The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mission Territory

For John, BLUFThere can be little doubt that we are seeing a lack of charity between politicians.  (Yes, that could be among politicians.)  It is poisoning the marketplace of ideas.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

What I said in my address to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday

Arthur C. Brooks’s remarks, as prepared, for the National Prayer Breakfast keynote address on Thursday, 6 February, at the Washington Hilton.

Published in The Washington Post, 7 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Mrs. Pence, Speaker Pelosi, heads of state, members of Congress and honored guests:  Thank you for inviting me here today.  I am deeply honored and grateful to address the National Prayer Breakfast.

As you have heard, I am not a priest or minister.  I am a social scientist and a university professor.  But most importantly, I am a follower of Jesus, who taught each of us to love God and to love each other.

I am here today to talk about what I believe is the biggest crisis facing our nation — and many other nations — today.  This is the crisis of contempt — the polarization that is tearing our society apart.  But if I do my job in the next few minutes, I promise I won’t depress you.  On the contrary, I will show you why I believe that within this crisis resides the best opportunity we have ever had, as people of faith, to lift our nations up and bring them together.

As leaders, you all know that when there is an old problem, the solution never comes from thinking harder in the old ways; we have to think differently — we need an epiphany.  This is true with societal problems and private problems.

And it ends:
My sisters and brothers, when you leave the National Prayer Breakfast today and go back to your lives and jobs, you will be back in a world where there is a lot of contempt.  That is your opportunity.  So I want you to imagine that there is a sign over the exit as you leave this room.  It’s a sign I’ve seen over the doors of churches — not the doors to enter, but rather the doors to leave the church.  Here’s what it says:

You are now entering mission territory.

If you see the world outside this room as mission territory, we might just mark this day, Feb. 6, 2020, at the National Prayer Breakfast, as the point at which our national healing begins.

UPDATE:  And this weekend's first reading is instructive:

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
"You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD."

Knowing the Gospel should be an easy guess.

It is all Mission Territory.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Guns of Baltimore

For John, BLUFIn the article, "Larry Hogan" is the Governor of Maryland.  Maryland is the state that is mostly bucolic, but is the home to Charm City, perhaps known to you as Baltimore, which has a high murder rate, which is the culmination of other pathologies.  Here in Lowell, we have the Ladd & Whitney Monument, to honor two of the first casualties in the American Civil War, killed in Baltimore.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by Blogger JAZZ SHAW, 21 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

It’s no secret that the city of Baltimore, Maryland is in the middle of a violent crime crisis and has been for several years now.  2019 saw a new record in the per capita murder rate and 2020 isn’t starting off any better, with the city averaging more than one murder per day.  Governor Larry Hogan has promised to do something about it and this month he unveiled a new crime bill that would finally toughen up penalties for gun crimes and close the revolving door of gang members parading in and out of jail.

So what have the Democrats in the legislature done about it?  They’re preparing to shoot it down, of course.  And the interim mayor of Charm City is backing them up. (CBS Baltimore)

Citing their opposition to mandatory minimum sentences, Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly say they are unlikely to pass Gov. Larry Hogan’s top priority this session ― the Violent Firearms Offender Act ― infuriating the governor who alleges lawmakers aren’t taking shootings in Baltimore seriously.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday, Hogan argued that lawmakers who don’t support his legislation are out of touch with the views of most Marylanders and should step down from their leadership posts.  On a table in his office at the State House, he spread out his internal polling results that show residents overwhelmingly want “tougher sentences for violent offenders who commit crimes with guns.”

Democrats in the Assembly are saying that bill won’t even make it out of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, so there won’t be a chance of a full floor vote or debate.  Their objections are based on the removal of judicial discretion for a number of gun crimes in favor of mandatory minimum sentences.  But judicial discretion is a large part of the reason the city is dealing with a murder rate that’s worse than you would find in some war zones.
I think we, the American People, re too confused to be making hard and fast long term decisions about guns.

On the other hand, that doesn't seem to keep people for expressing hard and fast opinions on the subject.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Protecting [Illegal] Immigrants from Wage Justice

For John, BLUFSupposedly we protect illegal immigrants from the long cruel arm of the law, but then we neglect to admit we are not thus protecting them from abusive employers, employers who pay below prevailing wages.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Don Surber, by , February 17, 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Breitbart News reported, "Florida’s E-Verify bill will likely push 140,000 illegals out of Florida jobs and make it difficult for employers to hire replacement workers at current wages, says a university study funded by the investors who are trying to block the E-Verify bill.

"If 'existing undocumented workers were to exit the Florida economy in the number anticipated were E-Verify adopted, the adequate numbers of native workers would not be available at current wage rates,' says the draft report funded by, an advocacy group for billionaire investors, including Mark Zuckerberg.

"'This is basically making the case for us that employers are employing illegal workers to keep wages low and to increase their own profits,' said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA.  'If they can’t replace those workers at the same [pay] level, then, oh my gosh, then they are going to have to increase wages [for Americans]. … It is exactly what should happen.'

So illegal immigration is keeping wages suppressed, hurting not just illegal immigrants, but also US Citizens looking for work.  It is a double bad thing.  It is wrong, but it is what Democrats think is the way life should be.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Near Term Future

For John, BLUFIF Our State Rep David Nangle should resign, and I am not saying he should, but if he should, a snap election before November would be the decision of General Court Speaker Robert Alfred DeLeo.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In preparing my blog post on the accusations against our 17th Middlesex District Representative David Nangle I wondered about the procedure should he resign.

There was not much information out there on the issue.  So, I did a general search on the World Wide Web, and found Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 50: GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATIVE TO PRIMARIES, CAUCUSES AND ELECTIONS.  From there I went to Section 6A: Vacancies in elective offices caused by retirement; notice:

Section 6A. If an elected state, city, or town officer is to be retired on or before the next regular election by reason of superannuation before the completion of the term of office to which he was elected, thereby causing a vacancy in said office, such vacancy shall be filled at said regular election as provided by law for such office.

The retiring authority shall notify the county commissioners, mayor and aldermen in cities, or the selectmen in towns, as the case may be, of the impending retirement of such elected officer at least six months preceding the next state, city, or town election, as the case may be.

Not that helpful, so I went to the Secretary of State's website, Elections Division.  Then I found "Publications" and looked for rules.  Nothing popped out at me, so I called the local Elections Office and the Commonwealth Secretary of State Election Office, where a very nice gentleman told me the story.  It depends on what the local authority, in this case the House, wants to do.  IF Representative Nangle were to resign, the House could decide to hold an election to replace him, or it could ignore the whole thing and wait for Tuesday, 3 November 2020, which is the next scheduled general election.

For that election, there is the Primary on Tuesday, 1 September for the regular November General Election. And, for that Primary, 2 June 2020 is the Deadline to file party nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.  (5pm last day and hour.)  Yes, there is a State web site with an election calendar, either as a calendar or as a list.

But, that is all in the future and may well never come to pass.

Regards  —  Cliff

  IMHO he should not resign based on accusations that have not been proven before a jury of his peers. This could turn out to be like the Senator Ted Stevens case, where there were hot accusations, but in the end he was a free man.

Reconfiguring the States (or the Senate)

For John, BLUFThere are various plans out there for reforming how we organize the Legislative Branch (Article I) of the Federal Government.  The Supreme Court has applied one-man-one-vote to the States, but cannot apply the rule to the US Senate.  The items below could give more power to rural states, while concentrating the power of urban area states.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Times, by Ms Valerie Richardson, 19 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

You’ve got Oregonians seeking to cascade into Idaho, Virginians who identify as West Virginians, Illinoians fighting to escape Chicago, Californians dreaming of starting a 51st state, and New Yorkers who think three states are better than one.

Separation fever is sweeping the nation as quixotic but tenacious bands of frustrated rural dwellers, suburbanites and conservatives seek to break free from states with legislatures increasingly controlled by liberal big cities and metropolitan strongholds.

“Oregon is controlled by the northwest portion of the state, Portland to Eugene.  That’s urban land, and their decisions are not really representing rural Oregon,” said Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho.  “They have their agenda and they’re moving forward with it, and they’re not listening to us.”

In Virginia, the newly elected Democratic majority’s progressive legislation on issues such as gun rights has spurred “Vexit,” or “Virginia exit,” a campaign to merge right-tilting rural counties into neighboring West Virginia that organizers say has the potential to catch fire nationwide.

“To be honest, if this works — you’ve got a lot of red areas in this country that are totally dominated by a blue metropolis,” said Vexit2020 leader Rick Boyer, a former member of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors.  “If it works in Virginia, there’s no reason it can’t reshape the political map.”

Change is good, but we need to think out the long term implications.  The future is not a straight line from here to there.  Rather it is about the futurable.  What are all the ways this could likely play out?  Fate does not promise just one way, but various ways.  Various branches and sequels must be considered.  You can plan one thing, but new circumstances, perhaps created by your idea, may cause it to veer off course.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

ICE Goes Looking

For John, BLUFSanctuary Cities are a growing phenomenon across the fruited plain, although mainly on the coasts.  Now the Federal Government is deploying more ICE Agents to metropolitan areas to round up suspected illegal immigrants.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Rick Moran, 20 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus seven:

ICE agents arrested two illegal aliens in a courthouse in Northern California, defying a state law that says they needed a warrant from a judge to do so.

ICE flouted a new state law that requires the warrant before arresting an illegal on courthouse grounds.  After the predictable outcry from courthouse officials and others, ICE calmly gave their rationale.

Los Angeles Times:

ICE said in a statement that California’s law doesn’t supersede federal law and “will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly enacted laws passed by Congress that provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States.”

“Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities,” David Jennings, ICE’s field office director in San Francisco, said in the statement.

In other words, ICE is telling critics to go climb a tree.

ICE's actions follow the deployment of Customs and Border Patrol agents to sanctuary cities and states.  The state government of California bitterly criticized that move, but find themselves unable to do anything to prevent it.  The Department of Homeland Security, the agency under which ICE and CBP operate, can send its personnel anywhere they see fit to send them.

There is a definite tug of war between the Federal Government and some of the States and some of the cities.  It represents the lack of consensus across the country.  Per haps the November elections will help to resolve these differences.

To move forward, we are going to have to find a compromise with regard to our immigration policy.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  This raises the issue of providing more Federal political power to the more populous states, perhaps by giving them more US Senators.  This would change the balance of power and would reduce most of the States, as a group, to to a minority position.  Ten States are half the population (167,707,819, out of 331,875,705, per the 2010 Census).  The nation would be run by California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan, when they were in agreement.  Picture that on the map.  A change in how we distribute Senators would probably require a new Constitutional Convention, with the danger that many states would drop out at the Convention.  This last Wednesday, The Washington Times had this article:  "Secession fever spikes in five states as conservatives seek to escape blue rule".

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Russians Are Coming

For John, BLUFThe word out on the street is that President Trump is unhappy with an Intelligence Community report, given to the House Intelligence Oversight Committee, that Russia is working to reelect President Trump.  Russian interference in a US Election wouldn't surprise me.  Why should 2020 be difference from other Presidential elections back to when Lenin walked the earth?  But, why should this be different from other products from the IC, subject to varying interpretations?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Forbes, by Energy Historian Ellen R. Wald, 21 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

The latest reports may insist that Russian president Vladimir Putin wants President Trump to win the 2020 election, but that’s just not logical.  Practically, Putin needs a Democrat to win.  The same goes for Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and his son Mohammed.  In fact, all of the countries that depend on oil production to power their economies desperately need a Democrat to win in November.

OPEC, Russia and their other partners have failed. Prices remain persistently low, and this is largely because the United States is producing record amounts of oil (and gas).  The US now produces more than 12 million barrels per day.  More than 10 percent of global oil production comes from the US and projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast that production will grow to 14 million barrels per day by 2022.

But, if a Democratic candidate becomes president next year, this could all change.  Various Democratic candidates have pledged to ban hydraulic fracturing, end offshore oil production, ban drilling on federal lands, institute carbon taxes and even prosecute oil executives.  Practically speaking, Democratic candidates have said they would put up one obstacle after another to impede and halt U.S. oil production.

This makes sense.  While President Trump may be President Putin's puppet, nothing he actually does supports this idea. 

Cui bono?  The Latin for "who benefits".  It doesn't look like anyone except America benefits from the actions of President Trump.

One wonders if this "Russian involvement" is an invention of the Hillary Clinton Campaign and is still virulent four years later.

Regards  —  Cliff

Crushing Dissent at UMass Amherst

For John, BLUFWhile I have my doubts about academic freedom over the years, it has always been a conceit of the academics that academic freedom existed.  Maybe it does, somewhere.  As for UMass Amherst, it is doubtful.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The funny thing is it is the student who is being attacked for dissent, dissent against the current political orthodoxy of the faculty.

From The American Thinker, by Lawyers Karen D. Hurvitz and Ilya I. Feoktistov, 16 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Louis Shenker, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, just wanted his MAGA hat back from the graduate student who ripped it off his head on campus.  He wore the hat to a December 6, 2018 protest organized by the university’s graduate student union against Trump and local police.  Video shows that when Louis, who is 5’6’’ and 140 pounds, arrived wearing the MAGA hat and holding a large sign, he was immediately surrounded by a hostile mob of older grad students cursing at him and calling him a white supremacist.  A woman lunged from the mob and snatched Louis’s MAGA hat.  Careful not to get caught on camera hitting Louis with their hands, they instead mobbed him like a colony of enraged penguins, using their bodies to push him from all sides, occasionally pecking at his head with their cardboard signs, and chanting in unison:  “THE PEOPLE, UNITED, WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED.”

“Get the f**k out of here, you shouldn’t be in an anti-racist march!” screamed the hat thief.  A soft-spoken professor in the crowd warned Louis:  “It’s actually dangerous for you to come by yourself like that.”  As the protesters began to march and Louis tried to keep up while pleading for his hat, many of them, including several graduate student union members dressed in United Auto Workers gear, elbowed Louis into walls, lampposts, and other obstacles.  “You act like a Nazi, you’re going to get treated like a Nazi,” a female protester yelled at the Jewish grandson of Holocaust victims.  Louis left without his hat.

A month later, Louis was horrified to recognize the woman who stole his MAGA hat as Beth Peller, a 36-year-old grad student who would be teaching his mandatory freshman writing class.  Louis could not change his schedule, so he shaved his head and mustache, prayed that she would not recognize him, and wrote the essays she assigned with the correct leftist opinions she all but demanded.  Beth regaled her students with war stories about her time organizing violent anarchist movements, but never recognized the seemingly complaisant student as her victim from the protest.  Louis got an A.

And on it goes, until the University made it impossible for him to take his finals and he was, effectively, expelled from the University.  At least he has lawyers and the basic Rights of Englishmen still apply.

Shouldn't UMass Amherst be working on changing its name, as it changed its mascot due to being embarrassed by the past actions of Field Marshal Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, KB, after whom the whole shoot'ed match is named.

As a Massachusetts Resident, and as an American, I am embarrassed by UMass Amherst.  What is the head of the UMass System, President Marty Meehan, doing here?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

 On the other hand, it may be lucky for him.  He could end up going to a serious university.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Corbynization of the Left

For John, BLUFLack of tolerance for other ideas is atomizing the political parties, more on the "left" than on the "right", not just in the US, but elsewhere, like the UK.  We can see it in the Labour loss in the last election, and in the Corbynization of the US Democratic Party.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Law and Liberty, by Eric Kaufmann, 13 February 2020.

Here are the three paragraphs extracted by InstaPundit Blogger Stephen Green this yesterday morning:

Identity politics and multiculturalism are central motivating forces for the highly-educated activists who have dominated left-wing parties since the ’68 generation rose to prominence.  These ideas tend to be considerably less popular than the Left’s economic offer, hence the bind the Left finds itself in.

Yet this alone cannot explain the inflexibility of left-wing parties.  To do so requires an additional ingredient: the rise of political correctness.  Political correctness functions as an emergent system that can push new ideas even when few people actually believe in them.  Like the emperor’s new clothes, no one dares violate a taboo which may cost them dearly.

To be blunt, left-wing political correctness is more powerful than the right-wing variant.  For instance, many social conservatives may dislike environmentalist candidates in their ranks, but dissidents on the left of a conservative party won’t have their character questioned and reputation trashed.  By contrast, a left-wing politician who moves right on culture—calling for lower immigration or abolishing female-only shortlists, for instance—is likely to be accused of racism or sexism by radical online activists.  This causes them intense embarrassment and, by triggering a social taboo, may lead others to pile on them to signal virtue.  This can damage a person’s reputation well beyond politics.  Something of this fate has befallen the patriotic leftists of Blue Labour in the UK, who are no longer welcome in Labour circles.  Brexit-supporting Paul Embery, for instance, was kicked out of the Fire Brigades Union for criticizing the union’s position on Brexit.  This, they alleged, made him an accomplice of the “nationalist Right” and thus a “disgrace to the traditions of the Labour movement.”  No wonder few on the Left are willing to move right on culture.

If we squeeze out people who think different on this or that, we squeeze out thinkers.  As the late General George S. Patton said:  "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Professor Stephen Walt Scores President Trump

For John, BLUFThere is no doubt that the US Presidency has gained powers over the decades, but I think it is a stretch to think this President is more Authoritarian than say a Woodrow Wilson for Frankly D Roosevvelt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

After impeachment, the president has been passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism.

(I found those two headlines contradicting each other.  The reason is I misread the main headline.  I thought that if President Trump was failing his "Dictatorship Test" it meant he wasn't showing signs of being a good dictator.  Apparently Professor Walt sees the scoring going the other way.  This is the kind of thing that caused me to be in the bottom half of my class in High School and Undergraduate level college.)

From Foreign Policy, by Professor Stephen M Walt, 14 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected, I wrote up a list of the “10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator.”  I wasn’t saying Trump was in fact an aspiring autocrat; it was merely a list of warning signs to keep track of as his presidency preceded.  In 2017, I offered an updated assessment and concluded that the danger of creeping autocracy was pretty serious.

Now that Trump has been acquitted by a Republican-controlled Senate that couldn’t even be bothered to interview any witnesses with personal knowledge of his possible high crimes and misdemeanors, it seems appropriate to revisit my list once again.  Spoiler alert:  There are some flashing red lights on the dashboard.

Here are the ten items on Professor Walt's list:
  1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • On the other hand, the media is doing a pretty good job of trying to intimidate the President
    • I score a tie.
  2. Building an official pro-Trump media network
    • Professor Walt gives it a partial RED check, and takes a slam at Rush Limbaugh.
    • I don't see any official pro-Trump media (Fox isn't there).  Maybe The Epoch Times.
    • I score it meh.
  3. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or domestic security agencies.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • I guess this means that he has never heard of Lisa Page or Peter Stork or James Comey.  Or LTC Alexander Vindman.
    • I go with the flashing RED light and award it to President Barack Obama.  As the Tea Party groups understand.  Or maybe Professor Alan Dershowitz knows.
  4. Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.
    • Professor Walt gives it a partial RED check.
    • Hello, President Obama?  As for Ukraine, I am waiting for the rest of the story.  This could come back to bite Professor Walt.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  5. Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • If it is about reducing Federal regulations, then it is a good thing, since it seems to mean more jobs and a growing economy.
    • I saw a GREEN Check.
  6. Stacking the Supreme Court.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • The Professor talks badly about Justice Kavanaugh, not not about the Borking.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  7. Enforcing the law for only one side.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • Does the Professor applaud the DOJ treatment of Mr Roger Stone?  Not a nice guy, Mr Stone, but the sentence makes no sense, except in the sense that he associates with Republicans.
    • I give this a flashing BLUE light.
  8. Really rigging the system
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • This is the voting system.  Have you seen where Democrats are calling President Trumps outreach to African Americans and Hispanics as "voter suppression."  I think President Trump is opening up the system.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  9. Fearmongering.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • Among the problems listed is North Korea.  President Trump has actually tried to deal with the problem, and in general is playing down external threats.  Remember the take-down of Iranian Terror Leader Major General Qasem Soleimani?  The President has worked to downplay the Iranian reaction, for which he has been belittled.
    • I give this a partial PINK check.  (No President is perfect in this area and neither is the IC.)
  10. Demonizing the opposition.
    • Professor Walt gives it a "Well, Duh".
    • And Visa-Versa.  In the last week the Speaker has declared that President Trump was NOT acquitted by the US Senate and that he will be Impeached for ever.  That is demonizing.
    • I give this a strong, "Well, Duh".
"It is difference of opinion that makes horse-races."--Mark Twain

It might appear that Professor Walt and I have differences of opinions.  And, in general, I like his work.

This is my last free article from Foreign Policy for this month or this year or for ever.  Sad.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Our State Rep, Mr David Nangle

For John, BLUFI have known State Repreentsative David Nangle for over 20 years, and in the years 2000 and 2002 I was his Republican opponent for this State Rep seat.  I was trounced.  The reason is that Rep Nangle is from a large and well established family and has been well liked by the local voters.  And few voters are worried about the legislature, the General Court, turning into some sort of harbinger of political, economic and social disaster.  Further, while a Democrat, Rep Nangle is very close to the Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the WCVB (TV Channel 5) report I read yesterday:

Here is the lede plus three:
Massachusetts state Rep. David Nangle was arrested Tuesday morning on charges stemming from the misuse of campaign funds, according to federal authorities.

Nangle is accused of using the campaign money to pay for personal expenses, including purchasing thousands of dollars in gift cards for personal use. He was arrested at his home in Lowell by agents of the FBI and IRS.

He appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon, where he pleaded not guilty. Pending a trial, the judge allowed his release on the conditions that Nangle must surrender his passport, stop gambling and remain in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire.

According to an indictment, Nangle was heavily in debt, had poor credit and had incurred "tens of thousands of dollars in gambling-related spending and losses."

I tried to get the Lowell Sun article, but the program I am signed up for doesn't give me a URL.  So, I went to its partner, The Boston Herald.  The article is by Reporter Colin A Young, 19 February 2020.
The day after he was indicted on a laundry list of federal charges connected to bank fraud and the improper use of campaign funds, Rep. David Nangle on Wednesday stepped down from his leadership and committee posts in the Massachusetts House.

In an email to the House Clerk at 11:01 a.m., Nangle cited “recent, unfortunate events” as the reason he will step down as second division chair in the House and remove himself from his assignments to serve on the House Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on Rules.

“Due to recent, unfortunate events I believe it would be in the best interest of the House of Representatives that I step down from my leadership position and committee assignments,” Nangle wrote.  “It has been an extreme honor to serve you, my colleagues and the citizens of the Commonwealth in my position as Division Floor Leader.”

Nangle’s position as a division leader carried a $30,000 stipend on top of his $66,257 base salary as a legislator. On Tuesday, Nangle pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, nine counts of making false statements to a bank, and five counts of filing false tax returns.

Magistrate Judge Page Kelley ordered Nangle to be released on a $25,000 unsecured bond with several conditions on his travel and a requirement that he not gamble.  He is due back in court in mid-March.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in a Tuesday statement that the allegations against Nangle are “serious and troubling and, if true, represent a significant betrayal of the public trust,” but he had not said whether Nangle would retain his leadership and committee posts while awaiting trial.

I hope the report is wrong.  And, it could be.  Remember Senator Ted Stevens, Republican from Alaska?  He was indicted and tried and convicted and then lost his reelection in 2008.  But, before the sentence was handed down an FBI Whistleblower spoke up and the DOJ asked to withdraw the case, with prejudice.  Sadly, one of the Prosecutors committed suicide.  But, Senator Stevens lost the reelection bid.  David Nangle is innocent until proven guilty, and it is up to the Government to prove him guilty.

I am bothered by the reports on the arrest.  Has the Federal Government Roger Stoned Mr Nangle?  Why an early morning visit with Agents from both the FBI snd IRS?  Why not just invite him down to the Courthouse?  Was the Press invited along, or tipped off?  This kind of thing does not give confidence in how our law enforcement agencies operate.  It is prejudicial against the defendant.  This is terrible.  What happened to innocent until proven guilty.

I send my good wishes to Representative David Nangle.

Regards  —  Cliff

Nancy Spinning

For John, BLUFHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi is spinning the Impeachment so hard that one wonders if she has lost the bubble, or worse, lost her way.  It is sad to watch.  Perhaps another serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Writer Jim Treacher, 18 February 2020.

Here is the lede:

If you were wondering how Nancy Pelosi has been handling the events of the past few months, it's safe to say she's not taking it well.  She's been keeping a low profile after making a spectacle of herself at the 2020 State of the Union address, but over the weekend she gave an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour that must be seen to be believed.  If reality won't do what Nancy wants, she'll just deny it's happening to her.
And here is part of the interchange between Speaker Pelosi and Ms Amanpour:
Amanpour:  What about, though, the fact that the president seems liberated? And this is about Democratic politics, so I'm not asking you to criticize here.  But he was acquitted, his poll ratings are higher...

Pelosi:  He was not... there was no acquittal. You can't have an acquittal unless you have a trial.  And you can't have a trial when you have witnesses and documents.  So he can say he was acquitted, and the headlines can say "Acquitted," but he's impeached forever.  Branded with that and not vindicated.  And even the senators were saying, "Yes, it wasn't right."  But didn't have the courage to act upon that.

Amanpour:  Except for?

Pelosi:  Except for Mitt Romney.  God bless him. And then the president criticized him for using his faith to do something he knew was wrong...

Impeached for ever?.  Like former President Bill Clinton?

The issue isn't what history teachers and professors think 50 years from now, but what voters think in November 2020,  There is some indication that many voters don't agree with Ms Pelosi.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

National Health Service to Teach Manners

For John, BLUFOnce the bureaucrats have established they can ration service based on behavior, they won't sto p  The best of British luck to us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The NHS will soon bar discriminatory patients from non-critical care - powers that currently only cover aggression or violence.

From Sky News by News Reporter Ms Clare Sibthorpe, 18 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

Sexist and racist patients could be barred from non-emergency care at NHS trusts, under new rules to be enforced from April.

Currently, staff can refuse to treat non-critical patients who are verbally aggressive or physically violent towards them.

But these protections will extend to any harassment, bullying or discrimination, including homophobic, sexist or racist remarks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to all NHS staff on Tuesday to announce stronger measures to investigate abuse and harassment towards staff, saying "no act of violence or abuse is minor".

"Being assaulted or abused is not part of the job," he said.

I like it.  Take people when they are highly stressed and hold them to their best tea party behavior.  That will work out well.

I wonder if Mr Matt Hancock has re-education camps in mind?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Abuse of Authority

For John, BLUFI am not sure how far back this kind of thing goes, but maybe back to the early Presidents, although I doubt zG Washington did it.  For sure it needs to be held down.  It is unseemly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Ms Megan Fox, 17 February 2020.

Here is the lede:

In an interview with Breitbart News, Alan Dershowitz claimed he is in possession of documents that will show Barack Obama asked the FBI to investigate an unnamed person on behalf of George Soros.  Those documents, he says, will come out during a lawsuit that will be filed in the future.  Dershowitz said the only difference between Trump and other presidents influencing the Department of Justice is that Trump is open about it while the others "whispered."
I hope this report is wrong, but I am doubtful.  Given the IRS efforts to suppress the Tea Party Movement this would not be out of line with other Obama Administration actions.  take Benghazi, for example.  Abuse of the legal system.

Is there any reason for those outside the DC Beltway to not doubt the integrity (integrity) of the upper echelons of the Federal Bureau of Investigation?

Are the Democrats in Congress blind?  Or don't they care, as long as Nancy Pelosi can be Speaker.  Her of the "Impeached for Ever."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann on President Trump

For John, BLUFI find Mr Weissman commenting on President Trump to be a reminder of the concerns of many for two levels of justice in the United State, one for Republicans and one for Democrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Times, by Columnist Rowan Scarborough, 7 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus several:

Former senior Trump-Russia prosector Andrew Weissmann says Democrats should mimic Italian politics for the way to “get rid of” President Trump, whom he called a “demigod” and “amoral.”

Conservatives say Mr. Weissmann’s advice on MSNBC reveals what his goal was all along as a senior prosecutor on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Weissmann, a Democratic Party donor and one of 18 Mueller prosecutors, also lamented he could never get Mr. Trump to sit down for an interview where a slip up could have resulted in federal perjury charges.

Mr. Weissmann made the pro-removal remarks on Thursday after Mr. Trump held a Senate acquittal celebration at the White House.  The president lashed out at FBI chieftains, such as former agent Peter Strzok, for investigating an election conspiracy he said agents knew didn’t happen.

He also ridiculed the Democrats for buying a dossier based on Kremlin sources that was essentially a hoax, but used by the FBI to target Trump associates.

The final Mueller report, which Mr. Weissmann helped write, said the FBI didn’t establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

Previously on MSNBC, Mr. Weissmann said Mr. Trump talks on an open phone line so Russian President Vladimir Putin can listen in.

Mr. Weissmann said on Thursday that the way Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, like Mr. Trump a populist conservative, was ousted is a model for Democrats.  Also like Mr. Trump, Mr. Berlusconi is a billionaire.  Critics claimed he used government policy to help his companies.  He was convicted of tax fraud after serving longer than any post-World War II prime minister.

Prosecutor Weissmann thinks President Trump is amoral?  Has he looked in the mirror?  Does he remember the late Senator Ted Stevens or the Arthur Andersen LLP v United States case?

I scoff.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who Is Bernie?

For John, BLUFPeople have been talking about the "Corbynization" of the Democratic Party for a while.  sometimes it was about Antisemitism and sometimes about ideas on how to organize the economy.  Infrequently it touches on individual freedom.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CAPX, By Ryan Bourne, 17 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

  • It is wrong to downplay just how radical Bernie Sanders would be
  • Sanders is no European-style social democrat - just look at his platform
  • You thought Corbyn was radical? Just wait till you see Bernie Sanders' proposals
It may be early days in the Democratic primary race, but Bernie Sanders is now the favourite to win the party’s nomination and set up a Trump-Sanders presidential election.

As the prospect of Sanders winning becomes ever more real, some commentators are downplaying his socialist credentials, painting the veteran Senator as no more than a moderate social democrat.

“Memo to left-wing Americans who adore Sanders’s radical ‘socialism’…” says Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, “in most other Western/European countries, Sanders would be considered a pretty mainstream, centre-left social democrat.”

His view is shared by the economist Paul Krugman. Dastardly Republicans might have the audacity to use Sanders’ own preferred label to describe him, but since he doesn’t want to “nationalise our major industries” or “replace markets with central planning”, Sanders “isn’t actually a socialist.”  Ignore scare stories about Venezuelan economics then, Krugman advises.  Sanders just wants the US to look more like Denmark.

Krugman is right to say that Sanders shuns nationalisation.  To simply label him a socialist, without any caveats, is misleading.  But it’s even more grossly misleading to suggest his “democratic socialist” ambitions stop at a Scandinavian-style welfare state.  More redistribution is central to his agenda, sure, but he also proposes massive new market interventions, including the Green New Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, expansive price and wage controls, overhauling labour and corporate governance laws, and enforced mutualisation of companies.

Based on his performance as a prognosticator during the era of Trump, I wouldn't put a lot of trust in Dr Krugman's views.

I wounder why the media is not working on helping us understand the core of Senator Sanders' beliefs.  It is one thing when he is one of one hundred Senators, and from Vermont at that.  it is another if he is President, with a pen and a telephone.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  From the Centre for Policy Studies.

Squeegee Man is Back in NYC

For John, BLUFPanhandlnig comes in various forms, one of which is someone who will come up to your car at a stop light and squirt water on it (or worse) and then offer to clean it for small price.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Post, by Reporters Sam Raskin and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, 16 February 2020

So, if the street level auto windshield washers are back, does that mean the economy is much better, and they see a way to earn money, or is this a reaction to the new New York State attitude toward bail and the Squeegee Men see themselves as free to do as they wish, no matter how the victims of the windshield washing feel.

Yes, this is a kind of issue that will pit the individual citizens against their government, perhaps resulting in the People being cowed, or the government removed at the next election.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, February 17, 2020

Mayor Bloomberg Makes a Move

For John, BLUFMayor Bloomberg is late to the open game, so he has to bust a few moves to allow him to dominate some news cycles and to disrupt and disturb the apparent front runners.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CNBC, by Ms Lauren Hirsch, 15 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as a vice presidential running mate after positive internal polling about the potential pairing, according to the Drudge Report, which cited sources close to the Bloomberg campaign.

According to Drudge, in such a partnership Bloomberg would change his official residence from New York to Colorado or Florida. The constitution suggests there may be limitations in both members of a presidential ballot residing in the same state.

Of course it is being denied.  It is a trial balloon.

There will be plenty of time between now and the Convention to massage this part of the campaign.  In the mean time, there is a pocket of 2016 Hillary voters that will not be easily floating to Senators Warren or Klobuchar or to Senator Sanders or Mayor Buttigieg.  A successful campaign includes a lot of strategic thinking.

Hat tip to my Wife, who found this item.

Regards  —  Cliff

Computers Contributing to Global Warming

For John, BLUFI am not surprised at the revelation about the energy costs of computerization.  Remember the 2007 Bruce Willis movie Live Free or Die Hard?  One of the clues is that the computer be hacked is using a lot of energy, standing out from the background.  And it isn't just the computer.  There is the energy needed to provide the cooling needed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Digital traffic will fuel the next dramatic economic expansion—but digital machines need the reliable and affordable energy that only hydrocarbons can provide.

Mark P. Mills January 24, 2020 Technology and InnovationInfrastructure and energyEconomy, finance, and budgets.

Here is the lede plus three:

Once upon a time, tech companies were upstarts, striving to change the world order.  Not anymore.  With financial potentates gathering in Davos this week for the 2020 World Economic Forum, tech giants reign in the global economy, both creating and ameliorating challenges from job destruction and wealth disparities to security, health care, and—of course—climate change.

Digital companies now “weaponize” their reputations for technological wizardry to shape our energy future.  It’s ironic, then, but no coincidence, that digital infrastructure has become the fastest-growing source of energy use.  Despite their best public relations efforts, these giants in fact meet increasing demand by using the same old hydrocarbon sources that power everything else in the economy.

Tech companies confront an inconvenient fact:  the global cloud uses more energy than is produced by all the planet’s wind and solar farms combined.  One-click shopping and streaming video, and everything else digital, rely on an ecosystem of energy-intensive hardware to mine rare-earth elements, manufacture silicon engines, and light up countless cell towers and warehouse-scale data centers.  This hardware is deeply and deliberately intertwined in global systems overwhelmingly fueled by hydrocarbons—the old-fashioned stuff that provides 85 percent of all energy, with just 3 percent coming from wind and solar.

Just ahead of the Davos meeting, Microsoft raised the bar for its fellow tech titans by announcing an initiative to help change how the world gets energy. Nearly every tech firm has “taken the pledge” to transition to using renewable energy exclusively.  They’re investing billions of dollars and deploying lobbyists to get more wind and solar projects going worldwide.  U.S. companies fund about half of Europe’s green tech, and these firms make sure to publicize these as “offsets” for domestic operations—in effect, purchased indulgences.  None of it changes the reality that data machines physically connect to conventional, local grids and pipes.

Maybe when everyone telecommutes we will find the energy savings.  In the mean time, computing is a big energy sink.

Like much we hear about, we could benefit from more information and less speculation.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Executive Orders

For John, BLUFIt is usually interesting to examine the back story on any assertion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On the City Life Show Friday I was challenged by one of the co-hosts a to the fact that President Trump was running the nation by Executive Orders.  I immediately flashed on President Barack Obama and his infamous quote that "I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone".

Here is the Wikipedia entry, first three paragraphs:

In the United States, an executive order is a directive issued by the president of the United States that manages operations of the federal government.  The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources.  Article Two of the United States Constitution gives the president broad executive and enforcement authority to use their discretion to determine how to enforce the law or to otherwise manage the resources and staff of the executive branch.  The ability to make such orders is also based on express or implied Acts of Congress that delegate to the president some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation).

Like both legislative statutes and regulations promulgated by government agencies, executive orders are subject to judicial review and may be overturned if the orders lack support by statute or the Constitution.  Some policy initiatives require approval by the legislative branch, but executive orders have significant influence over the internal affairs of government, deciding how and to what degree legislation will be enforced, dealing with emergencies, waging wars, and in general fine-tuning policy choices in the implementation of broad statutes.  As the head of state and head of government of the United States, as well as commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces, only the president of the United States can issue an executive order.

Presidential executive orders, once issued, remain in force until they are canceled, revoked, adjudicated unlawful, or expire on their own terms.  At any time, the president may revoke, modify, or make exceptions from any executive order, whether the order was made by the current president or a predecessor.  Typically, a new president reviews enforced executive orders in the first few weeks in office.

President Obama issued 276 during his eight years in office.

President Trump has issued 138 Executive Orders so far in a little over years.

Here is a partial list of Presidential Executive Orders:

John F. Kennedy214 <1
Lyndon B. Johnson325 1+
Richard Nixon346 1+
Gerald R. Ford169 <1
Jimmy Carter320 1
Ronald Reagan381 2
 George H. W. Bush 166 1
Bill Clinton308 2
George W. Bush291 2
Barack Obama276 2
Donald Trump140 <1

It appears that President Trump is on track to issue a few more Executive Orders than President Obama, but not out of line with other Presidents.

I guess we could do a year by year trend analysis, but only if someone writes a comment asking for it.

Regards  —  Cliff

  One Wikipedia page says 138 and one says 140.  We just can't seem to get a consensus on President Trump. (LOL)

Candidate Warren Suffering Death of a Thousand Cuts

For John, BLUFIt isn't that our Senior Senator inspires me much, but the flip side is that she is being treated poorly by the Democratic Party Nomenklatura and by the media.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Week, by Writer Kathleen Walsh, 12 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

The 2020 presidential race was always going to be an uphill battle for Elizabeth Warren.

Almost from the get-go, political pundits fretted about Warren's electability, setting in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy now reflected in the New Hampshire primary results.  Warren's disappointing showing on Tuesday comes on the heels of a stirring debate performance and a strong third place finish in the Iowa caucuses — two wins largely ignored by mainstream media commentators, who focused almost entirely on Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, with a spare thought for Amy Klobuchar's rise and Joe Biden's descent.

Defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election is priority number one for the Democratic establishment, and a moderate candidate with the potential to sway swing voters and Republican defectors has long been billed as the wisest course.  But by constructing a dichotomy between the self-described revolutionary leader Sanders and the aggressively non-threatening trifecta of moderate candidates (not to mention Bloomberg, who is suddenly the darling of cable news), the networks and pundits with the greatest persuasive power have ignored and undercut Warren's unique potential to unite the progressive left and hesitant center.

Warren seems to have unfairly inherited some of the hallmarks of Hillary Clinton's reputation.  Clinton's devastating 2016 upset sparked practical questions as to whether a woman could win the presidency at all.  And Warren's false claim to Native American heritage sealed a reputation for untrustworthiness that has stuck long after that conversation faded away.  If Clinton, with all of her name recognition and experience, couldn't win against Trump, what hope could there be for the woman widely considered her successor?

Warren's progressive policies and folksy demeanor also framed her for many as a sort of second-tier Sanders, not far enough left for the progressives and too far left for gun-shy moderates.  But it is precisely this position that makes her the most electable candidate.

I think, at this point, that the Democrats are in trouble for November, although the trial balloon on a Mike and Hillary ticket does sound innovative.

A word of caution to Republicans:  Don't get cocky.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Not Fixing Our Educational Issues

For John, BLUFI don't think I would look to either Representative Ocasio-Cortez or Mayor De Blasio for informed, innovative and effective solutions to any societal problems.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Progressives want to lower the standards of admission at New York's top public high schools in the name of diversity. And they don't care how many Asian students it harms.

From The Federalist, by Mr David Marcus, 20 March 2019.

Yes, this is from a year ago, but I just saw it reposted at InstaPundit, and thought that given the continuing trends in New York City Public School’s, it was worth reposting here.

Here is the lede plus one:

The battle over the admissions standards at New York City’s elite public high schools has heated up again.  After having failed to change the standards last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio is back at it, this time with some backup from celebrity freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  As usual, their impassioned pleas about the lack of black and Hispanic students completely ignores that it is Asian, not white, students who would bear the brunt of the proposed changes.

At issue is the fact that these hyper-competitive high schools consider only a test score in deciding admissions.  This meritocracy has created some of the best high schools in the world.  They would have you believe that wealthy white parents game the system by hiring expensive tutors, but while they might, it’s not working.  In fact, wealthy white kids are not dominating this process at all.

This was based on a Tweet from NY Democratic US Representative Alexandra Occasio-Cortez:
68% of all NYC public school students are Black or Latino.

To only have 7 Black students accepted into Stuyvesant (a *public* high school) tells us that this is a system failure.

Education inequity is a major factor in the racial wealth gap. This is what injustice looks like.

The Writer then provides a little extra information:
Her math is correct, but what she fails to mention is that while Asian students make up only 15 percent of all students in New York, they are a whopping 74 percent of students at Stuyvesant, the school she references.  She claims this is inequity and represents a racial wealth gap.  But exactly what systems does she believe that New York City has in place that can explain the extraordinary achievements of Asian students?  Are Asians getting better schools?  More resources?  In what way are Asians the beneficiaries of a racial wealth gap?

Don’t expect answers any time soon.  This is a question Democrats and their allies in the news media have no answer for, and can barely even bring themselves to mention.  The pebble in their shoe is that despite obvious racism that exists and has always existed towards Asian Americans, they succeed anyway, by almost every metric.

Miss Occasio-Cortez May have the arithmetic right, but her math is bad. & Specificallt, she has trouble with word problems  She can't find where information is missing, or she makes large, glittering assumptions that obscure other minority students.  And, like some European, she misses the fact that some are late bloomers, taking until High School, or even College, to hit their educational stride.

We are not going to fix educational problems in New York City, or the United States, with simple solutions.  The problem is too complex for easy bromides to promise quick solutions.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

One Size Doesn't Fit All

For John, BLUFThe idea of allowing action to be taken at the lowest practical level has been part of our nation from early in our history.  On the other hand, we have had, in our history, people who think they have the solution(s) to problems and those solutions should be imposed on the dull people at the local level.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Post, by former Westchester County Executive Robert P Astorino, 14 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

President Trump gets credit — and takes heat — for many things, but many folks don’t even know about one of his best accomplishments: blocking the federal government’s power grab for control of America’s suburbs.

During the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development tried to install Washington bureaucrats as the decision makers for how communities across all 50 states should grow.  Using an obscure rule called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, HUD sought to remake America’s cities, towns and villages by forcing any community that was getting federal funds to meet racial quotas.

To do this, HUD applied the notion of “disparate impact,” which unilaterally deems housing patterns to be discriminatory if minority representation is not evenly spread across the jurisdiction.  Communities with high concentrations of minorities are automatically labeled segregated.

Westchester served as the petri dish for HUD’s “grand experiment.” On Jan. 1, 2010, the day I was inaugurated as county executive, a federal consent decree signed by my predecessor went into effect requiring Westchester to spend at least $56 million to build 750 units of affordable housing over the next seven years in 31 white communities — or face crippling financial penalties.

We need to fight racism and segregation, so we can build toward that City on a Hill, a New Jerusalem.

The flip side of the issue is the retarding impact of a one size fits all bureaucratic approach.  Let us say a kind word for those working to reduce the burden of Federal over-regulation.

One problem with one size fits all is that it tends to impede the socialization necessary to achieve real change, the change we need in our hearts.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Bloomberg Hoovering Up Campaign Staff

For John, BLUFI am a political amateur, so all I ever see is volunteers, but this issue of paid staff is a serious one for more serious offices.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Intercept, by Reporter Ryan Grim, 13 February 2020.

The article is a series of stories, each demonstrating how Candidate Michael Bloomberg is not just vacuuming up a tremendous amount of the available advertising, he is also vacuuming up a lot of the available Democratic oriented campaign staff.

As the InstaPundit himself notes, "SO IF DEMOCRATS LOSE THE HOUSE OR STATE LEGISLATURES, THEY CAN BLAME MIKE."  Yes, yes they can.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Recognizing the Swamp

For John, BLUFThis topic seems like it was based upon some Republican master plan.  Sort of like how Republicans view Democrats and Media people and their talking points.  While it may be a Republican "Talking Point" it also seems to conform to what we are seeing ongoing, like former FBI Acting Director McCabe getting a pass after lying, but LTG Flynn and Mr Roger Stone getting a lot of time recommended, and being bankrupted by the process.  It looks bad and it smells bad.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Correspondent J Christian Adams, 14 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

This was the week that President Trump really started to drain the swamp.  It came when he yanked the nomination of Jessie Liu to a Treasury Department post.  The decision was all Trump’s, and occurred after Trump learned details about what was going on when she was United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Though Trump was most aggravated with Liu not clamping down on the outrageous sentencing recommendations of her staff in the Roger Stone case, there was a long list of other concerns that made it clear to the President the extent of ideological weaponization across the Justice Department.

Let’s start with Roger Stone for now.

Liu’s so-called “career prosecutors” devised a sentencing recommendation of nine years in prison for behavior that became commonplace anytime former Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before Congress under oath.

Lest we forget, Holder was found in criminal contempt of Congress in a bipartisan 255-67 vote.  Back then, most House Democrats didn’t find contempt of Congress to be an impeachable offense.  Don't forget, House Democrats marched off the floor during the Holder contempt vote.

This nicely illustrates the central theme that has animated Trump’s impeachment, Justice Department investigations of Trump, Liu’s yank, and the entire political saga of the last three years.

Justice is no longer blind.  Investigations, charges, and even prison terms depend on the ideological views of the targets.

I am sure Ms Jessie Liu is a competent leader, but I can see how the President may have lost some confidence in the impartiality of the Civil Service.  I am not sure he can get it back.  Or if the next Democratic Party President will feel fully confident in the professional advice he or she receives from the non-political staff.


Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Speaker and the SOTU

For John, BLUFAt the start of this year's State of the Union Speech the President handed the Speaker a copy of the presentation.  At the end of the talk the Speaker ripped up the copy she had received.  This is a commentary on it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Epoch Times, by Mr Ivan Pentchoukov, 13 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus:

The man who shot and killed 26 people at a church in Texas in 2017 used guns he wouldn’t have been able to purchase if the Air Force had properly managed its records.

On six occasions, military officials failed to send Devin Kelley’s records to the FBI while the Air Force investigated, court-martialed, and imprisoned him for abusing his wife and stepson.  Had the FBI received the records, the killer would have been barred from buying the weapons used in the massacre.

. . .

Rather than being an anomaly, the preventable failures that contributed to the Sutherland Springs, Texas, massacre are a symptom of a vast problem spanning the entire federal government, according to two experts with decades of experience with the electronic records management application standard that undergirds virtually all records management software deployed in agencies across the government.

Records are important.  They allow us to go back and see the basis for what exists today.  Historians, statisticians, political scientists and public health researchers, among others, need the data from the past.  I, myself, have been to the National Archives, looking up information on early Washington, DC, for my small part in a history of the National War College, an effort the author was willing to credit with my name on the cover, for which I am grateful.  Just today, looking for a credit card, I came across my Identification Card from the National Archives.

Which is why I am bothered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up, publicly, her copy of the State of the Union Address.  I don't care if it was the actual State of the Union message or if it was an extract from the D. H. Lawrence book Lady Chatterley's Lover.  Symbolically, she is saying that those national records don't matter.  It is such a bad look.  It sends the signal that records keeping is not such a big deal.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The President is required to convey to Congress his judgment on the state of the Union.  Article II, Section 3, Clause 1:  "He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union."

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Tracking the Voters

For John, BLUFTracking the Voters requires a constant update to methods, partly because a fair number of Voters don't wish to be tracked.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Left and right agree on one point. The president’s re-election campaign is way ahead online.

From The New York TImes, by Mr Thomas B. Edsall, 29 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

In a blog post published in November, a year before the 2020 election, Brian Burch, the president of, a socially conservative advocacy group, announced that in Wisconsin alone his organization had identified 199,241 Catholics “who’ve been to church at least 3 times in the last 90 days.”

Nearly half of these religiously observant parishioners, Burch wrote, “91,373 mass-attending Catholics — are not even registered to vote!” is looking for potential Trump voters within this large, untapped reservoir — Republican-leaning white Catholics who could bolster Trump’s numbers in a battleground state.

Burch, whose organization opposes abortion and gay marriage, made his plans clear:

We are already building the largest Catholic voter mobilization program ever.  And no, that’s not an exaggeration. Our plan spans at least 7 states (and growing), and includes millions of Catholic voters.
How did Catholic Vote come up with these particular church attendance numbers for 199,241 Catholics?  With geofencing, a technology that creates a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a cellphone enters or leaves a particular area — a church, for example, or a stadium, a school or an entire town.
On the one hand this digital digging bothers me.  On the other hand, I am glad that the Trump Campaign is on it.

A word of caution, German Artist Simon Weckert uses a little red wagon, stuffed with 99 second-hand smartphones, to create virtual traffic jams.  This is geo-fencing being hacked.InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Ready For Impeachment, Take 2?

For John, BLUFMr Roger Stone is not someone to be admired, but he is an American Citizen and thus deserving of equal treatment before the law.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Ms Megan Fox, 12 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Just when you thought America's long impeachment drama was over and behind us, the Democrats have begun the process to do it again.  While most of us believed they would try to repeat impeachment, we thought it would start in the second term and not a mere week after Trump was acquitted the first time.

But Nancy Pelosi is hot under the collar about Trump tweeting about the absurdly long sentence that Deep State prosecutors suggested for Roger Stone.  The president tweeted out a storm of criticism when the news broke that prosecutors were recommending nine years in prison.

The whole story about Mr Roger Stone is about someone who did wrong, but was treated by the Federal Government like he was an armed terrorist who should be punished to the full extent of the law.  Comparing his treatment to the treatment of others calls into question the ability of the Department of Justice to administer equal justice, and the ability of Congress to provide reasonable oversight.  Either House.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who is Mayor Pete?

For John, BLUFSometimesthe media fails to look behind the curtain when vetting certain politicians.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Epoch Times, by Writer Roger L. Simon, 12 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

After surprising performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, Pete Buttigieg is being hyped as a possible “moderate lane” threat to a Bernie Sanders’ nomination.  Indeed, the clearly politically talented Mayor Pete is, as of now, ahead in the delegate count.

But is he really a moderate?  Could he actually be as radical as Sanders or (gasp!) even further left?

While many are skeptical of his limited experience as mayor of a small city, few have bored down ideologically, let alone asked that question.

This is perplexing considering Pete Buttigieg is what we used to call a “red diaper baby” (born into a communist family).

Yes, being a red diaper baby doesn’t mean you are red yourself.  Many have gone in the other direction, David Horowitz being a well known example.  But the old conundrum remains:  how far has the apple fallen from the tree?

This is all about the Italian Communist, Antonio Gramsci.

From The Washington Examiner back in April 2019:

“The father of Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was a Marxist professor who spoke fondly of the Communist Manifesto and dedicated a significant portion of his academic career to the work of Italian Communist Party founder Antonio Gramsci, an associate of Vladimir Lenin.”
I am looking forward to the media asking Mayor Pete Buttigieg about the late Antonio Gramsci.  And about the ideas of Mr Gramsci

One of those ideas was mentioned by Mr Simon, talking about Mr Gramsci's idea of revolution from the top down, through the conversion of the elites:

Gramsci called his system “the march through the institutions”—that is, the media, entertainment, the bureaucracies, the academy, and so forth
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Nancy vs Donald

For John, BLUFStyle is important, but outcome is what counts.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The Speaker’s willingness to get in the President’s face has made many a meme, but their conflict has more to say about our constitutional checks and balances.

From The New Yorker, by Dean Steve Coll (Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University), 7 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

On January 23, 2017, Donald Trump’s fourth day as President, he met with congressional leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House.  “You know, I won the popular vote,” he started off, and then repeated the calumny that Hillary Clinton had re­ceived three to five million illegal votes, owing to fraud.  “That’s not true,” Nancy Pelosi replied, according to “A Very Stable Genius,” the recently published account of the Trump Presidency by the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig.  “If we’re going to work together,” Pelosi said, “we have to stipulate to a certain set of facts.”  Steve Bannon, then Trump’s chief strategist, who was in the room, whispered to colleagues, “She’s going to get us.  Total assassin.”

Pelosi did become one of Trump’s most unflinching adversaries, in part because she grasped early on that invitations to his White House are often just call sheets for unscripted television; her finger-jabbing readiness to get in Trump’s face has made her a recurring meme of the Democratic resistance.  She offered her most vivid performance yet on February 4th, during the President’s third State of the Union address.  As Trump spoke, Pelosi, wearing suffragist white, sat behind him in the high-backed chair reserved for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and conspicuously shuffled and reshuffled a printed copy of the President’s speech.  After he finished, she tore the text in half.  Twitter blew up, as the Speaker had clearly intended; she explained that she had abandoned decorum because Trump’s speech “was a manifesto of mistruths.”

This reads like a puff piece for the new book, A Very Stable Genius:  Donald J. Trump's Testing of America.  As a puff piece it works well.  However, it leaves me thinking that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet figured out how to work with President Trump to do the Peoples' Business.

I am hoping that the President and Speaker, and the Senate Majority Leader, can work together to get us a budget and some immigration reform.  That would be nice for the American People.

As for the question of checks and balances, they seem to be in place and in good condition.  The founders don't seem to have been that enthusiastic about speed in government.  Four years of gridlock probably does not mean the end of the Republic.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Not to say it is all on her, but she has been playing the role of "Adult in the Room."

Monday, February 10, 2020

Biden Fades

For John, BLUFIt seems Vice President Biden has glided through life, as if half conscious, and it may have finally caught up with him.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Writer Matt Margolis, 10 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Pundits are beginning to agree that Joe Biden's campaign is in a death spiral.

"Biden’s campaign is running on fumes," writes The Daily Beast's Sam Stein.  "A candidate with all the trappings of a traditional frontrunner—the long résumé, party backing, relevant experience, and steady poll numbers—suddenly is on electoral life support."

So what happened?  Should Biden's campaign crash and burn there will be much speculation over what went wrong.  How did the frontrunner go from smooth sailing to the nomination to an epic disaster?

Well, I think the answer is already clear.

When you look at the Real Clear Politics tracking in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, you will notice a pattern:  Biden starts losing support, or some other candidate starts to rise, around mid-September 2019.

Mid-September happens to be the same time the whistleblower complaint that launched Trump's impeachment became public.

My wife called it months ago.  Impeachment was an "in kind" contribution by Speaker Pelosi to the Trump re-election campaign.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Bernie's Future Path

For John, BLUFA fundamental question is who is Senator Bernie Sanders and what does he believe, what does he stand for?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Reporter Tyler O'Neil, 8 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

After the New Hampshire Democratic debate on Friday night, MSNBC host Chris Matthews uttered high heresy against the Bernie Sanders movement by remembering the Cold War and the threat of socialist and communist executions.  He warned that if Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, "there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed."  As if to demonstrate the truth of this statement, Bernie Bros got #FireChrisMatthews trending on Twitter.

"The Democratic Party has to figure out its ideology," Matthews warned.  [Referring to Winston Churchill] He said he was part of the Liberal Party in Britain, but that party was "overtaken by the socialist party [Labour]" and Winston "Churchill went back to the [conservative] Tories."  Indeed, Churchill rejected the Liberal Party in 1924, warning that Liberals should support the Conservatives to stop Labour and ensure "the successful defeat of Socialism."

Good on Commentator Chris Matthews.

Senator Bernie Sanders wants to change America.  I want to make it better, but the idea of changing it, changing the form of government or changing the economic system seems an invitation to trouble.  And invitation to go the way of Venezuela.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Even Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seems to be embracing Capitalism and Venezuelan emigres are returning.

Democratic Party VP Race

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

From The Washington Post, by The Ranking Committee, 13 December 2019.

Yes, this is old news, but it is a diversion for the weekend.

Here is the lede:

I’m Jennifer Rubin, and this is Round 44. Should you be growing weary of analysis of the horse race to become the Democrats’ presidential nominee, here’s something totally different: analysis of the horse race to become the Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee!
It may be behind a paywall.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, February 8, 2020

TrollingPolling the Public

For John, BLUFI guess the first question below is a good way to gauge how strongly people feel about someone.  Frankly, I feel sorry for those who voted for the meteor.  They must go through life with a serious lack of hope and optimism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, Dr. Joshua J. Dyck, Director; Dr. John Cluverius, Associate Director, 28-31 January 2020.

Two questions stood out for me:

  • Page 11.  Which of the following outcomes would you prefer occur on November 3, 2020?
    • Donald Trump wins re-election
    • A giant meteor strikes the earth, extinguishing all human life
 Democrat  Independent  Male  Female 
Trump victory36 514732
Meteor strike64 495368

Is this what we call Trump Derangement Syndrome?

  • Page 17.  If the Democratic nominee for president wins in 2020, it is likely that they will face increased tensions with Iran. If Donald Trump has deployed ground troops to fight in Iran, would you rather the Democratic president deploy a surge of group troops to try to win the war quickly, or withdraw all ground troops immediately to prevent more American casualties?
    • Escalate the war quickly
    • Withdraw Immediately
 Democrat  Independent  Male  Female 
Escalate10 351412
Withdraw90 658688

This is a great question, except it appears to be written by someone who is clueless about the President's policies in the Middle East.

Maybe I should offer myself as a pro bono advisor on survey questions that touch on foreign policy or military affairs.

Hat tip to my Brother John.

Regards  —  Cliff