March 31, 2017

Friday Musical Interlude - Hillbilly Moon Explosion

An interesting cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter's Jackson (which was featured here in 2010) by Swiss rockabilly band, Hillbilly Moon Explosion (featuring vocals by Sparky from the band Demented). Their version was released in 2016.

March 29, 2017

Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten - pro Trump?

This speaks for itself on both Brexit and Trump. Also on Islamic terrorism for that matter.

Gorsuch imminent - mark the date

Friday.  Either president Trump's first nominee is his first success and Democrats play fair, or the nuclear option is used or the Republican senate is full of it.  Mark the date.

Consumers on Trump: Winning

The media and the left may still be apoplectic about a Trump presidency, but consumers seem to be quite happy with the trajectory of a Trump presidency otherwise you would not see this;
Consumer confidence surged to a new 16-year high in March, fueled by strong job and wage growth, lofty stock prices and cheap gasoline.

An index of Americans' perceptions of the economy and labor market jumped to 125.6 – highest since December 2000 -- from an upwardly revised 116.1 in February, the Conference Board said Tuesday. Economists expected a dip to 114, according to a Bloomberg survey.

”Consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months,” said Lynn Franco, the Conference Board’s director of economic indicators.

Consumer confidence is closely watched because it can foreshadow household spending, which makes up about 70% of economic activity.
Consumer Confidence is higher than any time since almost a year before 9/11.  The liberal left will of course want to derail that as anything potentially indicative of Trump momentum is anathema to their world view and to their political agenda. 

Brexit Divorce Papers Filed. Insane Bill Sent.

Today Britain has officially triggered the E.U. exit clause.  The E.U. responded vindictively.
Britain has officially launched the Brexit process, triggering Article 50 and starting a two-year countdown before the country drops out of the European Union.

The historic moment came as a letter signed by Prime Minister Theresa May was delivered to the Brussels office of European Council President Donald Tusk, notifying him of the UK’s intention to leave.
But the E.U. responded like a jilted lover.
As in many divorces, the first area of conflict is likely to be money. The EU wants Britain to pay a hefty bill -- Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU's executive Commission, put it at around 50 billion euros ($63 billion) -- to cover pension liabilities for EU staff and other commitments the U.K. has agreed to.

Britain acknowledges it will have to pay something, but is sure to quibble over the size of the tab.

Negotiations will also soon hit a major contraction: Britain wants "frictionless" free trade, but says it will restore control of immigration, ending the right of EU citizens to live and work in Britain. The EU says Britain can't have full access to the single market if it doesn't accept free movement, one of the bloc's key principles.

Both Britain and the EU say a top priority will be guaranteeing the rights of 3 million EU citizens living in Britain, and 1 million Britons living elsewhere in the bloc.

The two sides also appear to disagree on how the talks will unfold. EU officials say the divorce terms must be settled before negotiators can turn to the U.K.'s future relationship with the bloc -- and a deal on that could take a decade. British officials want the two things discussed simultaneously.
Like most divorces, this could get contentious.  Suggesting Britain owes $63 billion for E.U. staff pensions and "other commitments" is a good indicator of why Britons voted to exit the E.U.  If that's just the U.K.'s share of pension obligations, the E.U. cannot possibly think of itself as sustainable.

March 27, 2017

These hearings matter

Anyone  who wants to comment on wiretapping, or email deletion should listen to the Comey Congressional hearings.  Here's a lengthy excerpt. Note - there is no swearing in these exchanges.  The implied swearing is only from the Youtube poster.

March 25, 2017

Repeal and Replace Setback

Is it really a setback that the first phase of the repeal and replace effort on Obamacare failed?    Yes and No.  The bill was not great even if there were some decent things in it.  It also shows Republicans are not the lockstep drones that Democrats are.  But time is a big factor and not an unlimited resource.  Something needs to be done soon or nothing will be done.   Here are a few reactions - Rand Paul and Newt Gingrich respond.

Saturday Learning Series - Curing Liberal Arrogance

Via Right Angle, Bill Whittle,  Steve Green and Scott Ott discuss some thoughts on curing liberal arrogance.  I took on this issue a few years back and was accused by a liberal of being arrogant. I'm not sure there's any winning on this issue, aside from the fact the continued arrogance works against them.

March 23, 2017

CNN doubles down on fake news

Previously I shared a link that corroborates the Trump claim about 'wiretapping'.  Technically it's not wiretapping but certainly spying is fair.  Nevertheless, CNN doubles down on the Trump is a stooge meme by arguing with Nunes live on air and also by focusing on his apology to his committee about not sharing the information.  THAT'S NOT THE HEADLINE.  The Trump transition team was being monitored.  Period.  The information was collected for what national security reason?  And why was it leaked?

CNN = fake news.

That's what I'm talking about!

This is interesting to wake up and see - the 'wiretaps' were happening:

If you think this is some lone wolf fake news story, think again.

UPDATE: The original 2nd video I referenced was removed.  Instead, here's a full video.

March 22, 2017

TrumpCare / RyanCare on the bubble

The Republican health care bill is either the lite version of the craptastic Obamacare law, or else it's the first step in a path towards a real repeal and replace bill that solves real problems with healthcare.  The fate of the bill is on the bubble. A lot of Republicans do not seem to be onboard.  The CBO weighed in and said it was bad in the short term but will be beneficial in 10 years.  And immediately the intrinsic CBO bias was being rehashed.  Where the bill ends up ultimately doesn't depend on part 1 but parts 2 and 3 and whether they exist and deliver as promised and are enacted prior to the 2018 midterm elections.

Meanwhile finger pointing and acrimony among Republicans isn't helping matters.

Mitch McConnell has this to say;
"I would hate to be a Republican whose vote prevented us from keeping the commitment we've made to the American people for almost 10 years now" to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law, the Kentucky Republican told AP reporters and editors.

"I think the American people would be deeply disappointed that we were prevented from keeping our commitment by Republicans who in the end, in effect, voted for the status quo."
So if GOP Senate leadership are pushing on members to get on board where does that leave things? All of this while Republicans fuss amongst themselves about the merits of the bill. And they should be doing just that - bills of this nature require sober thinking, discussion and real debate. The problem is politics. It leaves media in a position to claim even Republicans cannot agree on the bill as is. It leaves the public wondering when and where things will shake out for their insurance.

And all of this discord waters the seeds of Democrats attempts to secure the Senate in 2018 (despite an uphill battle) or at least deny Republicans a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate.  But what happens today doesn't really matter. What matters is the real impact on pocketbooks come 2018.  The problem is not debate and it is not even politics.  The real problem is time. 2018 is already closing in.  To provide some context we are on Day 61 of president Trump's first 100 days and already 9% of the way to the midterm elections. 

March 19, 2017

This just (sinking) in...

In the first two parapgraphs in this article in The Intercept the words "no evidence are used twice;
FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies...that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence...

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates.
Morell Obama's former acting CIA chief and a previous Clinton backer who claimed that Trump was a duped Putin puppet went on to say this:
“There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”
James Clapper the article points out has recently said similar things. In fact Democrats and their apparatchiks have been backing away from this at such a surprising rate that one has to wonder if perhaps there's some solid evidence being compiled that Trump's recent accusation about being wiretapped by the Obama administration. Either the Democrats are hoping that backing off becomes a tit-for-tat let's drop the whole issue exchange. Perhaps Democrats have just become concerned about former president Obama's squeaky clean image among Obama purists and don't want to taint his legacy with by trading blows on issues where there's no evidence for them to continue on the Trump Russia connection.  Or, maybe it's just the truth finally sinking in.

Sunday verse

March 17, 2017

Friday Musical Interlude - Some long forgotten 1971

The long forgotten Mamy Blue by the Pop Tops. Although not the original, I think this is the original English version. Perhaps this should have been left long forgotten.

March 16, 2017

Trump's own long game

Liberals (Democrats) have shown their cards.  They are going to oppose, block, frustrate and impede president Trump on every front, on every day.  As I mentioned previously, this is a strategic advantage for president Trump that can fully capitalize on if he sees it.  The Russia issue, the immigration bill (version 2) that has already been struck down and similar issues are truly small ball.  

Fighting the media memes every day isn't going to improve America.  It would if the media were to change when called on their bias.  They won't, so it won't.  A partial ban on some Muslim countries' immigration is a fight worth having, and winning.  But it's not the keystone of a Trump presidency.

Cleaning up Washington D.C. is probably the keystone.  President Trump promised a lot as a candidate but cleaning up the incestuous and pit of corruption would make the biggest difference.  Jobs come from a freed up economy.  That comes from a less onerous government imposition.  That comes from less powerful government departments.  In turn that comes from smaller government departments that are not de-toothed, but certainly de-fanged.  And that cannot happen with the cabal of media, Democrats and bureaucrats stalling and frustrating president Trump at every stage, trying to shadow govern outside of the votes of the electorate. 

That requires success from president Trump.  To borrow a sports analogy, president Trump should flood the legislative zone with small items like this and tie up Democratic efforts on real non-issues so that he can move forward on real issues like his budget, the wall, the economy, fairer trade and jobs.  Those issues are the ones that will get president trump re-elected and increase Republican senate strength in the Senate in 2018. Cleaning Washington D.C. is not a 100 day job, it's going to take a decade or more and that can only happen with success building upon success.  That requires a president Trump long game.  If he can distract liberals enough to get the real victories pushed through under the cover of the hysteria that Trump's a racist on immigration, well, that's a good long game.

The liberal long game on climate change

You might assume that the long game on climate change by the elite on the left is to get people invested in Carbon Trading schemes which is nothing more than a tax.  In other words the goal is to get people to become emotionally invested in the issue to the point that they voluntarily want to pay taxes to fight it.  It will keep money flowing to the government unchallenged and that supports big government and therefore the progressivist liberal cause.

That's all true, but there's an even longer game likely at play.

After all, the oceans are not going to swamp Florida - at least not in our lifetime because climate change really is beyond any meaningful human influence.  No matter what humans do for example, we could not facilitate an ice age.  So too is the case for global warming.  It happens or doesn't for reasons that are beyond our control.

Liberals - not the ones swallowing the phoney panic as gospel, the ones causing it - realize they cannot have global warming as an issue forever.  So what's the long game when the earth enters a cooling cycle and evidence runs strongly contrary to their memes?  It's simple - they will argue that their efforts successfully stopped climate change.  That's the long game: government saved you, government works.  If that ever comes to pass America, and likely the whole world at that point, is doomed to socialism.   This is why it needs to be stopped during Trump's presidency; Republicans, perennial capitulators rather than legislators, will cave if the issue continues to surge during the Trump presidency.

March 15, 2017

How do I know Democrats are socialists? Easy.

It really is easy to derive when you think about it - in the United States, Democrats are socialists.  Or at a minimum they are blindly moving the country towards socialism and don't even realize it.  Obviously not all of them fall into the same category.  How do I know?

Name one instance in the last 50 years that Democrats have done anything to shrink the size of government. Not one. Nae one instance Democrats have ever argued that there is too much regulation, too much taxation, too much anything involving government.  They have never once argued that the government should not be involved in something.  The solutions they offer are always the exact opposite of these ideas.  The Democrats have never once scaled back anything involving the government.

Democrats will argue that Bill Clinton produced a budgetary surplus.  No, the Republican congress did that - he merely recognized the trend among voters after the GOP Contract With America, and went along with it in order to get re-elected.  What he tried to do prior to that, having his wife push single payer nationalized healthcare was his truer color.  Truth be told, his truest color was that of personal wealth and power, the liberal stuff for him was secondary to that.

Similarly liberals will argue that president Obama reduced budgetary deficits every year, but that was only after it doubled.  President Obama was in fact the worst offender, not letting the 'crisis' of 2008 go to waste.

Liberals expand government, period.  Taxes, laws, bureaucracy, health care - you name it, the push it further.  They never acknowledge that things might have been pushed to far already and need to be rolled back.  N.E.V.E.R.  If they were truly the centrists they proclaim themselves to be they would see that yes, sometimes government goes too far.

Maybe a Trump presidency will cause them to think about it.  Probably not though, because they are bound too see Trump's presidency as one of rollbacks that they in turn need to re-rollout.

March 14, 2017

Quote of the week

I'm going to go ahead and give the Quote of the Week to Robert Tracinski at The Federalist, even though the week has basically just started.
NPR, for example, accused Pruitt of questioning “basic facts about climate change.” But the problem with global warming alarmists getting on their science high horse is that they don’t really know the science all that well, or how to talk about it.

For example, NPR goes on to say: “The view that CO2 is a major heat-trapping gas is supported by reams of data, including data collected by government agencies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” Er, which data would that be? Carbon dioxide is certainly known to be a greenhouse gas, but nobody needed NASA or NOAA to tell them that. (More on this in a moment.) Presumably NPR thinks there is data which shows that carbon dioxide is primarily responsible for recent increases in global temperatures. But “data” can’t show that. Any assertion of cause and effect in a complex system like the climate, where there are hundreds of competing variables, is someone’s interpretation of the data.
So true.  The progressive left  take a fact, skip over any links and leap straight to a conclusion - the conclusion they want.  By glossing over the middle part they hope you'll be dazzled by the conclusion and just agree with their wizardry.

I urge you to read the entire article.  It's a sobering read for those imbued with the gospel of Global Warming alarmism and for the rest of us, a smart argument to echo.

March 13, 2017

This week: Democrats promising a showdown on "x"

If Democrats want to be taken seriously on the wall, maybe they should consider at least finally passing the rest of president Trump's nominees for secretaries.  

RollCall says Democrats are promising a showdown on president Trump's border wall legislation.  But they are creating a showdown on his appointments, a showdown on immigration, a showdown on Russia.  The Democrats should rename themselves the Showdown Party.  Yes they are slowing down president Trump's agenda.  The cost is their future electoral victories.
Senate Democrats are warning Republicans of a shutdown showdown if President Donald Trump insists on including funding for a wall along the Mexican border in April’s government funding bill.

“We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration,” the Senate Democratic leadership team, along with Appropriations ranking Democrat Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, wrote in a letter to be circulated Monday.

The letter was directed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., but the clear audience was the Trump administration and the new president himself.
The problem with opposing everything, is that they have telegraphed  their entire agenda and can therefore be manipulated if president Trump is smart about it.  The other problem for Democrats is that by already opposing everything, they've given up all bargaining power.  The threat is hollow.  Everyone knows they are going to throw up roadblocks.  I they hope to get any measure of input they have to use the threat as a bargaining chip.  They continue to show that they cannot be bargained with and therefore the GOP doesn't need to bother trying.  As soon as the GOP realizes that, they could potentially get a lot done.

WaPo: Panic at the Propagandists' Place

The liberal pulse of Washington D.C., the Washington Post is seemingly aghast and panicked at their own headline about president Trump looking to rollback federal government employment, calling it a contraction.
President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce.

This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.

The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government.
I would have no problem with those paragraphs if they changed just one word.  If I could fix it for you, I would change the word contraction to correction, because that's what it is. Now I am really looking forward to the president's budget.   

Let me drill down on one aspect of this.

If you look at the average number of federal employees per 1000 Americans it went from approximately 5.4 in 2006 to 5.7 in 2015 (most of it coming in 2009 as a result of the abysmal stimulus package no doubt), an increase of 5.6% in a very short period of time.  This despite the fact that the population has supposedly grown by roughly 22.8 million people during the same period (roughly 7% growth in population and yet the number of federal employees has grown enough to cover that plus 5.6%).  Interestingly, population growth was last measured in the census of 2010, when the population was 309 million.  Growth since then is only a Census Bureau projection since the census only takes place once per decade.  The numbers since then seem fairly flat in terms of year over year growth rate.  So population has grown but the number of federal employees per 1000 Americans has grown at a rate 5.6% faster than that.

Whether you feel like you are getting 5.6% better or more service is a moot point.  After all, in business they talk about productivity growth. Between 2007 and 2016 productivity growth has averaged 1.1% per year. Between If government employees got better at the rate of productivity between 2000 & 2007 it was double that rate. But let's say for the sake of argument that they got better by 1.1% per year. Between 2006 and 2015 that would mean that federal employees got 11% more productive. Yet the government felt the need to expand the workforce  by 5.6%.  Either the government employees only grew in productivity by say half the national rate, or else the government has been padding the workforce.  What other conclusion can be drawn?  And in either case, there's an inefficiency now.

CNBC - Missing the headline

The Congressional Budget Office says that the GOP replacement bill for Obamacare would see 26 million people lose their coverage. according to CNBC, glossing over the fact that they can buy the insurance themselves on the open market, quite possibly at a cheaper price.   And that's not even the missing headline - check out the last paragraph (emphasis added):
The loss in coverage projected for next year if the bill is enacted alone equals about 70 percent of the 20 million or so people who have gained insurance coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is more formally known.

The total loss in coverage over the next decade would wipe out Obamacare's gains in coverage, and then some.

The Republican bill also would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over the next decade, the CBO estimated in an analysis of the embattled proposal, which is currently working its way through the House of Representatives.
CNBC misses the main purpose of the CBO - scoring the cost or cost savings of various bills. You have to wonder if it's intentional.  Oh wait, no you don't.

March 11, 2017

A Saturday laugh

I'm sure you know why this is here.

Saturday Learning Series - Mark Steyn

Conservatism and the Facts of Life.

March 7, 2017

What if global warming met critical thinking?

It is apparently turning into a "What If" kind of day here at Nonsensible Shoes.

When someone tells you the debate is over you should see a red flag.  If they have then winning argument, and they know it, they would be open to debate you any time anywhere because they know they will win the debate, and prove that your counter arguments are weak and will fail.  When someone tells you the time for debate is over it is because they don't want to debate because they either do not have the inclination to bother debating you (which sounds an awful lot like fascism; do it my way or else!) or they cannot win and do not want to be found out.

But the global warming crowd insists the debate is over.  They insist 'scientists' all agree.   How do you you know the debate is over?  Where you there?  Did you see the final global warming debate on CNN and the rest of us missed it? No.  Do you know with certitude that all scientists (or even most) agree?  Have you seen a list of scientists around the world, their relevant credentials and their 'vote' on the validity of anthropomorphic global warming? No. 

So why are you assuming that the liberal media are being honest? Are you that naive?  To accept everything that the media, including the news media and Hollywood, tells you is truth is naive at best and self-defeating at worst. You set yourself up for a life in an Orwellian dystopia with such an attitude.  You serve yourself better by questioning everything.  Of course that means with a critical thinking skepticism.  Obviously there is truth in every person, including the media.  But there are also lies in every person and there is also bias in every person.  Bias is universal. And so too it seems, is confirmation bias, which the media counts on their repetition of the global warming mantra for sustaining public belief.  That's what is keeping you from rational thought on global warming.

Let me pose a few what-ifs for you.

What if you asked a sports announcer who was going to win the next Superbowl, and the guy you asked just got 8 of 14 games right in last weeks regular season game predicitions.  He's 57% accurate about the immediate future and you are asking him to predict much farther into the future. So why is it that people who cannot get the weather correct more than say 3-5 days into the future have such supposed certitude of what weather is going to be like in 100 years?

What if you knew that the earth has been through stages of global Ice Ages and near-global tropical conditions for millions of years, that predate humans and that such enormous changes are cyclical and on a scale that far exceeds human capacity to impact our earth?  What if you knew our average global temperature are at or near multi-epochal lows? Go ahead, look it up.   You'll be surprised by some of what you find

What if you questioned the 'conventional wisdom' of global warming?  What if you did research into both points of view to find the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments? If you were right, you'd be better equipped to argue with both global warming skeptics like myself (how do you think I ended up here?).  And if you were wrong, what then? Would you have to stop hanging out with your friends?  Would life be over? Or would you be forced to question everything you thought you believed? Or maybe just some of it? There's no harm in engaging in the exercise of real research - unless you are just afraid of what you might find.

Latest WikiLeaks data dump is on the CIA itself

This is big, and it probably exonerates Trump and implicates former president Obama.  Good.  But this leak outs a whole bunch of CIA methodology and that is a national security breach.  A really serious one.  It's really bad.

What the CIA has been doing is also a concern.  Yes, they need to protect America. And they should have all tools at their disposal that they deem necessary.  But there's a big BUT: some of the methods they employ have wider reaching implications and possibilities for American citizens. What the CIA is capable of doing makes the Lois Lerner IRS targeting of various Tea Party groups kindergarten playground level stuff.  That's really, really bad. And the situation and potential needs to be debated as to the merits of allowing the CIA to have this capability and do these sorts of things.  If there is enough merit, how does it remain controlled and dedicated to a specific scope.  

And even the value of WikiLeaks itself is up for debate.  WikiLeaks is a double edged sword because with every exposure of American secrets, they reveal things that put Americans at risk because they weaken the institutions that were designed to protect America from foreign malfeasance.  The question now is whether those very institutions, like the CIA have grown beyond control and/or can simply be used by those in power in ways they were not designed to be used.

I wonder how long it will be before the Democrats blame the latest data dump by WikiLeaks on the Trump administration in an effort to exonerate themselves on the (unfounded) Russia claims in the media.

So what if Trump colluded with Russia?

I am not suggesting in any way that Trump did collude with Russia.  I don't believe he did because ZERO evidence has been brought forward. I am merely engaging in a thought exercise here.  

Let's suppose for a moment that the left's bizzaro fantasy of Trump and Russia collusion to steal the 2016 presidential election from the rightful victor Hillary Clinton is actually correct.  Start by granting that Russia is once again the worst thing to ever happen to America.  Grant the far-fetched fact that Putin et. al. colluded with the Trump team and leveraged WikiLeaks to paint Hillary Clinton in a bad light.  Skip the point that Hillary Clinton was actually keeping and sharing state secrets on a  private email server in clear violation of national security policy, and instead assume that people didn't care about that. Ignore the fact that a majority of voters had negative opinions of both candidates. Ignore the fact that voters are partisan and that then-candidate Trump had an unorthodox campaign strategy, which allowed him to win in states that Hillary Clinton herself took for granted.  Assume further that the candidate who wanted to tax the middle class (and if it was just a slip of the tongue, it was never corrected) and put coal workers out of work and who kept a rope between herself and the press and who collapsed into a van on the campaign trail and whose Clinton Global Initiative wasn't under scrutiny for accounting malfeasance. Overlook the fact that the Democratic National Committee cheated for her and so did the media.  Gloss over all of that, and you are left with a Trump win because Russia helped him.

So what?

The media is portraying Donald Trump as a Putin patsy who will do the bidding of the Russian autocrat.  But what if the guy who wants to Make America Great Again was using Putin as a patsy?  What if he leveraged help from Russia to defeat an opponent who had help from everybody else, including a sitting president and a Department of Justice turning two blind eyes to everything Clinton, and now that he's president he's cast aside anything to do with any deal with Russia.  What if Trump cleverly used Russia as the useful idiots?

Is it possible that the smart businessman, used smart business to get what he needed and then cast aside his promise to Russia?  This is the same guy liberals went after for doing just that in his Trump University civil suit.  

Yes but...

The same people who say Trump is capable of such Machiavellian business practices, believe he could not think to do it with Russia. Wrong.  If he did use Russia, it's hard to see why Russia would have been so stupid as to work with candidate Trump.  He wants to increase and reinvigorate American military strength on a massive scale.  It's hard to see any upside for Russia in that.  He wants American allies to increase their own share of the NATO bill.  He's never actually said quit NATO, he's said it needs to work for America.  Either other defense partners pay their share or maybe pay America to carry their share of the load.  A stronger NATO does not serve Russian interests.  A defeated ISIS might help Russia in Syria but in the broader picture, removing that thorn from America's side certainly helps America more than it does Russia.  A stronger bond between Israel and America is a win for both of those two countries, not so much for Russia, who cannot leverage Middle Eastern antipathy towards Israel into alliances but only an opportunity to sink funding into groups who have a common geo-political enemy.  A stronger American economy? A tougher stance against Chinese currency manipulation and job offshoring of American jobs at the expense of long term American economic sustainability leading to a slow national economic suicide of America do not seem to be in the best interest of a nation Democrats are portraying as the worst national security threat since the 1980's.

Do you see my point?   What in Trump's promises and actions to date for that matter, look pro-Russia?

The argument on the left about president Trump and his team are fabricated out of nothing other than a panicked desire to derail his presidency, because at the end of the day, the argument makes no sense.  It falls down on it's premise.  Russia has no real benefit from a Trump presidency but it certainly would have benefitted from a Clinton presidency. That's because the Clintons will do anything for their own economic benefit, even if means selling out America. The argument depends on its own existence to justify itself, like some weird paradox.  That's why it falls apart so easily.

All that aside, yes, there would be an issue about collusion with outsiders.  But turn the spotlight on Hillary Clinton and her nefarious donations from countries like Saudi Arabia if you want to go down that path.  If all the details come to light Democrats would fare far worse under the scrutiny than would president Trump. 

Wait, what now? (or Leftist Hypocrisy in America)

My how the left's visions of Russia have changed. Call it evolution if you like, to me it reeks of hypocrisy, combined with the hubris that no one will call them out on it.

Do you recall during the 2012 election cycle we got this lecture from then president Obama to then candidate Mitt Romney?

He wasn't alone - the media wallowed in the glory of the Obama putdown of Mitt Romney. And this was coming from trom the guy who said this (when he didnèt realize he had a hot mic):

But now we have this excellent assessment from the (ironically progressive leftist) Humanist Report on the state of the left today vis a vis Russia.

What changed for the left? Just Trump. They lost an election the knew with certitude that they were going to win.  As a result, their reality shifts to meet the needs of their current argument. How convenient. 

I'm not so naive as to believe Russia's interests don't include undermining geo-political adversaries like the United States. I'm sure the Russians regularly try to hack or influence what happens in America. I'm sure president Trump knows that too. But that's not the concern here, the concern is the hypocrisy of Democrats who mocked Mitt Romney in 2012 for worry about Russia and now see Russia as the biggest boogeyman on earth.

March 6, 2017

Yes, Trump is winning

Well, that one was not correct.
I am aware that commenting on this immediately puts me in the bucket of partisan hacks (not 'deplorables', deplore me all you want, I don't care), but Trump really is winning. Firstly, his poll numbers say so, even in what appear to be bad polls.
...Trump’s support base may be stable.

Here’s why.

According to that same poll, approximately 57 percent of voters say that Trump is doing about as well as they expected. Meanwhile, his approval ratings far outclass those of Congress, which has just a 29 percent approval rating. That’s a nonpartisan statistic. And thirty-one percent approve of Democrats in Congress, while 32 percent approve of Republicans in Congress. The most unpopular figure in American politics remains House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with 19 percent who feel positively about her in any way against 44 percent who feel negatively about her. The Democratic Party’s negatives double up the Republican Party’s.

...This relatively positive feeling toward Republicans means that 60 percent of respondents are hopeful and optimistic about the future of the country, and 40 percent are pessimistic. And that’s with a sample that shows just 37 percent of respondents who voted for Trump in the presidential election.

All of this suggests that Americans are giving Trump a chance, and that they’re tired of the media failing to do so. They think Trump is going to bring change, and they want to allow him freedom to pursue that change. Democrats and members of the media who keep saying that Trump can’t be trusted with the tiller of government ought to have an easy solution: Give him all the leeway he wants, and then watch him pursue policies they think are unpopular. By acting as foils for Trump, the media and the left actually prop him up — they allow him to position them as obstacles to making change.
"That's with a sample that shows just 37 percent of respondents who voted for Trump". That's clearly off from the reality of the election. But there's more.

President Trump is not afraid to stand up to his detractors, and there is evidence that it works, and not just with him.  In an Op Ed piece in the New York Times, Scott Walker of Wisconsin recall election fame, stood up and counsels the president to do the same.
MADISON, Wis. — Over the last few weeks, angry voters have greeted Republican congressmen in districts around the country. As someone who has confronted similar crowds before — and lived to tell about it — I have a simple message for those lawmakers: It’s put-up or shut-up time.

Those are the exact words I told my fellow Republicans in the State Legislature in 2010, after we made big promises on the campaign trail. It was time to govern, and we did just that by taking on public-sector unions that had too much control over the government. In response, 100,000 protesters descended on the Capitol, while others protested at the executive residence and even my house.

...Despite the intimidation, we stood strong in our fight for taxpayers. It paid off, and today the budget is balanced, taxes are down and more people in the state are working than ever.

In Wisconsin, we saw how far protesters will go. My wife and I received death threats; protesters dressed as zombies once interrupted a ceremony while I was talking with Special Olympians. While not easy, I decided to take the high road: We learned how to make positive arguments, to communicate constantly and to remind people of our promises. And it worked.
That rigid spine approach is exactly what president Trump will do because it is who he is.  The polling will continue support him, at least when you look at the crosstabs, but only so long as he shows results, and ones that the media cannot dispute. Time will tell.

Trudeau's Canada, convicted terrorists welcome

Yep, that's our leader.
I know Canada doesn't matter much, but that's only true when we have a conservative government and are getting things right.  Since Justin Trudeau became prime minister he's seemed to have set himself a goal to challenge his father as our worst prime minister ever.  In that light, and given the evidence that we are flinging our doors open to unvetted refugees, this should come as no surprise:
Zakaria Amara is a convicted terrorist, serving a life sentence for his role in a plot to murder scores of Canadians. And now, thanks to a Trudeau government bill passed through the Senate this week, Amara will soon be given the privilege of Canadian citizenship.

...In the case of Amara, this “Canadian” was born in Jordan and raised in Saudi Arabia.

He came to Canada as a teenager, became a Canadian citizen as a young man, and, by the time he turned 20, he was behind bars and charged with terrorism.

Amara was the ringleader of a sophisticated terrorist cell known as the Toronto 18. He recruited, trained and groomed fellow Islamist extremists and worked towards a deadly terrorist plot.

Amara wanted to detonate bombs in downtown Toronto, and coordinate shooting sprees at the CBC and the Toronto Stock Exchange. He planned to siege Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and carry out executions and beheadings of politicians, including the Prime Minster.

...Thankfully, this madman’s plot was foiled by an undercover police sting operation. Amara pled guilty to terrorism charges, and was slapped with a life sentence.

Under the Harper government, Amara had his Canadian citizenship revoked and was set to be deported the moment he was released from prison.

But things have changed under Justin Trudeau...

Trudeau’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told the Senate that the Liberal government had already initiated the process to restore citizenship to the convicted terrorist.
Given what the Liberal parties have done in Canada and provincially in Ontario, I'd expect them to lose at both governmental elections in the coming years.  Unfortunately at the federal level we have an Obama problem.  The prime minister has some sort of charisma that escapes me. He's a stooge, and he wishes he had community organizer on his resume.  He was a drama teacher and really only won because of his family name and apparently, his good looks. A second term would be a disaster for Canada but he's still got a few years in his first term.

Did Obama Order the Code Red?

Wow! This is a real powder keg and it's big enough to cause a national crisis if there is even an element of truth to it. Roger Simon at PJ Media indicates that there's trouble on the horizon for Democrats with respect to president Obama's ordering a wire tap on president-elect Trump. That's not exactly
Forget the usual smokescreen of hyper-partisan blather from Chuck Schumer on "Meet the Press" or the myriad calls for Trump's head from the usual press suspects and consider the situation: Congressional committees, the FBI, not to mention numerous avid media organizations and who knows who else (NSA? CIA? ASPCA?) have been investigating putative Trump-Russia collusion for some time now and come up with... exactly nothing.

Are they likely to come up with something of significance at this point? Almost certainly not.

So now we have Trump's bold, brash, "unhinged" Twitter accusations that Obama wiretapped him. This came after Mark Levin, Breitbart, Andrew C. McCarthy, Louise Mensch and others I've forgotten about or am unaware of reported about two appeals to FISA courts (one denied last summer and one approved in October) for permission to tap phones in Trump Tower. Did they happen?

It seems that tapping of some sort actually occurred because it was virtually acknowledged in tweets from Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who sprang to action only hours after Trump tweeted, writing : "I'd be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it." Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, had almost simultaneously declared: "Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U. S. citizen." Ordered? That's what we used to call plausible deniability and now is known as a wiggle word.
That's cause for real worry in Democratic circles.  No doubt former president Obama does have plausible deniability or will be able to craft it in due course if things start to look bad.  But so far the Democrats remain on offense, as Roger Simon noted.

That despite the obvious double standard Democrats afford themselves.

Apparently it was all above board - just like Jeff Sessions' meetings with the Russian ambassador were. But the Democrats don't care. They have a compliant media willing and able to aid in their cause to derail Trump at the cost of morality.
When I woke up Sunday, I thought the morning news shows would all be talking about the unusual, perhaps dangerous, decision of the Obama administration to wiretap the offices of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

I’ve been watching Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” as I write this. There is actually little talk about this unprecedented wire-tapping and even less worry over it.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, usually thoughtful, just told Chuck Todd he found it is “shocking” that Trump disclosed the wiretapping claim on Twitter.

But Friedman offered no shock that such a wiretap might have taken place!

...The big news Saturday after Trump’s disclosure was the fact that neither Obama nor any Obama administration officials actually denied that Trump’s offices were ever wire tapped.

Instead the press focused on the rather narrow denial that Obama himself never ordered such a wiretap. [Wouldn’t it strain belief that a major presidential candidate’s offices were wiretapped and the president was never informed?]
If the right ever gets its act together and organizes with this as a concern, that's a game changer.  The left will go into hyper-defensive mode to protect former president Obama, and any sustained attacks on president Trump and team will cease except as counter-attacks, especially if there is reasonable evidence this was done.  In the short term, maybe Hillary Clinton wins out of this as the focus on her goes away.  But maybe not.  It's more likely the investigation of her gets dredged up again as this ties directly into her loss - especially if it turns out that the wiretap happened before the election and not after it.

Why is this so explosive? Well, it's a president engaged in illegal activity on the scale of Watergate, or even worse.
...If the Obama administration abused the FISA process to wiretap a political opponent, it is a scandal of the first order–the worst political scandal of my lifetime, easily. And the press has known about it and covered it up? Unbelievable.

But if this is a story that has been out there for a while, why does Trump say he “just found out”? Sounds like at a minimum there are new developments. We will see.
I suspect some of it might be that Trump has known about this for a while but is using it now because of the unabated Trump = Russia garbage we keep hearing about. Yes, it's a diversion tactic but if it's one of real substance it is a powder keg. Stay tuned.

Trump Woes: This too shall pass

The Democrat knives are out for president Trump, but that's not news.  They have been out for him since he defeated perennial non-contender Hillary Clinton in November.  Indeed, the knives have been out for Trump since he won the nomination. It's no surprise that everything, legitimate or fake or in between, is fair game as far as they are concerned.   It seems that Democrats have figured out president Trump's weakness.  He's a counter puncher.  It's not that they expect that his counterpunching will die down or be effective.  Quite the contrary, they hope it keeps up.  

Delay.  That's their game.  Donald Trump came into office with a basket full of promises and as everyone knows, the first 100 days are viewed as critical to a presidency.  So if Trump is busy counter-punching, which he seemingly cannot resist doing, he's not focused on his goals.  Face it, if his goal is jobs and a booming economy, the Democrats hope he fails because that would mean yet more electoral success for Republicans in 2018 and a second Trump term in 2020.  What matters is the first two years.

What's happening is pretty obvious. Protests are subsiding from the headlines now and Democrats are looking for something to keep up the momentum.  Trump  = Russia, bizarrely is their weak ploy to carry it forward.  Jeff Sessions will not be found to have engaged in any wrongdoing.  But the hope Democrats have is that by using Trump's own tactics of starting brush fires and moving on to the next one while the president's team has to engage in putting the fire out.  That's a Trump move.  They are trying to grind down any potential Trump momentum by using his own tactics against him.  Clever. Well, maybe.

Conservatives, catch your breath, the window on the Russia stuff is pretty narrow actually.  The outer edge of the histrionics is the summer.  People will start thinking about vacations and baseball, and BBQs etc.  That affords president Trump a breather and afterwards, in September, when people start tuning in to what passes for political discourse these days, they'll be more interested in what's been done than what's been said, implied or slandered.  

More importantly Trump still has options.  He can ramp up his game, which might work, or he can change his game.  He can ignore the brush fires and move forward at an even brisker pace and force the Democrats back onto defense, which is where Trump is at his most effective.  That could end the current seeming malaise in president Trump's effectiveness as the president much more quickly than the summer.  That requires one thing - Congress needs to keep up with the president.  That's not happening.  Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan need to step up the pace - NOW.  This type of majority for Republicans is a once in a century deal.  They can squander it by moving at a snail's pace or they can increase the chance of extending it, by, you know, getting something done.

Here's the rub - the Republican establishment might want to get the good Trump and delay the bad Trump.  For them, the good Trump is tax changes, SCOTUS nominees, budgetary restraint to some degree, military improvement and maybe regulatory reform.  The bad is a border wall, and tighter control on immigration and more and more it seems, rolling back Obamacare.

The GOP seem to be playing a game with president Trump, weère going to stall everything until you get in line and stop being a populist.  The Democrats are heading into a civil war, but on the Republican side, the civil war appears not to be over yet.  If Trump realizes this perhaps he can work something out with the Republicans because inaction hurts the GOP all around.  It hurts president Trump and the GOP in Congress.  It's bad for business as the saying goes. Perhaps it's time for conservative grassroots to start amping up the pressure on Congress.  Where's the Tea Party when you need them?

March 1, 2017

A reaction to reactions on Trump speech (left and right)

Donald Trump's speech to congress last night was about as expected. The reaction was not what I'd expected though. Nevertheless, come to think of it, the reaction is not at all surprising. In fact it's informative, or more aptly, confirmational that while perceptions are not changing, tactics definitely are.

Let's start with CNN, and their relatively positive response. It's possible that CNN has been licking their wounds from the banishment from the White House press conferences, and felt obligated to ratchet down the constant negative spin. Maybe they've realized that it's costing them viewership, or credibility, or both. I don't think that's their motivation, but take a look at the result, regardless of the reason:
(CNN) President Donald Trump's first address to Congress received largely positive reviews from viewers, with 57% who tuned in saying they had a very positive reaction to the speech, according to a new CNN/ORC poll of speech-watchers.

Nearly 7-in-10 who watched said the President's proposed policies would move the country in the right direction and almost two-thirds said the president has the right priorities for the country. Overall, about 7-in-10 said the speech made them feel more optimistic about the direction of the country.
There's no negative spin there. The negative spin would have been not to share the poll results, because that's pretty good for president Trump. And then there was this from their semi-permanent panelist and socialist darling Van Jones:

Clearly CNN is cutting back on the vitriolic attacks and admitting, yes, Trump is president. He's a president to be disagreed with on issues, but still president. They are not alone though. And that's why I don't think this is about access rights, or ratings. It's about a different tack on the liberal agenda. Maybe the smart Democrats are finally being heard

The Washington Post, in addition to highlighting the van Jones piece above in an opinion piece, also had this story about liberal actress Jennifer Garner as an unlikely Trump ally:
Jennifer Garner has not given up on Donald Trump’s Washington.

The 44-year-old actress spent the weekend lobbying the town’s pillars of power to support early education for poor rural children. She spent Friday on Capitol Hill meeting dozens of top staff members. On Saturday, she delivered the keynote address before the annual National Governors Association winter meeting here. A potential sit-down with Ivanka Trump, who is advocating for more funding for child care, fell apart because of scheduling conflicts, but Garner remained optimistic about a face-to-face discussion soon.
And Politico;
Voters seem to agree, regardless of how they feel about Trump's priorities. A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that 56 percent of 2,000 registered voters polled Feb. 24 through Feb. 26 say that Trump is staying true to his 2016 campaign message, and 66 percent say Trump has accomplished what was expected of him — or more. Overall, half of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 45 percent disapprove.
There's more but three pillars of liberal punditry all saying Trump was presidential last night, he hit the right notes (politically) etc., is enough to make the point. Democrat elites have started saying the impeachment talk has to stop. They get it apparently; they have only been hurting themselves with the never ending drumbeat of hate. That's too bad for conservatives, because it was definitely working in our favor. That said, it doesn't mean that liberals will be able to fight on policy. They haven't tried that approach for decades, so I'd expect some rust. Furthermore, who is to say they can sustain a logic-based counter-argument long enough not to fall back into angry Social Justice Warrior space? The new approach is both refreshing and annoying at the same time, but it isn't likely to be significantly more or less effective than the riot-in-the-streets approach. What matters now is results, and the results are going to be driven, or not driven by president Trump. In other words, the Republicans have the ball; they're on offense. Democrats seem to finally understand that they are on defense and do not get act, only react. If president Trump is successful, how they oppose him won't matter. But if he fails to deliver, how they oppose does matter. That's where the policy driven opposition over the impeachment type arguments will matter.

Interestingly at the other end of the spectrum, libertarian John Zeigler believes Trump has killed conservatism.
...we would not have massive increases in government spending and power instituted under a ‘Republican’ president, thus ending, for all time, any chance that we ever return to Reagan-like principles of smaller government before we inevitably suffer a financial implosion under the weight of massive debt.

For the first time since taking office, Trump was, for him, remarkably disciplined and, yes, really rather ‘presidential.’ Ironically, that was mostly because he stuck strictly to the very same teleprompter which he has roundly mocked Barack Obama for relying on too much.

While he is no Obama when it comes to his mastery of reading skills, he benefits from such incredibly low expectations that him simply not having a Ron Burgundy-like Anchorman meltdown makes him seem like Brian Williams in his prime. There were no moments of extreme egotism (at least by his standards), no attacks on the media or even Hillary, and no overtly apparent bald-faced lies. He didn’t even say anything nice about his BFF Vladimir Putin.

He hit on all the major points that got him elected (even while shifting his positions on some of them) and laid out a populist agenda, which had to sound real good to a lot of ‘regular’ people who haven’t already completely written him off.
Maybe the left has, pardon the phrase Moved On, but it appears many of those who are/were/identify with the Never Trump crowd on the right, still might not have managed to do so. That's a pity. Donald Trump may have recognized before many on the right, that conservatism of the Reagan era is not possible in this era of demographics and coalitions of overlapping interests. Reagan era conservatism is not forever gone. The road back to it however, is more than a single step. President Trump's delivery on jobs will make further steps back possible. The path back to real conservatism in America might not be the straight line conservatives would hope for, but it is a path. And considering how far along the progressive socialist path America has travelled since the 1980's, any path back should be welcome. It's a bad sign that more elites on the left seem to get that Trump's populism presents an opportunity than those elites on the right seem to realize. They may better recognize Trump as transitory to something else. That's the real danger to the future of conservatism, not that Trump wants to spend a trillion on infrastructure and won't get it, or will only get a portion of it.
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