Friday, July 31, 2015

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's eating you, Betty?  Your candidate not on the stage next week?  Most of the country thinks your boy is a buffoon?  Don't know if your own party will support the big deal you just made?

Kvetch a bit!  Share--right here!

157 on the nose today, sorta stuck, but still doing well.  They opened the bridge near my house yesterday, so the Kitten and I drove (expeditiously) into town and had a celebratory dinner last night.  Had a little too much to eat.

Chicago in summer

I love Chicago. I lived there -- which is actually "here" as I write this, having been here for the last three days -- more than 20 years ago, and cherish any opportunity to come back. And Chicago is especially nice in the summer. A friend of mine said years ago that no city in America gets more out of summer than Chicago, and that is surely true.

Until today, however, I had never ridden in a boat on the river, gazing up at the great buildings of the Chicago Loop. I recommend it. Herewith, some pictures from the afternoon's doggle of boon.

Big Stan...

Big Stan

Trump (is this a violation of election laws?):

Trump

Cop yacht.

Police boat

Drawbridge...

Draw bridge

Reflections.

River view

Sears forever.

Sears forever

More later.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

WOW, Didn't See This One Coming!


Can you believe this? Obama's White House coordinated with the media, and specifically with Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz's (aka Jon Stewart) The Daily Show. Truly unbelievable! Unbelievable if you're like nine and have the IQ of a cicada.

Tell me, what is the chief asset of the left? What characterizes them best and what do they themselves value the most? It's organization. The left has always known their views are not widely shared by the middle-class, the masses, the bourgeoisie, the proletariat (whatever term one may apply). Therefore their focus has always been on organizing, to multiply their power by controlling KEY positions in business, arts and entertainment, news outlets, academia etc.

Now you may call this a conspiracy theory, but the idea that the liberal media WOULD NOT coordinate with the White House and other political entities that share their world view is to me ludicrous. It would go against their very nature. I am POSITIVE there is highly organized coordination between all the aforementioned groups and probably your damn dog-groomer (if she or he is a tapped in leftist). Technology over the past couple of decades has made their message even more monolithic (and a helluva lot easier to disseminate).

Adam Smith said that competitors rarely talk, but if they do it'll take them less than 10 minutes before they hatch a conspiracy against the markets. Likewise leftists have been conspiring against our Constitution and our freedom since the days of Emma Goldman and John Reed (and probably since Moses, but I can't prove that). So Politico's grand revelation is not so grand, in fact I'm quite sure they've known about all this for years because they're part of the conspiracy. Jon Stewart manipulates young idiots and Politico manipulates older idiots...and so it goes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Who Will Leave the GOP Race First?

A good summary of the GOP field here from the New York Times.  Who do you think will be the first candidate to drop out/suspend their candidacy?

My guess?  Bobby Jindal. Gone by January 31.

Jurassic Park, Toast and It Don't Mean Nothing You Big Baby!

Ever see Jurassic Park? Sure you did. Who doesn't love a good dinosaur movie? I've been watching them since I was a kid when they'd glue fins on the backs of Iguanas and have them roll around in the sand. The best example of course being Journey to the Centre of the Earth. By the way who doesn't like a good Pat Boone movie? (I hear CW has April Love on DVD and watches it regularly!) But to each his own and I'm rambling, back to the point (although Shirley Jones was HOT! in an innocent I'd like to defile your body kinda way).
In the first Jurassic Park Jeff Goldblum asks the Zoo Dude what precautions they've taken to prevent these 47 ton critters from escaping resulting in some Triceratops marching down Rodeo Drive scaring hell out of Paris Hilton (although I'd say she's well familiar with the three horns at once concept). Zoo Dude says that hey man, it's all good, we made them all females, they ain't going nowhere. Goldblum's response is that you guys are all idiots, you have no idea what you're fuqing with and that NATURE WILLS OUT! No matter what you do nature will find a way to win and all this biological manipulation BS will end up costing you big time and biting you in the ass..literally. That piece of logic is not only true with dinosaur movies but true with people as well.
There are rumblings in Europe. Those leftist dweebs currently led by the halfwitted, half-baked, half-assed little Marxist prick Martin Schultz are about to suffer the wrath of the people. Unless I miss my guess Greece will explode very soon, and this could well touch off a simmering powder keg of violence that will wreck the leftist pipe dream of a united Europe. Hell it's a joke anyway. The Germans run the show. You didn't see the Italians or Spanish negotiating debt relief with Athens did you? This could get ugly fast, stay tuned.

Well nobody can say we didn't try. It's well known that Obama and most especially his main political squeeze Valerie Jarrett (is something else going on there?) can't stand the Clintons, and now they're putting the squeeze on. I think they're just having a little fun. They got her ass anytime they want it. She's so stupid. Why would she expose herself time after time? Private server, Benghazi, YouTube videos, Clinton Foundation; lies, lies and more lies. Lies that Obama had to know about and could use at anytime. Did she think she had friends in the White House? Is she nuts?
This stuff wouldn't have happened 10 years ago. Bill is as sharp as they come but he's old now. I think he's more concerned with the good life and is really not able for the brutal knockdown, drag-out of a political campaign. I think Hillary's cadre of leftist lesbians and man-haters have filled her head full of pipe dreams. I think Bill loves those $750k speaking fees because he'd probably do it for expenses, he loves the attention. I think Hillary has used his old network and they've all gotten together in the Clinton echo chamber and convinced themselves that she's a good candidate and that she can win. But the fact is she's teeing off on the Seniors Tour with a dodgy knee and a tore rotator cuff. She ain't winning The Masters because in the best of circumstance she never could, and certainly not with her present baggage. The only question now is who's gonna step up because Hillary is toast.

Politicians are just like the rest of us, they have their way of thinking and sometimes it's hard to process something that doesn't fit. Trump doesn't fit. I keep saying he's not a politician and the voters are not holding him to the same rules and standards as politicians. He can say damn near anything he likes, and does, and what would ruin a Jeb Bush only endears him to the folks. They don't have to agree with him, that's not it. It's that he's genuine, or at least is perceived as such. Voters are tired of politicians, tired of their manipulations and lying. Trump is the guy telling the truth and he can say insulting stuff to a war hero and the professionals can play their games and try to say he insulted ALL veterans and guess what? The folks blame the politicians because they're just manipulating the issue AS THEY ALWAYS DO. It ends up hurting them for being the assholes that they are! Trump comes out smelling like a rose. No matter how many times Trump "misspeaks", no matter how many times he screws up, it don't mean nothing. He's saying what the people want to hear, and they believe him when he says it.
Now the establishment (CW types) want to boycott the first debate if Trump is allowed to participate. Can you imagine a more infantile response to a candidate? Can you imagine a bigger insult to a large part of the Republican base that this?  I though we had serious people running the show. I guess not. Jesus H. Christ, talk about crybabies!

That's all I got, now hit the road, your presence here is no longer appropriate.

On Planned Parenthood

Ross Douthat has a characteristically good column in the New York Times this morning on the Planned Parenthood video, and the mental gymnastics required of PP/abortion supporters to minimize the impact of the horror those videos show (there are apparently ten more).  A key graph here;

"But the reluctance to look closely doesn’t change the truth of what there is to see. Those were dead human beings on Richard Selzer’s street 40 years ago, and these are dead human beings being discussed on video today: Human beings that the nice, idealistic medical personnel at Planned Parenthood have spent their careers crushing, evacuating, and carving up for parts."

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Marco Rubio for President--The CW Fundraising Effort



Click and enlarge, then print, fill out, and send along this handy fundraising sheet!

So far, the CW fund has $1000 donated.

We're on our way to $100,000!


Friday, July 24, 2015






DRIVE BY MEDIA





REALITY

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's got you down, Chum?  Are you worried your little treaty deal won't go down?  Not enough support to get on the debate stage?

Share your angst with the sympathetic minds of the Conservative Wahoo.

My recent travels issued a slight setback to my dieting...weighed in at 157 today, which means nine pounds to go.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are You Getting This?

Let's see, Trump is stomping all over his wedding tackle with some really stupid comments. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY is ragging his ass down to the ground. He lost his tv show, companies are dropping him like a bad habit, he's losing money no doubt and probably his mama don't love him no more. So what does he do? He doubles down.

But somebody likes it, including me. Check out these numbers, the Carlos Slim owned NY Times must be beside themselves. Do you have any clue why Trump is doing well? Well Here's the Hammeratic theory on the subject. He's got balls. He doesn't back down at the first sign of trouble. He ain't no media bitch. Plus he's putting front and center the most important issue for MIDDLE CLASS AMERICA of our lifetime...IMMIGRATION!

People are just sick of the bullshit. They're sick to death of weakness. They're sick of politicians that run as this and govern as that. No way Trump will win, but if any politician on either side tries to discredit him I predict they will pay a heavy price. Rick Perry is about to find that out.

They're so stupid. Treat Trump as Clinton treated Perot...adopt his policies. Come out right now and declare that the days of open borders are over. No more 1100 peons a day walking across our border. No more drug cartels setting up pot fields in our national forests. No more anchor babies and maternity tourism. NO MORE! We're tired of it. WE'VE HAD ENOUGH!

We will militarize the border if that's what it takes. We will will build a fence and the Mexicans will help pay for it, or wish they had. Furthermore LEGAL immigration is now on hold, no more until we can sort out those already here. No more hiring of illegals punishable by jail time. Tourists, students etc. will be required to check in often with immigration otherwise jail time and deportation.

We have one last chance, get a handle on this shit or look for another country because this one won't be worth living in. Trump is speaking to this frustration, he's being strong and proactive, and we "CRAZIES" love it!

TRUMP +11!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Coming War: It won't be what you think.

Did you happen to see the NY Post this morning? The President and his minions are bureaucratizing racial "atonement". Every facet of our personal lives, I repeat OUR PERSONAL LIVES is being monitored and collected so as to advance a racial agenda (as defined by hard-core leftists) who themselves will then decide when their work is done. When is the last time you saw a bureaucracy announce "Our purpose is fulfilled, our mandate completed, we employees of the Federal Agency XYZ can now be reassigned and/or fired and Congress may allocate our budgeted monies elsewhere"?  Fat chance! If this outrageously un-Constitutional overreach is allowed to stand it will never be over...EVER! Full bore fascism will have arrived in the guise of "civil rights" and our commissars will be leftist judges.

We as middle class Americans need to wake up, we are now the enemy. We are the enemy in the eyes of the current administration, certainly the Democrat Party and as painful as it is to admit, much of the Republican Party. They deny us our history, they deny us our moral standing, they deny us our God. We are ridiculed and slandered with impunity and if we raise a voice in defiance we are mercilessly harassed from all sides.

I am an American. My family has been here since 1720. We fought her wars, we suffered her retribution, but we still love her. We make NO apologies for her. But if the forces of the left think we will sit idly by and allow this country to be taken over by foreigners or foreign ideologies that deny our freedoms GIVEN TO US BY GOD, they'd best think again.

Question: How many people have been murdered by governments in the pursuit of "equality"?  If this equality uber alles scheme (scam) gets going then violence will be the only option. I am not advocating violent conflict or revolt, all I am saying is one day in the not too distant future it may be our only option... and the war will be by definition a race war.

Travel Update: Sunday, RDU

As I type, the dulcet tones of the Southwest gate agent drone in the background in this somewhat overcrowded (but typical) Southwest terminal.  It is the morning after the 80th Birthday Party of Julie Carey McGrath, wife of James, and Mother of Bryan (among others).  Largely due to the efforts of Sister Kelly (and the financing of James), she was surrounded last night by friends and family at a downtown Raleigh Irish bar---which turned out to be familiar to me, as it is where her #70 was held.  It was a wonderful affair, and it was good to talk with people I haven't seen in some time, as well as to see my own family---two times in a month is a treat.

While here, I stayed in the lovely town of Clayton at a bed and breakfast known as The Morning Glory Inn.  I highly recommend it should you have occasion to be in central North Carolina. I am not necessarily the target B and B market, as I find the forced intimacy of the morning breakfast with a group of strangers who are almost always more talkative than I to be a bit of a slog.  But with the clan gathering, the number of available comfy beds began to dwindle.  That--and the fact that I am only two thirds of the way through this travel--convinced me that the Sunflower Room and its large, comfy bed would be the right resting place for me Friday and Saturday nights.  It was a good decision, though because I wanted to be cooperative, I ate a carb-loaded breakfast that I will regret later.

After the soiree, I met The Hammer and Mrs. Hammer (they were in attendance) at a nearby steak joint to throw down a few ribeyes and continue our party conversation.  Both are wonderful conversationalists, and if you ever want to know where Hammer gets his irascibility, it is a function of the utter sweat-pea he is in the company of his Lady.  She clearly wears the pants in that family.

In 90 minutes or so, I'll head to BWI for a three hour wait to get on a flight to Providence en route Newport.  My dinner plans for the evening have changed, and I am on my own--which suits me fine.  Then tomorrow morning, it is to the Naval War College to think big thoughts for a few days.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

August Wolf for Senate

There's a new Republican -- well, he's always been a Republican, but he's new to you -- running for Connecticut's seat in the United States Senate. Augie Wolf is a college friend of mine, and stands as good a chance of beating 70 year-old Richard Blumenthal -- when did the Democrats become the party of old people? -- like a newly imported Persian rug. Watch the opening salvo, and consider sending a contribution.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Travel Update: BWI Interlude/Brush with Senator McConnell

For those of you following my travels, I am finished with the first of three major objectives, having spent last week in San Diego with a client.  It was a delightful trip, topped off with the West Coast "Surface Navy Symposium" at which I was able to renew ties to old shipmates and gain closer ones with new.

After a delicious ribeye at Outback last evening, I headed for the airport for a couple hours of solitude in the United Lounge.  At some point, I had paid to upgrade my seat on the flight, and the seat number lulled me into believing that it was a first class seat--always a bonus for the redeye.  Alas, I was wrong, as the first class return redeye upgrade was made for the August trip to SD, and this was only to "Economy Plus".  That said, there was no one in the middle seat for the flight and to my knowledge , the guy at the window slept a well as I did.

I arrived at Dulles at 0620 , and while making my way to the main terminal, had a moment of great pain as I realized that I had lost my parking ticket.  Not only would I have to face the prospect of proving my entry time to the garage without any paper (I use the smartphone boarding passes, etc), but I always write which level of the garage I parked in on the stub so that I don't forget.  What a red-ass.  At one point as I walked through the airport, I decided to just stop and sit down to think what might have happened to it.  This was a fruitful pursuit, as I realized that I had moved all of my receipts from the wallet to a folder in which I keep travel docs.  There it was.  Whew.

Found the car and got myself here to BWI where I have about four hours to kill, so I started with a nice breakfast and some email processing, before moving down here to my flight gate for some serious people watching, a little blogging, and some coffee drinking.  Which is where I am right now.  Just a few minutes ago as I sat here, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sat himself down about fifteen feet from me, on his way to Louisville (presumably).  He's got a security detail with him, so I approached one of them and said, "hey, please let your boss know I think he's doing the best he can with the cards he has."  The guy smiled and said, "tell him yourself".  So I strolled over and introduced myself and told him just that.  This started a very pleasant 15 minute conversation, which included me trying out my "minimum wage for the fence" idea.  He took it in, and then sorta smiled and said, "I like it, at least the concept...but I have a hard enough time getting little compromises!"  He asked me about what I did, where I lived, and he had a few ideas about Maryland and its Republican Party.  Definitely a highlight of this day.

I'm headed to Raleigh and then to Clayton for the 80th Birthday festivities of my sainted mother.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's got you down, friend?  Are you worried that your sure thing in 2016 looks more beatable every day?
Are you weary of having to take to the barricades yet again to defend that famous "religion of peace"?

Share friend...share!

Alas, I am in transit and unable to assess my weight.  I fear little progress since last week, as I have had large dinners and less exercise.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ah....Hillary

AP Photo
Some promising poll numbers here on the extent to which even Democrats have reservations about their likely nominee in 2016.  Joe Biden must read stuff like this and this and begin to lick his big white chops.  Do I think either Sanders or Biden can beat Hillary?  No.  Can they make life miserable for her along the way?  Yep.  That's all we need.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The morning reads

There is fun for everybody in the TigerHawk tabs this morning, and in the few minutes remaining on this flight I'll pass along my favorites. There is something to irritate most everybody...

Blog hounds have all read or seen Hillary Clinton's risible attack on the "share economy". Apparently, though, her PAC hasn't gotten the message. Like any other non-French city dweller with two nickels to rub together, the "Ready for Hillary" team uses Uber all the time. (For my part, I've asked every Uber driver I've hired in the last few months whether they like it, and the universal response (n=6) is that they love it. The exploitation here is purely in the mind of the social engineers.)

Immigrants, lawful or otherwise, commit less crime than citizens, not more. This is even true among Latino immigrants alone. There are excellent reasons to assert control over the border and more closely regulate non-citizens within our borders. Their supposed criminality is not among those reasons, however many votes demagoguery attracts.

"Re-Re-Re-Reintroducing Hillary Clinton." The New York Times actually wrote that in a headline. Presumably the point is that one can fool some of the people -- apparently almost half -- all the time. #RubeWatch.

Just what we need, another federal crime to fire up the social justice warriors. Remember, do not criminalize any offense that you are unwilling to enforce with deadly force. The two go hand in hand. And, no, this does not mean I approve of revenge porn.

More later.

♪ I've Got Yooooou....Under My Skin ♫

What was it Gandhi said (or was it Ben Kingsley)? First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack and ridicule and try to destroy you...then, if you can make it through that, you win. Well anyway, something like that.

So what's up with Trump? He has just about pissed off every politician in both parties including their hangers-on, their corporate and union minders, their whores, their secret gay boyfriends (that everybody knows about but the folks back home), their "Washington husbands" (Renee Ellmers can you spell Kevin McCarthy?) and even their wives (whatever the hell she's up to these days). Yep, he's an equal opportunity piss-or.

Remember how they treated Reagan back in the 70s? Both parties, but mostly the Republican Party slandered him no end. He's a lightweight that appeals to the worst among us. He's a crazy blowhard who will burn out in no time. He's an idiot, not Ivy League or from one of the "approved" schools. Well I'm seeing a lot of parallels with Trump.

Trump is doing the one thing most politicians of BOTH parties hate, he's responding to the people. As a businessman he's just giving the market what it wants, and brotherman the United States of American WANTS this immigration SHIT sorted out and dammnit I mean YESTERDAY! There is so much anger, so much frustration, so much pent up (for lack of a better word) energy in the true conservative base something has got to give.

I understand why Democrats want open borders. It means power for them. But I really don't understand why supposed conservative Republicans haven't opposed this VIGOROUSLY from the get go. It's insane, unless, hold on just a second, a thought just occurred to me, unless they DON'T GIVE A DAMN about anything apart from maintaining their own personal wealth and status. Gee, do you think maybe that's possible?

So let them keep calling Trump an unprincipled media clown or attention junkie. Who cares? He may be, but so what? He's giving the establishment a taste of their own medicine. He's a threat to their control. He's the turd in the punch bowl, the bastard at the family reunion, the guy who is driving them crazy, and I'm loving every minute of it. I hope he stays in until the end.

Update from the Road--San Diego

For Captain Todd--full travel rig
It's 0528 local and I've been up for nearly 90 minutes, though it was a restless night that included a call to the front desk to complain about the miscreants in the room next to me who maintained quite the din onto the 0130 hour.  I am maintaining the East Coast schedule while here, and which means I was abed at 2030 after a delightful dinner at the San Diego Yacht Club with a friend and colleague of long-standing.

But that was yesterday, and I have skipped Sunday afternoon/evening, which cannot stand.  I arrived mid afternoon to a gorgeous SD day, got my rental and headed to my hotel for a quick workout before meeting the fair Skaidra and her husband Philip and little one Penny for dinner.  Skai and Penny live in the family house in DC, while Phil does his USCM business out here, but since it is summer and Skai has no teaching duties, she and Penny have decamped to San Diego for a bit.  We ate a steakhouse with an amazing view of the harbor, but I wasn't terribly enthused by the steak itself.  Had prime rib at the Yacht Club last night, which is generally a bad choice for me because it is a poor representation of the Art of Beef, and while it was tasty, it still is a long way from a good ribeye.

Very busy time out here with my client, good, hard day of work yesterday and stuff I think is important and that I like to do.  Today should be somewhat less busy, but a full day nonetheless.

When it ends, I'll head back to the room, get a little workout in, and then go where I know I'll get a good steak--the local Ruth's Chris--where I'll be met by a fellow of infinite jest with whom I worked here in San Diego many years ago on USS PRINCETON (CG 59).  THAT--was a great ship, a truly great ship, and the trail of success she's left in her wake--measured in folks who went on to command ships of their own, is wide indeed.  This guy will assume command of a souped up destroyer in December, and I'm hoping to arrange my travel here that month to correspond with that glorious day.

Thus far, my meticulous packing plan (ten days, cube method, one carry-on) is working fine, though I'll have to re-wear one of the dress shirts (packed 2, and a third requirement for one just popped up yesterday), but that shouldn't be too much of a hardship.  My client actually expressed concern for my health, wondering if my weight loss were not connected to some deeper malady.  I assured him it was nothing so serious, just runaway vanity.

Ok, maybe something tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Love is NOT an Option

As I'm sure you know, our crack team of hard-nosed US negotiators led by Secretary of State John Kerry and some ponce with a bad 70s haircut have cut a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now I've been hearing some details on the radio but I really don't need to hear any. The only deal worth having with a criminal regime like this is what's it going to take for them to GIVE UP the idea of nuclear weapons immediately, now and forever. Anything short of that is a waste of time.

Now I've heard the same old BS about how they will like us now and how we have some basis for dialogue and this is just the beginning. You know, the same old painfully twisted logic and deluded thinking we got from liberals back during the days of the Soviet Union. Of course it was crap then and it's crap now. The only difference is no deal we ever made with the Russkies ever came close this POS.

What is Obama thinking, Iran can be turned? He thinks they will be our "regional partner" against ISIS etc. and eventually we'll all be bosom buddies and the world will marvel at the vision and wisdom of BARACK OBAMA: THE MAN WHO SAVED MANKIND? Is he crazy or just an amateurish incompetent with legacy issues? I've read that Obama's nickname inside his campaign in '08 was Jesus due to his obvious messianic complex. I believe it. Only a lunatic would go for a deal like this.

But let me just digress a second. A few hundred years ago Machiavelli answered this question about what is best, being feared or loved? He said it's best to be both but if you can only have one it's better to be feared. You can fall in and out of love. You can decide to get a sex change in which case who and what you love will change. You can love Cherry Garcia this week and Chunky Monkey next week. Love can be fleeting, that's just the nature of the emotion. But fear, well that's a constant. No matter where you are no matter what you're doing, no matter how your life has changed for good, bad or whatever, you will always fear a gun to your head. If we wanted a productive outcome with Iran we needed a loaded gun, and be prepared to use it because love is NOT an option. Ironically Obama has GUARANTEED a war, the only question now is when and how many will die.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

There are outrages, and then there are outrages

There is a lot to be angry about in the world, from Confederate iconography to Hillary's emails to the latest thing that Donald Trump said. I respectfully submit that all of that pales in comparison to the outrage visited upon me this evening, Guinness in a freaking Budweiser glass. Evidence:

Guinweyser

Where was my trigger warning?

New Stuff on the Blog

I put a little widget off to the right that allows everyone to see how well (or not well) read this blog is.

Also, there's the form for sending your cash off to Marco Rubio.

Travel Follies Begin Tomorrow


Tomorrow I will begin a series of trips, one business, one pleasure, then another business, that will keep me out of my bed until Wednesday the 22nd.  I shall do my best to provide those among you without interest in politics and pop culture with sufficient travel oriented fare whilst on the road.

Leg one is to San Diego, where I'll stay until I hop on Thursday evening's redeye.  This is business, though it will be cut with much pleasure, as I'll dine with LtCol Waggoner and his family Monday night (steak, natch), then with a colleague on Tuesday night (San Diego Yacht club, I say old sport), and then one of my best friends from Navy days on Wednesday night (Ruth's Chris--he has some "certificates").  Thursday's agenda will include spending the day at the Surface Navy Association's "West" forum, held right down on the San Diego waterfront--which enables me to get my ship fix in.

When I land at Dulles on Friday early, I'll then drive to BWI to start the pleasure part of the trip.  I'll hop on a flight to Raleigh and rent a car to drive to my ancestral homeland of Clayton, where we will with great ceremony, fete my sainted mother on the occasion of her 80th Birthday.  The whole clan will be there--and I hope to run into the Hammer while in his home state.  I'm staying at a little B and B in town there, so I'll make sure and give you the lowdown on the important things (breakfast, specifically).

On Sunday morning, it's up and at'em, to fly from Raleigh back to BWI---and then BWI to Providence.   I'll rent another car there and drive down to Newport, stopping along the way in Jamestown for dinner with a wonderful friend I acquired when I began to squire the Kitten.  There's another just like him there in that quaint little town, but he and his family will be on vacation.

After dinner, I'll drive down to Newport where I'll spend the next three days "war-gaming" with a bunch of really smart people.  Then its back to the airport Wednesday afternoon for BWI, and home somewhere around 830PM.

For those of you asking why I didn't do the flights more elegantly, the answer is because of the personal nature of the trip in the middle and my not wishing to get on the bad side of Mr. Obama's IRS.

The entire ten days is going to spring from one carry-on....as I have moved to the next level of cube packing efficiency.  Unfortunately, my loudest, most colorful pants---suitable for Newport--are also my largest, and so they will stay on their hangers, shamefully reflecting their circumference while I wear more sedate, better fitting things.

Oh--full travel rig in the morning.

Build the Fence...and Raise the Minimum Wage

Politics is the art of compromise, though many on each end of the political spectrum have come to see compromise as a sign of weakness. I have not yet reached this cynical state and consider the ability to compromise while moving steadily toward one's broader goals as the height of strategy.  I realize I have mentioned this idea here before, but I haven't taken the time to flesh it out.  So here goes.

Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell should offer the Democrats a grand bargain--an increase in the minimum wage in exchange for a secure southern border and increased enforcement of current immigration laws.  Here are the reasons to make this deal:

1.  Because it separates border security from immigration policy--specifically the question of what to do with immigrants already illegally in the country.  Poll after poll show border security to be a more broadly popular policy than any approach to legalizing illegal immigrants, but as a political matter, tying the two subjects together creates a dependency that does not work for Republicans.  The matter of border security gets bound up in all sorts of side issues, nativist rants, and ethnic tensions, rather than being treated as a straightforward matter of the table stakes of sovereignty and national security.  Break this unnatural linkage and REFUSE ANY EFFORT TO CONTINUE TO LINK.

2.  Because raising the minimum wage--while dubious in its impact on actual wages and outcomes--is a relatively pain-free way for Republicans to "give" on something that Democrats are hard over on. Let's face it. There is ALREADY a minimum wage and it has been raised a number of times in the past. And to the extent that pain does develop as a result of economic distortion created by raising it, my sense is that such pain would amount to a rounding error compared against the totality of our economy.  We are standing on principle here, and it isn't working for us.

3.  Because as a political matter, this puts the Democrats on the defensive, in a HUGE way.  Let's say Boehner and McConnell make this offer in a splashy way to the President and Democrats--and the Democrats walk away from it.  Imagine the reaction from working class voters of all races and ethnicities who will have to reconcile the fact that the Democrats refused this increase in order to essentially protect the rights of those who would enter our country illegally--thereby continuing to exert downward wage pressure in the first place.

4.  Because it would show that with Republicans in charge, big important things CAN happen, and we can achieve things that are very important to our voters.  Yes, the cost of this is giving in on another issue, but it is one that is far less important to Republican voters.

5.  This entire “swap” cannot be held hostage to the “must be revenue neutral” crap.  Building a fence is going to cost some money.  We have to recognize that.

6.  This is a "take it or leave it" negotiation.

What then, to do about those who are already here illegally?  What about paths to legitimacy and citizenship?  These are important questions, questions that should be considered and discussed.  But for the time being--they are simply not subject to political solutions and the discussions surrounding them do not work to GOP advantage.  Skip them and move on.

Ought Hillary be held accountable for Iraq's collapse?

The front page of The New York Times book review section is given over to a book called The Unraveling by one Emma Sky. Ms. Sky is British, an "Arabist," and originally an opponent of the invasion of Iraq, who ultimately volunteered to advise British and then American military officers in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. Apologies for the block quotation, but it sets up what follows for those of you who cannot get past the pay wall:

Emma Sky has a lovely sense of irony about many things, from her evocative name to her frustrated dreams for Iraq, where, in the first decade of this century, she spent what she thinks of as the most important years of her life advising senior officers in the American military. “Amidst the horror of war, I had experienced more love and camaraderie than I had ever known,” she writes. “I had become part of their band of brothers.”

Many soldiers have felt that way, but Sky was no soldier, and not even American. She had been among those who opposed the war, an Arabist in her mid-30s working for the British Council, a cultural and educational organization. She thought she would go on temporary duty to Iraq after the shock and awe of 2003 to apologize, if she could, and try to help the Iraqi people. This was a common sentiment among Western Arabists at the time: We shouldn’t have done this, but having done it, we must make it work.

Almost against Sky’s better judgment, as she writes in her important and disturbing memoir, “The Unraveling,” she quickly found herself sucked deep into the business of occupation as she tried to sort out the chaos after the fall of the tyrant Saddam Hussein. She thought she would be working with the British in the coalition forces that had participated in the invasion, but they told her to talk to the Americans running the show. She also thought she would be in Baghdad, but wound up about 150 miles to the north in Kirkuk.

Sky made herself useful in whatever way she could. She provided expertise in the region and the language that was appallingly rare in American ranks. Faute de mieux, she began to function very quickly like the Orientalists of the old British Empire — part diplomat, part diviner of local moods and frequent mediator in bitter disputes. She became the indispensable adviser to the United States colonel trying to hold together the explosive, contested Kirkuk region, which sits on 40 percent of Iraq’s enormous oil reserves. As Sky puts it, sardonically, “Within weeks of the fall of Saddam I had found myself governing a province.”

There is a lot in there about her perspective on the American military, her longstanding (professional) relationship with General Ray Odierno, the first collapse between 2003 and 2007, and the ultimate success of the "surge" starting in late 2007 and running in to 2009. But then there is this (bold emphasis added):
Sky and Odierno worked closely with the United States ambassador, Ryan Crocker, an accomplished Arabist in his own right, and Gen. David Petraeus, whose name had become synonymous with sophisticated counterinsurgency. Petraeus told Sky he saw her as a “kindred spirit.” But Crocker and Petraeus were gone by 2009, and when the Obama administration pushed forward with plans to withdraw American forces by 2011, everything started to go to hell again. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his coalition were defeated in parliamentary elections in 2010 by a more centrist, nonsectarian candidate (and an old favorite of the Central Intelligence Agency), Ayad Allawi. But Maliki, by playing his many sectarian cards, managed to hold on to power, and in the process reignited the hideous intercommunal violence most Iraqis hoped was behind them.

Crocker’s successor at the United States Embassy-cum-fortress was Christopher R. Hill, a career diplomat with a long track record in Asia but no feel for the Middle East. He had the backing of Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, but he ­emerges from Sky’s book as the individual most responsible for forfeiting the gains of the previous years when he decided to throw Washington’s weight behind Maliki.

Sky clearly detested Hill: “It was frightening how a person could so poison a place,” she writes. And it appears the feeling was mutual. In a recent piece for Politico defending his record in Iraq, Hill suggests Sky (unnamed but unmistakable as Odierno’s political adviser) was a sucker for complaints by key Sunni members of the government who were being excluded, prosecuted and jailed. Actually, Hill didn’t have much time for people who had served in Iraq before him. The enormous importance of long-term relationships in Middle East politics seems to have escaped Hill, and those relationships were exactly what Sky was all about.

This is rather an amazing couple of paragraphs to appear in the lead book review in the Sunday Times, but every now in then they still practice journalism over there. Hillary is indeed getting away with diplomatic murder right now, with all the mainstream attention to her record as Secretary of State going to her frenetic travel schedule and "public diplomacy" (as if effort were the most important metric), and the tragic sideshow of Benghazi on the right. This is a great waste, for there is much to be learned from Clinton's bottomless failure to accomplish anything important in that job, and her hand in key decisions that have been disastrous for American interests (including the war of choice against Libya, the very confusing signalling in the Syrian debacle, and, now, the collapse of Iraq). The smart GOP presidential candidate will dig more deeply in to Ms. Sky's book to learn more.

New, More, Better...BULLSHIT!

No friends, this is not a photo of a happy and expectant crowd filing in to take their seats at a local high school football game. This is your southern border, and what these peons are doing is heading for a breach in the entirely inadequate wall a few hundred yards away. I'll bet you thought there wasn't a wall, well there is...somewhat. But if East Berlin had had a wall like this there would have been a McDonalds on the corner of Karl Marx Stra├če and Friedrich Engels Platz.

The fact is, as you already know, our borders are wide open. The politicians tell us we need "immigration reform". We MUST have it otherwise our hands are tied they tell us. We're dead in the water, we can't do anything, neither side will give in. Our system is broken and until we reach a compromise we are powerless.

What a crock of SHIT! We have everything we need in terms of laws, resources, E-Verify etc. including the WILL OF THE PEOPLE to do what needs to be done. What we don't have is an ok from the elites, and at the moment they're running the show.

Maybe Trump can change this dynamic. I admit to some apprehension, we've had the rug pulled out from under us before. But God Almighty, Trump is the first ray of sunshine (no cliche is EVER overused in Hammer-World) on this or just about any political issue in quite some time. Our party has abandoned us, maybe Trump can salvage something.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's got you glum, Champ?  Your SSN and financial history now sitting in the PLA's central data repository?  Your "hot new Greek investment" going down the tubes?  Share friends, share!  This is the place.

Weighed in today at 154.8, down 44.  Six more to fifty, and then I assess where things go from there.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

It's Time to Ban this Vile Symbol of Hate!

How long are we going to put up with this flag of killers and cowards? How many innocents have to die before the international community, and I'm speaking to you European Union, forces these bigoted Irish chauvinists in Dublin to TAKE DOWN THIS FLAG! They claim it represents the good people of Ireland and the struggle against British imperialism. Bollox! It represents terror and death, EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT!

Will I remind you of the 9 people killed and 130 injured (some horribly) in the Bloody Friday bombings of 1972? Will I recount the names of the 12 dead in the coach bombing of 1974 (mostly women and children)? Or how about the 29 shoppers killed on market day in Omagh in County Tyrone in 1998? (I'll spare you a photo of the carnage, it looked like a slaughterhouse!)

Since 1969 there has been over 10,000 terrorists acts committed by people under this flag resulting in thousands of deaths! But this thing is still flying. This is an outrage and will no longer be tolerated! I urge you to boycott all things Irish until such time as they see the light. The time for hate is over.



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Can Trump Save America?

I like Donald Trump. I like his style. I like the way he does business. I'm not in love with the guy and I certainly don't agree with everything he says, but he's authentic and there's not a phony bone in his body. He's an old school businessman, which means he doesn't backdown at the first sign of trouble.

As you may know there are three business types (forgive me, I'm stealing these from a GREAT book I read many years ago). Anyway there's the guy who is very upfront. 'I'm here to make the best deal possible, not to be pals. I'll do what I say but you had best be a good negotiator because I'll expect you to do what you say, otherwise it'll be your ass!' This is the most honest, or as honest as you're gonna get in the business world. At least you know where you stand with this guy.

Then there's the 'Oh I'm very reputable and I want the best deal for both of us. Don't worry about it, no need to put it in writing, I won't screw you.' He'll screw you blue first opportunity.

Lastly there's the 'Oh I'm very reputable and I want the best deal for both of us. Don't worry about it, I won't screw you.' This guy actually believes what he's saying at the time, but when times get hard he'll screw you like a boiler room stock broker with a coke habit. This is the most dangerous, a guy who believes his own bullshit. Typically he's a Democrat.

Trump is obviously the first type, therefore he is NOT a politician. In fact I would describe him as the anti-politician. Oh he understands the media and public relations alright. He knows how to manipulate those dolts in the media and make no mistake, most of them are dolts (wouldn't make a pimple on a real journalist's ass!). But I think he subscribes to the Reagan school in that good policy makes good politics...in the long run. Short term, not always.

Say what you will about Donald Trump he's shaking things up. He's saying what some politician can't, or more to the point don't have the balls to say. He's calling 'em like he sees 'em and he's giving it to us with the bark on. He's not going to win anything, he's not a politician and he well know he's not going to win. But maybe, just maybe his honestly and guts will rub off on some of these mealy-mouth, hemming and hawing, fence sitting clowns we have running. You'll  please notice that if they've said anything about Trump at all it was to attack him personally, nobody disputes what he says.

So I welcome THE DONALD. He's doing this I think because he's NOT a loser, and he's tired of America losing. I hope he stays in until the end. We need a good bullshit monitor and I know HE'S good politics.

Inevitability, Hillary, and the GOP Field

That Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016 is to some extent a foregone conclusion, her supporters long ago having closed their eyes to her gigantic flaws as they click their heels together hoping that it will someday again be 1993. As much as I am buoyed by the possibility of Joe Biden getting in the race and by Bernie Sanders' picking Hillary apart from the left, the answer seems baked in at this point from the Democratic side, leaving us with the now 17 strong Republican field to provide any real mystery for the politically news-starved.

It is the size of that field that interests me today, and its "free market" connotations.  Here's what I mean.  In the 1992 election, George H.W. Bush looked like a sure thing, riding high from ridiculous numbers gained as a result of the victory in Iraq and what appeared to be his able stewardship of the country.  The free market--as expressed by the Democrat field in that year--judged him as too strong a candidate to take on, and some of the lions of the party sat out the election, including Cuomo and Kennedy.  This opened the way for a talented young Governor from Arkansas who made the most of an economy that went into the tank and an "inevitable" opponent caught flat-footed by the events of the day.

As I look at 2016 developing and see 17 intelligent Republicans vying for the nomination (and whatever you think of them, they are at the very least, intelligent), I am reminded of that "free market" again.  Only this time, the market is responding against the prevailing wisdom of Hillary's inevitability, at least where the general election is concerned.  The "market" is speaking, and it is saying--no, screaming--that Hillary is beatable.  Very beatable.  Which is something I have been saying about Hillary for some time now.

Watch her CNN interview from yesterday.  Having hand-selected this first real interviewer from among the wedding guests at a senior aide's nuptials two weeks ago, Mrs. Clinton was handed a series of un-followed-up softballs and STILL managed to come off as untrustworthy and evasive.  She has absolutely none of the likability of her husband and all of his untrustworthiness.  This is not a formula for great electoral success.

Democrats have hitched their wagons to this breathing offense to truth and honesty, who lies to us with a straight face and expects the willing press corps to act as co-conspirators.  So far, with success. It will be interesting to see the extent to which the press is able to sublimate its professional duties and interests to serve its aggregated individual political preferences.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Remembering my father's fight for free speech on campus

My father died of cancer 17 years ago today. A few days later we buried his ashes in a cemetary in Virginia that sits on land that has been in our family since before the American Revolution. The eulogy that I read at his service described a moment in the fight for free speech on American college campuses a long time ago. It is, sadly, more relevant today than when I wrote it back in 1998. I hope you enjoy it.

Remarks at the burial service for John B. Henneman, Jr.

Chellowe Cemetery, July 13, 1998


Our father, whose ashes we bury here today, was – in a most redundant sense – a “unique individual.” He was a political conservative in the most left-wing community the United States has ever indulged – the American university of the last thirty years. He believed that the best music, clothes and hairstyles ever devised were those that were popular on Ivy League campuses in the middle 1950s, but he understood the “current” thinking of college kids better than any of my friends’ fathers. He was not a devoted churchgoer, but he had such strong feelings about the changes in established religion that he banned the current version of the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer from this service. He was a Republican who voted for Richard Nixon twice and he served as an officer in the United States Navy, but he retained a fundamental distrust of big institutions, including both federal regulatory agencies and multinational corporations. He was a wonderful father, husband and son, and he most wished to be remembered as a professor, scholar, medieval historian and librarian.

On this occasion, I wanted to tell a brief and fairly cerebral story about my father that taught me an important lesson, and makes me as proud today as I was at ten years old, when the events in question occurred. Most of you have never heard of these events, or if you have you probably do not appreciate their significance to me.

In February 1972, the University of Iowa Psychology Department invited a Harvard psychologist, Richard Hernnstein, to speak on research he had conducted with pigeons. Professor Hernnstein was controversial, because the previous September he had published an article in the Atlantic Monthly suggesting that social and economic success in the United States might derive in part from measurable intelligence, and that since measurable intelligence was at least to a certain extent inherited, it followed that social and economic success might also be inherited. This position posed a sharp challenge to prevailing orthodox radical thought, so the organized left resolved to oppose Professor Hernnstein wherever he spoke, even when he was addressing totally unrelated matters, such as pigeons.

In the Iowa case, the front organization for the Students for a Democratic Society, the infamous SDS, repeatedly and publicly expressed their intention to prevent Professor Hernnstein from speaking, notwithstanding his formal invitation from the University. True to their threats, the SDS and its allies demonstrated so vocally that Professor Hernnstein was unable to speak and had to cancel his presentation.

The University administration remained basically silent during the days preceding and following the cancellation of Professor Hernnstein’s speech of February 25, refusing to discipline those responsible for the violation of academic freedom and free speech that had occurred. After a week of inaction by the administration, on March 3, 1972, Dad read a statement to his Medieval History class. Excerpts from the statement, and the aftermath of Dad’s decision to cancel a class in protest, I think reveal a lot about our father’s willingness to fight for what is right:
Before you start writing, there is one matter which I feel I must talk to you about, even though you are probably sick of hearing about it. The deliberate and successful attack on academic freedom which occurred here a week ago was the most tragic and upsetting thing which has happened in the three years I have been here. I feel that I can’t continue to perform my duties here without saying or doing something to make public my sorrow and my sense of outrage.

Because there is such pressure for conformity in a large industrial society, a university has to promote diversity more than ever before. But it cannot offer you diversity of opinion or provide anything more than mere indoctrination unless every faculty member has the fully guaranteed right to say what he thinks is the truth, not simply what one political group wants him to say. This right is academic freedom. Without it, I could not remain in this profession and your prospects for a broad and diversified educational experience would be gone ….

I think that neither you nor I can afford to have this issue swept under the rug. As a means of symbolizing my protest at the administration’s failure in this case, I am canceling Monday’s lecture in this course. I hope that you will take a few moments during that hour to reflect on the fact that freedom is very hard to win and very easy to lose.

A firestorm of publicity erupted. Backed into a corner, the administration disciplined the students involved, decertified the SDS front organization, and, for good measure, censured my father for canceling his class.

My clearest direct memory of these events is of a conversation I had with our father as the controversy was playing out in the press. I asked him why he had canceled his class and gotten into trouble with the University (a fairly straightforward question from a ten year old boy). I will always remember his reply: “The right of freedom of speech does not matter for people we all agree with. Freedom of speech only matters for people whose ideas we deplore.” It is a seemingly obvious point that even Americans often forget. For me, those words flash through my mind every time I learn of an attempt to suppress free speech. I cannot help it – it is a piece of Dad that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

As the son of a historian and a librarian, I took it upon myself to review Dad’s voluminous and well-organized files in the preparation of these remarks. Almost a year before, in April 1971, our father had anticipated the entire episode in a letter objecting to a draft Statement on Professional Ethics being circulated by the University of Iowa Faculty Council. The draft Statement asserted that a “professor’s first priority should be to do all in his power to prevent death and injuries due to violence” during periods of high tension on campus. Dad denounced that requirement, writing that:
[w]hen conditions on campus are abnormal, the threat usually involves a demand for scapegoats, as some tried to make ROTC a scapegoat for last year’s Cambodian intervention. It is at these crucial moments that the first obligation of faculty members must be to act rationally and to stand firmly behind any member of the community whose rights are threatened. Standing firm is a difficult matter, since capitulation often appears to be the only way of averting violence. Nevertheless, every time we sacrifice somebody else’s rights in the hope of avoiding bloodshed we are guilty of unethical and unprofessional conduct and make our own rights less secure and less respected.

Dad, we love you and will never forget you. May you rest in peace in the Virginia soil that you loved so very much.

I wish so much that he were able to tell us what he thinks of the free speech debate of our own generation, which perhaps is not quite as new as we think it is. And I hope so much that I am able to teach my own children lessons that they remember for the rest of their lives.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Marco Rubio for President -- Conservative Wahoo Blog Fund Raising

Folks, today begins the Conservative Wahoo's 2016 Fundraising Effort for Senator Marco Rubio.  Any reader who would like to make a donation to the campaign should select and then print the JPG below and mail it off expeditiously to

Marco Rubio for President
503 C Street NE
Washington DC 20002

Make sure you use this form with this blog's tracking # on it (1197).


I will report our progress here regularly

This blog raised over $25,000 in the 2012 cycle for Mitt Romney, and my goal is to at least double that in this cycle.  Rest assured, if Marco Rubio is ultimately NOT the nominee, I will switch the blog fundraising to the GOP Nominee.

So far, we're at $500.00


The Electoral College math is very daunting, and Republicans do not seem to know it

While I am the designated small-l libertarian in these precincts, I usually vote Republican because in the end I hold out hope, however poorly supported by postwar history, that the GOP is our best shot at halting the growth of government in the United States, and perhaps rolling it back a bit. If only the GOP were reliably in favor of less, rather than more, government intrusion, but that is a subject for another day.

I further believe that capturing the presidency is far more important than even overwhelming control of Congress or state governments. Congress has proved itself incapable of standing up to the executive again and again, and even when it passes laws it "delegates" almost all of the substance to the regulatory agencies that form the permanent government in Washington, further ceding power to the Oval Office. The torrent of regulation is so great that even the most sympathetic federal judges cannot roll them back fast enough, never mind that we will not have sympathetic federal judges for long if the Democrats win another couple of terms in the White House.

It is therefore essential that Republicans win the next presidential election.

Unfortunately, the mathematics of the Electoral College make that an extremely daunting task. I have not seen a more eloquent diagnosis of the problem than this analysis, written by a Republican, published just after the huge GOP landslide last November. Here is the upshot, but the detail behind the upshot is so interesting, and depressing, you really need to read the whole thing:

Behold the Blue Wall:

electoral map

The Blue Wall is block of states that no Republican Presidential candidate can realistically hope to win. Tuesday that block finally extended to New Hampshire, meaning that at the outset of any Presidential campaign, a minimally effective Democratic candidate can expect to win 257 electoral votes without even trying. That’s 257 out of the 270 needed to win.

Arguably Virginia now sits behind that wall as well. Democrats won the Senate seat there without campaigning in a year when hardly anyone but Republicans showed up to vote and the GOP enjoyed its largest wave in modern history. Virginia would take that tally to 270. Again, that’s 270 out of 270.

This means that the next Presidential election, and all subsequent ones until a future party realignment, will be decided in the Democratic primary. Only by sweeping all nine of the states that remain in contention AND also flipping one impossibly Democratic state can a Republican candidate win the White House. What are the odds that a Republican candidate capable of passing muster with 2016 GOP primary voters can accomplish that feat? You do the math.

Or, to put it in terms the young 'uns might understand, "because math." And if you think the data are cooked, read the whole thing for the very deep bad news. The GOP has lost its appeal to Americans who live in cities, and many on the right seem to think they can make it up by winning ever greater majorities among suburban and ex-urban whites. That is rank denial.

The question is whether any serious Republican can give voice to this math without suffering the ridicule of the activists and social media players on the right. Mitt Romney seems to get it, but is able to say the things he says only because he has taken leave of the primaries. Rick Perry, who has been surprising more than once in his career, also hints at the outlines of a clue. Maybe so does Marco Rubio. But none of these three seem likely to change the orientation -- pun intended -- of the GOP sufficiently to win more votes in the cities. Until that happens, Democrats will control the White House and use the power of the regulatory state to make the United States ever more like Europe.

Or, is the math in some way wrong? Make the case in the comments!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Math, and other topics

Greece has apparently voted to reject the debt restructuring deal on the table. Soon we will know whether Greek voters called a bluff, or consigned themselves to many more years of misery.

What we do know is this: China is a lot bigger than Greece, and its stock market has been tanking for three weeks. Since the U.S. stock market has not had an even 10% correct in roughly four years, some might say that last week was the selling opportunity of the year. We shall learn a lot more in the next few days.

Regardless, we note that hard work probably counts for something. In 2013, only 39% of Greece's population had a job (the comparable figures in Germany, the United States, and China, respectively, were 57%, 58%, and 68%). When the working population falls that low, the economy becomes a sucker's game. The "39-percenters" are probably wondering how they ended up holding the bag. And the credit committees around the world that signed off on those Greek loans ought to find another line of work.

Anyway, here is an interesting analysis from Deutsche Bank that explores the alternatives from here. The choices seem bad for Greece, at least in the short term, and will probably drive that 39% number lower.

The question for those of you with some scratch to invest is this: Will Greece plus China add up to the long-awaited correction in the U.S. stock market? The answer probably depends on whether you believe the central banks will flood the zone with liquidity and the Fed will postpone its telegraphed rate increase. My prediction -- and if I was good at this I would not be part of the 58% -- is that we are in for a few rough weeks in the financial markets, a lot of turmoil in the value of the Euro in particular, and a new surge in liquidity that will ultimately lead to an even larger asset bubble, all primed to blow up in the face of the next president.

Your results may vary.

Dems 2016: Don't Crown Hillary Just Yet

Bernie Sanders continues to speak to large crowds while his numbers rise in key primary states.  Jim Webb has entered the race in an effort to see if there are any centrist Democrats left in the Party.  But the real news is the increasing possibility that Vice President Joe Biden will enter the race.  Uncle Joe is a Presidential historical farce (left 1988 race in disgrace, got 1% in Iowa in 2008) but his loyal service as Vice President, his icon status as the man who pushed Barack Obama forward on gay marriage, and the sentiment generated by his son's all to early recent death--not to mention the fact that he IS the Vice President and it would be terribly difficult for Mr. Obama to endorse either him or Hillary--all add up to a candidacy that spells trouble for Hillary's campaign of destiny.

Lets face it.  Bernie dragging Hillary to the left, Webb beating her up from the right, and the prospect of the VP actually attacking her on policy issues---this is absolutely the best that we can hope for, as our own platoon of dwarfs undertakes the GOP circular firing squad for a few months as a way of delaying the inevitable victory of Bush, Rubio, or Walker.

Hillary's coronation was never a good thing for Republicans--I realize a good campaign helps temper a candidate's steel, and many Republicans thought that Hillary's lack of competition would leave her soft and unprepared for the general--but the plain truth is that with Hillary's money and the sycophantic mewling of the Press on her side, she would be in an enviable position in the Summer of 2016 if she faced little competition in the primaries.  Let Joe, and Jim, and Bernie (I do not consider Martin O'Malley a serious candidate) beat HER up for a few months, let some of the blood be drawn by HER own friends, let internecine battles use up some of HER resources--and the GOP will ultimately be in a better position to win.




Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tyranny of the Minority (of One)

America was once a country that admired individualism. We respected guys like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison even if we didn't necessarily like them. We admired what they accomplished and would never begrudge them their just rewards. We were not a collectivist nation.

Now, ironically we are being pushed in the direction of collectivism by one lone individual, Justice Anthony Kennedy. One guy is making law to the supposed benefit of a tiny minority that overturns thousands of years of tradition, statutory law and common law against the wishes of the majority which has spoken on this issue in plebiscites over thirty times. His decision ignores the separation of powers, ignores the Constitution, ignores the will of the majority and goes against everything American republican government stands for. As the "swing" vote on the court he well knows he has the power, and I think he's loving every minute of it. He is a willful tyrant plain and simple, and he enjoys the roll.

Our founders didn't envision an all powerful court. Judicial review was established by the courts, not the Constitution. I personally don't have a problem with judicial review... in theory. A check on the other branches is desirable in many circumstances. But they're there to call balls and strikes, not to wear pinstripes in Yankee Stadium. Writing law is not their function. Bending over backwards in some sort of legal gymnastics to somehow arrive at a decision they deem worthy is not their function. Reading the law, applying the process of legal reasoning and judging the Constitutionality is their function, NOT to create rights that don't exist or to minimize rights that are clearly enunciated. They have forgotten their purpose.

In the "gay marriage" ruling no precedent was cited, no case law mentioned, no common law referred to. Two of the justices had previously performed marriage ceremonies for a gay couple. Elena Kagan is openly gay for Pete's sake. But neither justice thought they should recuse themselves in this case. Neither thought there might possible be a conflict of interest. Where did they get THEIR legal advise from, Anthony Kennedy?

This has got to stop. Roe v Wade has been a divisive issue for over forty years because the law was NOT arrived at democratically and therefore NOT accepted by the majority. It was an issue for the States NOT the Federal judiciary! The gay marriage ruling was more of the same. The fact is we have a government controlled by elites who don't trust the American people enough to arrive at the decisions THEY want. So when they can't bully State legislatures into doing their bidding (like they can Congress) they take the decision out of the States' hands.

Tyranny is tyranny be it Caligula, George III or an American oligarchy. The States need to negate these laws. We should provoke a Constitutional crisis and get these issues out in the open. Let's have a NATIONAL CONVERSATION about the role of the courts and the consequences of their power grab. If we don't, this wound will fester and weep and be just another cancer on the American experiment in truly representative government. But that's the ultimate goal isn't it, to tyrannize us into accepting tyranny?



Friday, July 3, 2015

"Controlled socialism" and other stuff I learned from the New York Times today

The New York Times, which I heard defended yesterday in an Austin coffee shop as "one of our greatest cultural institutions," serves up front-page comedy gold: "Cuba's Environmental Concerns Grow With Prospects of U.S. Presence" by one Erica Goode. The point of the article is that Cuba has vast undeveloped shoreline, unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean, and that a flood of money from the United States might, er, develop it. Fair enough, but there are too many good moments in this otherwise pedestrian story to let it slip by without savoring the parlor-pinkness of the thing. To wit (emphasis added):

The country is in desperate need of the economic benefits that a lifting of the embargo would almost certainly bring. But the ban, combined with Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism, has also limited development and tourism that in other countries, including many of Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors, have eroded beaches, destroyed forests, polluted rivers, damaged coral reefs and wreaked other forms of environmental havoc.
What? Is "controlled socialism" the new cute and fuzzy term in liberal circles for freaking totalitarian Communism? I totally missed that, but they don't send me every memo anymore. I think that's on purpose.

At any rate, somebody needs to tell Ms. Goode, who apparently rocks an "ABD" in Social Psychology from UC Santa Cruz -- my every relevant prejudice confirmed with one little search on LinkedIn! -- that poverty is a feature of "controlled socialism," not some unintended byproduct. The only commies who aren't poor are the CINOs, and they don't give a fig about the environment.

Then there is this:

Cuba’s green sensitivities evolved as much out of necessity as ideology.

The collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1991 and the continued isolation by the United States forced the country to fend for itself. With the tools of big agriculture — fuel for heavy machinery, chemical fertilizers, pesticides — out of reach, farming moved away from the increased sugar production that characterized the Soviet era, turning more to organic techniques and cooperatives of small farmers. Oxen replaced tractors, and even today, a farmer walking behind his plow is a common sight in the countryside.

“Basically, folks said we need the farmers to go out and figure out how we’re going to feed ourselves,” said Greg Watson, a former agriculture commissioner for Massachusetts, who visited Cuba last fall with a delegation studying sustainable agriculture.

Basically "folks said"? Yeah, I bet that's exactly how it went down.

Cut to the World Bank's data on Cuba's agricultural production, setting 2004-2006 at 100. Compared to that benchmark, in 1980 Cuba's ag production was at 134.4, in 1990 it was at 158.1, and by 1995 it had fallen to 88.2 (a decline of 44% in five years). No doubt, "folks" were saying all sorts of things.

By 2014 Cuban agriculture production was up to 103.2 (same index), so still more than 1/3 below the levels of 1990. Meanwhile, Cuba's population has increased around 10%, so the situation is even worse on a per capita basis.

The result of all of this "sustainability" has been, to say the least, not obviously sustainable.

Anyway, this state of affairs will be taken under advisement by the controlling socialists a bit later in the year:

How fully the country will pursue development is likely to be a leading topic at the Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party next year, said Dan Whittle, a lawyer and senior director of the Cuba program for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

The Birth of American Exceptionalism

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
Georgia:
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton
Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
Pennsylvania:
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
Delaware:
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
Massachusetts:
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
Connecticut:
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton
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