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!

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