February 28, 2017

Rumors abound about Trump congressional address

Apparently president Trump is going to be calling for a $50 billion hike in defense spending and a 37% cut in the NSA budget. Or so rumor has it.  Tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, he will address congress, and it will be televised.  

Speculation without a real credible leak (something the mainstream media has been struggling to create an image of themselves having), is pointless. What president Trump has to say, he will say tonight. I'm sure many people will be watching and hear for themselves, unfiltered, what his unofficial State of the Union will contain.

Back when Fox was banned by Obama

A good call-back to when then president Obama trying to cull Fox News from the media herd.  Now CNN is being treated the same way by the Trump administration. It's not exactly a tit-for-tat response, but the hypocrisy of the faux (or real) outrage, is cast in a truer light when you have all of the facts at hand.

Democrats Terminated?

Yesterday I was writing about how three stories showed how the liberal media was empowering president Trump to further victories, the day before, Brandon J. Weichert had a piece that took the view that the Democrats are facing permanent doom one step further;
Truth is, notwithstanding the “days of rage” the Left has been living out since Trump’s election, it’s been clear that the Democratic Party’s leadership grasped it could not maintain its high dudgeon for another two years (especially not with 25 Democrat-controlled Senate seats up for grabs in the 2018 midterms). After nearly four months of protests, public vitriol, and personal attacks directed against Republicans, the Democratic leadership has chosen a run-of-the-mill Democrat to lead them.

Perez is no moderate. He is a conventional liberal. So, while it is unlikely that one will get a Scoop Jackson-type of Democrat to moderate the influences of the manic Leftist base, one can expect a more programmatic, less populist version of Leftism on display. The Democrats are shaping up to nominate a Joe Biden-type in 2020 (possibly with Elizabeth Warren as the running mate, in order to satisfy the base).

But, barring some catastrophic event in the Trump presidency, this tactic will not work. Elements of the Left recognize that populism has taken hold in the country. However, they cannot bring themselves to understand that the explosion of populism is far more likely to benefit the Right than the Left.
He's not wrong and as a conservative, I'd say it's definitely a feel-good read. He argues that the Democrats in large have not understood the populism shift (in a larger view, the need to fix a system that has stopped working properly). He argues that they are left without labor (whom Trump has co-opted) and by selecting an insider they've cast aside their new core of socialists and are left with nothing. He may be right as far as 2018 and 2020 are concerned. To whom do Democrats have appeal left? Racial groups? Women? That didn't work in 2016.

But it's too easy to suggest that Democrats are done forever, especially because of a DNC leadership selection. While the new leader matters directionally, and it indicates that Democrats are sticking with the insider party elite, it doesn't follow, ipso facto to permanent minority status for Democrats. Five years ago people were saying that about Republicans but like Terminators, we knew that wasn't going to be the case. Insider elites can raise a lot of money. And while it didn't work for Hillary Clinton, that doesn't mean it can't ever work again. Money is still power, but it requires a voice that resonates. Someday Democrats will have that again. I hope it takes decades. In fact a successful Trump presidency means it could take many decades just like the FDR new deal is still the paradigm that governs government. I like what Brandon J. Weichert has to say. I just am skeptical. A decade in the wilderness will do that to you.

February 27, 2017

Good reads, tied together

There's a good article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly about Trump's electoral victory in 2016, that is free from bias and looks at the reasons behind his win - without vitriol or victorious glee.  It's definitely worth a read, and one of three articles today that actually tie together in a visceral way.
...He was an affable Muslim immigrant from Pakistan who appeared to be in his 50s. He’d been in America for nearly 30 years, raised his family here, and told a heart-wrenching story about being ostracized by his factory co-workers after Sept. 11 because of his religion. He moved on and started his own company and was now facing anxiety over a recently diagnosed medical condition.

“So who are you going to vote for?” I asked as a courtesy, convinced that I already knew the answer.

“Donald J. Trump,” he responded, to my surprise.
Some details on the Obama-media cabal in an interesting article at the less-than-pro-Trump Weekly Standard.
...Paired with that of her former officemate, Ned Price, Ahmed's story pushes the message that Trump is so bad that gifted public servants are resigning from their positions. The Washington Post story from late January incorrectly reporting that the mass exodus of senior officials from the State Department was unique to the Trump White House, rather than the normal bureaucratic turnover that greets every new administration, touched on the same narrative. In this case, it seems that Ahmed applied for a post only in order to resign from it, after collecting a paycheck for four days. Thus, U.S. taxpayers covered research expenses for an Atlantic story.

...But this is no longer simply about bias. Large parts of the press have willingly become instruments in a campaign of political warfare. This, as Rhodes told the New York Times Magazine, was the purpose of the echo chamber. "I'd prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote," Rhodes explained. "But that's impossible."

The damage that the echo chamber has done to the public sphere is part of Obama's legacy—and, many contend, part of the reason for Trump's success. Payback is why the Trump White House banned the Times, CNN and several other major news organizations from a press briefing Friday.
Even American Spectator is talking about how president Trump gets it and how the liberal media cabal is shooting itself in the foot while handing president Trump his next victory in 2020.
President Trump’s fearless, effective handling of the liberal media redounds to his benefit in a manner never seen before in Republican politics.

He’s the first Republican president who responds immediately to biased reporting and doesn’t let a single charge go by unrefuted. He is totally unafraid of being combative and confrontational. He has empowered and emboldened his advisors and spokespeople, like Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus -- to act likewise, with effective results. For the first time, conservatives are not shouting at the TV out of frustration, “You should have said....” Now, the Trump administration says it.

President Trump makes liberal reporters with their all-too-obvious gotcha agendas look ridiculous. He shines the light of illegitimacy and bias on them for the entire world to see. “Fake News” is now part of the national lexicon. The more the liberal MSM try to deny it, the more they implicate themselves.
Taken alone each of these articles provide insight, but taken together, they provide a narrative that's pretty easy to follow.  Donald Trump won the presidency despite the media constantly vilifying him.  He won because people understand that the system needs fixing and he promised to fix it for the benefit of Americans.  The media are the same insiders from Democrat (and to a lesser extent, Republican) party elites.  They are mutually invested in the status quo and are engaged in an effort to maintain it by discrediting Trump.  It continues not to work for them and in fact is having the opposite effect of what they seek.  Despite Trump's lower than expected honeymoon period approval ratings, he has set himself up for success with the core issue of draining the swamp, eliminating the waste and putting American workers ahead of a (either perceived or real) globalist agenda. I previously stated Trump's presidency is not a day-to-day scoreboard.  As long as smart Democrats don't get heard, Trump's temporary lower approval will change dramatically over the next four years, in his favor.

Trump budget, delivering on what matters

I haven't seen any of president Trump's budget being sent to congress but from the sound of it, it's big on defense spending and big on cuts in other departments.  If so it will be delivered as promised.
...What matters to voters outside that bubble is substance — the actual policies, and the reality of having a president who works to keep campaign promises.

Team Trump understands that better than the media and Beltway do, at least in these first few weeks. The process stories need to get under better control to keep from presenting too much of a distraction, but the substance will overshadow process if Trump can deliver on it. That’s why CPAC turned into a love fest this past week — not because conservatives have surrendered to Trumpism, but because Trump is delivering substantively on the conservative agenda.
If Trump delivers jobs, a solid economy, and quality GDP growth it's not going to stop the protests, the media bashing or liberal opinion. But those things will matter far, far less than they already do, as fewer and fewer people listen to a militant few.

Oscar flub was political

Before I start on this, in case you didn't see it, here's some coverage of what happened.

Obviously it was a flub, right?  Well, probably.  But it also could have been a perverse political statement about equal rights (a film about an African American won after last year's blow up about the Academy Awards being too white), and more importantly, the idea that it's okay to have a do-over.  You make your mistake, you fix it, and you move on.  Like they want to do for president Trump.  It's no secret that 97% of Hollywood detests president Trump.  So could it have been a political statement? Yes.  And even if it wasn't, wait for some 'genius' in Hollywood to come up with the notion that everyone deserves a do-over, even America. And maybe in a way, Hollywood was also asking African Americans if they can have a do over for being too white.

On the other hand, many people watching it are going to think, "if Hollywood can't even get their own 12th pat on the back award show of the season correct, why would we care about anything that they have to say"?

February 26, 2017

February 25, 2017

Saturday Learning Series - Eric Voegelin

Philosopher Eric Voegelin, a critic of socialism, discusses language and in the second video, socialism and communism.

February 24, 2017

Friday Musical Interlude - Samba Bossa Nova

Samba Bossa Nova? I am apparently feeling mellow this year.

February 23, 2017

Project Veritas releases CNN tape leak

This could be the exposé that ruins CNN. But they need your help combing through all of it.

February 22, 2017

Apocalypse Not

Today on his show Rush Limbaugh started off talking about how people are getting weary (not distraught or worried) of the left daily onslaught of apocalyptic doom on display from the left as things pertain to the Trump presidency.  It's a good thing if it's correct and it dovetails well with my latest post about conservatives ignoring it, not scoreboard watching, and allowing ourselves to focus on the long game of changing the ingrained progressive system that needs to be upended.

Rush went on to talk about how their Apocalyptic screaming about the end of the world because Trump is starting to fall on deaf ears.  They're doing this to themselves.  They are alienating people to the point that Democrats are asking their supporters to stop talking about impeachment. But clearly many have not read the memo.  It's not going to happen.  The Democrats no longer control the beast they have created.  The beast of progressive malcontents is beyond the agenda of Democrats and finally at the point of having it's own socialist agenda. The Democrats agenda is rooted not in socialism but in power - socialism strongly enables that outcome, and it's the only reason they act like socialists; it's a vehicle to authoritarianism.

President Trump is not ushering in an Apocalypse unless your goal is a socialist America.  When the Apocalypse as the left sees it, fails to materialize the Democrats will crater as a party.  They have empowered the ultra-progressive wing of their party and the moderates have fled to the Republican party. They can win back some of those supporters but only at the risk of losing the progressive wing of the party and a large voting block of their current core support.  Their only hope is continued massive immigration and identity politics - African Americans, Hispanics, women and unions.  If president Trump can truly engage African Americans to the point where Republicans can one day garner 30%, 40%, 50% of that community in the future, it really is game over for Democrats.  Post Trump, and even during a Trump presidency, there's no reason Republicans cannot engage Hispanics and get them onboard with a conservative agenda.

That's the real apocalypse.  Some Democrats have seen that already; it's an Apocalypse Not for the country, but a real apocalypse for the Democratic party.  I'm hoping those who get it, get drown out by the hysteria.

Trump presidency is not a day-to-day scoreboard

Monday I posted about the perils of disengagement and then promptly followed it up yesterday by not posting anything.  Oops.  I haven't been thinking much about the day-to-day ups and downs of the Trump presidency to be honest.  It's not that I'm disinterested or no longer have thoughts on that, but rather, I believe things have generally started moving in the right direction and away from a national suicide that Democrats (a.k.a. socialists) have been pushing or trying to push the nation in for the better part of 7 decades. In that light, watching a day to day scoreboard on president Trump is not only going to imbue conservatives with a depressed enthusiasm, it sews the seeds for continued long term defeat because we are focused on minutiae rather than the big picture.

President Reagan reversed course on it in highly successful fashion and president Trump will ultimately do the same during his tenure.  But day in and day out, with a radically hostile media (both the press and Hollywood) it's not going to be a pretty ride.  The fact that there is so much corruption and things requiring overhauling it was going to be a bumpy ride anyway.  But the culture war has been ratcheted up to 11 by the left and Donald Trump's successes will be ugly at best.  I don't care frankly.  Winning ugly is still winning.

President Trump deserves the patience of those who supported him because it's just not possible to get a win every day of his tenure. Much of what he accomplishes will take time and those who voted for him will, for the most part, understand that.  As long as the compass is pointed in the right direction, things will resolve well for America.  

All that said, it does not mean that I am turning my back on commenting on the day to day happenings as they transpire.  However, the election has allowed us on the right to be freed up from that i9n large part to concentrate on bigger picture items - like how to win the culture war in which we are being soundly thrashed by the left and their twin cudgels of the public education system and the mainstream media (near) monopoly.

We cannot win the future if we have teachers force-feeding students rants on assassinating president Trump, global warming hyperbole, anti-vaccination tripe, and literal garbage about which bathrooms people should be allowed to use.  Those things cannot replace math, science, civics, grammar, spelling, geography and history - or rather, should not replace those things.    Liberals will argue they are simply augmenting those things, but global warming inserted into educational doctrine is not augmenting but twisting the learning process towards a specific agenda.

Progressive liberals view education as a highly necessary tool in winning the culture war.  Centralized education further enables them to control the agenda on learning indoctrination.  This is what we have been given breathing room to think about.  Conservatives no longer need to be reactive to an Obama agenda, but rather we have time to be forward thinking on issues like this.  The stealth win for conservatives might be the Betsy DeVos appointment by president Trump.  Time will tell if she lives up to the progressive liberal panic, but let's hope she does.  But the process of contravening a liberal indoctrination culture will require more than one person, one presidency and one term.  It's going to take an ongoing effort and an institutional foundation and a systemic repeatable approach that requires constant vigilance and upkeep.

Then there's the mainstream media.  There's no FCC appointment or Executive Order that will change the mainstream media from collective far left groupthink. This will require more thought and with millions of conservative bloggers, I believe it's the type of problem we should devote some of our brainpower towards solving.  We need to get out in front of the mainstream media and find ways to bypass or subvert their stranglehold on what's considered acceptable and right in Western culture.  This is a long term problem requiring a long term sustainable solution.  In the short term we need to ensure that we continue to dilute their distortions on every issue and every move by president Trump, yes.  There's venues for that like Fox News or Drudge, or Breitbart. There's also of course conservative bloggers who can continue to shine a light on the treacherous nature of a highly partisan media.  But let's not only fight the short term battles; let's think longer term and try to create a foundation for sustained common sense.

February 20, 2017


Now that we have a Republican congress and senate, along with a Republican president and an overwhelming majority of Republican statehouse and state legislatures, you'd think complacency would be okay for a bit.  From a conservative voter perspective, we were probably all hoping for a set it and forget it government. President Trump and Congress would obliterate all resistance and do what they are expected to do.  As people, conservative voters could get on with their lives, and as far as governance goes, a benign disengagement would be perfectly fine.

Sadly not so for a number of reasons.  The left is as shrill and outlandishly ridiculous as they have ever been.  The left, consisting of Democrats, protesters and a violently hostile media with no pretense of objectivity or rationality left, are one reason that disengagement is not an option.  Another reason is the Republicans.  Now with a president Trump, the issue is not the same as if there were a president McCain or Romney or Jeb Bush.  They're way too middle of the road to preside over a Gorsuch nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy.  The SCOTUS would be just as likely to end up with a Stevens 2.0 as an Alito 2.0, probably more likely in fact.  Trump has stayed true to his word on the campaign trail so far.  Free Trade aside (and arguably he's not turned his back on real free trade at all), conservatives should be thrilled with the presidency and disengaged not from politics but perhaps just from the mainstream media.  

But there is the Senate.  There's still a John McCain, and Lindsey Graham.  There's still a Murkowski.  There's a lot of softness and that alone makes the set-it-and-forget-it conservative dream era not currently possible.  As voters and potential town hall participants it's important to keep their feet to the fire and not allow them to go squishy or else face being primaried in their next election cycle.  In fact, the looming 2018 midterms present a powerful opportunity for the GOP to truly consolidate their hold on power and winning a filibuster-proof majority is a high priority.  In order to get their the president and the Republicans in congress must have a track record of successfully delivering on promises and priorities.  To do that, voters have a responsibility to keep their REpublican representatives on script rather than going rogue and messing things up.

Disengagement?  Not an option, not now, not ever.  Not for conservative voters, not for Trump supporters.  The left, like rust, never sleeps, so neither can conservatives.

February 19, 2017

February 18, 2017

February 17, 2017

February 16, 2017

Monopolies are bad. So what about government?

I've been carping about monopolies and oligopolies off and on for years.  They harm the economy in so many ways; reducing competition and innovation, encourage crony capitalism, ferment inefficiency, kill jobs, cause price increases and become expansive to the point of being able to squash new competition before it has a chance to grow and offer alternatives to consumers.

Yesterday Bloomberg had a story lamenting the same problem, and it's worth a read.  Not surprisingly the article points out that government has a role to play in resisting concentration in the hands of a few power players.  While the article hurriedly dismisses it in the following paragraph, there's still real truth in this part;
Regulation can increase monopoly power by raising barriers to entry. If a new startup has to wade through oceans of red tape, pay millions of dollars in compliance costs and develop a whole regulatory compliance infrastructure just to start to be able to compete in a market, it gives the big established players a huge and enduring advantage. Big companies are able to bear the cost of regulation much better than small ones. If it turns out that regulation is a central reason behind increased market concentration, I’ll have to become much more libertarian.
Truthfully there are a lot of reasons for monopolies developing. Government regulation and inaction are only part of the problem, but they are part of the problem. When a government can fine a Financial Institution billions of dollars for ethical mistakes or misdeeds, there's an incentive for government to allow those entities to continue to exist as cash cows for government coffers. Fining hundreds of smaller banks for the same issue is less technically feasible and obviously less lucrative for government.

Progressive liberals throw around words like corporate welfare haphazardly because they view big business as antithetical to a better life for the little guy. The problem with monopolies does indeed cause problems for regular people, as I've mentioned above. It's easy for a monopoly to offshore jobs and still sell in America and the government has done little to stop it because the sales are still there and therefore the tax revenue.

But if that's the case, if monopolistic or oligopolistic power, as it centralizes and hardens is problematic for big business, why do those progressives not see the same issue with big government, which has pretty much unfetter monopolistic power? Not only can it dictate in markets that it is involved in (see Obamacare) it can rewrite the rules at will. It's not just a player, it's the referee. That's doubly dangerous and as Ronald Reagan said government is not the solution to the problem, government IS the problem.  As government continues to erode freedoms many people continue to invest their belief in it as the solution to their problems.  

Unlike the private sector in government the solution is simple - smaller government, leaner with less authority and more power in the hands of the states offers more choice for people on how to be governed.  Don't like your state government and think they're doing a bad job?  Move to another state that's doing a good job.  There are 49 alternatives and if a state's doing a bad job they still have to compete with others for populace.  So it's in their best interest to get it right.  Despite the weeping from Trump's win, you don't see celebrities fleeing to Canada and Norway and New Zealand. It's easier to move to Arizona or Texas or California where their governance might better suit your personal style.  The federal government if it isn't pared back, will implode in time under it's own weight.  Enough voters saw that and it's a big part of why president Trump won the election.

Take a look in the mirror if you're anti-big business and anti-capitalism.  You're complaining about big business power but ignoring much bigger government power in a misguided faith that it will act differently than big business. Everything is driven by self interest; government is no different. You are on a path to cede all of your power to a central state that dictates everything, including how, when and if you vote.  That's not freedom that's a recipe for servitude.  

February 15, 2017

If you think shelving Obamacare is lost, check this out

Today Politico is reporting there's discord among Republicans looking to repeal Obamacare and it's repeal is in doubt.  That's not actually right. While president Trump will likely have to draw a line in the sand or possibly demand a specific approach, it's still going to happen.

President Trump meanwhile is not standing still and his Executive Order is already going to make a difference at the grassroots level.  Via Reason;
Following President Donald Trump's executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health law, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be taking a more lax approach to the coverage requirement.

The health law's individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a "shared responsibility payment." The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled "silent returns" and rejected.

Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.
That is truly not a small thing, if word about that gets out. You do not have to declare on your tax return. That effectively renders the mandate dead. And that in turn cripples Obamacare. So tell your friends. If Congress isn't working on it fast enough, with tax season just around the corner, you can make a difference almost immediately.

L.A. Times - Beyonce loss to Adele was (wait for it) racism

It couldn't possibly be that Adele's album was better than Beyonce's.  Nope.  HAD to be racism. Had to be.
Beyoncé and Adele went head-to-head four times at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night. Both were nominated for album of the year, song of the year, record of the year, and best pop solo performance. In every category, Adele was awarded the Grammy. Every time, Beyoncé, the peerless pop music icon of our time, was told she came in second at best.

This should be a shock. While Adele’s singular voice, talent, and devotion to her craft are undeniable, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” was as complete an artistic statement as we have seen in our fractured pop moment — a one-of-a-kind visual album comprised of genre-crossing track after track, conceived and produced on a scale unrivaled by any artist, living or dead. It was also a pitch-perfect rallying cry for black women to get in formation, their allies behind them, and forge a way forward despite the human imperfections of the men in their lives.

And yet, sadly, it isn’t. Unequaled artists have long bumped up against the glass ceiling that awards shows impose on black excellence.
Bam. Racism.   To have to explain to some Beyoncé fan-boy or maybe a deluded Black Lives Matter activist that art is subject seems like a waste of time but thatès where we are at as a society.  So here it goes.

A lot of people who have deserved more recognition at the Grammy Awards never got it.  I'll admit I am not much of a fan of Beyoncé. I think she's a pale shadow of a Diana Ross or a Nina Simone (as examples). Yes she has talent, so does Adele (whom I am also only lukewarm on by the way).  A lot of people never get their due, stars and regular people alike. Additionally, Beyoncé is no starving artist.  I'm sure she can console herself with millions of dollars in sales, or just maybe the 22 other Grammy Awards she has won.

Maybe this was just Adele's year.  Maybe she won each Grammy by a squeaky single vote ahead of Beyoncé.  Nope.  Had to be racism. I'm a fan of Stevie Nicks. In 1981 her album Bella Donna one of the best albums I've ever heard, lost to Pat Benatar. The album wasn't even nominated in the category.  Stevie Nicks has never won a Grammy as a solo artist.  Anyone who tells me that Beyoncé is 22 or more times better than Stevie Nicks will have a fight on their hands.  Musical taste is subjective, always was and always will be. 1982 was when I decided that the Grammy's were irrelevant and stopped caring.

What a waste of LA Times article space.  

Democrats: the party of No.

Own it Democrats. You've stood as a solid (but failing) blue line against every president Trump nominee, often with nothing other than Trump as the reason. The motivation is as crystal clear as the line in the sand itself.  Consequences-be-damned Democrats will rue this approach when the time comes, be that 2018, 2020 or 2024.  They've set a precedent that blanket opposition is acceptable.  When the time comes, it will be returned in kind and they will only have themselves to blame. What comes around goes around.
...nearly all of Trump’s nominees are running into a brick wall with the party of the donkey.

And for what reason? Trump is not appointing a band of brigands with criminal records or friends and donors with no experience in their respective fields. What was the opposition to Mnuchin? The man spent a lifetime working in the financial sector and dealing with the economy. One might suspect that this is a rap sheet which would be desirable at Treasury. The other nominees follow a similar pattern. No, the Democrats are only opposing these nominees because the perspective they bring to the job is in line with the winner of the presidential election. While there has been some sporadic resistance by Republicans to a few Democratic nominees in the past, we’ve never seen anything like this.

Now liberals might say the GOP was previously the party of 'no'.  Maybe to an extent there's a little bit of truth to that, but not to the extent it was portrayed in the media and not nearly to the extent Democrats are doing now out of pure petulance.

Note to Senate Republicans, if you don't have a spine yet, grow one (fast).  This ain't little league ball as much as you might want to pretend it still is. We need senators with spine, now especially.

February 14, 2017

David duke endorses...Keith Ellison

This is Rich.  I can't wait for The New Yorker, The Washington Post etc. to claim Ellison is clearly unfit to lead the DNC because of his relationship to former Klan leader David Duke. I won't hold my breath that CNN will mention it.

A final thought on the Flynn fallout

This isn't directly related to Mike Flynn's resignation, but here's an interesting observation.  The Trump administration opened up the White House press briefings to Skype media who did not have credentials and the White House briefing room was too confined to add additional credentials.  

That was brilliant.  Here's why.

Firstly, credentialled elitist media could not argue against it lest they be perceived as well, elitist.  In the ripples of a Trump win and their own blown predictions, that would not be good.  They had to applaud a more open and inclusive communication environment, what choice did they have?

But that's not the genius of it.

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh just now and he was live broadcasting the latest press conference by Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer.  After a couple of questions, Spicer went to a Skype inquiry from Las Vegas.  The question asked was about jobs and Las Vegas.  What an easy way they have given themselves to control the flow of the press conferences.  It's brilliant.  Spicer can then steer the conversation if and when he decides to do so and to do so on talking points he wants to cover.


Just saw this in Politico, in an article about media versus media on Trump:
...AP reporter Julie Pace "asked me if the administration had told me beforehand not to ask about Mike Flynn, which they didn't. She was clearly agitated that I hadn't asked the question she wanted answered,” said Daily Caller White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. “That idea is laughable to me. I found out [quite literally] a minute before the press conference that I would get a question.”
They're apoplectic. Wonderful.

Gut reaction to Flynn isn't our best option

Senator Lindsey Graham and others in Congress have argued that there should be investigations into the reasons behind Mike Flynn's resignation as national security advisor.  What did he do and what did the president know are the howlings from Democrats, but Republicans too?  Your gut reaction might be "let's primary these tools who go after our own side unlike they would go after Democrats."

That's not a bad gut reaction.  Senators like Graham (or John Cornyn or John McCain) are not true conservatives and arguably not even Republicans.  They should be replaced with more conservative representatives.  But consider this.

It's not going to be a big deal in the long run. CNN is hyping it up but it really is small potatoes. In time this will be a non-story.  And these Senators actually can serve a purpose in the short term.  If Republicans hold the hearings they control the outcome and Flynn will ultimately be exonerated. The same is true for Trump. Sure Democrats will say the investigation was rigged.  So what?  They rig things all the time and we know it. It's time Republicans fight Democrats using the same rules they fight by rather than with white gloves and one armed tied behind their back.

A better gut reaction?  Go after Democrats who are asking Nixonian questions with the fervor that they are going after Trump.  Bully them back. Take them down. Remove their ability to cry dishonesty/beholden officials/whatever, by finding the skeletons in their closets.  Don't blackmail them though - out them and then demand they resign.  Push back. Hard. If we don't do that during this presidency then there may not be any other chance to do so and to get things done.

"That's the Chicago way."  Former president Obama was from Chicago.  That's what Republicans are up against.  That's what Trump is up against.  He knows it, some Republicans don't. They had better learn quickly, and Trump supporters too - it's best to save your ammunition for the real political adversary enemy.

Flynn Flam

This is small potatoes - treat it as such.
Last night Mike Flynn resigned as president Trump's security advisor because allegedly he was speaking with the Russian ambassador prior to Donald Trump becoming president but after his electoral win.  Your immediate reaction might be "yeah, so what?".  That's a fair assessment and one president Trump probably started with until someone in his cabinet probably felt that having Flynn resign would diffuse the situation wherein the media and Democrats were going after him for an illegal conversation.

Let's get a few things straight.

-There is no evidence that anything illegal transpired. But there's blood in the water now and the media and the Democrats will double down on going after Trump now. Having Flynn resign is a mistake right on the heels of circling around on the Immigration executive order to try again.  A sign of weakness is not something to give liberals.  A sign of disarray is not a sign to give supporters.  President Trump will make mistakes early on because there are a lot of outsiders facing a hostile media/opposition/bureaucracy.  The important thing now is to get things into alignment quickly. 

-president Obama once asked Medvedev to convey to Putin (then not even the nominal leader of Russia) that he, Obama, would have more room to maneuver after the 2012 election.  When Democrats collude with Russia it's okay.  When Republicans do, it's treasonous.  Alinsky double standards are on display and the media and Democrats should be disregarded. Entirely.  Where Trump needs to double down is on the Tweeting and bypassing the media, and meanwhile pushing his agenda forward ever harder.

-president Obama nominated Governor Richardson who had to withdraw his nomination for  Commerce Secretary due to a kickback scandal.  Memories are short and early disarray is not confined to president Trump.  Timothy Geithner had is own scandal but they bullied his way through the nomination anyway. It's worth remembering those scandals when discussing early Trump cabinet falters.

-Take a breath.  This too shall pass and for all of their bluster, Democrats will not profit from this if Trump delivers on his promises and retains his focus on jobs, trade and immigration. It's a proven winning formula and will win even bigger in 2020 if he shows results on those things.  In the end, that's all that matters, and these early missteps will be long forgotten, just like Bill Richardson.

February 13, 2017

Smart Democrats, please stand down

Jim Webb lasted in the Democratic primary for all of a cup of coffee.  But he sees and understands the problem facing the party - it's tilted so far left that it may have passed the tipping point (though he clearly believes it has not done so yet). Unhinged liberals are running the Democrat asylum.  This past weekend with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press, Jim Webb offered some important insights - which Todd, seemed to miss the importance of by focussing on the "they" part of Todd's comments.  The party and its supporters are flailing and they need insights like Webb's.  Todd, like many does not get it.  He says the center is hollowed out.  It isn't - it's occupied by Republicans.

Webb is not alone in his sentiment. former Democratic strategist Doug Schoen had this to say;
While the Democratic Party is driven left by anti-Trump activists, protestors [sic], and Senators such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, America itself remains a fundamentally center-right nation.

A fundamental belief in national sovereignty and individual responsibility, married to cautious skepticism of government and deeply held moral convictions, continues to govern how most Americans think about politics.

Trump's ascendance is rooted in America’s preference for center-right policy. As the Democratic Party shifted ever leftwards under Obama, it suffered net losses of 11 Senate seats, 62 House seats, and 10 governorships since 2010, as well as nearly 1000 state legislative seats.

The groups driving the Democratic Party to the left believe their only path to victory is mobilization. These forces are pushing the party away from the American public, which fundamentally is center-right, and channeling the concerns and priorities of the core Democratic coastal base...

While the Democratic Party's progressive and moderate wings clash with one another over their party’s future, Republicans are dismantling the blue wall and solidifying America’s status as a center-right nation.
And there's this from Allan Richarz;
With so much outrage and so little time, what is a socially conscious progressive to do? If the reactions post-election are any indication, the answer is to adopt a preening, self-righteous sense of moral outrage — an extremely counterproductive approach for those opposing the likes of Donald Trump et al.

If Democrats and progressives wish to serve as credible opposition over the next four to eight years, it is necessary to drop the self-promoting outrage theater popular among activists and develop a more mature, fact-driven approach.

The histrionics in response to President Trump’s election have been, in a word, unseemly.
Yes they have. And they've been counter-productive if you're a Democrat hoping to reclaim power at any meaningful level for the party. I am not one of those people.  I'd ask these smart, or at least observant, Democrats to stand down because it helps conservatives, it helps Republicans for the histrionics to continue.  I've said so myself.  But I don't think I have to ask moderate or centrist Democrats to stand down, because they're a very rare breed and will be shamed and shouted down by the like of Elizabeth Warren in short order.  Those centrists will either become disenfranchised or find a home in the Republican party.  Or maybe, they'll splinter and steal votes from both parties, although likely more from Democrats.  In any of those cases, Democrats aren't returning to power any time soon.  Oh, and meanwhile president Trump is not going away any time soon.

The Unintended Consequences of Constant Trump-bashing

Since Donald Trump became president-elect, the left has gone to great lengths to ceaselessly chip away at his legitimacy.  The reasons are clear - they have lost so much power since 2010 - congress, the senate, governorships, and state houses - that really all they have left is weeping and wailing as if the world is ending.  Everything president Trump has done, and will do, has been and will be decried as the worst decision or action or decree ever.  They're bleating like sheep.  Their goal is twofold; (i) to stop Trump from being to accomplish anything during his tenure and (ii) to destroy his support among his voters based on the first point and based on the cacophony of noise about how stupid, ill-tempered and unqualified he is.  By osmosis they hope it will sink in with voters.  Conversely the expectation is that the constant vitriol will keep Democrat voters engaged and eager to vote in midterms and in 2020.

This is where unintended consequences kick in.  People are starting to tune it out.  I was listening to radio station WBEN early this morning and they were conducting a survey about the Grammy Awards. The question asked was "When entertainers get political you...".  One of the staff mentioned that someone had said or tweeted that as soon as Jennifer Lopez, the very first presenter, started saying "...in difficult times like these", that the channel got changed.  That correlates to the poll results - as at this writing, 72% said they tune out, 19% get angry and only 9%  said they don't mind.  It's not just entertainers.  Faith in mass media is at all time lows. And of course faith in congress is in a state of perma-fail.

Timothy Leary said in 1966 tune in, turn on and drop out.  Of course that was counter-culture, drug culture garbage but it's kinda true here.  The Tea Party tuned in during the Obama administration, they turned on in big numbers in every election since 2010.  And now they're dropping out of the mass media, cultural elite, circled wagon echo chamber and finding other sources of news and information or else just going on about their business until the next election.

Of course the media and the progressive liberal left and entertainment stars don't realize it yet.  They may never realize it.  What they are doing is reinforcing their own image as out of touch, spoiled, tinfoil-hatted, hate-filled, liars and purveyors of nonsense.  They've shot themselves in the foot a few times and are reloading to do it again.

As conservatives we shouldn't mind.  In fact we should be grateful that they are doing this.  They are disgusting many in middle America as they have long since parted ways with common sense, civility and human decency.  And as they rant and rave, Trump and the Republicans in Congress have elbow room to move things forward and in 2018 and 2020 a great economy (which the media belatedly has found is not so great, where was this during Obama's tenure?) will ensure more victories.  And as the media bleats about the wall and travel bans, the economy is going to get fixed.  Taxes are going to get fixed and much more is going to get fixed.

As a conservative, Trump supporter or not, should bring a smile to your face because conservatism versus populism is a much better battle than conservatism versus entrenched progressivism.

February 12, 2017

February 10, 2017

February 9, 2017

Trump trumped on immigration (for now)

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled against president Trump's immigration executive order.  Did you know that president Obama and president Clinton both called for an illegal immigrant ban too?

And so did Trump. Here's why:

But yet another court has called Trump's temporary ban unlawful. National security is not unlawful. But president Trump is not one to take things lying down and he responded as forcefully as you'd hope (or merely expect, if you're a progressive liberal).

This is not over by far.

February 8, 2017

Jeff Sessions confirmed as Attorney General

Youtube has/had it live - Jeff Sessions confirmation hearings (as of this posting 52-47, 1 outstanding on the roll call if I'm counting the Nays correctly):

Next up - Podesta for jail?  Or a pizza party first?

UPDATE - There was one senator who responded "Present".

UPDATE - Tom Price for Dept. HHS next.

February 7, 2017

Piers Morgan - CNN was in on the Clinton win

I've been busy again this week and not had time to post much so far.  I realized that I haven't shared anything by Tucker Carlson, the new face of Fox News yet.  In deciding to do so to highlight his factually backed combative stances I came across this interview with of all people, the very liberal Piers Morgan.

That actually is the interesting thing about this piece for me - Morgan has already opined that Trump won, he's the president and deserves respect that he is not receiving. CNN deserves some of that blame, then, and now.

February 5, 2017

February 4, 2017

President Trump's Weekly Address

President Trump's Weekly Address.  Bypassing the mainstream media, this might be worth sharing on a weekly basis on my blog, and on others.

Hey Congress, try to keep up with your president

This is not the pace we are looking for.
In an article at Free Beacon, Matthew Continetti explains how president Trump has short circuited Washington. He's right, but the one point I found most interesting was this;
...The Republicans on Capitol Hill seem as disoriented by Trump's victory as the Democrats. Congress has been in session for a month. What, besides repealing a mining regulation, has it done? Why is Mitch McConnell not playing hardball with Chuck Schumer on executive branch appointments and Judge Gorsuch? I know, I know: "Things take time." But time is the enemy. This is something Democrats and other members of the self-described "resistance" understand but Republicans do not. Or perhaps the Republicans understand all too well, and want inertia and entropy to bring us a less populist and more conventionally Republican Trump. The doofuses.
Side note - apparently I have been spelling doofus incorrectly for years.

This was something I had noted as well - along with the president, the Republican congress is now more than 14% into the first hundred days of Trump's first term - if you include weekends. And you should include weekends because 100 days is a short window and it's the window in which things that matter get done. President Trump knows this and is moving forward at breakneck speed to pull the country back from the brink of progressive-induced-calamity. Congress does not seem to be moving at the same speed either negligently or willingly. It doesn't matter. Obamacare moved through so quickly when Democrats had the reigns to the executive and legislative branches because Democrats understood that (1) big things can only happen when you control both those branches of government and (2) such a level of power is precarious and prone to quick evaporation. That's why president Obama had to resort to his phone and pen after his second year in office. 

 We cannot assume that Republican majorities across the nation will continue to grow, even though evidence indicates 2018 could be a very good year for republicans. So president Trump should not have to resort to the pen and the phone 2 weeks into his tenure accompanied by a legislative majority. Grow a pair and do some of the heavy lifting rather than hanging the president out there in potential effigy should anything go dramatically wrong. Trump won because he was not afraid and congressional Republicans, so far, are acting afraid. Keep up! Not working at the same speed on aligned goals will not likely keep you in office should president Trump fail to deliver jobs and growth. But standing aside will not ensure you any victory glory should he succeed. You'd serve yourself, and your constituents, well by remembering that.

President Trump on the other hand may break convention again.  I wouldn't expect him to take his foot off the gas pedal after 100 days, in fact I'd expect a ramp up.  He's got a huge task in front of him to Make America Great Again. 100 days are won't finish the job, but that does not allow GOP congressional members off the hook.  After doing next to nothing for 100 days, why would the following 100 days be any different.

Saturday Learning Series - on Russell Kirk

"In Russell Kirk, Bradley J. Birzer investigates the life and work of the man known as the founder of postwar conservatism in America."

February 2, 2017

Why I'm becoming a Theresa May fan

Margaret Thatcher redux.  Britain is lucky to have Theresa May as Prime Minister.  Wait for her finish as she slaps down Jeremy Corbyn - it's really great.  Meanwhile she's got parliamentary approval for Article 50, which helps trigger the Brexit from the E.U. 

Trump vs. Schwarzenegger

Is it just me or is this just a little too pat?  Trump and Schwarzenneger in a flame war? On video in both cases?  I like both men but I think this is something designed to boost the ratings of The Apprentice.  That's just my opinion but it's  a bit convenient that Trump mentioned it today.

Via CNN:
On Thursday morning, Trump said during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast that he wanted to "pray for Arnold" due to Schwarzenegger bringing in low ratings on "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Schwarzenegger suggested in a short clip posted to social media that the two swap roles.

"Hey Donald, I have a great idea. Why don't we switch jobs?" Schwarzenegger said. "You take over TV because you're such an expert on ratings and I take over your job and then people can finally sleep comfortably again."
This just doesn't seem all that serious, on any level.   

Hot Mic Pelosi is as vapid as she is contrived

Nancy Pelosi on a hot mic gets caught twice saying things she shouldn't.  First she wants to put some real people in front of the cameras.  Then she wants to coach a congressman to remind everyone he's a Muslim.  She's vapid for not knowing she's standing near a hot mic.  As far as being contrived - well both caught items sort of point out exactly that, don't they?

February 1, 2017

Letting California secede

In an article about the disloyal opposition of both the media and the Democrats, Michael Goodwin opines briefly on the idea of California secede (leaving the union). If you're a conservative, don't tell me you've never considered this one yourself;
If California secedes and its 55 electoral votes come off the board, Dems will never win another American election. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton could become president of the breakaway state and the rest of us would be free of the Clinton stain.

Secession is one way the swamp could drain itself. Sally Yates’ way is another.
Well - I hadn't considered the first paragraph's latter sentence, it does have it's appeal. Nevertheless, to do so would be to abandon the state's conservatives as few and far between as they may be, to a fate worse than no border wall.  Otherwise the electoral math bears out.  California currently holds a massive 55 electoral college votes and is no longer contested by Republican candidates at many levels. President Trump won 306 of 538 electoral college votes.  Hillary Clinton won 232, 55 from California.  Without California, president Trump would have beaten Hillary Clinton 306 to 177 of 438 electoral college votes (an electoral college margin of 69.8% to 30.2%).  And he would  have won the popular vote as well - rather than losing by 2.8 million votes (a 2.2% margin), he would have won by 1.4 million votes (a 1.2% vote victory).

It's stark how much the nearly bankrupt state matters to elections - that's a remarkable difference in the results should California not be part of it.  As a conservative it would be tempting on so many levels to just let California sink into an ocean of debt and fail miserably.  Make no mistake, with current policies it is inevitable that California will fail. It's an inviting thought to imagine California going it's own way, failing, and then realizing in dramatic fashion how progressive liberalism has destroyed the newly created nation.

But then there's reality.  At 30+ plus residents, when California leaves, does it take with it its share of federal tax revenue? What about the national debt? Does it take it's fair share of that too? And Medicare and Medicaid?  And what is it's fair share?  Is it based on California's percentage of the population  (~12%), or it it's share of GDP (~13%), or it's share of the national geography (4.3%)?  These things matter.  The national debt is approximately $20 trillion, 13% of California's debt obligation would be $3 trillion but 4.3% would mean less than $1 trillion.  What would California be willing to take on, given it's relative insolvency?

And what about other considerations - military contracts based in California?  Military bases?  Families now split geographically by nation?  How might interstate commerce change as it becomes the purview of international trade deals? And think of the flag.  49 stars?  America would have to grant Puerto Rico statehood and then be on the hook to bail out that new state (granted at a much lower cost).

Here in Canada we've had this debate many times every time Quebec threatens to leave the country.  It never gets too serious because no one ever thinks its going to happen, even though it has come pretty close.  The logistics of a separation of state from state are nightmarish in a peaceful departure, but the last time a few states decided to leave and form a Confederacy in the United States, you know what happened.

As appealing as a California exit might be on the surface, it's just not a good idea for the country.  And for Republican-leaning conservatives in California and indeed across America, maybe you are better served by using this opportunity to try to split California into two states (North and South, East and West?) in order to grant Republicans a chance in congress, the Senate, the presidential elections and the state legislatures, a chance at actually having a voice and some wins. In the end really, it's about America anyway - not economics, not the impossible intricacies of a split.  This is not BREXIT. Unlike the EU, America still matters and California is part of that.  That's more important to remember than any other consideration.
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