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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Low bar for Trump success...

Wasn't it just a little less than eight years ago or so when the newly elected Barack Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for basically doing little more than not being George W Bush. Quite literally he was awarded for expectations of things yet to come. Unfortunately those things are still yet to come and he is no longer President.


So for many on the right, Donald Trump has been given a similar low bar to clear. He's prevented Hillary Clinton from being President, and Justice Garland from replacing Justice Scalia on the U.S.S.C.  Moreover, every Obama era regulation he overturns is money in the bank. The fact that he bombed Syria and ISIS in his first hundred days is proof he will not be feckless in international affairs, like our last President. He seems more interested in the economy than environment, and he is looking to do everything in his power to push economic growth.

When you view this Presidency as a conservative, you may or may not be disappointed with the lack of progress on Obamacare repeal, and the building of the wall... but you are certainly glad that Donald Trump is in the White House rather than the alternative. Quite frankly you also have to be quite excited that he is not Barack Obama.

Quote of the day!


“I truly believe that the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history.”

Friday, April 28, 2017

0.7 percent GDP growth...

Several reasons are given for the less than glowing report. But nearly all analysts suggest that it provides nothing to be concerted about. The main reasons for the lower growth was:
  • Lower heating bills from warmer winter
  • Lower private inventory adjustments
  • Delayed tax refunds cut into consumer spending
  • Substantial decline in Government spending

There was actually some good news as well, such as an increase in fixed investments and exports. But overall, this appears to be right within the wheelhouse of what has been expected for some time. Most analysts are projecting something between two and three percent for quarter two. 

Media lies about Ivanka Trump's visit to Berlin

There was no booing of Ivanka
Many people were surprised by Ivanka Trump’s performance in Berlin. Contrary to the stereotype, the daughter of the US President made a sophisticated and level-headed impression at the panel discussion with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, and head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde. The glamorous White House ambassador also cleverly handled a controversial issue. 
US media, however, are focusing on something else: they claim that Ivanka was booed and sneered at. 
BILD clarifies: At the “Women20 Summit”, there was in fact a moment during the panel discussion when the audience began murmuring. Panel moderator Miriam Meckel asked Ivanka whether she was speaking as the First Lady – in Melania Trump’s place – or as the new advisor to the President. Ivanka replied in a disarmingly honest way: „This role is quite new to me, it has been little under 100 days.” She said that she would be happy to bring what she learned here home with her and that she would discuss it with her father. 
She also said: “I am very proud of my father. Long before he came into the presidency, he has been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive.” At this point, there was some unrest in the audience. There was no booing or heckling at all, however.
Let's start with this: I am not even sure that Europeans actually "boo". I believe they "whistle" to show displeasure. But I guess if you are just making it up as you go (which our media pretty much does) then you might as well make it up in a manner consistent with our understanding.

This came from a local German newspaper... who quite obviously had a much better opinion of who they declared to be "the glamorous White House ambassador". Something tells me that Chelsea Clinton would not have been described as "glamorous" if she had been "first daughter" representing the United States in Germany.

A major major conflict !

Not a conflict. Not a major conflict. But a major, major conflict is possible with North Korea. Assuming that the President is using the term to describe the conflict as "serious" rather than an interval musical tone or a rank in the military one has to assume that major major would be something of significance.


So we'll see how all of this goes, but I am of the opinion that this is just a bunch of posturing. A pissing contest if you will. But perhaps it's time for someone to step up to the bully Jong, rather than just let him dictate terms to the rest of the world. Much like a child in check out aisle demanding the bag of M&Ms with the threats of throwing a tantrum, Jong has used the threat of irrational behavior to his benefit. But as it pertains to threats of irrational behavior to warrant a specific response, Jong may have met his match in Donald Trump. Only difference is Donald has way more Army men and big bombs to parade around.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

It's actually snowing here?


Coulter now not to speak...

Police will not protect her or those who want to hear her speak... 

I have the right to come to America and commit crimes without consequences

And apparently we have court Justices who agree... 



All that being said, more stable legal minds have offered that the Judge in this case did not in fact deliver any sort of death blow to Trump's order to withhold the grant moneys that they are threatening.

In fact, it would appear that the Judges ruling actually allows 100% of what the order actually declares. What the Judge "did do" however is make up a fictional scenario where Donald Trump's executive order actually does a bunch of stuff it doesn't say, and then declares his own imaginary vision of the order to be unconstitutional. Good for the Judge.

So apparently as long as Trump and Sessions stick specifically to what the order states, and does not go off on some imagined quest to defund sanctuary cites by other means... they are perfectly within their rights.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Appeals Court Nominee !

It's not just the U.S.S.C. 


Already many Democrats are up in arms over Thapar, wanting to delay or possible thwart his hearing all together. Of course, without the means to filibuster lower court nominees, they probably are a little bit helpless to prevent it.

Coulter to speak anyways...


The University of California at Berkeley is bracing for massive protests and potential violence in an open, public space known as Sproul Plaza after hearing that conservative commentator Ann Coulter plans to give a speech there Thursday. 
The state flagship university has become ground zero for an intense confrontation between the far left and the far right since Donald Trump’s election in November, with some protesters trying to stop controversial speakers from appearing on campus and others objecting that such actions violate their right to free speech. Some of the clashes have devolved into riots, leaving the school and city to struggle with how best to balance the free exchange of ideas with community safety.

Let's be clear... this isn't a two sided conflict here. What we have is Berkeley students who are just looking to go listen to a best-selling author and media personality give a speech, just as millions of students throughout our nation's history have done in the past. The only conflict comes from those who will dress up in black outfits, ski-masks, and do everything in their power to violently promote their own personal intolerance.

If Berkeley cannot allow Ann Coulter to come to campus and speak, then the only real solution is to ban any public speech by anyone, ever, on campus grounds, regardless of political (or even non-political) affiliation. Fair is fair.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Who's out of touch


A couple of questions

Given:
  • Donald Trump won the Presidency. 
  • The GOP won enough seats to control both the Senate and the House.
  • Trump campaigned on building a wall and replacing Obamacare.
  • A Federal Court ruled that Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies were not authorized by Congress. 

Why do the Democrats and the media insist that Trump and the GOP should forgo any funding of the wall, while agreeing to continue to fund insurance subsidies that a court has found unauthorized? 

Or maybe a better question would be...

Why would the GOP even consider caving into this demand?

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Roger's Birthday

Sorry, couldn't find a cake with enough candles...

I am curious...

Why does the GOP (who holds the White House, the Senate, and the House) require buy in from the Democrats to pass a budget and fund the government?

Obviously the House can pass a budget without Democratic help. There is not filibuster and they have more than enough votes.  On the Senate side, isn't a budget bill specifically designed to be able to be passed through budget reconciliation (which only requires a majority vote in the Senate)? Wasn't that the original concept of budget reconciliation (that passing a budget was too important to be held hostage by filibusters).

Seems to me, that unless the Republicans cannot agree among themselves, that majorities in both chambers of congress should prevail. Even if the Democrats could filibuster a budget bill (and maybe then can), such a filibuster should put the blame squarely on them.

WaPo - Trump 43 Clinton 40

The new survey finds 46 percent saying they voted for Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, similar to her two-point national vote margin. Asked how they would vote if the election were held today, 43 say they would support Trump and 40 percent say Clinton. 
There are no signs of major slippage in support among those who voted for Trump. His approval rating among those who cast ballots for him stands at 94 percent. Among Republicans, it is 84 percent. Asked of those who voted for him whether they regret doing so, 2 percent say they do, while 96 percent say supporting Trump was the right thing to do. When asked if they would vote for him again, 96 percent say they would, which is higher than the 85 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who say they would support her again.
More proof that the left continues to underestimate the political position that the President is in. While the media would like us to believe that Trump must bend his will (or else), the fact of the matter is that he still is sitting in a reasonably good political position (in terms of reelection). He doesn't have to win over the media, the left, or even the mushy middle to win reelection. He had none of that when he won in 2016.

Trump needs to oversee at least a slightly better economy, needs to keep fighting his fights, and he needs to continue to make strong leadership calls on international issues.

Scott Adams predicted that Trump would start off (with the Democrats and the media) as Hitler. Then after some time he would be promoted from Hitler to incompetent. Eventually he would be promoted from incompetent to "competent, but we don't like what he is doing". At the very least the Hitler comparisons have waned quite a bit (as have the Russian stooge claims) and the media has tried to "promote" him to incompetent. (Face it: you really cannot be a diabolical character conspiring with evil world leaders to control the world... and be incompetent at the same time).  But with the bombings of Syrian air fields and ISIS camps, the Neil Gorsuch confirmation, and the fact that the media is talking about a tax plan and 100 days... he seems to be inching closer to being promoted again to "competent, but we don't like what he is doing".

Keep in mind that the entire 2016 anti-Trump campaign was largely built on the concept that Trump could not be taken seriously, and that the notion of him being President was absurd at best. The fact that we are currently debating about (and will continue to debate about) his policy positions, his impact on the economy, and the impact of his international decisions...  elevates his stature to that of an "actual" President. Go figure.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

French Election update

French centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen have qualified for the second round in the French presidential election with 23.7 percent and 21.7 percent of the vote respectively.


Look for the losing candidates to consolidate their support around Macron. There is probably little or no chance of Le Pen winning outright, but it's still a blow to global liberalism, when another far right candidate sneaks into relevance.

Ultimately many people are trying to pit this as being "Europe vs France" with the expectation that most French care more about the greater European good, than they do about the national good of France. The support for Le Pen is almost unanimously a "France first" (or our country first) vote, which ironically is considered a backwards vote in 2017 by most everyone left of center. It's not hard to see how easy it can be to exploit the politicians who openly cater to the interests of world citizens over the interests of their own.

Trump Supporters Still Support Trump

How Trump voters feel about his first 100 days (read me)



I've seen several "example type" articles where journalist use personal examples to argue that support for Trump has waned. In response, most articles have shown less anecdotal and more analytical evidence to show otherwise, generally citing specific polling of Trump supporters.

This is a good example of an more empirical look at Trump supporters, and it generally follows more in line with how the Trump supporters I know feel. Virtually all of those outspoken Trump supporters I know, believe he is doing well and still support him. They cite many of the same reasons cited in this article.

Update: The reason this is so hard for the media to figure out is that they have never quite accepted "why" Donald Trump was elected President, and they have never quite accepted that it's within his rights to actually follow through with much of what he campaigned on.

The reality is that Donald Trump was elected because he was NOT a politician. The media alternates between criticizing him when he acts like something other than a politician, then criticizing him if he sometimes acts like a politician. It's really a lose lose for Trump with the media, who continues to take him literally, but not seriously.

I still maintain that if you have never read his book (The Art of the Deal) that you can in no manner, shape, or form judge his actions as President. Especially not when you ignore his own history of behavior, and instead try to compare him to what Obama would have done. (If the American public wanted a third term of Obama, they would have elected Hillary)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Two officers shot in Paris
One of the suspects shot dead on the spot

What effect will the shooting have on the elections today?

Was down in the Champs Elysees area two separate days.
Good thing for the militarization of law enforcement!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/20/paris-police-close-part-city-centre-amid-reports-officers-shot/

NY Times: Not subsidizing loses is "sabotage"

Donald Trump Threatens to Sabotage Obamacare
Mr. Trump is threatening to kill a program in the A.C.A. that pays health insurers to offer plans with lower deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses to about seven million lower-income and middle-class people. The president thinks that this will get Democrats to negotiate changes to the 2010 health law. This is cruel and incredibly shortsighted. Without these subsidies, health care would be unaffordable for many Americans, including people who voted for Mr. Trump because they were frustrated by high medical costs.
Let's be clear here folks: the entire concept of the original Subsidies for insurance companies to enter the market was designed to be temporary. It was supposed to help offset the cost of entering the markets, and help insurance companies get their foot in the door of the exchanges. It was never sold as a long term means to artificially keep costs down.

So it's not "sabotage" to allow a temporary subsidy (that is no longer authorized by Congress) to end as originally planned.

I've said it before and I will say it again... a government regulated business model that requires subsidies for both the buyers and the sellers just to remain afloat is a bad business model. The Government should not be in the business of propping up bad business models just because certain people would be offended if the Obama "legacy" law is damaged.

If the ACA Exchanges cannot function without permanent subsidies to the insurance companies, then perhaps we should chalk it all up to a failed experiment, and let these insurance companies go back to selling the insurance products that the American public (not the bureaucrats) want. The free market Insurance industry got along just fine for decades prior to the Obama administration believing the industry need to be micro-managed. I believe they still have the ability to survive as a free market industry moving forward.

Summing up the Democratic's performance in Special Elections so far!

O-3 so far in real life... but undefeated in moral victories!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Missed the Mark - June runoff

So close, so close and yet so far!
  • Approximately 51% Republican and 49% Democrat! 
  • Almost identical to the margin of the Trump victory. 
  • Can the left continue to muster the same enthusiasm? 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The media lies!

So the bottom line here folks is that not only is Donald Trump not disappointing the Republican base, he doesn't really seem to be disappointing the American Public as a whole. He was never anything more than a fairly unpopular candidate who turned out his base very heavily, while using persuasive tactics to undercut his opponent's credibility. Only one in five Americans seem to believe he is not living up to expectations, which is a manner in which to say there wasn't much for expectations when he took office.

Yet, the media keeps insisting that not only is the public as a whole losing faith in the President, there has been article upon article suggesting that the President's base is turning on him. As it stands, 91% of Republicans and 95% of conservative Republicans believe he is either doing about as well or better than expected. Seven percent does not make a revolution.

In fact, less than a third of Democrats believe he is doing worse than expected.

The truth is that his approvals (even while running for President) were always underwater. In fact, his generic favorables were in the thirties for most of the election. If anything they have improved since he has become President. Likely they will continue to improve if he continues to make strong decisions internationally and if the economy keeps on track.

Once again, the media is flat out lying to you. They so desperately want to create this false illusion of discontent, that they are willing to simply produce it all from thin air. Of course, it's easy... when they know there are suckers out there willing to believe whatever garbage they peddle.

Georgia 6 - I disagree with 538

Even if Ossoff finishes in the low 40s, it will be hard to rule him out in the second round provided that he still finishes in first place by a comfortable margin. But even if Ossoff finishes just a point or two shy of 50 percent, and Democrats finish with more votes than Republicans overall, he won’t have any guarantees in the runoff …

Polling and history both suggest that Ossoff would likely be about a 50-50 bet in Round 2. (link)

Nope... I firmly believe that Ossoff's best chance of winning is to garner the 50% required to avoid a runoff. Energy is still high on the left, but you get a sense that it's wading to some degree. Strike while the iron is hot is the phrase that comes to mind. Two months is a long time (the runoff would be in June), and one would guess that Ossoff would take a beating over those 60 some days as Republicans stop eating their own, and concentrate their efforts on beating the Democrat.

Donald Trump only won this district by one percent... while a popular and powerful entrenched Congressmen won by a clear landslide. But with this being an open seat, the reality is probably somewhere in the middle of the 1% Presidential victory and the 23% House victory.

While I think that the Democrats are certainly correct to look to Georgia 6 as their best chance to pick up a seat in these special elections, I think that chance is significantly better today than in June.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Difference between France and America

Saint Chapell, Paris France 
So this is the second time in the past twelve months that I have visited Paris France and outlying areas. While I inherently understand that I am still a tourist and only have a fractional understanding of the culture, there are many things that stand out. A couple off the top of my head.

The security guard checking our tickets at the Louve had a cigarette in his mouth. Many places had military personnel wandering around carrying M15 rifles. Many of the Paris Police force carry lugars with the rifle extender. You see them everywhere. People walk around re-selling things like bottles of water, quite obviously without any retail licences.


So there was this incident I watched on the Metro (subway) where an obvious tourist woman and two children were sitting across from some locals. The two children where loud and messing around with this water bottle, eventually hitting each other until the bottle fell to the floor. One of the gentlemen picked it up... and didn't give it back to them. The three of them looked shell shocked but didn't really know what to do. When the woman and her children started to get up to leave he casually put it back into the tote bag the woman was carrying without really even looking up at them (still reading the newspaper). 

Now the reason why this was so interesting to me, was that in Paris, you could tell that everyone believed that the woman and children were being rude and obnoxious. If this incident had happened in the United States, it would have been the man who took the bottle and did not give it back who would have been considered rude. Likely the woman would have demanded the bottle back. But it was clear that this wasn't going to fly in that environment. 

It's really hard to put a finger on all of this, other than to say while it may be fair (or not) to say that most American liberals believe we should be more like Europe.  the reality is that Europeans behave the way they behave because they choose to. Due to the fact that much of that city was probably built long before there was such a thing as an SUV, the city is not welcoming to anyone driving large vehicles. It seems to be a matter of convenience that people ride the metro, own scooters, and drive smart cars. It's not necessarily a matter of political or environmental choice. Unlike the American left (who feel the strong need to control the actions of others) you don't get any feelings that people are being forced or pushed into any of the behaviors that they choose. This is why the security guard has a cigarette hanging from his mouth, and nobody seems to care. Or why people open bottles of wine in public parks and drink. Or why you can buy a bottle of water from a street vendor while waiting in line to see an attraction. 

As far as the military and police presence, there is very little doubt that given the need, that law enforcement would use the weapons in question. They are somewhat intimidating to be around. Yet, you hear nobody complain about the militarization of the police forces, or how they may be a threat to anyone around them. In America, there would be a knee jerk negative reaction to such a show of force, and likely suggestions that it must be racism or bigotry that is fueling them. Parisians seem to put their safety (and the safety of their historical attractions) well above the feelings of those who may feel threatened by a military presence. Don't like it, then don't break the law... seems to be the message. 

Which brings us to the fact that the current elections seems to be pushing in a similar fashion to how things went recently in Britain, with a conservative candidate leading in the polls, off the promises to leave the European unions, prevent migration into France, and protect the long standing culture of the country. Imagine how much people here hated the idea of Donald Trump wanting to put a temporary travel restriction on seven countries. Many French want to pretty much shut the door completely, and don't hesitate to demand that it is 100% about keeping France France, and not allowing "Diversity and foreigners to move in and change things". There is a general believe that when in France you do what the French do or you get the hell out.  

It's refreshing... and if Liberals really want our country to behave more like the French or European Countries... than they may want to start to yield to the concept of individual freedom, and a protection of our American way of life... rather than push more and more regulations, and demands that we must change our culture to "adapt" to the new diversity of globalism. 

Back in town...

Well technically I was back in town late last week, but had a wedding reception to deal with. Another wonderful gala with friends and family at a exquisite converted mansion reception forum.

Looks like a lot happened while I was gone. I did update a couple of early morning posts while in town, but otherwise all of the posts over the past couple of weeks, were pre-scheduled to keep the conversations flowing.

But while I was gone some things happened, like giant MOAB being dropped on ISIS, confirmation that at least some Trump associates were being monitored by the Previous Administration, North Korea attempting but failing a missile test, along with a whole bunch of more infantile acts of sniffling from the left.

Oh, and it appears that Trump has hit 50% again in the Rasmussen Likely Voter Poll. So there is that.

Out of everything, I think the bombing of ISIS is the most significant. It would appear that the media cannot quite remember when military responses to acts of slaughter was a somewhat normal and expected thing. Of course, the Trump Derangement Syndrome being what it is today... has a lot to do with this. If this same exact act would have been done by Obama (rather than cowering off in fear over the prospects of backing up his own red line threats) the media would have loved it. Because it's Donald Trump... well... we all know how this goes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Still out of town attending to some business...


Media

They didn't spy. They didn't spy. They didn't spy. They didn't spy. They didn't spy. They didn't spy. They didn't spy. They didn't spy.

They spied, but it was justified.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Europe observation

Watching the local news along with the BBC... it would certainly appear that the European press takes our President more seriously than our media does.


Obamacare spiral of death

Since apparently the so called fact checkers want to get semantical regarding the term "death spiral" - let's just call it a "spiral of death" and be done with it. Here is the reality: while the CBO can insist that any year now more people will come to their senses and start enrolling en-masse, there is no real reason to believe that it's actually going to happen. The CBO has been overestimating the amount of people who will sign up every year since the ACA has been law. 

More likely is that the exchanges will continue to wallow in too many older sicker people and not enough younger healthy people. The fact that the subsidies for these insurance companies is running out doesn't help matters. 

I am not sure how anyone can suggest that Obamacare is healthy, when there is more than a reasonable chance that some places will not offer any insurance on the exchanges. Btw, I guess the law does account for this. If there are no insurers in your market, then the "individual mandate" does not kick in. There does not appear to be anyway for these people to otherwise garner any subsidies to pay for insurance.
  


Humana announced this year that they’d be leaving the markets altogether next year. That means there are parts of Tennessee that will have no insurance options unless another insurer decides to enter. And Anthem, which operates in 14 states, is getting nervous, an industry analyst told Bloomberg News this week. Its departure would be a much bigger problem. According to an analysis of government data by Katherine Hempstead at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Anthem is currently the only insurance carrier in nearly 300 counties, serving about a quarter of a million people.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A look back at election night

This was my post at 5:49 November 8th:


Early Exit Polls

The first number I look for is the partisan breakdown. Being reported:

37% Dem
32% Rep
31% Ind

This is going to be a smaller advantage for the Democrats than in 2012, much smaller than 2008, and quite frankly smaller than most of your pollsters were projecting for 2016.

I would also offer that quite obviously these exit polls will not include those evening voters who have yet to go to the polls. Evening voters tend to be a bit more Republican than day time voters.

At the end of the day, this actually looks pretty much in line with where I thought we might be (and nearly identical to the partisan breakdown I was using on my projection spreadsheet).

At this point we would seem to be looking at about a two point Hillary popular vote advantage, assuming the polling break down of the demographics is accurate. This would not necessarily guarantee her a electoral college win.

Florida is the key at this point. Buzz is that Clinton is feeling confident in Florida (due to an influx of Hispanic voters) - if she wins Florida, it's going to be pretty much game over for Trump. He would have to literally have to catch an inside straight flush.

Looks like I was pretty close to being spot on, huh?

A new found confusion

So for years  the idea of strategic military strikes in response to outrageous actions of questionable leaders has been the norm. Bush  did it. Clinton  did it. Reagan did it.

Suddenly our liberal press has a hard time understanding the point, now that Donald Trump is calling the shots.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Trump not getting anything done?

Think again

 CLIMATE CHANGE
Trump signed an executive order last week to deliver on his pledge to unravel Obama's efforts to curb global warming. The order launched a review of the Clean Power Plan, Obama's chief effort to curb carbon emissions by restricting greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. Trump also lifted a 14-month-old halt on new coal leases on federal lands. The Obama administration had imposed a three-year freeze on such leases in January of last year.
The executive order covers a range of other Obama-era rules, including requirements to factor the "social cost" of carbon emissions into all regulatory actions and to crack down on methane emissions at oil and gas wells. Business groups had complained to Trump, himself a businessman, that the rules were intrusive and expensive.
INTERNET PRIVACY
Trump is expected to sign a measure soon to block online privacy regulations the Federal Communications Commission issued during Obama's final months in office. It's a first step toward allowing internet providers to sell information about their customers' browsing habits. The FCC rule was designed to give consumers more control over how companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon share information. Critics complained that the rule would have increased costs, stifled innovation and picked winners and losers among internet companies.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer says the rule represents the type of "federal overreach" that Trump pledged as a candidate to reverse.
ABORTION/FAMILY PLANNING
Trump is expected to sign legislation erasing another Obama rule, one that barred states from withholding federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood affiliates and other clinics that provide abortions. The rule was finalized shortly before Obama left office in January.
The measure cleared the Senate last week with Vice President Mike Pence, who is also president of the Senate, casting the tie-breaking 51st vote in the 100-member chamber.
KEYSTONE XL OIL PIPELINE
Trump greenlighted the long-delayed project on March 24, reversing Obama's decision less than 18 months earlier. After Trump invited TransCanada, the Canadian company building the $8 billion pipeline, to resubmit its application, the State Department approved the project, saying it would advance U.S. national interests. Obama had said the project would not.
Approval came nearly a decade after TransCanada applied to complete the 1,700-mile (2,735 kilometers) pipeline to carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Trump says the project will reduce costs and reliance on foreign oil, and create thousands of jobs. Obama had said it would undercut U.S. credibility in international efforts to tackle climate change.
DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
Under Obama, the Army Corps of Engineers had declined in December to allow pipeline construction under South Dakota's Lake Oahe on grounds that alternate routes needed to be considered. Native American tribes had sued to block construction, arguing that the pipeline threatened their water supply and cultural sites.
The project has moved forward again under Trump, who acted shortly after taking office. In February, the Army Corps of Engineers abandoned further study and granted an easement that was needed to complete the pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners immediately began drilling under the lake.
FUEL EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
The Trump administration is re-examining federal requirements governing the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks. In 2012, the Obama administration set fuel economy regulations for model years 2017-2025 and agreed to complete a midterm evaluation by next year. Then, days before Obama left office, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to keep stringent requirements it had set in place for model years 2022-2025.
The auto industry balked. Trump announced in Michigan that he's putting the midterm review back on track. His decision has no immediate effect but requires the EPA to determine no later than April 2018 whether the 2022-2025 standards are appropriate.
TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP
Obama was his administration's biggest cheerleader for the sweeping agreement involving the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. But the Senate needed to ratify it, and bipartisan opposition basically doomed it before he left office.
As a candidate, Trump railed against this agreement and pledged to withdraw from it, saying he was a better negotiator and could strike better deals. Shortly after taking office, he directed the U.S. trade representative to withdraw and said he would pursue individual deals with the other countries.
ABORTION/MEXICO CITY POLICY
Trump reinstated a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information about them. Obama had lifted the ban when he took office in 2009.
Known as the "Mexico City Policy" or, by critics, as the "global gag rule," the regulation has been a political volleyball, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984. Trump signed it one day after the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The policy also prohibits taxpayer funding for groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method.
PERSONAL FINANCE
Trump has instructed the Department of Labor to delay an Obama-era rule that would require financial professionals who charge commissions to put their clients' best interests first when advising them on retirement investments. The "fiduciary rule" was aimed at blocking consultants from steering clients toward investments with higher commissions and fees that can eat away at retirement savings. The rule was to take effect this month. The financial services industry argued that the rule would limit retirees' investment choices by forcing asset managers to steer them to low-risk options.

(LINK)

Friday, April 7, 2017

No consistency

So, do the ends justify the means... or are the ends irrelevant if the means are suspect? I guess, if you are a liberal, it completely depends on which of the two (ends or means) advances or hinders your narrative.

  • When it comes to the hacking of the DNC and Clinton emails, what the left would like us to focus on is the means of how this information was obtained. What that information told us about the Clinton campaign and the DNC should be considered irrelevant.
  • When it comes to any possible collusion between the Trump team and the Russians, the left would like us to focus on whatever information might be gathered. The means, even if those actions were criminal, should be considered irrelevant.
  • When it comes to gathering evidence on whether or not there actually was any monitoring or illegal releasing of information on Trump team members, the left would like you to focus on how that evidence is being gathered. The information that was gathered should be considered irrelevant.  
At some point you want to say... hey pick a side here. Stick to it. 

Personally (with one exception) I feel that it's all pretty much relevant. The information hacked from the DNC and Clinton campaign is relevant, as is any information as to how they got hacked. Any information gathered on the Trump team is certainly relevant, but the means involved in the information gathering could be a crime and is certainly relevant. 

The only thing I find to be fairly irrelevant is the manner in which evidence of spying or illegal activity by our own Government is being obtained. By nature, this information is not going to be simply offered to the Congressional committees investigating the very people who are being relied on to produce the information. If getting to the truth relies on whistle blowers stepping forward, I have no issue with that. I don't find it "partisan" that we should be working to find out if holdover members of our Federal government were breaking laws to undermine the credibility of the incoming administration.

Getting married in Paris today!!!

At the Ritz Hotel
No, that's not actually us! 

This is actually us!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Syria response

(6:55 am France)


The right thing to do. Or at least a step in the right direction. Let's be clear,  this is the exact situation where having all of these generals in the cabinet pays off. You know this was a collaborative decision of some of the best and most experienced military people in the country.

Bluff called


Seriously


Open Mic


Nutshell

When it comes to the Susan Rice story, the liberal media would have you believe that this actual news is just a distraction to make you stop focusing on the collusion theories that are completely without evidence.

In other words, they are upset that real news is interfering with the fake news they want to push.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The great disseminater?

Was it Susan Rice who ordered
 the unmasking of Trump associates?
Reports are now out suggesting that Susan Rice may have have been the high ranking official responsible for the criminal unmasking of people like General Flynn. To be fair, these reports are currently circulating on the "right" side of the media at this point, but then again you would be hard pressed to find anyone on the "left" side of the media even suggesting that there is a story.

(Update: The story is now being reported by more than just Breitbart and Drudge. It's now being covered by FOX News, Bloomberg, and other mainstream media outlets.)

The reality is that we are 100% positive that someone reported the information on General Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador. Short of there being legal court ordered monitoring of General Flynn along with a very clear legal reason to make the monitored information public, this action constitutes a felony. 

As National Security Adviser to the President, Susan Rice fits the description of the sort of high ranking intelligence official being named. She certainly would have had access to any surveillance and the means to leak it. At this point, both the ranking members of the House intelligence committee has at least some of this information. Whether or not it confirms Susan Rice, time will tell. If it is, the question becomes... what did Obama know and when did he know it?

While some may never get closure on the "Trump collusion" conspiracy theory... there is a much better chance we will determine who leaked the identities of the Trump officials. Moreover the Attorney General has made it clear that once all the ducks are in a row that charges will be brought. 

Imagine the outrage and devastation from our liberal friends, if the only thing that comes from all of this Russian hoopla is a high ranking Obama official being charged with a crime.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

McConnell vs Schumer - who has the better argument?

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is making the argument that voting to eliminate the filibuster would be simply allowing the Senate to go back to historical standards of requiring a simple majority to be confirmed. 
  • Senate Minority Leader  Chuck Schumer argument that a Justice is required to garner sixty votes for confirmation under Senate Rules, and that the GOP would be effectively changing that standard. 
So who is right?

The logical answer is that since several Justices have been confirmed with less than 60 votes, including Justices Alito and Thomas... that McConnell is right that the historical standard is a requirement of a simple majority.

On the flip side, there is actually no precedent for Schumer's claim that a Justice needs sixty votes or they will be filibustered and not receive a confirmation vote. While the filibuster has been a tool in the tool chest, it has never been used.

I think right and wrong at this point is pretty moot. McConnell will be able to change the rules to confirm Gorsuch without much (if any) political fallout. Schumer and the Democrats can bark at the moon, but nobody outside of the hard left will see the issue.

The problem for the Democrats is that the Justice that they plan to filibuster does not appear by any objective standards to be someone so unqualified and outside of the mainstream to justify the very first ever use of the filibuster against a USSC Justice. If Donald Trump had nominated Judge Judy and the GOP was backing him, they probably could have made the case stick with the public. Moreover, Gorsuch is a conservative replacing a conservative which effectively does not change the make up of the court. This seems like a poorly timed first ever use of the filibuster.

This is clearly a move demanded by the far left of the Democratic base. Schumer and the Democrats appear at this point not to have the courage to stand up to it. It likely hurts them long term.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Nunes has known about this information since January

Intelligence agencies are stonewalling. 
Nunes has known about the unmasking controversy since January, when two sources in the intelligence community approached him. The sources told Nunes who was responsible and at least one of the Trump team names that was unmasked. They also gave him serial numbers of reports that documented the activity. (link)
Order of events:
  • Nunes given information and specifics of the reports that would confirm in January. 
  • These reports have been requested from the intelligence agencie(s) that would have them.
  • The agencie(s) have not responded as of yet to requests.
  • Nunes gets clearance to view these reports through other means.

If all of this is true (and there is no reason not to suspect it is) than there is clearly a breach of law here. The reports apparently show that there was surveillance of Trump and members of his campaign going back to early 2016 and that this surveillance had nothing to do with Russia or anything else. There is also apparently evidence that the information was purposely released in order to cause political embarrassment for the incoming President. Lastly, it is said that the person ultimately responsible is high up in the intelligence community and not part of the FBI.

Meanwhile the Democrats would like the only member of the investigation committee that seems to be actually investigating to "step down". Why? Because he actually bothered to go get the information that the intelligence communities are stonewalling. Perfect.

UPDATE:

Adam Schiff has also now seen the documents. In what appears to be a pretty solid political move, the White House has invited "all" of the ranking members of the intelligence committees investigating the matter to come view the same documents Nunes did. This certainly "should" (but probably won't) put an end to the concept that Nunes was doing something wrong by going around the Intelligence communities to see documents he has clearance, as well as every right, to see.

I believe it is telling that Schiff is "not" disputing what Nunes stated was in them. His only criticism at this point was the manner in which Nunes went about receiving and reporting on these documents. Schiff believes that Nunes went outside of normal procedure for pretty much no good reason. Although the "real" main issue for Schiff would likely be that Nunes went public.