Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Purge

Why one may be needed:
The problem goes much further than one official. Trump’s opponents are burrowed throughout the federal bureaucracy, and at senior as well as junior levels.

Contrary to what some conservatives may suspect, they are not the majority of government employees. Most are loyal to the Constitution and to their duties. But there are enough die-hard Barack Obama appointees, and lifelong leftists, to frustrate the Trump administration — and they may be encouraging each other to do so.

The press is certainly encouraging them to “resist.” Some journalists are conflating Yates’s firing with the “Saturday Night Massacre,” Nixon’s firing of key Department of Justice staff to thwart the Watergate investigation. That was a classic abuse of presidential power. The Yates episode is the opposite — an illegitimate abuse of power by bureaucrats to undermine the president.
If you don't want to do your job, then make way for someone who will...

Not Dead Yet

Why is Obamacare still alive?
Party members emerged from a closed-door retreat in Philadelphia last week frustrated at the lack of progress in uniting around a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Numerous health-care alternatives have been offered by Republicans, but none have won consensus in the party. GOP leaders and committee chairmen have yet to get behind a legislative alternative, although House Speaker Paul Ryan has put forward a series of broad ideas in a blueprint released last year, including refundable tax credits and high-risk pools.

Even so, Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho offered a terse response when asked Monday whether any progress had been made in the health-care meeting at the retreat.

"No," he said.

"There are a lot of good ideas," he continued. "We just need to get the committees to do their work."
Good ideas maybe, but not good politicians...

The Static News Network

When something goes wrong, it really goes wrong:

The Blamed One

Team Hillary now knows who to blame:
They think his lack of support was more harmful than her scandals, Russian interference in the election or FBI Director James Comey’s investigation.

Obama didn’t do enough, wasn’t active enough and should have been much less cautious in imposing sanctions on Russia, Clinton’s camp said.

“The White House was like everyone else: They thought she’d win anyway,” a member of Clinton’s campaign told Axios. “If he had done more, it might have lessened a lot of aggrieved feelings, although I don’t think it would have altered the outcome. The Russia thing was like a spy novel, and anything he said or did would have helped get people to believe it was real.”
Moving right on down the list...

Monday, January 30, 2017

California Split

Instead of leaving, just split up?
Efforts to divide California into more manageable and homogeneous parts are as old as the Bear Flag that was raised over the state capitol at statehood in 1850. When I was a legislative staffer in Sacramento in 1980, a state assemblyman named Stan Statham had a serious proposal that attracted bipartisan support. He recognized that California’s people (now 40 million) would be better served if its competing constituencies had more in common. Lots of people have their favorite maps for new states. For decades, the natural dividing line ran due east from the coast, just north of Bakersfield; it emphasized the differences between northern and southern California. My favorite design was for three states: one centered on Los Angeles, one centered on San Francisco, and everyone else in a third state. More recently, in 2009, then GOP assemblyman Bill Maze proposed creating two states: a Coastal California state and an Inland California state. The big population centers of San Francisco and Los Angeles would be in the first, but the inland state would include some large coastal counties such as Orange (home of Disneyland) and San Diego.
Would America settle for several Californias for the price of one?

Pac Man Forever

RIP Pac Man's maker:
Nakamura, who died on Jan. 22, founded Namco, part of Bandai Namco, in 1955. It started out as just two mechanical horse rides on a department store rooftop but went on to pioneer game arcades and amusement parks.

Bandai Namco, formed in 2005 from a merger of two game companies, confirmed Monday that Nakamura had died.

Pac-Man, designed by Namco engineer and video game maker Toru Iwatani, went on sale in 1980, at a time when there were few rival games, such as Space Invaders. The plucky yellow circle with the huge mouth was a huge hit.

It's estimated to have been played more than 10 billion times: Guinness World Record has named it the world's most successful coin-operated arcade game.

The game was non-violent but just challenging enough to hook players into steering the Pac-Man for hours through its mazes on the hunt for ghostly tidbits.
It's still a great waste of time. And for reliving the memories:

The Iceman Awaits

He's coming back:
Bedford was about to become the world's first cryopreserved human being – and now lies suspended in liquid nitrogen in a vault in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Although the 72-year-old said before his death that he didn't expect ever to be revived, scientist Robert Nelson, one of the trio who carried out the preservation process, says he is confident that Bedford will one day live again.

'When we froze Bedford, man had never been on the moon, there had never been a heart transplant, there was no GPS, no cellphones,' said Nelson, now 80, in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com.
And then he saw what was going on with the rest of the world and wanted to be frozen again...

Life Flashes

What happens when your brain rewinds:
The idea that life flashes in front of a person has featured in countless works of literature and film.

But there has been limited research to explain what the phenomenon involves.

Researchers said the new study shines a light on "a most intriguing mental phenomenon that fascinated humans from time immemorial" - which they coined "life review experience" (LRE).

Those involved in the study said they lost all sense of time, with memories flying back at them from all periods of their life.

One wrote: "There is not a linear progression, there is lack of time limits... It was like being there for centuries. I was not in time/space so this question also feels impossible to answer.

"A moment, and a thousand years... both and neither. It all happened at once, or some experiences within my near-death experience were going on at the same time as others, though my human mind separates them into different events".
Life, what a concept...

The Universal Matrix

Which pill do you take?
The idea that our universe is a hologram was first proposed in the 90s. It suggests that all of the information – what we think is our 3D reality, and time – is actually just contained on a flat surface on its boundaries.

"Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field," said Kostas Skenderis, a professor of mathematical sciences at the University of Southampton. "The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card.

"However, this time, the entire universe is encoded."
So if I say "computer, end program..."

The Promised Ban

Apparently they weren't listening:
This isn't to say that the implementation of Trump's order was without fault, or that he should have been better prepared for what he had to know would be an intense reaction. As National Review's Andrew McCarthy explained, Trump "would've been wise to give government agencies and foreigners time to prepare." Trump also had to modify his order to exempt green card holders.

But let's be clear — implementation hassles are just that, hassles that will be dealt with in due time. And in any case the number of people unfairly hassled was apparently small. These problems have nothing to do with the substance of Trump's order or its merits, about which there is certainly room for reasoned debate.

Indeed, much of the "chaos and confusion" that Schumer complained about was the result not of Trump's order, but the false, misleading and inflammatory claims spread by Democrats, protesters who instantly swarmed into various airports, and the mainstream press that vigorously fanned the flames.

This has, unfortunately, been the pattern since Trump took the oath of office. All the actions Trump has taken so far are ones he promised months ago to tackle immediately, yet they are all treated as shocking developments.
A President who actually does what he'd said he'd do? Oh, the horror!

The Spring Thaw

No Obamacare repeal until when?
Speaking in the first major session of GOP lawmakers’ joint retreat in the City of Brotherly Love, Ryan said Wednesday that the health care law wouldn’t be repealed and subsequently replaced until spring.

“What we heard today was Obamacare is front and center,” Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., told reporters, referring to the first session of the retreat, which outlined President Donald Trump’s first 200 days in office, or the “200 Day Plan.”

“Repeal and replace,” Collins added. “The word was by the springtime.”

Trump apparently has come around to this timeframe, after suggesting he wanted to see Obamacare repealed and replaced much sooner. Trump is scheduled to address the group of about 290 lawmakers Thursday.

Republicans are using a budget tool called reconciliation to repeal Obamacare, and lawmakers took the first step toward getting rid of the law using the fast-track procedure earlier this month.
I guess it depends on how much longer they want to reconcile...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Low Price Of Living

Why low wages are cheaper for everyone:
As far as welfare costs go, there is no way the United States welfare system would be better off with more unemployment and businesses shrinking because of an artificial hike in the price of labor. Even if some workers at Wal-Mart, McDonald's, or similar employers receive payments from various state and federal welfare programs, these payments would have to be higher if it weren't for the low-skilled, often entry-level jobs provided by these companies. Recent experience has shown that drastic minimum wage increases in many cities and states have corresponded with welfare cost increases.

For evidence that arguments against the minimum wage are mere corporate fearmongering, minimum wage proponents often point to cities that have raised the minimum wage and not seen their economies fall apart. But this tactic misunderstands the argument against raising the minimum wage. As Tim Worstall rightly points out, the argument has never been that a $15 minimum wage will result in a "howling wasteland of huddled masses desperately looking for a job." The point is that there will be less people with jobs than there otherwise would have been without an increase to the minimum wage.
Working for a living means earning what you're worth, not what you demand...

Blue Wilderness

Whatever happened to the Blue Dogs?
Today the Blue Dogs are decimated, there are only 17 left, only two of them women. And every year they face expensive, heated primary battles from progressives, and are about to face the same onslaught next year from the 2018 Bernie Sanders purists who want them out of "their" party.

Legendary Democratic strategist Dane Strother thinks that is a very bad idea.

"If the Blue Dogs do not have a seat at the table, and if they do not rebuild, the Democrats will never hold the majority again," he said bluntly.

Strother added that if there is a progressive purity test, "Then we will be in the wilderness for the next forty years," he said.
But at least it will be a "pure" wilderness...

Mother, You May Not

Motherhood is now officially off limits:
Staff should use “pregnant people” instead of “expectant mother” so that transgender men and intersex people won’t be offended, the memo stated.

“Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas about the roles of women and men. Though they have shifted over time, the assumptions and stereotypes that underpin those ideas are often deeply-rooted,” the memo said.

A BMA spokesperson said that the guidelines are not for doctors, but for BMA staff.

“This document is produced by the BMA for BMA staff and representatives on promoting an inclusive workplace at the BMA, not in the NHS,” the spokesperson said. “This is not ‘official guidelines’ to doctors on how to treat or address patients.”

A women’s activist expressed outrage over the document, calling it “anti-women” and “anti-mother.”

“This will offend women up and down the country, and is an example of the majority of women being insulted for a tiny minority of people,” women’s rights activist Laura Perrins said.
You're all mothers now...

Reform Begins At Home

Can Mike Pence be the model for real change?
Speaking to reporters alongside Sen. Mike Lee, also of Utah, Chaffetz said, “Gov. Pence, having been a governor, he understands this. In the end, he’s done some wise things. And I also think you you will see concerted support from conservative governors who will buoy up any support in the White House.”

“If you’re going to be tough on crime, you better be smart about it. And there are hardened criminals who do need to spend the rest of their lives in prison.”

But, he added, we need to fix the problem of repeat offenders spending years in prison for drug crimes.

Doug Deason, a Seminar Network donor with an interest in sentencing reform, highlighted the White House’s new legislative director, Marc Short, as another reason to be hopeful. Before joining the administration, Short was a longtime adviser to Pence and a lead deputy in the libertarian Koch network. “He cares passionately about criminal justice reform,” Deason said.
The reform starts here?

The Wrath Of Kaine

Tim Kaine goes there:
“He demonstrated complete confusion about what the order did because he went back and forth in the interview with you over whether it did or did not affect green card holders,” Kaine said to Chuck Todd. “It does affect green card holders and they’re being caught up in it.”

“It affects people on special immigrant visas like interpreters who’ve helped the U.S. military in foreign countries,” he continued, “and now their lives are at risk and so we’ve given them a special status to come to this country. Who would help the United States if they knew we would abandon them when they’re trying to come here? It’s a religious test, as you pointed out. It imposes a different burden on Muslims than others. And the irony is not lost on me that it was issued the same day as the White House issued their Holocaust Remembrance Day proclamation that unlike any previous administration removed all reference to Jews. So you put a religious test on Muslims and you try to scrub reference to Jews in the Holocaust Remembrance. This was horribly, horribly mishandled. So it’s not a pause in…”
Never let a religion card go to waste...

Chief Of Thieves

Maybe he was just looking for inspiration?
Police say men robbed music producer Ramsay Tha Great at gunpoint. He named Chief Keef — real name Keith Cozart — among those who broke into his home, beat him, and robbed him on January 19.

Chief Keef was taken into custody along with two others at his lavish million-dollar home in Tarzana, California.

Ramsay Tha Great took to social media and gave a detailed description of the violent robbery, and claimed Chief Keef carried an AK-47.
Chief, that ain't cool...

Protest Triggers

Not exactly the way to get along with your neighbors:
Someone took a photo of the the two-story Oshkosh duplex last Saturday and put it on social media, where the photo quickly went viral and drew outrage, Fox News reported.

Rosangela Diaz, a mother of four, said she did not know about the flag until she she saw a post on Facebook about it.

Her neighbor, who has not been identified, said he flew the flag to make a “political statement” against Trump.

Diaz, who is Hispanic and whose husband is black, has been threatened ever since the flag went up.

She said that people have been threatening to burn down their home and that someone slashed their tires.

“We’ve had people knocking on our door. Two men approached my kids on the street. I can’t get out of here fast enough,” Diaz told Fox News.
Next time, try a different flag?

Day Of The Liberals

It's the ultimate horror:
“It was very important to me for this not to be about a black guy going to the South and going to this red state where the presumption for a lot of people is everybody’s racist there,” Peele told the audience after the film’s midnight screening. “This was meant to take a stab at the liberal elite that tends to believe that ‘We’re above these things.'”

Get Out follows the events that unfold when a young black man Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) meets the wealthy liberal parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) who are carrying out an evil plan to imprison their well-heeled suburb’s few black residents.
....

Drawing from The Stepford Wives, Peele’s favorite film, the comic was able to develop a plot that exposed what he called the “post-racial lie” that “we’re past” this “monster of racism” — a lie that Peele admits doesn’t flow from “red states.”

One example of this “post-racial lie” in the film is evident when Chris’s girlfriend fails to mention to her neurosurgeon father (Bradley Whitford) that her new boyfriend is black. Rose’s father constantly calls Chris “my man,” admits that he would have voted for Obama for a third term, and said his father lost at the Olympics to Jesse Owens and has affinity for the Nazis. It all feels like soft bigotry, Peele explains to the audience. “That is how we experience racism. The monster of racism lurks underneath that conversation.”
All horror movies matter!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

How to Attack Red Tape

It may be easier than they thought:
For each rule, the CRA requires the federal agency making it to issue a report to Congress. And it turns out that the 60-day time limit for Congress to roll back that rule starts either when the rule is published or Congress receives the report on it — whichever comes later.

"There was always intended to be consequences if agencies didn't deliver these reports," [the Pacific Legal Foundation's Todd] Gaziano tells me. "And while some Obama agencies may have been better at sending reports, others, through incompetence or spite, likely didn't." Bottom line: There are rules for which there are no reports. And if the Trump administration were now to submit those reports—for rules implemented long ago—Congress would be free to vote the regulations down.

Assuming this is all accurate, it will be very interesting to see which older rules are now vulnerable due to such an oversight in issuing a report. The failure to cross T's and dot I's could be very costly for those portions of the liberal agenda that Obama sought to advance through the regulatory process.
Thank you, bureaucrats?

The Science Of Trust

No, they don't know better:
“Academia shouldn’t try to tell society how to run itself, but it provides vital fodder for the discussion,” Dr. Helen Czerski, a physicist in University College London, wrote Friday in The Guardian. “And it is academia itself which must take on the responsibility of demonstrating why this matters. No-one is going to do it for us. To the scientists, I say: our connection to society is not about them. It’s about us. All of us.”

Czerski argues that scientists are increasingly losing the public’s trust and support, and need to improve their own methods to show the public they can be relied upon.

“Self-scrutiny is hard, but a crisis is looming and we scientists need to get out the mirror,” Czerski concludes. “Improving public trust in science and expertise has just as much to do with changing us as with changing them.”

Much of science itself is currently going through a crisis where many published research findings cannot be replicated for various reasons. Such a replication crisis could make it far harder for the general public to trust the opinions of scientists.
The science of society isn't settled...

Reporters With Labels

They can't handle the truth:
Reporters and editors at the paper were indignant Wednesday when White House chief strategist Steve Bannon labeled mainstream outlets including The New York Times as the “opposition party,” and said the media should “keep its mouth shut.”

“I want you to quote this,” Bannon told TheNYT. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

The reporter who wrote up the interview barely contained his anger over the label in their report, and at least one editor took to Twitter to defend the paper’s “objective” coverage of the election. “To call journalists the opposition misunderstands our role,” editor Patrick LaForge tweeted. “We are not here to help anyone win or lose.”
Except when they are...

The Trump Blockade

Thus it begins:
KLM spokesperson Manel Vrijenhoek said: "We would love to bring them there. That's not the problem.

"It's just that this is what the US sprang on the rest of the world that these people are no longer welcome."

She revealed the seven were due to fly with KLM from different airports around the world.

Vrijenhoek said she had no specifics on their nationalities, although she confirmed they were from countries affected by the three-month immigration ban – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The ban sparked panic yesterday when it came into effect at 4.30pm with many passengers left in legal limbo as to whether or not their valid visas would be accepted if they tried to enter the US.
Of course there's the usual anger from those who aren't supposed to come over anyway, but at least they've got Lindsay Lohan in their corner...

Friday, January 27, 2017

No Fraud Near Them

They don't want their own dirty laundry exposed:
In an interview on CNN, Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, insisted that his organization would “resist” the president’s investigation into fraud during the 2016 election.

“The President has claimed millions of fraudulent ballots were cast. The only place you will find millions of fraudulent ballots are right beside that fake birth certificate for Barack Obama, inside the imagination of President Trump. They don’t exist,” Brooks said on Thursday.

Instead of vote fraud, Brooks insisted that there was “unrelenting voter suppression” of the minority vote in 2016.

“We have seen our rights denied as Americans. Particularly seniors, African-Americans, Latinos and younger people,” Brooks exclaimed. “So, if the President insists upon conducting an investigation into voter fraud as a pretext for voter suppression, the NAACP, along with millions of Americans of every human heritage, will resist. We will push back.”
Keep the truth far, far away, they said...

Field Work

Welcome to the new front lines?
Marines in the field stay in everything from a large, single room shelter filled with dozens of cots to sleeping under tarps or nothing at all, said Maj. Charles Anklam III, executive officer for 1st Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina - the first gender-integrated Marine infantry battalion.

Female Marines have private rooms and bathrooms in their living quarters, and female bathrooms have been added to buildings where Marines work. But female Marines will be expected to share any living spaces with male squad members in the field to keep unit cohesion and replicate battlefield conditions, he said.

"We're not changing our tactical posture or changing how we operate to accommodate the inclusion of female Marines," Anklam said.
Avert your eyes, mister?

The Fizzy Fascists

No soda for you:
Published in the government's Journal Officiel website on Thursday and in force since Friday, the ban applies to all soft drinks or soda "fountains" in areas open to the public, including restaurants, fast food-chains, schools and holiday camps.
Out of bounds are unlimited "flavoured fizzy and non-fizzy drinks, concentrated drinks like fruit syrups, drinks based on water, milk, cereal, vegetables or fruit", but also "sports and energy drinks, fruit nectar, vegetable nectar and similar products".

Home improvement chain IKEA had already removed drink fountains from its 33 centres around France, but other vendors, including French fast food chain Quick, waited until the day itself to change their drink fountain set-up.
Let them drink bottled water...

This Land Is Still Their Land

Mark Zuckerberg backs down:
In an op-ed in the Garden Island newspaper, Zuckerberg said he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have spoken with community leaders about the cultural and historical significance of the land and want to work together on a new approach.

“Upon reflection, I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead. Now that I understand the issues better, it's clear we made a mistake,” Zuckerberg said.

“The right path is to sit down and discuss how to best move forward. We will continue to speak with community leaders that represent different groups, including native Hawaiians and environmentalists, to find the best path.”

Zuckerberg spurred local and national criticism following the suits, which have been likened to the tactics Hawaii sugar barons used to take land from Native Hawaiians.
Being a wealthy white liberal doesn't always allow you to treat your neighbors like peasants...

Early Delivery

The media seem flummoxed by the idea that President Trump is actually doing what he said he would:
President Obama famously said that "elections have consequences" in explaining to Republicans why he was moving forward with a nearly $1 trillion stimulus plan and his signature healthcare bill.

Now Trump is showing Washington and the world the truth of Obama's words.

During the campaign, Trump’s critics dismissed his ambitious agenda as rhetoric that he’d back away from once in office.

If candidate Trump beat the odds and made it to the White House, they said, the Trump Show will surely grind to a halt once he’s confronted with the realities of governing.

It hasn't turned out like that at all.

“Enough all talk, no action. We have to deliver,” Trump told Republican lawmakers Thursday. “This is our chance to achieve great and lasting change for our beloved nation.”
It remains to be seen how long this will last, but, as he said, it's for the people, not the powers that be...

The Obama Effect

How quickly they forget:
The Obama Administration began with lofty promises of being "the most transparent administration in history." Instead it ended up setting a record, by the Associated Press's count, for denying the most Freedom of Information Act requests.
As the administration's popularity began tumbling early into its first year, the Obama White House declared war on Fox News. The White director of communications, Anita Dunn, warned they would henceforth treat Fox News "like an opponent," insisting, "we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave."
The Obama administration made good on that threat. Soon thereafter, the administration sought to deny Fox News' participation in executive branch news-making events -- which only failed after other networks admirably refused to participate if Fox News were excluded.
The difference? They wanted to be excluded during the Obama era...

The Art Of The Plan

Did Republicans panic when they discovered that they were actually expected to deliver?
Senators and House members expressed a range of concerns about the task ahead: how to prepare a replacement plan that can be ready to launch at the time of repeal; how to avoid deep damage to the health insurance market; how to keep premiums affordable for middle-class families; even how to avoid the political consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood, the women’s health-care organization, as many Republicans hope to do with the repeal of the ACA.

“We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created” with repeal, said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). “That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”

Recordings of closed sessions at the Republican policy retreat in Philadelphia this week were sent late Thursday to The Washington Post and several other news outlets from an anonymous email address. The remarks of all lawmakers quoted in this story were confirmed by their offices or by the lawmakers themselves.
They needed a Plan B, but did they need a Plan A first?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Americans Just Don't Understand

You just don't get it, he says:
“There’s been a lot of misinformation,” Gruber told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Wednesday night, saying that everyone agrees Obamacare has increased the number of Americans who now have health insurance.

“But if you ask Americans what Obamacare has done to insurance coverage, almost as many claim it has declined as gone up. I think that’s the prime example of misinformation that’s been spread,” Gruber continued. “I think Americans just don’t understand what this law has done for them.”

Carlson pressed Gruber on his comments, asking if he really thinks Americans are “that dumb” that they don’t know about their own health insurance. But Gruber insisted that he never said anything of the kind but rather was making the point that those who neither benefited from nor have been hurt by Obamacare have “heard a lot of misinformation” about what the law actually does.
Perhaps Mt. Gruber would care to enlighten us, then?

Let's Kill Trump

Nope, no hate here:
Joffe joined panel show ARD-Presseclub to answer questions from the public. A viewer called in to ask if it was possible to impeach President Donald Trump and end the “catastrophe.”
“There has to be a qualified two-thirds majority of the Senate in order for a removal of office to take place,” a female panelist responded. “These are politically and legally pretty high hurdles, a lot would have to happen for it, we’re far away from that.”
Joffe then jumped in with a calm response.
“Murder in the White House, for example,” he said.
the media seems to have no shortage of takers in that area...

Le Left, Non

Viva le conservatism:
Hamon's campaign for "universal income" has catapulted him from obscurity on the left wing of the ruling Socialist Party to within touching distance of its presidential ticket. With 35 percent of the vote in the Socialist primary's first round, the 49-year-old is in pole position to beat ex-Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who got 31 percent, in the decisive second-round ballot on Sunday.

But in Trappes, the blue-collar town west of Paris where he is the elected lawmaker, Hamon hasn't won over Gisquet or her stylist, Francoise Larcher, weaving bright plastic rollers into the entrepreneur's dark head of hair.

Where Hamon sees 750 euros ($800) per month for all liberating the French and their creative forces, and cushioning them from an automated future of fewer jobs for humans, Gisquet and Larcher see just another state handout that France neither needs nor can afford.

"That's the problem with the left. They are far too utopian," said Gisquet. "They make promises they can't keep. That's intolerable."
As are the leftists themselves...

Social Media Safe Space

They want their own Twitter:
Part of Brock’s ShareBlue media network includes plans for a service similar to Twitter where “subscribers pay a fee to participate in a Twitter-like environment for the opposition, free from conservative trolls and harassment.” Subscribers to ShareBlue will be safe in their paid-for echo chamber, interacting only with people who hold the same or similar opinions to their own.

According to Brock, the premium content will be “a powerful way of merging our connection to the grassroots with our platform.” The plan was one of eight presented at a conference in Florida last weekend, with the mission not just to attack recently inaugurated President Donald Trump, but to raise revenue from their media consumers. Documents from the conference were obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and clearly show the link between the activism and money: “impact and monetization are not mutually exclusive at Shareblue,” the documents state.
Because apparently the original Twitter just isn't safe enough...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Repeal Still On Hold?

No repeal quite yet:
President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he wants to repeal and replace the law at effectively the same time. To make that happen, lawmakers are accelerating the development of the replacement plan — and slowing down the law’s repeal.

“We’re speeding up replacement because most senators I talk with want to have a pretty good idea of what the replacement’s going to be before we vote for a repeal,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate health panel, told reporters this week. “Plus we don’t want any of the repeal to take effect until there are concrete, practical alternatives in place.”

But crafting a new health-care system is a complicated endeavor — it took more than a year for the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama — and one on which Republicans have many ideas but little consensus. They are expected to discuss the issue more at the House-Senate joint GOP retreat on Thursday, but are unlikely to produce legislation in time for the Friday deadline.
Time for a plan B, if there is one?

Dining In

Where do the leftists eat, when they make everyone leave?
There are certainly a variety of factors contributing to the squeeze in the restaurant industry. One is rising rents, as technology companies move from suburban Silicon Valley to the cities, lured by tax incentives and by the desire to be closer to workers who opt for urban lifestyles and dislike long commutes. Another factor is that many tech companies are installing their own cafeterias in order to keep employees on the premises. That means less dining out — and a smaller restaurant customer base.

The high cost of living in the Bay Area is another major factor, making it difficult to find workers nearby who are willing to work for the entry-level wages that restaurants can afford to offer. Low unemployment also means a labor shortage, the Times points out, which means those workers who do live nearby generally have more attractive employment options.

But higher mandatory minimum wages certainly have not helped. That is a fact the Bay Area’s left-wing votes may not be willing to face.
Let them eat wage hikes...

The Rotten Report

Populism breeds corruption, or something:
TI said the report showed pervasive public-sector corruption around the world. Sixty-nine percent of 176 countries scored below 50 on the index scale of 0 to 100, with 0 perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 considered "very clean." More countries declined in the index than improved in 2016, it noted.

Once in place, populist leaders appeared almost "immune to challenges about corrupt behavior," Heinrich wrote. The scores of Hungary and Turkey - countries with autocratic leaders - fell in recent years, for example. Argentina, which ousted a populist government, saw its score improve.

To break the "vicious circle" between corruption and the unequal distribution of power and wealth in societies, TI said, governments should stop the revolving door between business leaders and high-ranking government positions.
Isn't that what populism is actually a reaction against?

Another Brick For The Wall

The wall is coming:
"We've been talking about this from the beginning," Trump said, as he signed the border measure during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security.

While it’s not yet clear exactly how such a wall might be funded or how much it would cost, Trump reiterated his vow that Mexico “absolutely” will pay for the project eventually, something the Mexican government has denied.

“Ultimately it will come out of what’s happening with Mexico,” Trump told ABC News in a separate interview, adding construction could begin in a matter of months.

Mexico’s contribution aside, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said existing Homeland Security funding could be used for now to get started, and congressional appropriations eventually would be needed.
States that want money, step forward...

No Feds For Them

Forget the Russians-the states don't want our own government interfering:
While deep political discord may be found on other issues, state secretaries — who oversee all election machinery — appear completely united against the former administration’s attempt to insert the federal government into state-run elections.

Then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson surprised and outraged state election officials with his Jan. 6 action, just two weeks before President-elect Donald Trump was to assume the presidency.

Johnson tried to portray his move as part of the Obama administration’s effort against Russian government hacking of Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign.

But state officials retort that election machines and the infrastructure are not connected to the Internet and therefore are immune to cybersecurity attacks.
The conspiracy theory ends here...

The Trump Way

President Trump warns the windy city:
"If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible `carnage' going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!" Trump posted.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson responded late Tuesday, saying: "The Chicago Police Department is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with DOJ, FBI, DEA and ATF and boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago."

Trump did not offer specifics about how the federal government could help.

The White House website says, "Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement and more effective policing."

This is not the first time Trump used Twitter to voice concern about violence in Chicago. Earlier this month, he posted, “If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!”
As Commander in Chief, he could now do it. The question is, do what?

Busting The Fakers

Time Magazine takes issue with its fake news being attacked:
Here’s what happened: Zeke Miller, Time’s White House correspondent, incorrectly reported on Inauguration Day that the bust of Martin Luther King had been removed from the Oval Office. Soon after, he corrected himself, but the information had already made its way into pool reports.

Miller took to Twitter to issue an apology to the White House.

However, speaking to staff at the Central Intelligence Agency on Saturday, the president attacked Miller, claiming he purposefully spread a bogus report that the bust had been removed.

“So Zeke, Zeke from Time magazine writes this story about ‘I took down’ — I would never do that because I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King,” Trump said. “But this is how dishonest the media is. Now big story, the retraction was like, where? Was it a line or do they even bother putting it in?”

And White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer accused the Time writer of “deliberately false reporting” about Trump’s first day as president.

After repeated attacks on Miller from the White House, Gibbs is not taking the attack lightly.

“The president and White House aides have cited this mistake as an example of ‘deliberately false reporting,'” she wrote. “It was no such thing. We regret that the error occurred, and believe it is important to share some detail about how it happened.”
There is a difference between accidental and deliberate, but for too many in the media not a great one...

Le Gun Patrol

Guns for the snobs, not for thee:
The Telegraph reports that “armed military personnel” are being deployed during Haute Couture Fashion Week for the purposes of protecting the wealthy. The military personnel “have been stationed at some of the city’s most popular monuments, including the Grand Palais, where many of the fashion houses’ high-end shows and parties are taking place.”

The Telegraph notes that Paris saw tourism wane in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack and the November 13, 2015, firearm-based terror attacks. In response to these gun control failures, the city has upped its police presence via “mobile police [stations].” But the gun control polices that hinder law-abiding citizens’ acquisition of guns for self-defense are still in place.
Le peace will be kept for your own good, citizens...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Impeachment Plan

David Brock has one:
“No other progressive organization has the resources and assets that American Bridge has amassed over the past several election cycles to hold Trump, his administration, and the politicians accountable,” the 44-page confidential memo states.
“Only Bridge stands ready with staff already hired, Trump’s web of business ties mapped out, and a massive video archive at our fingertips.”

“The right will bolster Trump aggressively and deceptively. The campaign to stop him must be nonstop. At American Bridge, it has already begun.”

Brock’s group claims to have more than 20,000 hours of video, 289 candidate research books, and the largest available archive of Trump research in the Democratic Party. Within weeks of the election, Bridge launched a “Trump War Room,” which has already scrutinized Trump’s transition team and will continue to watch the personnel, policies, and practices of the administration.
It doesn't matter if there's nothing to base it on-the impeachment crowd will find something to invent...

An Inconvenient Dodger

So, Al, about those claims you made a decade ago:

The Leaving Coast

California, the next breakaway republic?
The 32 percent support rate is sharply higher than the last time the poll asked Californians about secession, in 2014, when one-in-five or 20 percent favored it around the time Scotland held its independence referendum and voted to remain in the United Kingdom.

California also far surpasses the national average favoring secession, which stood at 22 percent, down from 24 percent in 2014.

The poll surveyed 500 Californians among more than 14,000 adults nationwide from Dec. 6 to Jan. 19 and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of one percentage point nationally and five percentage points in California.
On the plus side, the rest of the country could see how badly liberal experiments fail on their own...

Mountain Low

Did Mount Everest lose its peak?
India's top surveyor said Tuesday a team of scientists would be sent to neighbouring Nepal to measure Everest in the hope of putting to rest a debate about the true height of the towering mountain.
A deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in 2015, killing thousands and altering the landscape across the Himalayan nation.
Satellite data at the time suggested the impact of the quake reduced Everest's peak—which officially stands at 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) above sea level—by anywhere between a few millimetres and an inch.
But lingering doubt among the scientific community has prompted a fresh expedition to size up the peak, said India's surveyor general Swarna Subba Rao.
"We will remeasure it," Rao was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, adding the team would set off in two months.
"Two years have passed since the major Nepal earthquake and there's doubt in the scientific community that it did in fact shrink."
It's still a big hill...

Son Of Scalia

Is this the man who could carry on Scalia's legacy?
Gorsuch, 49, was among 21 potential high court candidates circulated by Trump’s team during the campaign, but his stock has been rising lately as several admirers and supporters have been named to positions in the Trump administration.

He currently serves on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. A former clerk for Justice Byron White, also a Colorado native, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, he served in the George W. Bush administration’s Justice Department.

In Gorsuch, supporters see a jurist who has strong academic credentials, a gift for clear writing and a devotion to deciding cases based on the original meaning of the Constitution and the text of statutes, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
As should any judge who truly cares about the meaning of the law...

Working For The People

As part of a busy first week, President Trump makes new friends:
According to the White House, participants included North America's Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey, Laborers' International Union of North America President Terry O'Sullivan, SMART sheet metal workers' union President Joseph Sellers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters President Doug McCarron and Mark McManus, president of the United Association that represents plumbers, pipefitters, welders and others. The union meeting also included several local union officials and follows a gathering of 12 chief executives of large companies at the White House to discuss revitalizing the U.S. manufacturing economy.
....

But even more notable, was the dramatic pivot by the US labor unions, historically stalwart democrat supporters, who have suddenly emerged as big supporters of Trump policies, and perhaps no one more so than AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka who said TPP withdrawal is "a good first step toward building trade policies that benefit workers."

As a reminder, nearly all major unions endorsed Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton, during the presidential election campaign: they now appear to be shifting their allegiance.
Sorry, Democrats, there's a new negotiator in town...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Par None

Apparently there is a problem with golf in China:
China banned the development of new golf courses in 2004, when it had fewer than 200. Since that time, the number of courses more than tripled to 683 before the new crackdown, Xinhua said.

Developers build courses under the guise of parks or other projects, often with the tacit approval of local officials. In one example chronicled by state media, an illegal golf course boasting 58 villas was originally built as a “public sports park,” only to be secretly converted later. Many of China’s cities, meanwhile, face severe land shortages and skyrocketing real estate prices.

Golf has also come under scrutiny by way of the sweeping anti-corruption campaign launched under Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Communist Party warned its 88 million members in 2015 not to play golf, likening it to “extravagant eating and drinking” and other bad habits that were at odds with the party’s stated principles. An editorial in the China Daily newspaper the following spring clarified that party cadres were not to take free memberships or rounds.
In China, golf plays you...

Exit The EPA

Why the EPA needs to go:
Today, EPA is a captive of activist and special-interest groups. Its regulations have nothing to do with protecting the environment. Its rules account for nearly half of the $2 trillion annual cost of complying with all national regulations in the United States.

In 2008, The Heritage Foundation estimated the costs of EPA’s first proposal to regulate greenhouse gases in the name of fighting global warming were “close to $7 trillion and three million manufacturing jobs lost.” According to Heritage, “the sweep of regulations … could severely affect nearly every major energy-using product from cars to lawnmowers, and a million or more businesses and buildings of all types. And all of this sacrifice is in order to make, at best, a minuscule contribution to an overstated environmental threat.”

President Barack Obama has routinely used EPA to circumvent Congress to impose severe regulations on farmers, ranchers, other private landowners, fisheries, and the energy sector. Just last week, the agency rushed through approval of new fuel efficiency standards for automobiles more than a year ahead of schedule to thwart any attempts by the Trump administration to stop it. Courts and Congress have objected to and tried to limit EPA’s abuses, but without noticeable success. Once a genuine success story, EPA has become the biggest obstacle to further environmental progress.
They have become the environment's own worst enemy. It's just too bad that so-called environmentalists won't admit it.

Never Let A Lawsuit Go To Waste

Because he could be violating the law, or something:
According to CREW, the suit will argue that Trump has violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which “prohibits Trump from receiving anything of value from foreign governments, including foreign government-owned businesses, without the approval of Congress,” according to the group.

At the center of the issue is Trump’s failure to fully divest himself from his business empire, which continues to do business with foreign governments and businesses owned by foreign governments, CREW alleges.

Trump said after being elected president late last year that he would transfer power and ownership of his businesses to his two sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, to prevent any appearance of conflicts of interest and avoid violating federal law or the Constitution.
They already want to impeach him for something he hasn't done yet. This is only the next illogical step...

Trading In On Trade

President Trump takes aim at trade:
Trump promised many times on the campaign trail that he would make the move, calling it a potential disaster for the country and maintaining that the deal is unfair to American workers. In June 2016, he said of TPP, “It’s a rape of our country. It’s a harsh word, but that’s what it is – rape of our country.”

TPP is a trade agreement between 12 countries situated along the Pacific Ocean, not including China, that was negotiated for seven years and finally signed in February 2016, though it has not yet been ratified by Congress. Most international trade agreements are ratified by a fast-track Congressional yes/no vote, but Congress has intentionally left TPP out of negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in August 2016 of the trade agreement, “It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration.”

Because Congress has not done anything to ratify the long-negotiated agreement, Trump’s executive order could unilaterally remove the country from the trade deal. If the United States is removed from the agreement, the agreement will likely dissolve. The final chapter of TPP states that the agreement can only be implemented if six of the original 12 countries have ratified it, and those countries participating must represent 85 percent of the combined GDP of the original 12 countries.
The era of fair trade begins?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Freedom Of Choice

No more mandate:
Speaking on ABC's "This Week" program, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said President Donald Trump "may stop enforcing the individual mandate."

Separately, on CBS' "Face the Nation" show, she reiterated Republican promises that no one would lose their health insurance under Obamacare while a replacement is being developed.

"For the 20 million who rely upon the Affordable Care Act in some form, they will not be without coverage during this transition time," she said.

On Friday Trump signed an executive order concerning the 2010 healthcare law, urging U.S. agencies to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation" of provisions deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals.

Healthcare experts had speculated that Trump could expand exemptions from the individual mandate.
If you like your health care, the government shouldn't tell you that you have to get it...

Four Corners Of The Middle East

So this seems to be happening after all:
Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital city since its founding in 1948, but most countries have deferred moving the embassy there because the original UN partition plan for the British Mandate proposed Jerusalem as a city under international sovereignty.

Jordan, the Palestinians, and all surrounding Arab nations rejected the UN plan, and the Jordanian army took over the eastern half of Jerusalem in 1948, expelling the Jewish inhabitants of the Old City, where Jews had lived for several millennia.

With that part of the UN plan effectively rejected by Jordan and the Arab world, Israel established its capital in western Jerusalem. Though Palestinians, in theory, claim all of Jerusalem for themselves, the part of Jerusalem west of the 1949 armistice line (the “1967 lines,” or the “Green Line”) will unquestionably remain part of Israel in any peace agreement.

The core of the Arab and Muslim rejection of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a rejection of Jewish claims to religious and historical connection to the city itself. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat once turned down an offer of shared sovereignty over the Temple Mount because, as he told then-President Bill Clinton, he saw the Jewish claim to the holy site as fictitious.
What this means in the long run may be for history to decide, but the ancient arguments over the city are likely to continue long after Trump is out of office.

The Madness Of Crowd Sizes

While Donald Trump picks a fight with the press over his inauguration attendance, other people are pointing out the real purpose of the mob:
It started when Sellers and Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance got in an argument about the inclusiveness of the march. (RELATED: These Are Some Of The Craziest Signs From The Women’s March)

“The Democratic Party is hollowed out. We did lose 1,000 seats. We did lose governor’s mansions, no question about it,” Sellers said. “The fact is that people came out today in something that we haven’t seen in this country or around this world in a very long period of time. This is not anti-Trump. This is pro-America.”

Nance shot back, saying the march was not inclusive to all women and bringing up the March for Life that occurs each year in D.C.

“March for life, been going on for 43 years, will have about, 400,000, 500,000, next weekend,” she said. “[I] will need all of you back here to have the same conversation next weekend, because that [March for Life] is ignored on a regular basis. This is not new.”

She then brought up the fact that it shouldn’t have been “called a women’s march,” because pro-life women were not included.

That’s when Sellers laughed and corrected Nance, saying it wasn’t about women at all.
Sexism, like racism, and liberalism go well together...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Other Women

So what about the women who aren't marching?
“They can protest, it’s their right, but don’t call it the ‘Women’s March.’ That makes it sounds like it’s a big unified thing, when really they’re picking very divisive issues and protesting against Trump – who by the way is now our president – instead of for something that would bring us all together,” Ellie Todd of South Carolina said.

The Women’s March in Washington, D.C., is expected to draw approximately 500,000 women to the city. The event plans to show the world that “women’s rights are human rights.” Attendees are marching for issues like gay rights, abortion, immigration and the environment.

Another Trump supporter said the march didn’t make sense, because women aren’t being forced to give up their rights.

“I think it’s great, do your thing, but I just don’t know what they’re doing it for. They’re talking about rights, women’s rights, but what rights are being taken away from any women?” Susan Clarke questioned.
Marchers without a cause?

All Wet

There's nothing sadder than a wet dog, or washed-up activists:
The latest target of PETA's ire is the film A Dog's Purpose, which you might otherwise assume they would approve of. After all, it portrays a dog as a thinking spiritual being which speaks through narration. That's how PETA tends to think of all animals. But any alignment with their worldview was apparently negated by the treatment of a canine star in the film. From Variety:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have called for a boycott of Universal’s upcoming movie “A Dog’s Purpose” in the wake of the release of video showing a dog being forced into churning water on the set.
“PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props,” the group said.
The call for the boycott came on Wednesday, when TMZ released a leaked video from November, 2015, footage of a German Shepherd being forced into turbulent water during the making of the film.
...

The dog had reportedly rehearsed the scene without incident prior to filming but grew apprehensive once cameras were rolling. Ultimately, the dog got wet against its will. That's what happened. A dog got wet.
Well, hippies do hate water, therefore they feel animals do, too...

A Whale Of A Tale

There be illiterates here:
The fight has been going on since the middle of 2015, when the former tenants, a restaurant named “The Change,” went out of business. Since then, “Moby Dick’s” has been trying to take over the space. Strata, the building’s owners, have insisted “that the word ‘Dick’ in Moby Dick was an offensive term,” and wouldn’t be allowed.

Strata is also claiming that a “Moby Dick” sign would hurt the value of the other properties nearby and that the restaurant would cause “increased litter and violate city laws on odor.” Mengfa International, the restaurant’s owners, say those claims are ridiculous. They believe the name “isn’t offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame.”

It’s not like this is the first “Moby Dick’s” restaurant either. The franchise started in White Rock, a small city within British Columbia. They planned on expanding into a larger market and this location in Vancouver was going to be the start of that. No one in White Rock has complained about the name, in fact the Yelp reviews are almost completely positive.
Where's Captain Ahab when you need him?

First Order Of The Day

President Trump makes his first move:
Trump says in the order that he will be seeking “prompt repeal” of the Affordable Care Act. Pending full repeal, however, he will “take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act.” He also says the executive order will give individual states “more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.”

The executive order continues:

To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies (agencies) with authorities and responsibilities under the Act shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.
According to Fox News, Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus also issued a memo that directs federal agencies to freeze all new regulations and those that may be in the pipeline until the Trump administration is able to review them.
Draining the swamp, one order at a time...

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Stripping Of The Green

Real change for climate change:
Everything on the White House related to climate change has been placed in a mirror archival web address designated obamawhitehouse.archives.gov.

The new official whitehouse.gov for Trump has in its place an America First Energy Plan.

"A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump administration's energy policies, that future can become a reality," the plan reads.
Fake science is out?

Bye Bye Big Bird?

No more subsidized art?
The next administration is working on plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Hill reported Thursday.

Combined, the three departments cost around $741 million in 2016, and is a small part of a host of budget reforms needed to cut more than a trillion a year from the federal budget.

Eliminating funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which runs PBS and supports shows like Sesame Street, is not a new idea. Mitt Romney suggested cutting the CPB during the 2012 presidential campaign, and was quickly criticized. President Barack Obama even accused Romney of trying to kill Big Bird in a campaign ad.
Looks like Elmo might have to work for a living after all...

Electronic Village People

No fake news for them:
“To me, it’s blatant censorship that I find very surprising,” said Greg Quartucci, who has been a member of the YMCA in Valparaiso for more than a decade.

He said CNN has been a fixture on a TV at the Valparaiso Y for years.

“The timing of this was very peculiar because I think it was basically a day or two after Mr. Trump claimed that CNN was fake news,” Valparaiso YMCA member Greg Quartucci said. “I think they switched to the cooking channel.”
It's more accurate...

Number 45

He's now President. And he's not Barack Obama:
In contrast to his predecessor Barack Obama, who had a habit of mentioning himself often throughout his speeches, Trump mentioned himself just three times in two sentences, while referring to “we” the American people 45 times.

The first time Trump referred to himself came about halfway through the speech, when he said: “The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.”

Trump’s other two references to himself came shortly afterwards.

“I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down,” Trump said. That was the extent to which Trump gave himself any mention in his inaugural address.
He now has the power. Of course, some still aren't happy, and some will need therapy, but it's Trump's turn now. How will he use it?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Obama Bill

Guess who's going to be paying for it:
The increased debt incurred under Obama equals approximately $75,129 for every person in the United States who had a full-time job in December.

The $9,334,590,089,060.56 that the debt had increased under Obama as of the close of business on Wednesday is far more debt than was accumulated by any previous president. It equals nearly twice as much as the $4,889,100,310,609.44 in additional debt that piled up during the eight years George W. Bush served as president.

When Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08. As of the close of business Wednesday, it was $19,961,467,137,973.64. The final debt number for Thursday, Obama’s last full day in office, will not be released until after Donald Trump is sworn in as president on Friday.
The buck never stopped with him...

Looking for A Few Good Bureaucrats

Reform the IRS by...making it bigger?
Mnuchin said that while some have questioned, including himself, the number of employees at the IRS, he would consider increasing the size of the labor force.

“The IRS headcount has gone down quite dramatically, almost 30 percent over the last number of years. I don’t think there is any another government agency that has gone down 30 percent. Especially for an agency that collects revenues, this is something that I’m concerned about,” Mnuchin said.

“Perhaps the IRS just started with way too many people. I am concerned about the staffing of the IRS,” Mnuchin told the Senate panel.
With all due respect, it's about a lack of quality, not quantity...

Fake News Backpedals

On second thought:
The New York Times reported that when Perry accepted the nomination for Secretary of Energy, he “initially misunderstood” the job and had no clue that the energy secretary is in charge of safeguarding the nuclear arsenal.

The source for the Times story, former Trump transition official Michael McKenna, told the Daily Caller Wednesday that the Times misinterpreted him and “of course” Perry understood that the Department of Energy role includes controlling the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Journalists initially cheered the report, but started criticizing the Times story and sharing articles that debunked the original story after it was discovered that the report was false.

“I officially retract my snarky Rick Perry tweet c/o the NYT,” writer Andrew Heaton wrote on Twitter. “I stand by my snarky Dancing with the Stars tweets.” Asked why he was retracting in a reply to his tweet, he added: “It appears the NYT had a pre-existing opinion and then slopped some dubious reporting on top to confirm.”
Even hacks know fake news when they see it...

Preppers On The Left

Bitter losers and their guns?
An unapologetic liberal, he was no fan of firearms. He had never owned one before. But Waugh, a 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, couldn’t shake his fears of a Donald Trump presidency — and all of the chaos it could bring. He imagined hate crimes and violence waged by extremists emboldened by the Republican nominee’s brash, divisive rhetoric. He pictured state-sanctioned roundups of Muslims, gays, and outspoken critics.
This sounds exactly like what a Hillary Clinton administration would look like, just switch out the group members targeted for roundup: Christians, white-men, etc. In fact, this actually happened under President Obama. And as far as "violence waged by extremism," we've also had a steady dose of that too.
“I kept asking myself, ‘Do I want to live under tyranny?'” said Waugh, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and later backed Hillary Clinton. “The answer was absolutely not.”
Waugh is not alone.
“We’re tired of being perceived as wusses who won’t survive when shit hits the fan,” said Stacy, a Texas Democrat who recently caught the prepper bug. She spoke with Vocativ on the condition we not publish her last name. “I, for one, don’t like to be thought of as some precious snowflake.”
Well...you're acting like one, aren't you?

Wanted: An Impeachment

Thus it begins:
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin won election in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District for the first time in 2016, and it appears the former state Senate majority whip wants to make his mark, by impeaching the president-elect. Raskin currently serves as a professor of constitutional law at the American University law school.

“Right now it looks pretty obvious that he’s on a collision course with the Emoluments Clause,” Raskin asserted. “He has refused to divest himself of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of business interests he has around the world doing business with foreign governments.”

Trump announced in a press conference early January that he planned to cede control of all of this business interests to his two sons, Donald Trump, Jr., and Eric Trump. Ivanka Trump moved to Washington, D.C., with Jared Kushner, who has a place in the White House as a key adviser.

“It says that no elected official, either member of Congress or the president of the United States, can accept a gift, an emolument or any payment at all from a foreign government,” Raskin continued. “He [Trump] just simply refuses to accept that reality. So if he goes into office and he refuses to divest himself, the moment that the first conflict comes up, that’s going to look like an impeachable offense.”
And some people simply refuse to accept the reality that they lost. But that's not stopping them from trying...

Fake News Fear

It seems that CNN is engaging in a rather dangerous bit of wishful thinking:
Blitzer introduced the segment, saying, “What if an incoming president and his immediate successors were wiped out on day one?” and from there, CNN contributor Brian Todd took over to outline the line of succession if an attack blew up the inaugural dais, killing both Trump and Pence.

The upshot was that in the case of both heads of state being killed, the Secretary of State would take over. Currently that man is Secretary of State John Kerry, But in case some objected because his office would also end as of noon on Inauguration Day, then it would be the Speaker of the House — Republican Paul Ryan — or even Obama’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon.

The report also noted that the designated survivor appointed by the Obama administration could also become president in the case of a disaster. So, in CNN’s analysis, most of the people who would take over in the worst-case scenario would keep the Obama administration in power, at least indirectly.
Who says he couldn't have had a third term, even by a default coup?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Illegitimate Criticism

The purveyors of fake news don't like being called out:
“I actually think this was a pretty easy call in terms of its news value,” Zucker said. “The fact is, the top four intelligence chiefs of the United States decided to include in their briefing to the president and president-elect a two-page summary of allegations involving the president-elect. That is newsworthy by any definition.”
“We didn’t pass judgment on the allegations. We reported we had not been able to corroborate them. But the news was that the two most powerful people in the world had been briefed on the existence of these allegations.”
“It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimize journalism and an organization that plays such a vital role in our democracy,” Zucker added.
I think CNN has done a pretty good job of that on their own...

Let Them Eat Canapes

The elite wonder wht the poor people are doing this week:
For years, economic inequality has ranked as one of the most discussed issues at Davos, both in the formal conference agenda and in the conversations that fill hallways and the private parties and dinners held throughout town. For years, little to nothing has changed.

“People talk about inequality, how it’s a major problem, the greatest threat to globalization and the global economy,” Mr. Stiglitz said. “You have to recognize that the way we have managed globalization has contributed significantly to inequality. But I have not yet heard a good conversation about what changes in globalization would address inequality.”

That is not an accident, he surmised. Any sincere list would have to include items that involve transferring wealth and power from the sorts of people who come to Davos to ordinary workers via more progressive taxation, increased bargaining rights for labor unions, and greater protections for labor in general.

Same as every other year, Davos is again plastered with the slogan of the World Economic Forum: “Committed to Improving the State of the World.” But whatever improvements are supposed to be made, one can safely assume they will not conflict with those in attendance continuing to enjoy the state of the world as it is now, with canap├ęs and aged Bordeaux and private jets at the ready.
They're there for your own good, you know...

Last Day At The Office

They're outta there:
“You’re always aware that it’s a special privilege to work there and not something to take for granted,” said Nate Lowentheil, who worked on Obama’s National Economic Council for the last three years. “It’s particularly hard knowing the next wave of people coming are going to be working to reverse the things you were working to advance until your very last hour.”

There were tears on the faces of some White House aides on Tuesday as press secretary Josh Earnest appeared in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room for his final press briefing — his 354th as press secretary, Earnest said. Even former staffers were invited to return to the White House witness Earnest’s last round of jousting with reporters.

“I’m going to miss it,” Earnest said. “It will take some getting used to seeing somebody else standing up here doing it.”
Whether anyone will miss them is another matter...

The Malaise Legacy

What, exactly, did Obama accomplish? Not much:
Over the course of his eight years, he has signed just 1,227 bills into law — less, even, than one-term Presidents Carter and George H.W. Bush. Digging deeper into the numbers, Congress spent less time in session, handled fewer business on the chamber floors and generally sputtered for much of Mr. Obama’s tenure, according to The Times’ index.
Blame for the poor showing falls across Washington. Some analysts say a Congress with four years of divided control hamstrung Mr. Obama, while others say the president failed to find ways to work with the legislature that voters gave him — particularly after the 2010 elections.
“The president was never good at reaching across the aisle. So when the composition of Congress changed relative to what it was in his first two years, he wasn’t able to accommodate that very well,” said Andrew Busch, a presidential scholar at Claremont McKenna College in California. “He never accustomed himself to operating in a system where he was not the sole player.”
All hype, no change...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Unhappiest Generation

Obama leaves office, young people hardest hit:
The "Youth Misery Index" spiked to 113.4 in early 2017, up from 109.9 last January, and 83.5 in 2009 when Obama took office, according to the conservative Young America's Foundation. It is calculated by adding youth unemployment, student loan debt, and national debt per capita numbers.

Under Obama, it has increased 36 percent.

"President Obama has done his young supporters a remarkable disservice by running up the national debt at an incredible rate while failing to adequately address the student loan crisis," said Ron Robinson, president of Young America's Foundation, in a statement. "Young people are increasingly conscious of the Left's inability to offer practical solutions to the problems they face every single day."
It's at least one way to turn them into future conservatives...

Payment Due

The debt comes due:
Congress and the president will "need to consider policy changes to the entire range of federal activities and spending— entitlement programs, other mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and revenue."

A new worry is that the federal debt held by the public reached 77 percent of economic output at the end of 2016, and is expected to match the record high of 106 percent in 2032, according to GAO's calculations.

The U.S. has always had some debt, the report noted, but the current situation is "unusual." When the debt hit the previous peak of 106 percent, the government was ramping up defense spending for World War II, and didn't face the large future deficits expected today because of spending commitments not supported by taxes.
Well, we've had the higher taxes, so something else needs to be done...

Short Attention Span Sports

Because, apparently, pro sports isn't dumb enough:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is, according to WFAA-TV, working to figure out how to cater to millennial viewers, who, on average, have an eight-second attention span, according to a 2015 study by Microsoft, because they find it “difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli.”

The biggest detractor for young viewers comes late in the game, when multiple timeouts can stretch the final 30 seconds into 10 minutes or more. During a press conference last week, Silver said the NBA is tracking the end of games “very closely,” adding that the league’s committee plans to take a “fresh look” at game length at the end of the season.

“It’s something that I know all of sports are looking at right now, and that is the format of the game and the length of time it takes to play the game,” he said. “Obviously people, particularly millennials, have increasingly short attention spans, so it’s something as a business we need to pay attention to. … When the last few minutes of the game take an extraordinary amount of time, sometimes it’s incredibly interesting for fans, other times it’s not.”
By this standard, baseball is for geniuses...

The Gorilla In The Room

Yes, you can make jokes about a dead ape:
Led by Dr. Leasa Evinger, the Clemson Director of Residential Living, the training emphasized that RAs have a responsibility to uphold students’ First Amendment rights, according to the student, who also provided an audio recording of the meeting to The Fix.
It launched with a video that introduced RAs to basic First Amendment protections, such as the right of citizens to criticize the government. The video also examined the limits of free speech, including harassment, vandalism and threats. A component of the video also addressed college and university policies outlawing so-called “hate speech,” which are routinely struck down in court.

Several RAs reacted with surprise upon learning “hate speech” is fully protected by the First Amendment, the source in attendance said.
Harambe would have appreciated the humor in this. It's those filthy humans who have a problem...

Across The Divide

Who says Obama couldn't bring people together?
Both groups acknowledge that they are not likely allies. But, the issue of protecting women and girls from potential predators is imperative, the policy director for the Family Policy Alliance said.

“How wrong does something need to be for a Christian family group, and a radical feminist group, to take their argument together to the Supreme Court?” Autumn Leva said. “[This is a] privacy and safety matter and we’re asking the high court to acknowledge that.”

The Obama administration released a mandate last year ordering schools to allow transgenders in the bathroom and locker-rooms of their choice. Schools that don’t follow the new guidelines could risk their federal funding, the administration declared.
Women do know better, after all...

Fake Gate

So Trump should be impeached-before he even takes office?
WATERS: Here’s what I’m trying to get to—if we discover that Donald Trump or advocates played a role in helping to devise strategy, if they are the ones came up with crooked Hillary, if they are the ones that came up with she’s ill or there is something wrong with her energy and the way he basically described her in the campaign, I think that is something that would put the question squarely on the table whether or not he should be impeached.

MATTHEWS: So you think you could have impeachable offense before you take office, in other words?

WATERS: I think that at the point that investigation discovered and can confirm and document any of that — that that they had a role in helping to strategize, they had a role in attempting to determine the outcome in many ways that they used the information that they got from the DNC when they hacked into our email, et cetera — If that was used against Hillary Clinton in someway, yes, I think that’s impeachable.
This is what delusional sore losers really believe...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blogging In The Years: 1991

Operation Desert Storm and the butt-kicking of Saddam Hussein has begun:

Blogging In The Years: 1961

In his farewell address, President Eisenhower has a warning:

The Content Of Their Clothing

Somehow, I don't think this is what MLK had in mind for the future:
The seminar on “The ‘Privilege’ Your Clothes Show and the ‘Power’ Your Attire Speaks” will apparently discuss the numerous “biases” and “societal oppressions” associated with various fashion trends, according to a list of “Teach-in 2017 Sessions” obtained by Campus Reform.

“This session will discuss how fashion trends and cultural appearance can impose oppressive effects on marginalized populations, such as students, employees, women, and transgender identities,” a description for the teach-in explains, adding that participants will “address biases related to natural hair, cultural attire, and the societal oppressions associated with them.”

...

Additionally, the seminar will discuss the “various ways these populations can show up to class/work and be received differently,” with the intent of helping students to “identify pathways to liberation for underrepresented populations in the classroom and in the workplace through authenticity.”
Clothes make the morons...

One More Temper Tantrum

Sore losers are staying home:
The most recent dropouts came as a result of the spat Trump had with Rep. John Lewis over the weekend on Twitter, according to Rep. Ted Lieu of California.

“For me, the personal decision not to attend [the] inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis,” Lieu said in a prepared statement.

Lewis called Trump’s win “illegitimate,” in an interview with NBC News Friday, a move that prompted Trump to fire back a response on Twitter. “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets early Saturday morning.

Lieu and Lewis joined Democratic Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Katherine Clark, John Conyers, Primila Jayapal, Jared Huffman, Mark DeSaulnier, Lacy Clay, Earl Blumenauer, Adam Smith, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Kurt Schrader, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez, Mark Takano, Yvette Clarke, Judy Chu, Jerry Nadler, and Adriano Espaillat.
If they stayed home for the next four years, that would be a bonus IMO...

Red Haze

In North Korea, pot smokes you:
The claim that marijuana is legal in North Korea is not true: The North Korean penal code lists it as a controlled substance in the same category as cocaine and heroin. And the person who would likely help any American charged with a crime in North Korea emphatically rejects the idea that the ban is not enforced. "There should be no doubt that drugs, including marijuana, are illegal here," said Torkel Stiernlof, the Swedish ambassador. The United States has no diplomatic relations with the North, so Sweden's embassy acts as a middleman when U.S. citizens run afoul of North Korean laws. "One can't buy it legally and it would be a criminal offense to smoke it," Stiernlof said. He said that if a foreigner caught violating drug laws in North Korea happened to be an American citizen, he or she could "expect no leniency whatsoever."
You'd have to be high to go there in the first place, wouldn't you?

Free Speech Hurts

Those talk show radio kids ruined everything:
“You had two of the most unpopular presidential candidates selected by the two parties in history. Doesn’t that say something’s wrong, something serious is wrong?” host Steve Kroft asked.

Obama responded, “It indicates that there is a lot of cynicism out there. It indicates that the corrosive nature of everything from talk radio to fake news to negative advertising has made people lack confidence in a lot of our existing institutions. I think it indicates, at least on the Democratic side, that we’ve got more work to do to strengthen our grassroots networks.”

“In some ways, the Democratic Party hadn’t constructed itself to get that message out to the places it needed to get to,” he continued. “The Tea Party I have huge disagreements with, obviously. But I give them credit for having activated themselves. And they made a difference in terms of moving the Republican Party, in terms of moving the country in a particular direction. It’s a direction I disagreed with. But it showed that, in fact, you get involved, if your voice is heard it has an impact.”
Funny how that works in a democracy...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Plan

Rand Paul reveals the Obamacare replacement plan:
His replacement plan aims to take away the mandates on insurance plans sold in the individual market, which is for people who don't get insurance through work. The individual market includes Obamacare's exchanges.

The law requires insurers on the market to offer plans that include 10 essential benefits. Paul said those requirements have added costs.

"We are going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance — that means getting rid of the Obamacare mandate on what you can buy," he said.

Another part of Paul's plan is to ensure that small businesses can group together to buy insurance.

Paul referenced his own ophthalmology small business. He said that if one of his employees got cancer it was "devastating" to insurance costs.

"There is no reason why someone with four employees shouldn't join with hundreds of businesses that are small to get leverage to bring prices down and also to get insurance that can't cancel you," he said.
There are alternatives, and they will be available, whether Obamacare backers want to admit it or not...

Backward The Foundation

Whatever happened to the Clinton Foundation?
The layoffs will take effect April 15, the Clinton Foundation said in a filing with the New York Department of Labor Thursday, citing the discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative. The move is part of a plan put in motion ahead of the presidential election in order to offset a storm of criticism regarding pay-to-play allegations during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
The layoffs were reportedly announced internally in September, ahead of Clinton’s stunning loss to President-elect Donald Trump. Many other employees had already begun looking for or accepting other jobs at that time, as it had become clear the future of the initiative was in doubt. It’s unclear how many of the once 200 strong staff might remain at the Clinton Foundation in some other capacity.
Corruption breeds crumbling...

When In Doubt, Listen

The elite acknowledge:
Critics often accuse the yearly World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps of being a snow-covered playground for well-heeled business and political elites. But founder Klaus Schwab said this year’s event, which opens Monday before a public start Tuesday, is reaching out to populist politicians who have ridden a wave of discontent among the masses.

“It’s important to listen to the populists, and actually we have several sessions where we deal with these issues, and we have representatives of populist parties here with us,” Schwab said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press. “We have to take it (populism) seriously.”

For a forum that strives to take the pulse of the world each year and produce “a real hub of a global discussion,” Schwab said “it would be soundly unrealistic and far from realities if we did not integrate the concerns of populists very much into our own deliberation.”
Power to the populists?

Wage Hike Slaves

Who could have seen this coming? The working poor are making more per hour but taking home less pay. The University of Washington paper asse...