Recently in Politics Category

The electoral college - keep it

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Democrats claim that it is outmoded. They want to elect a president based on the popular vote. The problem is that our Constitution defines America as a Federation of States. The States are independent and not subservient to the Federal Government. The role of the Federal Government is actually quite minimal.

The Electoral College makes each state have equal say in the election of the President. The problem with using a popular vote is that the large population centers tend to be run by Democrats. Here is a graphic that makes this very clear:

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New York by the numbers

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Fun data from the Siena College Research Institute:

2/3 of Voters Say Amazon Cancelling Queens HQ Bad for NY
By a 67-21 percent margin, New Yorkers say that Amazon cancelling its planned second headquarters in Queens was bad for New York. By as nearly as large a margin, 61-30 percent, they support the deal in which Amazon would receive up to $3 billion in state and city incentives and create up to 25,000 jobs if Amazon reconsiders, according to a new Siena College poll of New York State registered voters released today.

An overwhelming 79 percent of voters say parents should be required to have their children vaccinated before attending school, regardless of the parents’ religious beliefs. Voters continue to support making the two-percent property tax cap permanent, legalizing recreational use of marijuana, and eliminating monetary bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. They are split on congestion pricing, and by a nearly two-to-one margin, they oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to get a New York driver’s license.

Talking about their loss of the second Amazon headquarters (and the 25,000 jobs):

“Who do New Yorkers blame? Well, there’s certainly blame enough to go around. More people think that Amazon, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, the State Senate, and local Queens activists were villains in this saga than they were heroes. However, voters say the biggest villain was Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Only 12 percent call her hero, while 38 percent label her a villain,” Greenberg said. “Amazon itself was seen as the biggest villain among Democrats, but Republicans and independents had Ocasio-Cortez as far and away the largest villain, followed by the local Queens activists.”

I hope one of Occasional-Cortex's people are reading this - she is going down faster than a lead baloon. Big difference between popularity and leadership.

Much more at the site - an interesting poll and with a sample size of 700, the numbers should be pretty accurate - couple percent error at the most.

From Tyler at Zero Hedge:

Trump Signs First Ever Veto Upholding Border Emergency Declaration
President Trump has vetoed the Senate resolution, his first since taking office.

"Today I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it," said Trump from the oval office, sourrounded by law enforcement and 'angel moms.'

During the Oval Office ceremony, Trump said that if the "dangerous" and "reckless" resolution became law, it would put American lives at risk.

The bill will next move to the House for a vote later this month on overriding Trump's veto - however leaders lack the 2/3 support of the chamber required to overcome the veto.

For those keeping track of presidential vetoes at home:

Bill Clinton 36
George W. Bush 12
Barack Obama 12
Donald Trump 1

Good - push back against Pelosi, Schumer, etc...

Blowing out candles

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Mitt Romney was presented with a birthday cake and his technique for blowing out the candles received a lot of WTF and criticism.

Turns out, he was going about it exactly right - from USA Today, August 3rd, 2017:

Blowing out birthday candles increases bacteria on cake — by a lot
Those colorful candles burning brightly atop a birthday cake may look lovely, but apparently blowing them out has some pretty disgusting side effects, researchers say.

A study in the Journal of Food Research determined that blowing out candles over that sweet icing surface resulted in 1,400% more bacteria compared to icing spared the puff.

The study was titled "Bacterial Transfer Associated with Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake," so you don't have to read far to get the idea. But testing involved eating pizza, so the authors aren't total party poopers.

"Preliminary tests of blowing on nutrient agar indicated that bioaerosols in human breath expelled from the mouth may be a source of bacteria transferred to cake surfaces," says the abstract in lingo seldom heard at birthday parties. Nutrient agar, to the uninitiated, is stuff used to cultivate microbes.

Score one for the Mittens - wonder if he still has all of those binders...

Liberal tolerance for other opinions

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The Republican headquarters for this area is near where last night's Prime Rib dinner was held. I parked there for the event and noticed this recent development:

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Why is it that you never see a vandalized Democrat headquarters. Conservatives would never do such a thing. Democrats have no coherent dialog to offer - their talk is just a narrative authored by the elites and when confronted with opposition, they resort to name-calling and violence.

A video of one of the press conferences:

What is curious is that President Trump reacts and replies to something Mr. Kim says before the translators speak.

From Thomas Wictor writing at Quod Verum:

It’s Alway Great to be Underestimated
Watch this video carefully. What does it tell you?

It tells you that Donald Trump speaks Korean. He TWICE understood Kim Jong-un BEFORE either interpreter spoke.

Clearly Trump learned to speak Korean specifically to deal with North Korea. The New York Times profile from 1984 shows that Trump began thinking of fixing the world in 1969, when his uncle told him about nuclear weapons.

Much more at the site - very interesting... Tip of the hat to Don Surber for the link.

Two headlines - Monroe Doctrine

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Monroe Doctrine? From InfoGalactic:

The Monroe Doctrine was a U.S. foreign policy regarding domination of the American continent in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued in 1823 at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved or were at the point of gaining independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires. The United States, working in agreement with Great Britain, wanted to guarantee that no European power would move in.

Sensible.

Shot (from 2013 - John Kerry): Kerry: “The Monroe Doctrine Is Over”

Chaser (from 2019): John Bolton: 'We're not afraid to use the word Monroe Doctrine'

Good news, we finally have some adults in the room.

Michael Ramirez - North Korea

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Michael got it spot on:

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North Korea blinks

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Stacking the deck - CNN and Bernie

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The left are eating themselves - from Tyler at Zero Hedge:

Did CNN Ambush Bernie Sanders With Political Operatives Disguised As Everyday People?
CNN has been accused of ambushing Bernie Sanders and tricking viewers by passing off Democratic political operatives as everyday people during a Monday evening town hall as part of his campaign for the 2020 election. Internet sleuths looked into the backgrounds of those asking Sanders various questions - most of which could be considered fair game to ask a presidential candidate, only to find that there was more than meets the eye as noted by Paste Magazine

For example, Sanders was asked a tough question about allegations of sexual harassment on his 2016 campaign by "American University Student" Shadi Nasab. What CNN didn't mention is that she's also an intern for a large D.C. lobbying firm, Cassidy & Associates. 

Another question came from Tara Ebersole, a humble "Former Biology Professor" according to CNN. She's also the chair of the Baltimore County Democratic Party according to her LinkedIn page. What's more, Ebersole's husband is a Maryland state delegate, and was on Hillary Clinton's leadership council in 2016. 

Abena McAllister was labeled by CNN as a "Mother of Two," but failed to mention that she's also the Charles County Democratic Central Committee Chair

"Maryland Voter" Michelle Gregory is yet another 'everyday person' who turns out to be politically active as the chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

There are several more examples - as nearly everyone who asked Bernie a question is linked to some type of Democratic activism.

One explanation for why so many political operatives asked Bernie question might be that political activists are more likely to choose to participate in a Bernie Sanders town hall. That said, CNN made it appear as though these were 'everyday voters' - not people people involved in politics themselves.

The Democrats don't want Bernie running - he would take away a lot of votes from any other candidate - be a shoe-in for President Trump's second term of office.

Interesting times

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Stuff happening with North Korea and in Canada. Looks like Trudeau might be heading out - major corruption scandal just breaking and fat-boy Kim tried to get the sanctions dropped and President Trump said no.

More as things come to light...

Record number of jobs - it just keeps getting better and better. The press release from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles:

FCA to Expand Production Capacity in Michigan to Grow Core Brands, Electrify Jeep® Vehicles
$4.5 Billion to Build New Assembly Plant in Detroit and Add Production at Five Existing Michigan Facilities, Creating Nearly 6,500 Jobs

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU / MTA: FCA) confirmed today plans to invest a total of $4.5 billion in five of its existing Michigan plants, and to work with the city of Detroit and state of Michigan on building a new assembly plant within city limits. The move would increase capacity to meet growing demand for its Jeep® and Ram brands, including production of two new Jeep branded white space products as well as electrified models. The proposed projects would create nearly 6,500 new jobs. 

The plant actions detailed in today’s announcement represent the next steps in a U.S. manufacturing realignment FCA began in 2016. In response to a shift in consumer demand toward SUVs and trucks, the Company discontinued compact car production and retooled plants in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan to make full use of available capacity to expand the Jeep and Ram brands. Those actions have resulted in the recent launches of the award-winning all-new Jeep Wrangler and all-new Ram 1500, and the introduction of the newest member of the Jeep family, the all-new Jeep Gladiator, at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

It was under the previous president's tenure that Chrysler sunk so low that they were bought out by Italian company Fiat. From the 2016 Presidential Debates:

The difference between narrative and real leadership. 2020 will be fun to watch - the Democrats have nobody. Again, if John F. Kennedy were running today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat. Today, the Overton Window has shifted too far.

Trouble at the top - Bernie

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Looks like some troubled waters - from NBC News:

The chief strategist of the Vermont independent's 2016 campaign and two other aides cited creative differences as they parted ways.
In a major shake-up to Bernie Sanders' just-launched presidential bid, some of his top strategists have left the campaign.

Tad Devine, Mark Longabaugh and Julian Mulvey, partners in a political consulting firm who all played leading roles in Sanders' 2016 campaign for the White House, are parting ways with the senator, citing creative differences.

"The entire firm has stepped away. We're leaving the campaign," Longabaugh told NBC News on Tuesday. "We just didn't have a meeting of the minds."

Difficult to have a meeting of the minds when one party has a very confused one. Muddled thought is not leadership.

As it develops - Venezuela

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From Yahoo / Agence France-Presse:

Venezuela's Guaido meets Pence in anti-Maduro strategy talks
United States Vice President Mike Pence told Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido that Donald Trump supports him "100 percent" as the pair met regional allies on Monday to thrash out a strategy to remove Nicolas Maduro from power after the failed attempt to ship in humanitarian aid.

The meeting comes after four people were killed and hundreds injured as Guaido supporters clashed with Venezuelan security forces on the borders with Colombia and Brazil over the weekend.

The Lima group met in Bogota vowing "to find a peaceful solution," Peru's Foreign Affairs Minister Hugo de Zela said, despite Guaido's previous call to consider "all measures" to free Venezuela's population.

Remove him and take his money - Maduro is spectacularly wealthy.

From Reuters:

'Chilling the atmosphere': North Korea media condemns U.S. Democrats ahead of summit
North Korea’s state media criticized U.S. Democrats and American intelligence officials on Sunday for “chilling the atmosphere” ahead of leader Kim Jong Un’s second summit with President Donald Trump this week.

Obama could have opened the same negotiations if he had been a real leader instead of a divisive narcissist. More:

KCNA later issued a commentary arguing that if Trump listened to skeptics at home, he could face a “shattered dream” and “miss the rare historic opportunity” to improve relations with North Korea.

“The Democratic Party of the U.S. and other opponents to the negotiations move overtly and covertly to disrupt them as supported by scepticism backed by all sorts of groundless stories and misinformation even at such a crucial moment as now,” said the commentary, which was released under the name Jong Hyon.

Trump’s opponents would bear the responsibility if the summit failed to achieve results, which would leave the U.S. people exposed to “security threats”, it said.

Good times - this is what real leadership looks like.

Eighteen minutes of pure gold:

I would love to hear the Democrats reaction. It will be interesting to see the voting demographics in 2020.

A letter from two Representatives

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From Dr. Mark Green (R-Tn) and Chip Roy (R-Tx) to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:

Dear Secretary Pompeo

We write to urge the Department of State to consider designating many of the world's most violent drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).

Under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Congress can give the State Department the authority to designate certain organizations as FTOs. To be designated as an FTO, an organization must 1) be a foreign organization, 2) engage in or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorism and 3) threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national defense , foreign relations or economic interests of the United States.

Much more at the site - a great start in putting these goblins out of business.

The guy keeps looking better and better - from The Washington Examiner:

Howard Schultz digs in, says 'radical left' Democrat can't beat Trump
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rejected Democratic complaints that his Independent 2020 campaign will guarantee President Trump's re-election, and said Democrats themselves will guarantee a Trump victory by nominating a "radical left" nominee.

"The stakes are too high to cross our fingers and hope the Democratic Party nominates a moderate who can win over enough independents and disaffected Republicans, and even fellow Democrats, to defeat Trump next year," Schultz wrote in a blog post Monday. "That any opponent can oust Trump, no matter how far to the radical left they are, is a fallacy."

“Those so concerned about a centrist independent being a spoiler should perhaps ask another question: Will the eventual Democratic nominee be the party’s own version of a spoiler?” Schultz wrote.

Sounds like a Classical Democrat and not the shrieking harpies of today's party. Even if he does not win, his ideas might cause the Overton Window to slide back 40 years - a welcome thing.

Victor Davis Hanson at his best - writing at American Greatness:

Autopsy of a Dead Coup
The illegal effort to destroy the 2016 Trump campaign by Hillary Clinton campaign’s use of funds to create, disseminate among court media, and then salt among high Obama administration officials, a fabricated, opposition smear dossier failed.

So has the second special prosecutor phase of the coup to abort the Trump presidency failed. There are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history, marking the first occasion in which U.S. government bureaucrats sought to overturn an election and to remove a sitting U.S. president.

Preparing the Battlefield
No palace coup can take place without the perception of popular anger at a president.

The deep state is by nature cowardly. It does not move unless it feels it can disguise its subterranean efforts or that, if revealed, those efforts will be seen as popular and necessary—as expressed in tell-all book titles such as fired FBI Directors James Comey’s Higher Loyalty or in disgraced Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s psychodramatic The Threat.

In candidate and President Trump’s case that prepping of the battlefield translated into a coordinated effort among the media, political progressives and celebrities to so demonize Trump that his imminent removal likely would appear a relief to the people. Anything was justified that led to that end.

A thoughtful and wonderful read - this stuff really happened. We were this close to becoming an instrument of the deep state. If Hillary had won, the USA as she was conceived would have faded into the sunset.

Watched President Trump's speech last night - 33:19 minutes of incredible power:

Wall? Solved.

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Eaton Rapids Joe is a daily read for me. Great writing and fun observations. Today was short so here it is in full:

Knives cut both ways

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Imagine toxic waste being securely stored in Conex containers stacked three-or-four-high on a concrete pad fifty feet from the southern border of the United States.

Considering the amount of toxic waste generated in the US, the stack would be approximately 1954.6 miles long before November 3, 2020.

In 2016 the EPA budget was $8.6 Billion. The beautiful thing about Conex containers is that private enterprise will gladly fill and park those containers wherever Trump wants them as long as it gets the EPA off their back.

Don't screw with the EPA, baby. There is no profit in it.

The problem of the wall has just been solved. Plus, we get a wonderful managed toxic waste storage solution.

Brilliant - Ted Cruz

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I can not think of any legitimate reason to oppose this - from the office of Senator Ted Cruz

Sen. Cruz Reintroduces EL CHAPO Act
BILL FUNDS BORDER SECURITY, RESERVES BILLIONS IN ASSETS FORFEITED IN THE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF JOAQUIN ARCHIVALDO GUZMAN LOREA “EL CHAPO” AND OTHER DRUG LORDS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today reintroduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act. The bill would reserve any amounts forfeited to the U.S. Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of “El Chapo” (formally named Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Lorea) and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Congress has a clear mandate from the American people: secure the border and build the wall,” Sen. Cruz said. “Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities. Indeed, I have long called for building a wall as a necessary step in defending our border. Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way to secure our southern border, and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and other murderous drug lords, we can offset the cost of securing our border and make meaningful progress toward delivering on the promises made to the American people.”

Full text of the bill can be read here: El Chapo

I love it too that it is only two pages long plus one cover sheet. Succinct. To the point. No pork or earmarks.

UPDATE below

From the San Francisco ABC affiliate:

Gov. Newsom ending high-speed rail project between SF, LA
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday he's abandoning a plan to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a project with an estimated cost that has ballooned to $77 billion.

"Let's be real," Newsom said in his first State of the State address. "The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long. There's been too little oversight and not enough transparency."

The idea long championed by Newsom's predecessor, Jerry Brown, is years behind schedule. The latest estimate for completion is 2033.

Great news - it costs way too much, it will never get enough riders to pay for its operation and demographics shift - you can re-route an airplane or a bus, not so easy with train tracks. Glad to see a well reasoned decision coming out of the California political machine.

UPDATE: Even the guy who agitated for it is now against it - from Reason:

The Politician Behind California High Speed Rail Now Says It's 'Almost a Crime'
High-speed rail lines began popping up in Europe and Asia in the early 1980s. Passengers were exhilarated by the futuristic trains rocketing between cities on glass-smooth rails at upwards of 200 miles per hour.

With high-profile roll-outs in France and Japan, bullet train mania was underway. And then reality set in.

"The costs of building such projects usually vastly outweigh the benefits," says Baruch Feigenbaum, assistant director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation, the 501(c)(3) that publishes this website. "Rail is more of a nineteenth century technology [and] we don't have to go through these headaches and cost overruns to build a future transportation system."

Supporters, who claim that most high speed rail systems operate at a profit, use accounting tricks like leaving out construction costs and indirect subsidies. If you tabulate the full costs, only two systems in the world operate at a profit, and one breaks even.

But politicians can't resist the ribbon cutting ceremonies and imagery of sleek trains hurtling through the lush countryside. So the projects keep coming.

California's high speed rail line was sold to voters on the bold promise that it will someday whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under three hours. Nine years later, the project has turned into such a disaster that its biggest political champion is now suing to stop it.

More at the site - a long read but a good one.

And California is going to hand it to him - from FOX News:

California governor to reduce National Guard presence at border
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is slated to pull several hundred National Guard troops from the state’s border with Mexico on Monday in an apparent rebuff to President Donald Trump’s characterization of the region being under siege by Central American refugees and migrants, according to reports.

The move comes despite his predecessor’s agreement – along with other past and current border state governors – to send troops to the border at the Trump administration’s request. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown originally approved the mission through the end of March, but qualified that the state’s troops “will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.”

Newsom’s plan will require the National Guard to immediately begin withdrawing troops but still give it until the end of March to do so. According to excerpts from his Tuesday State of the State address, he will call the “border emergency” a “manufactured crisis,” and will say that “California will not be part of this political theater.”

The illegals swamp the border and Trump invokes the  National Emergencies Act of 1976 and gets the wall built.
Thanks Governor Newsom!

Half Staff

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Interesting - as I was driving up to Bellingham today, I saw some flags at Half Staff. Checked and there is a website that shows when to fly and for what reason. It covers all the states. Check out halfstaff.org

Today was for John David Dingell Jr.

John David Dingell Jr. (born July 8, 1926) is an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives from December 13, 1955, until January 3, 2015. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He represented Michigan throughout his congressional tenure and most recently served as the representative for Michigan's 12th congressional district.

He began his congressional career representing Michigan's 16th district by succeeding his father, John Dingell Sr., who had held the seat for 22 years. Having served for over 59 years, he has the longest Congressional tenure in U.S. history.

A great quote - Ayn Rand

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From AZ Quotes:

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Crunch time - the Jewish Capitol

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President Trump is playing hardball:

Nancy Pelosi

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Great cartoon from Stilton Jarlsberg - an oldie from 2014 but still very very relevant:

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Well that didn't take long - restaurant

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From the San Francisco CBS affiliate:

San Mateo Restaurant Owner Apologizes For ‘MAGA’ Hat Ban
A restaurant owner in San Mateo has apologized after saying he would ban patrons who wear “Make America Great Again” hats to his establishment.

Kenji Lopez-Alt, chef and partner at Wursthall Restaurant and Bierhaus, said in a statement posted Friday, “Making a public statement without taking my team’s thoughts into consideration was disrespectful and reckless. My goal at Wursthall was for it to be a restaurant where all employees and staff are treated with respect and trust, and by making that public statement without your consent, I failed at that goal.”

“Wursthall will continue, as it always has, to serve all customer (sic) regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual preference, gender orientation, disability, or political opinion — so long as they leave hate, anger, and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant,” the chef went on to say.

Nicely worded. If I lived in the area, I would dine there wearing a button (Trump or MAGA) - something a little more understated than a red hat. I would be a model customer and would tip very well. Get a bunch of people doing that and you can effect some real change. We are not the monsters that Pelosi and Schumer make us out to be.

I am liking what Howard Schultz is saying. Got zero problem voting for a Democrat if they are a classical Dem like John Fitzgerald Kennedy. From PJ Media:

Howard Schultz Shoots Down Liz Warren Attack With Passionate Defense of the American Dream
On Wednesday, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shot down an attack from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who said that because he is a billionaire, he is out of touch with America. He responded with a passionate defense of the American dream.

"Senator Elizabeth Warren said some pretty sharp words about me. She referred to me as a billionaire out of touch with the American people," Schultz said in a short video. He told his rags-to-riches story succinctly and in a patriotic way.

"I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in Canarsie, in federally subsidized housing, the projects. When I was 7 years old my father, who was a laborer, came home and had a serious accident. He was dismissed from his job, we lost our health insurance. I witnessed the fracturing of the American dream," the former Starbucks CEO began.

Schultz witnessed failure early, but he did not let that define him.

"I started with nothing and I made it in America because of the aspiration, the magnetism, and the spirit of our country," he declared. "I’ve always believed in the promise of the country. What is the promise of the country? What it is is regardless of your station in life, the color of your skin, your gender, your sexual orientation, whatever it might be, that everyone should have a chance in America."

A bit more:

"What we need right now in America is for the country to come together, and for the Democrats and Republicans who have been unwilling to work together, to finally realize that the American people deserve much more than political slogans and tweets," he said. "What we need is a government that can work for us, leadership that we can trust."

Stuff like that has got to have Pelosi and Schumer spitting tacks because Schultz is reminding Americans what the Classical Democratic party is all about and is showcasing just how out of touch the present incarnation has gotten.

A breath of fresh air

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100% in agreement - from Philip K. Howard writing at the New York Post:

It’s time to blow up the bureaucracy that’s killing America
For decades now, Americans have slogged through a rising tide of idiocies. Getting a permit to do something useful, say, open a restaurant or fix a bridge, can take years. Small businesses get nicked for noncompliance of rules they didn’t know. Teachers are told not to put an arm around a crying child. Doctors and nurses spend up to half the day filling out forms no one reads. Employers no longer give job references. And, in the land of the First Amendment, political incorrectness can get you fired.

We’d all be better off without these daily frustrations. So why can’t we use our common sense and start fixing things?

But common sense is illegal in Washington. Red tape has replaced responsibility. No official has authority even to do what’s obvious. In 2009, Congress allocated $800 billion, in part to rebuild America’s infrastructure. But it didn’t happen because, as President Obama put it, there’s “no such thing as a shovel-ready project.” Even President Trump, a builder, can’t get infrastructure going. The entire government was shut down in a spat over one project, the Mexican border wall, that the parties don’t agree on. How about fixing the broke rail tunnel coming into New York?

Much more at the site - a big AMEN on this one! Philip offers a three-point solution that would really cut through the crap. Great ideas.

The 2019 State of the Union address

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This will be a lot of fun. I bet that President Trump is enjoying this immensely. From the London Daily Mail:

Trump could give Texas RALLY speech instead of the State of the Union address if Pelosi insists president isn't welcome in Congress during government shutdown
The White House is working on a 'Plan B' if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't want President Trump to deliver his annual State of the Union address next week: a campaign-style rally that would take place outside Washington, D.C.

A White House official told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that the president has considered holding a rally near the Texas-Mexico border to highlight the illegal immigration crisis and his promise of a border wall. Trump's demand for funding sparked the standoff that shuttered one-quarter of the government 32 days ago.

Heh... Chuck and Nancy own the shutdown. Holding the rally near the border will only rub their noses in this fact.

Brazil at Davos

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I would love to visit that nation - they finally have someone really good as a leader and they are going to show up all the corrupt socialist South American states by example. From France24 / Agence France-Presse:

Bolsonaro to present 'new Brazil' in Davos
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Monday he will present to the world leaders gathering in Davos the "new Brazil" he and his new government are working on, one that will be friendlier to investors and agribusiness.

"We want to show... that Brazil is taking measures so that the world re-establishes confidence in us," Bolsonaro told reporters as he arrived in the Swiss ski resort hosting the World Economic Forum meeting.

The new far-right leader of Latin America's biggest economy is the star attraction of Davos in the absence of US President Donald Trump and several other prominent heads of state.

On Tuesday, he said that he will present a "very short" speech setting out the pro-market direction Brazil will take with him at the helm -- a path "without being guided by ideology," he promised.

Emphasis mine - yes!!! Faster please!!!

A good speech - President Trump

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He hit my talking points:

Interesting news - President Trump

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This should be good:

Heh - hoist with his own petard

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Fun times - from The Washington Examiner:

Pelosi only gives Trump a bigger audience by canceling State of the Union
It would be an excellent way to snub any other president, but by calling for President Trump to reschedule the State of the Union, Nancy Pelosi has only given him a bigger stage.

It is a remarkable unforced error.

Citing national security, and specifically the difficulties facing the Secret Service and Capitol Police amid the government shutdown, House Speaker Pelosi, D-Calif., is asking Trump either to select a later, post-shutdown date or to submit his comments on State of the Union in writing, which presidents used to do commonly before the television era. But no one should be fooled — the real concern here is that Trump is going to stand up in front of a gigantic audience and literally point the finger at congressional Democrats in the House chamber, blaming them for shutting down the government.

Pelosi has the power to stop Trump from walking into the House of Representatives and delivering a speech, but she can’t stop him from making his case for the border wall in prime time. Just consider the address he delivered from the Resolute Desk last week.

Trump talked for roughly eight minutes and 43.3 million tuned in to watch, according to the AP’s count. Compare that to Trump’s very first joint address to Congress, right after his election, which 48 million watched. No congressional podium last week, and arguably far less interest in the novelty of his presidency, yet Trump drew an audience nearly as large.

If Pelosi insists, then Trump can speak from the Oval Office again if he likes. He could even march down the National Mall and deliver the speech on Pelosi’s doorstep. There could be a band. There could be fireworks. No matter what venue he chooses, there will be an audience, and it will probably be bigger now, thanks to Pelosi.

Like I said, fun times. The State of the Union address is specified as such in our Constitution (Article II, Section 3, Clause 1) (Article II outlines the duties, powers and responsibilities of the President and the Executive Branch)

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient...

Nothing in there that says it has to be presented in the halls of Congress. Behind the Resolute Desk would be fine. He could hire out the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and invite 50,000 of his friends.

Infogalactic page for: "hoist with his own petard"

The Great Undoing

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Really nice essay by Scott Johnson writing at PowerLine:

THE GREAT UNDOING CONTINUES
In his great undoing of the “accomplishments” of the Obama administration, President Trump has withdrawn the United States from the humiliating and destructive Iran nuclear deal. The deal funded a terrorist regime that remains at war with the United States and that continues to avow its dedication to our destruction. The Trump administration has also reimposed sanctions on the Iranian regime.

There was no bridge too far for Obama in seeking to align the United States with the mullahs of Iran. Michael Doran explained the “secret strategy” driving this policy. Whatever the explanation, Obama’s appeasement of Iran represented part of the “fundamental transformation” of the United States that he proclaimed in the days before the 2008 election. I am grateful for the intercession of President Trump and his national security team in its great undoing of Obama administration foreign policy.

Secretary Pompeo is in the Middle East. His trip has been obscured in the news by events at home. The great undoing continues.

Yesterday Pompeo gave a speech at the American University in Cairo. The speech was a sort of counterpart to Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo. Obama’s speech was a nauseating exercise in fake history, destructive diplomacy and strategic self-destruction. By contrast, Secretary Pompeo represents the voice of sanity. In substance he repudiated Obama’s speech and related strategic vision. Pompeo could not have been more blunt:

Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you.

He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology.

He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed, quote, “a new beginning,” end of quote.

The results of these misjudgments have been dire.

In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid in asserting ourselves when the times – and our partners – demanded it.

We grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance. ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated. They raped and pillaged and murdered tens of thousands of innocents. They birthed a caliphate across Syria and Iraq and launched terror attacks that killed all across continents.

America’s reluctance, our reluctance, to wield our influence kept us silent as the people of Iran rose up against the mullahs in Tehran in the Green Revolution. The ayatollahs and their henchmen murdered, jailed, and intimidated freedom-loving Iranians, and they wrongly blamed America for this unrest when it was their own tyranny that had fueled it. Emboldened, the regime spread its cancerous influence to Yemen, to Iraq, to Syria, and still further into Lebanon.

Our penchant, America’s penchant, for wishful thinking led us to look the other way as Hizballah, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian regime, accumulated a massive arsenal of approximately 130,000 rockets and missiles. They stored and positioned these weapons in Lebanese towns and villages in flagrant violation of international law. That arsenal is aimed squarely at our ally Israel.

When Bashar Assad unleashed terror upon ordinary Syrians and barrel-bombed civilians with sarin gas, a true echo of Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurdish people, we condemned his actions. But in our hesitation to wield power, we did nothing.

Much more at the site. President Obama's legacy is in tatters. What people will remember him for is just like Jimmy Carter gave us President Reagan, Obama gave us President Trump. Obama made enough people sick of his crap that the majority of Americans voted for the Orange Man. Pompeo is the right man for the job. Much better than J. F. Kerry and Hillary? Don't get me started...

North Korea - progress

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I had written on the 8th of this month that Kim Jong-Un was making a surprise visit to China at the same time that a US envoy was there to discuss trades and tariffs. Today, from The Korea Times:

Kim Jong-un committed to denuclearization, 2nd US summit: Chinese media
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization and vowed efforts to produce good results from his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese state media said Thursday.

Kim made the pledge during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, according to Xinhua News Agency. Kim was in China for a four-day trip, his fourth visit to the neighboring ally in about 10 months.

"The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community," Xinhua quoted Kim as saying during talks with Xi.

And the old carrot and stick:

Kim's trip to China, which was made at the invitation of Beijing, came amid speculation that a second summit between the North's leader and U.S. President Donald Trump is imminent.

Pyongyang and Washington have been locked in a stalemate over how to carry out the agreements they reached in their first-ever summit in June, at which Kim promised to work toward complete denuclearization in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

Progress has been slow ever since as the North wants sanctions relief, while the U.S. remains firm that sanctions will remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program.

Emphasis mine. Obama would have sent John Kerry over there to "negotiate" from a "strong position" and "send a strongly worded message" and things would be same as it ever was. The Norks would keep their nukes and we would roll back the sanctions "in good faith". President Trump understands the reality and is keeping the pressure up until they completely denuclearize. Kerry is this generation's Neville Chamberlain.

Nice essay from Conrad Black

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Some thoughtful observations at Canada's National Post:

Conrad Black: America's resurgence is reshaping the world
Almost indiscernible in the endless tumult about President Donald Trump is the objective return of American might, right on our doorstep. A casual sampler of the Canadian, and even the American, media, might think that the United States was so far along in its decline that the entire process of government and normal public discourse had broken down in that country, and that the much-discussed process of national decline was accelerating in a climate of virtual chaos.

In fact, the economy of the United States is astoundingly strong: full employment, an expanding work force, negligible inflation and about three per cent economic growth. And it is a broad economic recovery, not based on service industries as in the United Kingdom (where London handles most of Europe’s financial industry, while most of British industry has fled), and not based largely on the fluctuating resources markets as has often been Canada’s experience. In the eight years of president Obama, the United States lost 219,000 manufacturing jobs; in the two years of Trump, the country has added 477,000 manufacturing jobs. This was not supposed to be possible, and this time, unlike in the great Reagan boom, it cannot be dismissed by the left (and it was false in the eighties) as a profusion of “hamburger flippers, dry cleaners and people delivering pizza,” (all necessary occupations).

Our President is a businessman - he knows how to run things effectively be it a hotel or a nation.

His take on the European Union is spot on:

The problem with the European Union is both practical and theoretical. As a practical matter, it is governed by a bureaucracy of Dutch and Belgian scribes and functionaries that is answerable neither to the ludicrous European Parliament in Strasbourg, the ultimate irrelevant talking shop, nor to the principal member states, and is exacting its revenge for centuries of deference to France, Germany and Britain.

Global issues?

Canadians may not like it; the world may try to pretend otherwise, but however the domestic political tides of America may flow, North Korea is on its best behaviour, the ayatollahs are quaking in their voluminous raiment, and all America’s trade partners, including Canada and China, are accepting what amounts to unilateral renegotiation by the U.S. No other country in the world has any appreciable influence at all more than a few hundred miles from its borders (an area that includes 95 per cent of the population of Canada).

All true and all good for everyone. Some excellent observations and it is worth your time to read the whole essay.
Baron Black of Crossharbour is a very interesting person. He has done a lot and writes well.

A good speech

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It will be interesting to see the Democrat rebuttal:

Journalist Don Surber noticed two headlines and did some analysis - the headlines are links:

And here is Don's take:

Kim is in China during trade talks
One and one make two. Trust me on this.

President Trump imposed tariffs on Red China, and the Fake News media cried trade war, and then told us no one wins a trade war.

President Trump imposed sanctions and bluster on North Korea, and the Fake News media cried nuclear war.

Now we just happen to be discussing a new trade deal in Beijing, and Kim just happens to travel to Beijing to celebrate his birthday.

A criminal lawyer once told me that 35 years in the courts had taught him there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Excellent news for everyone. Art of the deal indeed.

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