July 28, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Jamaica)

Bob Marley? Vacation time?  Speedsters like Usain Bolt? There's more to Jamaica.

July 27, 2018

In case you missed it, president Trump = winning

Again, and again.
The second quarter GDP was released today.  A booming 4.1%  that puts America on track for an annual GDP for 2018 above 3%, something that was unfathomable, unattainable under Obama.

Predictably, as with the great deal the president got with the E.U. on trade recently, the media coverage was tepid at best.  No credit where it is clearly due:

Keep in mind that president Trump inherited a GDP during his first quarter as president of 1.2% in Q1 of 2017 (a quarter shared by president Trump and former president Obama, following a 'booming' 2.9% in Q4 of 2016).

But president Obama was lauded for his economic record, which is notable pretty much only for not falling into a recession and keeping the country's head just above water for an extended period of time.

Here's an example:
The current economic expansion that started in June 2009 has lasted more than seven and a half years, making it now about the third-longest the U.S. has ever experienced.

Over the course of President Obama’s entire time in the White House, which included the tail end of the Great Recession, the economy grew on average by 2 percent each year. While this is a fairly moderate pace by historical standards (3 percent has been more typical of past expansions), it’s faster than during President George W. Bush’s two terms in office. And most importantly, the growth has been remarkably steady.
 So the formula is blame Bush, and take credit for tepid as if president Obama was a genius. Right.  The same article notes some troubles under Obama:
This is not to say that there aren’t problems. Economic growth has been below potential, and many workers are still suffering from disproportionately high unemployment, particularly African-Americans, Hispanics and people with less education.

But all in all, Trump inherited a strengthening economy that just needs a little help and specific interventions to help a wider swath of Americans share more quickly in the continuing economic gains.
It's worth noting that under president Trump African American and Hispanic unemployment are at historic lows under president Trump. A turnaround as dramatic as that does not come from riding on your predecessor's coattails, it comes from innovative thinking and major change. President Trump is definitely winning. The GOP need, desperately to make sure that the voting public see that. If there's been a failure during the Trump presidency, that drumbeat communication of success from everyone, in unison, is clearly it. 

That's not the president's fault, he owns the success and he hammers the message, what's lacking is the GOP choir. Let's hope they get to the chorus in unison before we get to the midterm elections. I don't see a Blue Wave happening, but there's no hidden Red Wave at this point either. The GOP seem to be doing their level best to lose a little bit of ground instead of a lot.  That's a recipe for failure. They are up against the Democrats, the media, and most importantly, their own reluctance to fight back hard against the lies, half-truths, and misdirection that is used against the president.  In individual races, you are not going to 'nice' your way into victory.

I'm just saying.

Twitter Shadow Banning Admission

Twitter has inadvertently admitted to Shadow-banning conservatives in a statement released after they had been caught-out banning actual prominent Republicans.

VICE News first noticed that several prominent Republicans. such as RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and congressmen like Matt Gaetz and Mark Meadows, were not appearing in Twitter's search box even when their full names were typed out. That effectively lumped in Republican politicians with figures like white supremacists Richard Spencer and Laura Loomer and alt-right Pizzagater Mike Cernovich. By contrast, none of their Democratic counterparts were affected.

After the story went up, several conservative journalists noticed their accounts were also affected.
Oops.  Twitter may have been caught Social Justice Warrior-ing.  So they 'fixed' it (assuming a number of those who were shadow banned or suffering the same treatment were not addressed because they were not prominent enough to be noticed).

Kudos to Vice for the catch, did not expect that from them.

But the story does not end there.  Twitter followed up by releasing a statement. The Free Beacon reports:
The issue was fixed, but Twitter soon after put out a statement denying that it was "shadow banning" users, the phrase VICE used. "People are asking us if we shadow ban. We do not…" the tech company writes. "And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.

But then the statement contains this admission of something Twitter has long been accused of. "We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile)." [Emphasis added]

Uh, call me crazy, but that parenthetical sounds a lot like an admission that Twitter effectively shadow bans users."
That's shadow banning. I have an admission to make, I shadow banned Twitter about a year ago. Still have an account, still have about 12,000 followers. I don't go there anymore though unless someone has a story that links to a tweet I want to endorse. My blog posts end up there too. But Twitter, whose stock has long since past it's peak, is not important to conservatives anymore.

True we have to weave our way through other shadow banning via YouTube and Facebook and Google, there are still enough cracks to get the conversation out there. We'll continue using them until something eventually breaks and we have an equal voice to the cacophony of liberal tripe we are deluged with daily.

Friday Musical Interlude - Big Jet Plane

Alok & Mathieu Koss' remake of Angus and Julia Stone's Big Jet Plane. Both versions are good, but in very different ways.

July 25, 2018

Toronto terror attack?

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a mass shooting in Toronto earlier this week.  So far there is no evidence of any connection.

As an aside, Canada has very strict gun laws.  Toronto gun violence has been particularly present this year.  The gun control laws have not seemed to matter much in stopping the violence.

Window Wednesday - More #WalkAway

I love hearing these stories.

July 21, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Ivory Coast)

Back to Africa in our geography lessons.

BONUS:  There's a Michael Jackson factoid in the video.

July 20, 2018

Friday Musical Interlude - Punga

More Klingande.  Their first hit in Europe, Punga, also featured a lot of sax.

July 18, 2018

Window Wednesday is #WalkAway Wednesday

A few videos of recent Red Pill moments from the #WalkAway movement.

July 17, 2018

2018 midterms - support Dean Heller

Nevada voters need to re-elect Dean Heller to the senate.

July 16, 2018

2018 Midterms - Support Josh Hawley

Missouri voters, please support Josh Hawley this November in the 2018 midterms.

July 15, 2018

Classical Liberalism probably isn't what you think

David Rubin, former progressive, offers this little bit of wisdom as an explainer.

Strzok-Page text messages re-enacted

This is well done and worth watching.

Sunday verse

July 14, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - Unintended Consequences

A Top 10 list of Unintended Consequences helps explain the phenomenon and the side effects of decisions, particularly of bad decisions.

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Italy)

Mmmm, pasta.

July 13, 2018

Mueller Indicts More Russians. But Yawn.

While president is meeting with Russian dictator Putin, Mueller tried to grab some headlines and I'm sure CNN will greedily consume and repeat the story ad infinitum.

But, there's this truth:

Friday Musical Interlude - Driving Music

For your summer enjoyment on this Friday the 13th.

The Greatest Single Economic Myth

This talk on debt is not riveting, but it is right.

Pat Bucahnan nails Trump's comments on Germany

Here I was naively expecting a great quote from the Strzok hearings at Congress which turned out to be a shout-fest and a for the most part a missed opportunity for the Republicans (save a few worthy moments, especially from Trey Gowdy). But this quote from Pat Buchanan has to be the quote of the week as it sums up perfectly the reason president Trump unloaded on a freeloading Germany this week.

The president unapologetically dressed-down German leadership for it's shameless self-serving deal with Russia.

The media was apoplectic; You can't say things like that!

First, here's the set-up of the circumstances leading up to the dressing-down. Germany spends considerably less than the NATO mandated 2% of GDP on defense.  And while NATO was created as a common defense against the former Soviet Union, Germany has reached a self-serving deal to get more cheap natural gas from Russia, which is fine in a vacuum if Russia were not a bad actor on the world stage and Germany wasn't defaulting on it's NATO obligation and indeed putting it's own security at risk. And, as Buchanan puts it:
Germany spends 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, while the U.S. spends 3.5 percent. Why? Why -- nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the crackup of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship in Moscow -- are we still defending European nations that collectively have 10 times the GDP of Vladimir Putin's Russia?
Indeed, "Why?" Buchanan has nailed it.  It's not just Germany undercutting it's NATO partners in a self-serving way, it is doing so for it's own financial wealth when Germany is far richer than Russia and far richer than Germany was at the formation of NATO. The president was right.  Pat Buchanan is right. Done.

An argument against free trade

Free trade is a good thing if it's done fairly.  But manipulation is rampant and being a patsy is not a course for American prosperity.

July 12, 2018

Um, why is this happening?

This seems more than just a little inappropriate and highly suspicious:
Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, has asked federal prosecutors to help review the government documents of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times on Wednesday.

Mr. Rosenstein’s request was an unusual insertion of politics into federal law enforcement. While the Justice Department has helped work on previous Supreme Court nominations, department lawyers in Washington typically carry out that task, not prosecutors who pursue criminal investigations nationwide.

But in an email sent this week to the nation’s 93 United States attorneys, Mr. Rosenstein asked each office to provide up to three federal prosecutors “who can make this important project a priority for the next several weeks.” Names were to be submitted to Mr. Rosenstein’s office by the end of Wednesday.
Even the New York Times seems to be willing to point out that this is troubling.
Former law enforcement officials described Mr. Rosenstein’s directive as a troubling precedent.

“It’s flat-out wrong to have career federal prosecutors engaged in a political process like the vetting of a Supreme Court nominee,” said Christopher Hunter, a former F.B.I. agent and federal prosecutor who is running for Congress. “It takes them away from the mission they’re supposed to be fulfilling, which is effective criminal justice enforcement.”
Exactly. And why is Rosenstein doing this? No one outside of the Justice Department has a clue.  Rosenstein is out of control. And where is A.G. Jeff Sessions? Does that guy even do any work?

Second Thoughts On Kavanaugh's "Expected" Conservatism

Everyone seemingly is expecting that president Trump's nomination for the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Anthony "swing vote" Kennedy, is a slam dunk constructionist win for conservatives.  The Left thinks the sky is falling.  Conservatives from all walks seem to think that this selection merely represents a safe pick, or that the president is trying to mend fences between his populist and conservative supporters and the Republican establishment, or that Kavanaugh was simply 1 of 4 good candidates on the president's short list.  But one need only look back in history to fret that maybe we should be a little worried. Am I worried yet? Yes, a little bit.

I'm not suggesting Brett Kavanaugh was/is a bad choice, but rather that there is no guarantee that he is a great, or even over the long term, a good choice.

Exhibit A: David Souter

In 1990 George H.W. Bush nominated David Souter to the Supreme Court. Not surprisingly his nomination was vehemently opposed by liberal Groups like the National Organization for Women and the NAACP.

And the relatively easy ride this time around for Roberts is not just because he had no significant paper trail. Neither did Souter, as one official from the National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund testified. But that didn't stop NOW then-President Molly Yard from saying Souter would be "ending freedom for women in this country." He was, the opposition concluded, a most likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade . He turned out to be a solid liberal vote.
Meanwhile on the right, Souter was supposed to be a home run:
When Souter was nominated, he was as little-known as any nominee could be. He had spent his life in New Hampshire, the last seven years of it on the state Supreme Court, where cases shed no light on any matter of constitutional import. He’d been elevated to the federal bench only six months before George H.W. Bush chose him for the highest court in the land.

His chief asset, in fact, was that, in sharp contrast to Bork, whose writings and opinions were bountiful and provocative, Souter had no paper trail whatsoever. So when White House chief of staff (and former New Hampshire governor) John Sununu proclaimed that Souter would be “a home run for conservatives,” many on the right were convinced.
Souter might represent the prototype for Kavanaugh - a "Yankee Republican", an inside the beltway (at least inside then president Bush's Beltway") guy.  Kavanaugh is a lifetime Wasington D.C. denizen.  You cannot hold that he was born and raised in the swamp as an identifier against the man, but it is fair to suggest it is an indicator.  

The concern then becomes that as Souter drifted to the center and then to the far left in his court decisioning, so too might Kavanaugh.  The markers are there - the left is up in arms, the right sees him as a win, and Kavanaugh is an Establishment, Inside-the-Beltway guy.  Furthermore there is evidence that president Trump was looking for a slam dunk, just as then-president Bush was looking for someone who could not be Borked.  Furthermore, there's evidence that Trump might be trying to bridge the Establishment GOP with his voter base with this pick. In other words, both nominations were to some degree, politically calculated. Is that worrisome? Are the similarities troubling? Yes.

Souter of course is not the only Exhibit, just the most relevant in my opinion.  Sandra Day O'Connor, the outgoing Anthony Kennedy, and even Justice Roberts drifted far to the left of where they started.  Apparently it's the natural fallout of living inside the Beltway, or perhaps  just age.   In any case, a rock-ribbed conservative justice as a starting point is a better place to be if the drift leftward turns out to be inevitable, regardless of the reason for the drift because preserving as much originalist view on the court as possible is important.

Is Kavanaugh the next Souter?  I don't know but like every conservative, I hope not.  I'm just not convinced that the starting point is as solid as it felt with Gorsuch.  One thing is certain though - the howls of outrage from the collective left are not basis enough of a reason to feel confident about the pick.  They've been as wrong about Republican presidential nominations to the Supreme Court as have those same presidents who made weak nominations.  At this point I'm ready to revisit my ardent support for Gorsuch (not out of any specific reason, just a need to do a more detailed personal vetting of my opinion).  President Trump has offered a good track record of conservative accomplishments so far, but we are still in the short term. It will be a lot more obvious 20 years from now how successful president Trump  has been on delivering for conservatives on the economy, jobs border security, law and order and the Supreme Court.  Let's hope it looks as good then as it does now.

July 11, 2018

Window Wednesday - Hit piece on GOP

Sacha Baron Cohen did a hit piece on Republicans, Trump and his supporters that will be making it's first public appearance soon.  Apparently it's a one-sided, disgusting spectacle requiring no attention, but stuff like this needs to have the light shone on how ugly and inappropriate it really is:

It gets worse:

Sarah Palin responded with class at least.

How Trump will win the trade war with China

CSPAN recently covered a talk at the Hudson Institute by Peter Navarro where he explained how president Trump will win against China on trade.

Window Wednesday - Germany, Russia, NATO and gas pipelines

President Trump setting Germany straight on NATO, Russia and where Germany gets its gas.

Window Wednesday - Clinton Redux

Since there are rumors that Hillary Clinton will not go away and plans to run again in 2020, I thought I'd share this today.  I don't think she's enough of a threat to anyone to merit a return to a weekly Thursday Hillary Bash a la 2013 - 2016, so let's just leave it at this for now.

Answer for the politically impaired: it's not the one in Haiti.

July 10, 2018

Reaction: Brett Kavanaugh for SCOTUS

Last night president Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the recently-vacated Supreme Court seat.  By most accounts he's a conservative, originalist judge.  He's also been accused of being an Obamacare apologist as well as the man who will single-handedly destroy the Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision.  It depends on who you ask.  Following is a rundown of reactions to the announcement last night.

Firstly, here's my take. I don't know Kavanaugh's record nearly well enough to say that I think he will be a good choice or not. I know only what I've heard and read in recent days. I was personally rooting for Amy Coney Barrett who seemed like more of a populist pick but more importantly a fierce conservative. I could be wrong. It's been argued that she's a bit too much of a blank slate and therefore a risk to veer left on certain issues. This is too important to make that mistake. She also supposedly faced a harder confirmation process than does Brett Kavanaugh. On the first point there may be some validity; although given a smaller judicial record, the Senate might rely more non-traditionally on her opinions about cases. Or they would try to do so. That could apply to Republicans not just Democrats. On the second point what is interesting to me is the potential impacts on the president's and the GOP's midterm election prospects. Does a Senate no vote on Amy Coney Barret fire up the Republican base to turn out or does it deflate their mood and turnout? Does it make the president look weaker or just support his argument that we need more Republicans in the senate? We may never know the answer to that but there are clues.

The president may have wanted to deliver on his promises to his base. An achievement (assuming Kavanaugh is the easier nomination to approve) may be a better seller than a failed nomination. Or maybe the president is interested in shoring up support among the establishment Republicans (and in the process making George Will look bad, as an added bonus) ahead of the midterms. Perhaps the president is thinking ahead to additional future nominations he might get to make, as has been rumored. In that case a solid pick now and an Amy Coney Barrett nomination next time around, after the 2018 midterms, would be an easier road if the Republicans don't lose seats but instead actually pick up seats. President Trump is a scrapper but he's also smart. Why would he take the hard road of nominating Barrett now if it will be easier in a year or two to get her on the court as well?

Given that theory, perhaps the GOP have insights into the coming election that they are just not sharing with the rest of us. Perhaps they are expecting substantial pick-ups in the house and senate.  So there's my two cents on the politics of the pick; it means the GOP are expecting to pick up seats and turn out votes, in part because of this pick and in part indicated by this pick.

How do other's feel about it?  Here's a synopsis of a few liberal responses.

Social conservatives response:

And for a laugh, here's a progressive liberal reaction courtesy of MSNBC and senator Elizabeth Warren:

July 6, 2018

July 2, 2018

#WalkAway is happening

Classical liberalism was what conservatism now defends.  Current liberalism is fascism. That's why so many are starting to walk away.

July 1, 2018

Sunday verse

Happy Canada Day

Canada is celebrating it's 151st birthday today.

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