Warm wishes for a happy, wonderful 2016!
December 28, 2015
Normally I like to end the year with a review of the highlights of the year and/or some frivolous predictions about the coming year. Not this year. The predictions are usually wildly wrong because predicting specific events is very different from normally trying to have a macro perspective on things. Additionally, I expect 2016 to be especially unpredictable.
As for the year in review, while there was a lot of interesting stuff that happened, no particular person or event has been exciting enough to make me want to generate a Top 10 list this year. Maybe that's a little lazy, but hey, I'm on vacation this week.
December 27, 2015
December 26, 2015
December 25, 2015
December 24, 2015
I must confess that until recently I did not know what an abuela was. But I don't think Hillary Clinton did either.
After Mrs. Clinton shared news of her daughter’s second pregnancy, a “content strategist” for her campaign posted the list, an effort to appeal to young Hispanic voters by pointing out how she was just like their abuelas, or grandmothers: She cares for all children. She reads to her grandchild before bedtime. She doesn’t tolerate disrespect.Her critics were not impressed. Soon, the hashtag #NotMyAbuela was circulating as a critique of what some saw as a tone-deaf move to pander to a powerful but marginalized bloc of voters. Her critics pointed out that Mrs. Clinton did not grow up poor like their relatives, and was not separated from loved ones by country borders. Others just made their points with the magic of memes.
Trying too hard to capture every voting bock.
December 23, 2015
After 10 years of anemic GDP growth, 7 of which were on president Obama's watch, the Fed has finally decided to hike interest rates. It's curious that the Q3 GDP was downgraded only after the Fed made it's change. That strikes me as deliberate.
What is more striking is that the artificially low rates for so long has indeed created a bubble, and when the rates needed to be higher to clear the wheat from the chaff (say back in 2009) it didn't happen. The interest rate bubble hasn't popped yet, but I don't expect another rate hike any time soon. Maybe they're aiming for a bubble equilibrium.
December 22, 2015
Um, what did I just say this morning at 3 a.m.? Jeb Bush is the jerk, not Trump. As the Washington Post points out, Jeb Bush calling Trump a jerk is not helping Jeb Bush.
In the past week, Bush has called Trump a “jerk” who is “not serious” and is running a “chaos campaign.” The former Florida governor has also run ads calling Trump “unhinged” and also torn into the front-runner for praising the leadership qualities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and for talking about deporting Latinos and barring Muslims....“I’ll continue to call Trump out for his outrageous comments & naive ‘foreign policy.’ Even if no one else will,” Bush tweeted Monday.
Keep it up Jeb. You keep alienating those within your party by violating Reagan's 11th Commandment. Your problem is not your last name, it's your attitude. You continue to win over no one with your attacks which come across as vindictive and petty. So why is it not that way for Trump when he counter-punches? Two reasons:
(1) he's been the front runner and is primarily perceived as responding in kind - at least in your case. So for him it's forgivable as a necessary response. And,
(2) Trump's always been a loudmouth boor. It's expected of him. You have not been, so you being negative and insulting comes across as revealing your true colors which you prefer to keep hidden, but are now letting slip out, because of your frustration.
Not helping. But feel free to keep it up.
Most of the current crop of Republican nominees at one time or another during this cycle have said something to the effect of "any one of the people on this stage would be much better qualified to be president than Hillary Clinton". They may not have not said those exact words, but even Donald Trump finally ruled out a third party run at the last Republican debate. They all want to win, and most of them are team players - not Jeb Bush.
Bush spoke in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation scheduled for broadcast on Sunday and taped in New Hampshire on the same day he told a town hall audience Trump was a “jerk”...On Friday, through Twitter, Trump called Bush “dumb as a rock”. He returned to the offensive on Sunday morning.“To a certain extent, it is a little liberating to be able to post up against a guy who is not qualified to be president,” Bush said in the CBS interview, which was excerpted by the website Politico.“I’m trying to point out that he’s not a serious candidate.
And there you have it - if I can't win I'm going to torpedo the guy who looks like he might win the GOP nomination because I'd rather help the Democrats the the Republicans, if Republicans don't pick me. He can't pretend that those words won't hurt Trump if he winds up winning the nomination.
And while Trump is not the ideal candidate, he's doing well for a reason. Bush doesn't seem to get that, and it's alienating voters at a rate so quickly that his Super PAC money won't help him recover them. More importantly from a winning the White House perspective, if Bush is saying this about Trump, why wouldn't he say it about Cruz, Carson, Fiorina, Paul or even Rubio or Christie if they end up taking the lead?
Addendum: Yes, I realize that calling Jeb Bush a jerk is sort of doing the same thing as Bush is doing to Trump. Don't care. I'm offending 3%-5% of Republican voters (less because my readership at best probably numbers in the hundreds most of the time), while Jeb Bush is offending 20%-40% of GOP voters depending on which poll you believe, and in fact more if every Hillary Clinton ad turns out to be quotes of Jeb Bush slagging the nominee Trump. Besides everyone on the right should feel free to slag Bush. No one in that family is a true conservative, and there is no chance he'll end up the nominee.
December 21, 2015
So, how effective is this supposed to be? I've never been to Chicago, but won't the streets there be kinda quiet on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, like most other places?
The Coalition for a New Chicago is planning a Christmas Eve protest on Michigan Avenue. The group announced their plans as the U.S. Department of Justice was to meet with Chicago Police Department officials."We're going to pray for our city, pray for our leaders here. But we're also going to march down the street. We're going to be singing, chanting and everything else. But we are going to be a peaceful, disruptive force down on Michigan Avenue from about noon to 5 o'clock that evening," said Pastor Gregory Livingston, founder of a Coalition for a New Chicago.The group will march on the Magnificent Mile on Christmas Eve in an attempt to engage with the public, Livingston said, under the social tag #BlackChristmas.The Coalition for a New Chicago, which said they have appealed to President Barack Obama, wants Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign in the wake of the Laquan McDonald case. They hope the march on Christmas Eve will garner as many participants as the Black Friday march where demonstrators shut down a stretch of Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street.Some business owners said sales were 25- to 50-percent below projections due to the Black Friday protest.
And why damage businesses' well-being in the process? I guess their support of your cause doesn't matter.
December 20, 2015
I tried to do the hard work for you and watch the Democrats' debate the other night. (Un)fortunately, no one else in my household had any desire to see it. So I recorded it and have not watched it yet. But clearly the facts were not invited.
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the latest Democratic presidential debate, oversimplification struck again...CLINTON on rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for the privately insured after enactment of Obama's health care law: "I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches."THE FACTS: Obama's law was mainly about expanding coverage for the uninsured, and even former officials of his administration say major work still has to be done on cost control. In other words, rising costs are more than "glitches."CLINTON: "Assad has killed 250,000 Syrians."THE FACTS: Clinton appears to be blaming the entire estimated death toll of the Syrian civil war on just one side: the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Yet no matter how vicious his forces have been, deaths have come at the hands of all sides in the nearly 5-year-old multi-front civil war.
Given that this came from the AP, I'm sure it was kind to Clinton and Sanders alike. Once I've reviewed the tape, I'm sure there will be more to share.
Labels: Democrat debate
December 19, 2015
December 18, 2015
December 17, 2015
This really happened. If Hillary has to point this out, clearly there's a problem (emphasis added).
Mason City, Iowa (CNN) Hillary Clinton had a message for a supporter's father who is backing Donald Trump: 'I don't have horns."Clinton had just wrapped up her town hall in Mason City when Kayla Helmers, a 22-year old volunteer who lives in Mason City, approached the former secretary of state on the rope line and asked her to tape a message for her father, Shawn Starry, who has decided to caucus for Donald Trump.After shaking her head, closing her eyes and asking for her father's name, Clinton relented."Hi Shawn, I am here with your daughter," Clinton said like she was leaving a voicemail. "I hope you can see I don't have horns. And I really do hope that as this election goes on you will listen to your daughter. Thanks. Bye."
But in typical liberal smarter-than-thou smugness the wife and daughter state that the father makes claims that he cannot back up. Zero counter-point from the father included in the report. Fair and balanced?
Back to Hillary. She has never spoken of conservatives kindly. From her vast right wing conspiracy to calling them her political enemies (what would Gabby Giffords say?) she has a history of not being nice. So why believe her now. She may not have horns, but she doesn't need them when she always has her knives out.
I meant to comment on the GOP debate yesterday, but I did not have the time to do so. So here are my thoughts today, well after everyone else has weighed in on it. Unlike the GOP under card debate, the participants in the main debate were not yawners. The debate itself did not possess any wow factors, but there were definitely some things worth noting.
Firstly, credit where it's due,Wolf Blitzer was not bad. He was fair, and stood out of the way as much as he could. Dana Bash was predictably liberal but nothing over the top, and also deserves some credit for keeping her liberal partisanship reasonably in check. And of course while Hugh Hewitt may have had a horse in the race, being a conservative he did not ask dumb, irrelevant questions, like climate change or living wage issues during a foreign policy debate.
As for the participants, here's some top line thoughts.
Ted Cruz - his content was good, but he did not come across as likable every time he went long and flouted the debate rules. Once or twice is fine in order to make a point but he left the impression that he just didn't care about the rules and had a sense of self-importance. If that's the image that sticks, it's not good for him. That would be a shame because his content was good.
Marco Rubio - he came across as solid and knowledgeable. He did nit dazzle, but he left the impression that he would be a solid president if he were the nominee. Despite his back story however, he did not come across as someone who can easily connect. Maybe it's just me. Despite his weakness on immigration he's solid on a lot of issues. I want to like him, and I'm sure he'd be a decent president. But all I can muster so far is 'Meh'.
Donald Trump - what Trump has going for him is remarkably, his bellicosity, tempered with well-timed compliments. What he delivers is populism in the form of knowing that things are messed up. That's something missing not only in Democrat circles but also in large swaths of the GOP. What he lacks, in spades, is specificity. He says he's going to hire the best people. I believe he would. But the problem is, unless he is secretly studying with debate gurus and will unload unexpectedly during debates with Hillary Clinton, she is going to argue circles around him. That's a recipe for general election failure. The debate last night did nothing to change any of Trump's positives or negatives.
Chris Christie - I'm not a Christie guy but I think he won the debate. He was tough. He was solid, he was forceful but he also connected.
Jeb Bush - In la la land CNN thinks this guy is the winner. Yes, he went after Trump, and he needed to do so. But every single time he came across as bitter, petty, and not nice. It was clear his debate was about him and Trump and not about details on what he wants for America. He was trying to score political points and it's exactly why he will not win the nomination.
Ben Carson - He's smart but he's just too laid back. It's like every answer he's reading you a bedtime story. That's just not inspiring and it's not a winning formula. He also has not faced a truly hostile opponent or panel of questioners yet. I think his moment may have already passed, and it was even before this past debate. He needed a lightning bolt, he delivered a cloud.
Carly Fiorina - Smart, mature, informed and a smooth debater. She unfortunately delivered a debate that seemed a little canned and pat. But that was forgivable. What may have done her in during this debate is dhe did not manage to stand out. In a field this big, you cannot afford to not stand out. She needs traction and she needs it quickly, even more so after not getting it at the debate.
John Kasich - go home. While he was better than his previous debates as far as pettiness goes (where he was clearly a champion of sniping other candidates unnecessarily and spitefully), he just struck me as being overly eager: "look at me", "Ohio is great now", "look at me". He traded in pettiness for petulance. Go home.
Rand Paul - He was testy. I don't think he was effective in being able to expand his numbers. I think he was spoiling for a fight and he didn't get one.
Overall, I think because he did no harm, you can say Trump won. But I expect to see bumps in support for any combination of Cruz, Rubio and Christie. If either of the other two surge enough, it might be the end of Bush. We can only hope.
December 15, 2015
I don't expect to see a lot of fireworks at tonight's GOP debate. Donald Trump may be tempted to take on his latest surging rival - Ted Cruz - but with two polls showing an updraft for Trump currently, he may not want to risk an attack any more robust than what he's gone with in previous debates.
However the same may not hold true for Ted Cruz. He may have learned to take a page from Trump and could be equating feistiness with improving poll numbers. The fight alone might bring him into prominence, and he may decide to provoke a confrontation with Trump instead of the media this time. In fact with time running low, he may not have a choice. If he goads Trump into a tit-for-tat war, all bets are off. It will become a wild card situation.
Where does that leave others in the debate? Many have already been left in the dust - they just don't know it yet. Bush, Kasich will be marginalized completely unless they step up at this debate. Bush has shown he can't, and Kasich has shown he can't do it the right way.
Fiorina has paled over the last two months and I don't see how she gets her mojo back. She doesn't need to hit a home run, but she's getting closer to needing one. She needs a really solid performance here or she also could become an afterthought.
Two contenders I think may still have a chance are Rubio, who can play on his polling head-to-head versus Clinton, and Ben Carson, who having faded, also needs a solid performance, particularly on foreign affairs and showing some fortitude and hunger to win.
That's just some quick thoughts. The debates will be an interesting watch. I'd remind candidates that anything they say can and will be used by Democrats come the general election, so don't get too much blood on your hands.
The latest news about an Egyptian man arrested for receiving $9000 from ISIS and claiming that he was just trying to scam ISIS out of money is a teachable moment to paraphrase the abstainer-in-chief.
Why not have the NSA or Homeland Security set up a bunch of fake domestic terrorists who have grand ideas and require cash from ISIS to carry out their attacks. If it works, they get money from ISIS, and possible ways to trace terror donations. In addition they take away funding from possible other radicalized domestic threats. In the end, if ISIS finds it is sending money with no return time and again, they'll get wise and stop sending money.
If Chechen girls can trick ISIS, then why not the NSA?
Just a thought. And who knows, maybe they are already doing that. But if they are, maybe they should think about ramping it up.
December 14, 2015
Google has finally allowed Blogger to join 2008 by creating a "featured post" widget. You may have noticed that I've added one to the right hand side of my blog. Unfortunately, it still allows only one as far as I can tell and as such remains bounds behind WordPress. At least it's still not leaps and bounds, just bounds.
As far as welcome to 2008 goes, I keep reading that blogging has gone the way of the dodo, having been surpassed by micro-blogging, tweeting, Instagram, Vine and such. So I'm outdated blogging here. But it's hard to fit the principles of Supply and Demand, or Unintended Consequences for example, into a Vine video. So as far as reaching millennials goes, I guess for conservative bloggers like me, it's a lost cause.
But for the rest of you, I've succumbed to the Google beast and added the featured post widget, and will continue blogging along for the foreseeable future, whatever that future might bring.
December 13, 2015
December 12, 2015
December 11, 2015
December 10, 2015
This needs no additional commentary:
Liar, liar, pantsuit on fire: Hillary Clinton still insists she didn’t tell the grieving families of the Benghazi victims that an anti-Islam video was to blame.Yet family members say she said just that, three days after the attack, at the Sept. 14, 2012, ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base.George Stephanopoulos asked her Sunday if she’d told the victims it was about the film. Clinton gave a flat “no.”She added: “I said very clearly there had been a terrorist group, uh, that had taken responsibility on Facebook, um . . .”At least four family members disagree.Tyrone Woods’ father said he hugged Clinton and shook her hand. Then “she said we are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of my son . . . She said ‘the filmmaker who was responsible for the death of your son.’ ”
December 9, 2015
Venezuela is in dire straits and in the wake of the death of socialist strongman Hugo Chavez, his successor socialist, facing electoral defeat may go even further than Chavez to retain power. Where Chavez wanted to re-write the Venezuelan Constitution to remain in power, it sound like Nicolas "who, now?" Maduro sounds practically ready to roll out the troops.
Tough talk, but right now he holds all the guns.A defiant President Nicolas Maduro said he would give no quarter to the Venezuelan opposition in spite of his own party’s crushing defeat in last weekend’s mid-term parliamentary elections.Mr Maduro vowed to block “the counter-revolutionary right” from taking over the country. “We won’t let it,” he said.The outburst came as electoral authorities gave final confirmation that the coalition of opposition parties had not only pushed the ruling party into the minority in the national assembly for the first time since 1999 but had, after final results came in, secured a two-thirds majority that, in theory, will allow it to pass laws without the President’s support, replace his ministers and potentially move to replace him.
December 8, 2015
Donald Trump is once again being vilified for his comments on immigration, both on the left and the establishment right. Once again those comments are being misrepresented during that vilification. At this point, one has to wonder if those who attack him for what they proclaim would be absurd policy are cementing his base of support, and not effectively
Certainly establishment conservatives appear to be willing to accept that they are creating fodder for Hillary Clinton if they cannot take down Trump. That in itself is as much a red flag as the idea that Donald Trump might be a sleeper Democrat who will either lose to Hillary on purpose or enact liberal policies should he decide to win. Why? Because it would seem elite Republicans would rather have four more years of progressivism than any chance of populism gaining root in the GOP. That's both short-sighted and not conservative.
In any case, here's what Donald Trump said, followed by a more eloquent rendition by (conservative) blogger extraordinaire, John Hawkins. To be clear Trump does not want to ban Muslim immigration. He wants Congress to get it's act together and come up with a better method for handling immigration. That includes halting operations for Muslims until a smarter approach is enacted. Racist? Even if it is, and that's specious at best, self-preservation must always come first.
This video headlines the negative, though in it's defense it does give the fuller context of Trump's comments:
Here's John Hawkin's view on a temporary halt to immigration.
The article is worth the read, unlike so many commentaries that have set up a straw man Trump argument on Muslim immigration and then responded to and attacked that.Immigration is not good for America. At least, not anymore. Immigration has benefitted our nation a great deal and it certainly can do so again, but as long as our current rules are in place, immigration can only hurt our country.Whether your ancestors came over on the Mayflower or you became a citizen yesterday, an American is an American is an American.However, even though that’s true, the presumption of our immigration laws seems to be that any person, from any culture, of any educational status, from any country is just as likely to come to America, fit in and become a productive citizen.That idea is ridiculous on its face.The whole idea that it doesn’t matter whether we bring in large numbers of uneducated people from socialistic countries with backward cultures where they don’t speak English or large numbers of highly educated people from capitalistic countries with Western cultures that speak English makes no sense. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule, but unquestionably members of one group are much more likely to fit in, assimilate and add to the tax base than the other group.
December 6, 2015
December 5, 2015
December 4, 2015
December 3, 2015
Two recent articles in National Review bring up some of the recent releases of Hillary's (unsecured) emails. In one, there's clearly a concern that her concussion caused her some subsequent bouts of confusion.
New Hillary Clinton e-mails released by the State Department on Monday show that the secretary of state was often confused about and unfamiliar with State Department activity in the wake of a serious concussion, relying on her staff to explain department policy and even help her remember her own actions.Clinton suffered a severe fall in early December 2012, which gave her a concussion and put her in the hospital for several weeks, postponing her planned congressional testimony on her response to the Benghazi attacks. She returned to work on January 7, 2013, when State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said she was “fully recovered.” But an e-mail released by Judicial Watch earlier this week showed top aide Huma Abedin admitting on January 26 that Clinton was “often confused.”
Yet another, shows her staff was worried about how she and the White House positioned Benghazi;
The latest trove of Hillary Clinton e-mails released by the State Department show concern among her staff over how she and the White House characterized the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, with a top aide coaching the secretary of state on how to explain earlier statements that the attack was caused by a YouTube video.
Just two more reasons to heed this advice.
December 2, 2015
The latest challenger rising to challenge Donald Trump for the GOP presidential candidate polling lead appears to be Marco Rubio. Remember last month when it was Ben Carson? Good times, good times. Or how about Carley Fiorina had her surge? But if you are worried about Trump carrying the day, or rather election cycle, I have some words of wisdom for you. Well, one word:
If you're too old to know it, that's an amalgam of Chill (out) and Relax. It became almost popular during the 2000's.
Here's the reason I say that. There has not been a single primary or caucus yet. After they begin to occur, candidates with poor performance will drop out of the race and the field will quickly narrow from about 15 down to about 5. Then 3, and then 2. As that occurs support will coalesce around the remaining candidates and you'll see some real surges occur and probably stick.
That does not mean Trump can't win. But it does mean that if you are in the anyone-but-Trump camp, there's no reason to panic - you've got a real shot at this.
Just please, don't throw your support behind Jeb Bush. He might have made the best Bush president, but that's not a very high bar.
December 1, 2015
World leaders are in Paris to discuss climate change, and global warming. They're hell-bent on doing something about Carbon Dioxide emissions, because that's what they believe (or would have you believe) is going to save the taxes.
Not so fast, says...NASA?Really?
(NaturalNews) As advanced as modern science professes to be, it has taken a new study to reiterate what practically every child learns in kindergarten -- that plant life uptakes carbon dioxide as food, releasing oxygen for animals and humans to breathe. And this process, known simply as photosynthesis, helps balance atmospheric ratios of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and other gases in order to maintain a livable planet.In terms of climate change, this means that trees and other plant life thrive from the carbon released into the atmosphere, and that man-made "global warming" may not be as big of a threat as is often claimed. Rather than portend to undo life on this planet, atmospheric carbon is actually helping to restore areas of dense flora such as tropical rainforests, which absorb some 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to the Daily Mail.
This conference should just push pause for now. As Al Gore would say, the debate is over. "Science" has spoken.
Dr. David Schimel from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory found in a recent study that, contrary to popular ignorance, carbon dioxide isn't necessarily destroying the planet as we've all been told. Any carbon surpluses resulting from natural warming or cooling cycles are actually helping improve biodiversity in many of the world's most remote ecosystems, including in the great rainforests of South America.Food for thought.
In Paris, a mere three weeks after a terror attack in that city, president Obama says mass shootings just don't happen outside of the United States. That level of out-of-touchness should immediately call into question every other statement this president has made. Ever.
That's not to say he's been wrong on everything, I'll let you come to that conclusion on your own. But the mainstream media should simply be agog with incredulity at his lack of nuance, his lack of awareness and his simple inaccuracy on this and be saying to themselves "Hey, wait a minute..."
Alas, not going to happen.
November 30, 2015
Lou Dobbs had a recent editorial concerning The GOP establishment and their reasons for wanting to take out Donald Trump. I'm not exactly for Trump, and I'm not exactly against the GOP, but I do agree that establishment Republicans are not more than marginally better than Obama or Hillary Clinton and we cannot condemn ourselves to another Bush 41, or Bob Dole type candidate. It's a recipe for failure, either as a party or a movement, or in the unlikely event of a presidential win, as a country.
The leap from Trump winning the nomination to Hillary becoming a shoe-in as the next president has never been explained. Why is he a sure-fire loser against Hillary? The electorate who would reflexively vote for Hillary includes a number of people who might reconsider, if Trump were the nominee. That's definitely not so for a Jeb Bush or Kasich nomination.
November 29, 2015
November 28, 2015
November 27, 2015
November 25, 2015
Barbara Streisand gets a Presidential Medal of Freedom from a tone deaf president.
WASHINGTON — The 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year are "extraordinary people" who have left their mark on politics, entertainment, athletics and the United States itself, President Obama said Tuesday.From singer-actress Barbra Streisand to NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson to filmmaker Steven Spielberg to recently deceased baseball star Yogi Berra, Obama paid tribute to American originals with the nation's highest civilian honor during a White House ceremony.
Now to be fair it is a civilian honor and it has been given to a number of similar people in the past. But there's also the optics of repaying political friends. Barbara Streisand has said some pretty acrimonious things about her political opponents in the past.
November 24, 2015
It's trending on Twitter. I mentioned it 10 days ago. This Russian jet shot down over Turkish airspace is just another link in the chain of events caused by a myriad of geopolitical interests in close proximity, and events ratcheted up at every turn and it started with a single terror event (the events in Paris).
Unfortunately, these are interesting times.
November 23, 2015
Via The Week, Obamacare is falling apart;
UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, announced that it might quit ObamaCare's exchanges next year. Should UnitedHealthcare act on this threat, there may not be enough (red) tape in the desk drawer of even future President Hillary Clinton to put the ObamaCare Humpty Dumpty back together again.United announced during an investor briefing Thursday that it was expecting a whopping $425 million hit on its earnings this year, primarily due to mounting losses on its ObamaCare exchange business. "We cannot sustain these losses," United CEO Stephen Hensley declared. "We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself."
Don't celebrate the death of Obamacare just yet. This is all part of the single-payer plan, and has been all along;
Avik Roy, who serves as GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio's health care advisor, suspects United may just be the first domino to fall. Other commercial insurers, such as Aetna, Anthem, and Cigna, have raised premiums by double digits and still say they can't make the numbers work in their favor. Hence, they have withdrawn from counties where their losses were particularly acute.For-profit companies that have shareholders breathing down their necks don't have much latitude to absorb losses. But even companies that don't face similar profit-maximizing pressures can't escape the basic dilemma confronting the industry.
This was the agenda all along. You didn't actually believe that if you liked your plan you could keep your plan, did you? Silly American.
November 22, 2015
This is self-serving geopolitics at it's most obvious:
Unfortunately a lot of Russians will gobble it up. The reality is that ISIS has a foothold because Obama was naive on Iraq and assumed ISIS was JV and not an issue at all. So at least Medvedev was right about the irresponsible part. He just got the details wrong, deliberately.U.S. actions in the Middle East helped Islamic State to gain influence, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, according to Interfax.The strengthening of Islamic State “became possible partly due to irresponsible U.S. politics” that focused on fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of joining efforts to root out terrorism, Medvedev was cited as saying in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
November 21, 2015
November 20, 2015
I had originally scheduled WatchMojo's Top 10 movie theme songs. But now I'm boycotting them. So let me do this list instead. I agree with this list more anyway.
November 19, 2015
A video from back in June, focusing on Hillary Clinton's abysmal hypocrisy on the minimum wage, when she doesn't even pay her own campaign's interns. I'm sharing it now, because the problem in her campaign still exists.
At some point she should have to answer for this.
November 17, 2015
France and Russia have promised Holy Hell in retaliation for the terrorist events that affected their nations. Russia probably will back up it's tough talk (so I'll exempt Russia from the remainder of this commentary). France is flying sorties and bombing ISIS camps. Weak tea, but still it's something. Britain and the U.S. have denounced ISIS, using ramped-up stern language. Canada's new Prime Minister is sticking to his election promise of stopping flying sorties in support of combating ISIS and instead will up our training contingent who are training Iraqi's. Even if we double that effort it's still likely less than 200 boots on the ground, nowhere near combat if they can help it.
Oh and Obama is doubling down on closing Gitmo.
Bunch of pussy cats.
The woman in the photo is a pastafarian, a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. She won the right in Massachusetts to wear a colander on her head for her driver's license photo.
BOSTON — A member of the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” is being allowed to wear a colander in her driver’s license picture.WFXT reported that Lindsay Miller was originally denied the right to wear the colander in the picture, but won the appeal.Miller enlisted the help of attorney with the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
The 'church' to which she belongs, is an anti-religion church.
Pastafarian is a social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools.
They're clearly trying to point out the absurdity of religion. But what they succeed in pointing out is the absurdity of the legal system for entertaining this farce as reasonable. It's not an issue of freedom of religion, because they are clearly mocking religion. This is simply an instance of the state bending over backwards to avoid offending anyone, or at least anyone vocal enough to attract attention to their absurd 'cause'.
November 15, 2015
Yes, yes he did. And this guy wants to be president.
But he gets a lot more wrong than just that.
“In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism,” said Sanders.“And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see counties all over the world…they’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops, and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.”Sanders said at the second Democratic debate in Iowa that climate change poses the biggest threat to America’s national security and to security of the world.Sanders also argued that the growth of national terrorism and instability in the Middle East was caused by the invasion of Iraq.“I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of Al Qaeda and to ISIS,” Sanders said.
Okay, I know you're old Bernie, but do you not recall that 9/11 and the World Trade Center bombing when Clinton was president and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, etc. all happened before the invasion of Iraq? And don't blame it on the first invasion because countless nations took part in that one, including many Arab nations.
How can someone be that old and still be so sophomoric?
But let me not gloss over the specious global warming link. He's saying that global warming is causing food and water shortages and the unrest that has led to the rise of these terrorist organizations is resulting from lack of food and water. This includes the oil rich countries of Saudi Arabia (for example) where much of this jihadi fundamentalism ferments.
Bernie - this is a radical religious based problem. Period. If you want to throw a progressive spin on it, you're not even doing that right! Try "the problem is religion" or the problem is that "these people cannot get proper education because they are so poor so we need to
send them money take in more refugees." (By the way the latter one is racist because you're claiming they are not capable of growing themselves out of poverty). François Hollande, president of France, is a socialist. He's saying France is going to wage a pitiless war. He may not have always gotten it, but he certainly does now. So you can be a socialist without being a head-in-the-sand fool on terrorism*.
Some on the left have argued that Sanders is actually helping Republicans (because he's supposedly too forward thinking). And there is some thought that he's not really in it to win it but rather to get his issues and views into the national zeitgeist for the future. Sanders saying things like global warming causes terrorism, certainly lends credence to the idea that he doesn't want to win.
*NOTE: For the record, I do not condone socialism.
*NOTE: For the record, I do not condone socialism.
November 14, 2015
Yesterday I posted about the band The Eagles of Death Metal, the band playing at Le Bataclan club in Paris that was part of the terror attack. I mentioned that I had never heard their music. Listening to it, they are not death metal, they're basically just a rock and roll band. I described their music as harder edged rockabilly but on Wikipedia the refer to them as garage rock. The music is not bad, in fact some of it is catchy.
In any case, investigating a little further I found this interesting tidbit on Wikipedia regarding the two main members of the band:
In a 2007 interview, bandmate Josh Homme stated "Jesse Hughes and I have a theory; we’re socially liberal but government conservative guys". Hughes has also said "I wanted to be a Republican politician, for God sakes. I’m a conservative, dude".
And also this:
Homme has described himself as "very conservative politically" and "very socially liberal", considering himself a "fallen libertarian". He owns several guns, including a classic Winchester rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, and a Beretta 9mm target pistol.
You never can tell a book by its cover.
A short bio on Sigmund Freud.
With president Hollande of France speaking in terms last night of a pitiless war, something far more aggressive than the tone taken by president Bush, is France on the brink of a War on Islamic jihad and ISIS in particular? With British Prime Minister stating that France's fight was their fight as well, and Obama (incorrectly) stating that this was an attack on all humanity (really, it's an attack on the West and Western values by another faction of humanity), is an alliance forming, and war inevitable? Are we past the point of no return?
What causes a war? Often the mirror of history looks at simple events first and later complexity is layered in. The cause of World War I was supposedly an assassination, but the reality around it, and leading up to the events that triggered the war was far more nuanced (excuse the progressive word that dismisses black and white explanations, but in this case it may have been true).
How did WWI start?The simplest answer is that the immediate cause was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the archduke of Austria-Hungary. His death at the hands of Gavrilo Princip – a Serbian nationalist with ties to the secretive military group known as the Black Hand – propelled the major European military powers towards war.The events that led up to the assassination are significantly more complicated, but most scholars agree that the gradual emergence of a group of alliances between major powers was partly to blame for the descent into war.By 1914, those alliances resulted in the six major powers of Europe coalescing into two broad groups: Britain, France and Russia formed the Triple Entente, while Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy comprised the Triple Alliance.As these countries came to each other's aid after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, their declarations of war produced a domino effect.
Perhaps more important than the establishment of alliances is the fact that a singular event can have such a large ripple effect. Whether a war or terror is a good idea or not (and I believe it's simply a necessity at this point), what strikes me now is that this sure looks like history repeating. We would be wise to learn the lessons of history, if for no other reason than to understand the events that envelop us.
Quote of the day goes to Mark Steyn on president Obama's timing regarding his recent comments about ISIS:
With his usual killer comedy timing, the "leader of the free world" told George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning, America" this very morning that he'd "contained" ISIS and that they're not "gaining strength". A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by ISIS slaughtered over 150 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb to within a few yards of the French president.
Nailed it. Not just about the president, but the entire complacent, liberal West. Read his entire post, it's well worthwhile.
November 13, 2015
A day prior to the attacks in Paris, ISIS perpetrated 2 suicide bombings in Lebanon.
And there was a possible ISIS attack on the Russian Airbus recently as well.
Is ISIS starting a major offensive, or is it a coincidence? One thing is certain, the group is not JV.
And there was a possible ISIS attack on the Russian Airbus recently as well.
Is ISIS starting a major offensive, or is it a coincidence? One thing is certain, the group is not JV.
Some of the terror attack in France was at an Eagles of Death Metal concert. I'd heard the name before but could not place any of their songs. So I went to look at their videos to see. They're not actually death metal, they sound a bit more like a little bit of a harder edged rockabilly.
In any case my prayers are not only with all those in France and their families but the band and their crew and their families as well. It was just reported all of the band members are confirmed safe. Hopefully the same can be said for as many in that concert hall as possible.
Here's a video of their song I Want You Hard from 2008. It's not much of a way to show support, but I'm not sure what else I can do at this moment.
UPDATE - 7:15 p.m. EST. Fox just reported 100 people dead in that concert hall. Truly tragic.
What is currently going on in France is horrific. One arrest has been made and the suspect claimed to be from Syria, with others and recruited by ISIS. That is not Junior Varsity, that's an al Qaida level of scary. The president's prior dismissive remarks on ISIS, for political purposes, was clearly and is now indisputably wrong.
If I were in Germany now, I'd be really worried about the welcome provided Syrians by Angela Merkel. Frankly, anywhere in Europe right now, I'd be quite nervous. Not just today, for the foreseeable future.
It's about time the West draws a line in the sand on ISIS, and by in the sand, I mean somewhere in Iraq and/or Syria.
Earlier I suggested a boycott of the Youtube channel, WatchMojo because of their fluff piece in support of Bernie Sanders. I suggested they do not deserve our eyes on their content. But maybe they deserve our eyes on them.
WatchMojo is a Canadian-based, privately held video content production company, founded by three co-founders, the primary of whom seems to be Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (who had this to say about Republicans - scroll to the comments section to see). He's also had some disparaging things to say about Veteran's Day on his Facebook page and judging by the undertone of his comments, he seems taken by the notion that America is a warmongering country.
There's no doubt on which side of the political spectrum his loyalty lies. Take a look at his Twitter feed. Here are some examples;
If @HillaryClinton had a penis, would Benghazi be in the news?— AshkanKarbasfrooshan (@ashkan) October 23, 2015
Don't understand how religion is still a thing in 2015? Let alone drive American political discourse https://t.co/c3pkmieC2U— AshkanKarbasfrooshan (@ashkan) August 24, 2015
After 54 years, U.S. embassy reopens in Cuba. Impressive how much Pres. Obama has done in 7 yrs in office #NoRespect http://t.co/Mu054WkxZD— AshkanKarbasfrooshan (@ashkan) August 14, 2015
Ashcan Ashkan is entitled to his opinions, and he is freely entitled to share them. I am entitled to not listen and knowing what I now know about his politics, I will choose to not watch WatchMojo going forward.
I've viewed and enjoyed WatchMojo's Top 10 lists many times. They're one of Youtube's largest channels. I think I've even posted some of their videos. No longer. I am asking readers to boycott WatchMojo going forward.
This video is very, very disturbing. Ir's disturbing not because WatchMojo shouldn't be allowed to share their opinions, but rather because there is so much misinformation in it that will mislead people into supporting Sanders erroneously. And they've done so under the guise of entertainment and a Top Ten list.
The gushing is truly sickening as well. So is the tacit endorsement of socialism, without any sort of explanation of what it really is, glossing over the truth about what socialism is, as if it were accepted fact that socialism equals compassion.
Like I said, I support their right to state their opinion. I also support everyone else's right to boycott them as a statement of their own opinions too.
Interestingly, they also had a backhanded slap of Hillary Clinton using a Top Ten list of why she 'may not win' the presidency. The timing, about a month after the gushing over Bernie.
It's awkward to be including these videos in a call for a boycott, but I think it's necessary to explain why I believe that WatchMojo doesn't deserve our eyes on their pages.
November 12, 2015
No, black people cannot be racist - and if you try to claim they can be, you'll just get shouted down:
Students at a “safe space” at Claremont McKenna College in California shut down an Asian woman who was describing racial harassment by a black man, booing her when she declared, “black people can be racist.”She then recounted a time when she and a group of friends were walking down the street, and a black man pulled over and shouted, “go back to your home!” She said a “white lady” stopped to ask if the young women needed police assistance.“The point I’m making here is that we should not distinguish people by their race or gender or anything. Black people can be racist,” she declared, at which point a black woman holding a sign that reads “It’s too late to say sorry” approached her.“Oh no honey,” someone in the crowd said over a chorus of boos.
The lesson: when decrying racism, you are only allowed to focus on white racism. As a corollary, do not distinguish people's attitude individually, paint all people of a color with the same racism brush. You know, because that's not racist.
November 11, 2015
It says something about Fox Business channel that I found the entire debate more easily on Youtube than on their channel website. In any case, here is the entire debate from a Youtube playlist I found, starting with the under card debate, which I partially posted earlier.
Switching sources, the entire Main Debate in a single video:
Lat night the GOP debates continued on Fox Business channel. Like many people, the channel is not available from my cable provider. I'm sharing them here for those who were not able to watch.
This is the under card debate.
November 10, 2015
President Obama recently jabbed the Republican candidates saying that if they couldn't handle the CNBC moderators then how could they be expected to handle Russia's president Putin. That's disingenuous and a patently false comparison. here's why.
November 9, 2015
I haven't really been following the story behind the University of Missouri protests. However, when the first demand posited to the university president is that the he acknowledge his own white privilege, then whatever the reason for the original concern, no matter how well it may have been founded, has gone off the rails.
We demand that the University of Missouri System President, Tim Wolfe, writes a handwritten apology to the Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demonstrators and holds a press conference in the Mizzou Student Center reading the letter. In the letter and at the press conference, Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white male privilege, recognize that systems of oppression exist, and provide a verbal commitment to fulfilling Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demands. We want Tim Wolfe to admit to his gross negligence, allowing his driver to hit one of the demonstrators, consenting to the physical violence of bystanders, and lastly refusing to intervene when Columbia Police Department used excessive force with demonstrators.
Really? Really? Shouldn't the gross negligence piece far exceed the concern about white privilege of the president? Apparently not - it comes after the white privilege in the first of many demands. By the way, why does each demand have 12 sub-demands in it?
Having little background so far, I will not defend the president of the university. Perhaps every other demand is legitimate, I don't know. But the white privilege statement is simply ridiculous.
Everyone living in America is privileged not to be living in Bangladesh, or Syria. Everyone living in America is privileged to be living in a country with so much opportunity - if not at the University of Missouri the somewhere else. You don't like the university, leave. If enough people do, it will simply go out of business. Everyone in America is privileged to have so much freedom that simply does not exist elsewhere to the same degree. You want to renounce that privilege and feel shame for being American too? Leave. I for one, along with literally millions of other people of every color, would be happy to take your place as a citizen in America. Unfortunately we can't.
The inclusion of that among all of the other demands diminishes all the rest of them. Racial issues should be dealt with on the face of the specific issues. Saying that every white person has an inherited advantage is ridiculous. It hasn't helped me one bit. And there are white people far poorer and less well off than I am.
Trying to make someone feel guilty for being born white does not advance racial harmony one iota. It does not engender empathy at all from anyone other than those who already agree with you. It puts someone on the defensive and immediately creates an adversarial interaction. You are in a sense restricting change by taking that approach. How is that not self-evident?
November 8, 2015
November 7, 2015
Comedian Jim Norton knows you want to watch Donald Trump on SNL, and he said so at Time online recently, and he covered some salient points about Trump.
Donald Trump is hosting Saturday Night Live this week, and love him or hate him, you have to admit he’s the only candidate who will actually do it well. SNL’s present cast is excellent, and Trump has hosted before. Watching any of those other painfully banal candidates attempt to deliver punch lines would be excruciating at best...Maybe I’m just biased because I like Trump and intend to vote for him. The thing that attracts me to him is what a wonderful mirror he is to how bad the other candidates are. It seems the best way to observe how flat and dead most politicians are is to put them in close proximity of someone who is alive. That doesn’t mean I think he’s always right; I just think he’s honest...One of my favorite qualities about Trump is he seems to be the only person in either party with enough of a spine to push back against the endless, deafening whine of American hypersensitivity. Even the most seasoned politicians should take note; Trump’s unwillingness to be cowed for his opinions is a more respected quality than any of their takes on any of the issues.
There's not much there with which to disagree. Maybe I'm just biased because I'm a fan of Jim Norton's truly unique (a polite term for it) comedic musings. But I can believe every word of what he's written because he could be writing about himself in those last two paragraphs. I'm sure there a lot of other people who feel the same way.
Does that mean I'm rooting for Trump? Yes. Not necessarily to win, but certainly to continue doing what he's doing because there's traction in it and that means there are people out there who get him, and get his honesty and his unwillingness to be 'cowed for his opinions'. That matters.
November 6, 2015
My very first post, Nov 6th, 2008 was a lamentation about the 2008 presidential victory of Barack Obama. There had been no introduction of myself, I just jumped right in to my thoughts on events. It's because the blog was a continuation of emails I had been sending friends of my analysis of the politics and implications of the election. The blog was intended for consumption by only 4 people. It grew beyond that. Not by a huge amount but I can still generate posts that get seen by a couple of hundred people from time to time.
It's been a full 7 years that I have been blogging now and much has changed, while little has changed. Certainly my level of impact has been quite small. Obama is still president, so 2012 was a bust. On the other hand there's now Obamacare, a Tea Party, SCOTUS approved gay marriage, China issues and Russia issues that are somewhat different than before (and yet somewhat the same,) and a new level of national debt even more obscene than under president Bush.
My level of confidence is the greatness of possibility tied to the original intent of the American founders is unshaken, in fact probably even stronger. Yet my level of faith in the American people to understand what is right and to act accordingly has been profoundly shaken. While there are many who have been awakened to the nature of the world and their own government, as well as the Constitution, there seem to be more who wish to distance America from it's success and distinct greatness. That is as sad as it is maddening. Americans have been given a distinct gift that they seem in too large part, willing to squander or even reject entirely.
But I have come to understand that the ideas of the framers cannot be destroyed. Just as Marxism will likely never be eradicated, the idea of a prosperous and strong America founded in liberty and justice for all (not just special interest groups) cannot be destroyed. Even if we are at an ebb of those ideas, they will flow again. My part, as is the case with tens of thousands of other bloggers, continues to be to point out what is happening and what we believe to be good or bad with that.
4000+ posts and 7 years later, having accomplished far less than I had both imagined and hoped to achieve, I foresee no need to quit, only to get better going forward.
November 5, 2015
Palmyra is definitely a historical site. But it's not an Islamic one, and apparently, that was the problem. So it's being ruthlessly disassembled.
The Arch of Triumph was "pulverised" by the militants who control the city, a Palmyra activist told AFP news agency.By the way, this happened weeks ago. But it doesn't look good on Obama, especially when he's trying to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo. So while you can hear it on the BBC, not so much on the American mainstream media.
It is thought to have been built about 2,000 years ago.
IS fighters have already destroyed two ancient temples at the site, described by Unesco as one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.
Unfortunately, not everyone is happy:
Antarctica is growing not shrinking, the latest satellite records show.You might think this would be great news for all those scientists who have been warning us over the last few years about the impending horrors of “man-made global warming” but in fact they are not happy about it, not one bit.Here for example is Dr Jay Zwally, the lead author of this week’s surprising Nasa study that confirms that the Antarctic is gaining far more ice than it is losing.“I know some of the climate deniers will jump on this and say this means we don’t have to worry as much as some people have been making out. It should not take away from the concern about climate warming.”Does that sound to you like a neutral scientific opinion? Do you sense any relief at the good news that the climate apocalypse of melting ice caps and rising sea levels may not be quite so imminent after all? No, me neither.
Melting ice means a stream...of revenue for many climate scientists. So I'm not surprised they are not thrilled by the news.
November 4, 2015
The Washington Post warns the GOP, don't assume you actually won, really:
But, but, but: Turnout was VERY low across the country. Republicans could over interpret the results at their own peril. The presidential election, exactly one year way, will have dramatically larger and more diverse turnout, which works against the GOP. Serious structural problems persist: the Grand Old Party is still too white, too male and too old. Hillary Clinton’s political director, Amanda Renteria, tweeted a photo of a “Vote Here” sign overnight and wrote: “Wish more people did this today.”
Another landslide, another fleet of excuses. There's no doubt the GOP have a tougher row to hoe during a presidential cycle. But that's less true if there isn't charisma at the top of the Democratic ticket (i.e. Bill Clinton or Obama, not Hillary).
The old saw about too white, too male is garbage. Compare the Democratic nominees to the Republicans. The GOP has as many women candidates, more Hispanic and African American candidates, more outsiders and more youthful candidates.
The old saw about too white, too male is garbage. Compare the Democratic nominees to the Republicans. The GOP has as many women candidates, more Hispanic and African American candidates, more outsiders and more youthful candidates.
Hopefully Democrats take solace in the fact that traditionally, presidential cycles favor them, and they rest on their laurels, while the GOP takes heed. The GOP always needs to work harder - fair weather or foul weather - than the Democrats to get the same results. So they should do just that.