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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."

  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.
  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?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Jeb passes Rubio as oil drops to $8.35

Shocker! We have been hearing for some weeks that the GOP establishment will mount a last ditch effort to stop Trump in South Carolina. Good luck on that but the establishment has found some stroke. An Augusta Chronicle poll of 683 registered Republicans puts Jeb Bush in third place ahead of Marco Rubio. The top five are;

Trump 32%
Cruz 18%
Bush 13%
Rubio 11%
Carson 9%

In an entirely unrelated matter but on a subject of interest to me the price of oil has dropped to $8 a barrel, Canadian oil that is. Specifically I'm referring to bitumen, the tar sands oil that is traded on the Alberta Exchange. Friday it closed at $8.35. Bitumen is cheaper than most other types of crude, because it has to be diluted with more-expensive lighter petroleum, and then transported thousands of miles from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf coast. Since most of the spending for bitumen extraction comes up front, and thus is a sunk cost, production will continue and grow. Canada will need more pipeline capacity to transport bitumen out of Alberta by 2019 so pressure to build the Keystone pipeline will not abate.

Hillary insults public with "wacky" appearances

  Looking like an apple with a head on top with misshapen t-rex arms hanging out of too short knit red sleeves, Hillary! apparently appeared on the Lifetime channel the other day, though you may have missed it because it was so embarrassing her staff/the MSM buried it.
  Why is she subjecting us to these episodic painful attempts to relate to the average moron? Why? WHY?
  In this video, I don't think she's ever really looked worse, physically and socially.
  The New York Post illustrates all the awkward and demeaning detail of trying to make Hillary look human by scheduling these encounters with the idiocracy.
  Even worse than having to watch her appearances is the understanding that this sort of garbage actually appeals to an intelligent public, though they probably do appeal to the average Hillary! fan.
  Appearing with the very green GloZell makes this manipulative liar look presidential to the undecided voter who already gets nauseated listening to her?
  I made it through the first 6 minutes and last 4 minutes.
  The Post calls it pandering; I say it's insulting.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Why are Democrats so anti-immigrant?

  First Ted Cruz whose "genuine" Cuban roots are sometimes questioned but only supported when he decides to run for president. Witness: a Democrat has filed a lawsuit questioning his "authenticity" which is pretty usual for anyone of so-called "minority" status whose politics happened to be conservative.
  Now they're after Marco Rubio, who was born in Florida.
  It's kinda like morality with Democrats. The only morality that matters is Republicans', not Democrats,' who have none so therefore no standards to meet.
  And I have to ask.
  Why are Democrats so anti-immigrant?

Janet Yellen's bear market

Just two weeks into the year the stock market is off to its worst beginning in history. One suspects that in due course Obama will read about it in the newspapers and dismiss public concerns as overblown and partisan driven. Yes, with Fed chair Janet Yellen at the helm the nation has nothing to fear but fear itself along with gun violence, campus rape, climate change and Islamophobia.
Janice Yellen is probably no worse than anyone else who has chaired the Fed. She is following the policy begun by gentle Ben Bernanke of keeping interest rates ridiculously low. Her sole action, after almost 2 years on the job, was raising the prime interest rate 1/4 of one percent and now half of Wall Street thinks she got that wrong. What would an incompetent Fed chair have done? Loaded up on Powerball tickets? In all seriousness, if Ms Yellen were to die and her death was not reported in the media would it make any difference to the economy? "By god if Janet Yellen had been alive interest rates would be at 0.5% by now. Love her or hate her that bitch was decisive."
Up until 2009 the stock market was outside the purview of government. The SEC attempted to regulate trading when its lawyers could pry themselves away from online porn but for the most part it was left alone. With Bernanke the Federal Reserve embarked on an unprecedented scheme to create wealth by inflating the value of securities. There can be no other explanation. If that was not the Fed's intention in the beginning it could surely have seen the results after a few months. Money that would have been paid to savers in their passbook accounts and cd's was redirected to create an asset bubble in securities. Now that wealth is about to be destroyed by a bear market. Put another way a bear market signifies a failed Fed policy.
Occupy Wall Street got some of it right but lacked the brain power to manage lunch money. To be sure government operates to the advantage of the 1% but there have been some benefits to the consumer. Lower interest rates have allowed a reduction in credit card debt. Cell phone purchase plans from the carriers would never work at a 6% prime and oil and gas drilling were financed by low interest bonds which begot lower fuel prices which some say adds to the problem. Hell of a mess you got there Mr. President. Those of us who still harbor a Puritanical ethic may get a bit queasy if the market continues to drop. If there is no such thing as a free lunch and we have already eaten that lunch what happens? Is there a price to pay? As many pointed out at the time it began its quantitative easing the Fed was in unknown territory. Will the consequences be something like we and the Fed have never known?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Graham endorses Jeb Bush

  As in Lindsey Graham.
  Big surprise.
  Not. One of the worst, most unappealing candidates endorses another of the same.
  Really, these RINOs stick together, don't they?
  And a Trump win scares the heck out of them. 
  He's hated by the establishment Republicans, which is another reason to endorse Cruz.

So who lost last night's debate?

  So naturally today, the talking heads are spinning and reflecting over last night's debate so what the heck.
  I wasn't sure I could watch another debate for a number of reasons; one reason is that horrendous SOTU speech. Politics ain't beanbag but that ridiculous dude is POTUS and meaner than an junk yard dog. 
  He's anti-American. Who can doubt that at this point? Or perhaps Americaphobic is a better term.
  So two long political nights was a lot for one week but the evening probed to be quite entertaining, to my surprise. 
  Certainly news junkies have heard all this before and many times but watching the verbal repartee was worth the time investment and the moderators did a fine job asking substantive questions without making the debate about themselves.
  So who won?
  I think it's more a matter of who lost than who won. Sorry, but I think Jeb Bush lost, regardless what the glitterati says today. John Kasich is an unpleasant little gnome. He too lost.
  The other five did well. Again, regardless what the talking heads are saying, I thought Carson acquitted himself well, not just because of the good natured jokes, but because he was knowledgeable and relevant to today's problems. I particularly liked Carson's observation that America has become so coarse in every day life and particularly online.
  Christie was great: feisty and on point defending his record of defending the country and clarifying his position as a conservative, though I always wonder when candidates do that what's true and what's not. Loved Christie's comment about kicking Obama's butt out of the White House.
  It's true that The Donald, Cruz and Rubio all did well, and particularly Trump & Cruz.
  While I appreciated Cruz's observation that Trump embodies "New York values" which we all understand, Trump trumped him with the eloquent and evocative 9/11 memories. Yeah, Cruz was right about New York values but Trump was too. Cruz seemed to know it was time to get out of that disastrous exchange.
  Personally I'm fed up with Republican attacks on other Republicans; consequently Trump's response to Nikki Haley's "angry" criticism was quite satisfying.
  Because we ARE angry: we're angry that the IRS is targeting citizens, we're angry that the world is on fire because America's leadership has abandoned any global role, we're angry that our government does not appear to care that criminals are pouring in through our borders, we're angry that our government works against us with regulations, lawsuits, edicts, commands, even while partying up in The Capitol.
  What do I want from Republicans?
  Stick to the issues. 
  Quit attacking fellow Republicans. The race isn't against each other but the Left which is ruining our rule of law and the rights of all citizens.
  It's never been easier.
  And it's really about who lost last night, not who won. 
  Powerline's take is great on the debate though not perfect, IMHO.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

RT Television signs Ed Schultz

Wow! If you can't cut it on MSNBC where can you find a job? RT, the Russian propaganda channel, of course. Yup, intellectually challenged Special Ed Schultz will be wooing the looniest of the loony left on RT TV. Where do we go from here? Bruce Jenner from Wheaties to Froot Loops?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

No, cheap oil won't hurt us.

My blogging buddy suggested that I explain why I view the recent decline in oil price to be good not only for consumers but for the nation. First the obvious. The less the typical American has to spend on gasoline and heating oil or natural gas the more money he has to spend on other things. There is a certain carping on CNBC that the consumer is sitting on those savings rather than spending them, ergo falling energy prices have not buoyed the economy as one would have expected nevertheless auto makers sold 17.5 million cars and light trucks in the U.S. last year, a 5.7% increase, besting an all time high set 15 years ago. I'm more inclined to credit the recent decline in fuel prices for this than the ongoing Fed policy the nation has endured for the last 7 years.
Second, from a partisan viewpoint, anything that make green energy more expensive compared to conventional energy sources is a positive good. In Obama's world we would all be riding high speed rail trains to nowhere with a few of exceptional individuals driving Chevy Volts, eating green leafy vegetables and shooting up with clean needles in gun free zone so as not to overburden Obamacare. Furthermore neither Donald Trump nor anyone else can make American great again with crude at $90 a barrel. A supply of cheap energy fueled America's growth and it more than coincidence that the loss of manufacturing jobs accompanied higher energy prices through the Bush years.
Third, who is to say prices are too low or too high? Yes, markets are messy but they are brutally efficient. You don't like brutal? Consider the compassion of FDR. Farm commodity prices were at historic lows during the great depression. Since about a third of the nation lived on farms at that time the solution was to drive up the prices of everything from raisins to butter, from corn, wheat, and soy beans to apples and oranges never mind that urban dwellers were already living on the verge of starvation. Now there is compassion! To compound the evil the farm price supports and market orders remain in effect today nearly a century after the supposed need has passed and they corrupt honest people like Marco Rubio who craves sugar subsidies.
From a provincial point of view while 36 oil and gas have recently filed for bankruptcy none of them have been in the Utica / Marcellus Shales. Magnum Hunter Resources is in a virtual ICU but still clings to life. A few years ago I wrote a post on America's most reckless billionaire, Aubrey McClendon. In that post I noted that one common thing all of the legendary oilmen from H.L. Hunt to Sid Richardson, to T.Boone Pickens to McClendon had in common was an appetite for risk. You pay your money and you take your chances. Energy development is still the rough, tough business it was 100 years ago. No one gets a medal just for showing up. The 36 companies that have folded have only about $13 billion in cumulative secured and unsecured debt so fears that failing oil prices will play havoc in the junk bond market so far are exaggerated.
Almost 45 years ago we cried at the rise of OPEC now today we are mourning it's demise. WTF! Saudi Arabia has reverted to doing what it did prior to 1973, that is pump all the oil it can but today we view that as a threat to our own energy industry and even to world order. Finally, after almost a half century the OPEC cartel has lost it punch and we fret? Saudi Arabia didn't kill our domestic oil industry when it was selling crude a $3 a barrel and there is little reason to think it can now. In the meantime it has made a fine mess of the balance sheet of Venezuela, Russia, and Iran. Bring it on!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A do nothing Congress? We should be so lucky.

There is a debate, I would assert there should be none, as to whether low oil prices are good or bad for the economy. I'll address that in another post but first a comment relative to the low mentality of our elected leadership in Washington. Notice in the chart below that the country accelerated filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2000 and continued on that course through 2005. This action drove up the cost of gasoline for consumers but as far as an investment strategy may have been on point. As the price of a commodity rises a wise investors increases his holdings. From 2005 onward with the reserves near 100% of capacity Congress and the Bush and Obama administrations held steady.

Now that crude prices are testing the $30 per barrel handle what does Congress want to do? Sell of course. Actually it's a bit more than want to. The omnibus spending bill mandates that Congress sell at a loss. This is the sort of gimmickry we have come to expect from McConnell, Boehner and now Ryan as they lack the courage to make deep budget cuts yet insist on placating a president who does not care if the country goes belly up. The budget deal sells 58 million barrels of oil from the Reserve to raise around $5 billion of general revenue, ramping up from 5 million barrels per year in 2018 to 10 million by 2025. So beginning 2018 we'll begin selling off the SPR come hell or high water and regardless of the price. It could be that the SPR has become superfulous now that the country produces 9 million barrels a day but it would have been nice to have had that debate.

Pre SOTU partying, an empty chair and the Obama presidency

  I don't know what the heck is going on over at the website in anticipation of Obama's last SOTU speech, but it's basically streaming a party with black performers under the heading, "Watch how far we've come in 7 years."
  As if the only thing that's mattered during Obama's presidency is partying.
  This is whacko. Apparently Obama's thrown all caution to the wind, while we wait to hear the fate of 10 US sailors imprisoned by Iran.
  Showbiz, as usual, is on top of this demeaning occasion:
Tonight on the White House website there will be a first ever Station of the Union address pre-show. It begins at 8pm and is hosted by Terrence Jenkins on the White House website. There may be an audience since it’s coming “straight from the theater at the Executive Office Building.
  Somehow the whole empty chair thing Clint Eastwood started seems really appropriate right now. And, yes, Obama's keeping an empty chair next to Michelle, which is nothing new to Whtie House observers.
  We've been noticing that empty chair for about, say, 7 years.

We Want the Truth

My favorite commentator on Islam unloads on Obama and the media while explaining the Trump phenomenon.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Matt Bevin scraps Obamacare exchange, goes after Medicaid expansion

Sometimes it's nice to be wrong. Going back two years to the Kentucky GOP primary for Mitch McConnell's senate seat I've doubted Matt Bevin's authenticity. You just don't find many libertarian / Tea Party types running hedge funds. Today Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin exceeded my expectations by a power of 10 by rescinding former Governor Steve Beshear's executive order that established kynect, Kentucky's Obamacare exchange. As for the Medicaid expansion Bevin said people covered by Medicaid should expect no major changes this year while he seeks permission from federal officials to restructure the program for 2017 to include more cost-sharing by consumers, such as co-pays or premiums. Nota bene Barack Obama executive orders can be undone very quickly.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

$1 gas,$10 smartphones and a Trump presidency?

Today Drudge linked to a USA Today post that predicted $1 a gallon gas. I made that prediction sometime ago and also predicted (actually there had been an announcement to that effect) a $10 smartphone that Walmart would market. Parenthetically the $10 smartphone is a reality which I proved to myself by purchasing one with the pick up at store option. I cost $9.82 before sales tax. If you seriously need a phone you may want to spend a little more but if you just want something that your 9 year old can carry in his hip pocket or maybe something you could smuggle into your girlfriend in the county lockup this is the phone for you. Getting back to the prediction of dollar gas there is really only one variable. Supply. If nothing changes in world oil production the price of crude will eventually break $20 per barrel which would give us $1 a gallon gasoline. In the post I linked above I noted that the price of gas had dropped to $1.38 in Henderson, Kentucky before rebounding.
Another prediction that caught my eye was a post at the Hill that noted Economist Art Laffer predicted a Republican landside. “I would be surprised if the Republicans don’t take 45, 46, 47 states out of the 50,” Laffer told host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on New York’s AM-970 on Sunday...“I mean, I think we’re going to landslide this election.” Where does the Hill get these kids? In the video the narrator refers to Laffer as Lafer and says he served in the Reagan Administration which is tantamount to saying Ike served in the Second World War. Laffer gave the nation the Laffer curve which provided the intellectual underpinning for Reagan's tax cuts. It replaced the Phillips curve which provided the intellectual underpinning for the excuses made for Jimmy Carter's dismal economy.
I'm not sure I'm as bullish on the next Republican nominee as Laffer and I don't know his track record as a political prognosticator but as my blogging partner noted I do see wide road to the White House for Donald Trump. I have written that Hillary will be the weakest candidate the Democrats have fielded since George McGovern and the most flawed candidate in the history of the republic. Furthermore I'll predict the Clinton campaign will be just as inept at handling Trump as the Bush campaign. While 45 to 47 state projections are maybe at nose bleed levels only a one million vote swing in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia would have won those 4 states and the presidency for Mitt Romney. There are easily one million disaffected Democrats in those states and if Trump cannot flip them the Republican Party should disband. A year from now we should be buying dollar a gallon gas, talking on $10 smartphones (well maybe our kids and grand kids will) and looking forward to Trump's inauguration.

Save your anger for the BLM and forget the Bundy brothers

Unlike most congressional speeches Rep. Greg Walden's is long on the facts and short on polemics. He documents the excesses of the Bureau of Land Management which one suspects the harbors contempt for the citizens living on federal and adjacent lands. I had intended to edit the high points of this video but Rep. Walden's speech has no low points, no stilted oratory, just a concise recitation of the facts that led to the wrongful incarceration of two honest ranchers.

The downside of building a better mouse trap

Suppose you built a machine that would last forever. What would you get? A recall notice from Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Servel gas refrigerator was built in Evansville, Indiana from 1933 to 1957 and many are still in use as the above contemporary ad on Ebay confirms. The gas refrigerator has no moving parts meaning they last almost forever. They use a process called absorption refrigeration where a mixture of ammonia, water and hydrogen is heated by a gas flame. If you are really that interested in the details Wikipedia explains them here. The unremarkable feature of absorption refrigeration is that it does not cool enough to freeze water so Servel Inc. folded with the advent of electric refrigerators. The venerable Servel was the first step up from the icebox which needed home delivery of block ice. The beauty of the design was that the orifice could be modified to burn propane and even kerosene and today many Servel's function in remote hunting cabins and other off the grid locations.

While millions of Servel refrigerators were in wide use there were no complaints about safety but after 40 years in service the gas orifices needed cleaning. A dirty gas burner, because incomplete combustion produces carbon monoxide is a safety hazard but the remedy is to simply clean the orifices. By 1990 the CPSC was in a snit because some 22 people had succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning so it issued a recall and much more. It created the  Servel Corrective Action Committee. Now there is the job for you! Dream of being a board member of the Servel Correction Action Committee in the next administration.

Forcing a company that had gone out of business 33 years prior presented a problem but not a problem that could not be solved by regulatory bullying. The CPSC ran down the company that bought up the Servel brand rights, Dometic, and forced it to compensate Servel owners for "reasonable disposal" costs plus a $100 rebate. Dometic manufactures RV refrigerators and as the CPSC says is completely blameless." The Servel refrigerators in question are no longer being produced and are in no way associated with the Dometic Corp., the current manufacturer of Servel brand name products." The only safety feature Dometic added was a vent pipe.

In any event by 1998 CPSC reported that " Since this recall program was launched in 1990, more than 22,000 refrigerators have been destroyed. On average, 100 new requests for rebates are mailed to SCAC monthly, demonstrating that there are still many more in use."
As evident by the Ebay ad 18 years after the recall and 59 years after the last production date there is still some demand for these remarkable machines. This says a lot about the quality of manufacturing the country once had and more than big government advocates would want us to know about bureaucratic efficiency.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Yes, Mark Kelly, the feds COULD confiscate 350 million guns. Here's how

  Obama's "town hall" was watched by fewer than 10% of the number of people who watched the Republican debate.
  Which is a shame because several women put Obama in his place.
  The comment which sticks in my craw is Mark Kelly's derisive question to Obama:
Mark Kelly, the astronaut and husband of former Arizona congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords, told Obama the two gun control advocates have encountered fears that expanding background checks "will lead to a (gun) registry, which will lead to confiscation, which will lead to a tyrannical government."
"With 350 million guns in 65 million places, households ... if the federal government wanted to confiscate those objects, how would they do that?" Kelly asked.
Cooper jumped in, asking: "Is fair to call it a conspiracy? I mean, a lot of people really believe this, deep down -- that they just don't trust you."
"I'm sorry, but yes, it is fair to call it a conspiracy," Obama said. "What are you saying? Are you suggesting that the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so that we can enforce marshal law is a conspiracy? Yes, that is a conspiracy. I would hope you would agree with that. Is that controversial?"
  He's mocking how the federal government could possibly confiscate all guns?
  Simple, dolt.
  If you're the federal government, you decree this:
  Everyone must turn in the guns by _____ date. Anyone who does not will be fined ____dollars and serve a minimum of ______ years in prison for possession.
  Then guess who'll do it, Mark Kelly?
  All the law abiding citizens.
  Criminals aren't going to because they're criminals. They don't obey the law.
  If you think, Mark Kelly, this isn't a likely scenario, remember this.
  Executive order 6102 confiscated Americans' gold. Numerous persons were prosecuted.
  In fact, a family whose elderly deceased relative had several gold coins in a safety deposit worth $80 were forced recently to give those up to the federal government. Though they ultimately won their appeal last year, the point is the feds can basically do whatever they want.
  Antique rare gold coins are one thing.
  Weapons of defense--guns--are another.
  Does anyone doubt a gun registry would not inevitably lead to confiscation?

Democrat corruption: the hell with Americans

  ....and what's best or even good for America.
  Notice anything lately?
  Notice that Democrats are willing to say or do anything for their elections and the shrieking hyenas who keep them in office?
  • Regardless national security, Hillary not only sent and received information that is of national security on her private server, she excoriated other individuals who did the same. She also instructed an underling to break the law by removing the "confidential" header.
  • Bernie Sanders' followers have found that the best way to get what they want is to go to their opponents' rallies, scream and disrupt them. This is "support" for their candidate. (On a side and rather gleeful note, Trump is beating them at their own game.)
  • Democrats are willing to vote anyone, anyone in who supports their agendas, even if their agenda literally includes killing babies. Rather than deal with the actual horrendous videos, they went mum until they figured out what to say. The videos were "doctored" because they were shortened, even while the entire videos were also posted online.
  • Islamophobia means Democrats blame the women in the numerous group rapes around the world and make numerous excuses.
  • Democrats have and still defend Hillary's enabling of Bill Clinton's abhorrent treatment of women, and her harassment of those victims, including name calling and social stigma.
  • Democrat philosophy is bested summed up by the eloquent Joy Behar, who says she'll vote for a murderer or a rapist as long as he/she votes liberal as quoted over at NewsBusters:
  • JOY BEHAR, who really doesn't like murderers, dogs and rapists but....
Chappaquiddick.  I mean, a girl drowns and he abandons her and she drowned and women still voted for Teddy Kennedy. Why? Because he voted for women's rights. That's why. That's the bottom line of it in my opinion. I mean, I don't like either one of them, to tell you the truth, Teddy or Bill. They're both dogs as far as I'm concerned. But I still will vote for Bill Clinton because he votes in my favor. 
  • Indeed, this philosophy runs rampant in the Democrat voter ranks. A few days ago, a California caller to Red Eye Radio claimed he'd vote for Hillary even if she were accused of murder. The incredulous hosts asked how far he would go and the caller replied that, even if there wre video of her committing the murder and holding up her driver's license to the camera, he'd still vote for her.
  • Democrats have flagrantly used the tools of the people to suppress their opponents, over and over. They affected the last presidential election. They support no voter ID yet demand it for gun ownership, the purchase of over the counter drugs and cans of spray paint; they cheat.
  • Democrats are racists, seeing everything through the prism of race and calling others racists, sexists, etc. if they do not agree. To win any argument requires ad hominem attacks rather than actually discussing the issues. They won't even debate global warming with both sides of the arguments. 
  • Many Democrats want to imprison and/or fine those who don't agree with them. This is totalitarianism.
  • Even while an attempted murderer claimed fealty to ISIS, the Democrat mayor of Philadelphia, whose attitude has been absolutely horrendous, claimed the murderer had nothing to do with Islam. My question is who gets to decide that? Democrats of Islamists? 
  • Unions continue to support Democrat policies, even though Democrats are importing millions of foreign workers, paying them less and ignoring the needs of American workers. Why? Because unions benefit financially from every member, regardless their wage.
  • Not the least, Democrats simply do not want to enforce any kind of national security except when it comes to gun control of the average American citizen who will be left defenseless by Democrats who themselves live in gated communities in secured homes and are surrounded by armed guards. Indeed there really are two Americas.
  • Democrats repeatedly employ Orwellian phrases to obscure their really motives and goals. Not paying for tampons and abortions is labeled "the war on women," as is killing infants in utero. "Patriot" is the name for those who want open borders, free health care and education. Not wanting to import terrorists from countries who cradle terrorism is called "racist," "biased" and "xenophobic. Disagreeing with Democrats is called "hate speech." You must be punished. Abortion of infants up to and including full term, is called "choice." Murder of a born alive baby is called a "post birth abortion."
  • Democrats are the ones who need "safe spaces" where they won't have to accommodate anyone else's ideas. In fact, they'd like to prosecute those whose words they don't like. It's not even about ideas because you're not allowed to discuss differing ideas on a college campus anymore.
  Of course, there's more. This is perhaps why so many Democrats are defecting, moving toward Trump. In fact, more Democrats then Republicans favor Trump.
  In fact, there are indications that Trump's hardest core supporters are....Democrats. They were called Reagan Democrats, long ago.
  Democrats have traveled so far from mainstream America that perhaps the really decent person who votes Democrat is willing to cross over, if only in their own self interest.
  I'm not sure. I referenced in another post several interesting pro Trump conversations with California voters, including one Hispanic father. I was shocked, to say the least, as these conversations did not begin with me nor did the individuals even know how political I am.
  My blogging buddy Hoosierman thinks it's possible that Trump can take it all. I'm beginning to think this too.
  I do know this.
  In my lifetime, I will never ever ever vote for a Democrat again, at the local or national level. They're too slippery. Too immoral. Too willing to do anything they can to benefit themselves.
  Indeed, the only morality Democrats seem to endorse is the morality of Republicans. 
  Democrats stand for nothing but themselves and their tired worn out causes, all of which are to the detriment of the average American.
  I try to be fair, understanding that I am old and have a conservative mindset, but I'm thoroughly fed up, disgusted and ready for a change. That includes Republicans, many of whom are the way Democrats were 15 years ago. 
  But I'm done.
  And I'm beginning to think there are a lot more people like me out there.
  Let the (tea) party begin.
  In both parties.

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I'll give them a H2 visa

Rich Lowry of National Review was quoted as saying at a Heritage org event; "The next time I hear a Republican strategist or a Republican politician say that there are jobs that Americans won't do, that person should be shot, he should be hanged, he should be wrapped in a carpet and thrown in the Potomac River. That's unusually strident for Lowry. In fact if Donald Trump had said that Lowry and the entire NRO bunch would have issued a scathing condemnation but about the work that Americans refuse to do.
How many young men in rural Mississippi would turn their nose up at a $11.11 per hour job mowing roadway shoulders and mediums? We won't know because the jobs went to Mexican workers imported under that beloved program of Paul Ryan and the Republican donor class, the H2 visa program. I gleaned this case from the Southern Poverty Law Center which was very upset that the guest workers were not paid the prevailing wage and American workers be damned.
Mexican guest workers hired by a contractor with more than $9 million in state contracts to maintain the shoulders and medians of rural Mississippi roadways were cheated out of their wages. A federal lawsuit on behalf of six workers alleged that the contractor broke federal racketeering laws.
The lawsuit describes how Culpepper Enterprises and its president, Kathy Culpepper, used the nation’s H-2B guest worker program to hire the workers but failed to pay the wages that were promised and reported to the U.S. Department of Labor, which oversees the program. These false statements to the federal government by Culpepper and its labor recruiter, North American Labor Services, violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Culpepper Enterprises of Collins, Mississippi, employed the workers from 2012 to 2014 to fulfill contracts with the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The contractor pledged to pay guest workers the prevailing wage for the area, a legally required wage to ensure employers don’t use the guest worker program to undercut local workers.
Instead of paying the prevailing wage – which ranged from $10.26 per hour in 2012 to $11.11 in 2014 – the H-2B workers were paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In one year, they were underpaid by almost $6 an hour in overtime pay. Culpepper pushed their wages even lower than the minimum wage by illegally deducting fees for equipment, protective gear and overpriced housing.
The company worked with North American Labor Services to recruit seasonal workers from Mexico – each year attesting to the Department of Labor that there was no local labor to fill the positions. Under the H-2B program, workers cannot change jobs. This means if their employer cheats them out of wages or is abusive, they often must choose between continuing to work or returning home, typically in debt from the various fees paid to secure the job.
Defendant North American Labor Services dissolved as a corporation in 2009, but its agents, Jon and Cheri Clancy, continued to do business. They are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. Culpepper Enterprises dissolved as a corporation in 2014.
Yes, the Mexican workers were exploited and American workers were denied gainful employment by a corrupt contractor in cahoots with a corrupt government but this is frequently the case under this and the better known H1 visa program. For the truly gullible Speaker Paul Ryan explained his obligation to undercut American workers. “The dairy farmers in western Wisconsin are having a hard time finding anyone to help them produce their products, which are mostly cheese. You raise wages too much in certain industries, then you’ll get rid of those industries, and we’ll just have to import,” complained Ryan, the champion of the free-market. This is one of the brightest bulbs in the GOP? Does he expect us to believe that a government mandated "prevailing wage" does not redound to political donors. Not only does it imperil the native born American's employment it also gives the employer an advantage in wage negations as both parties know that pushing for a wage higher than the prevailing wage could result in losing that job to a guest worker.
I would pay money to hear Donald Trump tell Speaker Ryan, " this is not who we are as a party"

Friday, January 8, 2016

And they were thrown into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth

Jeb Bush is the least liked Republican candidate.

Even for Jeb Bush this is remarkable. In just the space of a year he has gone from "presumptive GOP nominee" to the least liked candidate in the Republican Party. A new Gallup poll shows Bush to have the lowest net favorability in the Republican field at -1. That's a considerable slide from the + 27 he earned in the same poll in July. "Bush not only has the lowest net favorable rating among this group, but his current unfavorable percentage of 45% is significantly higher than for any of these other candidates -- 10 points higher than Trump's, who is second to the bottom on this metric. Cruz, by contrast, is viewed unfavorably by only 16% of Republicans."

Gallup notes that Bush's biggest loss has been among men. He has dropped 39% in that demographic while declining only 13% among women.

Just think if it wasn't for climate change we may not have Big Foot

Probably with the plunging stock market and Obama's war on the second amendment you have not been thinking as much about Big Foot as you should. Did you know he may be a refugee from climate change? Seriously. We have to go all the way to Australia and the International Business Times to learn that but here it is:
The biggest ape to roam the Earth went extinct 100,000 years ago because the species was not able to adapt to just consuming savannah grass after climate change hit its favoured diet of forest fruit, according to scientists. Weighing five times as much as an adult man and standing up to three metres tall, Gigantopithecus, the closest nature ever came to producing a real King Kong, was still not invincible enough to survive drastic climate changes.
The species lived in semi-tropical forests in southern China and mainland Southeast Asia. Scientists say that the Gigantopithecus was the closest modern cousin of orangutans. Experts around the world did not know why the animal went extinct. In fact, when fossils were discovered in the 1930s, the Gigantopithecus’ teeth were sold as dragon’s teeth in Hong Kong...
However, other apes and early humans in Africa survived the transition by switching their diets to eat the leaves, roots and grass grown in their new environment, reports. The Gigantopethicus lacked the physiological ability and ecological flexibility to resist stress and food shortage. Other experts, most notably Grover Krantz, suggested that the Gigantopithecus may have survived and migrated from Asia over the Bering straits.
Grover Krantz is about the only anthropologist to ever take Big Foot seriously.

Is establishment opposition to Trump beginning to wane?

William Kristol at the Weekly Standard seems to be moving from denial to acceptance of the possibility of a Trump nomination. He begins his post, Thank You, Donald with protestations that he has not dropped his opposition to Trump but makes some remarkable concessions.
We suggested then that "politics is about dreams as much as it is about deliverables, about pride as much as it's about pocketbooks. Trump understands that. It's not clear most of the rest of the field does." We pointed out then that "Trump understands that many Americans believe winning isn't everything, but it's a good thing. A very good thing. It's not clear most of the rest of the field does." We observed then that "Trump understands that Americans have deep doubts about the competence and probity of our political class. It's not clear most of the rest of the field does." And we wrote then that "Trump understands that it's okay to say something the media elite will shake their collective head at. It's not clear most of the rest of the field does.
Then Kristol make the remarkable admission Trump has not hurt the Republican brand. The public's approval of the GOP has not gone down since Trump entered the race. It has gone up! The Pew Research Center regularly asks which party would do a better job on the economy. In July, Democrats held a three-point edge; in December, Pew found Republicans leading by five. In the same Pew polls, Republicans improved from -2 to +2 on handling immigration and from +12 to +14 on handling terrorism. It has gone up on immigration! Who will explain that to Jeb?
Furthermore in poll after poll Hillary's lead over possible GOP contenders has virtually disappeared. Personally I would give Hillary much of the credit for that and argue further that Trump aside, Hillary is the weakest presidential the Democrats will nominate since George Mc Govern and possibly the most flawed candidate in the history of the republic. No, establishment Republicans such as Kristol will not stay home on election day if Trump wins the nomination. They will feel a patriotic duty to vote against Hillary for the good of the nation if not vote for Trump.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Obama's invitation only "town hall"

  Well, of course we've always known that any optics Democrats set up are one sided.
  There's Hillary, whose debates are run on Saturday nights at midnight.
  And her "town hall" events where she sits there nodding yes to every whining complaint her "town haller" aka plant utters. She's so sympathetic, that one, nodding up and down and occasionally uttering an um hum or shrieking a phony mannequin "laugh."
  Then there's Wasserman Schulz who only goes on MSNBC and can't figure out the difference between socialism and Democrats. Clue: there isn't any.
  Then there are the Schumers, the Wieners and the Pelosis who run their well toned and pampered fannies in front of every camera in sight and I DO mean every camera. Questions are never answered because the only people these "politicians' face themselves with are adoring sycophants.
  And then there's every press conference Obama's ever run; Let's see, he'll say, I'm calling on Joe Noseupmybutt next, at least that's who's on my list. Haha. 
  So the idea that he's holding a town hall about the Second Amendment and the guns issue with only his nose warmers there isn't much of a shock.
  And indeed, that unbelievable press conference he held yesterday was full of clapping and howling hyenas, just waiting for the next chance to applaud their Beloved. 
  (Don't get me started on the crying.
  All over FB today....
"Here is a president who really cares!" 
"I adore this man, he tries but the negative political forces are so strong!
"Yes, it was healing to see him emote and care....we don't allow our leaders to do this, I'm not sure why..." 
"I cried right along with our President Obama...right here in Texas, U.S.A. - one of the most backward thinking states in the union regarding firearms. It is difficult living in such an atmosphere." 
"Thank you for this post....and honoring my President by doing so. This is very meaningful for me."
  Included on FB are links to a Charles BLOW post about , this image and the truly execrable hashtag #ObamaWept.
  See Sad Obama Weep:

  Wept, mind you, not cried, not bawled like a big baby, not staged a dramatic stompy foot pissy fit to get what he wants.
  Anyway just get set for the same staged event tomorrow night because "no tickets are available" and it's invitation only and YOU haven't been invited.
  The Blaze sets your anxiety at ease. The NRA WAS invited but turned up down for obvious reasons:
However, a spokesperson told the Washington Post that “the audience would be evenly divided between organizations that support the Second Amendment including NRA members as well as groups that back gun regulation.”
The NRA said it was invited, but declined because it saw “no reason to participate in a public relations spectacle orchestrated by the White House.”
  UPDATE: Anddd Michelle Malkin has the rundown of stacked town halls. They have a long history with Democrats and the media but I repeat myself:
At a CNN/YouTube GOP debate two weeks later, the everyday, “undecided voters” whose questions were chosen included:
–A member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Americans For Hillary Clinton Steering Committee.
–A young woman named “Journey” who questioned the candidates on abortion and whom CNN failed to properly identify as an outspoken John Edwards supporter.
–A supposed “Log Cabin Republican” who had declared his support for Obama on an Obama ’08 campaign blog.
–A supposedly unaffiliated “concerned mother” who was actually a staffer and prominent Pittsburgh union activist for the United Steelworkers — which had endorsed Edwards for president.
–A supposed “undecided” voter who urged Ron Paul to run as an independent, but who had already publicly declared his support for former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s Democratic presidential bid.
–A staffer for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; a former intern for Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and a former intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The Bundy brothers are not entirely nuts

This blog does not a dog in the fight surrounding the occupation of the vacant federal wildlife refuge building in Harney County, Oregon nevertheless some context is in order. My first thought regarding the Bundy brothers was it must be great to be a Mormon husband. I shudder to think what would be said if I announced to the spouse that my brother and I would be heading out to Oregon and we may come back sometime this year. I don't have a ranch to run or children to raise but suffice it to say that my wife's thinking may not be old fashioned but it's certainly not Latter Day either.
To begin with, tension between citizens of rural Western states and the federal government seem to be the by product of Democratic administrations going back to Jimmy Carter and the Sagebrush Rebellion.  Ronald Reagan declared himself a sagebrush rebel in an August 1980 campaign speech in Salt Lake City, telling the crowd, "I happen to be one who cheers and supports the Sagebrush Rebellion. Count me in as a rebel. As president Reagan declared that the federal government would observe a "good neighbor" policy and as tensions waned so did legislative reforms spearheaded by Orrin Hatch who was a bit of a firebrand in those days. Prior to 1976 and Federal Land Policy and Management Act federal land was technically still open to homesteading and the was no Bureau of Land Management.
By the end of his first term Bill Clinton had managed to re ignite the antipathy many citizens of the rural West harbor for the federal government. The Militia Movement was born and the venerable Posse Comitatus began a new life. There was the memorable stand off with the Montana Freemen at their "Justus Township" compound and the shameful shoot out at Ruby Ridge that left one US marshal and two innocent civilians dead. Again tensions abated until the Obama administration and its penchant to control everything. Only a Trump or Cruz administration is apt to broker a temporary peace and a lasting peace most probably is dependent on legislative reform that grants more local control of federal lands.
The take over of the empty wildlife refuge building by Bundy and company certainly set the mainstream media into a frenzy. It was, after all, a challenge to the uber state that they revere. While some were quick to denounce it as terrorism the Washington Post posted an asinine treatise, Why aren’t we calling the Oregon occupiers ‘terrorists’? which only implied they were terrorists. Washed up talk-show host turned  infomercial hustler  Montel-don't call me motel-Williams post a tweet that was captured by The Blaze.
#OregonUnderAttack by a bunch of undereducated terrorist buffoons who follow #ClivenBundy shall we send them to meet #ISIS.”
Followed by.
“Totally fine with a massive use of deadly force in Oregon to take out Ammon Bundy. #OregonUnderAttack.”
Eventually John Podhoretz of the Weekly Standard put the take over in context.

In 1973 a group of around 500 American Indians with the American Indian Movement (AIM) took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C.and held it for 7 day. They destroyed office equipment and irreplaceable records dating back 50 to 100 years yet there was no bloodshed. There was a negotiated end with some of the protesters agreeing to leave for the price of air fare home. Presumably Williams thinks they should have been shot.
Although the Bundys' tactics may strain one's sympathy for their cause their case is not without merit. A true injustice has been committed against rancher Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond. They were not convicted of arson as reported in the media. They were convicted of domestic terrorism hence the mandatory 5 year sentence. They were over charged for starting two fires on federal land that they held under lease. It seems the jury was unaware of the domestic terrorism wrap. Bear in mind Obama is currently releasing drug dealers because,as he says, mandatory sentences are unfair.
Setting fires is not that uncommon on the open range. It is done to kill invasive weed and also to burn of combustible vegetation before it becomes a hazard. So the fires got out of hand and the Bureau of Land Management had to extinguish them. Two men in the middle of nowhere start a fire and it's terrorism? Who was terrorized? Is jail time warranted? Only if you are not part of the federal Establishment complex. Federal employees have done far, far worse with impunity. How many EPA employees have been charged in the Gold King Mine incident? Who is 3 million gallon of polluted water containing cadmium, lead and arsenic going to hurt. The EPA quickly put together a "technical evaluation" authored by 3 bureaucrats and reviewed by 3 bureaucrats. Not one person was suspended for as much as a day. Mistakes happen.
Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian killed 8 and injured 200 passengers, 11 of them critically. There is no dispute that his train was doing 102 miles per hour in a 50 mile zone yet to date no charges have been filed. Naturally the National Transportation Safety Board could not bring itself to speak ill of a fellow employee.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Hillary has enabled Bill's assault on women for years. The chickens have come to roost.

  Let's get something straight.
  Confronting Hillary about her enabling Bill Clinton's behavior is a legitimate political question, for a number of reasons.
  Hillary has repeatedly created a fantasy candidate of herself and a fantasy supporter in her creation of Bill Clinton as a man who supports women's rights.
  Clinton is a serial abuser of women who has been named publicly any number of times, only to have Hillary's thugs move in to beat the woman senseless, both in the press and their personal lives.
  Bill has been disbarred for lying in court.
  He's a liar and so is Hillary and everyone knows it.
  Hillary's behavior has been more abominable than Bill's in her treatment of the women who have been "involved" with--that is, who've had affairs with or been raped by--Bill Clinton.
  Democrats routinely drudge up some affair or suggested affair a Republican or conservative is supposed to have had and fan the flames until the candidate drops out or resigns.
  The difference is that Bill Clinton's affairs are a joke and, like the other Bill C., everyone knows it but everyone has tolerated his behavior because he is liked by both the media and the hard core Leftists in this country. The only reason Cosby's in trouble now is that he's old and generally out of the public eye and the sharks have moved in for the kill. Plus there's money to be had.
  The fascinating aspect of Trump's blowing Hillary's little problem into the open is that no one--in the media or the Republican side--has attempted to speak honestly about it.
  Is public acceptance of the Trump crudeness a sort of Obama legacy open sneering of opponents' points of view? 
  Who knows.
  Hillary's a terrible candidate. If one looked no where else, Bernie Sanders's success is indicative of just how terrible a candidate she is.
  The days when you could label someone a "heckler" for actually asking Hillary a real unstaged question just may be over, though the media hasn't figured that out yet. 
  They're stilling pulling the plants out of the crowd and tweeting rapturous descriptions of the "handicapped little boy who" and the "poor old woman who got to meet Hillary before she dies." 
  Hillary has been brutal, brutal about defending Bill's rapacious behavior, sending out her emissaries to destroy them.
  And it's not just that she has defended him.
  It's that she became part of the rapes and misbehavior.
  Let's not forget Hillary has a history of laughing at and defending rapists. 
  Clarice Feldman sums it up here.
  The real question is what the heck is wrong with Republicans?
  It's never been easier to make a case for conservatism but those panty waists have done nothing to support even minimal so-called Republican ideals of equality, thrift and pride of country, not to mention work ethic.

  They have abrogated their duty to make the case and deserve what they get.
  Last night's Mississippi rally should scare the heck out of 'em.