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Thursday, February 11, 2016

The biggest loser in New Hampshire was NAFTA

And the loser is ....NAFTA. Rather than rehash the political misfortunes left in the wake of the New Hampshire primary vote let us look at long range economic consequences. The two winners, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders agree on one key principle, NAFTA has to go. Many who should know the answer ask mockingly how Trump could bring the jobs back from Mexico and China. The answer is very simple. He would scrap the trade treaties with both countries. Yes, politics does make strange bedfellows and the thought of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump standing shoulder to shoulder against Hillary Clinton and what remains of the Republican candidate field only adds credence to the widespread belief of both Sanders and Trump supporters that the system has been deliberately rigged to advantage of the rich and powerful.
Could a President Sanders or Trump simply break a trade treaty? Yes, there is precedence for it. The ultra timid Jimmy Carter unilaterally cancelled a defense treaty. The action was challenged in Goldwater v Carter and the Supreme Court dismissed the challenge without even hearing the legal argument. Similarly George Bush cancelled the ABM Treaty in 2002. But being able to cancel a treaty would not get a President Trump where he would want to be. The absence of NAFTA does not automatically impose tariffs.That would require congressional action and possible compromise with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer who will be the Senate majority leader in 2017.
My thinking is support for tariffs maybe more popular among the congressional Democratic than the GOP. Only 28 congressional Democrats voted to give Obama fast track authority on the TPP so its reasonable to expect Trump would get little help from his own party. In 2010 Democrat Gene Taylor introduced legislation that would end US participation in NAFTA. It attracted 27 co sponsors;
Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y.; Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif.; Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.; Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa; Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass.; Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill.; Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif.; Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill.; Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y.; Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.; Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Wis.; Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.; Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine; Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas; Rep. Mark Schauer, D-Mich.; Rep. Fortney Stark, D-Calif.; Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; Rep. Peter Viclosky, D-Ind.; Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Ohio; and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.
Note that Taylor and several of the Democratic co sponsors are no longer in the House but there is probably more anti NAFTA sentiment in Congress than there was 6 years ago. Like it or not the prime defenders of NAFTA are "conservative" Republicans. For that reason I turn a deaf ear toward the criticism that Trump is not a conservative. The American worker who has lost his job at Whirlpool or Ford or Nabisco cannot eat the lofty conservative principles articulated by Paul Ryan and the National Review. They seem more intent on preserving Bill Clinton's legacy than restoring the nation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rubio's right-Obama knows what he's doing

  I'm not a big Rubio fan, though I was encouraged when Jindal, whom I admire greatly, endorsed him.
  I thought Christie's criticism of him was stupid, considering that everyone on the stump says the same thing over and over. Nothin' new.
  He's right though about Obama.
  I think we've all struggled with wondering whether Obama's just incompetent or intentional when it comes to his attempts to destroy our country.
  Obama has consistent sided with our enemies and not the people who want freedom demonstrated in the uprisings in Islamic countries.
  He's traded traitors for enemy commanders.
  He's run the long term debt into oblivion, adding more in debt than all previous presidents combined.
  He's ridiculed the presidency, ridiculed patriots who oppose him, ridiculed Christians while going out of his way to support the criminal class and those who oppose freedom in this country.
  So in case you didn't know, Obama who always brags that he taught Constitutional law, he didn't.
  He was a "lecturer" who was appointed as a "political favor," and instead taught Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, as shown here in this image:

     Now if you don't know who Alinsky was, he's the one who mentions in the foreword to his book that Lucifer was the first radical who organized communities.
  So when we think about what Obama has done "for" our country, you might want to take a look at these rules for radicals.
  Read carefully because you are seeing Alinsky's most powerful disciple (other than Lucifer) at work every day.
 

Is Hillary wearing her Freudian slips?

  I don't blog every day; there are so many talkers out there I despise just being another voice yelling about injustice and hypocrisy. (That's the next post.)
  I was thinking, though, that I hadn't seen much about Hillary's wardrobe choices which I find quite, interesting.
  First there was the unfortunate choice of an orange pantsuit when being questioned about the legality of her server.
  Yes. She went there.
  She wore orange. 
  Now, one of the problems with this suit, other than the color so reminiscent of certain enclosed places, is something in the vernacular called "camel toe." I shan't say more than that. 
  This was posted over at the Free Republic, where the posters had quite a run with it.
    Then there's the striped shirt she wore the other day, another unfortunate choice, considering the latest news that up to 30 separate emails were generated from Hillary's illegal server, something the FBI seems to be taking seriously and something Hillary's aides need to take seriously when it comes to trying to stay out of their own orange wardrobes. (There's that darn Clinton curse which seems to happen to anyone who gets involved with them.)
  Anyway the WSJ has the picture. Again, this is another flattering item we can really imagine a future president wearing...such gravitas.
  So apropos, considering the circumstances, n'est ce pas?
  Stripes?
  But the one that really got me is yesterday's archbishoprick outfit.
  Quoi, you're asking?
  Well, this outfit reminded me of Chapter 95 of Moby Dick.
  Now, if you haven't read---or perhaps you have, but you didn't realize what you were reading--this chapter, you might not know what is happening.
  The sailor (also called a mincer) who has the pleasure of stripping the whale of his, ah, member's, shall we say, skin takes great delight in donning the, ah, member's skin as a pope's robe.
Ere long, it is taken down; when removing some three feet of it, towards the pointed extremity, and then cutting two slits for arm-holes at the other end, he lengthwise slips himself bodily into it. The mincer now stands before you invested in the full canonicals of his calling. Immemorial to all his order, this investiture alone will adequately protect him, while employed in the peculiar functions of his office.....[SNIP]Arrayed in decent black; occupying a conspicuous pulpit; intent on bible leaves; what a candidate for an archbishoprick, what a lad for a Pope were this mincer!*
  So here's Miz Hillary wearing her archbishoprick's outfit. This was the night of her bitter harsh hoarse concession speech to Bernie...in New Hampshire, which has ended up somehow giving her more delegates than old Bernie.
  Does she see herself as a religious figure, a theological icon?
Reuters photo from Business Insider  
  Um, yeah.
  It looks just the way I imagined it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The difference between the debt and the deficit.Duh.

  I was in Florida last week staying at a mom & pop cottage populated by elderly snow birds and advertising a pool heated to old people temperatures. Very nice.
  I might note that much of the opinion around the cottages was that this country is in trouble.
  Except for one very genteel retired college professor. 
  She had taught "history," (of course) and when we started talking politics, she said, "Ah am read-y fo Hillary!"
  Noticing my Carson cap, she asked in her most tolerant and gracious Southern drawl, "Now what experience does that man have to deh-serve being president?" to which I responded, "Who HAS experience being president?" which shut her up on that topic.
  The truth is that Obama's experience both before and during his presidency is abysmal but why confuse the genteel with facts.
  Anyway she rattled off Obama's so-called financial successes, crowing the party line that Obama is fiscally responsible because he lowered the deficit.
  Personally my eyes roll back into my head when the debt/deficit topic comes up; I worry they'll stay back there permanently when anyone suggests that Obama-of the taxpayer paid millions of dollars vacations-is remotely fiscally responsible.
  Apparently Democrats don't know that there is a difference between what you're spending on an annual basis and what we owe as a nation long term to all those white haired snow birds sipping wine on Florida beaches actually worked for their Social Security checks.
  Heritage:
The administration has placed the nation “on a fiscal collision course,” Boccia said, “with Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid driving more than half of the projected increase in spending over the next decade.”
The Congressional Budget Office continues to warn of mounting debt, noting that “the long-term outlook for the federal budget has worsened dramatically over the past several years.”
Reduced now, the deficit soon will grow, according to CBO. Citing increased health care and retirement entitlements in addition to mounting debt payments, the agency predicts that budget deficits “will rise substantially, to $1 trillion in 2025.”
  I found a pretty good explanation of the difference between debt and deficit over at Politifact for math idiots like me:
Deficit=one year.
Debt=all money owed.
  So when the Obamabots, no matter how edumacated they appear to be, declare that Obama has lowered the deficit and when conservatives claim the deficit came down in spite of Obama, it makes no difference in the long run
  The concern is that this country cannot sustain its astounding debt, that Obama is the 20 trillion president who has doubled the nation's debt and accumulated more debt than all other presidents combined.
  I guess rewriting history is kind of a thing for genteel Southern professors.
  I call it lying.

ABC debate: the RNC lost

  I have several takeaways from last night ABC debate:
  Carly should have been on that stage.
  Many of the questions were intended to bait the candidates into beating up on each other.
  The audience was stacked with RINO establishment fans.
  When Cruz related the story of his addict sister, there was some odd noise in the background from the audience. What was that about? Was that noise intentional to distract from a moving moment by Cruz?
  Trump did pretty well, Cruz got beat up, Bush did better than usual, Christie did great, Rubio was exposed as a stump speecher, Kasich is trying hard to beat his grumpy gnome image and Carson did well. He's a good guy.
  Again, I don't think it's so much a matter of who won but who lost, but if I had to say who won, I"d probably say Christie gained the most ground because he's focused on issues and because he's mentally adroit enough to not only answer questions but point out the weaknesses of other characters.
  Who lost?
  Well, obviously the RNC lost.
  The audience was so obviously stacked any observer faithful enough to spend 3 hours on a Saturday night watching a brawl fest would notice that the RNC is trying to sway our opinions by stacking the audience.
  How dumb is that.
  Trump was right to call them out on that. Now we learn his fans were only given 20 tickets.
    An interesting moment occurred right at the beginning as the candidates were entering. Christie was called, entered, Carson was sent out to but couldn't hear his name so stood in the wings with the camera trained on him.
  Next Trump comes out but apparently chooses to stand with Carson; when Bush passes Trump he flicked him with his hand.
  Does Trump stand with Carson intentionally so he won't be awkward, as Conservative Treehouse says? 
  I don't know.
  But I liked the moment and thought Trump was classy in this instance while Bush looked, well, puny and thoughtless.
  Add that moment to Bush's decision to haul his 90 year old mother out with her walker in the snow. Meh.
  BTW, I don't agree with this YouTuber's assessment that this is a "hilarious" moment.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Finland: Just say no to rape or throw your purse at the rapists!

  Yes. It's come to this.
  Kind of like when our government tells its citizens to all run together at an Islamist terrorist or hide under your desk

Traumatizing Hillary dance

  ARGGGH!! My eyes!
  Shouldn't these women's meaty thighs be squeezed into polyester swimsuits while sitting on a beach in Florida sipping margaritas instead of line dancing in sweaty stretch pants?
  There's not a heifer among 'em! BLEH!
   Several other equally unappealing videos of Hillary dancing are available at the Washington Free Beacon website, if you dare, one of which is unfortunately very suggestive.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

This miserable campaign season

  Personally I hate wallowing in the mud with our presidential candidates.
  Trump's behavior after his "surprise" loss has been disappointing.
  As a Ben Carson fan, I can excuse some of his whining as the result of inexperience, but he needs to move on (even while as Mark Levin and others begin to wonder if Marco Rubio was responsible for Carson's so-called  withdrawal from the race.)
   This indeed is an ugly process; it's almost like that time in a master's English class when the liberal began crying when confronted with her bullying of other students. It wasn't pretty, I tell ya. In fact, it was downright disgusting.
  That's where we are in the campaign: downright disgusting.
  Hillary's a cheater; she's always been a cheater and now that old Bernie is feeling the burn, maybe he understands what some of the country has understood for decades: Rose Law Firm billing records that mysteriously disappear and then reappear in the White House, strange financial transactions, bodies appearing, women being attacked by a Bimbo squad.
  She cheats.
  She lies.
  She tries to ruin people's lives if they disagree with her for any reason. 
  Now when queried about Goldman Sachs' contributions to her campaign, she says this, from the WaPo:
"That’s what they offered," Clinton said in response to Cooper's question about her decision to accept $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in the period between serving as secretary of state and her decision to formally enter the 2016 presidential race.
  Yeah. Well, when you're a crook, you know.
   We can just hope to our dear Lord that SHE doesn't make it.
  This is the season for the madness; we will get through it, hopefully without too much damage.
  And in Ohio we can't wait for our primaries on March 15; fill the air with commercial after commercial, please.
  So looking forward to that.
  Bleh.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Good for Tucker Carlson

Of all the journalist and pundits in the popular media Tucker Carlson would appear to be the least likely to go rogue. The weekend co host of Fox and Friends and top editor of the Daily Caller has written a post for Politico that has flummoxed his conservative brothers in arms. As far as Carlson is concerned the conservative establishment is getting exactly what it deserves in the person of Donald Trump. The Republican Party and the conservative intellectual community have tuned out the rank and file for so long that they have no idea who they are or what they think. They had assumed that the were lassie faire conservatives domestically and Neo Cons in the area of foreign affairs but the voters  have grown poorer with open borders and trade that something less than free. They are wary and weary of nation building. Rather than light a candle the power elite prefers to curse the darkness. The establishment has been so far out of sync with everyday Republicans all it can do is curse them. They regard Trump (rightly) as a traitor to his class. They regard the fellows and directors of the not for profit conservative think tanks as the high priests of conservative orthodoxy and the base as hayseed heretics deserving of their contempt.
Washington is doing fine, thank you, and what good for Washington is good for America. Carlson points out two areas, areas of academic concern to the establishment, but bread and butter issues to the base that Trump has grabbed as his own, immigration and trade. " If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good."
Even the most savvy Tea Party, libertarians missed the boat on immigration. Marco Rubio joined the Gang of 8 feeling he would eventually be vindicated, Jeb Bush observed that illegal immigration was an act of love and not even Ted Cruz thought it was a good idea to wall off the southern border. How quickly all that changed but Carlson views Trump's full frontal assault on political correctness as a change that is taking place even before the first primary vote has been cast. Trump says things that other politicians would be afraid to poll test. Voters have rewarded him by making him top dog in virtually every poll. When the big dog barks it makes many feel freer. Even those who don't agree with the statement are glad to hear someone state the obvious.
Naturally Carlson's insights have not gone down well with conservatives. Charles C. Cooke at National Review has written a spirited rejoinder. Essentially he argues that Carlson draws stronger conclusions than the evidence warrants. He then notes that Trump has yet to win an election and he could always lose. The base was wrong after all? He does however admit that issues of trade have redounded to the favor of the “white collar” contingent.
My own view is close to Carlson's. The world has changed but conservative orthodoxy has not. Establishment conservative imagine a world where in migration is controlled by a competitive labor market while ignoring the reality that the modern welfare state makes it possible for an illegal to take a low paying job from an American while his wage is supplemented by government handouts. Despite the fact that the earned income tax credit invites fraud-billions of dollars each year- it remains popular with the establishment.
In the area of free trade a semantic bait and switch has been perpetrated on the public. Free trade as defined by Obama, Boehner and Ryan has become a covert and underhanded deception more concerned with protections for favored industries than freedom and hell yes the "white collar" contingent gets well at the expense of the many.
My only concern with Trump is that he is not radical enough.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Reflections on the latest debate & Trump rally

  As I've written before, I have my doubts about Trump and am a diehard Ben Carson fan. Indeed, my blogging buddy Hoosierman and I have pretty much disagreed on Trump. We've lost a number of readers, I"m assuming because we are willing to openly discuss all the candidates but have little affection for the establishment candidates like Bush.
  After several personal encounters with a couple Trump fans and reading a number of minority Trump fans and listening to his opponents' spiels, I'm (sort of) wondering if Trump really COULD be elected.
  I wasn't really fair to last night's debate, having subjected myself to switching back and forth between Trump's CNN appearance and the Fox debate until I couldn't stand it anymore.
  Let me just write my impressions, while I admit I probably gave short shrift to the Fox debate.
  CNN's coverage was pretty stink-o. When I flipped back to it the first 15 minutes, their moderators had Bernie Sanders live event on screen while running a large headline saying "Waiting for Trump event."
  Heh.

  But the moderators talked and talked so then I noticed the multiple streaming outlets for Trump not to mention cSpan and YouTube. Even Buzzfeed had a link. There seemed to be an awful lot of online interest in the Trump event; we'll probably never know exactly how much, given all the outlets.
  Which brings me to an interesting point.
  As tech savvy as Democrats claim to be, Trump won that hands down.
  So I flipped back and forth between Fox and cSpan. 
  Frankly, I was insulted by the attitudes of the Fox moderators even though FNC is pretty much the only establishment media I watch. 
  They seemed so old-guard--attractive but pre-determined in their focus on the Republican establishment.
  CNN, otoh, was abysmal with a panel of the creakiest decrepit old line "thinkers" (and I use that term reflectively)  they could find off the media street.
  It was a relief to switch to cSpan, whose callers after the event were made up primarily of Democrat switchers to Trump.
  Trump's event itself was lively and funny with appearances by Diamond and Silk and a couple of hard bitten soldiers who've been through wars. Hoosierman called it "touching" and "classy." Preceding these people were Santorum & Huckabee who, I have to admit, also endeared themselves to the audience.
  Flipping back to the debate was, well, boring, even though Fox is claiming it was the second highest rated show in Fox history. 
  I'm pretty sick of moderators and talking heads acting like they know what's best for all of us dummies and that goes for all of 'em. They don't deserve our trust or even undying attention.
  Bernie Sanders' crowds are evidence that even Democrats are fed up with status quo, though why the lemmings choose to shower their love on an old Commie with long nose hairs who's worshiped at the feet of socialism since he went on his honeymoon to Russia beats me.
  Is Trump trustworthy?
  Who knows? Is anyone?
  I DO know that Trump has the most to lose with his empire and financially, so I do believe his motivations are rooted in a desire for America to be "great again."
  Would Cruz make a good president? Carson? Rubio? 
  I believe these are good men and the fact that the Republican establishment hates Cruz actually makes him more appealing.
  Traditionally I never vote in Ohio primaries as I consider myself an independent. I don't know what I will do when our primary comes around.
    Again, I don't know.
  But the fact that Trump is willing to spend his personal capital to win this race means something.
  The fact that there is very real frustration and energy behind Trump's campaign means something.
  What? Well, we will see, won't we.
  I should add that none of this post is about policy, to my regret, because the populace doesn't really seem to be interested in Trump's shifting policies.

The Real Donald Trump is a pretty classy act.

For those who chose to watch the debate rather than Trump's rally for veterans too bad. The event itself was moving and Trumps showed a side of his persona we have not seen during the campaign. Yes, he was flamboyant, but he also exhibited grace and humility. He introduced his family and then a friend who had donated $1 million to the veterans. That individual whose name escapes had purchased a Vegas property for $110 million some years ago and eventually flipped it for $1 billion plus.
Next he introduced Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee and stepped aside as both spoke. Finally he brought up a silver star winning Green Beret with a prosthetic leg and left the stage as the vet recalled the depression he had found himself in after returning home. He, not Trump, was the featured speaker and his message was everyday 22 veterans commit suicide and he explained that the only way to honor the fallen is to live well to show that they did not die in vain. To him two word validate his extraordinary sacrifice; Thank You. He was joined on the stage by two more vets who presented Trump with a honor ring which is to be worn on the index or trigger finger. It is a symbol of 22Kill, the veterans group that tries to prevent suicide among vets. Believe me this is the side of Trump the Democrats don't want you to see.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Transgender immigrants "humiliated" by searches

  This is an X rated post, something we don't usually do here in the geriatric tea party set, but this is about immigration enforcement and our complete lack of concern about the quality of immigrants coming to this country but the tremendous interest in what Americans are posting on their blog pages and Facebook.

  Thus, the page break.
  How many words are WRONG in this paragraph.

Sheesh! Fox is imploding?

  Don't get me wrong. I'm a Fox fan.
  Sort of.
  If I watch news, it's Fox.
  But lately, I've been thinking I don't need tv at all to find out what's going on.
  Jump to this article, which describes WHY Fox mocked Trump for not appearing in the debate Thursday night, not that I trust the New York Daily News entitled Fox Statement Taunting Trump was 100% Roger Ailes:
New signs emerged today at just how frantic Ailes has become to get Trump back to the table. The two men have not spoken since yesterday, sources told me. This morning, Joe Scarborough reported that Ailes called Trump's daughter Ivanka and wife, Melania, to get through to the GOP front-runner. But Trump is saying he'll only talk to Rupert Murdoch directly. In a further challenge to Ailes's power, Bill O'Reilly is scheduled to host Trump. Last night, Ailes directed Sean Hannity to cancel Trump's interview. O'Reilly's refusal to abide by a ban adds a new dynamic to the clash of egos. For O'Reilly, this is an opportunity to take back star power from Kelly. Sources say O'Reilly feels he made Kelly's career by promoting her on his show, and he's been furious that Kelly surpassed him in the ratings. 
  Then Breitbart reports that Murdoch is behind the immigration import of millions of potential employees, advantaging Marco Rubio in the presidential race:
In asking the question of “what’s wrong over there?” Trump has shined a spotlight on one of Washington’s best kept secrets: namely, Fox’s role via its founder Rupert Murdoch in pushing an open borders agenda. The Trump campaign is a direct threat to Murdoch’s efforts to open America’s borders. Well-concealed from virtually all reporting on Fox’s treatment of Trump is the fact that Murdoch is the co-chair of what is arguably one of the most powerful immigration lobbying firms in country, the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE)
  Get it together, Fox. 
  We KNOW the other media will not fairly cover the actual news that's happening.
  YOU, otoh, were supposed to be fair and balanced.

Burger flippers: we do too much!

  So Twitchy highlights some McDonald's protests around the country that they deserve $15 for flipping hamburgers.
  We've come to recognize these kinds of protests which include the requisite bongo drums and megaphones, professionally printed signs, an inner city minister and shouted chants and coordinated events.
  The always acerbic Twitchy writers find the burger flippers' rationale for nearly doubling their pay and deserving more than paramedics somewhat, um, feeble, as a worker sporting pink hair and batting thick spider lashes exclaims, "Because we just do too much!"
  Another well fed worker bounces up and down while reciting that she can't survive on minimum wage watching the drive through, washing dishes and prepping food is just too much for one person to do, information that would surely help most stay at home mothers.
  One can only imagine what these dependent folks will do when their jobs get eliminated because of automation. Don't they know people don't go to McDonald's anymore and that the company itself is in deep financial trouble? Plus don't they know McDonald's food isn't good for you?
  I mean, come on. Get with the broccolini, sisters!

 

Trump's tactical move out of the debate

  When I first heard Donald Trump is refusing to appear because of Megyn Kelly's role as moderator in Thursday night's debate, I thought that was a mistake. His absence does make him look like a petulant child (a role he has down) and offers opportunities for his opponents to move it.
  The more I've thought about it, however, the more I think it's probably a wise tactical move.
  It accomplishes several goals.
  First, Trump can stand back and tweet with the rest of us about how the candidates do. How priceless will THAT be, considering that Twitter is the place to be to see what's going on in real time. EVERYBODY would be watching.
  Of course, Trump is talking about running an event alongside the debate competitively. 
  He can then see which event garners the most attention in terms of numbers.
  Most important tactically, this act distances himself from Fox, with whom he's had a cozy relationship for many years, phoning in every Monday on F&F in the morning, presumably conducting official interviews in his pajamas at home with a cup of coffee.
  Given that many of Trump's supporters are disaffected Democrats, this act will move him into YAY territory.
  Will it hurt him with conservatives, who are wary of his conservative credentials?
  Well, I don't know about my reader/s, but I've backed away somewhat from Fox for a while, as they seem to be more interested in backing the establishment Republicans in the race than listening to the people who are fed up with status quo, tired of Shep Smith, tired of being lectured to about how to make hot chocolate in a snow storm.
  It's not that I've migrated to other tv media; they all pretty much suck.
  I just find radio far more appealing, particularly Bill Bennett in the morning, Chris Plante 9-12 and the Red Eye guys on podcast in the afternoon. Hey. Podcasting and iHeart Radio have made other media voices easily accessible so there's no reason to watch what parents should do to keep their kids' teeth clean or how I can lose weight at my age. (I know. Eat less. Move more. Duh.)
  So, yeah, Hoosierman, Trump's  making a tactical move. That's what he's doing. 
  He's the one who has the most to lose monetarily of all the candidates and that is part of his appeal. 
  And he's the one who can make his own rules because he's a better politician than all of them.

Kid to Hillary: kids think you're dishonest

  So in that Democrat CNN "town hall" the other night which Hillary opened with a smooch (no, really!) to the moderator Chris Cuomo, Hillary was gently queried by a millennial Bernie supporter named Gipple about her lack of integrity.
  (One suspects the millennial Gipple went off topic because another "questioner" said when asking his questions, "I see WHY they gave YOU this question," when he asked Hillary who her favorite president is.)
  Anyway Gipple tells Hillary his generation thinks she's dishonest, to which she utters a little moan and then offers these excuses
1) she's old, has a lot of political history and thus has been frequently attacked  
2) it's a Republican conspiracy because there is ABSOLUTELY nothing to the accusations 
3)  she's old and been around a long time
  Of course, inappropriate laughter opens this video so if you can tolerate that and the variation of a Chairman Mao pantsuit, here ya go.

"Nothing personal, Megyn, it's only business".

Does anyone seriously think Donald Trump is afraid of Megyn Kelly? Ted Cruz has debated, in effect, 7 times before the Supreme Court yet if the Donald is afraid of him it doesn't show. His decision to skip the Fox News debate is not personal, it's a tactic, and time will tell if he overplayed a very strong hand. There are two possible ways Trump stands to win from his withdrawal from the Fox News debate.
Trump may just be trying to boost his earned media, a term never heard before he appeared on the political scene. It's a journalistic euphemism for free publicity and was coined by the various media that have been duped into providing him free publicity. Somehow in its convoluted way of thinking the media thinks we will feel better toward them if they can affect the image of an all knowing, fair and balanced arbiter of media attention which can dole out bits of attention to those who justly earn it. As you can view Trump's earned media as measured by Google Trends took a quantum leap when it became apparent he would not be appearing in the debate. If you are reading this at a later date remember the graph is updated in real time and may not reflect that surge of interest.



The other possibility would do Mario Puzo proud. Suppose Trump made Roger Ailes an offer he couldn't accept. Get rid of Megyn or else. Trump's campaign has been a high wire act from the get go and this tactic could succeed or fail in grand fashion. He has the advantage of watching the reactions and commentary for the next day and a half or so and if things are not going his way announce a change of heart. That would cost him some credibility but prevent an all out disaster in Iowa. Suppose though, that opinion is mixed or in his favor by crunch time? He can skip the debate. It could be that Trump senses he has a strong lead in Iowa. Then appearing in the debate only aids Ted Cruz and the rest of the field. Two quick wins in Iowa and New Hampshire maybe all Trump needs to secure the nomination as the rest of the demoralized field frets, moans and goes home. Whatever Trump's motivations may be Kelly is little more than a prop. "Nothing personal, Megyn, it's only business".

Monday, January 25, 2016

Loan Sharking for Academia

While Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are engaged in a bidding war to raid the federal treasury to meet the spiraling cost of college education Republicans have yet to enter into that fray. Like most federal program student aid was begun with presumed good intentions and very little thought. There is a parallel to federally financed housing which was marketed as tool to help middle income families afford modest housing but which has evolved into a taxpayer funded Frankenstein that allows Fannie and Freddy to loan up to $938,250 to put the truly needy into the Virgin Island vacation home they justly deserve. The end result of the expanded supply of credit means more money to borrow leading to larger homes for each succeeding generation as family size declines.
Higher education has embraced the federal credit bubble with uncontrollable delight. When the federal government allows students to borrow more colleges have a remarkable propensity to charge and spend more. There is more to spend on professors to teach advocacy courses, climbing walls, luxury dorms, more administrators and preposterously overpaid presidents. Why? Because they can. Non profit institutions are the least efficient users of scarce resource let alone copious resources. Since they cannot retain funds the only legal option is to spend funds.
Readers of the Washington Post must be especially gullible with no grasp of economics. manages to get everything wrong in this post. First he observes " Students demand more services outside the classroom and colleges are providing more amenities to attract applicants." Wrong. People in hell want ice water. We all like 4 star restaurants but most of us eat at fast food emporiums most of the time. Students who demand more should pay more but the cost inflation is spread over the entire price range and is not segregated to the elite schools. Does Selingo expect us to believe the students at Oakland City College are as demanding as students at Princeton?
The writer follows up that lapse in common sense with, " Students are shouldering much more of the cost of their degree at public colleges and universities." Wrong again. The cost is not diminished just because the taxpayer picks up the tab. Paying Janet Napolitano as head of the California University system $600,000 per annum and leasing her a home that rents for $9,950 per month is the same whether it is borne by the taxpayers or the students. Following Selingo's logic education would be free if the taxpayers picked up 100% of the tab. This guy would have a real future in a Sanders administration.
Probably the availability of federally insured loans is the prime driver of the education bubble but let us visit one other probable culprit namely financial aid obtained through the institution. Parents of the prospective student are required to disclose their income and some of their assets. In other words the institution want to know how much the applicant has to spend before it offers financial assistance. How much money you got to spend, kid? Curb your eleemosynary instincts. The lofty sounding " based on the student's ability to pay" is a clever way of saying that they intend to extract the maximum each student can pay all the way up to the sticker price. Would you care to have a cable bill based on your ability to pay and what would be the sticker price for the basic package? Not to worry the FCC would have the cable provider on a crucifix for such a pricing scheme.
Fortunately there is some guidance from a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York albeit the conclusions are politically painful. They are even too painful to be mentioned in the popular media as they point to the federal student loan programs and Pell Grants as the prime drivers of academic price inflation. Damn near a micro aggression! Below is the abstract of the study.


When students fund their education through loans, changes in student borrowing and tuition are interlinked. Higher tuition costs raise loan demand, but loan supply also affects equilibrium tuition costs—for example, by relaxing students’ funding constraints. To resolve this simultaneity
problem, we exploit detailed student-level financial data and changes in federal student aid programs to identify the impact of increased student loan funding on tuition. We find that institutions more exposed to changes in the subsidized federal loan program increased their tuition disproportionately around these policy changes, with a sizable pass-through effect on
tuition of about 65 percent. We also find that Pell Grant aid and the unsubsidized federal loan program have pass-through effects on tuition, although these are economically and statistically not as strong. The subsidized loan effect on tuition is most pronounced for expensive, private
institutions that are somewhat, but not among the most, selective.
In a nutshell, each federal dollar available to be borrowed results in a $.65 increase in aggregate tuition. I would strongly encourage the reader to read the report as it's impossible to do justice to a 50 page report in this space but allow me one more surd quote.
From a welfare perspective, these estimates suggest that, while one would expect a student aid expansion to benefit its recipients, the subsidized loan expansion could have been to their detriment, on net, because of the sizable and offsetting tuition effect.

Pell Grants also seem to have driven tuition higher, but the net cost of attendance for a student declined because the pass through was less than one and grants do not require a repayment of principal.
So by upping the caps on the loan limits Congress in its infinite wisdom has made the students but not the institutions worse off. The institutions are doing just fine. Harvard, for example, has bulked up its endowment to a hefty $38 billion even while paying Faux Cherokee Elizabeth Warren $300,000 to teach a single class. It was the students, not Harvard, who bore the high price of her cheap hypocrisy.
Before we give it up for all the moderate Republicans who crossed the aisle to inflict undue financial stress on an entire generation lets explore the difference between student debt and housing debt ie mortagages. A housing loan goes toward the purchase of an asset. An educational loan is a capital investment. It is not a store of wealth. It is a personal investment made to enhance income therefore the higher the cost the lower real lifetime income. Think you want to spend an extra hundred grand and 4 years to earn a PHD in Advanced Vegan Studies? Then that additional debt must be recouped over a shorter working span. If the cost spiral in higher education continues only the very rich and the very dumb will attend college. The smart money will figure they are better off to start a career right out of high school than to pay what will eventually be a 6 figure annual cost for a degree.
Sooner or later someone is going to have to tell Hillary she is full of shit. There is no logical or moral reason to continue this failed model. It is debt for the sake of debt and if the Fed study is to be believed it is to the detriment of an entire generation. Would a Cruz or Trump find the courage to blow the whistle on this failed policy? Who knows? Debate on matters such as this are long on platitudes and short on logic. Who wants to tell the precious millennials that they been suckered with the help of their congressman?
Ain' t it great to be old?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another black Democrat for Trump

  I've said repeatedly I simply don't know what to make of Trump. I don't think I can trust him; he's supported tariffs, forcing companies to stay in the US even if they can't make it, the KELO decision, he's proven he CAN Be bought by saying he'd increase ethanol, even though it's detrimental to vehicles and completely ineffective yet destructive to the environment.
  I don't want to see do to the country what Obama's done, which is ridicule the half that doesn't support him.
  However.
  I sure don't trust Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who are scrambling to keep their parking spots and drivers in the Capitol even while thumbing their noses at Americans in general. 
  But when you see another black Democrat all out for Trump, it makes you think.
  Anyway, this lady is obviously intelligent and has rethought her lifelong support for the Democrat party.
  One wonders when black people will wake up. They've toed the line for the Democrat party for decades and been treated like a subservient bloc that is always taken for granted. Nothing's gotten better for them under Obama: only worse.
  And Obama importing millions of low wage workers (that will make the Chamber of Commerce bloc happy) is only going to hurt native Americans.
  And, yes, I do mean native Americans.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Political hackery ain't what it used to be

Now NRO has been bumped from the next GOP debate in Houston. Can anyone blame the Rience Pribus and the RNC? Unlike the DNC the national Republican Party is trying to affect the pretense of fairness. NRO picked this fight, didn't lay a glove on Trump and runs home with a bloody nose. It's not clear what National Review hoped to accomplish. It assembled 22 well know conservatives writers to assail the character and  honesty of Trump, writers who feel compelled to warn the Trumpsters of the errors in their thinking, forgetting that Trump's heftiest support comes from non college men who won't read a damn word they wrote. Maybe it's cathartic. Maybe NRO paid good money for what seemed to be a collection of copy and pastes of excerpts from previous articles and posts.
For all the hoopla generated on Twitter the editorial was a bust. In general the writers conveyed a Clintonesque "I feel your pain you poor dumb bastards" tone. Yes, they admitted the poor lost souls had followed them down to defeat with McCain and Romney but now was not the time to end that losing streak. The least sympathetic theme was the perpetual hand wringing about the future of the Republican Party as if the challenges it faces today are not enough. Yes, electing Trump would make the Mexicans and the Muslims mad and the Republican Party would not be inclusive. Up you! The base of the party is telling the leadership to drop dead and these clowns seem to think that more unhappy voters is the answer.
What was NRO thinking? If the millions of dollars spent against Trump have not impeded his success why would the opinions of a score of scribblers do the trick?