August 31, 2016

Trump in Mexico - Winning Hearts and Minds

Donald Trump in Arizona later tonight is expected to make a pivot speech on illegal immigration.  He's expected to soften on illegal immigrants who have been in America for a long time and not broken any laws.  He's doing so after returning from Mexico for an impromptu meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, at the latter's invitation. Trump did so in a bold attempt to win hearts and minds - in America, not Mexico. But in doing so, he was able to find common ground with Niento - the start of any good negotiation.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton declined the same invitation and took pot shots at Trump for going. But this was a win for Trump. He appeared presidential - something Clinton and other Democrats have been claiming he was incapable of being. He was reasoned, and balanced. That alone is a huge win. It also plays to Hispanics in America who might be scratching their heads as to why Clinton didn't also accept the invite from Niento. Clinton cannot reverse herself and attend now - it will appear indecisive and also smack of me-too-ism. She's unlikely to do so anyway - she seems to be afraid of any sort of interaction where she cannot control the conversation to her script. One wonders how she might react to an actual invite if she were president. Trump also seemed in control of the entire press conference; presidential.

Trump once again played to his strengths and reinforced his self-defined image as a negotiator. There was agreement on 5 points. If he can negotiate with someone who he has more or less been insulting for a year, perhaps there's truth in his claims about his renegotiation bad deals America has made. Hopefully Obama's Cuban capitulation ends up on that list.

It's also shows that Trump is willing to take a risk, and succeed. This was a clear cut win for Trump. Despite a late tweet from Niento that he did declare to Trump that he would not pay for the wall, Trump did say it was not discussed. It is important to parse that - if Trump did not return the conversation then it was not a discussion. In any case, it will be interesting to see the details of Trump's immigration speech in Arizona shortly, on the heels of the Niento meeting.

Trump conflation

Trump supporter might be worried about the polls, even if they are closing a bit of late.  Then again, they might not be worried, seeing the polls as misleading. Many of us did that erroneously in 2012, and Trump supporters should be warned by that head-in-the-sand-aided-by-confirmation-bias world view. One of the things I worry about is the notion of attendance.  Trump supporters and indeed Trump himself are conflating two different notions.  They argue that the polls are wrong and Trump is winning and the proof is that he's getting thousands of attendees at his rallies and Hillary Clinton is getting hundreds or even dozens.  There are a couple of problems with that idea.

Firstly, and no less importantly, just like Clinton is avoiding press conferences and is being handled with exacting standards, I suspect her approach in facing Trump is that less is more.  She's avoiding big crowds and longer appearances in the hopes of avoiding a slip-up (which she is clearly prone to make).  The smaller crowds might be by design.

Secondly, when looking at the size of a crowd, what we really are trying to guage is the depth of support, not the breadth of support.  How many supporters a candidate have is the bailiwick of pollsters. How engaged those supporters are, is measured by turnout to a rally.  Trump's supporters are truly energized, but it does not mean there are more of them than Hillary supporters.

As an adjunct to that latter point, engagement still needs to translate to action to be useful.  Are Trump supporters organizing themselves and going door-to-door to promote Trump?  There's no evidence of that, at least in the news.  

All that not to say that Trump supporters are mixing up rally attendance with the truer picture provided by the polls.  Polls can be wildly erroneous if constructed incorrectly. And Obama had massive rallies too in 2008, so it's not meaningless.  But conflating enthusiasm with numbers (support ten feed wide but a mile deep) is a mistake Trump supporters and more importantly Donald Trump and his team are advised not to make.

Vatican about to become even more leftist progressive

What are you doing to our church?
The Pope is slimming down the Vatican - less bureaucracy, that's a good thing right?  Not so fast.  Dictators like to consolidate power. Pope Francis has already proven that he's far to the left of his two predecessors.  Now he's taking direct control of issues that are sure to have global ramifications and might split the church ideologically:
ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Wednesday announced major changes to the Vatican bureaucracy, slimming down the number of offices and giving himself direct charge of migration issues, continuing a reform push he promised when elected more than three years ago.

In a document known as a Motu Proprio, Latin for "by his own initiative", the pope said he would merge four Vatican offices into a "Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development" starting on Jan. 1.

When elected in 2013, Francis pledged to cleanse the Church's bureaucracy, which had been rocked by scandals and charges of greed and corruption. He said he wanted "a poor Church" that served the poor.

The pope will oversee work on migration and refugees within the new dicastery, or department, which will absorb the offices for justice and peace, human and Christian development, immigration, and health workers.

It will spearhead the Church's humanitarian work internationally, including oversight of funds allocated to charities, focusing on "migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture," the pope wrote.
Cloak it in verbiage as you will, this is a dramatic shift in focus for the church and it's also a consolidation of power.

Canada's GDP under ultra-left Liberals nosedives

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office in November 2015, promising to unbalance the books and run a massive deficit for several years, legalize marijuana and effectively remove Canada from the war on terror.  He also prattled on about fairer tax for the middle class .  Being a member of the middle class, the changes that have taken place have not helped me (not that I expected them to do so - his definition of the middle class effectively splits it in two and apparently I fall on the wrong side of the line for any benefit.  More on that in the future perhaps).  In any case, those of us attuned to economic policy were alarmed at his plans for which the math simply didn't work. Shouting it did not help.  After a decade of Conservative leadership, and in an election where the Conservative Prime Minister seemed bored and listless, Canadians seemed ready for change.

So we got a drama teacher (seriously) for a Prime Minister because he had name recognition.  His father Pierre Elliot Trudeau probably did more damage to Canada than any other Prime Minister in history but he was charismatic and won election after election.  Which brings us to Round 2.

After an anemic first quarter GDP growth of 0.6% in Trudeau's first quarter as PM, the second quarter swung wildly into negative GDP territory;
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's economy shrank in the second quarter in its worst showing in seven years, hurt by a drop in exports and a disruption to oil production caused by wildfires in Alberta, but growth was still seen as likely to rebound later this year.

Although the second-quarter contraction was somewhat larger than the Bank of Canada had anticipated, the figures released on Wednesday were not expected to move the central bank off the sidelines at its meeting next week. Markets see a 92 percent probability that the bank will hold rates at 0.50 percent. [CA/POLL]
While the article goes on to take an upbeat view that the economy will rebound and that it was merely a series of unfortunate events that caused the downturn. No. Oil prices are not going to recover any time soon. That's a critical factor. Employment is still weak. Fiscal policy akin to the big Obama stimulus will do nothing to mitigate the downturn which tax policies are sure to exacerbate.

This is a sign for American voters to keep in mind as they head to the polls in November. Electing Liberals in perilous times increases the risk of greater peril.

August 30, 2016

Apple versus the E.U. is more than that

I went over to the European Union press release database to see what it had to say about the tax levy it imposed upon Apple.  It's eye opening in it's over-reach.  Consider:
Following an in-depth state aid investigation launched in June 2014, the European Commission has concluded that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple have substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991. The rulings endorsed a way to establish the taxable profits for two Irish incorporated companies of the Apple group (Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe), which did not correspond to economic reality: almost all sales profits recorded by the two companies were internally attributed to a "head office". The Commission's assessment showed that these "head offices" existed only on paper and could not have generated such profits. These profits allocated to the "head offices" were not subject to tax in any country under specific provisions of the Irish tax law, which are no longer in force. As a result of the allocation method endorsed in the tax rulings, Apple only paid an effective corporate tax rate that declined from 1% in 2003 to 0.005% in 2014 on the profits of Apple Sales International.

This selective tax treatment of Apple in Ireland is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it gives Apple a significant advantage over other businesses that are subject to the same national taxation rules. The Commission can order recovery of illegal state aid for a ten-year period preceding the Commission's first request for information in 2013. Ireland must now recover the unpaid taxes in Ireland from Apple for the years 2003 to 2014 of up to €13 billion, plus interest.
Effectively, the E.U. is dictating to a member state, Ireland, how it must conduct its internal affairs, in particular taxation. Interestingly, if the EU is looking to accelerate Brexit type reactions, this sort of thing might do the trick. Clearly Ireland wanted Apple and acted in a way that they assumed would attract Apple to Ireland.

Unfortunately, the EU seems to think it knows what is better for Ireland than does Ireland. Bureaucrats seldom know better than businesses and in this case bureaucrats twice removed from the economic situation on the ground in Ireland are least likely to understand what Ireland needs and Apple needs. Nevertheless, it's not stopping the EU, though it should give member nations pause to reflect on the implications of the decision.

Kent State voter pulse.

This video is as cringe-worthy in parts as it is instructive in others. Who people are voting for is interesting, but the truly instructive pieces is what different demographics are using to collect their information.

Young women, please watch this before voting for Hillary

Lauren Southern at Rebel Media explains why young women should think before simply voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman.

Obamacare's long slow fail

Every day insurance providers are closing up shop in states. More and more people are not able to keep their plan, or their doctor, as president Obama AND every single Democrat promised. Costs are skyrocketing for the insured. A long slow collapse that started DAY 1, is really picking up steam now.
At the heart of the problem for Obamacare is that insurers are leaving the program en masse. Part of it has to do with the failure of the risk corridor to adequately protect money-losing insurers, while the dynamics of Obamacare are driving other insurers to the sidelines.

For instance, of the 23 healthcare cooperatives approved by Obamacare, 16 have announced that they're closing their doors this year. Healthcare cooperatives are low-cost, consumer-focused options, but practically all co-ops have been losing money. The risk corridor was expected to protect insurers that priced their premiums too low, but a mere $362 million of the $2.87 billion requested was paid out. There are too few overly profitable insurers, so the risk corridor simply didn't get enough funding, dooming more than two-thirds of the low-cost co-ops to failure -- and more co-op closures could be on the way.
But that's exactly what Democrats wanted all along: A full-fledged, socialist, single-payer health care system, devoid of innovation and teeming with bureaucratic decisioning on who gets what treatment (in its most extreme form - death panels). And anyone who gets in the way can be damned.

Trusting what a Democrat tells you is like standing in front of a bull and facing the wrong way: There's a lot of bull coming at you and it's not inclined to stop.  So not paying attention is the worst thing you can do.

Some of us saw this all along.  We jumped, shouted and pointed at facts.  It's tempting to say 'we told you so'.  Very, very, very tempting.

August 29, 2016

Colin Kaepernick's sit down

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has decided, in protest, to not stand during the national anthem, nominally in support of the Black Lives Mattter.

Of course he's entirely entitled to his opinion and his protest - the NFL does not forbid it.  But he's fallen to what - third string? He might not even make the team.  Aside from this possibly being a publicity stunt, it seems like a dumb move.  Politics aside, doing something like that is not likely to endear him to the team, and also a lot of fans (who likewise, are entitled to their opinions):

Kaepernick would do well to focus on getting his game back on track instead.  I'm sure a lot of 49ers fans were considering burning his jersey already anyway. In a country where thousands of African Americans are being killed by African Americans he's talking about accountability?  In a country where he's made millions of dollars because of his skills he's talking about social justice?  Clearly he's focused on others - fair enough.  It's just hard to understand what he's hoping to achieve.

Weiner out (again)

Um, no.
Everyone deserves a second chance but Anthony Weiner took his second chance and made the same mistake as before.
Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, said Monday that she intended to separate from her husband, Anthony D. Weiner, the former congressman and New York City mayoral candidate, after it was reported that Mr. Weiner had exchanged suggestive images and messages with a woman while the couple’s young child was beside him.

...Ms. Abedin only learned on Sunday that Mr. Weiner had sent a photo of himself and their son to the unidentified woman, according to two people close to the couple who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal private conversations. After the Post contacted him on Sunday about the coming story, Mr. Weiner told Ms. Abedin about the photo, as well as other details about his latest online indiscretions, while they were both in the Hamptons with their son.
Donald Trump is right - Abedin has been Hillary Clinton's GO TO staff member.  Her husband has been terribly indiscreet more than once. The proximity is cause for concern.  So too the home email server.  It indicates a pattern of cavalier disdain for security.  Forgiving Weiner is one thing, keeping him close and Abedin close, is another.  Some arm's length distance would have been a good idea. Instead, Hillary Clintonh tried that with her emails.

Black Lives Matter doesn't make sense to one man

Darnell Anderson explains why he can't take Black Lives Matter seriously.

August 28, 2016

Is this Trump playing to his strength?

Let me postulate a theory.  Donald Trump is going to reach out to African Americans.  His words on Democrats taking advantage of a secure voting block are true: Democrats see African Americans as a secure vote and nothing more - at least those running for president or as president.  But he's polling 1% among African Americans in some polls. The likelihood of him changing that to more than 3% is pretty low.  On the surface that doesn't seem to be the best use of his time.  So why do it?

It's true that the GOP needs to be more inclusive because in many communities or demographics that Republicans have ceded to Democrats, there are issues that Republicans can connect with voters on.  That's as true for African Americans as it is for any group.  I've been writing about that since 2008.  But that's the long game.  That doesn't help Trump against Hillary right now (at least not in any polls the public is seeing, so far as I know).  

But Trump's goal in holding those meetings may be broader than getting more support from African Americans in November.  Trump may be able to disaffect some African Americans from supporting Hillary Clinton in addition to the voters he manages to attract.  And it goes even further than that.

Trump may be able to impress non-African Americans - women, Asians, Hispanics and maybe even non-Trump-supporting Republicans with the effort.  And that effect may be twofold. (1) he may create the impression that he is a caring person and capable of a softer tone and reaching out.  That impression can cut across demographics and lift his support more broadly.  (2) What if Trump emerges from some of these meetings with a 'deal'?  If he comes out of them with quotes from the those he met with along the lines of 'a productive meeting', 'common ground' or dare I say it 'agreement' then there could be a truly large boost.

Trump is playing to his strength - deal-making.  Offer the community something different from Democrats have offered for 60 years, and something that benefits them in exchange for some level of amicability if not support and that proves Trump can make deals.

It also offers a lead-in to challenge Hillary at the debates regarding his supposed racism.  He can counter with Democrats' soft racism, their hidden racism.  

All in all, if Trump is thinking in those terms, this is actually a pretty slick move, especially if he can pull it off (AND get visibility of that in the media, which is an entirely different story).

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

My sense of the presidential race today

It's been a tough month for Trump supporters. The media have been savaging him.  He has made missteps if not outright mistakes on his own.  His poll numbers have sagged.  Republican NeverTrumpers refuse to go away.  His advertising is non-existent aside from various PACs and his state infrastructure is demonstrably weak. Gary Johnson has made headway, despite the fact that he cannot win, and probably most of his growing support comes at the expense of Donald Trump. And it looks like Trump's chances of winning has been quashed.  It's been easier to watch the Olympics or reruns of favorite TV shows, BBQ on weekends and forget all about the bleak future under a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Despite that Trump in recent days looks to have seen a rebound in some of his poll numbers.  He does still have a chance even though his change in direction might be too little too late.

One of the strengths of Trump was supposed to be his business savvy. He was supposed to have this visionary leadership and because of his business skills, he's supposed to have been able to out-manage Hillary in the campaign.  It hasn't happened  - she's got better teams in place in the states.  She's got more money. Why?  Because if Trump is indeed good at business it might be limited to making deals.  That may prove good for a president but in running - there's no room for deal-making, only winning.

Trump's non-negotiating personality is entirely combat-based and it isn't working. Sure, it raised his profile in a crowded primary.  But you cannot win the presidency by insulting everyone who isn't on your side. Trump hasn't been busy endearing himself to various voting groups.

Can you picture Donald Trump kissing a baby?  Perhaps his political inexperience is beginning to show.

What Trump needs to win is going to be a perfect storm: He needs to win the debates convincingly.  He needs to keep his foot out of his month for two months plus.  He needs to connect with at least one voting block that he is being crushed on - African Americans, women or Hispanics.  He doesn't need to win them, just cut hard into the margins he trails by in those demographics.  He needs the WikiLeaks planned October Clinton email releases to contain something truly bad on Clinton, or perhaps the economy to falter badly.  

Some of that is within Trump's control, some isn't but it's looking more like the 8th inning of a ball game where the home team is down 6-2 and wasting at bats with strikeouts.  Trump needs to work on what he can work on - advertising, debates, state organization, getting through to those voting blocks disaffected of him and hope some of the rest pans out in his favor. Seems like a long shot to me.

Don't get me wrong  - I am not despondent, I'm hopeful; I always try to be.   Trump is an imperfect candidate and not my first choice for president, but the alternative is markedly worse. Unfortunately for Trump, with time dwindling, he needs to start making that progress quickly, and he needs to do so using different tactics (and possibly strategy too, but that's an unknown) than he has been using so far. I'm not sure he can switch his tactics as they seem to be an ingrained part of who Trump is.  But Trump has known both seen success and failure.  If anyone can adapt to the landscape, Trump might be the guy.

Oh and as an aside, here's a note to Trump-aligned SuperPACs - don't keep advertising on Fox.  Fox voters have their minds made up for or against Trump relative to viewers on say CNN or CBS. You are not getting the most marginal usage of your dollars.  Any ads on Fox need to focus on get out the vote (GOTV) efforts only.

Sunday verse

August 27, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Ecuador)

A lesson in Equatorial geography in Geography Now's disposition on Ecuador.

And the flag story:

August 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton goes paranoid conspiracy theory

Hillary Clinton is no doubt trying to gin up support among her leftist base. by giving a speech on the nefarious, evil, loathsome Alt-Right. But her anti-Alt-Right speech this week is definitely tinfoil hat stuff and she deserves to be disparaged for it. And I don't mean by Donald Trump, but rather everyone else.

Warning - this video contains some strong language.

By the way this is not an endorsement of the Alt- right, which frankly suffers from a myriad of definitions and at this point does not deserve to be condemned or endorsed without attaching a definition to the endorsement or condemnation.  So there.

Friday Musical Interlude - Mull of Kintyre

From 1978, Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre with it's beautiful bagpipes.

August 23, 2016

Trump change

The polls might follow, but the important thing is Trump's tone has quite possibly changed.

Next he's got to focus on the winning the debates and I still think a ground game in key states is critical.  There's some creeping down side to a Trump presidency in the fact that he hasn't worked on that, but that's a discussion for another time - post Hillary.

August 22, 2016

A not Friday Musical Interlude - Wheat Kings

It's not time for a Friday Musical Interlude but Gord Downie, lead singer of the Canadian band The Tragically Hip was diagnosed not too long ago with terminal brain cancer.  Instead of quietly disappearing Downie and the Hip decided to do one last concert tour culminating in a concert this past Saturday in the band's hometown of Kingston, Ontario.  The concert was broadcast nationally and it was very moving.

The Tragically Hip were a great band, entirely underappreciated in the United States.  Mostly. They had a lengthy career (releasing albums from 1987 through 2015) and spawned a wealth of memorable songs as well as mega-hits (in Canada at least).  Their memorable songs ranged from the melancholy to hard rock to near-country.

I thought I'd share one of their more moving songs with my American audience of readers.  The song Wheat Kings is in some ways a political song but not really - it's just about an incredibly sad situation.  And it's a prime example of why Downie has been such an important part of the Canadian musical landscape.  Their contributions will be missed and not forgotten.

August 21, 2016

August 20, 2016

August 19, 2016

Jigsaw Reagan

Jigsaw Reagan. I was lucky enough to be politically aware during all of Ronald Reagan's presidency even though it began when I was about to turn 15. Reagan had it all - conviction, eloquence, vision, fortitude, reason, wit, charisma, charm, and most importantly the critical core beliefs of conservatism. How often do you get that in a single person who also manages to reach the presidency? So far, apparently only once in my lifetime. I don't expect that number to change. Ronald Reagan was not a perfect president but he definitely was the closest we've ever seen in the modern era. There will never be another Ronald Reagan. But with a smart conservative movement, there doesn't need to be. More on that in a moment.

As soon as Reagan left office his former vice president (Bush senior) began the country's march towards a less true conservatism by breaking his tax pledge. Despite the well-orchestrated, Reagan-inspired "Contract With America" put forth and acted upon by Newt Gingrich et. al. in the 1990's, the nation has stepped closer and closer towards a Bernie Sanders vision of America with each passing year. Bill Clinton gave way to George W. Bush who was by no means a real conservative and he in turn gave way to the unprepared and socialistic Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton is destined to be an amalgam of the mostly latter and some of her husband should she become president.

In other words, the march towards socialism will continue unabated. The country already is unrecognizable from Reagan's time at the helm. It is only going to continue to get progressively worse (pun intended) under a Hillary presidency. Liberals will argue that the change is progress. But not all progress is good, not all change is good. Progressing towards a cliff to fall over is not good progress. What possible recourse does America have to prevent national financial insolubility, a dissolution of national values and even morals, defenselessness and a pervasive and permanent malaise? Another Reagan?

Well, ya. But such a person does not exist. We can wish all we want that Ronald Reagan was reaching his potential presidency now rather than during the Jimmy Carter era, it won't happen. Reagan's time sadly for us, has passed. Frankly though, Reagan 2.0 isn't actually necessary exactly because Reagan 2.0 does not exist. Instead what we need is Jigsaw Reagan.

Within many different conservative political voices we hear echoes or snippets of things that remind us of what Reagan delivered. Some of it for example, exists in Donald Trump - "Make America Great Again: is an echo of "Ask yourself - are you better off than you were four years ago?" Trump is no Reagan. He's a fraction of Reagan and not all of Trump's ideas match Reagan's vision for America. But some parts do. Some ideas we need are indeed espoused by Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and others. The point is that between many people in the Republican field and the Tea Party and libertarians and others the Jigsaw puzzle of Ronald Reagan exists. We can select the pieces of the puzzle we need and discard the rest - even with a Trump presidency; with others to hold him accountable we can eschew the fragments we do not need and keep the parts of Trump's platform that we do need.

The NeverTrump crowd might argue that's a dangerous gamble but the bigger, more deadly gamble for America is Hillary Clinton. She's not a piece of jigsaw Reagan. She is so anathema to a Reagan vision for America, she's like throwing gasoline on the puzzle pieces and lighting a match. She's jigsaw Obama. That is the choice that is now in front of America put anywhere from 1-10 puzzle pieces of Reagan together, or set the puzzle on fire and forget that Reagan presidency altogether. In fact, never mind the Reagan vision, you can just forget the whole country. Trump is not ideal, but Clinton is poison. The longer you wait to acknowledge that fact the closer and faster America progresses towards that cliff edge. Changing your mind in late October may be too late, the damage to Trump's imperfect candidacy will be done. Sadly, you have an imperfect choice ahead, but that makes it no less critical that you choose wisely for the sake of the country. Hopefully a jigsaw Reagan analogy provides a little hope that the right piece of the puzzle is still in play even though it's not the whole puzzle.

Friday Musical Interlude - Photograph

Ringo Starr's song Photograph from 1973. In case you haven't figured out this months theme for Friday Musical Interlude, I'd guess you're under 15 years old.

August 18, 2016

Thursday Hillary Bash - Clinton Cash movie

Please, please, please show this movie to your Clinton-supporting friends.

August 16, 2016

PA Democratic Attorney General Convicted

Ironically she was elected as an outsider who was going to shake up the status quo.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's attorney general announced Tuesday that she was resigning amid pressure from the governor and lawmakers a day after she was convicted of abusing the powers of the state's top law enforcement office to smear a rival and lying under oath to cover it up.

Kathleen Kane's office issued a short statement saying she would resign at the end of the workday Wednesday.

"I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days," Kane said.

On Monday night, a Montgomery County jury convicted Kane of all nine counts against her, including perjury, obstruction and official oppression. Jail time is possible. After hearing days of testimony about petty feuds, political intrigue and "cloak-and-dagger" machinations, Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy ordered Kane to surrender her passport and threatened to jail her if she retaliated against the once-trusted aides who testified against her.
This development is an opportunity for Trump in the state if he's smart about it.

CUT the mic!

A compilation if CNN and MSNBC cutting off guests. microphones to protect Hillary Clinton regarding Donald Trump. Forget Donald Trump, this is what Republicans are up against daily.

August 15, 2016

Anti-Trump fatigue

This might be a bit ironic given my reminder-to-self yesterday, but I'm feeling a bit politically fatigued having to wade through so much anti-Trump vitriol from both the left and right to try and find something positive about this election cycle. I'm not about to panic and freak out, but I'm definitely feeling discouraged and prone to bouts of Olympics-watching instead of political coverage. I'm sure it will pass but it would definitely be helped along by some changes from Trump himself.

A little background.  I understand from a conservative perspective that Trump is not the ideal candidate for Republicans, conservatives or libertarians.  I get it.  I feel it too.  But I am 100% behind Trump right now for four reasons.

(1) The Supreme Court could see Clinton appoint 1,2 or even 4 Justices. The last Clinton to make appointments resulted in Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer - both reliable progressive liberal votes.  The court stands in the crux of becoming potentially reliably liberal for decades.  This would render the Constitution meaningless since liberals tend to view the document as always malleable to their current notions.  That alone should send shivers down the spine of those opposed to an American fiefdom of uber-connected and indentured servitude of the remainder of the population. And if you worry about the second amendment, Trump is right - 20 years from now that could be treated in a remarkably different way.

(2) The economy.  I'm willing to cast aside offhanded Trump statements about things like the minimum wage because I don't think he believes them.  I think like a liberal that he's been surrounded by for much of his life, he says something to placate those currently listening and he doesn't really believe it.  That's just like Hillary Clinton.  But at a more fundamental level, Trump's reason for running is that America is no longer great.  At his core he believes that taxes, cronyism and trade deals have been focused on helping the few at the expense of the many and/or have been so ill-conceived as to require re-work.  He wants jobs, he wants American exceptionalism and he wants energy independence.  He also wants legal immigration. None of that is wrong.  There's enough positivity in what Trump wants to outweigh the off-the-cuff sarcasm and rally-tally speechifying that is getting stale and provides unnecessary fodder for progressive, slanted journalists. 

(3) The future. Should Clinton win, there will be an entire generation who have never seen Republican leadership and their only instinct as to how conservatives would govern will come from a truly anti-conservative biased media. Do I need to spell out where that will lead America?  Millennials need to see conservatives in action be it populist nationalists like Trump or others within his team (see below) otherwise America will end up with a generation that sees the world as does Bernie Sanders rather than with a Reaganesque view of American exceptionalism.

The sum of those two arguments is basically this: the alternative is too terrible to contemplate. But there's a third reason.

(4) Pence.  Should Donald Trump succeed he's setting up Mike Pence as the next logical GOP nominee.  That would be a truly solid follow up should a Trump presidency prove rocky or erratic. Pence and other advisory roles within team Trump not only could steady his administration, they could become the next cadre of conservative leadership and that is not a bad thing the #NeverTrump crowd seems to be willfully overlooking.  

So that puts us where I stand on why Trump as being an imperfect vessel for a near-perfect conviction (conservatism, American exceptionalism, liberty and economic empowerment and strength).

Which leads me to the fatigue.  Media outlets have done their level best to abrogate any whiff of Clinton shortcomings and nefariously fabricate Trump deficits. They will continue to do so. Trump being Trump will continue to forge ahead as Trump and provide them with material to twist and then overplay as heinous traits.  Obama and Hillary have both telegraphed that intention to the media to run with.

Trying to overcome that as a blogger is like throwing snowballs at a mountain in hopes of knocking it down.  That leads to fatigue even though the alternative is to do nothing and succumb to Hillary's inevitability. Trump needs to overcome something - perhaps not his own style (which will not change) but the media.  Ronald Reagan was able to bypass the media and connect with people.  I'm sure Trump feels he's doing the same.  But he's not Reagan. He needs to allay a lot of fears in order to have any chance to resonate with those fed a steady diet of anti-Trump media rhetoric. He's got to sound wise.  He's got to sound steady and presidential (which REagan did exceptionally well) and he's got to sound credible.  That last one is key.  

Be it at the debates or from speech to speech, he has to start sounding like his agenda will make sense.  Until that time he cannot change the current media narrative and the attacks will continue.  Make no mistake, the media will change the narrative about Trump negativity on a dime if it has to do so, but that still has to happen. One narrative from now to election day will not enable Trump to catch up in the polls.  And the anti-Trump fatigue will likely continue and grow.  I'm not talking about myself here - I'm talking overall.  And as people off-board the Trump train, it will only get harder, so Trump has to do something soon.

August 14, 2016

Sunday Linkaround

A few good reads for Sunday.

Pundit Press provides a brief synopsis of recent devopments in the race for the White House.

Common Cents shares a strong Tump SuperPAC ad.

A few weeks ago I missed a good post from Telemachus reviewing the Obama dismal economic record.

It's Above the Law Week at Legal Insurrection  - a good summary of questionable legality and law enforcement views in the DNC and the Hillary Clinton camp.

Commonsense and Wonder reminds us that Turkey is still marching towards a dictatorship.  Obama is still ignoring it.

The view from Blue Eye, MO and Tablerock Lake (one of the few blogs around with a name ridiculously longer than mine), shares a strong indictment of Hillary Clinton from...Huma Abedin of all people.

Conservative Perspective - the Orwellian dystopia we live in.

Wizbang points out the nose holding among many Clinton voters.  I'd like to add the following observation. Either they are more willing to hold their noses than unhappy conservatives (who seemed more eager to do so for McCain and Romney) and Hillary will indeed win in a landslide and/or it will be one of the lowest election participation rates in history.

PJ Media reminds us of the time Clinton falsely accused Trump of working for ISIS.

The Strata-Sphere had a live update of the primary election to unseat speaker Paul Ryan.  He may be reading a little too negatively into the results re: the populist support for Trump.  Ryan, despite his misgivings about Trump at least did endorse him. Mildly. But more importantly the battle for Ryan's seat, may be just that - specifically the battle for Ryan's seat.  The implications for the White House are much more likely secondary to ensuring the GOP still hold that seat after the election. An untested candidate may create a vulnerability.

Bluegrass Pundit shares the latest Trump ad on Hillary.

Self Evident Truths has an interesting analysis on tailgate driving and the political implications of how people view it.

Defeat Obama Toons shares insights on the DNC Khan job speech.

Bob J's Rants talks about Muslim students walking out on the Australian national anthem.

Fredd says (mockingly) "It's not ransom"

Left Coast Resistance has a funny picture about the Democratic ticket.

Back in July, former conservative and now who-knows-what (sellout?) George Will set out the path ahead for Hillary Clinton. What?  Will correctly points out that America has not elected an angry candidate to be president since Andrew Jackson. That's true.  But if you aren't angry about what distortions Democrats have inflicted on America and its Constitution, are you really a Republican or a conservative.  To eschew Trump for Hillary is to give in on your beliefs.  It's EVEN WORSE than holding your nose and voting for Trump because you are guaranteeing a liberal Supreme Court for a generation which will destroy what remaining threads hold the current reality of America to the Constitution.

Sunday verse

August 12, 2016

August 11, 2016

Thursday Hillary Bash - Clinton Carnage

ClashDaily has a list of 47 suspicious deaths of Clinton associates.  Deaths that have occurred under mostly dubious circumstances.  I've talked about a number of them in the past in my Thursday Hillary Bash but it's important to see all of them compiled in a single list.

I've posted the list below for the purpose of completeness but you can read details about each death at the ClashDaily link above.

Here is the list of all the mysterious deaths involved with the Clinton's associates:

1 – James McDougal
2 – Mary Mahoney
3 – Vince Foster 
4 – Ron Brown 
5 – C. Victor Raiser II and Montgomery Raiser
6 – Paul Tulley
7- Ed Willey
8 – Jerry Parks
9 – James Bunch
10 – James Wilson
11- Kathy Ferguson
12 – Bill Shelton
13 – Gandy Baugh
14 – Florence Martin
15 – Suzanne Coleman
16 – Paula Grober
17 – Danny Casolaro
18 – Paul Wilcher
19 – Jon Parnell Walker
20 – Barbara Wise
21- Charles Meissner
22 – Dr. Stanley Heard
23 – Barry Seal
24 – Johnny Lawhorn Jr.
25 – Stanley Huggins
26- Hershell Friday
27 – Kevin Ives and Don Henry
28 – Keith Coney 
29 – Keith McMaskle
30 – Gregory Collins
31 – Jeff Rhodes
33 – James Milan
34 – Jordan Kettleson
35 – Richard Winters
36 – Major William S. Barkley Jr. 
37 – Captain Scott J. Reynolds 
38 – Sgt. Brian Hanley 
39 – Sgt. Tim Sabel 
40 – Major General William Robertson 
41 – Col. William Densberger 
42 – Col. Robert Kelly 
43 – Spec. Gary Rhodes 
44 – Steve Willis 
45 – Robert Williams 
46 – Conway LeBleu 
47 – Todd McKeehan

August 10, 2016

Assange: WikiLeaks source was from inside the DNC, not Russia

Just go read this.

SNOPES is already denying it's the truth.  SNOPES is often biased and interestingly updated it's page on it today, with no mention of Assange's most recent apparent claim.

Donald Trump did NOT suggest 2nd Amendment voters assassinate Hillary Clinton

This is beyond ridiculous and it shows how far the media and Clinton voters will go to twist the truth or distort the obvious in order to steer the election to Hillary Clinton.

If you are a second amendment supporter you know that it meant to get out and vote in numbers to stop Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency.  That's how I took it.

Look at the sentence that precedes it - if she gets elected and gets to appoint judges there's nothing you can do.  Well, yes there is - make sure she doesn't get elected.  The second amendment comment was to single out that voting block.

If you are a Clinton supporter, stop lying to yourself and others. At a minimum you are guilty of a confirmation bias.  I'm sure you assume Trump is so beatable that any other Trump pronouncement should be enough to tank his chances of winning.  If you need to lie to win, look in the damn mirror and ask yourself who you are as a person.

Point of clarification on my blog

Writing for a primarily America audience from Canada sometimes poses a few unique challenges. They aren't the types of challenges those in America might expect.  Canadians have access to ABC, NBC and CBS and most to Fox as well.  We have access to many cable channels such as CNN and MSNBC as well, although those are typically optional and require extra fees.  So it's not a matter of access to what is going on in America in an up-to-date way.  As a matter of fact I'm listening to a Rush Limbaugh commercial break on WBEN 930 AM as I write this, so our listening and view can come to us without the overlay of a Canadian filter.

The problems are typically more subtle.  Canada is of course still part of the British Commonwealth - at least nominally.  One result of that is spelling (not pronunciation).  I am keenly aware of most of the variances between English and American spellings ever since my perfect spelling test run in Grade 6 died in week 24 with the spelling of 'favor' instead of 'favour'.  My only mistake that entire year, and one I did not repeat later in the same test with 'labour'. I try to remember my audience when writing here and consequently use American spelling and switch back to Canadian spelling for work and for personal emails etc.  But I'm not above occasionally having spelling errors slip through and I'm sure at some point they have.

This video points out some of the common differences and is an interesting, albeit brief watch. I thought I'd share in case you see any errors in my spelling in the future or in past posts.  As a proper Canadian, I apologize.  Feel free to comment in the comments section and if I see the error, I'm happy to correct it.

I wasn't aware of the British double L in words like fuelling rather than fueling. I've seen both but typically defaulted to the American spelling thanks to devices like Spell Check, which typical software packages include, and are mostly of American origin.

One last note: I find it particularly irksome that Microsoft Office or Windows 8.1 or some other sort of IP policing recognizes my geographic location and changes my keyboard to Canadian English with French options included.  I have to keep an eye out because it can seemingly change mid-sentence or at least vary by window.  So when I'm writing the word it's, it will sometimes come out as itès.  Seriously annoying. 

August 6, 2016

Julian Assange: Hillary's going to end up in jail

Well, this bit from last week was quite interesting.  If what Assange says about the next WikiLeaks release means Hillary Clinton is going to jail, my only question is: WHEN? Because the timing does matter.

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Dominican Republic)

The Dominican Republic: not just a vacation destination.

August 5, 2016

Friday Musical Interlude - Give Me Love

George Harrison's Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) from 1973.

August 4, 2016

Thursday Hillary Bash - In pictures #5

This applies not only to Hillary but the entire Democratic party, nevertheless it's apropos for HRC.

Trump's biggest hurdle is Trump

Despite the media horror show currently underway, Donald Trump can still win the presidency. His biggest stumbling block to doing so, right now, is Donald Trump. There are a few key things he needs to do which I will outline below.  One thing he doesn't need to do, is everything that he's done recently.  Over the past two weeks he's seemingly managed to erase his convention bounce and then some solely through the use of his mouth. 

Luckily he's done it at a time when less people are paying attention - the summer vacation period and the Olympics combine to draw attention elsewhere.  The media however, especially given Trump's convention bounce have shed objectivity or even the appearance of it, in order to tear down Trump while the opportunity exists.  They're now all in for both Trump destruction and GOP destruction (though liberal Democrats feign the latter). 

Trump's team is mad at him for going off script and getting into petty arguments with anyone but Hillary Clinton. Some GOP idiots - including a Republican congressman - are actually endorsing Clinton. For real.  Polls are showing Trump seemingly taking a nosedive nationally as well as in key states. It's not time to panic yet but that time is rapidly approaching.  

Trump needs to right himself and damn quickly or it's game over; a progressive SCOTUS for the next generation and the end of America as it was truly imagined.  Juts being another socialist also-ran nation is America's potential future.  Trump is far from an ideal candidate but at this point he is the only firewall to that outcome.  #NeverTrump people would do well to recognize that.  There is no other next America out there to step up if the United States falls to socialism.  Bits and pieces exist here and there around the globe, but no complete package.  That's also important to remember. This is it - America either succeeds with Trump as a stopgap measure or it succumbs to full on Obama-Sanders-Clinton socialist visions and slumps into perpetual mediocrity.

Yet there are things that are important for Trump to remember as well. Hillary Clinton is very beatable. She's a seriously flawed candidate with issues that can be hammered on - corruption, bad decision-making, selfishness, weak and socialism are a but a few of her shortcomings.  Today she even insisted (likely accidentally) she would raise taxes on the middle class, to boisterous applause no less. Despite those flaws, Trump has to remember a few common sense items if he expects to win.

(1) Stick to the damn script.  Or else shut your month. This is no longer the primary campaign.  He needs to be on point, not a rambling buffoon susceptible to media twists or outright quoting of him to paint him as an idiot. It's going to happen anyway, but why arm the liberal media with more ammunition before they go to battle with you?

(2) Stick to the main target - Hillary Clinton.  Anyone else who attacks him is not worth his attention - don't fall for the bait. If you lose focus you do not seem presidential. Period.

(3) Project a positive message about America's future.  Contrast it with past 8 years, sure, but people fundamentally want to connect. It's a human need. Connecting to anger has already engaged those for whom that approach will work.  All the other people in the country need to have something positive to relate to and to hope for as an outcome.  Feed them that. How will Trump create jobs?  What kind of jobs? How will he erase America's energy dependence and what does that mean for America?  How will he lower taxes and reinvigorate a depleted military? Those visions have a lot of room to connect with voters.  

(4) Get a ground game.  Get out the vote will be important in November. Without it, it's still game over.

(5) Get in synch with the GOP - don't sell out, but focus on the common goals, the common ground and stop making it seem the party is in disarray.  If Trump is to be the CEO of America, he's got to get everyone within his own party marching in the same direction.  If he can't then he's not the leader he claims to be.  Good leaders 

(6) Elevate his game.  He's still talking to his base and lacking in substance in many ways. That has to change to broaden his appeal. Trump has seemingly operated under the premise that voters will only react to a tenth grade dialogue. Give voters some credit that they have more sophistication than you seem to think they have.  Talking down to voters clearly will be harmful long term (i.e. beyond the primaries).

(7) Prepare for the debates.  This is mission critical stuff. My guess is that the first debate might get the highest all time viewer ratings as people will want to see a train wreck and/or the 'historic' first female candidate in action.  This is a huuuuuuge opportunity. He has to decimate Hillary in those debates to have a chance.  He cannot fall back on "we'll have the best people".  He has to be able to trap Hillary in contradictions and avoid falling into them himself. He has to make himself look informed and knowledgeable.  And presidential.  That will be his big opportunity.  The only way to do that is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

(8) Focus efforts.  Develop a pathway for electoral college victory (or a few possibilities) and stick to the plan.  There are a few key swing states that present a few pathways.  Hillary Clinton is poised to out-raise Trump in campaign contributions.  He has to therefore be smarter and more deliberately targeted and messaged than her in his advertising.  

This is not the minor leagues.  Trump is still using a defeat 16 approach to defeating just one. It ain't gonna work. It's time to step up, listen to his advisers and change or at least temper his approach with some common sense.  A new dynamic is great, but some things still do not change.  Will Trump adjust like he needs to do? If he doesn't he was never the Make America Great candidate he claims to be - greatness requires the ability to be flexible and adjust tactics to serve the strategies.  So far Trump has not shown the inclination to do so substantially enough, and time is ticking.

Thursday Hillary Bash - outsourced again

Larry O'Connor over at HotAir had a great piece on Monday concerning Hillary Clinton's multitude of lies in her Sunday interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace.  It's so good, I've decided to link back to it and I urge you to go read it. I'm outsourcing I know, but this is worth it.

The volume of lies in just that single encounter is truly disturbing and instructive of her broader pattern of falsehood behavior.

August 3, 2016

Thursday Hillary Bash one day early

Courtesy of Breitbart, a bonus Thursday Hillary bash, on Wednesday. The regularly scheduled Thursday Hillary Bash tomorrow will occur on time.

August 2, 2016

Trump Tuesday

I'm going to begin a new feature from now through November in hopes of helping in what modest way I can, to (1) defeat Hillary Clinton and a future liberal SCOTUS that will destroy America and (2) elect Donald Trump along with a team of conservatives that will re-shape government and shake up a lethargic, seemingly disinterested GOP into becoming more responsive to the American people.

Trump is an imperfect messenger for the latter message, and an imperfect candidate.  But make no mistake, the choice is between pretty good and dreadful this election, and that choice should be a no-brainer.
I'm going to start by simply sharing a post earlier this week from Hugh Hewitt that bears a read:
...That restraint will be gone when HRC's first appointee is sworn in. Finished.

This is not hyperbole. I have the advantage of having taught Con Law for 20 years, of having argued before very liberal appellate judges like Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the very liberal Ninth Circuit, of practicing with the best litigators in the land, and I know what a very liberal SCOTUS means: conservatism is done. It cannot survive a strong-willed liberal majority on the Supreme Court. Every issue, EVERY issue, will end up there, and the legislatures' judgments will matter not a bit.
I urge you to read the entire thing, as Hewitt makes the case against Clinton but also for Trump that many really need to consider.

August 1, 2016

America's biggest weapon and why Trump needs to win.

America's biggest weapon is oil.  America is on the cusp of having the ability to become energy independent, which would dramatically help the national trade imbalance.  But the potential of America becoming a net exporter of oil has incredible geo-political implications and it's one of the biggest reasons that America needs Donald Trump to win the presidency later this year.

Let's start with the situation.  Oil prices have remained low despite Saudi Arabia's attempt to create a supply glut and drive new and developing production out of the marketplace, thus restoring their oil hegemony and dominance.  Once that occurred they could then re-establish a price of their choosing.

The funny thing is, those bankruptcies and closures didn't exactly happen:
Opec's worst fears are coming true. Twenty months after Saudi Arabia took the fateful decision to flood world markets with oil, it has still failed to break the back of the US shale industry.

The Saudi-led Gulf states have certainly succeeded in killing off a string of global mega-projects in deep waters. Investment in upstream exploration from 2014 to 2020 will be $1.8 trillion less than previously assumed, according to consultants IHS. But this is a bitter victory at best.

North America's hydraulic frackers are cutting costs so fast that most can now produce at prices far below levels needed to fund the Saudi welfare state and its military machine, or to cover Opec budget deficits.
It's not about the number of rigs in production, it's about the incredible increase in productivity of the rigs that do exist.

What this means worldwide is an incredible opportunity for America that goes well beyond trade.   It means economic muscle that stretches beyond OPEC regimes all the way to Russia and China and their belligerent agendas.

Firstly, unfriendly Middle Eastern nations will struggle despite the fact that oil prices will rise again in a few years;
...This sets the stage for an oil shortage and a price spike later this decade. Whether Opec can survive that long is an open question. Most of the cartel need prices of $100 to fund their regimes.

Venezuela is already in the grip of hyperinflation and food riots. Nigeria's currency peg was smashed last month, and the naira has fallen 60pc. Angola has turned to the International Monetary Fund, Azerbaijan to the World Bank.
But where this really matters is in Russia and China. Russia's aggressiveness will necessarily be curtailed while oil prices remain low as that is their primary economic driver. Less money means less ability to invade the Ukraine. The threat of cutting off Europe can be offset by cheap production from America, a supply glut, and Middle Eastern countries desperate to peddle their product as American oil production better satisfies domestic demand and they have to find new buyers.

Similarly an expansionist China will face a renewed America not so economically anemic. The failing oil markets might create alternate markets for production besides cheap Chinese labor. Weakening China's economic clout which they are clearly abusing.

This is where a Trump victory in November becomes so important. Hillary Clinton speaks green because her base wants here to do so. Winning Sanders' voters' hearts and minds means having to kowtow to every anti-business group she can, including environmentalists, anti-frackers and the solar crowd. She'll put coal miners out of work, she's said. Coal is not oil, but the premise is the same - power your world with rainbows. Meanwhile that enables OPEC. It enables Russia and China. It keeps America weak and dependent on foreign oil. But with magically free health care and tuition. There is no upside, only suicide on a national level. Should she win, four more years of an anemic economy, an anemic America are a certainty. The only thing not certain is the future time of death for America. Donald Trump on the other hand gets this, if nothing else - a strong economy means a strong America, a wealthy America means a safer world. That alone is enough to require a Trump victory
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