Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Will of the People

For John, BLUFThis myth of the Majority misses the very large segment that didn't vote and wishes Washington would just get on with it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My Middle Brother, Lance, wrote the following this morning:
I just think we should hold off on Supreme Court appointments until we can determine what the will of the people was, since we know what the majority of the people wanted, it's just a matter of determining if Russsian Trump involvement, if there was any thing that influenced something less than 200,000 in a handful of districts.
But, of course, we DON'T know what the majority of the People want.  Mrs Clinton got only 48.18% of the vote and Mr Trump got only 46.09%.  That leaves a little under 6% for other views.  If you want a majority you need to kill the Electoral College and substitute a runoff between the two top vote getters, like in France.

So, for Lance, and Ms Jennifer Palmieri, Mrs Clinton's Campaign Communications Director, we will have to wait for 20 January 2021, when someone might have won a majority of the Presidential ballots.  As happened in 1988, 2004, 2008 and 2012.

In the mean time, the Democrats are going to push the "illegitimate" meme.

And Senator Mitch McConnell will be searching the Senate Majority Leader's desk to see where his predecessor, Harry Reid, left the nuclear trigger.

The up side of this (the coming collapse of the PP & ACA Excepted), is that Washington will not be coming up with new ideas to restrict our personal and economic freedom.

Regards  —  Cliff

  "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."  (Mark Twain)

Sen Warren on Pres Trump and Health Care

For John, BLUFShrill.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Boston Herald and Reporter Brian Dowling, from Saturday, 25March 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said President Trump can’t simply place the troubled future of Obamacare at Democrats’ feet after he sought to sabotage its success and “actively worked” to make it “fail” from his first days in the Oval Office.

“Let’s be real clear:  We are not talking about if nothing is done,” Warren said.  “Donald Trump has already actively worked to try to make Obamacare fail. That has been his goal.”

This seems a little over the top, but then it is our Senior Senator.  When she isn't befuddling herself about her DNA she is being over the top about some topic.

The idea that a decrease in advertising is sabotage shows the degree to which the seven year old Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a failure.

And, if defeated in 2018 she probably won't go away quietly, but will hang around Cambridge and harangue us all.

Regards  —  Cliff

Going After Trump

For John, BLUFThis is terrible.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Wash Post and Jennifer Palmieri, Communications Director for Ms Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.  The dateline is 24 March 2017. Here is how Ms Palmieri wraps it up:
The possibility of collusion between Trump’s allies and Russian intelligence is much more serious than Watergate. It is a constitutional crisis. It represents a violation of our republic’s most sacred trust.

The worst part about our lackluster collective response to Russia’s interference is that it represents exactly what the Russians were hoping to produce: apathy. Their goal, in addition to installing a president sympathetic to their views, was to undermine Americans’ belief in our democracy. For Americans to think that none of this really matters, that it’s all a game. That’s how they truly erode U.S. moral authority and strength over the long term. It’s what they have sought to do to European adversaries for many years, and now they have brought this seed of destruction here.

We all have a role to play in stopping it. Each of us should be judged by how we respond at this moment when the most fundamental precept of our democracy has been violated.

"…much more serious than Watergate."

That is a serious charge.  And, in the OpEd Ms Palmieri states that Congress should not be acting on President Trump's program until this is all cleared up.  Will it ever be all cleared up or will it be like the shooter on the grassy knoll?

Certain (all?) Democrats want to stop the Government until they can jettison the results of the last election.  Here is a question.  If the election of President Trump was illegitimate, why weren't the elections of Republican Senators and Representatives also illegitimate?  They were carried along on the same wave of change as President Trump.

If all is illegitimate, then we need a new election, for which we have no precedent.  What would Ms Palmieri propose?  What would Ms Nancy Pelosi propose?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer?  Senator E Warren?  Ms Clinton?

Most likely there is no feasible plan.  So, we fall back on impeachment.  But, one would think that precedent would have the Democrats crying to replace Vice President Mike Pence before they went for the impeachment of President Trump?  After all, why would Democrats wish to replace a GOP oriented Progressive with a true Conservative.

If Pence went, who would President Trump nominate to replace him and who would Congress approve?

That probably leaves us Speaker Paul Ryan fleeting up to be the President.

Has anyone gamed this out?

And see my previous post.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Presidential Succession

For John, BLUFAll theoretical stuff for George to teach his students.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Presidential Line of Succession

I have friends, and at least one relative, who can't wait for Mr Trump to leave office, immediately, if not sooner.  And, of course, there are those Democrats who are not only passionately wishing for it, but actively working for it— People like Rep John Lewis and Rep Maxine Waters and Rep Nancy Pelosi.  Then there are the wafflers, like Sen E Warren.  They want to give a full throttle "YES" to the idea but their common sense keeps pulling them back.

Here, via Wikipedia is the current order of succession:

No.OfficeCurrent officer
1Vice PresidentMike Pence (R)
2Speaker of the House of RepresentativesPaul Ryan (R)
3President pro tempore of the SenateOrrin Hatch (R)
4Secretary of StateRex Tillerson (R)
5Secretary of the TreasurySteven Mnuchin (R)
6Secretary of DefenseJames Mattis (I)
7Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions (R)
8Secretary of the InteriorRyan Zinke (R)
Secretary of AgricultureMike Young (D)[a]
9Secretary of CommerceWilbur Ross (R)
Secretary of LaborEd Hugler (I)[a]
10Secretary of Health and Human ServicesTom Price (R)
11Secretary of Housing and Urban DevelopmentBen Carson (R)
Secretary of TransportationElaine Chao (R)[b]
12Secretary of EnergyRick Perry (R)
13Secretary of EducationBetsy DeVos (R)
14Secretary of Veterans AffairsDavid Shulkin (I)
15Secretary of Homeland SecurityJohn F. Kelly (I)

[a]  This listing assumes that only acting officers whose prior appointment required Senate confirmation are eligible for the line of succession.

[b]  Not a natural-born citizen (acquired U.S. citizenship by naturalization) and thus ineligible for the Presidency.

The list does raise questions, such as how did a foreigner get on the Cabinet, given that President Trump is proclaimed by the Media to be such a nativist?

As I pointed out to my Brother, the sign the Democrats are going to actually make a run at President Trump will be an effort to force Vice President Pence to resign.  That is how they did it last time.  And, it will give time to get someone else brought in as Vice President under the Twenty-fifth Amendment, Section 2.

Isn't there a TV Show about the kind of issue, Designated Survivor, or some such.  There is apparently a whole raft of fictional considerations of the issue of Presidential Succession.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Let's face it.  While President Trump is a New York City Progressive with Libertarian/Conservative leanings, Vice President Mike Pence is a real conservative and likely to act like one, bringing his talents in politics and government to bear on the problems at hand, thus making it even more difficult for the Democrats to achieve their goals.  And, a President Pence might point out the Antonio Gramsci like progress of the Democrats.

There Just Might Be The Votes for Judge Gorsuch

For John, BLUFNotwithstanding the "Party Hats" canard, sometimes the Congress Critter do worry about the voters.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

As in Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

This is an opinion piece, in Bloomberg, by long time Reporter Al Hunt.  The dateline is 24 March 2017.

Worth looking at to consider the complicated way elections work.  Think 2018, when the Democrats have a lot of Senate Seats open.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Not a problem here in the Commonwealth, where Waffle Warren is sure to float to victory.

The Shifting Sands

For John, BLUFTrump walks on water.  Press Report:  Trump can't swim.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

You Can't Tell the Players Without a Scorecard

Here is how Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds juxtapositions it:

In:  Trump son-in-law’s ties to Israel raise questions of bias.

Fake News, anyone?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, March 24, 2017

SJWs on the Right

For John, BLUFOne side can only go on so long with certain tools (weapons) before the other side begins to adopt those same weapons.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The source is Taki's Magazine and the author is Mr Gavin McInnes.  The publication date is 23 March 2017.

“Invent a weapon,” Jordan Peterson said on Tuesday, “and your enemies will have it within one generation.”  He was talking about Gamergate feminist Brianna Wu, who was learning the hard way that YouTube’s Restricted Mode was hurting the gays it was supposed to protect.  You may be thinking, “Wu who?” right now, but you should be saying, “Woo-hoo!” because Peterson’s observation is profound.  Not only are the bots turning on their creators, we are too.  We’ve taken Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and turned it into our guidebook.  We are the Social Justice Warriors now, and we’re way better at it than they ever were.

Right now, a man in a MAGA hat is suing a bar in New York called The Happiest Hour for booting him out solely because he loves Trump.  Getting kicked out of bars is pretty common for people in MAGA hats above the Mason–Dixon line.  The old right would venerate the entrepreneur and quietly take the high road out of the bar.  Not anymore.  Since the lawsuit was announced, Trump supporters have been flooding the bar.  One MAGA woman was just paid $150 to get lost.

And there is much more in the original article.  Read it.

Hat tip to my friend Richard, down in Florida.

Regards  —  Cliff

Filibuster Should Return to the Well of the Senate

For John, BLUFDon't let them off easy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I Wrote to Senator McConnell

And you can too, here.

I wrote to ask him to please make Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and all the other Democrats actually execute a filibuster over the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the US Supreme Court.

In essence, put up or shut up.  Make them talk and talk and talk, like their Democratic Party predecessors did in those dark days long forgotten.  Those days when they thwarted justice by talking it to death.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Remembering the Dead, and the Survivors, Properly

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I say that sometimes the truth is not PC.

For John, BLUFSometimes the competition amongst the various snow flakes erases history.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Heat Street, yesterday.
Mateship.  It’s a term that embodies loyalty, solidarity and camaraderie, so why are people finding this sign so offensive?

A sign along the Kokoda Track, a sacred military site in Papua New Guinea, has long been etched with the word “mateship” but it has now been changed to “friendship”, causing fury among Australian war veterans.

As we lead up to the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda Track campaign, part of the Pacific War of WWII, veterans feel as though they’re forgotten as “mateship” disappears from the memorial sign at the Kokoda Track’s Owers Corner.

The memorial was to describe the “mateship” between the Australian and Papua New Guinean military.

Veterans are concerned the change in the sign, which is one of four memorial signs on the Kokoda Track — courage, mateship, endurance, sacrifice — could take away from the trail’s military history.

I worry that political correctness will begin to hide the truth of life and of national survival.  Then will arise those who are not interested in the Politically Correct.

Just saying.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Oh Well

For John, BLUFAs they say.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is by Reporter Cody Derespina, today, via Fox News.

Here is the lede plus two:

Members of the intelligence community "incidentally collected" communications from the Trump transition team during legal surveillance operations of foreign targets, a top Republican lawmaker said Wednesday afternoon.

House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said this produced "dozens" of reports which eventually unmasked several individuals’ identities and were "widely disseminated."

He said none of the reports he had read mentioned Russia or Russians and he was unsure whether the surveillance occurred at Trump Tower — as President Trump has suggested.  Nunes also was unsure if then President-elect Trump was captured by the surveillance, which occurred in November, December and January.

Here, from The Guardian, is a explanation of the NSA Rules.  If you are the target and you have 50 friends, they can be listened to.  And if they each have the average of 190 friends friends, they can be captured.  And all their friends.  This adds up to the equivalent of the population of Maine.

So, if you are a UCC Pastor, living in Caribou, Maine, and you third cousin, a "friend" on Facebook, is also a friend with someone who is a Russian foreign national, they are checking on you.  Think about this.  If they go against the Russian Ambassador and they sweep up Michael Flynn, then if he interacted with someone on the Trump Transition Team, who communicated with me, I am in the larger circle.  No wonder the NSA has a sever farm in Provo, Utah.

Calling Joe McCarthy.  Looking for the Pumpkin Papers.

As Mr Michael Morell, sometime Deputy Director of the CIA, said back in June of 2016:

If you knew what I know, you wouldn't plug your toaster in.
Hat tip to my Buddy Neal.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Senator Schumer on Judge Gorsuch

For John, BLUFAfter Mr Gorsuch, someone the Democrats see as worse?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reason and the keyboard of Mr David Harsanyi, 17 March 2017.

If Democrats want to filibuster President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, they're entitled to do it.  In fact, Democrats are free to try and stop federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation for any reason they desire, whether ideological or personal, or even no particular reason at all.  There is nothing in the Constitution that compels senators to vote on judicial nominees the president forwards.

Make no mistake, though: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.

Since Gorsuch's confirmation hearing starts Monday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and opponents have found "little to latch onto," according to Politico (which means they've found nothing to spin into accusations of misogyny or racism), Schumer and his allies have launched a ham-fisted effort to paint Gorsuch as a corporate stooge.

To quote Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds:
Schumer’s a putz.
The thing about Yiddish is that if you use a Yiddish word it isn't the same as using the equivalent basic Anglo-Saxon word, which would be seen as offensive.

Oh, and Professor Reynolds is correct.

And to quote President Trump talking to Mr Jesse Watters:

"Chuck I'm very disappointed in, because he's a guy who should make deals for the people.  Not as a Democrat or Republican," said Trump.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Dunkin' Update

For John, BLUFAt least they got back to me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Previously, I blogged about an issue with Dunkin' Donuts.

And I mailed off via their web page my issue.

As a result, Bob, the Support Center Coordinator, sent me an EMail, asking for details.  He also assigned a case number, Case# 10220577.

He was looking for the specific address for the store, which is at 651 Rogers St, Lowell, MA 01852.

More news, as it breaks.

Regards  —  Cliff

Of Dog Whistles

For John, BLUFIn the mind of Democrats it is only a dog whistle when a non-Democrat does it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Comics aside, "The Volokh Conspiracy" is the best part of The Washington Post.  The author in this case is Mr David Bernstein and the dateline is 20 March 2017.

Mr Bernstein talked about a Trump Ad, late in the presidential campaign, which the Democratic side was decrying as anti-semitic.  Including Wash Post OpEd writer Dana Milbank.

Now comes forward Mr Frank Rich with a long article in New York Magazine, "No Sympathy for the Hillbilly:  Democrats need to stop trying to feel everyone’s pain, and hold on to their own anger.".  It has a passage that parallels the Trump Campaign Ad.

So, are Democrats fundamentally anti-semitic?

Or just angry?

Or just students of Saul Alinksy?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Lowell High School

For John, BLUFI like the idea of the Cawley Stadium site, but I am open to hearing what the students think.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Fixing Lowell High School

CBA:  Coalition for a Better Acre.
CMAA:  Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association.

This information arrived in my EMail this morning:

Given that many residents are unaware that there have been discussions of the potential for a new High School, CBA and CMAA have organized forums for residents to hear more and discuss and give feedback.

[Meeting data:] 3/22 from 5:30-8pm will be at the Lowell Senior Center on Broadway and 3/23 at CMAA’s building on School St. from 6-8pm. Short notice but let’s try to distribute these to residents as wide as we can.

Both will be translated into Khmer and Spanish, and they’re pursuing Portuguese as well – not sure about any other languages at this time.

Now is the time to be informed, to get involved.

While I am an advocate for the Option Four, Cawley stadium, yesterday my wife gave me something to think about.  She talked to several teenagers she ran across at Market Basket and the all said they favored a Downtown site, so they can easily walk to school.  What do the students think?

Regards  —  Cliff

Britain to Declare Wednesday a Week

For John, BLUFA move for freedom.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That would be Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.  The get out of jail card of the European Union.

The source is Mr Tyler Durden, writing for Zero Hedge.

It appears that the long-awaited Article 50 trigger, officially beginning the Brexit process, will take place next Wednesday, March 29, because moments ago a Theresa May spokesman confirmed a report in the UK's CityAM, reporting that Article 50 will be triggered next Wednesday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has been taking her time, methodically working through the wickets to get to this point, dotting her "eyes" and crossing her "tees".  She has done a good job so far.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cheap Careless Dunkin'

For John, BLUFI am picking "The Twelfth of Never".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Dunkin' Donuts Fail

For the last month, give or take, the Dunkin' Donuts on Rogers Street, in Lowell, has no longer had brownies as an available item.

This is a monumental failure.  Monumental!

The other failure is visible in this picture, although it is in small print.

As of about 1300 today the Brownie was still on the menu board.


I propose a pool as to when the "brownie" comes off the menu board.  Like the Nenana Ice Classic.  We can each take a date and time for when the Brownie "goes out".

Regards  —  Cliff

But, This Doesn't Happen

For John, BLUFThings like this make one wonder if there is more of this fraudulent voting.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady and the keyboard of Mr Michael Winesmarch, 18 March 2017.

Here is the lede plus several paragraphs:

When Rosa Maria Ortega was a teenager, her mother was deported to her native Mexico after being arrested twice.

As she grew up, Ms. Ortega decided to take a different route. Lacking a high school diploma, she signed up for the Job Corps at age 18 and snagged a position at a state employment office.

In 2012, she registered to vote, and not only cast ballots in the next two elections but served as a poll worker.  Divorced, she raised four children, now teenagers, sometimes working three jobs.

“When my mom was here, she did everything illegal,” Ms. Ortega, 37, said in an interview.  “I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.”

She may not have a choice. Ms. Ortega, of Grand Prairie, Tex., a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth, is a permanent resident with a green card, but she is not an American citizen.  In a case that made national headlines last month, she was found guilty, fined $5,000 and sentenced to eight years in prison because the ballots she cast in 2012 and 2014 were illegal.  While green-card holders have many of the rights of citizens, they cannot vote.

Frankly, $5,000 and eight years seems very harsh.  I would have settled for a $500 fine and a requirement that her village, town or city do a mandatory ID check for the next two elections.

And, I would urge the Governor to grant her a pardon, to stop the deportation action.  However, I would not urge a change in status from Green card Holder.

On the other hand, retired Law Professor Ann Althouse, who voted twice for Barack H Obama for President, has no sympathy for Ms Ortega, here.

Regards  —  Cliff

Silencing the Campaigners

For John, BLUFSoon politicians, like military commanders, will need a lawyer at their side, advising them what they can and cannot say.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mediaite and Mr Josh Feldmank posted on 18 March 2017, we havre this worrisome comment from a Harvard Law Professor:
Alan Dershowitz said on Fox News this morning that because court rulings against President Trump‘s travel ban are bringing up his own past rhetoric, the argument is basically,
If Obama had issued the very same order with the same words it would be constitutional, but if Trump issues it it’s unconstitutional.
So, we either have a new legal theory or we have judges who have become partisan hacks.

I guess that if we accept this as a new legal theory, if coal mine owners and coal miners had known about it they could have gone to court and had all of President Obama's anti-coal actions thrown out.

Be careful what you say on the campaign trail, because anything you say can and will be used against you.

The big thing is precedent.  Just as then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's suppression of the filibuster—once upon a time a favorite parliamentary tool of Senate Democrats—opens up room for current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to push through the nomination of Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court on a simple majority vote, so this ruling, if allowed to stand, opens up the whole area of Federal Regulations to the question of what the President said while running for office.  If it can be shown he expressed some prejudice, then the issued rule is unconstitutional.

But, we still have the "partisan hack" alternative.  I think I like that better than this other weird theory.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Camp of the Saints

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  In which we ask questions about culture and immigration.
For John, BLUFWhat should our immigration laws say?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

NB:  This item was lost in my archives, from 12 November 2015.  I was prompted to resurrect it because Opinionator Michael Cohen mentioned it in his OpEd in The Boston Globe, this weekend.  The article is "The GOP has become the party of white nationalism".

I think Mr Cohen's OpEd is kind of flat.  It ignores that Mr Trump is a Progressive.  That Republicans across the nation are embracing and supporting "minorities".  I give you Kamara Kay, here in Lowell, who we supported for State Rep in the 18th Middlesex District.  Kam is an active member of the Lowell Republican City Committee.

Here is the original Blog Post.

And they came upon the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, and the beloved city.

The Camp of the Saints
Jean Raspail
Paper Cover:  316 Pages (I read the Kindle version)
Publisher:  Social Contract Press
Language:  English
ISBN:  978-1881780076
Copyright:  1994 (Original, in French, 1973

An interesting book, which looks at the impact on France, in 1973, of a massive migration of Indian Hindus, on ships, down the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and up the West Coast of Africa, entering the Mediterranean via the Straits of Gibraltar and then falling on the South Coast of France.  Much of the discussion is about how France, anticipating the arrival of a million migrants, sees itself responding to this influx into a nation of 52.6 million people.

For context, this is five years after the May 1968 uprisings in France.  The events were severe enough to lead to President Charles de Gaulle fleeing the country and the 1968 college students becoming known as the 68ers.

One famous participant and leader was then college student Daniel Cohn-Bendit (aka Danny the Red), who later was found to be an advocate for pedophilia.

So, it was a strange time.

When the book came out in 1973 there were claims of racism, but I think race is a cover for the question of what is Western Civilization and is it worth saving. The author is obviously disappointed in the Catholic Church and its clergy. That said, there is symbolism from the Book of Revelation. And, he is down on the Secular Humanists. He alludes to the question of if a brave new world without western capitalism and its sinews can work, but doesn't develop that theme in detail. This book keeps popping up, due to the refugee crisis in Europe, with its spillover in the US and Canada. For instance, Naval War College Professor Mackubin Thomas Owens talks about it in National Review, "Camp of the Saints, 2014 Style?".  The sub-headline from the 2014 article is "A 1973 French novel eerily prefigures our current immigration mess."

The theme of the book is based on a moral quandary: What steps will a liberal society take to preserve its way of life? Is liberal society too humane and compassionate to protect itself from those who would undermine and destroy it?
Collin, thanks for the support. If I were a European, I'd be truly worried about the number of Muslims entering the Continent. As some point, ISIS will infiltrate this group after they feel it's reached critical mass, then begin their fun and games. I believe a major crisis is on the horizon, and I don't know how we'll cope with it. But it's coming, regardless. On the other hand, we seem to have enough non-Muslim madness to keep us focused in the meantime. Charles
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Seeking Perfection

For John, BLUFWith humans here is no perfection.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This NYT item, by Mr Alain de Bottonmay, is from 28 May of last year, but showed up on the Old Gray Lady's website today.  It may be old, but it is evergreen.

Here is the lede plus one:

IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it.  And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.

Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others.  We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well.  In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be:  “And how are you crazy?”

And here is the last paragraph:
Romanticism has been unhelpful to us; it is a harsh philosophy.  It has made a lot of what we go through in marriage seem exceptional and appalling.  We end up lonely and convinced that our union, with its imperfections, is not “normal.”  We should learn to accommodate ourselves to “wrongness,” striving always to adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective on its multiple examples in ourselves and in our partners.
Someone, a few decades back, convinced me that there is a difference between love and infatuation and that "Love is a decision".  Well, maybe commitment is a better word, but the fact is that one elects to love someone and dedicate oneself to that person and that person's well being.  They aren't perfect, but then neither am I.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bypassing Government

For John, BLUFIt hasn't come to this in Lowell, but if it does, you are in charge of one of the teams.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog Laughing Squid, by Poster Lori Dorn.

Photos at the Blog post.

My experience is that Lowell's Government is pretty responsive.  Some may say that is because of where I live, but I do drive around the City and I don't see a proliferation of potholes.  I was going to say that we couldn't say that about bridges in the City, but then I remembered the new Howe Bridge, connecting the North Campus (of UMass Lowell) and University Crossing, and yesterday morning I heard a report that work has started on the Lawrence Street Bridge across the Concord River at the Southwest Corner of the Lowell Cemetery.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Which is not to say we don't need the Rourke Bridge replaced with a "four laner".  And, I am still pushing my idea of a limited access highway off 495, going across the Merrimack River into Dracut and beyond.  I would bring it off just this side of the Route 133 interchange and run it across the River just beyond Lenzi's.  My name for this, as I told herself at the Saint Patrick's Day Dinner Thursday evening is "The Marie Sweeney Bridge".  My estimate is $350 million.  Since the new President is pushing infrastructure I think we should be ready to absorb some of that job creating investment.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Be Careful of Your Microwave

For John, BLUFYou know this is true.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Cipher Brief and the author is unnamed.
MICROWAVE OF THE FUTURE:  First, President Trump accused Barack Obama of having tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.  Then the White House refused to provide any substantiation to the claim but asked Congress to investigate.  Then presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway came to the President’s defense (sort of) in an interview with the Bergen (NJ) Record, in which she said there are many ways to surveil each other:  “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.”  Conway added that the monitoring could be done with “microwaves that turn into cameras,” adding, “We know this is a fact of modern life.”  This alternative fact provided great fodder to late-night TV hosts who mocked the claim.  Who might come to Kellyanne’s defense?  We offer former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell who was quoted in 2015 as saying, “If you know what I know, you wouldn’t plug your toaster in.”
From Boston politics there is this from Mr Martin Lomasney (the Mahatma):
Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.
And, Heaven to Betsy, don't put it in an EMail.

Regards  —  Cliff

  He was the boss of Ward Eight.  I wonder if the old Ward Eight Restaurant here in Lowell was a reference to Mr Lomasney?

Bread Shortage

For John, BLUFBolivarian Socialism is not a good solution.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Miami Herald and Reporter Jim Wyss, yesterday.

Here is the lede plus one:

Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

Well, it isn't like it is rampant.  However, it is a bad sign.  Socialism needs strong central control.

It takes a strong police state to fight the economic laws.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Employment Up.  Why?

For John, BLUFHope fuels the economy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from the keyboard of Michael Barone, published in The Washington Examiner on 16 March 2017.

Here is Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds' excerpt:

In contrast to the years of the Obama stimulus program, when the bulk of new jobs came in the public sector, it appears that the increase here is in the private sector.  Moody’s Analytics says there were 298,000 new private sector jobs in February, far more than the 189,000 it expected.

Construction jobs were up 58,000, private educational services jobs up 29,000, manufacturing jobs up 28,000.  This suggests that lots of employers, small as well as large, are taking the plunge and creating new jobs.

Can I prove that they’re doing so because of perceptions that regulations and taxes will be decreased by the Trump administration?  No, and I’m not sure any economist’s statistical model could either.  But that sure looks like what’s happening.

OK, so one swallow does not a Summer make, and this may well be the result of last minutes policies from President Obama and the 114th US Congress.

On the other hand, it could be from expectations unleashed as a result of the November election and a race to capitalize on the new opportunities.

Or, it could be the alignment of the planets.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


Meddling in Elections

For John, BLUFWhy would President Obama be any different from all the other Presidents, starting with at least Harry S Truman?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is via Pajama Media (you didn't expect The Wash Post or The Old Gray Lady to be pushing this, did you?).  The Reporter is Ms Debra Heine and the dateline is 15 March 2017.

Here is the lede:

A group of Republican senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Tuesday asking him to launch a full-scale investigation into the Obama administration's efforts to meddle in elections around the globe, the Washington Free Beacon reported.  The former president has been using taxpayer money to sway foreign elections for years, the senators alleged.
So, is the US meddling in the elections of others a good thing?

Should others have the right to do what they can to influence US elections?

Exit question:  Will the senators get an answer?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Who Do People Say I Am?

For John, BLUFOr is it a play on words—I am that I am?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In the famous scene at Caesarea-Philippi, Jesus turns to his Apostles and asks, "Who do people say that I am?"
Writing in the "Echoes" section of The Pilot, Bishop Robert Barron talks to how,...
... commencing in the eighteenth century with the thought of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Christology took a decisive turn.
So, it Jesus true God or true man or both?

I go with both.

Regards  —  Cliff

Augustine's Laws

TRIGGER WARNING:  This is humor, used to explain experience.

For John, BLUFGo check them out.  Pithy, as Bill O'Reilly would say.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This was prompted by a recent article in Popular Mechanics, which alluded to this law, without mentioning it:
Law Number XVI: In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy 3-1/2 days each per week except for leap year, when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.
Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Intelligence Cooperation

For John, BLUFThink ECHELON.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Daily Wire and Mr John Nolte.

Here is the lede:

While the American Intelligence Community (IC) plays "not us" when it comes to claims that the Obama Administration spied on President Trump (when he was both a candidate and President-elect), Fox News has learned that in order to avoid a paper trail, fingerprints, and pesky little details like the Bill of Rights, President Obama circumvented all of that by requesting the British spy on Trump.
I wouldn't be surprised.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Picking Sides

For John, BLUFApparently no longer working for my rights.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Which confirms me in my decision, earlier in the year, to not renew my membership in the ACLU.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

nKorea's Nucs

For John, BLUFDoubtful but plausible.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

United Press International and Reporter Elizabeth Shim, today.

Here is the lede plus 2:

The senior North Korea diplomat who defected to the South from Pyongyang's Embassy in London said Kim Jong Un's nuclear ambitions could bring about state collapse.

Thae Yong-ho, who recently compared Kim to the Roman emperor Nero, said North Korea is headed down a dangerous path as it seeks recognition as a nuclear weapons state like "India or Pakistan," Voice of America reported Tuesday.

"The Kim Jong Un regime will never give up nuclear weapons," Thae said.

Note that last paragraph.  The criminal enterprise known as the Kim Family is not giving up its hold on power.  Experience (e.g., Our invasion of Libya) has shown the Kim Family that it should never give up nuclear weapons.  Those who think that negotiations will get us through this are hoping Kim Jung Un is someone he isn't.  Hope is not a method.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, March 13, 2017


For John, BLUFDhimmitude is the idea of the others being in a subordinate position.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The American Thinker and Mr Jeffrey Folks we have a discussion on the Liberal Society.  Here the thesis is summed up:
"The jig is up."  Liberalism no longer possesses the moral authority to control our national politics.
But, that isn't the most interesting part of the argument.  Here is an excerpt from Mr Stephen Green, at the InstaPundit:
A powerful mental construct – the liberal myth of a progressive utopia brought about by surrender of the individual to state control – is at risk of being swept away by a great movement to free consciousness from the controlling ideas of the liberal past.  As Shelby Steele wrote in a remarkable March 6 op-ed (“The Exhaustion of American Liberalism”), we stand “at the end of something,” that something being the radical mindset that has dominated so much of American intellectual life since the 1960s.

“The jig is up.”  Liberalism no longer possesses the moral authority to control our national politics.

Liberals are terrified of Trump because they know that their great myth, once the light of consciousness has been shined on it, will dissolve as quickly as a grain of salt in water.  As Steele puts it, the “president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all – liberal and conservative alike – know that he isn’t one.”  Elizabeth Warren’s Jeff Sessions rant was just that: a hysterical rant, and everyone knows it.  “White guilt,” and all that goes with it, is now just tiresome noise.  There is no reality to liberals’ mental myth of the enlightened state.  Once it comes under awareness, it dissolves.

Mr Green compares this to the Soviet Union.  I believe the real comparison is to Islam in nations where Islam is the majority religion.  Dissent is not acceptable.  If you are not part of the Umma you pay the tax and keep your mouth shut.

If you wonder why the progressives are not bothered by the oppression of what we think of as civil rights in Muslim majority nations, it may be that they subconsciously see the logic of the political organization.  Dissenters should be smart enough to keep their mouths shut and stay out of sight.  And pay their taxes.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Firing the Federal Attorneys

For John, BLUFSome don't understand transitions at changes of Administration.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Early this morning (0300), at the InstaPundit, Author Sarah Hoyt posted this item.  The writer is Mr Milo Yiannopoulos.  Yes, that Milo.  Here is Sarah's contribution:
I SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE:  When the Obama admin asked Bush-era U.S. attorneys to resign in 2009, Politico reported on it as a procedural “replacement” process.  When Trump’s team did the same thing in 2017, the same outlet reported they were “ousting” those attorneys.
As Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds would say, if it wasn't for double standards they would have no standards at all.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

High Noon Analysis

For John, BLUFMissing the forest for the trees.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Review:  Glenn Frankel, High Noon:  The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic
Source is The Washington Free Beacon and the Writer is Mr Joseph Bottum.

This review is about a book about the best Western ever.  And the best scene in High Noon?.  Toward the end Johnny, a 14 year old kid, brings around the buckboard and Mrs Kane gets up and the Marshall, as a last act, throws his badge in the dust at the feet of the Town Fathers.

Here is the Penultimate Paragraph of the review:

If Glenn Frankel’s book about High Noon starts out wrong and nonetheless clears the jump, it stumbles on its landing.  And the reason is mostly that Frankel can’t bring himself to reject communism or believe that the Soviets truly constituted a threat.  It’s not that he embraces the Soviet creed.  It’s rather that—a good American liberal of an old-fashioned 1970s-sort of breed—he plugs away with an unreflective anti-anti-communism.  For Frankel, the Venona intercepts seem never to have been revealed and the archives of the Soviet Union were never opened.  For him, only in conservative fantasy were the communists plotting against America—even the America for which High Noon provides an allegory.  At best, the author believes in moral equivalence: bad as the commies were, the anti-commies were just as bad. Probably worse.
The whole thing reminds me of America today, with the reflexive anti-Trump approach of many Progressives and fellow travelers.  Is President Trump Marshal Will Kane?  Time will tell.

It is sad.  So sad.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hint For Improving Education

For John, BLUFThe old models aren't working.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The author is Mr Bill Murphy Jr., writing in Inc..

Here is the part Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds quoted:

News flash: Most boys are rambunctious. Often they seem like they’re in a constant state of motion: running, jumping, fighting, playing, getting hurt–maybe getting upset–and getting right back into the physical action.

Except at school, where they’re required to sit still for long periods of time. (And when they fail to stay still, how are they punished? Often by being forced to skip recess–and thus they sit still longer.)

It’s not just an American issue. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland recently tried to document whether boys actually achieve less in school when they’re restricted from running around and being physically active.

They studied 153 kids, aged 6 to 8, and tracked how much physical activity and sedentary time they had during the day.  Sure enough, according to a report by Belinda Luscombe in Time, the less “moderate to vigorous physical activity” the boys had each day, the harder it was for them to develop good reading skills.

That is pretty interesting.  I wonder what our schools are doing to respond to this?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

US Attorney for Lower New York

For John, BLUFTrump doing right.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Or how Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds characterized it:
How (then-) U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Stiffed Reason’s Free Speech.
This is from Reason Magazine, who US Attorney Preet Bharara stripped of its First Amendment Rights.  Not the kind of person I want as a US Attorney.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Down the Rabbit Hole

For John, BLUFTrue Progressives never trust the IC.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Note that this is Nation of Change and not Breitbart.  The Reporter is Mr Dave Lindorff, on 11 March 2017.

Source is WikiMedia Commons

Here is the first part of the article, setting the stage:

The so-called Deep State and Democratic Party campaign to demonize Russia for allegedly “hacking the US election,” and delivering the country into the hands of Donald Trump suffered a huge and probably mortal blow this week with the release by WikiLeaks of over 7000 secret CIA documents disclosing secret CIA hacking technologies.

The case being made against Russia as being the source of leaked emails of the Democratic National Committee and of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta – documents that proved that the DNC had been corrupting the primary process in favor of corporatist candidate Hillary Clinton and undermining the campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and that also revealed the embarrassing contents of Clinton’s highly paid secret speeches to a number of giant Wall Street banks – had always been tenuous, with no hard evidence ever presented. All the intelligence agencies would say was that they had a “high degree of certainty,” or “strong reason to believe” that the Russians were the source of the deeply damaging documents late in the campaign season.

But, we were told there were "Russian" fingerprints on the intrusions.

Now that is not so clear.  Back to the article:

What this means is that current efforts by Democratic Party leaders and Deep State leakers in the government intelligence sector to pin the blame on Russia for hacking the election or for trying to help elect Trump as president, now must confront the counter-argument that the Deep State itself, in the form of the CIA, may have been behind the hacks, but is making it look like the Russians did it.
Yes, I am calling for a full and complete investigation by the US Congress.  A bipartisan investigation.  Looking at both the Trump (and Clinton) Campaign, but also at the Obama Administration and the IC (Intelligence Community), to include the FBI (and its parent organization).

And please note that if you say the election was hacked that is different from saying the DNC was hacked.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Relook at the Press Bubble

For John, BLUFNate Silver is as good as it gets.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline is:
Groupthink produced a failure of the “wisdom of crowds” and an underestimate of Trump’s chances.
The Author is Mr Nate Silver and the venue is his FiveThirtyEight blog.  The publication date is 10 March 2017. I commend the article to you.

Hat tip to my Wife.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fake News from Former President Obama's Half Brother

For John, BLUFSomeone said that fiction just can't keep up with reality.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am not sure what The American Mirror is, but it appears to be a Blog Site.  The Blogger is Mr Kyle Olson.
An Obama has joined the birther movement.

Malik Obama, Barack Obama’s half-brother, tweeted image of what appears to be Barack’s birth certificate.

Except it’s not from Hawaii, but rather Kenya.

“What’s this?” he tweeted.

The document is from the “Coast Province General Hospital” in Mombasa, British Protectorate of Kenya, and is for Barack Hussein Obama II, who was born on the “4th day of August, 1961.”

I am assuming this is some form of family joke.  I have no doubt that Former President Obama was born in Hawaii.  This is settled science.  But, Brothers will be Brothers.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, March 10, 2017

Thoughts on Antisemitism

For John, BLUFWe need to separate the real from the paranoid.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While it is The Wash Post, it is the column "The Volokh Conspiracy" and the author is Mr David Bernstein, on 8 March.

Here is the lede plus one:

I’m not insensitive to anti-Semitism.  Despite growing up in Jew-friendly New York City, I experienced my share of it — kids throwing rocks at my Jewish Day School bus, anti-Semitic graffiti on our home’s fence, among other incidents.  And as Volokh Conspiracy readers know, I’ve blogged quite a bit about anti-Semitism.  I’ve mostly written about anti-Semitism coming from the far left, but I’m not at all naive about the existence and virulence of anti-Semitism on the far right.

Nevertheless, I’ve been rather taken aback by the panic in the Jewish community over American anti-Semitism since Donald Trump won the election.  The recent spate of hoax bombing threats to Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions around the country has been a precipitating factor, but the fear is drastically out of proportion to the threat; no bombs have been found, and there are no indications that there is any real physical threat to Jews.  By contrast, in the past decade or so there have been actual murders at a JCC and a Jewish federation office without precipitating such panic.

Mr Bernstein has a point.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Investigating the "Hacking of the Election" (or Something)

For John, BLUFWhen someone uses the express "hacking of the election" they are moving past the revealed facts and suggesting, no matter how much they may deny it, that the Russians threw the election to Mr Trump (or failed to throw it to Ms Clinton).  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Cipher Brief and Mr Walter Pincus.

I’ve covered many political scandals over the past 50 years, including Watergate, Iran-contra, and the Clinton impeachment, but the past few weeks have convinced me this country may be on the verge of one that may top them all.

None of them involved a president as unprepared as Donald J. Trump.  Nor did they cover the number of varied activities currently unfolding before us that involve him directly and indirectly.

This scandal emerged out of Russia’s interference with our Presidential election campaign, through Moscow’s directed hacking into and publicizing of Democrats’ emails.  It then spread to past transfers of vast sums of investment money to Trump enterprises from questionable Russian and other financial sources, and now includes potential conflicts of interest and apparent personal gain.

Set aside for a moment the hint of sex. Finally, as with almost all major Washington scandals, it has led to individuals telling false or incomplete stories to investigators and the public – the inevitable cover-up.  Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta put it plainly on Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation:  “This president is making the same mistake past presidents made when they faced scandals…They are trying to obfuscate.  They’re trying to cover-up. They are trying to somehow raise other issues.”

That is quite a statement.  But, the coin has two sides (and an edge).  Here is the other side, from Victor David Hanson.  The venue is The National Review and the article headline is "The Ancient Laws of Unintended Consequences".  The sub-headline is "Eight years of a fawning press have made the Left reckless."  Here are two key paragraphs:
If the progressive media and intelligence agencies were hand-in-glove leaking damaging rumors about Trump, and if none were yet substantiated, then the issue reversed and turned instead on a new question:  How were they trafficking in confidential intelligence information if not from skullduggery of some sort?  No wonder that some smarter observers backtracked from the Russian-Trump collusion charges of the past six months, given that the leaks were less likely to be credible than they were criminal.  The accusers have become the accused. And who would police the police?

The media and the anti-Trump Republicans decried Trump’s reckless and juvenile antics as unbefitting a president. Perhaps, but they may have forgotten Trump’s animal cunning and instincts:  Each time Trump impulsively raises controversial issues in sloppy fashion — some illegal aliens harm American citizens as they enjoy sanctuary-city status, NATO European partners welch on their promised defense contributions, Sweden is a powder-keg of unvetted and unassimilated immigrants from the war-torn Middle East — the news cycle follows and confirms the essence of Trump’s otherwise rash warnings.  We are learning that Trump is inexact and clumsy but often prescient; his opponents, usually deliberate and precise but disingenuous.

A friend commented:
If Walter Pincus is anywhere near correct, then the Trump Administration, the Congress, FBI, and IC [Intelligence Community] are going to be mired investigating how the Russians were involved in the 2016 elections for years.  Unlike the other scandals Pincus cites this one will have the FBI and IC as central “agencies of interest” with serious questions about politicization germane to any investigations.
Not good.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Walking Back an Assertion

For John, BLUFIt is easier to pop off with an accusation than to walk it back.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Who?  US Senator Christopher Coons, Junior Democrat Senator from Delaware.

This is from Professor by William A. Jacobson and the Blog Legal Insurection.  The date is Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 10:00am

"[Senator Coons] Contradicts prior suggestion of possibly incriminating transcripts."

When Donald Trump sent out his series of tweets about alleged “tapping” of his phones and/or Trump Tower by Obama, the instant media reaction was that Trump made the allegation without presenting any proof.

As if proof were needed at the time of an accusation for a media that has put Trump on trial for the last 6-8 months based on innuendo about Trump campaign ties to Russia.  As pointed out repeatedly, there is zero proof in the public record of such media and Democrat accusations, and no proof was demanded by the media.

In fact, Democratic Senator Chris Coons recently suggested there were incriminating transcripts of calls involving Trump or his associates:

I call for a FULL investigation.  Everything.

On the other hand, I don't think the Democrats would want that.  They would wish for a more narrow investigation, shielding Democratic Party people who were in and out of the Government, but might have touched on this issue.

What I worry about is that it would reveal that we have become like Brazil.  See Operation Car Wash.  Here is a recent news report.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Different View of The Women's March

For John, BLUFRead the whole article, it agrees with you.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Too many feminists in the West are reluctant to condemn cultural practices that clearly harm women.
The source is The Daily Beast and the author is Ms Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who knows of what she speaks.

Here is the lede plus three:

Wednesday is International Women’s Day, and the organizers of the Women’s March are holding another protest.  This one is called A Day Without a Woman, in solidarity with those women who have lower wages and experience greater inequalities.

The protest encourages women to take the day off work, avoid shopping other than in small women- and minority-owned stores, and wear red.

The problems being protested against Wednesday—inequality, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity—are all too real for many disadvantaged women, but the legal protections for them are in place here in the United States.  Women who are unfairly treated at work or discriminated against can stand up, speak out, protest in the streets, and take legal action.  Not so for many women in other parts of the world for whom the hashtag #daywithoutawoman is all too apt.

Around the world women are subjected to “honor violence” and lack legal protections and access to health and social services.  According to Amnesty International’s recent annual report, throughout the Middle East and North Africa, women and girls are denied equal status with men in law and are subject to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and killings perpetrated in the name of “honor.”

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We Opened to a Cuba That Has Not Reformed

For John, BLUFThe opening to Cuba was overdone.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Sub-headline is "After Obama’s detente: More tourists on the island and more repression." This is The Wall Street Journal, from Opinionator Mary Anastasia O'Grady, on 5 March 2017.
Score another kill for the Cuban military dictatorship: Last month it eliminated Afro-Cuban dissident Hamell Santiago Más Hernández, an inmate of one of its most notoriously brutal prisons.

The remarkable thing was not the death of a critic.  That’s routine in a police state that holds all the guns, bayonets, money and food.  What’s noteworthy is that the world hardly blinked, which is to say that two years after President Obama’s detente with Raúl Castro, the regime still dispatches adversaries with impunity.  It also routinely blocks visitors to the island, even of the leftist stripe—more on this in a moment—in order to keep the population isolated.  “Normalization” to the contrary, Cuba is the same totalitarian hellhole that it has been for the past 58 years.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, March 6, 2017

Our Future With Iran

For John, BLUFI suspect President Trump is willing to live and let live, if Iran doesn't keep poking him.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from the very interesting Cipher Brief and Ambassador John Limbert.

Here is the lede plus one:

Like it or not, the Trump Administration will have to pay attention to Iran.  The President’s pre­de­cessors, beginning in 1979, have taken multiple paths, usually with few results beyond frustration.  Unable to ignore the Islamic Republic, they tried contain­ment, regime change, and engagement.  Nothing much worked, and – with a few exceptions – little changed as the two countries remained camped on opposite sides of an abyss trading threats, insults, and accusations.

Even those decades of futility, however, have provided lessons to be learned and suggest a path for the new administration.

No simple answers.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  "John Limbert is a Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy and the author of numerous books and articles on Iran.  During a 34-year dip­lomatic career, he served mostly in the Middle East and Islamic Africa (including two tours in Iraq), was Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and served as deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Iranian affairs.  He worked in Iran as a university and high school teacher, and served at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where he was held hostage in 1979-81."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Obama and the FISA Court

For John, BLUFEventually someone is going to get hurt playing these games and it won't necessarily be President Trump.  This is not 1974.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Definitions:  FISA Court

This is from Powerline and Mr John Hineraker, on 4 March 2017.

After President Trump accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones during the election campaign, the Associated Press hurried into print a defense of the former president:
President Donald Trump on Saturday accused former President Barack Obama of having Trump Tower telephones “wire tapped” during last year’s election, a claim that an Obama spokesman said was false.

Trump did not offer any evidence or details, or say what prompted him to make the allegation.

No one fits a lot of details into a tweet, but there is no doubt that Obama’s Justice Department–the most corrupt and politicized Department of Justice in modern American history–obtained a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump associates, and possibly Trump himself, in the heat of the presidential campaign.  The Associated Press apparently didn’t know this.
Well, this is what it is evolving to.
This scandal cries out for aggressive investigation. Let’s see the initial FISA application, and the court order denying it. Then let’s see the second application, and the order that approved it. Let’s put the Obama administration officials who signed the applications under oath, and find out who put them up to it. Let’s find out what judges denied the first application, and what judges granted the second one. Let’s get the details on the Obama administration’s spying. Did they tap the Trump campaign’s telephones? If so, which lines? Did they hack into the Trump campaign’s servers? If so, which ones?

Obviously, as President Trump said, the Obama administration learned nothing of significance from its spying on the Trump campaign. But it now appears that the election of 2016 may have been hacked after all, in a far more meaningful way than an intrusion into Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s email account. It may have been hacked by the Obama administration. We need to find out what happened. Congress should give top priority to this investigation.

Washington is just consuming itself in accusations and counteraccusations.  Don't these folks understand that the voters want them to be about the business of governing and not about the business of relitigating the November election.  And every Democrat and Democrat fellow traveller accusation against President Trump elicits a response.

But, for those of you who reject Powerline as being just another right wing source, here is the 11 January 2017 article from The [Manchester] Guardian.  Here is the key paragraph:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.  The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus.  According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.
By the way, I don't think Blogger and Retired Law Professor Ann Althouse (currently walking the Grand Canyon) is very impressed by the denials from the left.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Reparations for Slavery

For John, BLUFThis is a problem that I would like to see put to bed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A Different Bargain on Race

The source of this OpEd is The New York Times and the Author is Mr Ross Douthat.  The date is 4 March 2017.

This is about reparations for slavery and Mr Douthat proposes we give every man, woman and child descended from African slaves a one time payment of $10,000.

I am all for it, as long as we can find someone who can sign off on it in the name of all the descendants of former slaves in the United States.

I would jump the amount of reparations from Mr Douthat's proposed $10,000 to $20,000.  Even $20,000 isn't a lot—it won't get you through four years of UMass Lowell, a State University—but it would be a start.

I would include a provision that older descendants of slaves could make their money over to younger descendants with no tax penalty.

As an aside, the Republican Party he describes may be the Republican Party in New York City, but it is NOT the Republican Party in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trump Support Overseas

For John, BLUFThe Democrats should not hope for a new election any time soon.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Pajamas Media and Ms Arlene Becker, yesterday.

Here is the lede plus one:

According to Perel Wachsman, who splits time between Milwaukee and Jerusalem, some Israelis were literally dancing for joy when they heard the news that Trump had been elected.

Many American citizens living in Israel voted for Trump, and many Israeli citizens who spend time in both countries agreed that Trump would be better for Israel than Clinton.  Certainly, the majority of religious American/Israeli Jews in Israel seemed to lean heavily towards Trump.

Well, that is kind of interesting, especially given the innuendo floating about that the President is antisemitic.

The thing is, the Democratic Party Establishment has not yet accepted the Trump victory in November last.  And probably never will.

However, the ordinary folks see in Mr Trump some hope.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

One Anti-Jewish Harasser Arrested

For John, BLUFOn the other hand, when you are mentally sick you are mentally sick.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller and Reporter Alex Pfeiffer., yesterday.

The Lede:

A disgraced former reporter was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Friday for several bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers, Jewish schools and other Jewish organizations around the country.
A twofer.  He is from the more Progressive side of the spectrum and he is a Reporter, albeit one who was fired for doing Fake News.

But, you know, "Trump".  Answers all questions, at least for those Democrats with Press Credentials.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Leaving Landmines

For John, BLUFThere was lots of talk of cooperation, but little proof after the transition.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Weekly Standard and the keyboard of Reporter Mark Hemingway. Here is the lede, plus two and a quote:
Amid Thursday’s over-hyped brouhaha about Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian ambassador, a curious detail emerged.  In Sessions's recusal memo, it was explained who at the Justice Department would be handling any investigations into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia.  "Consistent with the succession order for the Department of Justice, Acting Deputy Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente shall act as and perform the functions of the Attorney General with respect to any matters from which I have recused myself to the extent they exist," reads Sessions's official statement on the matter.

Except that if the Obama administration had its way, Dana Boente wasn't supposed be the U.S. attorney to handle these matters in the event that Sessions recused himself.  On February 10, USA Today reported the following:

Seven days before he left office, President Obama changed the order of succession without explanation to remove Boente from the list.  Obama's order had listed U.S. attorneys in the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Illinois and the Central District of California.
That seems like awfully suspicious behavior.  In fact the USA Today story noted this is pegged to the news that Trump quietly signed an executive order restoring Boente to the line of succession.  The Obama administration chicanery was likely brought to White House's attention after Obama holdover and acting Attorney General Sally Yates tried to usurp the powers of the president and countermand his immigration executive order, actions for which she was summarily fired.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, March 3, 2017

Islam vs Itself

For John, BLUFTalking past each other.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The source is National Public Radio and these are the folks heard on "Morning Edition" on 1 March 2017. Here are the participants: Here is the beginning of the transcript:
We review Trump's speech with Scott Detrow and talk to Sebastian Gorka, the deputy assistant to the president, who gives his take on the president's speech to Congress and his approach to terrorism.
Here is the money quote:
GORKA: Well, of course it isn't. That would be asinine.  As I've written in my book, this isn't a war with Islam, this is a war in Islam.  As the king of Jordan, King Abdullah, as the president of the most populous Arab nation in the world, President Sisi, has stated, this is a war for the heart of Islam.  Which version is going to win, an atavistic, 7th century, blood curdled version such as propagated by al-Qaida and ISIS or whether it's going to be the one that is our allies' version, the Jordanian, Egyptian the Emirates?

It's not a war with Islam.  That would be absurd.  It is a war inside Islam. And we want to see our friends win that war.

Let us look at the key point.
It's not a war with Islam.  That would be absurd.  It is a war inside Islam.
The problem today is a contest for "the heart of Islam".  It is a contest wherein the elders in Islamic Countries and Communities have to decide if they will submit to the view of Islam as given to us by the likes of Daesh Leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi or by someone more like Jordan's King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein.

Regards  —  Cliff