparently was on his way to carry out another attack.  By killing this thug, the police may have saved many other lives.

Degrading Evil

During the Obama years, everything the left did not like was due to "racism".  If people did not want to support unlimited immigration, they were racist.  If others disagreed with Obamacare, they were racist.  If people criticized Obama's weak response in Syria when he ignored his own self-proclaimed red line, they were motivated by racism.  Was ISIS really the jayvee team of the terrorists?  Anyone who disagreed with that early on (before ISIS conquered half of Syria and Iraq) was clearly a racist.  In short every Republican, conservative and even moderate who just had a different opinion was a racist for opposing Obama.  The consequence of that was that calling someone a racist quickly became a joke.  Because everyone was now a "racist", no one was really a racist.  A term that used to mean something terrible, now just became another word thrown out by the left that had no meaning.

Now that we're moving forward, the new condemnation from the left has become "Nazi".  Just like racists, there really are Nazis, but very few.  Nevertheless, the Democrats and media have repeated the left wing view that Steve Bannon is a Nazi.  Seb Gorka, another White House adviser, is also a Nazi according to them.  Even Steven Miller, another Trump adviser who is Jewish has been labeled a Nazi in the media.  Those who support free speech have recently been called Nazis.  (Full disclosure:  I support free speech, so in the parlance of the left/media, I guess I am now supposed to be a Nazi -- which I certainly am not.)  Do you think we should keep statues of historical figures in place?  If so, you are a Nazi.  Do you want to see the Republicans repeal and replace Obamacare?  Again, you must be a Nazi.  Do you think that the left wing crazies of Antifa and their violent tactics are reprehensible?  You Nazi!  And, of course, President Trump is a Nazi or at least a Nazi sympathizer.  We've quickly gotten to the point where once again, everyone the Democrats and the left do not like is a Nazi (since they were already racists.)

Sadly, what this wholesale use of the Nazi name is doing is making it ok to be called a Nazi.  The American public know full well that their president is not a Nazi, but he gets labeled as such by the left/media complex.  They also know full well that a Jewish White House adviser is obviously not a Nazi, so again the term is being misused.  The condemnation that comes with being called a Nazi is being erased.

The real Nazis in Germany were terrible people who committed horrible crimes.  Those crimes ought not be diminished or disregarded.  The few people in America who are actually disciples of the disgusting Nazi ideology need to feel the disapproval of the vast bulk of the public.  The truth, however, is that like with the charge of racism, the Democrat/media making Nazi the epithet of choice is only helping the worst in our society avoid the sting of that charge.  The left is degrading evil as a concept.

Inscribed In The Annals Of Stupid

I've written before about Al Hunt, a political pundit who now writes for Bloomberg.  Simply put, the guy is amazingly deluded.  His latest effort came today in a column in which he says that the Democrats need a "message" rather than a "program".  It's a rather bizarre view.  Hunt thinks that the Democrats need not come up with a policy agenda; it would be enough to convince American voters that the Democrats understand them.

Think about that for a moment.  We had eight years of Obama with Democrat policies that were consistently rejected by the American voters.  We know that to the extent there were policies, they did not work.  The economy staggered forward, our foreign policy failed, and even social issues got more disruptive rather than less.  Seven months into the Trump presidency, only part of the GOP policy agenda has been put in place.  Soon, we will see a focus on tax reform and infrastructure.  If those work well (and they should), it will be hard for the Democrats to defeat something with nothing.

2016 was a year in which the Democrats ran on a message rather than a policy agenda.  Hillary ran as the first woman, the candidate other than Trump, and the purveyor of hatred for the evil opponents.  It was, to be sure, a silly and stupid message.  Nevertheless, Hillary's lack of any real policy proposals hurt her severely with the voters.  You cannot run as the continuation of the Obama years when the voters liked Obama but disliked his policies.  Obamaism without Obama didn't sell.

It may be that President Trump will have such a tumultuous term that voters will leave the GOP behind.  I don't think that will happen, no matter how hard the media tries for it.  Nevertheless, the Democrats just will not pick up a majority unless they have a rational program that appeals to America.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Goodbye Columbus

There was a demonstration today in Detroit seeking the removal of a statue of Christopher Columbus from a spot downtown.  Columbus has to go because he stands for white nationalism, or so the protesters say.  I'm sure that were he alive today, Columbus would be quite shocked at being labeled a white nationalist.  He was an Italian who convinced the Spanish throne to finance an expedition to establish a trade route with the far East by sailing westward around the world.  Instead of getting to China or India, he hit the Americas instead.  In subsequent voyages, Columbus found additional lands and established a Spanish claim to them.  He brought Europeans to the Americas.  It wasn't a white nationalist movement but rather a Spanish one.

In the current war against Confederate statues, there is, at least a rationale that the Confederacy wanted to preserve slavery.  If the statue war expands to hit people like Columbus, there is no rationale possible to make real sense of it.  Don't get me wrong; the double talk from the crazy left will tell us how this new move has something to do with the patrimony or the colonialist movement (even though this was prior to colonialism).  No amount of double talk will provide anything worth discussing.

Today, those running the war on statues officially lost their minds.

So Why Did Debbie Do It?

A Pakistani-American IT staffer for congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, his wife and two others have been indicted by the federal government for bank fraud and a whole host of other charges.  These people were part of a group of Pakistani American guys who worked on the computer systems for a bunch of Democrats in congress.  As such, they had access to confidential and perhaps classified information.  About six months ago, the congressmen were warned that the FBI suspected that the computer guys were allegedly taking information from the computer systems and selling it to foreign intelligence agencies, most particularly the ISI (Pakistani intelligence).  All of the congressmen fired the IT workers in question except for Debbie Wasserman Schultz who kept them on the payroll until they were arrested this past week.  The charges do not include espionage, although there is talk in media stories that this may get added later.

So why did Debbie keep them on the payroll.  Why did she continue to give them access to her computer systems?  It's an interesting question.  The most common answer is that she did not want to fire them because they are Muslim and she did not want to look Islamophobic.  That's actually the "official" story that comes from Wasserman Schultz's office.  It's a total indictment of the congressman.  This is not a situation in which there was no reason to fire the guys.  The FBI said that it suspected wrongdoing by them.  How can a member of congress just let such a person have continuing access to Capitol Hill computer systems?  The explanation is the rough equivalent of someone saying that she got mugged by members of a gang of Muslim men but she didn't report it because she didn't want to look Islamophobic.

Another explanation that I have seen hinted at in the media is that Wasserman Schultz was allegedly romantically involved with the guy she kept on her payroll.  I don't believe that.  There is no evidence to support such a conclusion other than the non-firing itself.

I really can't understand any reason why Wasserman Schultz would keep the guy on the payroll.  It merits an investigation by Congress.


Last week Kim Jung Un of North Korea pulled back from his threats to send missiles to Guam.  Today, he issued new threats of war.  This time Kim is "upset" over the joint US-South Korean military exercises scheduled for this week.  Kim says that he will destroy the US and South Korea with his missiles and nukes given the provocation.  Those aren't his exact words, but who cares.  It is the meaning of his threat.  Truthfully, the whole thing is getting old fast.  There's a rhythm to the NK dance.  First, the South Koreans or the USA does something of a military nature.  It need not be anything different than events that have taken place for decades -- like this week's annual joint military exercises.  Next, the NK's announce that the whole thing is a dangerous provocation showing that the USA and South Korea are moving towards war.  Then Kim announces that North Korea will not tolerate this act but will smash the "aggressors" with the overwhelming military might of the NK state.  The normal fourth step is that the USA or South Korea announces that the event will go ahead as scheduled.  That brings us to the traditional fifth step:  nothing else happens.

The problem with this dance is that we don't always get each of the five steps that are expected.  In the past, we have seen North Korea shell South Korean troops on an off shore island.  We've seen the North Korean forces sink a South Korean patrol vessel.  Usually, whatever the NKs do is targeted at the troops of the South, not at US forces.  Most likely, the NKs understand that a direct attack on Americans might provoke a full scale American response, and they don't want that.  Now that the NKs have nuclear weapons, however, they may change their viewpoint.

One thing is certain:  Kim and his cronies are a danger to the peace of the world.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Some Good News

Missouri state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal has been warned by the state's Lt. governor that she had better resign her seat by the next session of the legislature or she would be expelled.  Chappelle-Nadal is the idiot who called for the assassination of president Trump.  She has now been condemned by every major Republican in Missouri and by almost all the Democrats as well.  For example, senator McCaskill of Missouri has called upon Chappelle-Nadal to resign.

The state senator has said that she will not resign.  Hopefully, the senators will expel her from the chamber at their next session.  There's no place in the government for someone who calls for the death of the President.

Just Another Day In Boston

Today brought a big gathering in Boston to protest against a supposed Nazi rally.  There was a slight problem with the gathering, however, since no Nazis showed up.  No KKK members showed up either.  In fact, the only thugs who were there came as members of Antifa.  These winners threw bottles, rocks and balloons filled with urine at the Boston police who were charged with keeping order.  In other words, it was just another day in Boston.  There was no far right extremist activity; there really never is.  There were thousands who came out to be part of a liberal rally; again nothing new there.  Some far left thugs decided to attack police; that too is nothing unusual.

It's good that the Boston day has been mostly peaceful.  Principal credit for the peace goes to the Boston police department.  In Charlottesville, the local cops did nothing as fighting started and then escalated into a full skirmish.  In Boston, a show of force by police kept everyone (even the crazies from Antifa) calm and away from the shows of violence that blew up in Virginia.

How Badly Has President Trump Been Hurt by Charlottesville?

After a week of non-stop Trump-bashing by the mainstream media, Democrats and even some Republicans, we need to consider what effect this has had on his standing with the public.  Josh Kraushaar addresses this issue in a report in National Journal.  The key finding is that in polling done by Gallup and Quinnipiac (which consistently produce results worse for Trump than other pollsters), President Trump's job approval numbers have risen by 5 points following Charlottesville from where they were before all this happened.  He still has low numbers in both polls, but an increase of 5 points is a significant move.  On top of those results, other polls show that the public strongly agrees with the position that statues of civil war heroes of the South should not be removed.

Think about that.  President Trump said that the Antifa thugs in Charlottesville who charged the Nazi and KKK thugs were also to blame for what happened.  Trump didn't give Antifa a pass for breaking the law and assaulting the Nazis even if the Nazis and KKK were a vile group of scum.  The media and the political elites thought this position was immoral.  Political tumbleweeds like Mitt Romney condemned the President for example.  Still, Trump's position that bad people doing bad things are evil even if they are doing the bad things to other bad people, seems to have resonated with the American people. 

We will have to see how this all plays out.  Right now we have many "elites" virtue signaling by expressing disdain for Trump.  I wonder how many of those elites will find out later that common sense condemnation of all violence is the majority position of the American people.

More Important Than A Statue

In light of recent events, the focus of the media has been on whether or not America ought to tear down statues of Civil War era figures or others who were on the side of the Confederacy.  It's important, however, to keep an eye on something that is much more important for average Americans than ideological purity battles about events of 160 years ago.

That item is the accelerating growth rate of the economy.  During the first quarter of 2017, the economy grew at a rate of about 1.2% according to the latest government figures.  That quarter was the last fully Obama quarter.  While President Trump took office one-third of the way through that quarter, no president can change the trajectory of the economy in just two months, so Obama gets full credit for the quarter's results.  The second quarter of 2017 grew at a 2.8% rate according to the latest government figures.  President Trump gets more credit for that although he cannot lay total claim to the doubling of the growth rate for two reasons.  First, for the last few years, the first quarter has underperformed while the second quarter has over performed.  Something in the government's methodology for measuring economic growth has distorted the results for these two quarters each year, and 2017 may be no different.  Second, even after two months in office, it is difficult for a president to make a major change in the direction of the economy.  By the end of the second quarter, however, it is much more the Trump economy than the Obama economy.  That brings us to the third quarter of 2017 which is only a little more than half over.  The Atlanta Fed has a projection of economic growth for the quarter which is currently showing just under 4% growth rate.  The Atlanta Fed projection has been the most accurate tool for predicting the growth rate in recent years, so it's prediction of a rather high rate of growth is significant.  Sure, the prediction could change as we near the end of the quarter.  And, of course, the Atlanta Fed prediction could be wrong.  Nevertheless, it's been many years since we've seen a projection of growth this high for the US economy. 

It's important to remember that a whole slew of the economic "experts" have told us that 2% growth was the new normal and that we would need to get used to it.  These experts deride President Trump's goal of 3% growth as a pipedream; it just cannot happen -- or so they told us.  If we grow faster than 3% and if that growth continues, these "experts" will be shown to be totally wrong.  And remember, by growing and extra 1%, the economy adds about 180 billion dollars of activity each year.  Just think how many new jobs that produces.  Consider how much in additional government revenue that brings in.  Remember how much that added prosperity reduces the need for food stamps and other federal welfare payments.  Finally, consider how much faster the economy will grow once the corporate tax rates and structures are reconfigures to promote growth and investment rather than to retard it like now.


Do We Erase History?

The anti-statue anti-monument frenzy has reached a point of true craziness.  Since Charlottesville, a whole raft of cities, towns and states have decided to get rid of all manner of historical markers.  It doesn't matter why a statue is in a particular place, it just has to go according to the liberal frenzy.  For example, in a hall of fame in New York City, the busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were ordered removed by governor Cuomo despite the fact that placing those busts in that hall was done originally as a symbol of the healing of the nation after the Civil War.  Are we just erasing history now?

The point is that historical events cannot simply be erased.  Even if the events were terrible, they just cannot be erased.

Think about it.  Should we bury any mention of the Nazis?  It's hard to think of a worse group of people in modern times.  Still, if we erase them from history, future generations may not understand the full evil of what they did.  The Nazi philosophy captured millions in Europe 80 years ago.  It might exert that same appeal in a few decades if people are uneducated to its full horror.

What about Roman ruins.  The Romans had slaves everywhere.  Each time they captured a new region, they made most of the inhabitants into slaves.  Should we ask the Italian government to tear down the ruins in Rome so as to erase the memory of these slave holders?

What about the Egyptian pyramids.  Every year Jews celebrate Passover to commemorate their escape from slavery in Egypt.  Nevertheless, we know that slaves built the pyramids.  Do they have to come down?

There is no doubt that things change, social views change.  When that happens, the nature of monuments changes too.  But it's not just social views that change; people change too.  One thing that ought not change, however, is history.  History is not meant to be altered every time society's outlook transforms.  We need to know what actually happened rather than attempt to airbrush the unappealing parts away.  If George Washington owned slaves, that's part of his story.  It does not erase his enormous contribution to the founding of this country.  There is a history of America that actually happened.  It has proud moments and moments that are shameful.  We need to remember all those moments.  There's a famous quote that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.  It's something that needs to be kept in mind.

Right now, there are too many things to do about the current situation in the USA and the world to waste time fighting over monuments and statues.  We cannot erase history and we ought not try to do so.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Alt-Morons

It never ceases to amaze me.  Something happens and the reporters/pundits on TV immediately explain what is happening without having a clue as to the true facts.  And it just keeps getting worse.

I say that after watching some of the coverage today of the departure of Steve Bannon from the White House.  In the space of one half hour, I was told by those on the TV that Bannon was fired, that he had quite some weeks ago and that Bannon always intended to leave around Labor Day.  Next these geniuses of the airwaves told me that Bannon was about to start shooting at those in the White House who he did not like but not at the president, that Bannon was going to war with Trump himself, that Bannon would be an independent actor outside the White House attacking the President's enemies and that Bannon would be outside the White House but would still be a main adviser to the President.  When that ended, I heard that Bannon was an anti-Semite, a white supremacist, and a bigot.  Then I heard that he was a long time friend/supporter of Israel and not an anti-Semite.  Then someone said he had gotten a bad rap on the white supremacist story.

I guess the best way to describe the coverage right now is that it is changing by the hour and it depends on which station you watch.  On MSNBC, Bannon is a sinister figure.  On CNN, Bannon is the only person with a brain in the White House and his departure will leave Trump helpless.  On Fox, they do not seem sure how to describe Bannon.  The only similarity on each network is that the person reporting always acts as if he or she knows the inside story.  Clearly, most of these reporters are just revealing themselves to be morons. 

I think that because it may be an insult to morons everywhere to call the media people by that name we need to come up with a new description that shows that these are a different kind of moron.  From now on, we should call the media the "alt-morons".

They Got Him

According to a report from Spain's El Pais, the jerk who drove the van through the crowd in Barcelona was one of the terrorists killed in the second attempted van attack in a city outside that metropolis.  It's not a good thing to be happy about the death of another human being, but in this case, I just can't help it.  Congratulations to the Spanish police.

Bannon Leaving

I have now been asked seven times what I think of the departure of Steve Bannon from the White House today.  Maybe it's best if I just post my view:

I really do not care about his departure.  No one staff member has that much of an impact.  All the lies about Bannon being a racist or a white supremacist were a distraction, so it's good that they will now end.  Nevertheless, I do not expect much change from the White House.

This Should Teach The Finns Not To Threaten ISIS

There was a terror attack in Finland today when a knife wielding terrorist screamed Allahu Akhbar as he slashed people including a baby.  It's very soon after the attack, but the word from Finland right now is that this was an attack by a radical Islamic terrorist.

It's worth noting that Finland is a very telling place for a terror attack to happen.  It has no involvement in confronting ISIS.  Basically, the country is Switzerland, just further north.

If terrorists are attacking in Finland, it is proof that there is no reason behind the attacks.

The Truth of Lies

For 100 years after the Civil War, the American South was basically a one-party region.  Every state consistently voted Democrat and only Democrat.  It was Democrats in the state legislatures that passed Jim Crow laws.  It was Democrats in the state governments that prevented blacks from voting.  It was Democrats in local cities and towns that stood by as the Klan grew to power.  It was Democrats who watched lynchings.  It was Democrats who segregated the schools.  Whenever the Democrats got into power nationally, they brought their practices with them.  Woodrow Wilson was a progressive Democrat, but he was an unrepentant racist who segregated the US military and embraced the KKK.  Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal icon, but he ordered all people of Japanese background to be rounded up and put in camps during World War II.  Roosevelt didn't take any actions against immigrants from Germany or Italy, but children with a Japanese grandparent were put in camps.

Only after World War II ended was there any movement among Democrats to step away from their racist practices.  Harry Truman desegregated the armed forces, a move that so outraged racists in the Democrat party that they ran a Dixiecrat candidate against him in 1948 and almost cost him the election.  When Republican Eisenhower won in 1952, there was a push for civil rights by the Republicans that was joined by some of the northern Democrats.  The result was the civil rights act of 1957, the first major civil rights law.  Eisenhower also supported the first efforts at desegregation after the Supreme Court outlawed the practice in 1957.

In 1964 and 1965, another civil rights law was passed and the Voting Rights Act followed right after that.  The opposition to the passage of these laws came almost completely from Southern Democrats.  Republicans voted strongly in favor of passage.

After the 1960s, the allegiance of the South to the Democrats ended.  The national Democrats came up with a new plan:  they decided to reinvent history.  Suddenly, the Democrats portrayed themselves as the main supporters of civil rights and the Republicans were called racists.  When Reagan was elected, there was a constant campaign of vilification against him.  He was certainly no racist, but it didn't matter. 

The media joined in to support their party.  Nothing was as it really was.  Everything was "reinvented" through lies.  A good example is how Bill Clinton was portrayed.  Clinton got his start in politics working for Senator John McClellan of Arkansas.  McClellan had been one who tried to filibuster the civil rights laws and the voting rights laws.  He was a life-long segregationist, but Clinton jumped at the chance to work for him and considered him a mentor.  No one ever mentioned that inconvenient fact when Clinton was in office.  Instead, he was portrayed as "the first black president".  It was a lie.  Senator Byrd of West Virginia who had been a leader in the KKK was made the Senate leader by the Democrats.  His racist leanings were buried by the media.

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected.  After that, not only were the Republicans falsely portrayed by the Democrats and media as racists during election campaigns, but any opposition to an Obama program was now due to racism.  If Obama wanted taxes at X% and opponents want them at Y%, that argument was due to racism.  Everything was racism.  (Of course, it was just another lie, but that was the tactic the Democrats and media chose.)

The problems with the Democrats' tactic were twofold.  First, it didn't really work.  Just think how badly Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" remark wounded her campaign.  Even during the Obama years, it got to the point where calling someone or something racist became a joke.  Because everything was racist, nothing was really racist.  The second part of the problem is that many less observant people began to believe the lies.  If you opposed a position taken by the national Democrats you must be racist.  That makes you a bad person who needs to be crushed not just defeated.  In other words, it spread hatred.  And, of course, the biggest problem with hatred is that most people when exposed to hatred directed towards them respond in kind.  The gulf between the two sides got angrier and larger.

We cannot let America get dragged into this war of tribes.  Diversity is fine.  Tribalism is not.  All of the phony charges and lies have to end.  There are things that are more important than the political future of a few people; our country and our freedoms must be preserved.  Right now, they are in more danger than at any time in the recent past.