I am hoping that Putin is approaching a "Goodfellas" moment with his oligarchs. Putin's Ukrainian adventures have brought unwanted heat from the West on the enterprises of kleptocratic Russia. All of Russia's big companies have a lot of short term debt they will find almost impossible to refinance due to sanctions and falling oil and natural gas prices. If the oligarch's companies can't refinance, they will default on the loans and won't be able to do business in the West because any assets they have there or send there will be attached to pay what they owe. It's even possible that the oligarchs' personal assets could be seized to pay their companies' debts as part of future sanctions. In 1999, the corruption charges against the government threatened the oligarchs and Putin's Chechen War helped them avoid trouble. This time, the sanctions and falling oil and natural gas prices threaten the oligarchs, and the Ukraine War made things worse. Analyzing it like a crime family would, the oligarchs may decide it's time for Putin to end up floating in the Volga river.
Dec 22, 2014
Like a lot of other Conservatives, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t raise slightly more fuss about our Dear Leader’s efforts to make law without Congress. However, I think the small ball concessions we imposed for the Continuing Resolution is the way to win against the One Not Quite All of Us Were Waiting For. Small ball puts our Dear Leader on ground he can't hold because he has no attention span and no patience. His teleprompter tactics are geared towards lying about a few big issues and getting low information voters to believe the lies. His backers in the Pravda Press are also geared to attacking on a few big issues, like the mythical war on women and the fabricated "hands up, don't shoot." So forcing the Chicago Machine Prodigy to fight down in the weeds against individual department funding bills festooned with all sorts of riders and budget cuts is exactly how to maneuver him out of his trenches without going over the top into massive machine gun fire from the teleprompter and the MSM repeaters. A billion here, a billion there is big money whether you're spending or cutting. Also, technical things, like eliminating the current services baseline budget calculation, can make a big difference and yet be inexplicable to voters, so they can't be vetoed.
Please excuse my mixed metafors, Perhaps you should view them as a metaphor smoothie..
Liberals are trying to take credit for falling oil and natural gas prices, which is ludicrous. Fracking in the US and Saudi Arabian oil production policy are the main causes of big moves in energy prices. The initial falling prices of oil and natural gas came from fracking, which Liberals strongly oppose and have outlawed in New York and California. If the Keystone Pipeline had been built and if it was legal to export crude oil from the US, the price of oil would be even lower. Liberals oppose both of those actions in the name of preventing global warming. The other contributing factor to crashing oil prices is Saudi Arabia's conclusion that the Chicago Machine Prodigy in Chief will not stop the Iranians from building nuclear weapons. They decided to maintain Saudi oil production at current levels to crash the price and bankrupt the Iranian mullahs. For the Saudis, damage to Russia was a nice side benefit, as the Russians sell weapons and reactors to Iran. Which of these actions did our Dear Leader have any positive contribution towards? I grant that the "Reset" with Russia and the endless nuclear negotiations with Iran caused the Saudis to conclude they had to act alone. Do you think that was the intended consequence when the Smartest President Ever made those moves?
As everybody in IT knows, the leading cause of disk crashes is subpoenas. All Issa's Congressional subpoenas are going to do is cause more unrecoverable hardware failures. And don't ask for any backup tapes or disks or cloud storage. The government has a very modern system of backup to floppy disks and punched paper tape, but they overwrite it every two weeks in order to economize.http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/394553/gruber-documents-subpoenaed-john-fund
Captured terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Conventions. They are war criminals. They attack innocent civilians instead of military targets and intentionally kill them. They do not wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from innocent civilians. In fact, they hold civilians near their military activity as shields. They torture and even behead prisoners. They commit ethnic cleansing and genocide. The enslave women. All of these actions are war crimes. Terrorists are outlaws in the Medieval sense of the word, which means they get no protection from the law and can be shot (or attacked by drones) on sight. The laws of war do not apply to them. They are not in the same class as soldiers captured in uniform on a battlefield and do not have the same rights to fair treatment. The closest comparable status would be spies. Anybody who says we never used enhanced interrogation techniques on spies during WWII or the Cold War is either exceedingly naive or willfully ignorant.
This report is an attempt to rewrite history. At the time, Democrats were informed of the interrogation techniques but the fear of Al Qaeda was paramount then. Now, Democrats desperately need issues that work against Republicans, so they want to erase their past consent to enhanced interrogation techniques. If their past consent goes down the memory hole, then they can be "shocked, shocked" that "torture" was going on. Feinstein is so corrupt, she does not care that pursuing this strategy means no foreign intelligence service will ever cooperate with us again. The needs of the Democratic Party and the cause of Liberalism come first.
Dec 7, 2014
The Global Warming Alarmists are hitting the guest editorial circuits again in the buildup to the next climate talks. Dr. Michael E. Mann, the ringleader of the Alarmists, has declared that 2014 was the hottest year on record. What statistical level of significance did these results have? How far back does the temperature record go? If part of the temperature record is estimated using other data, what is the statistical accuracy of the estimates used? We have a 36 year global weather history based on satellite observations. Prior to that we have mercury thermometer records for a few locations going back to what, 1800? Prior to that we have the Climate Research Unit's estimates, for which they refused to release their raw data and their methods in 2009. The CRU fought off a Freedom of Information request by saying that they had "accidentally" erased the data, the scientific equivalent of the dog ate their homework. There may or may not be global warming, but the Alarmists have to prove that it's caused by man or there's not much we can do. Their models involve solving huge systems of difference equations, which require a massive amount of parallel computing power. We have had enough power to do this for perhaps 30 years at most. Don't you think Dr. Mann and his friends are being a little hasty to demand that government take control of all energy sources? What is the statistical accuracy of these models of the effect of carbon dioxide concentrations on global temperatures? Is any of this worth totally reverting to an Amish paradise where we get a meager output from renewable energy and do without carbon based energy to make up the difference? Having grown up around horses, I can tell you they are not much fun when you have to shovel up after them. The people who tell you we can get the same amount of energy from renewable sources with no cost increases are the same folks who told you, "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." I think the best way to look at this is as a real world episode of Pinky and the Brain. The Brain has decided to use the scary threat of melting ice caps to take over the world.
Whenever you ask these Global Warming Alarmists for the statistical significance of their results, they start talking about thousands of papers, but they want you to find them for yourself. If they're so easy to find, why don't the Global Warming Alarmists find them and provide links? The fact that they don't leads me to believe this is all an exercise in Jonathan Gruber style over complication to conceal a huge power grab without any real justification. Global warming alarmists are the guys asking for big changes. The burden of proof is on them. Us rednecks are fine clinging to our guns and private property. We already know we don't get to keep our doctors and our plans. We don't believe the seas are going to rise 30 feet and swamp both coasts. Besides, most of us don't live on the coasts anyway. Maybe the rich folks who do live on the coasts should pay for dikes to protect their property themselves. Most of the 1% live on the coasts anyway, so they should have to pay and leave the rest of us alone in our SUVs with rifle racks.
Dec 1, 2014
A lot of pundits are treating the falling price of oil as a Saudi move to try to preserve market share. I think Saudi Arabia is trying to put the Iranian mullahs out of the nuclear arms business. The House of Saud is so scared of an Iran with nukes, they talk about how much they have in common with Israel during newspaper interviews. I think they have rightfully concluded that the Chicago Machine Prodigy in Chief will not treat the Iranians anywhere near as tough as he does Republicans and that it's up to them or the Israelis to stop an Iranian bomb. The Israelis would have to use nukes to do the job, so the Saudis decided to use the oil weapon. The Iranian government depends on oil revenue for 65% of its budget. The mullahs need an oil price of $100 to $130 a barrel in order to support their internal subsidies for food and gasoline, pay for their extensive and expensive internal security organizations and support Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria and Shiite militia groups in Iraq. All those centrifuges processing uranium to make weapons are hugely expensive also. Iran has minimal foreign exchange reserves. At $50 a barrel for their oil, the Iranian government goes broke in a year or two, maybe less. The Saudis are getting the added benefit of crippling Russia at the same time. Saudis would like to damage Russia because Putin has been selling arms to Assad in Syria and, in addition to arms, has sold a reactor to Iran that can be used to make plutonium for a bomb. Russia gains most of its foreign exchange from oil and natural gas sales. The price of natural gas is under pressure from US fracking and the prospect of increasing US liquid natural gas exports. With the oil price at half of the $100 a barrel Putin needs to stay in business and the ruble down 30-40% against the dollar, things don't look so good for Putin. All the companies his oligarch buddies own have a lot of debt to European banks due in the next two years. They can't refinance because of the sanctions prompted by Putin's Ukrainian aggression. The oligarchs may be tempted to replace Putin with somebody who would be better for business just like mobsters get rid of guys who attract too much heat from the cops. I think the stress that the lower oil price puts on US producers is a side benefit for the Saudis. The main target is Iran, with a secondary target of Russia.
The Intelligence Committees in both the House and the Senate have equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Foreign intelligence is supposed to be bipartisan. In this case it's obvious that the report is a compromise that the Democrats could accept which spares the intelligence community any blame. I don't understand how nobody was on alert on September 11, 2012, the anniversary of the 2001 attack. There were no fighter bombers, tanker aircraft or strategic reaction ground security forces on alert anywhere in the region. Benghazi is a port, but there were no navy ships in the area for fire support. The attack went on for 13 hours. All during that time, as I understand it, there was only one unarmed drone that managed to be over Benghazi during the attack. No air support was even launched from Aviano and there were not air refueling aircraft in Sicily to meet them even if they were launched. That situation, a totally unprepared military, is what an intelligence failure looks like.
As a Vietnam Era Veteran, I think we should modify "Search and Destroy" to "Search and Separate" any holdovers in any politically appointed positions as every office changes hands. This ESPECIALLY applies to the CBO. They score the bills. If you want to see any tax reform at all, you have to clear out every Liberal in there like Boss Tweed would have done in the bad old patronage days. This ain't no time to play nice. These guys are ruling by decree from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and counting on the Justice Department not to prosecute obvious Obstruction of Justice in the IRS case. We need to clear the decks to stop all of this unconstitutional, lawless behavior. We can't leave snipers in the rear to stop our bills on budget technicalities when they get the word from our Dear Leader.
Conservatives have taken to worrying about whether Republicans in Name Only will make bad deals with Barry the Magnificent. Since Obama won't work with any Republican, it really doesn't matter what RINOs want to do. I'm not the first to notice that the US would be a lot better off if Obama would treat negotiations with Iran more like he does negotiations with Republicans and negotiations with Republicans more like negotiations with Iran. At this point, our Dear Leader's hubris has gotten to the point that he thinks he can rule by decree without any backing from even the Democrats in Congress. The Smartest President Ever only needs to bounce his ideas off Valerie Jarret and David Axelrod in order to make decisions. Cabinet level appointments are used as the designated fall guys. It's pathetic. The bumper sticker I have on my car says it all: "Worst President Ever." And yes, it does have an Obama Campaign "O."
Nov 24, 2014
The Japanese experience of losing a decade or two with massive deficits failing to boost demand now has been repeated across the developed world, including here in the US. Given these uniformly poor results, isn't it time to reevaluate Keynsian Economics? Keynes' theories were always counter intuitive to me anyway. How could taking resources out of a relatively efficient private sector and moving them to a relatively inefficient public sector make everybody better off? Now that we have done the experiment over and over with disastrous results, it's time to take notice that Reagan's Supply Side Economics seemed to work a lot better than anything we've tried lately. If government deficit spending was the key to prosperity, Greece would be a world leading economy. It appears instead that government deficits are the road to ruin and we should change our ways. This means we should throw Keynes' Theories into the historical interest section and remove them from the practical guide for policy role.
Nov 23, 2014
Liberals like to brag that there have been no convictions in any of the Obama Administration scandals. The reason that there have been no convictions, or even indictments, is that Eric Holder's Justice Department will not prosecute Democrats in government or out. An honest Attorney General would have charged Lois Lerner and numerous other folks at the IRS for Obstruction of Justice. There is no way any email system did not have copies of Lois Lerner's emails in numerous places. If they are gone, it took deliberate action. What the IRS did is so obvious that there's a joke circulating on the internet about it. "The leading cause of computer disk crashes is subpoenas." At the start of his tenure, Holder dropped the charges against black panthers who had already agreed to plead guilty to voter intimidation. Since the black panthers had been threatening white voters and the panthers were "his people," it was OK with Holder. When Jon Corzine spent customer money to pay corporate debts as CEO of MF Global, it violated Sarbanes Oxley, numerous SEC laws and regulations and happens to be the biggest no-no in running a brokerage firm. Corzine's status as a major fund raiser for the Chicago Machine Prodigy in Chief gave him immunity. The abuse of prosecutorial discretion is on a monumental scale. It makes the Watergate cover up look small by comparison. Under our Dear Leader's Administration, laws don't apply to Democrats.
California governor Jerry Brown, in answer to the alleged “rape epidemic” on campuses recently signed the new “affirmative consent” law. It will require a verbal “yes” at every stage of amorous activity on college campuses. I have a few legal questions. Can this requirement be waived if the participants sign a pre-coital contract? Is sex sufficient consideration for the contract to be valid under California law, or must other consideration be exchanged? If other consideration is exchanged, does the contract become illegal solicitation? Should I consult my legal team before my grandson goes on dates in California? Does the law apply to same sex couples? If the law does not apply to same sex couples, can college students sue the State of California under the Equal Protection clause to get the law ruled unconstitutional? Is being expelled for failure to stop on command cruel and unusual punishment? Is stopping on command torture under international law? I have a few more, but you get the general idea.
At this point, another commenter suggested that the written contract possibly could be invalidated at any time by an audible “no” for either of the involved parties. This surprised me. I assumed, perhaps in error, that a written contract would be enforced. However, perhaps there is a penumbra in a written contract that allows retraction on demand. This would be a good point to bring up with my legal team in a pre-dating consultation with my grandson.
Here's a link to the article I reacted to:
"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period." That sentence was perhaps the biggest Presidential lie since the end of the Vietnam War, which our Dear Leader told knowingly and repeatedly like a mantra. The Big Lie was used to sell Obamacare, which was the Chicago Machine Prodigy's biggest and most important priority. The grossly false character of the statement became obvious as Obamacare rolled out. It wasn't even on the same planet as the truth. At that point people began to look at all of the other lies the Smartest President Ever was also spouting from his prepared, teleprompter remarks. People doubted all of his excuses for all of his scandals. His constant pattern of not knowing anything about the scandals until he read about them in the papers was repeated for every succeeding scandal. The excuses came to be seen as evading responsibility through lies. Then came the realization that his excuses for Benghazi were lies specifically crafted to get through the 2012 election without making any real explanation of anything. The Administration even withheld where the President was and what he was doing during the 13 hour attack that left 4 Americans dead. Voters felt that the 2012 election win was based on a pack of lies. They felt cheated. At this point, the falsity of almost everything Barry the Magnificent said or promised in 2012 means anything he says now is not believed or trusted. The President has a built up a deep well of distrust which will mean he can accomplish almost nothing in the rest of his term. Nobody will make a deal with the Punahou Prince, because they will be almost certain he won't keep any of his promises.
I don't think it will take 30 years to halt the growth of the regulatory state. A single cap and trade bill and a slight change in court regulatory rules will do it. First, limit the total volume of government regulations and force bureaucrats to bargain with each other over which regulations are most important. If the government wants to add new regulations, they have to remove old regulations to make room for them. In addition, there needs to be a legal change in the deference federal courts give to regulatory agencies. Right now, regulations are given almost no court review because the regulatory agency is assumed to know what they are doing. The law should be instead that regulatory agencies deserve review on the relevance of the regulations to the original law authorizing the regulations. Regulators should be required to demonstrate that the effects of the new regulations will be to solve the problem they are supposed to solve at a reasonable cost compared to the benefits. Obviously, court injunctions would be allowed to delay the imposition of new regulations until they can be reviewed. With these two innovations, we will be using two of the Liberals' favorite mechanisms to restrain regulation. Liberals designed cap and trade to destroy conventional energy production. They have always used the courts to stall construction projects with endless environmental lawsuits. Under my scheme, when the regulatory process grinds to a halt, it will fall on the bureaucrats and courts.
Aticle I reacted to:
Aticle I reacted to:
Zombies are a key voting demographic for Democrats here in Chicago. They are no information voters and also eat other voters' brains. You guys down in Louisiana should watch out in the coming Senate Runoff Election.
Now that President Obama is leading a regime that is not bound by law, I think targeted economic sanctions are in order. To set this up, the continuing resolution should fund the government only until February, 2015. Once the new Congress is sworn in, it should be possible to impose pay cuts or a pay ceiling on all political appointees, in the White House, the Department of Justice and all of the organizations in Homeland Security involved with Immigration as part of a continuing resolution to fund the government through October, 2015. We should be stop paying the President anything at all, because he is no longer faithfully executing the law. However, I think it would be politically easier to sell if we imposed an across the board 30% pay cut on all of the above mentioned political appointees as well as the President himself. The pay can be restored once the administration stops violating the law, with no back pay allowed. There should be a provision making it a felony for any of the employees covered by the pay cuts to accept private contributions to supplement their government pay, with a statute of limitations of 10 years. George Soros can't be allowed to bribe political appointees that Congress is sanctioning. Congress needs to set an aggressive precedent to stop this behavior forever. The alternative is the end of Constitutional government in the United States.
Oct 5, 2014
What would change if the Republicans take the Senate? Democrats have gotten all of their obstruction on the sly up to this point. Harry Reid can just not vote on over 300 bills the House passed and the Pravda Press can ignore all of them. That will change if the Republicans take the Senate. Filibuster votes are on the record. They become issues in subsequent elections. Also, remember the reconcilement bill rule that Democrats used to pass Obamacare with a simple majority. Budgetary savings can be passed easily. Then our Dear Leader will have to veto spending bills. Suddenly the optics of the "party of no" change a lot. Democrats are the obstructionists filibustering and vetoing everything. Republicans are trying to govern. The Pravda Press has to cover the issues involved in the filibusters and vetoes instead of ignoring them. Suddenly there's a big political climate change.
The problem for Republicans and Democrats is different. Republicans brag about their obstruction of Obamacare because it's so unpopular with voters. The split in the Republican Party is mainly over tactics, not substance. Should we hold out for more and filibuster, or take the deal on the table? I think the reason that the shutdown did no long term damage to Republicans was that it was about postponing Obamacare and subsequent events showed that Obamacare should have been postponed. The Democrats, on the other hand, vote liberal in DC and talk "centrist" at home. Votes on the record against Keystone Pipeline would be very unpopular with organized labor while pleasing environmentalists. These votes would serve as wedge issues, splitting the Democrat's base. Harry Reid has allowed the Democrats to have it both ways on Keystone and similar issues. If there's Republican Senate, the free ride is over and the wedge issues begin to grab headlines.
The Pravda Press loves to call Republicans racist, based on some original sin Nixon committed in 1968 with his “Southern Strategy.” I think the Democrats have a current history of racist results that they ignore in order to favor a special interest group. The situation in predominately black inner city schools is horrifying. However the Democrats will fight any move towards vouchers, even to the point of Eric Holder’s Justice Department suing the state of Louisiana because too many black children are going to charter schools. Republicans want voucher programs so minority inner city children can be educated. Democrats want union public schools so union teachers will contribute to their campaigns and minority children will stay uneducated and dependent on the government. So who's racist?
If you think the quality of education in unionized inner city schools is worth what the teachers are paid, then you’re a deluded Democrat. I think that documentaries like "Waiting for Superman" show that so many inner city parents want alternatives for their children's education, they have to have a lottery to allocate the slots. If the public school education is not worth what union teachers are paid, what are they being paid for? It has to be political. There's no other possible reason.
Eric Holder sued the State of Louisiana to stop school choice because the high quality private schools had a higher percentage of minorities than the public schools. Why is choice great for abortions, but not allowed for education?
There is one rebel group in Syria that is 100% reliable, the Kurds! They are fighting ISIS to a standstill with nothing but small arms and guts. With a little help they could really regain some ground. However, right now they are on a US State Department list of terrorist organizations because of their guerrilla war of independence against Turkey. At a minimum we should take all the Kurdish groups off the terrorist lists. While the Turks would be very unhappy with the US if we armed the Syrian Kurds, I don't think we have any reason to care about hurting their feelings. They won't let us use our own airbase at Incerlik to fight ISIS. If we promise the Kurds they can keep what they take, they might be willing to fight further away from their traditional turf. Longer term, I think a lot of people in the ethnic stew of the Middle East might actually like to be under Kurdish administration. They certainly do a better job in their provinces in Iraq than most of the other countries in the area. By Middle Eastern standards, they are religiously tolerant, democratic, pro-American and even pro-Israeli. The only drawback is that arming the Kurds could lead to an independent Kurdistan. The Kurds got screwed when the post World War I borders were drawn. There are 40 million Kurds, but no Kurdistan. Kurdish independence would require redrawing the sacred boundaries. Since we obviously don't care about the territorial integrity of the Ukraine, why should we care about the territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq?
Romney didn't attack Obamacare in 2012 because he backed a similar law in Massachusetts when he was governor. That's a big part of why he lost. Romney's speeches, debates and ads failed to communicate his line item vetoes of the final law to a political junkie like me, let alone the average low information voter. Democrats successfully argued that Obamacare was a federal adaptation of Romney's plan in Massachusetts. Romney never successfully rebutted this argument. I think this failure to communicate dooms any comeback. Because of the optics of Romney's initial support for a law similar to Obamacare, Romney was not able to make the most effective argument against it. He could have said we tried this in my state and it didn't work out. I will work hard to repeal it when I'm president. If he had said that, Romney would be president today.
Romney can't convincingly argue that we need to limit government because he believes government can do the job if it's under better management. Romney in 2012 proved that he can't turn out the Republican base, even against Barack Obama, the most left wing and incompetent president ever. I don't see how any of this is going to be different in 2016 against Hillary the Inevitable or Elizabeth the Native American Princess. Jeb Bush is out of touch and has 100% bad name recognition. Scott Walker or Bobby Jindal or Mike Pence or even Chris Christie would be a much better choice.
The current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thinks he can rule by decree. If you believe that the president can decide not to collect taxes that are levied by law, as our Dear Leader did with the Employer Mandate taxes, then it makes sense you think I'm needlessly paranoid. Enjoy the unilateral legalization of all illegal immigrants complete with instant welfare eligibility, coming soon after the election without benefit of Congress. For the survival of the rule of law in this country, we really HAVE to win in 2016. Let's not recycle our losers.
If we were willing to inflict massive collateral damage, we could discourage ISIS and its imitators for a long time simply by bombing. This is the lesson of Hama, Syria. In 1982, Hafez al Assad put down a Sunni Muslim insurgency centered in the town by surrounding it and then shelling it for 3 weeks. The place was leveled. Between 10,000 and 25,000 people were killed in the fighting. Things got quiet for almost thirty years. The US Air Force has the physical power to do that kind of damage to ISIS' capital in a week. We don't have the capability to do it morally. That's why we need boots on the ground to completely defeat ISIS.
Without boots on the ground, we can "win" only in the way the Israelis win. They call their periodic wars against Hamas and Hezbollah "mowing the lawn." The weakness of Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS is all the same. Once you claim and hold real estate, you become responsible for what happens to it. In Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza this year, the Israeli Air Force was very, very destructive. The damage estimate for Gaza is $6 billion. The damage to Hezbollah assets, along with Lebanese infrastructure and Shiite owned or occupied buildings, was similarly massive. Hezbollah has not really attacked Israel since. I think it's because even though the Iranians paid for a lot of rebuilding, they can't afford to do it again. Hamas is finding that Gaza residents are equally unhappy with the massive damage that may take a decade or two to repair. ISIS is similarly vulnerable. They own territory with assets they value. If those assets vanish in a series of targeted explosions, leaving worthless rubble, they will lose the ability to buy support.
Our first strikes against ISIS in Syria were disappointing. It’s an indication of how much we want to avoid collateral damage that we blew the antenna array off of an ISIS building without blowing the building up. We only destroyed the antennas on the ISIS financial control center, leaving the building intact with all the computers and equipment used to manage ISIS' money. We should have destroyed everything to make it harder for ISIS to manage its funding. A 2,000 lbs. guided bomb would have taken the whole thing down. This smells like a civilian designed targeting order. It really seems like the White House is drawing up what the targets are and how hard we are going to hit them. Do we want to "send a message" or do we want to destroy or at least degrade ISIS?
Given the results of the current administration’s foreign policy, people are now asking what kind of foreign policy the US should implement. The current administration seems to like to talk loudly and send in a few air strikes and some drones while announcing that we won’t put boots on the ground or stay longer than the next significant election. The previous administration’s efforts at nation building ended up to be beyond what the country was willing to spend in both lives and money. So what’s next?
For a start, I would like to suggest a few new rules of thumb to guide future foreign policy decisions. I would recommend a foreign policy that arms our friends so they can defend themselves. There should be no reason that the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq should have to retreat because they are out of ammunition, leaving Yazidis running for the hills to escape ISIS. There should be no reason that the President of the Ukraine should have to come to Washington to beg for weapons after Russia seized pieces of his country. Even worse, the Ukraine still didn't get the weapons, even though the US guaranteed the territorial integrity of the Ukraine in exchange for their surrender of Soviet Era nuclear weapons. If the US guarantees your territorial integrity, it should mean we will give you weapons so at least you can fight for yourself. We should also decide that the borders drawn by colonial powers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East often contribute to instability because they group together tribal and religious groups who would be better off separated. In particular, if arming the Kurds means that the Turks are nervous, that’s too bad. It’s not like they let us use our own airbase in Incerlik, Turkey, for air strikes against ISIS.
If the US admits you to NATO, it should mean we are ready to help defend you, but you have to make a big boots on the ground contribution yourself. This might mean a small professional military with a large conscripted national guard. It should not mean that you get your defense for free at the expense of US taxpayers.
While we're talking about NATO, there is no reason that US forces should be stationed in Germany instead of Poland. The Russians have violated their side of the agreement that kept NATO forces out of former Warsaw Pact Countries. At the very least, there should combat aircraft stationed in Poland so they could slow down any Russian aggression against NATO members, like the Baltic States.We need to get away from keeping our friends weak and dependent and then having to send US ground combat troops to bail them out. Being a friend of the US should mean you've got enough guns and ammo to make attacks against you very costly. It should also mean the US Special Forces have trained you how to use your weapons very effectively.
Article I was reacting to:
Why should we lift the US oil export ban? The short answer is that we have a mismatch between refineries in Louisiana and the crude from fracking shale. The refineries are built to handle heavy crude from Latin America. The crude from shale is very light crude, which means it has a very different chemical composition than heavy crude. Heavy crude refineries can't refine light crude. So why not modify our existing refineries to handle light crude? It would be cheaper to build a new refinery. However, the environmental reviews required make building a new refinery prohibitively expensive. There's also the Jones Act, which requires all shipping from one US port to another be on US flag ships with US crews. This makes moving the light crude from Louisiana, where all the pipelines go, to New Jersey, where there are some light crude refineries, too expensive to be worth it. Global warming alarmists don't want more oil produced, so they will fight any change in any of these laws and regulations. Remember, the Keystone pipeline was fought because of its potential contribution to global warming. Speaking of Keystone, the Louisiana refineries would be able to refine the very heavy Canadian crude from the Keystone pipeline easily.
Sep 18, 2014
A lot of naive reaction to Ferguson wondered why the cop shot to kill. In the dark, with a huge guy coming at you with evil intent you don't have time to reflect. The victim has to act responsibly to minimize the danger to himself. I lived a similar situation from the "perpetrator" side, but I reacted differently. In 1976, I bought a house in a Chicago suburb. After a first day of unpacking boxes and trimming shelves to fit in closets with my pocket knife, I went for my first walk around the neighborhood. I had on a straw hat, work shirt and jeans. I hadn't shaved since the Air Force gave me a medal the week before, so I looked pretty scruffy. It was getting dark when a car pulled up. When the spotlight hit me, I took my hands out of my pockets and raised them to where the cops could see them. The first words I heard were, "Up against the car!" I said nothing and did what they said. Before asking me any questions, they frisked me. They were going to take my pocket knife away from me, but decided finally to give it back. I waited until the next day to call the Chief of Police to complain, but at least I was alive so I could do it.
The War on Drugs is the second coming of Prohibition. it has all of the huge profits and all of the consequent violence. You can't outlaw substances many people will buy anyway, legal or not. We need to decide we can't win and quit. We need to start by legalizing marijuana at the federal level and make it a state issue. Then we can tax it heavily and fund a defense department. After marijuana, we probably need to legalize cocaine because of the size of its market. Again, we can tax it heavily. Protecting people from the ill effects of drugs is not worth the social costs of rampant violent crime that results. Just like Prohibition, the War on Drugs has to stop.
The "free" contraceptives of Obamacare are a "gift" from the government at the expense of the employer. Any Republican who has a problem with coercing employers to pay for something that's universally affordable anyway is characterized as wanting to outlaw birth control and at war with women. This is deception on its face, because the question was who pays for birth control, not whether it was legal to sell birth control or not. Now the Republicans have come up with a solution that deregulates birth control. Sell it over the counter. What is really happening is that Republicans never had a war on women. They had a problem with government coercion. Now Republicans have found a way to make their free market position on birth control clearer, Democrats object. Democrat candidates like government to regulate everything and have no issues besides their fictional "War on Women" to run on. In the article linked below, the Democrat author is furious.
Many observers feel the US Federal Government is not working very well. The article liked below wants a more parliamentary form for choosing the President. I think the article misdiagnoses the problem. First off, it's too hard to get rid of federal judges, who have life tenure. Once judges decided to rule on the basis of what they wanted the law to be, rather than what the law is, the law gradually became chaos and nobody could know what the next ruling would bring. If there was an easy way to get rid of judges who rule based on what they want rather than what the law says, we could at least address the problem. Second, administrative agencies have become a law unto themselves from which there is no effective appeal. This flows from the fact that the courts generally defer to regulatory agencies, and Congress has no right of review. The result is that the EPA can determine that when you exhale, the CO2 you emit is a pollutant. If Congress preserved a right to repeal any regulation without presidential consent, it would help a lot. Since the polite fiction is that Congress is delegating its legislative power to the regulatory agencies, it should fly, but only if the first problem is fixed. Finally, we get to the President ruling by decree. If the first two problems were fixed, the President would not be able to rule by decree. The courts would rule against him and the regulations that implemented the decrees could be repealed without Presidential consent. Unfortunately, I am not sure that we can get anywhere close to a solution right now. It's likely we have slipped too far into Presidential rule by decree backed by unchecked regulatory agencies and courts ruling based on the outcomes they want, rather than the law as it is.
Barry the Magnificent's plan to control all Syrian air strike targets from the White House gave me the sense that I had heard this one before. Didn't LBJ pick bombing targets in Vietnam? Yup, and it didn't turn out so well. I also remember Vietnam Era commanders commenting during Iraqi Freedom expressing jealousy of the Iraq War commanders' ability to bomb whatever military target they wanted without having to get White House clearance. It's clear our Dear Leader doesn't really want to destroy ISIS. The Smartest President Ever just wants to get through the 2014 election and turn out his pacifist base without enraging low information voters who want ISIS creamed. If the Prevaricator in Chief really wanted to destroy ISIS, there's a formula for that now. "ISIS, if you like your territory, you can keep your territory." Or even more threatening, he could say, "ISIS, if you like your lives, you can keep your lives." In a comment on the above, Chasseur responded, "if he really REALLY wanted to destroy them .. he'd just become their President."
On further review, I have to add the following:
If Democrat administrations should continue for a hundred years, the explanation for all problems encountered will still be "Bush did it."
On further review, I have to add the following:
If Democrat administrations should continue for a hundred years, the explanation for all problems encountered will still be "Bush did it."
Aug 11, 2014
The Kurdish Peshmerga is a light infantry force. They don't have a lot of artillery, tanks or heavy antitank weapons. They were supposed to get these things from the central government in Baghdad. The US gave the arms to the Maliki government, but the Maliki government kept all of them in politically reliable Shiite units lead by commanders chosen for political reliability rather than military competence. Maliki gave the Kurds nothing and the secular Sunnis nothing. Then the all-Shiite Maliki army ran away and left all of their tanks, artillery and ammunition for ISIS to use on the Kurds and Sunnis. The Kurds will fight, but they had to retreat from their positions protecting the Yazidis because they ran out of ammo, according to what I heard on CNN on 5 August 2014. The Kurdish Regional Government has been begging for weapons for months. However, the State Department refuses to give the Kurds any armaments directly. Everything has to be approved by Baghdad, which is to say Iran. Iran has Kurdish provinces that have rebelled in the past so don't expect the Maliki government to approve any weapons for the Pesmerga. The administration is worried that the Kurds might declare their independence from Iraq. To borrow a phrase, at this point, what difference does it make? The Peshmerga are the only possible army that can defeat ISIS. They need to have the same kind of weapons that the Maliki government's incompetence gave to ISIS. Dithering at this point will just give ISIS enough time to get all of the Peshmurga killed. That would be one heck of a legacy for the Smartest President Ever, Hillary the Inevitable and Swift Boat Johnny. I guess that because the Kurds are pro American and pro Israel that the administration can't possibly support them. Perhaps the State department has already told the Kurds, "If you like your country, you can keep your country, period.”
On Thursday night, 5 August 2014, CNN interviewed a retired US general and a former Undersecretary of Defense. They were in "violent agreement" (their words) that the Kurds were not getting any arms from the US as of that time. They also said that an emergency effort of 72 hours could make a big difference in the level of arms and ammo the Peshmerga would have to use. I agree with other commentary that the US would need an airfield in Kurdistan to land supplies and as a base for air support, but I think the Kurds would welcome that. I also think the Saudis would probably help pay for construction. If all of this ticks off the Turks, I think we will need a new airbase anyway to replace Incerlik. The Kurds are very motivated to learn to use any new equipment they get quickly. The wolf is at their door.
Just as it depended on what the definition of "is" is, now it depends on what the definition of "war" is and even what the definition of "Iraq" is. The attacks against ISIS are not "war" but instead "explosive kinetic action of an air origin." And they are occurring in the "Kurdish regions of the Middle East" which include not just pieces of Iraq, but also pieces of Syria. As a result, this is not a return to war in Iraq, but "explosive kinetic action of an air origin in the Kurdish regions of the Middle East." That's totally different! (Snark)
Jul 19, 2014
The Chicago Political Hack in Chief has a great record of selective enforcement. If Congress fails to pass the Dream Act, Mr. Pen and Phone creates a dream act on his own. Imagine what Dick Cheney could have done with power like this. For example, imagine unlimited oil and gas drilling on all western federal land, including all of California, offshore of any blue state and, especially, the Alaska Wildlife Refuge. If our Dear Leader can decide not to collect Obamacare taxes on employers without proper health plans, a future President Ted Cruz can refuse to collect taxes on oil companies. Unless you Progressives plan never to lose an election again, you better start thinking about how current precedents could be used against you. Or perhaps Progressives don't believe in elections with consequences any more.http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/06/opinion/kohn-john-boehner-nonsense/index.html
Jul 10, 2014
Food prices are soaring. This is classic inflation fueled in the classic manner. We've had how many bouts of "Quantitative Easing" from the Federal Reserve? I've lost count. "Quantitative Easing" is government's way of saying they are electronically printing money in order to bail out the banks. We have managed to duplicate the conditions that lead to stagflation under Jimmy Carter. We have vastly increased government regulation, raised tax rates for "the rich" and created lots of loose money chasing too few goods. We have the expected result: stagnant growth and growing inflation. Excluding food and energy from inflation measures is the Federal Reserve's way of cooking the books. Ordinary folks are noticing that inflation is rampant in food and energy, so they are not fooled. As Milton Freedman said, "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." In other words, the Fed electronically printing gobs of money caused the inflation we're seeing now.
On further review, I find that the mess in the Middle East was caused by a combination of global warming and George W. Bush. Our Dear Leader was at a fund raiser and playing golf when the mess happened, so he had nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, the first he heard of it was when he read about it in the newspapers. The White House TV system had crashed at the time and email wasn't working either, so the Smartest President Ever had Valerie Jarrett read the story to him from hard copy. The Chicago Machine Prodigy said he was outraged and that the situation was unacceptable. No one could have predicted the ISIS attacks in Iraq because they started as a small demonstration in reaction to an internet video, according to Susan Rice. The President said that if Iraqis liked their country, they could keep their country, period.
I think the Contraception Mandate was designed to cause the current Supreme Court ruling against it. They really didn't expect to get away with it, they just wanted a ruling to complain about. Liberal hysteria will be effective only if it's left unanswered. Conservative ads have to point out that the morning after pill costs 50 bucks. Regular daily contraception pills can be purchased for $9 a month. We are not talking big money here. The other thing we have to drive home is that we have gone back to the law as it was in GASP! 2010. We are not going back to 1965 or 1970. Contraceptives can still be purchased at your corner pharmacy, even in Connecticut. We are not back to abortions with coat hangers unless you're going to Kermit Gosnell's clinic. Griswold v Connecticut and Roe v Wade are still the law. This hysteria is as big a con game as "If you like your plan..." Conservative ads out to say so, maybe ending with the tag line, "Do you really trust the folks who told you that you could keep your plan under Obamacare to tell the truth about birth control?"
Unfortunately, the Prevaricator in Chief and his buddies in the Pravda Press are not interested in helping the world avoid Jihadist chaos. There has been no global warming for 17 years, but global warming true believers don't want to be bothered with the facts. Their minds are already made up. It seems that our Dear Leader thinks the theoretical possibility of global warming is much more dangerous than the actual risks of terrorist attacks, or worse, Iran with nukes. I think the place for global warming true believers to start controlling carbon dioxide emissions is with their personal exhalations of CO2. They should try to hold their breath for as long as possible. Liberals need to remember, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
Link for global warming:
Link for global warming:
Palestinians have been "refugees" from generation to generation since 1948. Israel has managed to resettle up to 800,000 Jews expelled from Muslim countries since 1948. At the same time, Muslim countries with a lot more land than Israel have failed to resettle 710,000 Palestinian refugees. Instead, Muslim countries have kept Palestinian refugees in camps and made it illegal for them to work. Palestinians have been held hostage by their own Muslim brothers to force a perpetual war with Israel. Working through the UN, Muslim countries have made status as a Palestinian refugee hereditary. There are now about 4,950,000 Palestinian refugees, subsidized through the UN. Most of them are descendants of the original refugees. Isn't it time to end subsidies to Palestinian refugees? .Isn't it time for the world to encourage Muslim countries to admit Palestinians as immigrants allowed to work? Isn't it time for 66 years of refugee status to end?
Jul 8, 2014
The only way to stop our Dear Leader is impeachment. However, impeaching the Chicago Machine Hack in Chief would backfire because the Pravda Press will fight tooth and nail to save him. The Clinton Impeachment showed that people don’t want to see presidents impeached. We need to take what military strategist call an indirect approach and attack the administration’s weakest link. Since this is one big happy crime family, we need to do what prosecutors often do with crime families and start with the underlings. I nominate IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for impeachment. He's an arrogant bureaucrat who is an old white guy. As an old white guy myself, I have noticed that the Pravda Press does not rush to defend old white guys. Besides, everybody hates the IRS, so a lot of voters would love to see an IRS Commissioner worked over by Congress. It would poll well because most polls on the IRS email scandal show as many as 70% of those polled don't believe the IRS accidentally lost the emails. This strategy will trump the race card and raise the profile of lawless behavior by the Prevaricator in Chief and his minions. It may also encourage the IT guys in the IRS to tell investigators what they know. Even if the Senate fails to convict him, it will put the fear of God into other Democrats in appointed positions. Maybe they will think twice before they ignore the law again. When you are faced with a large criminal conspiracy like the Prevaricator in Chief and his minions, you need to find the weakest link. Koskinen is our Dear Leader’s weakest link.
Article on the IRS:
Jun 28, 2014
There is actually a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would allow Congress to regulate free speech. Here’s the most important part of the text: “Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections.” This amendment, S. J. Res. 19, was introduced byTom Udall on June 18, 2013. It has 43 cosponsors, all Democrats, in the Senate. Harry Reid enthusiastically supports the proposed amendment. Basically the Democrats have a problem with political spending by any incorporated group. The amendment also says, “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” If passed, this amendment would mean that Congress would enact legislation that would define corporations that agree with them, like the New York Times, as “The Press.” In turn they could legislatively define the communications of other corporations, like for example Citizens United, as “speech.” So Congress could use legislation to muzzle opposition “speech” while allowing friendly opinions to appear in “The Press.” If this was enacted, say goodbye to Freedom of Speech. Even low information voters can understand this. It's not that this will ever be enacted. It's the fact that they would seriously propose this that should open everyone's eyes to what they really want to do.
The text of the amendment
Article commenting on it
Conservatives clearly need better legal tactics to bring home just how lawless Mr. Pen and Phone is. I think we need to act more like Mean Green Environmental groups and aggressive tort lawyers in a guerrilla lawfare campaign of harassment against the Prevaricator in Chief. What's at stake here is the survival of Constitutional government in America. The One's unilateral changing of the Obamacare law, as well as a lot of other laws, is a precedent for the complete destruction of Constitutional limited government. To paraphrase Joe Biden, this is a BFD. Checks and balances are being smashed, while the Chicago Hack in Chief pretends he's mayor of Chicago. If our current Dear Leader gets away with this, no future Dear Leader will feel bound by any law. Future presidents will be elected dictators. This is not the time to say nobody has standing to sue without filing a ton of lawsuits using every possible theory, no matter how far fetched, to find someone with the legal standing to sue. Sue early and often, just like the Mean Green Environmental groups do to preserve the delta smelt. To solve the legal standing problem, find some employee of a 50-99 employee exempted company who is willing to sue. Do as the tort lawyers do and advertise for people injured by the delays of Obamacare or other unilaterally changed laws. Keep filing using different theories until we get a favorable ruling somewhere. File in multiple circuits, so if you lose in one but win in another the Supremes will have to hear the case. Shamelessly shop for the most conservative venues. Don't you think the environmental groups do just that for every dam they want to stop? Ask for temporary injunctions to stop the lawless behavior. Just like the Mean Green groups, even if you lose, the free publicity is worth it. It would be a big tactical mistake to have only one lawsuit. Boehner's House lawsuit should be only one of many lawsuits filed. If any outrage of the last 50 years deserved a conservative full court press, this is it. Why are we just rolling over and playing dead?
Article on Congressional lawsuit:
Jun 22, 2014
I think negotiating with the Iranian Mullahs about their nukes is going to be a far bigger disaster than Iraq. Coupled with doing as little as possible in Syria after Assad used poison gas, the policy of nuclear negotiations with Iran is pressuring the Saudis and Qataris to buy some Pakistani nukes. It is also encouraging Israel to nuke Iran. The Chicago Prodigy in Chief has no clue what he's doing. All he can say is Bush did it. Even if it were true, what difference, at this point, does it make? What's our Dear Leader going to do to mitigate the mess?
High value Iranian nuclear sites are burred very deeply with a lot of concrete hardening. The only effective non-nuclear weapon that can destroy these sites is a 30,000 pound bunker buster. Israel does not have the capability to deliver a 30,000 pound bunker buster bomb against the Iranian air defense system even if the US gave them a few. F-16 airplanes can't destroy hardened targets with conventional weapons. I agree that Israel is closely watching Iran, but the only way Israel can destroy hardened Iranian nuclear sites is to use its nuclear weapons. I don't find the prospect of nuclear war in the Middle East comforting. I also don't believe the Chicago Hack in Chief is ever going to order a US strike on Iran, even if Iran successfully tests their own nuclear bomb.
The Pravda Press has taken support for our Dear Leader to new heights. The article in the link below flunks the Nixon test so badly it hurts. If you change the names from the Chicago Prodigy in Chief and friends to Richard Nixon and his minions, there is no way you can imagine an article making excuses for the current administration. I work in IT. In order to lose emails under normal conditions, someone has to delete them in multiple places. There is no way that a crash on a single PC wipes out all copies of a year's worth of emails, let alone 2 years. In private business, Sarbanes Oxley records have to be retained for 7 years. What retention of IRS records is required by law? Does IRS truly reuse backup tapes every 6 months? If so, they have moved back to the Nixon era from a technological point of view. So the best interpretation of the known facts is that the government can't run any technological operation. Backing up an email system is not rocket science. So the best interpretation leads to the conclusion that the government should be radically downsized to keep them out of activities they have no ability to perform. If we take off the article's rosy colored glasses, the facts reek of cover-up. The article reeks of a search for any possible scenario for plausible deniability, no matter how unlikely. I had no idea that Bloomberg is a front for the Democrats. I don't see Woodward and Bernstein or a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism in this article.
In the private sector, the lack of a legal hold on the emails would be a crime. If there was a legal hold, how did all of the email backup tapes get erased? So obviously there was no legal hold, or at least none that was actually complied with. I think the best possible interpretation of the known facts is that the government is incompetent technologically. If that's the case, then government needs to be radically downsized to remove functions that it is technically incompetent to perform. If instead this is the cover-up that I believe it to be, then people ought to lose their jobs, starting with Koskinen and ending with most of the management of the Information Technology email functions at the IRS. The ranks of the fired should include all IRS civil servants above GS-12 who don't know enough to backup an email system. Since this is unlikely as long as the Chicago Hack in Chief is running things, Congress should reduce all of the civil service managers responsible by 2 pay grades, and cut the IRS budget to match.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-20/camp-calls-for-special-prosecutor-in-missing-irs-e-mails.html
I have finally figured out the real reason for the Bergdahl trade. I now know that the release of the Taliban 5 is part of our Dear Leader's environmental strategy. The Chicago Machine Prodigy is recycling terrorists! I'm sure Tom Steyer and all the other Mean Greens are thrilled at this new way to preserve the environment. Think of all the carbon dioxide released in the breathing required to produce one terrorist. This policy should be continued until Global Warming is stopped cold, period! (snark)
Jun 15, 2014
Democrats hate the Citizens United case, where the Supreme Court said that restrictions on political spending by incorporated groups were unconstitutional. Democrats say the decision will allow the Koch Brothers to “Buy Elections.” The One All Liberals Were Waiting For has said we need a Constitutional Amendment to fix the problems created by the Citizens United decision. In response, Senator Mark Udall (D, Colorado) has introduced a Constitutional Amendment to change the Bill of Rights so Congress can regulate corporate free speech. Harry Reid, the Democrats' Leader in the Senate, supports the amendment. Whatever Democrats say or think, Bush never even considered amending the Bill of Rights.
The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." It does not say except for any organized groups that incorporate. If pornography has to be allowed in order to preserve free speech, and I think it does, then incorporated organizations of all types have to be allowed to buy political ads. If the New York Times (incorporated) is allowed to publish Liberal trash talk as "news," then Citizens United has to be allowed to make movies that rebut the Pravda Press. Anything less is censorship. Liberals seem to believe in censorship, as long as it's the Tea Party and Republicans being censored. The Koch brothers do not buy elections. If they influence elections it's because their arguments make sense to the majority of voters
Let me explain what "Buying Elections" historically means, at least in Chicago. It means bribing voters to vote your way using "walking around money." It usually involves "Vote early, vote often" fraud where voters cast ballots for people who have died. In the old days, this was done with chain voting. The paid voter is given a marked ballot before entering the poling place. To get paid, he has to bring out a blank ballot. At the next poling place, the party hack marks the blank ballot, then sends the bribed voter to vote again. He brings out a new blank ballot. This continues until all the ghosts have voted. "Buying Elections" does not mean buying ads on radio and TV to explain your reasons for wanting certain political outcomes. Buying ads is Free Speech. From the Democrats’ comments, it sounds like Liberals don't really believe in Free Speech. They instead believe that the opposition needs to be silenced. Could this be the result of Liberal arguments for "Hope and Change" are no longer fooling the public?