March 30, 2018

March 28, 2018

Ironic end-around on the border wall

Walls are meant to keep people from getting in  or out of something or somewhere.  So it's more than a little ironic that president Trump is considering going around the end of the legislative wall to get funding for building the wall on the Mexican border.
Trump has told advisers that he was spurned in a large spending bill last week when lawmakers appropriated only $1.6 billion for the border wall. He has suggested to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and congressional leaders that the Pentagon could fund the sprawling project, citing a "national security" risk.

After floating the notion to several advisers last week, Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that the military should pay for the wall, according to three people familiar with the meeting last Wednesday in the White House residence. Ryan offered little reaction to the idea, these people said, but senior Capitol Hill officials later said it was an unlikely prospect.

Trump's pursuit of defense dollars to finance the U.S.-Mexico border wall underscores his determination to fulfill a campaign promise and build the barrier despite resistance in the Republican-led Congress. The administration's last-minute negotiations with lawmakers to secure billions more for the wall failed, and Trump grudgingly signed the spending bill Friday after a short-lived veto threat.
If it's a national security issue, and it kinda is, then military funding is most certainly an option. There's no Constitutional issue, even though Democrats will decry the unconstitutionality of it, and the article I quoted tries to make the case that it would require Congressional votes to make changes to the military budget (it makes no case that that's true, they just state it as fact).

As an aside, president Trump is saying he regrets signing the the Omnibus bill.  That could be a talking point or a lesson learned.  
Four days later, Trump continued to express regret over signing the $1.3 trillion package, which funded the government and averted a shutdown, saying it was a mistake and he should have followed his instincts.
We'll know in a few months when the next continuing resolution comes up, if the president is going to take a firmer stand.

March 24, 2018

March 23, 2018

Friday Musical Interlude - Battle Hymn of the Republic

Something slightly different this week, definitely aligned with the broader theme of this blog - The Battle Hymn of the Republic performed by the United States Army Field Band.

Trump to veto omnibus bill?

It seems like a real possibility.

UPDATEPerhaps not. But next time... (assuming he gets another chance from his supporters).

March 22, 2018

Trump is not against free trade

President Trump is not anti-free trade, he's against the United States being taken advantage of, in trade deals.  It's akin to Ronald Reagan's "trust but verify" in the sense that it's a view that free trade is fine, but only fine if we're sure it really is free going both ways.

It's important to keep in mind that a trade war would hurt China just as much as it would anyone else. Wanting them to play fair is not an unreasonable stance, and showing a bit of teeth is not a bad way to show it.

Conservative Insurgent Thursday - Episode #4

Insurgentnoun a rebel or revolutionary.
      "an attack by armed insurgents"
synonymsrebel, revolutionary, revolutionist, mutineer, insurrectionist, agitator, subversive, renegade, incendiary

After a couple of weeks of delay, Conservative Insurgent Thursday returns in force with a look at beloved conservative loudmouth and web-based editorialist/entertainer (hopefully that's a fair descriptive) Steven Crowder who is taking the conservative argument to the trenches, wherever those trenches may be - campuses, the web, social media.

Who is Steven Crowder? 

Steven Crowder is a 30 year old conservative political commentator and comedian. He was born in Gross Pointe Michigan but raised in the predominantly French province of Quebec in Canada.  He was raised  Christian and has been married since 2012 to his wife Hilary (not Clinton).  Previous to his calling to conservatism's defense Crowder was an actor, starting at a young age. Currently his Youtube channel has over one million subscribers, including myself. His show, Louder With Crowder is also available on CRTV.


Steven Crowder's political background became apparent when he started appearing as a guest or panelist on Fox News, where he eventually worked from 2009 through 2013, when he was 'fired' for criticizing Fox in a radio interview.  In addition to Fox News, Crowder has contributed videos to Breitbart, PJ Media, Prager University and in 2011 he was the MC at the CPAC conference.

Notable Achievements:

Most conservative insurgents would not count being punched as a notable achievement but in Crowder's case, he was punched in defense of the conservative cause.  In 2012 he was punched several times by a union activists when he was at at a Demonstration in Michigan where unionists were protesting Michigan's new Right To Work law.  Americans For Prosperity had a tent at the event and it was also torn down.  No charges were brought against Crowder's assailant. In terms of that being an achievement, getting punched is not so much an achievement, but getting punched and continuing to crusade for conservative values and against progressivism and socialism, that is an achievement worth mentioning.

Crowder has also been the august conservative The American Spectator for his work on Youtube. He's also done the university tour in an effort to fight back against the tide of socialism the prevails on university campuses.  It's yeoman's work but he's clearly up to the challenge.

Why We Need Him:

Crowder is fearless, much like all of the other conservative insurgents I've profiled so far.  More importantly, he brings a sharp comedic edge to his conservatism that demands people take note.  Yet despite the bite, Crowder comes across as personable and approachable.  Indeed in his Change My Mind video series he debates liberals in a surprisingly engaging and affable way.  He's hard not to like on a personal level and it only helps him with his message.

Here's a prime example;

Highlight Reel:

There are a number of great Crowder clips, but I would be remiss to not include this particular epic rant in response to a social justice warrior attempt to shut down a talk hosted by campus Republicans, before anyone had even spoken.  It's crude in spots, but brilliant in it's frontal assault on the flaws in the SJW hypocrisy on free speech.  The crudeness itself even speaks to the generation he's trying to reach.

Social Media:

Omnibus ouch!

Bad then, bad now.
Well, I'm forced to be consistent on this.  When Democrats introduced an omnibus bill when Obama was president I was infuriated by the debt implications of the spending.  Now that it's happening under president Trump's watch, I again have to say, ouch.

Via Hot Air, this observation:
Like most omnibus bills, this will get shoved through Congress quickly enough to keep people from noticing its worst aspects. Its 2200-page length would require several days to read in detail — well, several days and plenty of No-Doz.
I haven't had time to review it but it seems like both military and domestic spending are up. The deficit and debt will go up as a result (discounting potential tax revenue increases a la Art Laffer resulting from the tax cuts).  An increase in military spending is an unfortunate necessity given a near decade of Obama-era neglect desecration of military readiness.

But no border wall funding of which to speak.  No DACA resolution, which was the issue of the day last time around.   And increased domestic spending?  How can you drain the swamp when you keep pumping money into it?

The interesting piece will be how president Trump reacts to the bill.  Does he veto it?  He has reasons to do so but then again he's outsourced the budget discussions to congress and my suspicion is that he won't veto it. That would be a big disappointment.  Then again if he does, it will be a big win with his supporters.

Cambridge Analytica scandal for thee but not for me

The media is all agog over the fact that the Trump campaign worked with data collection and usage firm Cambridge Analytica which leveraged Facebook data for message targeting for the Trump campaign.  They fail to note that when president Obama was a candidate, his team was doing the exact same thing.  So while it's a terrible scandal for president Trump, it was apparently a genius move when team Obama did the same thing.  In reality the worst thing president Trump's election team could be accused of doing is copying a formula that worked for his predecessor (whom the media still adore).

The Hill, not exactly a bastion of Trump support, reports:
On Sunday, The Guardian reported on the supposedly nefarious workings of President Trump’s data-gathering team at Cambridge Analytica. The report suggested that Cambridge Analytica had essentially issued questionnaires through a third party; those questionnaires, which were personality quizzes, requested that you use your Facebook login. Cambridge Analytica then compiled data regarding those who completed the quiz and cross-referenced that data with political preferences in order to target potential voters.
This isn’t particularly shocking. In 2012, The Guardian reported that President Obama’s reelection team was “building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before.” 
What, exactly, would Obama be doing? According to The Guardian, Obama’s new database would be gathered by asking individual volunteers to log into Obama’s reelection site using their Facebook credentials. “Consciously or otherwise,” The Guardian states, “the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page — home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends — directly into the central Obama database.” 
Facebook had no problem with such activity then. They do now.  
There’s a reason for that. The former Obama director of integration and media analytics stated that, during the 2012 campaign, Facebook allowed the Obama team to “suck out the whole social graph”; Facebook “was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.” She added, “They came to [the] office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”
Not so with Trump. As soon as Facebook realized that Cambridge Analytica had pursued a similar strategy, they suspended the firm.
Part of the problem here is timing.  Facebook (specifically Mark Zuckerberg) has provided a mea culpa for political purposes (they are heavy Democrat supporters) as a way to try yet again to tarnish president Trump with something, anything, that they think will stick.  It's interesting as the Mueller fever begins to break that yet one more attempt has been made to take out president Trump's 2016 electoral victory credibility.  

News flash liberals - it didn't work before, it's not working now, and it won't work with this either.  You are looking increasingly desperate and hypocritical in your reporting, simultaneously.  That's an impressively odious feat but it's not going to help your cause of deposing a duly elected president.  But keep it up - actions always have consequences.  Maybe even Zuckerberg will discover this too.

[ADDITIONAL NOTE & FULL DISCLOSURE: I work in data analytics and we have clear guidelines to follow for what data is acceptable to use and what would infringe upon privacy rights. If anyone is guilty in this it's not Camebridge Analytica or their clients, it's Facebook for not protecting user rights. That's the real scandal - they either are protecting user rights or they allow any non-criminal organization access to user data and advise Facebook users accordingly.  They wanted to have it both ways, under the radar.  At a minimum they were deliberately negligent until a time of their choosing, at worst, they are complicit in deceptive and predatory practices for political purposes.]

March 16, 2018

March 15, 2018

Democrat hypocrisy effectively reduced to a single picture

N.Y. governor Andrew Cuomo takes part in an anti-gun "die-in" protest, while surrounded by armed guards.  Two-faced hypocrisy. Duplicitous, nanny-state paternalism.

Just, wow.

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has more.

March 13, 2018

Tillerson out at State: doesn't mean much, but...

President Trump has fired Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State today. In minutes Tillerson will be on CNBC talking about it.  It seems they had opposing views on a few issues, most notably Iran, which is difficult given the upcoming talks on with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.  

The firing doesn't mean much as president Trump seems to hire and fire as needed - it's his way of doing business.  But, the Tillerson response is a potential wildcard.  Regardless of that the Left will return down the path of Trump's White House is too chaotic.  It could influence some low information voters. Then again, Tillerson may not have anything bad to say and might even use the opportunity to shore up the president's stature. We'll see.

Some of us however, might feel that a bit of chaos is exactly what D.C. needs.  How do you shake things up without breaking a few eggs along the way?

UPDATE: Tillerson read a prepared statement and did not take any questions, it was very professional.  It might be the last we hear from him on this, or perhaps he simply felt this was not the time to discuss politics and to focus on the transition of his authority and role.

March 9, 2018

Shocker - president Trump to talk with North Korean leader

There's shock on the Left that president Trump's tough talk on North Korea has led to Kim Jong Un's apparent willingness to both talk, and denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Via the BBC:
North Korea agreeing to discuss denuclearisation "is evidence that President [Donald] Trump's strategy to isolate the Kim regime is working," US Vice-President Mike Pence has said.

He said the US had made "zero concessions" and "consistently increased the pressure" on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

An unprecedented summit between the two leaders is due to take place by May.

It comes only months after the pair hurled insults at each other.

Mr Trump has hailed the dizzying shift in North Korea's position as "great progress" but said sanctions would remain in place.

South Korean envoys earlier briefed the US president on the meeting they had this week with Mr Kim, saying he was now "committed to denuclearisation".

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said the news of the Kim-Trump meeting had come "like a miracle".
Did I just recently mention president Trump is winning? Yes. Yes I did.

Jobs Report, 300k+ wow-ness

Non-farm payrolls beat expectations by over 50% in February! It's the biggest hiring spree in 2 years and yet inflation thankfully, has remained muted.  After a record low African American unemployment rate in December, there was a spike in January. That has now returned to just above the historic low level of December.

President Trump is winning. His policies are winning. The stock market has taken notice. Voters are taking notice (even CNN had to admit it, but it's even better than they are saying).

Friday Musical Interlude - A Change Would Do You Good

Sheryl Crow's hit from all the way back in 1999.

March 8, 2018

Conservative Insurgent Thursday delayed

I'm hoping to get today's episode of Conservative Insurgent Thursday completed later today, as we've been sidelined by a veterinary emergency. 

Meanwhile, here's a video by the last Conservative Insurgent Thursday icon, Lauren Southern, on her participation in the Defend Europe Mission. It was posted about 7 months ago amid her being banned from Patreon for some sort of violence-related b.s.

March 7, 2018

Turnstile White House not necessarily a bad thing

A lot of people look at the Trump administration and see a lot of firings and resignations and think it's a sign of chaos.  But it's not necessarily a bad thing. The specifics of the reason for the latest resignation aside, people often remain around long after their specialized talent or value is no longer needed.  In essence, president Trump may be operating from more of a business model approach than a government bureaucracy style.  

He may be bringing people in and using them like contractors for specialized tasks and afterwards replacing them with people suited to the next task.  

Clearly that has not always been the case for this president.  In the beginning there was indeed a lot of turmoil around the comings and goings. And there have been disagreements both personal and professional.  But the departure oh Gary Cohn seems more like a plan.  He's a free trade advocate in the administration of a president who is threatening trade wars (clearly as a negotiating tactic), and his presence belies the threat.

The resulting market turmoil is a byproduct of the reaction to a different style of leadership; it's not  used to rapid changes and that can be unsettling.  But the turnstile administration may turn out to be a more effective model than the bloat which has preceded it for decades.

March 6, 2018

Bad news fatigue

Honestly, I don't know how the Left do it - the constant barrage of spin and phony stories and attacks on conservatives and the president never lets up.  I have some suspicion as to how they manage it, and certainly as to why.  There are so many liberals in key media points (be it television or print, or social media) and the education system and in government that they can disperse the workload among millions of operatives so it's not like the right who have to rely on a few bastions who deserve our thanks for relentlessly standing up to it.  And of course the 'why' is simple - the Left cannot win on facts, so they rely on cacophony and volume rather than content in their messaging.

As a conservative blogger there are times I feel burnt out.  There are times I feel like everything I do doesn't matter at all.  Mind you, I can't let it stop me from trying.  That's what the Left wants.  It's exactly what those who control the megaphones - the social media platforms etc. - want. But despite my unwillingness (along with countless other small time bloggers) to knuckle under, the sheer volume of Leftist propaganda that oozes forth daily does from time to time result in bad news fatigue.  For example even Drudge today headlines this link, and this one.  

Either that's bad news fatigue setting in on conservative outposts like Drudge and Fox or else it's a reaction to the Left shouting from the rooftops that it's over for Republican's in 2018 (i.e. it's an attempt to scare the conservative base into turning out).  If it's the latter, I understand.  The Left believe in the fierce urgency of now.  The right do not hold that as a universal truth; we must win now, we must win next time, and we must win the time after that.  But even if that's the reason behind the messaging coming from the right, there are potential unintended consequences such as those on the right finally giving up.  It's always a risk; instead of the "We're going to crush the midterms so why do I need to show up?" mentality they might be fostering a "the situation is hopeless so why should I bother showing up" mentality.  Complacency or despair are our two choices?  How about a "this is going to be close and my voice matters" mentality as a third option?

Digging down into that Fox News story above about Democratic turnout in Texas, it's just the 15 biggest counties.  What about the rest of them?  What if it's a bunch of youth who are highly unlikely to turn out to vote in the midterms?  If this makes the Texas map more blue than before, that's a problem, but does anyone expect a massive Texas blowout for Democrats?  Really?

On the right we cannot be like the Left, we have to be honest with ourselves about the situation, and we have to find ways to strike a balance between bad news and good news and to keep ourselves engaged.  Bad news fatigue is not the answer; we expect that from the Left trying to discourage conservative voters - we don't need the surface level the sky is falling views from sources on the right as well.  Just saying.

March 3, 2018

Saturday Learning series - Geography (Guinea)

Running late, but here's today's geography installment on Guinea.

And the flag;

March 2, 2018

Friday Musical Interlude - not music

This week I was unable to post a Conservative Insurgent Thursday due to being so busy with work.  Today, instead of music for the musical interlude, I'm sticking with sound, but one intended to relax. Personally, I think it will be beneficial. Hopefully you will also enjoy the sound of tropical ocean waves in the Maldives as an ambient background sound.

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