Recently in Politics Category

Great interview with our President

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Fifteen minutes of great questions and answers with CNBC anchor Joe Kernen.

One can dream can't they?

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Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting:

20180716-cabal.jpg

Business trumps Politics - taxation

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Heh - economist Arthur Laffer came up with the Laffer Curve which shows that there are optimum rates for taxation. Tax at 0% and you get zero returns (DOH!) - same for 100% because people will figure out all kinds of dodges. There is an optimal level and it took President Trump to implement this.

From Investor's Business Daily:

Income Tax Revenues Are Up 9% This Year — Is Trump Tax Cut Paying For Itself?
Supply-Side Economics: Democrats scoffed at Republicans who said the Trump tax cuts would at least partially pay for themselves through higher economic growth. But it looks like the GOP had it right all along, as revenues climb.

The latest monthly budget report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds that revenues from federal income taxes were $76 billion higher in the first half of this year, compared with the first half of 2017. That's a 9% jump, even though the lower income tax withholding schedules went into effect in February.

And of course, we will always have the "special" people to listen to:

But wait a minute. According to Democrats, the Trump tax cuts were supposed to blow a massive hole in the deficit.

Last November, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi promised that "this thing will explode the deficit."

She also said that "after the Republicans' tax plan blows a multi-trillion-dollar hole in the deficit, they will sharpen their knives for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and vital job-creating investments for middle class families."

Even now, Pelosi is sticking to her guns. In June, she called it "the deficit-exploding GOP tax scam for the rich."

A perfect example of someone who is clueless and out of touch. She is not a leader. All she cares about is power and getting re-elected. Her 15 minutes were over a long long time ago - part of the problem.

A safe pick for SCOTUS

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Bret Kavanaugh was not my first choice but he is very moderate and the liberals will not beat him up to badly at the confirmation hearings. I would have loved Senator Mike Lee or Amy Coney Barrett but Kavanaugh is President Trump's choice and I respect that.

I was wondering why he chose him and what came to mind is that there is somethign very big coming down the pike - before the mid-term elections and President Trump wants to reserve all his political "favors" for that. Should be fun - time for a big bowl of popcorn if this is true...

Sounds good - from Gallup:

Small Majority in U.S. Say the Country's Best Days Are Ahead
 Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults believe the United States' best days are "ahead of us," while 41% say they are "behind us." Americans are more optimistic about the country's future than they were the last time Gallup polled on the question, in December 2012, when Americans were nearly evenly split in their views.

The 2012 numbers were 47% ahead of us and 50% behind. Big difference between Obama and Trump.

This President is incredible - talk about leadership. From Reuters:

First Trump-Putin summit has Cold War backdrop, U.S. allies nervous
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet for their first summit on July 16 in Helsinki, a venue famed for its Cold War diplomacy, with nervous U.S. allies in Europe and Russia skeptics looking on.

The Kremlin and the White House simultaneously announced the place and date a day after reaching agreement for the two leaders to meet following a visit to Moscow by U.S. national security adviser John Bolton.Trump will meet Putin after attending a July 11-12 summit of NATO leaders and a visit to Britain. The date will give Putin a chance to attend the July 15 closing ceremony of the soccer World Cup hosted by Russia.

The two leaders have met twice before on the sidelines of international gatherings and spoken at least eight times by phone. They have also made positive comments about each other now and then with Putin lauding Trump’s handling of the U.S. economy.

“The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues,” the White House said in a statement similar to one released by the Kremlin.

I would love to be a fly on that wall - two alpha males dealing with some serious issues. The outcome will be interesting to see.

I can not imagine anyone better suited for the position. From Bloomberg:

Trump Weighing Senator Mike Lee for Supreme Court Vacancy, Sources Say
President Donald Trump has asked advisers their opinions about nominating Utah Senator Mike Lee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, according to three people familiar with the matter.

It remains early in the selection process for a nomination that will be a crucial part of Trump’s legacy, choosing a justice who is likely to serve on the court for decades and cement its ideological balance to the most conservative in generations.

Lee is 47 years old so he would be on the bench for 30-40 years if appointed. His track record in the Senate is spotless.

Heh - from Steven's twitter account:

Interesting news - Supreme Court

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And President Trump gets to pick Justice #2 - from Associated Press:

Justice Kennedy retiring; Trump gets 2nd Supreme Court pick
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump the chance to cement conservative control of the high court.

The 81-year-old Kennedy said in a statement he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.

Kennedy said he has informed his colleagues and Trump of his plans, and that his retirement will take effect at the end of July.

Trump praised Kennedy as a man of “tremendous vision” and said his search for a new justice would begin “immediately.”

Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans. Trump’s nominee is likely to give the conservatives a solid majority and will face a Senate process in which Republicans hold the slimmest majority, but Democrats can’t delay confirmation.

I wonder if Justice Ginsberg will hold on for the next six years - she is 85. I wish Justice Kennedy the best.

Great news from the Department of Justice:

Justice Department Settles Claims Against Landscaping Company for Discriminating Against U.S. Workers
The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Triple H Services LLC, (Triple H), a landscaping company based in Newland, North Carolina, that conducts business in Virginia and four other states. The agreement resolves the Department’s investigation into whether Triple H discriminated against qualified and available U.S. workers based on their citizenship status by preferring to hire temporary workers with H-2B visas, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Department’s investigation found that although Triple H went through the motions of advertising over 450 landscape laborer vacancies in five states, it did so in a manner that misled U.S. workers about the available positions and prevented or deterred some from applying. The Department found that Triple H did not consider several qualified U.S. workers who applied for positions in Virginia during the recruitment period, and instead hired H-2B visa workers. In several states where jobs were available, the Department found that Triple H prematurely closed the online job application process for U.S. worker applicants, filled positions with H-2B visa workers without first advertising the jobs to U.S. workers in the relevant locations, or advertised vacancies in a manner that did not make the postings visible to job seekers using state workforce agency online services.

The Department concluded that in taking these actions, Triple H effectively denied U.S. workers access to jobs based on its preference for hiring temporary H-2B visa workers to fill the positions. Refusing to consider or hire qualified and available U.S. workers based on their citizenship status violates the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, regardless of whether an employer has complied with other rules governing the use of temporary employment-based visa programs.

Under the settlement, Triple H must establish a back pay fund, with a cap of $85,000, to compensate certain individuals who were harmed by its practices. The agreement also requires Triple H to pay $15,600 in civil penalties, engage in enhanced recruitment activities to attract U.S. workers, and be subject to Departmental monitoring for a three-year period.

Good - make it hurt. We have a lot of our own people looking for work in the US to start handing jobs out to people from other nations.

Baby steps

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Signs of change - Kim has stopped flying missiles over Japan and Guam, over 500 of our dead soldiers remains have been returned, they have announced the location of several hertofore secret nuclear labs and production facilities and now this - from FOX News:

In sign of detente, North Korea skips annual anti-US rally
In another sign of detente following the summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, North Korea has decided to skip one of the most symbolic and politically charged events of its calendar: the annual "anti-U.S. imperialism" rally marking the start of the Korean War.

Fist-pumping, flag-waving and slogan-shouting masses of Pyongyang residents normally assemble each year for the rally to kick off a month of anti-U.S., Korean War-focused events designed to strengthen nationalism and unity. It all culminates on July 27, which North Korea celebrates as a national holiday called the day of "Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War."

Last year's event was held on Kim Il Sung Square with a reported 100,000 people attending. North Korea even issued special anti-U.S. postage stamps.

Officials had no on-the-record comment on the decision not to hold the event this year. But Associated Press staff in the North Korean capital confirmed Monday it would not be held.

Very cool - a big thanks to President Trump for pulling this off.

An interesting shift - North Korea

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From the Beeb:

North Korean propaganda changes its tune
Banners and posters displayed across the capital and other towns have typically featured the US as a brutal imperialist aggressor and South Korea or Japan as Washington's willing allies.

But visitors to the country say they've seen those posters replaced by propaganda pushing economic progress and the inter-Korean rapprochement.

Leading newspapers in the tightly controlled country have also seen a shift in tone, a sign the country is starting to reflect its recent diplomatic thaw to the people.

Wonderful news - 68 years of war finally coming to a close. Lots of propaganda posters at the site but older and current. Quite the shift!

Reorganizing the Federal Government

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Great idea - he actually uses the word accountable:

Oh this is wonderful

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True leadership:

Progress in North Korea

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Two items of note. From 38 North:

North Korea Razing Key Missile Test Stand
New commercial satellite imagery indicates that North Korea is razing the missile test stand at the Iha-ri Driver Training and Test Facility north of the city of Kusong in the wake of Kim Jong Un’s April statement announcing a unilateral suspension of ballistic missile and nuclear tests. The stand is the only known facility used for land-based, canister-launched ballistic missile ejection tests critical for developing the solid-propellant Pukguksong-2 (KN-15) medium-range ballistic missile and its follow-on systems. The stand could also have been used for testing larger canister-based ballistic missiles such as the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) displayed during the April 2017 military parade in Pyongyang. It is unclear whether the destruction of the stand is an indication that the North is suspending this portion of its missile program or that Pyongyang plans to erect other similar facilities in the future.

And this from Breitbart:

Trump, Kim, Bolton Featured in Massive North Korean Newspaper Spread
North Korea’s state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, dedicated its front page and its first spread Wednesday to photos and analysis of Tuesday’s meeting between dictator Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The photos also prominently featured American National Security Adviser John Bolton, whom various North Korean media outlets described just a few weeks ago as an “absurd” “racist” and “human scum”

North Korea’s government media, the only legal news outlets in the country, have traditionally waited days and sometimes months to publish news from abroad. Rodong Sinmun took months to mention that Kim Jong-un had agreed to meet Trump personally and published photos of Kim visiting Beijing and Dalian, China, days after Kim had returned from that trip. The relatively fast and extensive coverage in the state newspaper reflects a major change in protocol in Pyongyang.

The photos of President Donald Trump are also likely the first that many North Koreans will have seen of the American president, as state media generally avoid broadcasting any content from abroad so as to keep North Koreans from seeing how prosperous the outside world can be:

And this is really good:

Tuesday morning’s edition of Rodong Sinmun featured extensive coverage of Kim Jong-un’s tour of Singapore, including not just photos of the dictator, but Singapore’s impressive skyline and attractive nighttime vistas, an unprecedented look into the outside world for the average North Korean. Kim, the newspaper reported, “said Singapore is clean and beautiful and every building is stylish as he heard of in the past, adding he is going to learn a lot from the good knowledge and experience of Singapore in various fields in the future.”

Kim wants to join the world and President Trump offered a hand.

Meanwhile, back at the office

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From Axios:

Scoop: Kushner to visit Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for peace plan talks
President Trump's Middle East peace team, senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, will travel to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia next week to discuss the next stages of the peace effort and the crisis in Gaza, a senior U.S. official tells me.

Why it matters: The official said Kushner and Greenblatt want to discuss lingering questions they have as they finish drafting the peace plan, including the optimal time for launching it. The U.S. official added the trip may include other stops as well, but does not include a meeting with Palestinian officials — who are refusing to meet following Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

From the U.S. official:

    • "The peace team didn’t ask for a meeting [with the Palestinians] for this trip. The Palestinian leadership will know Kushner and Greenblatt are in the region and if the Palestinian leadership wants to meet, Kushner and Greenblatt are ready to meet."
    • "The administration wants to launch the plan when the circumstances are right, and Kushner and Greenblatt want to hear the parties’ thoughts on that. The administration has not set a date yet for launching the plan."

I love that the "palestinians" are not being invited to the table. When they act responsibly, they will be given a seat at the adult's table. Until then...

Support from unlikely places! Clinton here. Today, from Vermont Biz:

Sanders statement on Trump-Kim summit
"While very light on substance, the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore represents a positive step in de-escalating tensions between our countries, addressing the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and moving toward a more peaceful future. Congress has an important role to play in making sure this is a meaningful and serious process and not just a series of photo ops."

The next couple of years will be interesting to say the least...

Heh - from The Daily Caller:

SHE COULD BECOME THE FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN CONGRESSWOMAN — NOW EVERYONE’S MAKING THE SAME JOKE
Deb Haaland is one step closer to becoming the first Native American congresswoman in U.S. history. She won her New Mexico primary Tuesday night in a district that leans blue and is currently held by a retiring Democrat.

In an interview with ABC, Haaland said, “In 230 years, there’s never been a Native American woman in Congress. I have never seen myself in that body of our government. Ten years ago, when I was out in Indian country knocking on doors and driving folks to the polls, I never thought I would run for Congress.”

Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna Native American tribe and both her parents are veterans. Her father is buried in Arlington cemetery.

When Haaland’s victory was announced, however, commenters on Twitter could not help themselves but poke fun at another “Native American” congresswoman, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren infamously claimed Native American heritage on numerous college applications. When confronted over proof of the claim, she said her family has “high cheekbones, like all of the Indians do.”

Warren is a fake. She could not get into Harvard Law based on her scholarship so she lied about her ancestry and got in through the diversity program. All Hail Diversity.

Unlikely compatriots

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This would be fun to see - from the New York Post:

Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore for Trump-Kim summit
NBA star turned Kim Jong Un soulmate Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore during President Trump’s summit with the North Korean dictator next week, The Post has learned.

“The Worm” will arrive in the country a day before the June 12 sitdown — and sources said he could even play some sort of role in the negotiations.

The two are actually bestest buddies - Rodman has traveled to N Korea five times.

All over but the photo op. Don Surber looks at this article and reads between the lines:

Kim fires his generals
Less than 10 days before his summit with President Donald John Trump, Kim Jong Un has fired his top three military men, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

Folks, I smell a surrender.

Reuters reported that they were hawks who oppose the denuclearization of North Korea.

"All of the newly promoted officials are younger than their predecessors, according to Yonhap, especially Ri Yong Gil, 63, who is 21 years younger than Ri Myong Su," Reuters reported.

There is a meme out there. It shows a jubilant Kim embracing a general. The caption says: "Dude, we're getting a McDonald's."

Don is one of those old-school journalists who are too far and few between these days. He actually does his homework and is able to make a decent analysis of a given situation. Don's take:

Kim wants to live in a normal country.

His father sent him to school in Switzerland, where he enjoyed an odd freedom even though the school had strict discipline.

Then as an adult, Kim returned home to a country that is crappy. It is a land of Stalinist skyscrapers with starving people. He is idolized, but trapped living in the worse country on Earth.

Trump can offer Kim normal. Kim's biggest threat is China. His land is China's puppet. Trump said cut the strings, and I'll protect you. Trump knows China cannot do a damned thing. Chairman Xi's regime survives because it has a billion-dollars-a-day trade surplus with the USA. No way he can risk that over a bunch of Korean nobodies.

Makes perfect sense to me - China and Russia are pissed. So are the Democrats. Screw them. MAGA and take North Korea (and South Korea) along for the ride. We are seeing the wakening of an economic powerhouse.

Good news - unemployment

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued their report this morning and the numbers looks good. From The Wall Street Journal:

Unemployment Rate Falls to 18-Year Low; Solid Hiring in May
The U.S. labor market was firing on all cylinders in May: the unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low, employers added jobs at a faster pace and wages modestly improved.

The unemployment rate ticked down to a seasonally adjusted 3.8%, matching April 2000 as the lowest reading since 1969, the Labor Department said Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 223,000 in May, a jump from gains from March and April. Average hourly earnings ticked up to a 2.7% from a year earlier—and raises were even stronger for nonmanagers.

And a bit more:

The unemployment rate for women, 3.6% last month, was the lowest since 1953, when far smaller share of women sought jobs. The jobless rates for blacks, Latinos and those without high-school diplomas are trending near record lows.

President Trump is doing the job that Obama or Hillary could never do. Those people simply are unfit to govern - they are not leaders.

An epic rant on The Resistance

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Two excerpts from The DiploMad - read the whole thing:

If Donald Trump is literally Adolf Hitler, why would a member of the "resistance" identify himself/herself/zheself as a member? Strikes me that is a clear violation of the rules of resistance to a repressive regime. Did Max Manus put such a sign in front of his house to shout out his defiance of the Nazis and Vidkun Quisling? Did Anne Frank? Seems an odd thing to do if the Gestapo is out and about.

What does this "resistance" do? I know what the resistance did in Norway and Yugoslavia, but this one? What does it do? I mean, of course, aside from going to notoriously right-wing Starbucks to demand free bathroom usage. What exactly are they resisting? OK, I understand that just like Hitler, Trump is strongly pro-Israel, has a Jewish daughter and son-in-law, and, just like Hitler, used the power of the state to bring back three non-white hostages from North Korea. Yes, I see the similarities, but . . . well, now that I think about it, I guess Trump is actually worse than Hitler because Trump, unlike Hitler, is not a vegetarian!

And this:

So to sum it up for the resistance: The anti-semite Trump is the best friend Israel has ever had. The racist Trump has instituted policies that have produced the lowest unemployment figures in decades for black and hispanic Americans. The woman-hating Trump had a woman running his campaign (no, not Mrs. Putin), has a woman as Ambassador at the UN, another as the head of DHS, another as head of Education, yet another as White House spokesman, and now has made a woman the head of the CIA. The oligarch Trump has instituted tax and other policies that are putting more money into more ordinary people's pockets than has happened in many years.

All just like Hitler did . . .

Tip of the hat to Kim DuToit for the link.

President Trump is a master negotiator. His letter to North Korea this morning was totally spot on.

And, it had the desired effect (the headline is the link to the source article):

North Korea Comes Crawling Back: Stresses "Desperate Need" For Summit "Whenever, However"

This is how you do diplomacy - not with effite clueless jerks like J.F. Kerry or crooked jackasses like Hillary.

The word you are searching for is " Leadership "

Great short editorial by Ted Cruz

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I would not mind seeing Mr. Cruz in the white house once President Trump's two terms of office are over. He gets it.
From Time Magazine:

DONALD TRUMP by Ted Cruz
President Trump is a flash-bang grenade thrown into Washington by the forgotten men and women of America. The fact that his first year as Commander in Chief disoriented and distressed members of the media and political establishment is not a bug but a feature.

The same cultural safe spaces that blinkered coastal elites to candidate Trump’s popularity have rendered them blind to President Trump’s achievements on behalf of ordinary Americans. While pundits obsessed over tweets, he worked with Congress to cut taxes for struggling families. While wealthy celebrities announced that they would flee the country, he fought to bring back jobs and industries to our shores. While talking heads predicted Armageddon, President Trump’s strong stand against North Korea put Kim Jong Un back on his heels.

President Trump is doing what he was elected to do: disrupt the status quo. That scares the heck out of those who have controlled Washington for decades, but for millions of Americans, their confusion is great fun to watch.

Spot on analysis.

President Trump and Korea

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The guy knows how to get things done; how to get people talking together. From CNBC:

North and South Korea reportedly set to announce official end to war
North and South Korea are in talks to announce a permanent end to the officially declared military conflict between the two countries, daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed South Korean official.

Ahead of a summit next week between North Korean premier Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, lawmakers from the neighboring states were thought to be negotiating the details of a joint statement that could outline an end to the confrontation.

Kim and Moon could also discuss returning the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating them to its original state, the newspaper said.

Nothing like some sanctions with teeth, a possible visit of the Rods from God (story, definition) wiping out Nork's nuclear capabilities. Fat-boy Kim is worth billions - he went to school in Switzerland, he could just as well live out his days there.

From Marijuana Moment:

Trump To Support Major Marijuana Legislation
President Trump is preparing to support far-reaching legislation to reform federal marijuana prohibition so that states can enact their own cannabis laws without interference.

“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said in a statement. “Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry. Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”

In a briefing with reporters on Friday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the development, calling Gardner’s statement “accurate.”

“We’re always consulting Congress about issues including states’ rights, of which the president is a firm believer,” she said.

Very cool - States' Rights is part of the constitution embodied in the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

28 words and a very powerful addition to our Constitution. This is where the power of government should rest.

From Foreign Policy magazine:

Bolton Expected to ‘Clean House’
Incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton and people close to him are expected to launch a massive shake-up at the National Security Council, aiming to remove dozens of current White House officials, starting with holdovers from President Barack Obama’s administration, according to multiple sources.

Those targeted for removal include officials believed to have been disloyal to President Donald Trump, those who have leaked about the president to the media, his predecessor’s team, and those who came in under Obama.

“Bolton can and will clean house,” one former White House official said.

Good - get the bad people out where they cannot do any harm. I love this little bit:

A second former White House official offered a blunt assessment of former Obama officials currently detailed or appointed to the NSC: “Everyone who was there during Obama years should start packing their shit.”

Cleaning house and John Bolton is the perfect person to do it.

Great choice for National Security Advisor. From the London Daily Mail:

Trump FIRES his national security advisor H.R. McMaster and brings in Bush's U.N. ambassador John Bolton in another White House shake-up
President Donald Trump will replace National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with John Bolton on April 9, the White House announced late Thursday.

Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is a hawkish conservative with a pugnacious streak – and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel.

He is also a fierce opponent of the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal.

Bolton will be perfect for the job.

Of course not - Russia

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From FOX News:

Nunes: No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion, But 'Clear Links' Between Clinton Campaign & Russians

Stick a fork in it - there is no story there, never was.

Current political stuff

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Clearing some links here:

From the Jerusalem Post - a story about a monumental meeting of the minds:

Israeli officials meet Qatari, Saudi and UAE counterparts at White House
Israeli national security officials sat around the same table on Tuesday morning with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, discussing a dire humanitarian situation unfolding in the Gaza Strip.

The summit on Gaza, called by Jared Kushner, the US president’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East peace, as well as Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, marks an unprecedented moment for Israeli diplomacy, as their dialogue with officials from Arab states is publicly recognized for the first time.

The Trump administration planned the meeting over the course of several weeks and released a list of attendees the morning of the summit, which also included officials from Egypt, Jordan, Canada and various European countries.

The palestinians have not advanced the cause of peace for 40 years so it is time to do it without them. Arafat was a KGB operative - read your history.

Second - T Rex is out. From Reuters:

Trump fires Tillerson, a moderate; replaces him with hawkish spy chief Pompeo
U.S. President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Tillerson was used to being top dog - not the personality you want for Sec. State. Good move.

A two-fer from Don Surber

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Don is a retired (40 years in the trade) newspaperman living in West Virginia. His blog is a dialy read for me. He brought these two news items to my attention this morning.

First

Another 1,000 jobs added thanks to Trump's tariffs
First, U.S. Steel announced it would re-open a a steel mill in Illinois thanks to Donald John Trump's decision to slap a 25% tariff on Chinese steel.

Republic Steel said move over, buddy. We are re-opening our plant in Lorain, Ohio.

And this doesn't begin to count the ancillary jobs that will be created - finishing the raw product (machine shops, welding, fabrication, etc...) as well as the jobs to support the workers (grocery stores, house building, school teachers, etc...)

Second:

We already have 12,000 tariffs
To hear Never Trumpers (and a few Trumpkins) tell the story, Donald Trump is the first president since Hoover to impose a tariff on imported products.

But Gus Lubin of Business Insider in 2010 reported, "The International Trade Commission lists over 12,000 specific tariffs on imports to America. Hundreds of agricultural, textile, and manufacturing items are highly protected. So are obscure items like live foxes."

From a 4.8% tariff on live foxes to a 350% tariff on tobacco, America protected its industries in 2010.

Tobacco is very important to the states and federal government. Smokers cough up more than $15 billion a year in cigarette taxes. Government must save Big Tobacco, even as it demonizes it.

Tariffs are a shell game. Literally. We slap a 131.8% tariff on unshelled peanuts. With shells, the tariff is 163.8%.

Imported French jam, chocolate, ham, European meats, truffles, and Roquefort cheese are among those products that come with a 100% tariff.

This is a matter of perspective - President Trump is re-negotaiting NAFTA. We got screwed the first time around. Time to get a more favorable treaty this time.

Our President at work - North Korea

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Score a Yuuuuge victory for President Trump and T Rex - from the Financial Times

North Korea says it is ‘open to ending nuclear programme’
North Korea took its most significant step towards defusing its nuclear stand-off with the US on Tuesday, telling Seoul it was open to negotiations over ending its weapons programme and would suspend its contentious testing regime while talks were under way.

The concessions, relayed by a high-level delegation of South Korean officials after meeting in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Un, mark a significant change for the North Korean leader, who had previously touted his nuclear programme as a “treasured sword of justice”.

“The North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearise,” South Korean officials said in a statement after a lavish banquet that was part of what is believed to be the first meeting between Mr Kim and South Korean leaders.

Pyongyang would be willing to give up its nuclear weapons “if military threat to the north was eliminated and its security guaranteed”, it added.

Funny that we would have the worst President and the best President right next to each other. Maybe not "worst" - just least effective in promoting the interests of We The People.

The guy is doing a decent job now but... From Associated Press:

China’s Xi poised to make historic grab at indefinite rule
President Xi Jinping is poised to make a historic power grab as China’s legislators gather beginning Monday to approve changes that will let him rule indefinitely and undo decades of efforts to prevent a return to crushing dictatorship.

This year’s gathering of the ceremonial National People’s Congress has been overshadowed by Xi’s surprise move — announced just a week ago — to end constitutional two-term limits on the presidency. The changes would allow Xi, already China’s most powerful leader in decades, to extend his rule over the world’s second-largest economy possibly for life.

Hope this doesn't catch on. As much as I would love to have Trump do a couple more terms, this is a dangerous precident.

The Nunes Memo - nose under the tent

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Devin Nunes memo is just the beginning - from FOX News:

Nunes sets sights on State Department next, says FISA memo only 'phase one'
The furor over House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes' push to release the "surveillance memo" is only the beginning.

The Republican chairman said Monday the release of the long-awaited document on alleged law enforcement surveillance abuse was just “phase one” of his investigation, and the next phase will involve probing the State Department for what he called “irregularities.”

“What we will do in phase two is follow the facts where they lead, and when we get enough facts, we will figure out a way to let the American people know,” Nunes told “Fox & Friends.”

Good - he is acting on the wishes of We The People. Time to turn over the rocks and let the sunlight in.

I love this woman - Sarah Sanders

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President Trump's Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks with CNN's Chris Cuomo about last night's State of the Union speech. 

"I think Nancy Pelosi looks like that all the time," Sanders responded. “I think she should smile a lot more often. I think the country would be better for it. She seems to kind of embody the bitterness that belongs in the Democrat Party right now.”

Calls them as she sees them. Smart and articulate.

The various pundits have broken down last nights speech and one thing becomes very obvious. From The Daily Caller:

Trump Puts The Focus On ‘We’ Over ‘I’ In First SOTU
President Trump placed the emphasis on “we” over “I” in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

A review of the president’s prepared remarks by The Daily Caller reveals he used the word “we” more than four times as many times as he said the word “I.”

President Trump used the word “I” 29 times in his speech, while using “we” 129 times. Another communal word used often by the president: “our,” which he used 104 times.

Pure comedy gold from CNS News:

ACLU Complains: "Trump Used the Word 'America' More Than 80 Times"
The American Civil Liberties Union -- note the word "American" in its title -- complained Tuesday night about President Trump's repeated use of the word "America" in his State of the Union speech.

In a written response to Trump's speech, Faiz Shakir, the ACLU's national political director, said:

Tonight, President Trump said the word ‘America’ more than 80 times in his speech. Yet, after a divisive first year, we hear and feel how exclusionary that ‘America’ is, with policies that have harmed so many vulnerable American communities. The ACLU stands ready to protect these communities, both in the courts and at the polls.

Talk about jumping the shark. The reason for bringing this up is that our previous President was a true Narcissist in Chief. From FOX News:

Ego much? Obama talked about himself nearly four times as often as Trump in first SOTU speech
President Trump talked long on Tuesday night, “the third-longest State of the Union in the past 50 years, according to The New York Times. But he rarely talked about himself -- unlike his predecessor.

President Obama’s first State of the Union speech in 2010 featured the president saying some version of “I” or “me” nearly 100 times. That was nearly four times more than Trump managed -- 98 personal references to a mere 26.

For all the media have attacked Trump about his ego, it was Obama who earned regular criticism for being self-referential in his speeches. His first 41 speeches showed this tendency was off the charts -- mentioning himself nearly 1,200 times – 1,198 to be exact.

More here, here and here. Like a breath of fresh air.

A mis-calculation - Labor Unions

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The Democrats were focused on short-term gains and left themselves open to this. From New York Magazine:

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die
The GOP understands how important labor unions are to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, historically, has not. If you want a two-sentence explanation for why the Midwest is turning red (and thus, why Donald Trump is president), you could do worse than that.

With its financial contributions and grassroots organizing, the labor movement helped give Democrats full control of the federal government three times in the last four decades. And all three of those times — under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — Democrats failed to pass labor law reforms that would to bolster the union cause. In hindsight, it’s clear that the Democratic Party didn’t merely betray organized labor with these failures, but also, itself.

Between 1978 and 2017, the union membership rate in the United States fell by more than half — from 26 to 10.7 percent. Some of this decline probably couldn’t have been averted — or, at least, not by changes in labor law alone. The combination of resurgent economies in Europe and Japan, the United States’ decidedly non-protectionist trade policies, and technological advances in shipping was bound to do a number on American unions. Global competition thinned profit margins for U.S. firms; cutting labor costs was one of the easiest ways to fatten ’em back up; and breaking unions (through persuasion, intimidation, or relocation) was one of the easiest ways to cut said costs.

Nevertheless, there was lot that Democrats could have done — through labor law reform — to shelter the union movement from these changes, and help it establish a bigger footprint in the service sector. 

The article is very slanted towards unions and does not do a good analysis of why they are in decline. They had a reason for being a hundred years ago - very much so. They have failed to change with the times though as the labor markets have shifted. The "great wages" that the unions negotiate come at a very large cost and the pension plans are often unfunded or a company will simply go bankrupt to avoid having to fund them - this debt is in the multi-trillion dollar range.

Great news that the Democratic party can not maintain its base - they need to come to grips with the changes they made in the last 20 years and reverse them. They have become the party of the moonbat. They have listened to every minority activist out there and their Overton Window has lurched too far to the left.

Two democrats

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I will say it again - if John F. Kennedy were running for office today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat.

20180126-democrats.jpg

Now this will be fun to see

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From The Washington Times:

DHS preparing to arrest leaders of sanctuary cities
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed Tuesday that her department has asked federal prosecutors to see if they can lodge criminal charges against sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.

“The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available,” Ms. Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Her confirmation came after California’s new sanctuary law went into effect Jan. 1, severely restricting cooperation the state or any of its localities could offer.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan says those policies put his officers and local communities at more risk because they have to arrest illegal immigrants out in the community.

Mr. Homan told The Washington Times last July that he wanted to see local officials charged as complicit in human smuggling if they shielded illegal immigrants through sanctuary policies.

The states have no authority here - immigration is defined in Article One, Paragraph eight, Section four of our Constitution.

So true

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From A. F. Branco:

20180112-button.jpg

July 2018

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