Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bauble for the Christmas Tree

For John, BLUFIt being American, anyone can own one.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the obverse side of the ornament, with the American Eagle and President Franklin D Roosevelt's initials.  The Eagle is the same as the one on the stand in front of President Roosevelt at his first Inauguration:

Here is the reverse side of the ornament, with the White House and a Christmas Tree:

A very nice ornament, approved by the White House.

And a special thanks to my Brother John and his Wife Carol, for again sending us a Christmas Tree Ornament from the White House Historical Association.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, December 29, 2017

After Mueller

For John, BLUFI am thinking Special Counsel will find President Trump did NOT commit collusion with the Russians.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady by Reporters Michael S Schmidt and Michael D Shear, 28 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

President Trump said Thursday that he believes Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, will treat him fairly, contradicting some members of his party who have waged a weekslong campaign to try to discredit Mr. Mueller and the continuing inquiry.

During an impromptu 30-minute interview with The New York Times at his golf club in West Palm Beach, the president did not demand an end to the Russia investigations swirling around his administration, but insisted 16 times that there has been “no collusion” discovered by the inquiry.

“It makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position,” Mr. Trump said of the investigation. “So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”

I am pleased that the President is happy to let Mr Mueller's investigation play out.  Of course the President is confident that he is innocent and the investigation will bear that out.

However, this raises a question.  Let us assume that Special Counsel Mueller finds no collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.  How does that inform us about the functioning of the Intelligence Community.  Are they incompetent?  Or, are they conducting a political campaign against an an elected official who they find unfit?  Neither seems compatible with our understanding of how our Government should operate.

Democrats whinging about accusations against the FBI seemed to have overlooked this problem.  Best they hold their fire for now.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Smashed With a Hammer

For John, BLUFThe refinement at The New York Times has all drained away.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Puzzlingly violent illustration on NYT op-ed criticizing Trump's judicial nominees.

What is this supposed to mean?
Asks Law Professor Ann Althouse, at her blog, on 27 December 2017.

Here is the closing paragraph:

So the illustration means that the Senate holds the gavel and it "must" smash Thomas Alvin Farr in the face with it.  I understand it now.  It's very crude, violent, and ugly.  And somebody at the NYT decided it belonged on that column.
Remember The Old Gray Lady of old, the one with refinement such as to make it our "Newspaper of Record"?  That was a long time ago.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lack of Historical Memory

For John, BLUFMerry Christmas and here is your tax bill for money earned for being a slave.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Pajama Media, by Mr Michael van der Galien, 27 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

It doesn't get more insane than this: a Jewish woman, 86, has been told by the Dutch government that she will have to pay taxes on a pension she receives every month from the German government.

Now, it may sound a tad bit weird that Germany is paying a Dutch woman 140 euros every month, but the reason is that Inge Prenzlau is Jewish. During the Second World War, the Nazi occupiers forced her to work in her father's company without pay. Every day, young Inge (then 11 years old) had to walk two hours to her father's pill factory to prove to the Nazis that the family was still tied to their business so it wouldn't be confiscated. Her father couldn't work because he was extremely ill. In 1943, her slavery ended when she and her family had to go into hiding. The Nazis had decided to round up the family -- like other Jewish families -- and send them to concentration camps.

After the war, the German government felt it had to reach out to such "ghetto slaves" and provide them with compensation in the form of a modest pension. Because they truly were victims, the Germans decided not to levy taxes on that pension, so Prenzlau receives her 140 euros tax-free.

Bureaucrats just have to be bureaucrats.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Measure Twice, Cut Once

For John, BLUFAt least with WAZE you know where you are when you begin, thanks to previous successful launches.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Does anyone remember this?

NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched, space agency officials said Thursday.
This is from The LA Times, back on 1 October 1999, by reporter Robert Lee Hotz.

It has taken 18 years, but I think the Russians have topped it.

This is from The Guardian, via Reuters, 27 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus four:

Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday the loss of a 2.6bn-rouble ($45m) satellite launched last month was due to an embarrassing programming error.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said last month it had lost contact with the newly launched weather satellite – the Meteor-M – after it blasted off from Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome in the country’s far east.

Speaking to Rossiya 24 state TV channel, Rogozin said the failure had been caused by human error.  The rocket carrying the satellites had been programmed with the wrong coordinates, he said, saying it had been given bearings for take-off from a different cosmodrome – Baikonur – which Moscow leases from Kazakhstan.

“The rocket was really programmed as if it was taking off from Baikonur,” said Rogozin.  “They didn’t get the coordinates right.”

The rocket was carrying 18 smaller satellites belonging to scientific, research and commercial companies from Russia, Norway, Sweden, the US, Japan, Canada and Germany.

The key to successful navigation is knowing where you are.  The first step, of course, is knowing from whence you started, or having a great update point, but to get there you have to know where you are.  Everything else is dead reckoning.

Check and recheck is a good course of action.

Hat tip to my Middle Brother, who, before retirement was both a buyer and a seller of satellites.  As an aside, my Youngest Brother was a buyer of expendable launch vehicles.

Regards  —  Cliff

Self-Righteous Spies

For John, BLUFTen examples of the Intelligence Community bending (breaking) the laws of the land.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Hill and is by Ms Sharyl Attkisson, 26 December 2017.

Note that The Hill states that "The views expressed by Contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill".  Thus we have a little distance from Ms Attkisson and her charges.  Here is the lede plus four:

No matter where you stand politically, a growing body of facts raises the question:  Is there systemic corruption or misfeasance at work inside America’s intelligence agencies?

By that, I don’t mean people stealing money.  I mean officials who are stealing our privacy — using the tools of intelligence-gathering and law-enforcing, which are meant to protect Americans, to instead spy on them, to gather information that isn’t the government’s business (at least not without a court’s approval).  And, in some instances, it appears, to punish or silence those with whom they disagree — personal and political foes, in and out of government — rather than to pursue and protect Americans from the country’s real enemies.

Perhaps more alarming is the growing evidence that suggests some officials at all levels in intelligence and justice agencies are operating in a way that is clearly intended to serve their own political beliefs and interests — not the public’s interests.

And sometimes, it appears, they operate not just in direct defiance of their superiors but of the Congress, the courts and the very laws of the land as well.

(Almost as disturbing, Congress, for its part, seems all too willing to allow all of this to take place, when it becomes known, rather than using its authority to stop the misfeasance, punish the miscreants who lie or stonewall, and protect their constituents.)

This is not good.  Citizens need to have faith in their courts, their police and their intelligence agencies.  I guess they should also have faith in their Congress, but that may be asking a lot.

And Bad People need to have rights also, just in case the Government makes a mistake and thinks you are the bad guy and in fact your are totally innocent.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

No Limits Protests

For John, BLUFThe Left should be embarrassed, but they are too ignorant for that to sink in.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Da Tech Guy and Ms Juliette Akinyi Ochieng (Baldilocks), 26 December 2017 .

This is about talk host Ms Stacy Washington telling her fans to report a leftist page called “New Years Rave at Ajit Pai’s House”, which was about protesting, between 2200 and 0300, over Mr Pai's Net Neutrality Decision.  So, they went after Ms Washington on line.

Here is the lede (emphasis mine):

Commenting on this situation, a friend observed that “Leftists don’t like being exposed for returning to their night rider KKK roots.”  A searing assessment that is, but I don’t think that these foot-soldiers for Leftism have the slightest bit of self-awareness or historical perspective about this proposed action against a man’s home or about harassing brown-skinned Americans for what they believe.  If they did, outside of the psychopaths, they wouldn’t be participating.  Then again, the group is probably composed of nothing but psychopaths. 12,000 of them.
I am not which is a greater indictment, using Klan like tactics or being so historically ignorant they don't realize they are acting like the Klan.

Either was, it is bad  The left in this Country is working to destroy free speech.  I would hope that if they had a clue they would be embarrassed and hide their faces—Oh, right, they do hide their faces, while they keep on acting like a 21st Century Klan.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Early Endorsement

For John, BLUFI would be very happy with a Nikki Haley nomination.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Ace of Spades Headquarters.

The lede:

Yes, yes, I know.  She isn't sufficiently pure because she didn't defend the Confederate battle flag and her domestic policies aren't perfect.  But this woman fights, she doesn't back down, and she is a vociferous defender of American interests.  Of course it is hyperbole to suggest her for president, but I want Washington filled with people like Haley rather than apparatchiks like Brennan and Powers and Rice and Meuller and Comey and.....
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Coming to the New World

For John, BLUFI am not saying Vikings got here first, the Lusitanians did, but still, they beat Columbus by 400 some years.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


Here is the lede plus one:

THE STORY THAT GUY MELLGREN told about the curious silver coin began on the shores of Maine, where he met a stranger named Goddard.  In the fall of 1956, Mellgren and Ed Runge, a pair of amateur archaeologists, had come in search of the most basic of coastal dig sites—a shell midden—when they happened onto a more unusual discovery.

Goddard had invited them to explore his shoreline property, and there, on a natural terrace about eight feet above the high tide line, they found stone chips, knives, and fire pits, along with an abundance of other unexpected artifacts.  Each summer for many years, Mellgren and Runge returned to excavate the “Goddard Site,” with little help from professional archaeologists.  In the second summer, they produced the coin.

This is about the Goddard Site.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Back to the "Insurance Policy"

For John, BLUFYes, it is ugly  And there are no simple answers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From National Review and Columnist Andrew C McCarthy 23 December 2017.

A long read.

The "insurance policy".  I bet they regret those words.  And, they forgot the first rule in DC.  Never put anything in writing you are not willing to see on the front page of The Washington Post.  The Swamp leaks like a sieve.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 25, 2017

Hallmark Channel

For John, BLUFYes, Hallmark Channel does contribute to diabetes in the flyover states.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Town Hall and Mr Matt Vespa, 23 December 2017.

Here is the lede of Mr Vespa's critique:

When it comes to entertainment, I’m really not in the cultural conservative camp.  I watch what I want to watch, whether that is Game of Thrones or Rocko’s Modern Life.  Yes, I like action movies.  Yes, I like bloody horror films.  Yes, the bloodier and gorier, the better in that category.  Around Christmas time, yes, I will confess I sometimes watch a Hallmark Christmas movie.  They’re cheesy.  All aspects about it are too good to be true, but to get into the season and to take a break from my usual viewing of graphic violence, I’ve seen worse.  Apparently, though—it’s very problematic because everyone is white, there are no feminists, no Muslims, and the male leads have white nationalist haircuts—whatever that means.  It’s your typical contrarian drivel from Slate, a Washington Post-affiliated site.  Oh, and the areas with the strongest viewership are in states where Trump won.  I smell collusion.  I smell propaganda, right?  No, I actually don’t because I’m not a progressive, but the analysis is quite entertaining.
Here is the original article:

The Hallmark Channel’s 21-movie fusillade in the War on Christmas is a ratings sensation.  I’m watching it all to find out why.

The author of this Slate article is Mr Zachary Jason and the date was 12 December 2017.

Before you think that Mr Vespa is just another "White Guy", picking on Mr Jason, go look at his picture.  This is a chap who could be rejected by Harvard based on his race.

There is the question of why Mr Jason thinks Hallmark Channel should be doing something different, given that it is doing a good job meeting the interests of a broad audience.  While some have kneed the NFL, tumbling its attendance and ratings, the Hallmark Channel is soaring.  And the reason is it meets a need.  I have a very progressive friend, and she likes watching Hallmark Channel stories, because they have happy endings.

We hear a lot about the evils of cultural appropriation, so why does Mr Jason wish to change this American small town non-coastal vision of life and Christmas?

Then there is the accusation of Blacks who "exist only to cheer on the dreams of the white leads".  Yes, most of the actors are Caucasians (is that word too hard for people to spell?), but it is not like Blacks do not show up in some responsible positions.  Yes, not the stars, but running the local inn, managing a star's professional life, MCing the gingerbread contest.

This Slate article is just more of the guerrilla warfare against Christmas.  Sad.  Very sad.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Santa's Unusual Entry

For John, BLUFHumorous feel good story about Christmas.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Vietnam Veterans of America, November/December Issue, by Ms Anne Watts, who was a British nurse serving in the Children’s Centre in Qui Nhon, during the Vietnam War.

Here is the lede plus two:

Christmas was hot, humid, and dusty with incoming mortars and sweating soldiers.  But we were not going to allow such details to interfere with celebrations.

As a way of thanking U.S. military personnel for their magnificent help, the Vietnamese staff invited them to spend Christmas day with us at the Centre.  Christmas is about children, after all, and we certainly had plenty of them.

The soldiers were very enthusiastic and set about planning the day with gusto. Many had young children back home, and this might lessen their homesickness.  It was terribly important to them to make this Christmas happen, and preparations became their obsession.  The Centre became a hive of activity.  Some Army nurses taught the children how to make brightly colored paper chains, and the soldiers shared with them Christmas cards from back home.

Christmas is a celebration wherever and whenever it is.

Regards  —  Cliff

Traditions Vary

For John, BLUFI think it is nice.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

How a fast-food marketing campaign turned into a widespread Yuletide tradition for millions.

From The Beeb and Reporter By Eric Barton, 19 December 2016.

Here is the lede plus one:

Every Christmas, Ryohei Ando gathers his family together for a holiday tradition.  Just like their father did as a child, his two children will reach deep into a red-and-white bucket and pick out the best piece of fried chicken they can find.

Yes, it’s a Merry KFC Christmas for the Ando family.  It may seem odd anywhere outside Japan, but Ando’s family and millions of others would never let a Christmas go by without Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Every Christmas season an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families treat themselves to fried chicken from the American fast-food chain, in what has become a nationwide tradition.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S

For John, BLUFEverything to see here; just keep looking and believing.

And A Happy New Year

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Resistance In Action

For John, BLUFDidn't President Obama say elections have consequences.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Posted by Professor William A. Jacobson, at Legal Insurrection, 12 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus four and a Tweet:

Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett had a tweet on December 5, 2017, that I’ve been meaning to write about.

It reflects a subject I, and others, have been focusing on since election night — the refusal of Democrats and #NeverTrump Republicans to accept the outcome of the election not just emotionally, but as to the transfer of power that continues to this day, over a year since the 2016 election.

Here is Prof. Barnett’s tweet, referencing the attempt by outgoing CFPB Director Richard Cordray preemptively to install Leandra English as Interim Director over the objections of the Trump administration.

The tweet references a separate tweet from law professor Josh Blackman about attempts of the CFPB bureaucracy to subvert the authority of Mick Mulvaney, the Interim Director appointed by Trump:

Democrats’ #Resistance is creating a genuine constitutional crisis in which governmental power is not allowed by them to be peacefully transferred after a lawful election.  The potential for escalation is very very dangerous.
I would have thought that the example of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with regard to judicial appointments, would have informed Democrats about the dangers of upsetting precedents.  Not even the Franklin Roosevelt Democratic Party reign lasted for ever.  Unless they turn the nation into a banana republic or a dictatorship there will always be a reversal of fortunes, with consequences.

We could go back to the old spoils system.  It might, in fact, be better.  Just harder on the incumbents.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Health Care Still in Trouble

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I argue that not everything the Government touches turns to gold.

For John, BLUFWell, you can keep your Doctor if you want to, or something like that.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

More evidence that costly government insurance hasn’t made us healthier.

From The Wall Street Journal, by Mr James Freeman, 22 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Washington continues to debate health policy as if the number of people covered by government insurance programs is the key measurement of success. This week brought more evidence that the ObamaCare experiment of signing up millions more people for subsidized coverage has not made Americans healthier.

“Life expectancy in the United States fell for the second year in a row in 2016,” NBC News reports this week. The network quotes the government’s National Center for Health Statistics:

“This was the first time life expectancy in the U.S. has declined two years in a row since declines in 1962 and 1963,” the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.
This column is not ascribing all of this historically bad news to the former president’s signature accomplishment. Researchers have cited various factors, including trends that began well before Mr. Obama took office. But it’s striking that the implementation of a massive expansion in federal health benefits has coincided with the reversal of a long-term trend of increasing U.S. life expectancy. At a minimum, it should inspire politicians to stop equating rising health appropriations with better health.
In the article the Opioid Crisis comes up and the PP&ACA comes up for its share of criticism.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lillian Hellman Recalled

For John, BLUFIt was a little squabble, but live on national TV, and thus it went off the rails.  But, it is as alive today as then, what with the Antifa and their ilk pushing a Stalinist line on the rest of us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The New Yorker, 16 December 2017, by Mr Dick Cavett.

I had forgotten, or not realized, that Novelist Mary McCarty was on the Dick Cavett show when she said of Playwright Lillian Hellman:

“Everything,” McCarthy replied, smiling.  “I said once in some interview that every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”
Ms Hellman sued Ms McCarthy, PBS and Mr Cavett.  As she died before the suit went to trial, it died with her.

Ms McCarthy was a writer of note in her day.  I read her book, The Group, when it came out, and liked it.

Ms Hellman also managed to get into a twenty-five year fight with Actress Tallulah Bankhead over a fundraiser for Finnish Relief, right after the Soviet Invasion.  Tallulah was for it and Lillian was against it.  But, Ms Hellman had written the play to be performed, The Little Foxes.  I remember Ms Bankhead, the daughter of a US Senator, for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.  Yes, even though filmed exclusively in the lifeboat, Mr Hitchcock does have a cameo appearance.

The thing is, notwithstanding her play (later a film) Watch on the Rhine, Ms Hellman was a through and through Stalinist.  And what bigger lie was there in the 20th Century than being an apologist for Joseph Stalin?

Ms McCarthy, on the other hand, had turned on Communism, becoming first a Trotskyist and then an opponent of Communism.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Yes, Your Two Senators

For John, BLUFWhen you don't support the Republicans, this is what you get.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller and Reporter Thomas Phippen, 22 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

The Senate approved a short-term spending plan to keep the government open Thursday but not without nearly a third of the chamber dissenting for various reasons.

The funding bill, called a continuing resolution, keeps the government open through mid-January.  The legislation needed at least 60 votes and passed by 66 votes, with 32 nays and two senators not voting.  That’s double the 14 Democrats who dissented against the temporary spending bill two weeks ago.

Sure, it was a freebie for our Senior Senator, Professor E Warren, and our Junior Senator, Mr Ed Markey.  But still, while they saw it as a signal to the Republicans in the Senate about DACA and other issues, I see it as a signal to the rest of us, the working stiffs and those in need of a hand up from the Government.  And this last minute passage can be trying for Government Employees.  I remember, sometime in the late '70s, having someone from the Finance Office show up with a bag for me to fly from Eielson AFB down to some small strip near Clear Air Force Station (102 statute miles by car), so some, without Direct Deposit, could get their paychecks.  That was cutting it close.

And why is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer always so ANGRY?  Not just cranky, but angry.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Foreign Policy War Within

For John, BLUFIs this not the "Deep State" at work?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from World Politics Review and Ms Frida Ghitis, on 21 December 21, 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

This week, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his National Security Strategy in a speech that touted the new agenda while at the same time contradicting key elements of the very strategy he was outlining.  Among many policy professionals, the document produced an array of opinions, from alarm by those who pointed to sharp departures from traditional positions, to relief that it proposes a rather traditional conservative philosophy on national security.  There is an explanation for the conflicting views by observers and the verbal self-punching by the president:  The National Security Strategy thinly conceals an important secret about foreign policy in the age of Trump.

If you read it carefully, you’ll find the message the authors—people who have distinguished careers in national security—slipped into the pages.  It says, “We’re still here.  We still know what matters.  We understand the country’s security risks and strategic priorities. And we know how to operate under this president.”

This reminds me of the line from Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, the InstaPundit.  “If you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump.”

If the National Security Advisor H R McMaster was hoping to use the NSS to guide the President in certain directions, then this exposes him as a manipulator, and that is not good.  It will make “guiding” that much harder.

If this was just the “Deep State" showing how smart they are, then this makes them look like they have overreached.

Writing an article like this makes the Reporter, Ms Frida Ghitis, look very bright and well connected, but it just sets us up for more conflict between the President and those who are resisting his agenda.  Unless the writer expects the President to fall from office before Teresa May, this is poor form.

Then there is this final paragraph:

While the Trump administration is decidedly sui generis, unlike any administration in recent memory, its National Security Strategy is far from a departure.  That, however, does not mean that Trump’s strategy will hew close to what the document actually outlines.  Instead, it suggests that there are two main streams of thought within the administration.  Of course, it is the president himself who espouses views out of the mainstream and ultimately sets policy.  But the authors of this new strategy, and the people who work for them, have reminded us that they did not subsume their principles and their ideals to their current boss.  They are still there, they have whispered in this document, doing what they can to keep the ship of state afloat.
I always thought the idea was that if you couldn’t support your boss you resigned, rather than trying to undermine him. If these folks really had principles they would be gone. I guess that is just quaint in this day and age.

Regards  —  Cliff

Impeachment the New Normal?

For John, BLUFThis is how divorce begin.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Posted at Power Line Blog on 22 December 2017, by Mr Paul Mirengoff..

This is how the Post ends:

In a two-term presidency, it’s normal now for the House to be in control of the opposing party for a spell.  Thus, again assuming Democrats wouldn’t pay a perceived political price for impeaching Trump, impeachment proceedings might well become the norm.

Such an America wouldn’t exactly be a banana republic.  That requires actual coups, not serial unsuccessful use of a procedure provided for by the Constitution.  But an America where impeachment becomes the norm, with all of the attendant wasted motion and ugliness, would be a farcical Republic, and the bad blood generated by serial impeachments might lead to tragedy.

JOHN adds:  I don’t think there is any doubt that the Democrats will impeach the president if they win a majority in the House next November, even if it is by a single vote, and even though they don’t have remotely plausible grounds.  I agree wholeheartedly with Paul’s view of the dangerous direction in which we are heading, but the Democrats are too far gone in hate and lust for power to care.  Politically, we are living in sad times.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Your Predictive Abilities

For John, BLUFI assume, as a keen observer of the political scene, you are under 15 bad predictions.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Posted to his Blog by Scott Adams, 22 December 2017.

The lede:

When candidate Trump first set about the job of redefining politics (and reality) back in 2015, people had lots of predictions about how things would turn out.  One year isn’t long enough to know everything we need to know about his presidency, but it’s long enough to to check some of our predictions.  As a public service, I put together a list of predictions that various people made about Trump that you can use to evaluate your own predictive powers.  Count the number of items on the list that you once predicted would be true.  I’ll tell you how to evaluate your score at the end.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


Friday, December 22, 2017

Drugs for Nucs

For John, BLUFThis could all be "fake news", but the Politico article seems fairly well researched.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Fox News, 22 December 2017, Reporters Alex Pappas and Jake Gibson.

The lede:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is launching a review of a law enforcement initiative called Project Cassandra after an investigative report was published this week claiming the Obama administration gave a free pass to Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations to help ensure the Iran nuclear deal would stay on track.
Project Cassandra.

Here is the Politico story on Sunday.

Are drugs not a big deal in our nation?  Are Hezbollah officials sitting over in Lebanon, laughing at us?.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Racist Anti-Trump Crowd

For John, BLUFIt really is past time to stop looking at skin color and to begin judging people by their character and performance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill, by Reporter brett Samuels, 20 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

Sen. Tim Scott hit back at a political blogger on Twitter who suggested the South Carolina Republican was standing near President Trump as a "prop" during the GOP's tax celebration on Wednesday.

“What a shocker," tweeted Andy Ostroy, "there’s ONE black person there and sure enough they have him standing right next to the mic like a manipulated prop.”

“Uh probably because I helped write the bill for the past year," Scott fired back, "have multiple provisions included, got multiple Senators on board over the last week and have worked on tax reform my entire time in Congress.  But if you’d rather just see my skin color, pls feel free."

Ostroy later deleted his tweet and apologized to Scott.

As well he should have.

This is a shameful thing.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Everyone Hates the Republican Tax Cut

For John, BLUFExcept me, and some others who are looking for economic growth in the US.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Source is the 14 December 2017 edition of the Global Handelsblatt (Germany) and the reporters are Donata Riedel, who writes about economic policy for Handelsblatt, Katharina Kort, a New York correspondent for Handelsblatt and Charles Wallace, an editor for Handelsblatt Global in New York.

The lede plus one:

While Americans are anxiously awaiting full details of the tax bill now being finalized in Congress, German economists are warning that the changes sought by President Donald Trump mean that significant amounts of new investment and jobs will shift from Europe to the United States.

“The tax competition will have a new dimension,” said Christoph Spengel, chairman of the corporate tax department at the University of Mannheim.  Mr. Spengel, who is also a research associate at the Center for European Economic Research, and a group of tax experts at the university have done a detailed comparison of the two countries’ tax systems and published a report under the heading, “Germany loses out in US tax reform.”

And now it has passed.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

For John, BLUF.

Regards  —  Cliff

Strangling the Future

For John, BLUFThe ability to innovate is critical to economic growth and increased services for customers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady, and Ms Liz Alderman, via The Boston Globe, 20 December 2017.

The lede:

NEW YORK — The European Union’s highest court on Wednesday declared that Uber is a transportation business, not just a technology platform that connects drivers and riders.

The ruling, a significant setback for a company that’s grappling with a string of scandals, will force Uber to comply with the bloc’s transportation rules.  It is also likely to restrict the company from expanding services that allowed nonprofessional drivers to offer rides to clients.

While the ruling focused on these so-called peer-to-peer operations, it will most likely be scrutinized by regulators looking more broadly at the so-called gig economy, a growing part of the workforce, in which people operate as freelancers or on short-term contracts, as opposed to holding permanent jobs.

Policy makers around the globe have been struggling with how to frame rules for a new style of employment as rapidly shifting business models outpace regulations that for decades were formulated around traditional 9-to-5 jobs.  Legislation in many countries has not kept up with the trend toward atypical work arrangements that companies use to cut costs.

Trying to force new businesses into the forms of the past is really just feather bedding, and is bad, in the long run, for both citizens and governments.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

US Attorney Damned by Trial Judge

For John, BLUF.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Arizona Republic and Reporter Robert Anglen, 20 December 2017.

Here is the lede:

A federal judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, saying U.S. prosecutors willfully withheld critical and "potentially exculpatory" evidence from the defense.
Think about this ethical breach:
U.S. prosecutors willfully withheld critical and "potentially exculpatory" evidence
If you haven't read Attorney Sidney Powell's book, Licensed to Lie, you should.

For our freedom we depend, in part, on the trusted integrity of the Attorneys in the Department of Justice.  This kind of breech brings into question that trust.  Worse, it smears the whole system, including the FBI and the Special Prosecutor, at a time when integrity is of the upmost importance.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Globe Suggests Shades of Gray

For John, BLUFAll things herein are wrong, but they are not all the same.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Boston Globe OpEd Writer Joan Vennochi, 19 December 2017.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Coddling Hezbollah For A Nuclear Deal With Iran

For John, BLUFThat dodge nuclear deal with Iran was not cheap.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah's billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House's desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.

This is from Politico, by Mr Josh Meyer, on or about 19 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.

They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States.  They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa.  And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

And then it all went South.

Regards  —  Cliff

Keeping Space on the Highway

For John, BLUFDon't tailgate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Road and Track, by Reporter Avery Thompson, 17 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic, you might have tried to go faster by tailgating the car in front of you.  Instinctively, you probably know that tailgating doesn’t help you get where you’re going any faster, but it’s hard to overcome that urge to drive as close to the car in front as possible.

New research from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory not only confirms that tailgating doesn’t work, but demonstrates that it actually makes the situation worse.  Tailgating triggers traffic jams and makes traffic move more slowly.  As an alternative, the MIT researchers suggest the best course of action in traffic is to maintain an equal distance from both the car in front of you and the car behind you.

I don't know if this is going to sell in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  For one thing, Democrats are, deep down inside, anti-science.

Back in the late 1950s my Father told me about an experiment conducted by the City of Long Beach Safety Council.  They sent two cars north on Atlantic or Long Beach or Pacific, one, with one driver to follow all the rules and keep with traffic and the other to dart in and out of traffic and do whatever he could to get ahead.  They ran north a couple of miles, to Willow or Wardlow, and both arrived at the same time.

Oh, and don't bunch up at traffic lights and left turn lanes, because you need room to maneuver out of the lane in case some Jihadist decides to start shooting people in cars.  The rule of thumb is to be able to see a small sliver of the road behind the back tires of the vehicle in front of you.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 18, 2017

Althouse on Franken

For John, BLUFAh, the politics of this thing are making it worse.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Both posts are from Blogger and Law Professor Emeritus Ann Althouse.

This is Professor Althouse in the first post:

Said Senator Joe Manchin, arguing that Al Franken should not follow through with his announced resignation.

Manchin was not one of the Senators who called for Franken's resignation, but Patrick Leahy was, and he's now saying he regrets it: "I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts... In retrospect, I think we acted too fast." Oh, bullshit. The whole point was acting fast, and you knew you were acting fast. It's not something you're figuring out later.

I'm calling for Leahy's resignation for acting precipitously, as he now admits, and for lying now and saying he's only noticing the excessive speed "in retrospect." I think the fast action was done to affect the Alabama election. What a sorry business!

Professor Althouse was moved to go back at it again based on a Washington Post article, "Could Al Franken un-resign? Sure."
I've already posted today on the topic of the potential for Franken to "un-resign." He'd always only said he would resign in the coming weeks, so I presume it would be procedurally easy to decline to follow through on his earlier statement. What I'm putting up this post to discuss is the political future of Kirsten Gillibrand, who I think wants to run for President. She chose to elevate her profile over the Franken scandal and she succeeded dramatically — getting an "avalanche of Democratic senators" to join her in calling for Franken's resignation, which seemed to force him into abruptly acceding to her imperious demand.

If Franken turns around and says he won't resign, he will be talking about fairness, due process, and evidence-based judgment. Whatever he says will be critical of the way power was exercised under the leadership of Kirsten Gillibrand. This is her signature issue, and she made a grand show of flexing her muscle, and her fellow Democrats behaved as if she were their leader on this issue. If what they did is portrayed as ill-considered and rash, Gillibrand looks like someone who should not be trusted with great power.

If Democrats care about the future of Kirsten Gillibrand, they need Franken to shut up and go away.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

We Veto UN SC Resolution Re US Embassy Move

For John, BLUFAnd rightfully so.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Pajama Media, by Reporter Bridget Johnson, 18 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Ambassador Nikki Haley today accused the United Nations of empowering the creation of a Jewish "blacklist, plain and simple" with last December's passage of a resolution condemning Israel for West Bank and east Jerusalem settlements.

Her comments came in a Security Council meeting in which the U.S. vetoed a draft resolution, with 14 voting in favor, that condemned the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and discouraged other countries from moving diplomatic facilities there.

The United States abstained in a Dec. 23, 2016, vote on settlements instead of defending Israel in the final weeks of the Obama administration.  The vote on the resolution drafted by Egypt, which demanded Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the 'occupied' Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem," was 14 in favor in addition to the U.S. abstention.

The thing is, the old way was not moving the ball down the field.  Will the new way?  We don't know, but it is a possibility.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Guarding State Secrets

For John, BLUFHillary and Donald partisans live in different worlds.  And I live in a still different world.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In an attempt to keep up with the current cultural leading edge I subscribe to W Magazine's on-line daily, "In and Out".  Yes, it is a bit snarky, especially in a bien-pensant sort of way.  For example, I offer up this sentence from a discussion of Game of Thrones.
Details of the last lap are guarded more securely than state secrets (which, okay, might not be saying that much in the Trump era, but still…).
As my oldest Son would say, "Really?"

Have these folks never heard to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her "home brew" server, the one in someone's home?  The one with classified information on it?  Some of which was SAP?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

IRS Slowed

For John, BLUFUltimately, Congress is the hand that feeds  A slip of the pen and your office is wiped out.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The TaxProf, Professor Paul Caron, 18 December 2017.

The TaxProf links to The Washington Post article, "Fallout From Allegations of Tea Party Targeting Hamper IRS Oversight of Nonprofits": Here is the lede plus one:

Years of conservative attacks on the Internal Revenue Service have greatly diminished the ability of agency regulators to oversee political activity by charities and other nonprofits, documents and interviews show.
Well, it is The Wash Post, so it is the fault of conservatives.  Where is the mention of the attacks on the tea Parties by Ms Lois Lerner?  Oh, never mind that little detail.

Here is an interesting part:

The main part of government tasked with policing those lines, the IRS’s Exempt Organizations division, has seen its budget decline from a peak of $102 million in 2011 to $82 million last year.  At the same time, division employees have fallen from 889 to 642.
The Power of the Purse.  Yes, even when the bureaucracy stonewalls or quibbles or evades, the Congress can still cut the budget as a sign of unhappiness and rebuke.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wishy-Washy Democrats

For John, BLUFI expect the basis for this is that Judge Roy Moore went down to defeat in the Alabama Senate Race last week.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am borrowing Ms Sarah Hoyt's shocked face.

Here is the sub-headline:

The demands from Democrats that he step down were 'the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being,' Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says.

From Politico, by Reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere, 18 December 2017.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming

For John, BLUFIt isn't just hacking voting machines, but messing with people's minds.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Posted on 15 December, by Mr Paul Mirengoff, at the Powerline Blog.

Here is the lede plus one:

Fresh off of its triumph in the Alabama Senate race, the Washington Post returns to its primary mission — taking down the President of the United States.  It does so in a piece called (in the paper edition) “How Trump’s pursuit of Putin has left the U.S. vulnerable to the Russia threat.”

The hit piece, by Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, and Phillip Rucker, takes up five pages in the front section of today’s Post.  One searches in vain through the authors’ gossip and distortions for evidence of the article’s two themes:  (1) that Trump is leaving the U.S. vulnerable to the Russian threat in question, cyber-attacks on our election process and (2) that Trump’s policies tilt in favor of Russia.

Mr Mirengoff seems to disagree, but you will have to read the whole piece to see his reasoning.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Volcano Threatens North East

For John, BLUFI am not sure there is much that is "settled science".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In 50 million years.

From the blog site Science Alert by Mr Peter Dockrill, 18 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

A vast mass of hot rock is welling up underneath Vermont and extending into other subterranean regions below New England, new research shows.

Scientists used a network of thousands of seismic measurement devices in the largest geological study of its kind, detecting the enormous blob upwelling under Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – and possibly elsewhere.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Where are the Antifa?

For John, BLUFThe People need to be ever vigilant, and never cut corners with regard to justice.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Weekly Standard, 15 December 2017, by Reporter Christian Schneider.

It is more on the John Doe Investigation and corrupt Democratic Party Operatives in Wisconsin.  I wonder why Prosecutor Shane Falk doesn't yet have a wikipedia page.

If you want the Democratic Party side of this, go to Wikipedia, here.

Still, it is Fascism.  The Stasi here in the United States.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Abandon Ship

For John, BLUFYes, things are shifting for the parties, both parties.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Via The Huffington Post, from Ms Saira Rao, Contributor Social justice activist and co-founder of In This Together Media, 16 December 2017.

Of course it doesn't mean she is becoming a Republican.  Republicans would need to work at that.  Tea Party Republicans.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Eric Holder Threatens

For John, BLUFI think Mr Eric Holder wants to feel like he is still making a difference.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill and Reporter Mallory Shelbourne, 14 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Former Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday warned congressional Republicans not to make any moves to remove special counsel Robert Mueller, saying such an attempt “will not be tolerated.”

“Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the American people, Republicans in Congress be forewarned:  any attempt to remove Bob Mueller will not be tolerated,” Holder wrote on Twitter.

"[T]he vast majority of the American People"?  I wonder if former Attorney General Holder even knows what that means?

Frankly, I was firmly against messing with Mueller, until I read this piece.  But, you get judged by the friends you keep.

I guess I am still for letting Special Counsel Robert Mueller continue on to the conclusion of his investigation, but not because of a Clinton sycophant like Mr Holder threatening people, like he was still a Federal Prosecutor with no ethics.  No, because it is the right thing to do.

That said, it is time for the US Congress to explain to the Department of Justice who is in charge.  If it is hard to talk to them, then just don't fund them in the next continuing resolution.  Some funding effort could be cobbled together very quickly, after DOJ starts to respond to Congressional Committee questions.  It used to be called the "Power of the Purse", back in the day.  See this Post.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Innovation and Progress Requires Freedom

For John, BLUFWhile some might argue that the freedom to own a gun is the first freedom, I would go with free speech.  Everything flows from that freedom.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Sam Altman, 14 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Earlier this year, I noticed something in China that really surprised me.  I realized I felt more comfortable discussing controversial ideas in Beijing than in San Francisco.  I didn’t feel completely comfortable—this was China, after all—just more comfortable than at home.

That showed me just how bad things have become, and how much things have changed since I first got started here in 2005.

We are in deep trouble.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

"And yet it moves—Galileo Galilei.

The Press Whiffs

For John, BLUFThe Press, anxious to trip up President Trump, is stumbling over its own feet.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yes, it is a week old, but it is a typical Glenn Greenwald piece, in which he lifts up the table cloth and looks under the table to see what is hidden there.  A longish read, but valuable.

From The Intercept, Reporter Glenn Greenwald, 9 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

FRIDAY WAS ONE of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time.  The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, and countless pundits, commentators, and operatives joining the party throughout the day.  By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

The spectacle began Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST, when the Most Trusted Name in News™ spent 12 straight minutes on air flamboyantly hyping an exclusive bombshell report that seemed to prove that WikiLeaks, last September, had secretly offered the Trump campaign, even Donald Trump himself, special access to the Democratic National Committee emails before they were published on the internet.  As CNN sees the world, this would prove collusion between the Trump family and WikiLeaks and, more importantly, between Trump and Russia, since the U.S. intelligence community regards WikiLeaks as an “arm of Russian intelligence,” and therefore, so does the U.S. media.

Except the date on the smoking EMail was after the release of the data, not before.  Ooops.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, December 15, 2017

Congress Not Doing Its Job

For John, BLUFLet Mr Mueller's investigation play out.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The TaxProf Blog, Professor Paul Caron, 15 December 2017.

The TaxProf links to and excerpts from an OpEd in The Wall Street Journal, Let Mueller Keep Digging, by William McGurn.

Here is the lede:

At a moment when the special counsel’s team is busy calling its own fairness and impartiality into question, why would Donald Trump even think of firing Robert Mueller?
I have to admit that this makes good sense.

Further down, the Writer says:

n its 1821 decision affirming the right of the House to hold people in contempt and jail them, the Supreme Court noted that depriving Congress of this authority would mean “the total annihilation of the power of the House of Representatives” to prevent people from just flipping it the bird. Isn’t that just what government officials from Ms. Lerner to Mr. Wray have been doing?

If executive branch officials continue to play games with subpoenas, Congress needs to give them a taste of the legislature’s powers, whether by cutting agency budgets, impeaching directors or holding uncooperative officials in contempt.  In this regard it’s good to know Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is still pursuing contempt citations for Mr. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  A contempt vote by the full House would of course depend on Speaker Paul Ryan, who complained in October about FBI “stonewalling.”

Yes, exactly.  It is time for Congress to stand up and do its duty.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Net Neutrality Arguments

For John, BLUFNet neutrality just throttles back the Internet.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

There is Video.

From The Daily Caller and Media Reporter Amber They, 14 December 2017.

This is MSNBC Anchor Ali Velshi interviewing Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell about Internet net neutrality.

The idea of net neutrality grows out of the fear that someone out there is exercising their freedom to innovate and earn a profit.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Turkey Objects to President Trump

For John, BLUFGoing nowhere with President Trump in office.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Any bid to have world body counter decision to recognize holy city as Israel's capital would be blocked at Security Council, non-binding at General Assembly

The source is The Times of Israel, 15 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Turkey’s president said Friday that Muslim nations will ask the United Nations for an “annulment” of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the initiative would start at the UN Security Council and if it’s “vetoed there, we will work within the UN General Assembly for the annulment of this unjust and lawless decision.”

So President Erdogan is throwing his lot in with US Democrats?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Primaries and RINOs

For John, BLUFI believe the Democrats are still not getting it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The GOP’s self-destructive primaries have cost it a lot of power, particularly in the Senate. By Ezra Klein@ezraklein Dec 14, 2017, 10:50am EST.

Here is the lede plus one:

It’s an article of faith among many Democrats that Republicans have somehow escaped the electoral consequences for the increasing extremism of their party. Doug Jones’s narrow victory over Roy Moore on Tuesday night looked, to many liberals, like a rare exception. But as political scientist Matt Glassman points out, it’s far from alone.

Starting around the 2010 Tea Party surge, Republican voters have repeatedly chosen the most extreme candidates during primaries, and have paid a real electoral price, particularly in the Senate.

And then he goes on to list five examples going back to 2010.

I am living in a nation populated by a lot of pundits who just don't get it.

It provides clarity of thought once you acknowledge that the various Tea Parties were not extremists, but rather folks who wanted adherence to the principles of the Republican Party.  That is to say, no RINOs—no Republicans in Name Only.

There is this group of people out there, enough to get Mr Donald Trump the Electoral College votes he needed to be President.  They are concerned about RINOs in office, about people on Capitol Hill who are hard to distinguish from Democrats, except for the Democratic Party urge for a Sampson Solution to the current Presidency.  These voters, in other states, are not so keen on the Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush leaders of the Party.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Misunderstanding Democracy

For John, BLUFOur betters would deny us our vote, our chance to pick whichever snake we fancied.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Journalist has a problem with democracy, as it gives people power over their government

From the site Lifezette and Reporter Kathryn Blackhurst, 13 December 2017.

I guess Ms Elise Jordan, of Time Magazine, doesn't go with Newspaperman H L Mencen, who told us "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

Here is the lede plus three:

MSNBC political analyst Elise Jordan complained Wednesday about how “unfortunate” it is that the Republican Party’s ability to craft its tax reform bill with a congressional majority resulted from “how you voted in an election.”

Yes, she really did say that. LifeZette replayed the video clip multiple times.

The House and the Senate reached a deal Wednesday in reconciling their separate bills — a move that brings President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to deliver tax reform closer to fruition. But Jordan, a Time magazine columnist, took issue with the fact that presidential and congressional elections have consequences.

"And I think it's unfortunate that we are designing — that we are designing public policy in a way that, you know, comes down to how you voted in an election," Jordan said.

Remember the famous American who told us "elections have consequences"?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trumps Bad Karma

For John, BLUFI think this is a short term effect, but Steven Bannon may be a problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Boston Globe and Columnist Michael Cohen and his "Truth and Consequences" column, 14 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

Donald Trump’s endorsement track record over the past couple of months is, how shall we say, not good.

First he endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican Senate primary … and Strange lost by ten points to Roy Moore.

Then he endorsed Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race … and Gillespie lost by 9 points, the largest margin of defeat in a state gubernatorial election in 32 years.

In the Alabama Senate race, Trump went all in on Roy Moore … and we know how that turned out.

I like Michael's writing and respect his analysis, but I think he may be in error here.

Regards  —  Cliff

Suing For the Right to Speak

For John, BLUFWhy is free speech so hard?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The College Fix and Associate Editor Greg Piper, 13 December 2017.

Well, not exactly.  They did say they could do it in the Free Speech Zone, open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Monday through Friday.  Otherwise they need to obtain a permit 72 hours in advance.

Thank God for the Court System.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Main Justice

For John, BLUFThis is NOT about Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but about the Department of Justice, or "Main Justice".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

They want a probe into “obvious conflicts of interest” in the Department of Justice.

From The Huffington Post, By Ms Willa Frej, 12 December 2017.

Here are two key paragraphs:

″The Department of Justice and FBI cannot ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interests,” Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers, told Axios on Monday night after the Fox report.  “These new revelations require the appointment of a special counsel to investigate.”

. . .

Nevertheless, the president’s legal team said they trust Mueller and want to “get to the finish line” with him.  They said they plan to fully cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, confident that Trump will be cleared of wrongdoing.

So, is the Department of Justice living up to its English Motto.


Not everyone things so.  There is a concern about a Conan the Barbarian desire on the part of the people in Main Justice to win, whatever it takes.  A view that if you weren't inherently a criminal you would never have come to our attention, so we have to deal with you for being the criminal you are.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

It Is Always Trump's Fault

For John, BLUFYes, we would not be hearing about this if Ms Clinton had won the Electoral College.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by San Francis Attorney Harmeet K. Dhillon, 12 December 2017.

Like I say, this, like everything else, is Donald Trump's fault.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Keeping Promises

For John, BLUFKeeping your promises is not normal.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Mail (UK), by Journalist Piers Morgan, 11 December 2017.

BINGO.  The author hits right on target.  President Trump acts like he believes those who elected him will stick with him if he fights for what he promised them.

And, he is correct.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jumping the Gun

For John, BLUFIt hasn't been a good week for Senator E Warren.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Twitchy and Greg P., 13 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Does Sen. Elizabeth Warren know how elections works?  Apparently not.

The Massachusetts liberal went on the warpath last night and demanded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seat special-election winner Doug Jones “without any delay”

The thing is, the Alabama Secretary of State has to Certify the election and then there is the threat of a challenge, which has to await the Certification.  It is going to be the end of the year.

By way of comparison, Ambassador Scott Brown was elected 20 January and was sworn in on 4 February 2010.  Government is not fast.

By the way, was it wrong for Greg P to use the term "warpath"?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Second Amendment as Seen From San Francisco

For John, BLUFWhile the Election of Mr Doug Long has stirred the swamp, I do think The New York Times and The Washington Post are starting to regain some equilibrium.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is Hot Air and Writer Jazz Shaw, 12 December 2017.

This is off an item in the The Wash Post, the Fact Checker, Mr Glenn Kessler, 12 December 2017.

Yes, I am not a fan of Ms Pelosi.  But, her being in office does help the other side.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Misstep in the IC

For John, BLUFAt least some folks are beginning to understand there are consequences to the current rush to find a way to pry President Trump out of office, because he is "unfit".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

Former acting CIA director Michael Morell says the agency missed the meddling until it was too late.

From Politico, by Reporter Susan B Glasser, 11 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

The politics of spying in America has never been more intense.  President Trump has taken to publicly bashing his intelligence agencies and continues, a full year later, to question their conclusion that Russia intervened in the 2016 U.S. election on his behalf.  For their part, an array of career spooks have come out of the shadows where they spent their careers to challenge the commander-in-chief in once unthinkably public terms.

Michael Morell is one of the career types who’s broken with decades of practice to confront Trump.  A veteran of nearly three decades in the CIA, Morell rose from within the ranks to become the agency’s longtime deputy director, twice serving as its acting leader before retiring during President Barack Obama’s second term.  In the summer of 2016, he broke with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton over Trump, and he has continued to sound the alarm ever since.

But in a revealingly self-critical and at times surprising interview for this week’s Global POLITICO, Morell acknowledges that he and other spy-world critics of the president failed to fully “think through” the negative backlash generated by their going political.  “There was a significant downside,” Morell said in the interview.

Someone I know, a former Navy Intelligence Officer, summarized this 7,000 work document as follows:
Morell acknowledges that he and other spy-world critics of the president failed to fully “think through” the negative backlash generated by their going political.  “There was a significant downside,” Morell said in the interview.

“As we were trying to protect the country from terrorists,” he said, “we became more blind to what was going on in the rest of the world, both from a collection perspective and from an analytic perspective.  And that was a cost….  When you make choices, you leave significant risk on the table.”

Just this fall he [former DNI Clapper] said, I learned the extent to which they [the Russians] were active on these platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which was not something I really was aware of.

So, it’s a useful critique of analysts.  But the other important players here are intelligence collectors, right?  So, the failure to see this coming, and the failure to take some time before you actually see what’s happening is also a collection failure.  It means you haven’t penetrated the right places with the right assets—CIA and NSA are the two big ones here—to tell you exactly what the Russians are doing.  So, it’s a couple of important failures there.

I would not be surprised if Bob Mueller concludes that the Trump campaign did not violate the law with regard to its interactions with the Russians.  I’m really open to that possibility.  Why?  Because, as you know, The New York Times, The Washington Post, every media outlet that is worth its salt has reporters digging into this, and they haven’t found anything.

There was no opposition leader to stand up and paint a different future for Venezuela, one that challenged Chavez’s future.  And, as a result of there being no political opposition, the Venezuelan media became the political opposition. And in becoming the political opposition, it lost all of its credibility with the Venezuelan people.  Sound familiar?

There are government offices that need to be particularly neutral at a political level.  The military, of course, and the Intelligence Community.  Then there is the Department of State and the Department of Justice.  I would say next is the Federal Reserve.  And, of course, the Supreme Court of the United States.

If your Department is not politically neutral should you still expect the White House to take you seriously, to give your views full belief, to trust you to be the ones to execute policy?

Regards  —  Cliff

CNN Having a Bad Month

For John, BLUFDid you see a big headline on CNN walking this back?  Didn't think so.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by Reporter Amber Athey, 11 Dec 2017.

Here is the lede:

CNN has quietly walked back more of their “bombshell” reporting on the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, and this time it’s a story relating to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ security clearance forms.
So, the FBI did tell him to not include actions related to contacts with Russians related to Senate business.

I wonder if Attorney General Sessions is irritated with CNN over its bad reporting.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 11, 2017

Lessons to be Learned

For John, BLUFWhen you think the other party is pure evil you need to check your assumptions, because you are probably wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

It was a partisan witch hunt masquerading as an inquiry into campaign irregularities. And it might presage the outcome of the Mueller investigation.

An OpEd from USA Today, by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 11 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

The “Cheesehead Stasi.”  That’s what Twitter humorist IowaHawk called a long-running and politicized investigation organized by Democratic politicians in Wisconsin, targeting supporters of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  The mechanism for this investigation was an allegedly nonpolitical, but in fact entirely partisan, “Government Accountability Board.”

In the course of its secretive “John Doe” investigation, the GAB hoovered up millions of personal emails from Republican donors and supporters, and even raided people’s homes, while forbidding them to talk about it:

The line "raided people’s homes, while forbidding them to talk about it" sounds very UnAmerican.  But it does sound like Eastern European Secret Police, like the Stasi.

This is like IRS Official Lois Lerner, but with the power to take records from your home.

This is a warning to Special Counsel Robert Mueller to keep it clean and above board.  Back to Wisconsin, I think, at this point the Cheeseheads need to vote to keep Stasi like Democrats out of office for the next fifty years.

By the way, the OpEd is a pretty quick read and well worth it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff