Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Years Resolutions

Every year at this time, I review a list of 10 predictions I made the previous year, and I make a set of new resolutions for the coming year. I am however, after this year's events, out of the predictions business. And so I will not be doing this part anymore

I also review my performance on a list of ten resolutions I've made, and then put out ten new ones. But as I sit here, I find myself somewhat unconcerned with how I did. And so I will just list my 2017 resolutions.

1. I resolve to make more money this year. I spend an awful lot of my time on unpaid stuff, but this year I will minimize these pursuits and concentrate more on financial return.
2. I resolve to exercise at least four times every week
3. I resolve to average 1500 net calories a day for the year.
4. I resolve to be more positive. I have a habit--especially with my own family--of making little negative comments that when taken out of context, are small and meaningless (at least to me)--but when added up, add up to me being a jerk. I need to be less of a jerk.
5. I resolve to be less of a jerk.
6. I resolve to obey posted speed limits more often.
7. I resolve to curse less. Much less.
8.  I resolve to golf more.But not so much that I impact #1
9. I resolve to spend more time on the water.
10. I resolve to spend less time on social media.

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Time for Choosing

As I've said here on this blog before, the Russians did not "hack" our Presidential election. Hillary Clinton lost because she misread the electorate, just like every single GOP primary contestant but one.

However, it is clear to me from the evidence presented, and from the direct conversations I have had with those in a position to know, that the Russians did in fact attempt to influence our election. President Obama--who famously hit the "Reset" button with the Russians, bent over backward to accommodate their paranoia, bungled Syria in such a way as to invite the Russians to build up their air and naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean, and refused Republican requests to investigate Russian activity in the late election--has taken strong action to sanction Russia as a result.

Both Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell have strongly supported the President's actions, however late they come in the game. I agree also with the moves.

But there is a good deal of hypocrisy brewing in our modern Republican Party, one in which for some reason, Vladimir Putin's obvious attempt to influence our election is seen by some as a civic duty to Americans, rather than the act of espionage that it is. Make no mistake folks--Putin OWNS this. The Russian intelligence services would NEVER have done something on this scale without his express consent and close oversight.

Four years ago, the GOP Nominee for President, Mitt Romney, called Russia our #1 geopolitical foe. He was laughed at by the President and his entire party. Putin then spent the next four years proving Romney right, and Republicans NEVER missed a chance to drive this point home to Democrats. But because Putin's espionage campaign was aimed at the Democratic candidate, all of a sudden much of the GOP has forgotten the past four years altogether. One GOP House member went as far as to laud the Russian operation. 

It is a time for choosing for Republicans. Have you become so intoxicated by power that you are immune to great power meddling in our internal political process, or worse, have you allied yourself with it? Do you REALLY think that Russian security services have focused EXCLUSIVELY on Democrats, and that they don't have a trove of information, electronic intercepts, email, and video of numerous Republicans to include the President-Elect and many of his cabinet nominees just waiting for the opportunity to arise where release would serve Russian interests? To whom will you complain then, if you find nothing to complain about now?

Or are you concerned at the prospect of Russian interference and the precedent it could set for the future, not to mention the basic impropriety of what they have done?

We are at the dawn of a new era of great power competition. Russia is one of the adversaries, China is the other. It is time for patriots to put aside the settling of scores and buckle down to the reality that this competition brings. Now is not the time for petty political pride--it is that time to act like an American.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Day Facebook Died (I hope)

I've been a Facebook customer (subscriber/user/chump) for I don't know, maybe going on ten years now. I don't use it like most folks. I've never used it to "keep up", as the people I wish to keep up with I keep up with. I don't care to see how someone I knew from 'way back when' turned out. I don't care to make contact with high school, Army or college buddies from times gone by. My view is we are all on our own path, and what interested me as younger man rarely interests me now. Plus I'm just not that social, and to be honest I find most people petty, intellectually slow, ignorant and tedious. Yes I know I'm an asshole, but I'm ok with it.

So I've never been a Facebook whore, in fact I find the whole process of ASKING someone to be a "friend" and the puerile act of "unfriending" somewhat embarassing. I use Facebook simply as a conduit for commenting on various political sites, and that's all the hell it's good for in Hammer-World....but not anymore. This "fake news" bullshit was the last straw.

Facebook had SOME utility before kowtowing to all this hysterical, panic driven "fake news" fakery from the left. Yes indeed there is fake news, all conservatives are well aware of this fact, it's just that it's impossible to qualify most of the time. There are a thousand and one ways to mislead, misdirect and obfuscate, how will FB sort all that out? The answer is they won't, they'll just sort out the views they (or Politifact) don't like.

But it's not all bad. I look at it like this, Zuckeberg has done us a solid, in the long run. All this whining and acting out illustrates the panic of our leftist friends. We can expect more of the same for the foreseeable future as they are desperate for a win. Just keep in mind, for conservatives politics is always a road game. For the most part the left controls the media and the messaging, and just as important how long they want their message before the public. But come January WE control the government. It's time we used our power to advance our agenda, much the same as the Democrats have done. Mr. Zuckerberg has given us a wonderful excuse to pull him in for a short interview before the House Sub-Committee on Communications and Technology. We can do a little vetting of the vetors, see what our billionaire uber-nerd has to say about the veracity of Politifact. After all it's in the public interest is it not? According to what I've read in the NY Times etc. most of these millennial shit-heads get their news from social media. It would also be a good opportunity to ask about FB's intolerance of conservative thought and opinion, which has always been there but is presently out of control. This is just a logical extension of net-neutrality so those communist bastards over at the FCC should have no problem.

The situation is we won, we control government like we never have before. But do not think for one second we are in control. The left still owns most of the courts, the media, the academy and the bureaucracy. We can do a lot, and should, but it won't be easy. We will face furious opposition if and when we go after the aforementioned cornerstones of the American leftist monolith. BUT IT MUST BE DONE, otherwise ours will be a short-lived, pyrrhic victory that does more harm than good. Trump must follow through where Reagan and Gingrich couldn't. I don't want to kill Facebook or any other news outlet, I want to own them. And even if all we achieve is parity, then that will be a great victory indeed. So let's repeal and replace Facebook while we've got the strength... before we loose this generation entirely.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Media Bias and the Staffing of an Administration

President-Elect Trump is busy staffing his team these days, and I have been generally pleased with many of his selections. The whole process has--as these things tend to do--raised in my mind questions of media bias, or at the very least, media affinity/groupthink.

PEOTUS has the responsibilty to pick people to run the various agencies and departments in his administration, many of whom must then be confirmed by the Senate. These agencies and departments have missions and regulatory functions, some of which fall directly into the ideological push and pull of the roll of government in the lives of Americans. Determining who will lead them is in effect, a statement on how active or intrusive a President would wish that agency or department to be. Where the bias comes in is the degree to which the media has focused its attention on how some of Trump's picks seem to hold views that reflect an ideological desire to restrain the bureaucracy they would head. We see this reaction to his Secretary of the Interior, his EPA Director, and his rumored FDA Director. In each case, the man nominated has taken positions publicly that question the expanse of power exercised by the organization he will head. These stances are reported with great trepidation, with various and sundry environmentalists, patient rights advocates, and other fans of a greater role for the government loudly decrying the choice.

Where the bias comes in is that when a liberal President stocks his pond with people who would presumably use the power and authority of the offices they are granted to increase the regulatory state, the reporting is matter of fact, as if it is quite natural for an environmentalist to be appointed as the Secretary of the Interior or the head of the EPA. Only when someone is appointed who might rightly restrain the state does the media go into its collective rush to the fainting couches.

Monday, December 12, 2016

On Russian Activities During the Election

There is a great deal of discussion in the media over the past few days about intelligence community assessments that Russian security services attempted to play a role in our election. There seems to be NO doubt among them that the Russians played such a role--but there is doubt as to whether that role was designed to favor one candidate over the other. Apparently, the CIA believes that Russia was trying to throw the election for Trump, and the FBI is not convinced. One (FBI) is a law enforcement agency and so is likely more interested in a tighter case, whereas the CIA is a classic intelligence agency where making calls on "good enough" information is the name of the game.

Here is what I think.

1) I believe the CIA is correct. Wikileaks has been thought by our own security services to be a front for Russian intellegence for some time now, and the information put out be Wikileaks was almost exclusively prejudicial to Hillary Clinton.

2) I do not believe that the Russians were involved in ANY voting mischief, because there is no evidence of it. Their involvement was a classic information operation designed to sway opinion. I am unsure how successful their operation was, and I do not believe we can ever know.

3) The election is over. Period. Donald Trump is the President-elect.

4) That said, we cannot as a sovereign nation allow foreign interference in our electoral process. Both parties (and every patriotic American) should get behind a thorough investigation designed to reveal the tactics and measures that Russia took, expose them for their perfidy, and figure out ways to mitigate this kind of thing in future elections.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On My Conduct During the Election

Since Donald Trump's election, I have had numerous opportunities to discuss its impact with friends, strangers, family members, and even with members of the Press. These conversations have forced me to think deeply about my views...but more to the point, my behavior during the election.  The bottom line is that I behaved badly, I brought discredit upon myself, and I've learned important lessons about how I wish to conduct myself in the future.  What am I talking about?

Let's start with what I am NOT talking about. I am not talking about all of the instances here and elsewhere on social media where I pointed out legitimate policy differences between what Trump was saying and what I believed and what I thought the bulk of Conservatives and Republicans believed. I am proud of the policy stands I took, and had I restricted my statements SOLELY to the realm of policy, I would not be writing this post.  But I didn't.

I said and wrote disrespectful, ad hominem, and personally insulting things about a man I have never met (Trump), and I lumped a good many of his voters into the mix. I allowed my deep disappointment in my candidate's demise (Rubio) to cause me to act inhumanely, and I allowed my ego--battered by having been so utterly wrong in my political judgment--to drive me into great fits of anger and pique.

Quite simply, I let the election get the best of me, and I allowed it to make me a lesser man. I was intemperate, immodest, and without poise. I cannot undo what I did, but I can resolve not to repeat it. So this is what I am going to do.

As I wrote when after the election, I wish the President-Elect well. I hope and pray he is successful. I have been greatly pleased by some of the people he has chosen to surround himself with, and I hope he continues to attract more.

Where his policy choices and my preferences overlap, I will say so.

Where they are in conflict, I will say so too, and I will explain why I hold the views I do.

What I will not do is insult him or anyone else. I broke my own blog's rules over and over, but I won't do it again. I aim to disagree without being disagreeable, something at which I failed miserably over the past year.

I ask you--my readers--to call me on this. If I lapse into personal attacks, I want to hear about it. I think the quality of this blog suffered greatly this year and it was entirely my fault. I think we can return it to a place of considered thought and opinion in 2017, and I hope that you'll keep reading.

And So It Goes....

Remember this smug little bastard? Yes, no? That's John Koskinen the IRS Commish. He was just given a pass yesterday by the House which voted to send his impeachment recommendation back to committee. That's the Judicial Committee which had brought the matter before the House to start with. In other words they handed it right back.
Now this guy destroyed evidence under subpoena, withheld evidence, engaged in illegal targeting of certain groups (which is still going on) and lied about it all before Congress. If all that doesn't rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors I don't know what does.
The galling thing about this vote is (the Democrats bloc voted of course) 166 Republicans crossed the aisle and voted against the committee. In my mind they voted against the rule of law and the will of their constituents.
This is a textbook example of why we need special prosecutors. Obviously this man is guilty. Obviously the proper thing to do would be to prosecute, and just as obviously we are in the world of political threats and deal-making. 166 Republicans do not go rogue. This was the leadership Paul Ryan et al. But think on this all you #nevertrump-ers out there, this is the kind of shit that got Trump nominated and elected. A team that misses their free-throws is one thing, a team that doesn't care to hit their free-throws is another. Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership is part of the problem. I don't expect them to go immediately, but go they must and go they will. They're out of touch. The mood of the country is FOLLOW THE LAW!

Know this guy? He's the Governor of North Carolina Pat McCrory. He just conceded the election to Attorney General Roy Cooper after a month or so of recounts. The perception is he lost because of HB2 legislation which denies transgendered folks the "right" to use the restroom of their choice regardless of what may or may not be dangling between their legs. That may be true but I don't don't think so. I think the election was stolen, and here's why.
1. When it looked like McCrory would pull it out in a close one, 95k votes were "discovered" in Durham County, just before midnight on election day, in one of the most corrupt counties in the state (remember Duke Lacrosse?).
2. North Carolina has "same day" voter registration and several hundred Duke, NCCU students were discovered to have the same address, which turned out to be no address at all (1 Duke University Way). None of these votes could be verified. I was actually told by a Dem operative the students had been "advised to use that address" and it was no big deal. I tried to envision such a scenario: "Ok people, listen up. Don't use your real address, use 1 Duke University Way. It's a paperwork thing. Got that?" Obviously there was a lot of cheating going on in Durham, and that's just one county. In Bladen County an organized ballot box stuffing operation was exposed, but the perps will probably get a pass...they're Democrats after all.
3. Ok, let's assume HB2 riled up the populace and many wanted to punish the politicians who had thrust this injustice upon some of our most vulnerable perverts. Why didn't they punish the Legislators? Most especially why didn't they vote out Lt. Gov Dan Forest, a VOCAL supporter of HB2? He won by 300,000 votes. So, we're being told Roy Cooper won with less votes than Dan Forest because HB2 was such a big issue (which Dan Forest supported LOUDLY AND VIGOROUSLY!) and people wanted to punish Pat McCrory. This was just a surgical strike at the Gov for this one issue.
BULLLLLLLL-SHIT! If the Governor gets punished so does the Lt. Gov from the same party with the same views. To think otherwise is idiotic.
It's very telling that Soros has spent the past five years setting up and funding several "grassroots" organizations in the State. His team of election law attorneys were Johnny-on-the-spot at the NCBOE this election. It's almost like they expected events to turn out this way.

Let's cut to the chase, the Charlotte Ordinance which precipitated HB2 was a set up from the git-go. The Gay-Gestapo, Soros and the leftist establishment in general targeted NC because it's ripe for turning, as was Colorado a few short years ago. We have had a steady influx of (will I be kind, yes I think I will) Northerners coming from their fuqed-up, bluer than blue states trying to escape taxes and overcrowding, who are bound and determined to turn MY State into the shit-hole they just left. They can't see past the noses on their face.
So the fight continues, and it is FAR from over. Progressivism is like toe fungus, ignore it thinking you got it beat, next thing you know you ain't got a leg to stand on.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Dispatch from Westlake Village, CA

It is nearly two in the afternoon, and I am sitting in the lobby of my hotel in Westlake Village, CA on the day before the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Reagan Library. I have come to this event each year since its inception a few years ago, a chance to get out of DC and hobnob with -- well -- mostly a bunch of people from DC. A smattering of folks from the provinces show up, but it really is an annual get together of a tightly knit groups of folks who work national security issues. It has always tried to be down the middle, but it has a bit of a right of center color to it.

Last year, I remember coming with such anticipation, such enthusiasm. My boy (Rubio) was on the campaign trail, doing just fine, with the whole campaign ahead of him. I beleived strongly that the Republican nominee would win the election--as I found Hillary to be a weak candidate--but I did not expect it to be the man who eventually won.

My ride
There is a great program on tap, and things get started a little later today with a cocktail reception. I started off my day with a couple of phone interviews, a nice massage, and lunch at a passable Chinese restaurant I have visited each time I've come here. My ride is a bitching Camaro convertible, and I drove left LAX with the top down last night, with the temperature a reasonable 63 degrees. As I headed north and East into the Santa Monica Mountains, the temperature dropped nearly twenty degrees in ten minutes, making for a frosty last few miles.

Tomorrow will be a long busy day, then up early for the flight back across the country. I won't get home until nearly midnight (after the two hour Dulles/Easton drive), and then it's up and out at 0600 Monday.  I'll write something quick tomorrow night if I have any brushes with fame.  Cheers!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Go West, Young Man!

I am sitting outside Gate D-19 at Dulles Airport, awaiting my flight to San Diego where I'll do a little client work for a few days. Sorry to disappoint, but I am not rigged in my tracksuit and trainer get up, as I have a follow on engagement in LA later in the week that requires me to be in business suit. So I decided to travel in said suit, with blazer carefully folded into the suitcase along with everything else.

I fly to LA on Thursday night, hang around a hotel lazily on Friday, and then attend the annual Reagan National Defense Forum at the Reagan Library. I usually run into a lot of friends from the National Security business there, and the day's events are always top-notch.

I do not like Dulles Airport. No, I do not. You either ride one of those silly buses to your terminal, or you ride a monorail that drops you a half a mile from your terminal and you get to walk the rest of the way. The dining options remain terrible, and the United lounge servicing the "D" terminal is clear at the end of one side of the building, and my gate is at the other. So, I am sitting at the gate sucking up an electrical receptacle powering this laptop up for the flight. I have plenty of work, but I suppose I'll read and watch movies.

I land at 1845 hrs SD time, and since I won't eat on the plane, I'll be ravenous. There is a Ruth's Chris right up the street from my hotel, so I think that will be my dinner choice tonight.

Just a check in today, I'll write tomorrow if I have anything interesting to share.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Castro FINALLY Goes To Hell

I'm going to make this short and sweet: Fidel Castro was a ruthless thug who ran a communist dictatorship that murdered a greater percentage of his people than Stalin, controlled their lives to a greater extent than North Korea and spied on them more efficiently and effectively than East Germany. He was a paranoid killer who's only peers were Stalin, Hitler, Zhou En lai, Mao and Pol Pot. May he rot in hell.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Jeb Bush on the Future of the Republican Party

Jeb Bush has a nice piece up at the Wall Street Journal, and in it he gets fully behind an Article V Convention of the States. To remind, Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides the means for its alteration by future generations, and it says:

"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."

To explain, if a super-majority (2/3) of both chambers of Congress determine that an amendment is desirable, it is then sent to the States where 38 of the 50 must ratify it for it to amend. The Constitution has been amended using this method for all 27 of the existing amendments.

An alternative method would be for 2/3 (34) State Legislatures to call for a Constitutional Convention of the States in which Amendments could be proposed completely apart from the wishes of the national legislature. Those amendments would then go to the States for their ratification, and again, 38 of the 50 would need to ratify amendments for them to take on the force of law. Such a means of amending the Constitution has never been used.

The Founders specifically insisted on this latter method because of a fear that the Congress might itself become too tyrannical, and that there would need to be a method of amending that could occur utterly outside its authority. Initial discussions at the original Constitutional Convention did not include this "federalist" method of amending, but some who watched the sovereignty of the several states decline in that proceeding insisted on its inclusion.

With Republicans in control of 32 state legislatures, it is time for the Article V movement to switch into high gear. R's should market this as a means to update the Constitution THE RIGHT WAY, rather than having unelected judges legislating from Federal benches. They must remind people that 38 States would STILL have to ratify anything that came out of the Convention. They will need a few States where they don't control the legislatures to pitch in on this effort, so it cannot be seen solely as a way to push a conservative agenda. Attach items issues like term limits to the discussion, things that cross party lines for popularity.

Jeb is right on this.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Ready for The Turkey
It is a little after 8, and I am in the kitchen staring out at the Miles River while the dogs go through their morning rituals. A glass enclosed gas fire is kicked up next to me, and it just became hot enough to excite the small fan which propels its goodness outward. I slept in this morning, until just a few minutes ago really, after bedding down at 9:30. A solid effort on my part.

In about two and a half hours, the cooking will begin. The Kitten has planned a gluttonous repast to celebrate this day of Thanksgiving, and we and the Kittens will be joined by an additional six family members living closeby. This year, we have the added treat of hosting The Kitten's mother-in-law, who is also grandmother to the Kittens and mother to The Kitten's late husband. She is a delightful woman, and she has made me welcome in her world from the moment I entered it. We share a great interest in news events, and the two of us can sometimes bore the rest of the house with our chatter.

The Kittens are both here, and it is renewing to hear the laughter that comes from their scheming upstairs. Not that they are scheming right now; it is far too early for that. This is the 10th Thanksgiving that we have celebrated together--as I woke this morning I gave The Kitten a little squeeze as I rendered thanks for the three of them--properly named Catherine, Hope, and Hannah--for having allowed me into this wonderful family.

The Kitten has a well-thought-out plan, complete with timetables and forethought into how to manage the use of the oven, five cooktop elements, and the grill. Here is today's menu:

Roast Turkey
Grilled Local Duck Wapped in Bacon with a Blackberry and Balsamic Sauce
The Kitten's Famous Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potatoes
Oyster Casserole
The Kitten's Famous Dressing (or Stuffing)
Brussel Sprout/Broccoli Medly Drizzled with Light Sauce of Balsamic and Honey
Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Cheese Cake Pie
Pumpkin Pudding Pie
Pumkin Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream

We have a great, well-equipped kitchen, but an undertaking of this magnitude requires forethought into how all the tools are managed, and The Kitten has it down to a science. My contributions include, all things turkey, gravy, and duck. Also, the Brussel sprout dish and the peeling of the numerous potatoes that go into her decadent mashed potatoes. I remember an early Thanksgiving, together, when the little Kittens chatted about their mother's mashed potatoes with reverance. I dismissed it of course, as the hero worship of children for their mother--but when I tasted them, they were confirmed.

We are shooting for Supper at 1700 hrs, which means the long lead item (Turkey) gets started at about 1100 (out of the oven at 1615, in at around 1145). I have a 23 pound fresh Butterball, which I will cook breast side down (as is my recent custom). Doing so results in a bird that is not as pretty as a breast up version, but the breast meet comes out perfect. After the Turkey goes in, I turn to the mind-numbing job of potato peeling, before heading out to the grill to cook the duck, which is then refrigerated until the guests arrive, and is used as an appetizer. In the past, we have had several more appetizers, but this year we concluded that while they were delicious, they made us (me) full before the meal even started.

The house is quiet as I wrap up this post. The dogs have concluded their morning hyperactivity and have settled down for naps. I hear the hot water heater, so someone in the house is up and about besides me. Soon, breakfasters will be all around, and the television will be turned on to the Macy's Parade. Not much TV football watching goes on in this house on Thanksgiving, so I sneak out to the ManCave for quick nips at the games.

To conclude, I want to wish anyone who reads this a Happy Thanksgiving, and I'll share what is rolling around in my mind as the general theme for this evening's Grace with you as a way to extend its blessings.  Be well, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Dear Lord,
We thank you for this day, and for our lives.
We ask that you be with us this evening as we enjoy our family's love and this bountiful meal.
We know that there are many across this country today who do not share in the bounty, and who
are suffering in body, or in spirit.
We ask that you be with them this day, and all days.
We ask that you be with those whose jobs keep them away from home, and to return them to their loved ones safely.
And we ask that we be worthy of all of your blessings each and every day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NOT Good Policy, NOT Good Politics

I like to think I understand politics, most of the time. Generally speaking I realize making an effort to get along, meeting your opponents halfway and being a magnanimous, all around swell guy can pay great dividends. The election is won, no reason to be vindictive or seek retribution. I get it. 

But Trump's decision to give Hillary a pass confuses and confounds me. Number one the promise Trump made to us that no one is above the law and justice will be done REGARDLESS, still rings in our ears. Hillary flouted the law. She set up a private server to avoid government oversight so as to sell access and favors through the Clinton Foundation. That much is clear as a bell to anyone who cares to look. We know it and the Democrats know it. So what's the problem in pursuing an investigation?

"Well Hammer we have a tradition in American politics where the winner never goes after the loser. It's tradition. We don't want to look like a banana republic dictatorship. Even though the law was broken, just let it go. We'll all be better off." 

Sorry, can't subscribe to that way of thinking. The law is the law and this isn't about the Democrat nominee or partisan politics or Donald Trump. This is about our national security and the RULE OF LAW, prosecutorial discretion does not apply. Mr. Trump upon taking office should have his Justice Department, with Congressional oversight, appoint SEVERAL special prosecutors. One to examine the Clinton Foundation and their role in Hillary's email server, one to ferret out the IRS abuses, one to examine "Fast and Furious" and one to look at the NSA and their spying on the American people. This is just my short list, I could think of others.  

"But Hammer, the animosity this would cause! Do you really want to put the country through all that?" Uh, let me think...HELL YES! The Hammer doctrine has always been good policy makes for good politics. Can you imagine the revelations to come from these investigations? I would argue we have seen only the tip of the iceberg. We have a compliant, corrupt media that refuses to tell us anything detrimental or embarrassing to BHO and his cohorts. We have members of the current administration taking the 5th before Congress. There is a lot there, if we would only look. We could drip drip drip extremely damaging information almost daily for the next four years. At the end of the day these investigations would most likely culminate in prosecution and conviction at the highest levels of the Democrat elite. Either that or we'd have a two hour highlight reel of the Democrats exercising their right against self incrimination. We could break the back of progressivism for a generation. The public would see all the nefarious dealings of this corrupt, vile administration and at the very least, Schumer would be playing nothing but prevent defense for the foreseeable future. Why would we NOT do this?

But let's say we don't. Let's say Trump takes the easy way out. What message does that send? It tells me and his most loyal supporters Trump is full of shit, and everything he's said is now questionable. In other words CW will be proven right. It also sends the message to the leftists that you can do anything you like no matter how heinous or outrageous, and if you do happen to get caught the conservatives will be too scared to take you on. This decision gives them aid, comfort and POWER. 

Jesus H. even the timing is wrong. If Trump wants to give Hillary a pass why would he announce it now? He's just letting BHO off the hook. Why not wait, see how this plays out. Obama could very well pardon Hillary in which case problem solved. The Republicans don't look weak, Hillary's guilt would be acknowledged by the current administration and there would be no backlash for our cowering Republicans to worry about. Waiting just gives Trump more options, and the fact he can't see that is more than a little disturbing. 

Trump should do as Obama with not a care for the feelings, input, council or reputations of his opponents. Elections have consequences. Trump needs to build bridges WHEN IT'S IN OUR INTEREST not to appease the radical left and their corrupt media. We as conservatives need to go on offense and advance our agenda forcefully and vigorously. We won! We won BIG and we need to start acting like it. I see absolutely no need for compromise. Extend the hand of friendship to the #nevertrump-ers, but the progressives get nothing. This is good policy AND good politics.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mattis and Romney

Talk this weekend on The Twitters was of visits to the North Jersey Whitehouse of Mitt Romney and Jim Mattis to call on President Elect Trump. The rumors are that Romney is being considered for the Secretary of State, and Mattis (former Marine four-star and Marvel Comics Action Hero) is being considered for Secretary of Defense.  These would be inspired choices, and there are strong cases for each. But the strongest case in my view is for each man to be in the other job. Here's why.

Jim Mattis used to be called "the Warrior-Monk" while on active duty. There is no doubt, but that he is a tough, Marine. But he's also a deep, deep, strategic thinker. When I think of who I would want looking across the negotiating table with our friends and allies ALIKE, I can think of no one I'd rather have there making our case than Mattis. This is after all, the job of the Secretary of State.

Why Mitt at DoD?  DoD is a huge series of interlocking businesses, and Mitt knows how to run big things.  He will have the gravitas to deal with the generals, admirals, and White House Staff.

I don't expect to be asked about this by the Trump team, but I leave this suggestion here for anyone who might be listening.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pardon Me While I Gloat

What'd I tell you? What the hell did I tell you!? Don't remember or refuse to remember? I said way back in December of 2015 Trump would win with a solid South and a few "rust belt" states like Michigan and Ohio. Now who's your Daddy? Who is your God-damned DADDY!? Bow down and kiss my lily white SOUTHERN ass because I got it right (and won) and you didn't. 

You want to know why I got it right? Well I'll tell you, I'm a working class stiff that's why. I don't live in a palatial estate on the Mary-Land eastern shore. I'm not an attorney. My domicile is not in a huge population center nor do I get my news from Twitter and/or Facebook. I wouldn't give two shits for what Cher or George Clooney or Labron James think. I am a son of the working class just one generation away from sharecropping. I'm the guy who does the dirty work, the slubb who has been ridiculed, slandered and REPLACED by immigrants because the elites don't like my voting patterns. I am the guy who ALLOWS the elites to run things because I am too busy earning a living and providing for my family AND PAYING TAXES. But the elites grew too big for their britches and screwed it all up, so an attitude adjustment and a little remedial education is required. If they behave themselves we might, I say MIGHT let ‘em back in the game. But they have a lot of work to do, well see how it goes. One question though; wonder how they like me now? 

Ok, that's out of the way so let me tell you what I want to happen with our new President, not necessarily what will happen, just a Hammeratic 'to do' list.

1. BUILD THE WALL! If Trump loses his nerve or Congress won't go along or an earthquake devastates the Rio Grande Valley or Martians land in Lafayette Square or for WHATEVER REASON Trump DOES NOT build the wall, then all is for nought. At that point in time it's over. Trump will lose all credibility. Every criticism, every insult, every disparagement directed at Trump by the #nevertrump crowd and the radical leftists masquerading as the mainstream will take on new life and THAT will become Donald Trump. He will no longer be in control of his agenda, the country or his own destiny. Building the wall is PRIORITY ONE! 

2. Get trade sorted. Nobody wants a trade war. Nobody wants to NOT trade. Countries that trade tend not to go to war. But unfair trade is as bad (or worse) than no trade. Is China more amenable to our interests because of the massive and growing trade deficit we have with them? Of course not! The richer they become the more aggressive and belligerent. Transferring our wealth and technology out of country at the expense of the middle and working classes is a globalist scheme that has been rejected. Fair trade absolutely yes, NAFTA and TPP (as written) forgetaboutit. Them days are over. 

That’s it. Now there are other things on my list of course; tax reform, the VA, repeal and replace Obamacare, all extremely important. But the aforementioned are Trumps signature issues, the rest can wait awhile. The reason I put the wall at #1 is because it is tangible. Everybody in the country can see and touch a wall, they'll know it's being built (or not) and can see for themselves. That why this thing has to be built properly, under budget and quickly. Trump is the wall and the wall is Trump. The opposition understands this fact. He is going to face a full court press from all sides, he MUST withstand the temptation to back off...even a little. If he follows through and get it done the next issue will be easier, a lot easier. Winning begets winning, losing begets losing. Ask GHWB what happened to him after he reneged on his "read my lips, no new taxes" promise. Vince Lombardi said there were only a few plays in a game that decide the outcome, and so it is with politics. Trump has the ball and in this opening drive he has to score, that's all there is to it. 

So you may now go back to reading the WSJ and watching Meet the Press. Just keep in mind, they got it wrong too. 

Pence Booed at Performance of "Hamilton"

The concept of Broadway theater is much more appealing to me than the reality of Broadway theater. As far as entertainment goes, Broadway gets considerably more press than it deserves, if one were to work in the number of Amercians who actually avail themselves of the entertainment. But because it is New York, and because New York considers itself singular and because New Yorkers tend to drink their own bathwater, Broadway--or a play in New York--has made the national news.  It seems that both the audience and the cast at last night's performance of "Hamilton" decided to avail themselves of the opportunity offered by the attendence of the nation's Vice President Elect to boo, and lecture, said attendee.

Great. Going to the theater is a political act.

The phenomenon that is "Hamilton" (which I have not seen, but which I think I might wish to see) has exposed an entirely new generation to a man I consider to be -- behind Washington -- our greatest Founding Father. His bootstrap story, his battlefield bravery, his energy, his genius, his ideology--all are worthy of being celebrated in every generation, even if this one's go at it insists on "hip-hop" as the method of transmission. Whatever it takes, I suppose. But it strikes me that maybe too much hip hop and too little substance is being absorbed by Hamilton audiences, and its actors aren't taking the time to understand the man they are dramatizing.

Little doubt that many attendees are now casually dismissing the Electoral College as an instrument of racism--without having read Federalist 68 and its rationale therefor--written by--you guessed it-- Hamilton.

Little doubt that many attendees are now taking to their fainting couches at the prospect of Trump wielding Presidential power--power explained by Hamilton in Federalist 70 . He was in fact, the leading proponent of a powerful Executive throughout the Constitutional Convention.

Putting aside the history and political science, what happened last night was just plain rude. I realize that we are a coarse society, and the recent election did not help that one bit. But we can and should be better.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Big Fat Friday Free For ALl

What's the matter, Chum? Were you With Her? Did you lose your first night's deposit on that Shee-Shee room in DC for the Inaguration? Did the ultra-competent Irish air transit system lose your luggage?

Bitch about it, folks. That's what Friday is for.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Now Comes the Business of Governing

As the left of center world takes to its safe spaces for grief counseling atop plush divan chairs, the hard business of governing begins. I see five areas where the Trump Administration is likely to focus its early efforts, and the seeds of conflict on the Hill are sown in each.

No matter what else he does, PE Trump needs to deliver on his immigration message. It seems to have been the main rallying cry, and fire that got his whole candidacy moving. I actually believe that he'll be able to get something done on this pretty quickly--it might not be everything his most ardent supporters wanted, but it will be much more than there is today. Plus, I'm not sure his most ardent supporters are all that concened with scorekeeping details.

The second priority--and I think for PE Trump--far behind the first--is infrastructure investment. This is one where he'll run up against a good bit of resistance from the Republican majorities, but perhaps not enough to blunt it, especially given how much this subject acts as catnip to Democrats. Fish gotta swim, builders got to build. President Obama's "stimulus" passed with token R support in 2009, with much of the resistance being ideological. We'll see if R's have Road to Damascus conversions on this. Requirements for union labor or prevailing wage contracts--also catnip to D's--will also enliven this issue. There are real arguments against this on the right, and they will likely be heard.

Healthcare Reform came late to the Trump Campaign, and while it will be a HUGE Congressional priority, I imagine the PE will be somewhat more likely to move slowly on this front. He's already indicated support for keeping some Obamacare provisions (adults under 26 staying on parent insurance--this one has become middle class candy--and pre-existing coverage--which means keeping the individual mandate), so we'll have to see what direction this heads in.

Next is reform of the Veterans Administration. I honestly think PE Trump came to see this issue very clearly on the campaign trail, and if there is a swamp to be drained, I think he sees this one as at the top of the list.

Finally, there is rebuilding the military. I think this one is going to be toughest for him, simply because of the expense of doing anything other than token efforts. With his infrastructure plan almost certainly costing a good deal, there simply may not be a lot left over for defense. Debt financing could obviously cover much of the bill, but here he'll run into ideological problems on the right--because they hate debt--and on the left, because they won't want debt to pay for defense.

A lot to think about here--2017 is going to be an incredibly interesting year.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Why an Electoral College?

Because Mrs. Clinton appears to have won the popular vote, many Dems and Liberals are once again shouting from the highest parapets that the Electoral College should be abolished.

By way of enlightening readers a little rusty on just why the brilliant founders gave us this gift, I offer this transcript of a speech by former Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Additionally one could read Hamilton on the subject in Federalist 68.

Autumn on the Shore

My little hamlet of Easton here in the People's State of Maryland celebrates the mass slaughter of winged game birds annually duing this weekend, in what is called The Waterfowl Festival. The Kitten's mother--who owns the land surrounding our bit of it--allows a few local gentlemen to use her fields for their hunting, and just a few seconds ago, I heard the first reports from their field pieces. Fall is begun on the Shore. I love this time of year.

I'll get out a time or two myself and take a crack at the transiting birds, and we'll have a healthy supply of gooseflesh over the Winter from that and from offerings from friends. I usually do some to pick on before Thanksgiving, and our annual New Years Day gathering feasts upon it and The Kitten's tasty oyster stew.

We have a full weekend of fall activities, what with the festival, a horseshow for kitten #2, and a Pig/Oyster Roast tomorrow afternoon for a local politician with a very bright future.

Life goes on in my little slice of Heaven.

Oh, and speaking of Heaven--welcome back to the digital pages of this blog The Hammer, fresh from his consistently predicted victory over the forces of evil in the recent election.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Look Who's Back

That's right friends, the Hammer is back in town (and it wasn't easy). It took several months of a relentless campaign of ridicule, hate and intimidation until CW finally gave in and said (I suppose), WTF have I got to lose? After all, the poor man's candidate(s), party and dignity have gone by the wayside this election, how could I possibly make it worse? We all feel his pain, but not really. His political instincts are on a par with Mathew Dowd's speaking on This Week this week "Hillary Clinton has a 95% chance of winning with a larger coalition than BHO". Yeah right Mathew, ya friggin' moron! This is the kind of shit one overhears from lesbians chatting at the gas pump while filling their Harleys.

Well it is what it is and I want to thank CW for this opportunity to piss off and embarrass his beltway buddies. I will endeavor to do my best. Be seeing you soon and I leave you with this quote.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

My Senate Run Ends

Folks, a number of you were in on the fact that I was considering (seriously) a run for the US Senate in Maryland in 2018. I decided last night to walk away from that quest, and here is the text of what I sent out in a newsletter:

"I took a lot of time over the summer thinking about the 2018 Senate race in building a “Theory of the Case”. Essentially, the question was “what would justify the long-shot candidacy of an inexperienced man, in a heavily Democratic state, who has lived only ten years in MD, and who knew few people in the state outside his own town?”

That (admittedly thin) case was built around a central proposition—that Hillary Clinton would win the upcoming Presidential election, that in the first election in her off-year Presidency her party would take a beating, that the Democrats wouldn’t necessarily want to spend money (at least early on) to shore up what was generally an “in the bank” state, that a popular Republican Governor would be on the ballot, and that Obamacare would have had two more years to fester, creating additional problems for the Democratic incumbent.

Under these circumstances, a perfectly run, well-financed, and “lucky” Republican could have a small chance.

Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday dramatically alters the landscape. The Party on the hotseat in 2018 will be the Republican Party, with whom my brand of conservatism is somewhat out of fashion. Obamacare will not be an albatross to hang around the Democrats’ neck, as it will by then have been reformed. 

And so, I simply can’t justify all the sacrifices that I and people I love would have to make for this run to happen. I tried to bring method and planning to the decision, so that in the end, my case for running was more than “I’d really like to be a Senator”. The tentpole planning supposition of that method and that case has now fallen, and all I am left with is the desire to be a Senator and the desire to make things better. I will always think these noble impulses, and if I were independently wealthy, nothing would stop me. But I am not, and so I bring this process to a close.

Thank you so very much for having taken me seriously for the past few months, and thank you for being a part of my life.

Bryan McGrath

Some Thoughts on the Day After

I climbed atop my treadmill yesterday morning at 0507 and turned CNN on to see 289 votes in the chryron for Donald Trump in the Electoral College. I shook my head and said (to no one in particular) "son of a BITCH!". Then I went to my computer to check the Senate and saw that R's had held the line there. As I processed the news, three things became instantly apparent:

1) the utter depression that I felt after the Romney loss was nowhere to be found. I had little personally invested in this election, and was not supportive of either candidate.
2) I was encouraged by the fact that the Republicans will have the entire political apparatus of the government for two years (at least) and I began to think about all the good things that come come of it.
3) There was incredible cognitive dissonance from the Hillary folks about not only her personal integrity, but the extent to which her long years in the public eye, much of it negative, had impacted her candidacy.
4) I wondered how much President Obama and Secretary Clinton wished that they had that White House Correspondents Dinner back--the one in which the President and others went after PE Trump HARD--and what I consider to be the likely day of his official (unofficial) candidacy.

At some point in the day, I watched President-Elect Trump (henceforth PE Trump) give his acceptance speech and later, I watched President Obama give his Rose Garden chat and Secretary Clinton give her concession. All three rose to the occasion.

I thought about the Obama Presidency. How free of scandal it was, how the President really was an examplar of much that is good about our country. Also, how profoundly unsuccessful it was, and how thoroughly repudiated it was by the Trump victory. The two things I think he will try to hang his legacy on--the Iran Deal and Obamacare--are already in tatters and await only the Inaugural to administer the lethal dose.

Additionally, I thought about how the incredible rise in identity politics in the last eight years generated an equally powerful counterforce, one saying, "we are not racist because we believe in law and order, we are not racist because we believe the nation's borders should be secure, we do not hate because we want our daughters to use rest-rooms with other women only, and we think the Little Sisters of the Poor should not have to subsidize practices in their employer provided healthcare plan that they consider abhorent." I realize that many readers in cosmopolitan areas look at the foregoing and scoff--but LOOK at the county by county election map and infer how widespread the popularity of these views is.

Things are about to get very, very interesting.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

President Trump

At no point in this election cycle did I get it right on Donald Trump. You could have been perfectly predictive on his fortunes had you simply read what I wrote and then thought the other thing. My job initially was to get Marco Rubio nominated. Then it was to see anyone by Donald Trump as the nominee. Then it was to encourage as many Americans as possible who read or hear me to beleive that neither he nor Hillary was suitable for the job, and that they should vote for someone else. On every point, I was wrong, and I failed. But that was my job as I saw it.

Now that I have failed and my fellow citizens have spoken, it is my civic duty to support the President wherever I can. On any issue where his preferences and mine align or are even close, I'll support him. Where we disagree, you'll hear about it. But he is going to be the President. My President, and he will lead the country I love with an unusal ardor.

I am happy for Donald Trump's supporters, especially the Hammer. He--as opposed to me--was right from the start on this.

That the Republicans kept the Senate and the House is good news. To the extent that the President-elect puts forward policy proposals that are aligned with traditional Republican principles, I think he'll enjoy success, as he should. Where his policy proposals are misaligned with prevailing Republican views, I think he'll find more difficulty.

Expect the Democrats in the Senate to a wall of opposition, and they'll use every parliamentary proceedure in the book to butress it. All of the stuff R's said about Supreme Court picks will be repeated--how the Senate is under no obligation to confirm, etc.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Well folks, it's about time, huh? What's bothering you? Seen your girl's lead dissipating? Tired of hearing about your man's Russia worship? Your team 0-3 lookin' at 0-4?

Let it all out.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A New Viewing of The Godfather

"The Godfather Epic" was on TV last night, and I happened upon it at the point where Michael is visiting his father in the hospital and is then brutally assaulted by the police captain. I watched it until the final scene of the origninal movie, when he lies to his wife straight-faced about killing his sister's husband Carlo.

Until I read about "the epic" version this morning, I hadn't known what was up. If you remember, Godfather II had two stories in it--the early life of Vito and then Michael's life after the move to Vegas. The origninal movie sort of "fit" in between the two story lines of the second movie. I think cutting it all up and presenting it chronologically (as the epic does), makes a lot of sense, and I need to set aside the requisite seven hours someday to take it all in thusly.

What's important though, is that I was able to rope The Kitten into watching the movie with me last night. I don't beleive she's ever watched more than a couple of minutes of it, mostly passing through rooms where I have been watching. It is difficult for me to not watch The Godfather...sort of like "The Shawshank Redemption" in that regard.

But she sat down and watched when I said, "sit down with me and watch this. I promise to answer every single question you may have." I think this appealed to her, as I can on occasion, not be as generous with my time whilst watching the telly.

And so we watched, and she would pipe up now and then to ask a question, which I answered enthusiastically. After all, the prospect of adicting her to The Godfather was offering itself, and I was not going to pass this up.

This morning, we were discussing the movie--a movie I've watched dozens of times; a movie in which I can recite line after line. And The Kitten did something that she has a habit of doing--she caused me to look at something I'd looked at over and over--in an entirely new way.

You see, I spent a good part of the last part of the movie talking to her about how well I thought the filmmakers portrayed Michael's descent into evil, how well Pacino under-acted (for the only time in his career) in a particularly effective way. I've always admired Michael in a perverse sort of way for the focus and method he brought to the elimination of his competition on the day of his nephew's Baptism. What I NEVER realized is the degree to which this meister stroke was cooked up with Vito before Vito's death! All along, I had thought Michael and Michael alone had cooked this up, and waited for his father to die to implement it. Not so--as the Kitten pointed out.

In the scene where Michael and Vito are in the garden, Vito informs Michael that Barzini will try to arrrange a meeting, and that the person who brokers the meeting is a traitor. All along I've believed that the Don was talking matter of factly about a future event that was bound to happen. What I NEVER realized was that they were engaged in transistion planning, that the Don was speaking specifically to WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WHEN HE DIED, when the terms of the "deal" among the five families would be considered null and void. Even as he was failing--the Don was the visionary, the Don was the strategist. Here I was thinking Michael to be a prodigy with an edge that even his father hadn't possessed. But I was wrong.

Later, during the scene when Clemenza and Tessio ask the Don to allow them to start their own families, Michael talks about great events that were in motion. Every previous time I've watched that scene--I assumed he was talking about the move to Vegas. But he wasn't. He was talking about a Shakespearean display of power designed to shock and awe La Cosa Nostra -- planned jointly by him and his father!  Vito and Michael realized that when the Don was gone, Michael's position would be perilous. Their plan was so breathtakingly perfect, that it simply could not be discussed with ANYONE else in that room--as we see from Tessio's eventual defection.

Again--I've watched these movies over, and over, and over again--and I simply saw all of this as a sign of Michael's evil virtuosity. But it was not just that. It was Vito's genius.

And I needed a rookie watching it all with intent for the first time to show it to me.  There is a lesson here.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

This Day

Many of you know that the Kitten's husband and the Kittens' father perished today in the second tower to be hit in NY 15 years ago. It is never a wonderful day here, but they muddle through, and I try not to be in the way.

My crappy scheduling/increasingly busy life meant that I needed to be in San Diego early this week, so that means flying on this day in which airplanes figured so prominently.

It is--as was that day--beautiful here. Most September 11's are beautiful on the Eastern Seaboard. I wonder if any inquiry has been made on whether it is one of the most reliably consistent good weather days of the year.

I have been alternating between deadline work necessary to complete before flying today and meandering through social media to see how the savages are dealing with the day. So far, pretty good. Nothing in my various feeds that causes me to shake my head. At least not today.

I do long for the feeling this country had in the days and months following the attack, especially in this particularly polarized time. I am certain that it can be achieved again without a national calamity, but I just don't see leaders on the horizon who seek it as an animating goal--or at least some portion of it. I realize that the degree of unity then was outsized, but then again so is today's disunity. We can do better. I am thinking every day about how to help bring that about.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

My Women Return

In a couple of hours, I will head to the train station to pick up The Kitten and the Kittens after their having been away for nearly a month.

In that time, my life went on at a new pace and rhythm, indulging my great capacity for selfishness while simultaneously yearning for human contact. This is a big place to occupy by oneself, even though the five occupants (me, two dogs, two cats) seem to occupy the same space most of the time (though the dogs don't get to sleep on the big bed). They simply aren't much for good conversation.

I have spent far too much time on Twitter in The Kittens' absence, but then also worked far too much because I had little to distract me from either. I transported my work area from the ManCave to the kitchen table in order to make use of the better view and also to not feel completely cut off from the world as I sometimes do out there.

My main housekeeping challenge has been animal hair, the one contibutor to messiness over which I had little control. I wouldn't say I'm frighteningly neat, but there is order where I reign, and as I so infrequently reign in the big house, it has been quite orderly. I will have to fight the impulse to try and maintain this state when they return later, as all it ever does is cause discord (they being not quite as fastidious as I).

When I was courting the Kitten, she used to make fun of my refrigerator, which was carefully and selectively stocked with a few condiments, coffee creamer, diet coke, some fresh vegetables, and leftover Chinese food (there was always leftover Chinese food). It was roomy and all of its contents could be surveyed from a quick glance at the door. She lampooned it as a "bachelor" refrigerator, that it looked as if no one lived there (hmph). This is how our family refrigerator looks today--it still has far too many dubious condiments (what in God's name is "Cashew Butter?), but it will not survive the first post-return trip to the market.

What I miss most is laughter. We all like to laugh, but our own laughter simply doesn't provide the same charge as the laughter of others. The Kitten is pretty clever, and while she is not a fan of my sarcasm, can be devlishly sarcastic herself (mine is sometimes a bit much, as some of you know). The older Kitten has a big, deep laugh, which sometimes seems odd coming from someone her size, but when I hear it, it instantly perks me up. I'll be downstairs doing something and I'll hear it from upstairs--and it will shortly be followed by the younger Kitten joining in. I wonder if my parents ever sat around by themselves and just listened to the laughter of their six kids, or smaller subsets thereof? It really is quite renewing.

We have a few weeks as a foursome before school starts, including another attempt on my part at a "staycation" (went into DC/Pentagon for three meetings that week). I have begun informing folks that I'm actually going to make this one stick, but we'll see.

Friday, July 22, 2016


My women have abandoned me for their summer travels, and so I sit here at my kitchen table writing this blog post for the few people who will read it. The ManCave being too dark, I've moved myself here to enjoye the view and the light, although it puts me in the position of being keeper of the dogs, who feel that coming in and out of the house at oddly spaced intervals is their canine right. Another thing, I have dogs who know how to tell time, or at least close to it. The practice around this house is to feed them when we wake in the morning and then again at 5PM. Damn if these dogs don't start getting squirrly at 4:45PM.

I have a colossal amount of work to do, so much that I'll be working tonight, Saturday and Sunday here at my little desk view of paradise. This is is because of two things: 1) I am overextended, as I generally am in the summer for some reason and 2) I am unable to not nip onto Twitter at regular intervals and snark a bit to the masses. Please avail yourelf of the Twitter tool I have at the bottom of my main page if you'd like to see some of my offerings.

This is a big empty house when there are no girlies giggling or sounds coming from the various things the Kitten has playing on her computer while she works. A full week into this tomorrow morning (I was in SD for the first few days of their travels), with 2.5 weeks more to go.

This is my "Staycation" week. It was supposed to be my "Go to Cleveland for the RNC" week, but then, well, you know what happened there. So then I put my foot down and said that while the girls were gone, I'd have a no joke week off here to do as I please. Well, I've had to carry my ass into DC three times this week, and it hasn't made me a happy camper. I have another Staycation on the books for the week ending in Labor Day, and I damn well mean to be ruthless about observing it.

My annual war with the poolside crepe myrtle has begun, a little later this year. I have begged and begged the Kitten to trim it back, but she is a bit of a tree-whisperer and will hear nothing of it. Now I know some of you out there are thinking "hey, she's gone, go ahead and trim it back", but those sort of tactics do not serve me well here. As my friend Fred says, "while initially amusing, ultimately self-destructive".

One of the benefits of my being by myself is eating, although I eat pretty damn well when the crew is here. But I've taken to trying to eat some of the things that have accumulated in our freezer that seem never to make it onto the dinner menu. For some odd reason, I found two lobster tails in there this afternoon (of undetermined age), and so I cooked them up and warmed the bit of ribeye I put aside last night for an ersatz "surf and turf".  Whilst rummaging, I also came across a number of bags of frozen scallops, which could prove tasty. I just need not be too picky on the expiration dates.

It has been a beautiful summer week here, and by the looks of the weather report, we have another week of hot and sunny ahead of us. Of concern looming on the horizon is some rain late in the week. I'm having a few folks over for a cookout a week from now, and would dearly like it to be a nice day.

Ok---I'm rambling--have a great Friday night.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

In a Rational World...

In a rational world, there would be no beer-can chicken cooking in my oven right now.

In a rational world, I would not be sitting here at my kitchen table typing the blog on Sunday, 17 July.

In a rational world, I would likely be in Cleveland, OH for the Republican National Convention.

In a rational world, I would attend a convention that would be unified, uplifting, and confident in beathing the most beatable Democratic nominee since Mondale.

In a rational world, I would arrive back in my hotel room over the course of the next few nights, exhilirated at hearing the very best of the Republican Party lay out a vision for the future.

In a rational world, I would pay close attention to the up and comers, those whose speeches don't get covered on Television but who electrify the place nonetheless.

In a rational world, former Presidents, and cabinet officers, and conservative thinkers would take to the stage one after another to sing the praises of the Republican nominee.

In a rational world, I would have spent my days this week going from lecture, to panel, to speech, to gathering, rubbing elbows with the right of center illuminati and learning more about the world around me.

In a rational world, I would have been neck deep in helping craft the platform planks calling for a stronger U.S. military, and shouldering the sacrifices necessary to get it.

In a rational world, the nominee's speech to end the convention would be a rousing celebration heralding three and a half months of all our work to close the deal that results in a Republican President, Senate, and House of Representatives.

In a rational world, the nominee would lift the party's chances downballot.

In a rational world, the right would have spent the last two months pointing out Hillary Clinton's flaws, rather than the presumptive GOP nominee's.

In a rational world, the GOP convention would conclude with the nomination of a person who promotes individual freedom, free markets, limited government, private enterprise, and a strong military capable of sustaining and advancing our interests in the world.

But sadly, this is not that world. And so, I must go carve the chicken and think about a better future.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Heading Home

It is warm here in the San Diego United Lounge, largely because heat rises and it is on the second floor of an atrium-like food court below. I have come here to kill a little time before taking on the odyssey that will result in my return tomorrow morning to the farm.

It has been a beautiful few days here, good work during the day, good dinners with great people at night, and a lunch today with a truly special man, CAPT Joe Corsi, my second CO on USS PRINCETION (CG 59) where I was XO. The CO/XO relationship is a crticial one in the good workings of a ship, and I was fortunate to have two great CO's there, Joe coming second. The crew loved him, I loved him, and it was a happy, well-run, ship. I left a little piece of me there when I left in February of 2001...I imagine it is still there.
Joe Corsi--a truly great Cruiser Captain

It is odd to follow a coup d'etat on Twitter, as I am doing this afternoon. I have several good follows in Ankara Tweeting in English. Sorta like listening to old tapes of radio broadcasts from the Blitz.

I have pre-scoped the dinner offerings at SFO, where I'll spend three hours later this afternoon, and found them wanting. There simply aren't enough good steak joints in airports. Newark has one that I quite like. Will likely eat sushi or some other low carb choice.

Sorry, I'm a little distracted--keep hopping over to Twitter to look in on the coup...I'll end this now and come back when you have my full attention.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Ref (A)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Game of Thrones Spoilers

It is no secret that I consider "Game of Thrones" to be the most entertaining television ever created. Sunday night's season 6 finale was amazing, and the fact that I must wait ten months for the season 7 premier is akin to waterboarding.

My nephew Kevin and I have tended to have a GOT chat during the week this season. I've enjoyed the conversations, and during today's he told me that he believed that there was about a season and a half's worth of material left. This got me thinking....about how things will wrap up when we sadly bid the show farewell.  And so I decided to make a few predictions (you should consider them spoilers) about some of the show's major plot lines. Please excuse the spelling errors.

Jon Snow--Jon Snow is alive at the show's end, and he is the King of the Seven Kingdoms with Dany his queen. It will be shown that his father had indeed secretly married Lyanna Stark, and so HE (and not Dany) is the true heir to the throne.

Dany--After taking King's Landing, she will eventually move north with her armies. She will fight alongside Jon Snow. They will fall in love. He will get the same deal that the Iron Island Queen got from Dany (essentially self rule) at Winterfell. This seems fine--until word arrives of Jon's claim to the throne. They decide to rule together, like the Targareyans of old.

Circe--dies a horrible death by dragon at the battle of King's Landing.

Jamie Lanister--is redeemed completely. He (eventually) rallies the Lannister armies to join with Dany and Jon Snow to defeat the White Walkers. In fact, he saves Jon Snow's life during the battle. But he is killed in battle, dying honorably, pardoned by Dany and Jon.

Sansa Stark--Is left at the end alone (likely not for long), but the Lady of Winterfell. She will commit a murder before the show ends.

Littlefinger--Dies at the hands of Sansa Stark

Tyrion--leaves Dany's service to take his seat as Lord of Casterly Rock

Varys--takes over from Tyrion as Jon and Dany's Hand.

Arya--Meets back up with Gendry, bastard of Robert Barratheon. They will marry

Jorah Mormont---arrives at a key battle just in the nick of time to save Dany from nearly certain death. Jon Snow--who has by this time fallen in love with Dany--gives Mormont his sword of Valarian Steel, which belonged to Mormont's father and rightfully is Jorah's.  Jorah is then killed in battle.

Bran: renounces his claim to Winterfell to assume full time Three Eyed Raven status, after he has told Jon that he is the son of the Crown Prince of the seven kingdoms and Lyanna Stark.

Sam Tarley--Sam is the key to all of this--which HAS to be the case since his story line is such a bore. While at the Citadel, he discovers a document that appears to be the wedding certificate of Rhaegar Targaryen & Lyanna Stark. If true, this proves that Snow is NOT a bastard, but the true her of Rhaegar and therefore, the true king of Westeros.

There you have it.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Up Early

There is a bit of a snore coming from the bed as I write this. Not a snore, really; more of a wheeze. The Kitten is sound asleep, as is normal for a Sunday morning at 0525, but I am not. I awoke 90 minutes ago, wide awake, and decided to enjoy the beauty and calm of the sunrise.

We are in the midst of an epic stretch of weather here on the Eastern Shore. Low 80's, low humidity, lots of sunshine. The house is wide open, and I'm enjoying the sounds of the morning with a small tankard of coffee, made without sufficiently waking up Zuzu (black lab, 3, rambunctious) to the point where she demanded her morning meal. Kitten #2 (Hannah, 15) must wake in 30 minutes, as she has yet another horse show to attend (Champion yesterday in two classes, natch) and I must get her to the barn. The Kitten (Catherine, age undetermined) will take Kitten #1 (Hope, 17) across the bridge a little later on to begin a week at camp with a good friend whose folks have a vacation house on our little peninsula.

Preparations are beginning for a long stretch of solitude here on the Farm, as my women will all abandon me on or about 11 July. Kitten #2 is heading to Cambodia/Thailand on a school trip, and the Kitten and Kitten #1 are headed to South America. I will be solo here for about a month, and while I will miss my girls, I am looking forward to the time of quiet contemplation, early bedtimes, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings marathons, cigars, steaks, crabs, the driving range, and general puttering about. The Kitten began my socialization for the time apart last night by walking me around the bits of greenery that will require my watering attention while she nation hops. I once was cast into the floral doghouse for failing to water a group of pointsettias while The Kitten traveled, and I do not wish this to happen again. That it was a Spring Break trip, and the plants were from the previous Christmas did not seem to matter, nor were my protestations of "I thought we buy these plants with the knowledge that they will die" much appreciated.

Watering the plants will be an after dinner pursuit, and I will need to stock up on cigars (Macanudo Portofino) "to keep away the bugs". If anyone has suggestions for how to handle a cup of coffee, a cigar, and a hose---all at the same time, please pass them along.

You may be asking "why are they traveling without you?" Several reasons apply. First, if you've ever traveled with me, you might have some insight into why they are eschewing the pleasure now. Secondly, The Kitten has a habit of putting off the planning of her trips to a point with which I am uncomfortable, and I invariably have already scheduled a number of important events. Thirdly, and most importantly, I've managed to once again box myself in work-wise with a monstrously busy summer. For some reason, my business (Consultant, Defense) gets busy in the summer, and it has since I've been doing it. I do have two, week-long "staycations" planned (one of which will occur whilst the Kittens travel), but the problem with them is that I generally just work at 3/4 speed rather than putting it aside.

My morning bliss has been interrupted by a group of noisy birds just outside the bedroom window. I suppose they are blackbirds or crows, but I really don't know as all I can do is hear them. They are making quite a ruckus, and I'm surprised they haven't awakened The Kitten. It's the kind of cacophony one hears when a group of birds in a tree are approached by one of my cats, but both cats are inside the house, so the source of their disquiet is known only to them.

The sun is up and from the sound of a shockingly loud alarm from the upper reaches of the house, so should Kitten #2 be. I am surrounded by women for whom an alarm is considered a suggestion, rather than an order, and so it sometimes falls to me to ensure they are up and about. Though this one (#2) is the best of the lot in getting up, especially when there is the prospect of a horse show on a beautiful day ahead of her.

Friday, June 24, 2016

On the UK/EU Divorce

It is a sad thing indeed, when a man as addicted to American politics as I am is forced to watch ITV Britain's coverage of the Brexit question last night. It seems I've become so bored with our own situation that I turned to our Mother Country for some political thrills. And boy, did we get them.

Simply put, I do not know enough about the issue of whether the UK should have remained in the EU or not to have a coherent opinion. And while this seems to be no impediment for what passes for insight and analysis on the interwebs, I don't feel like I ought to make bold pronouncements based on scanty information. I'm funny like that.

The little I do know does not add to my clarity on the issue, nor will it lead to yours. Clearly, an element of the British population had come to see EU membership as onerous. Some of them believed this as a result of the UK's having to abide by immigration rules not under control of their own Parliament. Some of them believed this as a result of the UK's having to abide by an increasing number of economic and environmental regulations, as well as judicial decrees, not under their own sovereignty. Some saw the EU as a mechanism for the transfer of wealth from rich, Northern European countries to poor, profligate Southern European countries. Some of them I think, simply saw it as a matter of national pride, pride that was being swallowed up by a new "European" identity. There is merit in all of these views, and they are not inclusive.

The case to stay in the EU fell generally to those in what some here in the US (not me) would call "The Establishment". They pointed to economic benefits of European integration, and the greater opportunity for folks striking out on their own to work in fields of their choosing in other countries, freed from individual national employment regulation. They pointed to the political power on the world stage that 350 million Europeans could wield rather than divided polities. They pointed to the case of a divided Europe being just what Vlad Putin wants. There is merit in all of these views, too, and they are not inclusive.

There was a good bit of fear-mongering in the run up to the vote, with the "Remain" side generally predicting all manner of doom should the UK leave. I am not qualified to say whether the doom is warranted--to include economic privation, loss of influence, and isolation. I can imagine how these would come about and that they are possible. I can also imagine that they aren't inevitable.

And while I am unqualified to opine on the wisdom of their vote, I find myself generally well-qualified to offer a few policy suggestions about how we--the US--should proceed.

1. Don't be churlish about this. This is an adult nation making an adult decision. No collusion with Germany and France to teach those Limeys a lesson. Chive on.
2. Remember the special relationship. It is special.
3. Make a grand gesture of friendship and support. What do I suggest?  Well, I'd start with forward stationing three destroyers in the UK. With the decline of the Royal Navy, there's a ton of open pier space, and we eventually have to start re-arming in the North Atlantic anyway.
4. Look into some kind of UK/US/Canada free trade agreement. I realize this goes upstream of the isolationist, protectionist winds that are blowing in the US these days, but there is goodness in a union of English-speaking peoples.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Random Musings on Memorial Day

It has become fashionable to criticize people who mix up Veterans Day and Memorial Day. I know I've done it before...maybe you have too. I think part of the problem is the timing of these days. As a Northern Hemisphere country, we get our better weather in the middle six months of the calendar year, and the last Monday in May quite rightly dawns for much of the country as sunny and warm--perfect for BBQ's, traveling to see friends, being outside, whooping it up.  This is when we ought to celebrate Veterans Day. Thank Vets, celebrate great military victories that helped put us where we are, talk about the greats, etc.

November 11 solemnifies the end of WWI, and that is when we choose to thank Vets. Wouldn't it make sense to move Memorial Day to the 11th of November, when the chilly winds are beginning to blow? Wouldn't there be less of the "holier than thou" criticism we get at the end of May when folks fire up the grill and whip around on an innertube behind an Evinrude 85? I don't know. Just seems to make sense to me. But what do I know.

This particular Memorial Day, the weather has cooperated here in Easton and given us a somber, dreary, wet day. No one is out on the river, and I predict very few cookouts.

Brother Jim continues his volunteer work in the wilds of Canada.  The local news up there got wind of it, and now more of the US and Canada know why "WWJD" has always meant "What Would Jim Do?" to me.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? I am. I consider it to be the most entertaining television ever produced. I've watched every episode made twice (at least--except last night's which I have yet to watch a second time), and I've started again at the beginning as a way of passing the time on the treadmill in the ManCave.  That said, last night's episode was pretty--meh. Too much time on Arya and Sam-neither of whom move the story along very much for me. Also, I'm growing a bit weary of the elevation of Dany to this level of mystical uber-leader. I think there's a bit of the megalomaniac in her.  Hopefully things will pick up this coming week.

I'm beginning to get a little "car" itchy. Not that I want to replace the wonderful car I'm driving now, but more that I want to get what the Hammer once called a "fishin'" vehicle. I'm looking at two cars with passing interest these days, both would be used. The first is a 2005-2008 or so Porsche 911 Cabriolet. The second is a 2009-2012 BMW Z4. Both of these cars give me a thrill when I see them on the road, and having once owned a BMZ Z3, I remember how much I loved it. Looking at used and it won't happen any time soon--but I'm looking. I really feel it this time of year as I drive west on 50 on the way home from DC....I see guys in their convertibles, baseball hat and sunglasses....and I think I'd like to rejoin that club.  Of course, this would reduce the amount of time I could spend on the phone with clients--but I'm willing to make the sacrifice...

Speaking of which....for the longest time, I figured that I'd have a pretty big change coming my way in the Fall. I really believed Hillary was quite beatable, and that the Republicans would return to power in the Executive Branch. Had that happened, I figured I would have a fighting chance of going back into public service, something that I've greatly desired for a few years now. Then things went sour in the GOP and the Party turned to someone I cannot support--so, the whole "put the consulting thing aside and go into a full-time gubmint job in DC" is going to have to be put on ice for a while. I've got to admit that it is a downer. Mitt's loss in 12 was downright depressing, but things seemed to be moving in the direction I had hoped.  I've told a lot of people that I'm thinking of quitting the consulting business and becoming a high school history teacher. No one believes me when I say it, but the thought is never far from my mind....

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