Friday, June 2, 2017

With Opioid Abuse, Dems Gin Up Support for Not Repealing ObamaCare

Former Obama White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, once famously said:
"You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Well, apparently the Democrats have seized on that concept in light of the current opioid "crisis".  A Harvard study has claimed that the "repeal of ObamaCare would gut opioid treatment gains". By publicly backing the study, the Democrats have now hit the early 2018 campaign trail with that message.

However, opioid abuse and deaths have only gotten worse since ObamaCare went into effect in 2014 and as noted by this graph from Wikipedia:

 The fact that opioid deaths spiked in 2014 along with the commencement of ObamaCare and the expansion is no coincidence.  More healthcare means more abuse because of the over prescribing of opioid drugs by doctors.  Doctors who prescribe opioids for just more than 3 days are putting their patients at a high risk of addiction.  Six percent of the cases of opioid addiction began when patients were given only a one-day supply of the drug.  When the prescription runs out, addicted patients turn to the streets.  When that happens, death is highly likely to follow.

This is not to say that the lack of healthcare would be the better treatment for opioid abuse, but it is not the reason that ObamaCare shouldn't be repealed.  The rise in addictions began before ObamaCare and has only continued to escalate since its inception.  As a country, we need the medical community to show restraint with opioid use.  However, using the crisis as a reason to maintain ObamaCare is political nonsense.

References:

Rahm Emanuel Quotes: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rahmemanue409199.html

Obamacare repeal would gut opioid treatment gains, study finds: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article132643424.html


Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM): Medicaid Plays Key Role in Fight against Opioid and Heroin Epidemic: https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/democrats/2017/3/medicaid-plays-key-role-in-fight-against-opioid-and-heroin-epidemic


Senators Shaheen, Hassan Highlight Harmful Impact of Trumpcare on Efforts to Combat Substance Misuse Crisis: https://www.hassan.senate.gov/content/icymi-senators-shaheen-hassan-highlight-harmful-impact-trumpcare-efforts-combat-substance

Opioid dependence can start within just a few days: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioid-painkiller-addiction-dependence-can-start-in-days/

The opioid abuse epidemic: How healthcare helped create a crisis: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20160213/MAGAZINE/302139966

Deaths from opioid overdoses have jumped — and one age group is being affected at stark rates: http://www.businessinsider.com/opioid-overdose-death-statistics-2017-2016

pb

Thursday, June 1, 2017

55% of Democrats Believe Vote Totals Were Tampered With

It appears that we have now moved on from the Russian connection with the Wikileaks dump of DNC emails, to the science fiction that the Russians actually tampered with vote totals in order to give Trump the win.  In a recent poll, 55% of Democrats believed that to be either definitely or probably true.

The sheer stupidity of this is that it would be literally impossible for the Russians to accomplish this.  The reason?  The scope of this country's massive voting system and all of the variables in the types of balloting would make it impossible for Russians to infiltrate our vote tallying.

First, 70% of all ballots cast are still paper ballots that are either hand tallied or optically scanned.  Secondly, the remaining 30% are voting machines of all kinds with different manufacturing years.    Additionally, very few ballots are the same because of mayoral candidates, state and local representation, judge-ships, federal representation, school board members, ballot initiatives, sheriffs and police chiefs (where applicable), and the list goes on and on.  And..let's not forget those dog catchers!

With none of the voting machines or scanners attached to the internet, the Russians would literally have to have had an army of saboteurs "rigging" each individual  optical scanner or voting machine at each of the more than 9,000 polling places in this country.  Breaking the security seals in the process. Of course, to do so, they would also have to have an intimate knowledge of how each optical scanner and voting machine is programmed and what software version t was running.

It appears that Democrat politicians and pundits have done a job on their political base, convincing them that the Russians were capable of doing more than even the Russians think they are capable of.  So much for an enlightened electorate.

References:

Poll: 55% of Democrats think it’s probably or definitely true that Russia tampered with vote totals to get Trump elected: http://hotair.com/archives/2017/05/23/poll-55-democrats-think-probably-definitely-true-russia-tampered-vote-totals-get-trump-elected/

Alternative Reality: 55 Percent of Democrats Think Russia Manipulated Vote Totals to Help Trump Win: https://heatst.com/politics/fake-news-55-percent-of-democrats-think-russia-manipulated-vote-totals-to-help-trump-win/

Time.com: It's Almost Impossible for the Russians to Hack the U.S. Election. Here's Why: http://time.com/4500216/election-voting-machines-hackers-security/






Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Comments About the Torrent of Leaks And Trump's Administration

I get it.  Some people have become unhinged with the idea that Hillary Clinton isn't in the White House.  And, some or many are so unhinged within our government that they would leak information designed to undermine Trump's legitimacy as President and his supporting cast of people in the administration.

But, here's the thing.  Many of these leaks may be false; or as Trump calls it, "Fake News".  The reason being that all the sources are all unnamed and unverifiable.  More importantly, many of these leaks, true or false, are undermining this nation's credibility and its ability to be governed.  Further, some leaks, like those regarding the Manchester attack and laptop bombs/Israel, also hurt our relationship with our allies.

The bottom line is that we have a bunch of people along with a loyal following by liberal media outlets that are so partisan they would put the Democratic Party above our nation and our government.  This is disgusting.  If they wanted Trump to lose, they should have used the ballot box more effectively.  And, don't argue that it was the Russians that gave Trump the win.  On one hand you can't say Hillary got 3 million more votes than Trump, and then somehow the Russian interference was so precise as to specifically target our Electoral College to give Trump the win. That defies logic.

Reference:

List of Leaks:  HERE’S THE COMPLETE AND UPDATED LIST: Deep State ‘Leaks’ to Far Left MSM Outlets – With Analysis: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/leaks-still-from-far-left-msm-outlets-only-still-no-sources-and-still-all-out-effort-to-attack-president-trump/


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Really? Hillary Claims Trump is an 'Assault on Truth and Reason'

At this year's Wellesley College commencement speech, in a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black, Hillary Clinton said Trump was an 'assault on truth and reason'.



This woman couldn't tell the truth if it was written out for her ahead of time.

In 1996, the then-writer for the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winner, and frequent guest on Meet the Press, William Safire, wrote an essay titled "A Blizzard of Lies" (referenced below).  In it, he called Hillary a "congenital liar".  In the 20+ years since, she has never proven him wrong.  Comments made during last year's campaign were literally a new blizzard of lies with Politifact detailing two pages of them.

So, in my opinion, the assault on truth and reason would have been just as virulent if Hillary had won the presidency.  Perhaps she should rerun the audio of her speech while taking a good long look in the mirror.

References:

Essay;Blizzard of Lies - The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/08/opinion/essay-blizzard-of-lies.html

Source of Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfnMCxBXcsg

Politifact: All False statements involving Hillary Clinton:http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/statements/byruling/false/?page=1

The lie that is Hillary: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/19/hillary-clintons-long-list-of-lies/

Hillary's Biggest Lie: Recalling Hillary Clinton's claim of 'landing under sniper fire' in Bosnia: https://www.google.com/search?q=hillary+clinton+lie+about+bosnia&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8


Monday, May 29, 2017

Will California Become a Climate Change Police State?

Last Fall, Governor Brown of California signed into law SB 32.  Under that law, the "state" is mandated to cut greenhouse gases to a level that is 40% below 1990 levels and achieve that reduction by 2030.  But, when you consider population growth, which is the real driver of the growth in greenhouse gases, the mandate is closer to 60% because, by 2030, the population is projected to be 44 million; up nearly 50% from roughly 30 million in 1990.

So, think about this.  Over the next 13 years Californians will have to reduce their green house gas emissions by 60%.  How does that happen?  Think about how you would personally reduce your own energy consumption by 60% over the next 13 years.  Will 60% of the cars in California have to be electric or extremely fuel efficient? Will people be forced to drive less? Will every Californian have to use 60% less fuel in heating and cooling their homes or in cooking?  And, how will the poor comply? California is already number one in poverty with 20.6% of the population in poverty based on new calculations by the Census Bureau.

What if the population resists becoming 60% more energy efficient?  Does the state then start telling you what you can or cannot do?  Can the state force you to spend thousands for rooftop solar panels to meet the mandate? Will they tell you how often you can cook in your own home?  Or, make it a criminal offense for keeping your thermostat a little too cool in the summer or a little too warm in the winter.

To me, this is complete insanity.  Trying to force 44 million people into compliance over climate change will create nothing short of a police state.  But, they may not have to since millions may just leave the state rather than comply.

References:

Gov. Brown signs sweeping legislation to combat climate change: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-jerry-brown-signs-climate-laws-20160908-snap-story.html

California Governor Brown imposing massive regulations for meaningless climate goals: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/05/19/california-governor-brown-imposing-massive-regulations-for-meaningless-climate-goals/

California's Population Growth 1970 to 2040:  http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_116HJ3R.pdf

Why Does California Have The Nation's Highest Poverty Rate? - Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2016/09/28/why-does-california-have-the-nations-highest-poverty-rate/#51a70e1312d9

pb

Friday, May 26, 2017

Is Google Home Just a Little Too Close To Home?

Today's hottest tech items are listening devices such as "Google Home" and "Amazon Echo". These  are WiFi/Internet connected and can respond to voice commands and answer them with built in speakers.  For example, if you wanted to know who wrote the Wizard of Oz, and you have an active Google Home device, you would simple say "OK Google" followed by the command "who wrote the "The Wizard of Oz"?  Then it would search the Internet and respond with the answer.

Here's the problem.  These devices respond to anyone's voice.  A fact that resulted in two major problems this year.

The first was during the airing of the Super Bowl.  Google Home ran a 60 second commercial, and the words "OK Google" were repeated over and over again.  As result, any Google Home devices that were within earshot of the commercial literally went nuts trying to comply with multiple commands in such a short period of time.

The second disaster was caused by Burger King, who apparently saw this TV to Google Home relationship as positive.  In a 15 second TV Commercial, the spokesperson leans into the camera and  says "OK Google, What is the Whopper burger".  Immediately every Google Home device within earshot  responded by listing the ingredients of the Whopper from Wikipedia. Here's the commercial and Google Home's response:



I don't know how many Google Home devices were affected by this, but it demonstrates a real problem.  If you have WiFi connected devices/appliances in your home that are compatible with Google Home commands, they can be controlled by anyone's voice.  Those items could include your security system or your garage door opener.

Now, think about that. If someone knows you have Google Home and knows that you have an answering machine within earshot of it, that person could potentially open your garage door or shutdown your security system by simply calling your home.  And, what if your Google Home is hacked and your every conversation is being recorded by an external listener?  After all, Google Home is connected to your network.  A simple phishing attachment to an email that you opened could tell a hacker all the devices that are connected to your WiFi including Google Home, your refrigerator, your security system, or garage door opener.  Google Home is also capable of remotely starting your car or opening its doors; if so connected.

Obviously people should reconsider the convenience of Google Home and the devices that they hook into it.

References:

Google's Home TV ad makes Google Home systems go crazy: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/06/googles-home-tv-ad-makes-google-home-systems-go-crazy.html

Alexa and Google Home Record What You Say. But What Happens to That Data?: https://www.wired.com/2016/12/alexa-and-google-record-your-voice/

Why your next Echo command should be: ‘Disconnect me from the internet’: http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article148879664.html

Google Says No Whopper For YOU! Shuts Down Burger King’s Google Home Hack: http://hothardware.com/news/google-shuts-down-burger-kings-google-home-hack

Keeping Your Home Safe With Google Home: https://homealarmreport.com/keeping-home-safe-google-home/

​How to keep your smart TV from spying on you | ZDNet: http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-keep-your-smart-tv-from-spying-on-you/


Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Appointment of Mueller Isn't Going to Satisfy Democrats

If any Republican or anyone in the Trump Administration thinks that the appointment of Robert Mueller is going to squelch the ongoing calls by Democrats for a Special Prosecutor to investigate a Trump/Russia collusion, forget-about-it.  For political reasons, the Democrats want this investigation to go on forever, and don't think that if Mueller finds there was "no collusion" the Democrats will  accept it.

Nancy Pelosi has already said as much:
"A special prosecutor is the first step, but it cannot be the last. Director Mueller will still be in the chain of command under the Trump-appointed leadership of the Justice Department. He cannot take the place of a truly independent, outside commission that is completely free from the Trump administration’s meddling."
After the Mueller appointment, Representative Maxine Waters stated this:
"No actual evidence yet, but connecting the dots will lead to Trump impeachment."
There are no dots to connect; but, by making the statement, any listener is lead to believe it is simply a forgone conclusion.  In the case of an impeachment,  "high crimes and misdemeanors" must be proven in a straight line, in a fully connected fashion.  Not merely based on an assumption from a bunch of fictional dots.

Lastly, Nancy Pelosi continues to call Mueller a Special Prosecutor and not his actual title of Special Counsel.  The reason of course, is obvious. "Prosecutor"  implies guilt, and the only thing left to do is to prosecute. If you doubt this, just look at the poster being displayed at a news conference showing "President" Trump happily shaking the hand of the Foreign Minister:


If that isn't political theater then nothing is.  Of course there are plenty of similar pictures of Hillary Clinton doing the same thing.  I especially like this one of eager President Obama being quicker on the handshake draw in his meeting with Putin:

Enough Said!

References:

Dems Laud Special Counsel, But Say It's Not Enough: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/05/18/dems_laud_special_counsel_but_say_its_not_enough.html

Maxine Waters: No Actual Evidence Yet, But Connecting The Dots Will Lead To Trump Impeachment: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/05/18/maxine_waters_no_actual_evidence_yet_but_connecting_the_dots_will_lead_to_trump_impeachment.html

Source of the Obama Photo: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/D2mrMsiiK8f/President+Obama+Holds+Talks+Moscow/UcMh37HL9e7

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Most Ridiculous "Leak" Regarding Trump

Last week the Washington Post trotted out another leak designed to cement the theory that Trump and Putin are BFF's.  This time, it was regarding Democratic House Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who commented to a group of House Republicans that "I think Putin pays" Trump.  Then to add some heft to the story, it was also reported that Speaker of the House, Ryan, told everyone to keep this quiet. "No leaks".

According to the Washington Post article, this exchange took place almost a year ago in June 2016.  Yet, somehow, it wasn't news worthy until a Special Counsel was appointed to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to ensure that Trump won the presidency.

But, here's the stupidity of this whole article by the "Post".  Trump is a billionaire.  According to Forbes magazine, his fortune sits at $3.5 billion.  Why in God's name would Donald Trump see a need to be paid by Putin?  And, to what purpose?  When asked about the comment, Kevin McCarthy responded that it was "a bad attempt at a joke."  And, it's a joke for anyone to think otherwise.

This appeared to be just another attempt to imply that Trump is an illegitimate President. Merely a pawn of Vladimir Putin.  As more and more of these ridiculous stories surface, I pay less and less attention and am only reminded of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

References:

House Majority Leader McCarthy reportedly said 'I think Putin pays' Trump last year: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/17/kevin-mccarthy-reportedly-said-i-think-putin-pays-trump-last-year.html

President Donald Trump is the nation's first billionaire president -- but he's not as rich as he used to be, according to the Forbes 2017 Billionaires List published Monday: http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/20/news/companies/trump-forbes-net-worth/


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Is the Wikileaks/Russia Story a Coverup for the Real Truth?

In this era of endless politically-motivated negative stories about Trump, and the possible collusion with Russia, it's no surprise that a story that may exonerate the President of that claim has gained zero traction.  That story is about a former DNC staffer by the name of Seth Rich who was shot in the back and killed in July 2016; just as the Wikileaks dump of the DNC emails began.

According to Rod Wheeler (a former D.C. Homicide Detective and now private investigator  for the family of Seth Rich, and frequent crime analyst for Fox News)  his investigation has shown that there were contacts between Rich and Wikileaks before his death.  Additionally, Fox News is reporting that federal law enforcement officers found that 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachment reside on Rich's laptop that may have been shared with Wikileaks.  That laptop is sitting in an FBI office. In addition, the Wikileaks founder offered a $130,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Rich's murderer.  Why would Julian Assange care enough about one murdered person in Washington D.C. if there was no connection to Wikileaks.

There are too many coincidences here, to ignore the fact that Rich may have been the real hacker of the DNC email server and not the Russians.  Is the Russia story a coverup to avoid the embarrassment of the Democratic Party having been duped by its own internal mole?  It sure seems like it. Especially when you find out that the FBI never examined the DNC server to determine if a hack occurred and by whom.  Instead, they completely relied on the analysis of a DNC-paid, third-party consulting firm to come to the Russian hacking conclusion.  Dare I say: "I smell a rat!"

To be fair, the family of Rich considers Rod Wheeler's conclusion to be fake evidence.  However, isn't it possible that the family is simply being protective of Seth Rich? Not to, would imply some serious wrongdoing on his part.

Then there's this latest news.  Hacker Kim Dotcom has recently announced this: "I knew Seth Rich. I know he was @Wikileaks source. I was involved."

References:

Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias: https://heatst.com/culture-wars/harvard-study-reveals-huge-extent-of-anti-trump-media-bias/

Murdered DNC Staffer Seth Rich Shared 44,053 Democrat Emails With WikiLeaks: Report: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-16/murdered-dnc-staffer-seth-rich-shared-44000-emails-wikileaks

Fix Is In: Comey Praised DNC-Hired Cybersecurity Firm Even After Botched Report: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/20/fix-is-in-comey-praised-dnc-hired-cybersecurity-firm-even-after-botched-report/

FBI Never Examined DNC Hacked Servers: http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/312767-fbi-never-examined-hacked-dnc-servers-report

Did he or didn't he? Murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich 'had WikiLeaks links' according to private investigator - but the victim's family have dismissed the PI's claims as 'fake evidence' http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4509952/DNC-staffer-Seth-Rich-DID-links-Wikileaks.html

Breaking: ‘Complete Panic’ at Highest Levels of DNC Over Kim DotCom’s Seth Rich Announcement: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/breaking-complete-panic-set-highest-levels-dnc-seth-rich-murder-investigation/


Monday, May 22, 2017

CNN Now Uses "Mind Reader" to Blast Trump

According to a recent Harvard study, CNN shares the top spot with NBC for negative reporting regarding President Trump.  Both report negatively, about 93% of the time.

However, apparently, anonymous sources aren't enough for CNN.  Now, they are employing "mind readers".  In an article dated Saturday May 20th, titled "First on CNN: Comey now believes Trump was trying to influence him, a source says." The network reached that conclusion based on a source who was "a person familiar with his [Comey's] thinking."

Really? A person "familiar with" Comey's "thinking?"   From what carnival tent did CNN dig this joker up?  This network claims journalistic integrity?  Also, think about this.  Comey, as the former head of the FBI, is apparently too stupid to see when someone is trying to sway his investigation?  Then perhaps Trump was right.  Comey "is" a "nut job"!  Of course, Comey didn't think that Hillary's careless handling of classified information rose to the level of criminality, although a helluva lot of other people thought it did.  And, just maybe, Loretta Lynch's meeting with Bill Clinton might have been another form of obstruction of justice.  But, I digress.

References:

Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias: https://heatst.com/culture-wars/harvard-study-reveals-huge-extent-of-anti-trump-media-bias/

First on CNN: Comey now believes Trump was trying to influence him, source says: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/politics/james-comey-trump-influence/index.html

Trump Told Russians That Firing 'Nut Job' Comey Eased Pressure: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/us/politics/trump-russia-comey.html

Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton's Use of a Personal Email Server: https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/statement-by-fbi-director-james-b-comey-on-the-investigation-of-secretary-hillary-clinton2019s-use-of-a-personal-e-mail-system

Comey cites Lynch-Clinton meeting for lost faith in Justice investigation: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/politics/comey-loretta-lynch-clinton-tarmac-meeting/


Friday, May 19, 2017

Will Africa Make America's Coal Great Again?

Due to EPA regulations and fracking for natural gas, the coal industry has been greatly hurt.  Donald Trump has eased EPA regs but he can't do anything about coal fired power plants being switched over to cheaper/cleaner natural gas.  This is because many of the states have their own EPA regulations that punish coal.

However, now there may be hope for coal mining from Africa.  As a continent, most of Africa is electricity starved as the demand for what we take for granted increases.  Right now 100 coal power plants are in various stages of planning or development in 11 countries.  According to the Global Warming Policy Forum, those new plants represent 8 times more electricity than those countries now have.

United States coal mining could be in an excellent position to export coal to Africa.  After all, we have 27% of the world's known coal reserves.  The only real supplier of coal on that continent is South Africa.  But, South Africa has only 5.4% of the known reserves; making it difficult for them to supply the rest of Africa.

So, simply, the Trump administration should take the initiative and try to negotiate agreements with those 11 nations planning to build coal plants to buy our coal.  Just a thought.

References:

African Nations To Build More Than 100 New Coal Power Plants: http://www.thegwpf.com/african-nations-plan-more-than-100-new-coal-power-plants/

Coal by Country: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_by_country

How much coal does the U.S. export and import? https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/how-much-coal-does-us-export-and-import

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trump Money Laundered for the Russians?

In what appears to be an intentional leak, a story was run by CNBC/NBC regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee requesting documents from the financial intelligence unit of the Treasury Department (FinCEN), about money laundering violations by the Trump Taj Mahal from 2010-2012.  Apparently, this is part of that Senate probe into the Russia/Trump connection. In essence, the "Taj" was found guilty of paperwork violations with regard to "high rollers", whereby, in some cases, the Social Security numbers on the required filings under the Anti-Money Laundering law (AML) did not match the name appearing on the filing.  Further, the casino failed to report persons who had pumped more that $10,000 into slot machines in one day.  As a result, the Trump Taj Mahal was fined $50 million in 2015.

The trouble with the entire story is that the casinos prime violators of the AML are not only restricted to the one with "Trump's" name on it.   Caesar's Palace was fined $9.5 million.  The Vegas Sands paid $47.4 million to avoid prosecution under AML.  Wynn Resorts is rumored to be under a similar investigation.  None of these have anything to do with Donald Trump.

Now, here's the biggest problem with the story.  Donald Trump had basically divested himself of most of his interests in the parent company that owned the Trump Taj Mahal in 2009 following a bankruptcy.  Something that Hillary Clinton was quick to point out on the campaign trail.  At the same time that Trump divested his interest in that holding company, he stepped down as its CEO.  But, his name was still associated with the Taj Mahal under a licensing agreement that was struck at the time he stepped down. So, the bottom line is that the whole story seems to be political in order to label Trump as a money launderer.  I am quite sure a Senate Democrat was at the heart of the leak.  Further, if there is any evidence that a single Russian was one of the AML violators, it will be spread all over the news as if, somehow, Trump was personally responsible.

References:

Russia probe: Senate requests Trump documents from agency that monitors money laundering: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/10/russia-probe-senate-requests-documents-from-money-laundering-watchdog-agency.html

Trump Taj Mahal fined a record $10m for willfully violating Bank Secrecy Act: https://calvinayre.com/2015/02/12/casino/trump-taj-mahal-fined-10m-violating-bank-secrecy-act/

Trump Bankruptcies: Bankruptcy No. 6: Trump Entertainment Resorts, 2009: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/21/hillary-clinton/yep-donald-trumps-companies-have-declared-bankrupt/

Caesars Palace to pay $9.5 million in fines for money laundering violations: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2015/sep/08/caesars-palace-agrees-95-million-fine-money-launde/

Hillary Clinton will visit Atlantic City on Wednesday, where she plans to highlight Donald Trump's business record, ABC News reported Friday: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/hillary-clinton-may-be-appearing-at-taj-mahal-in-a/article_ac4a4186-3ff6-11e6-9a38-c71e8dcc3563.html

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Democrats Selective Memory on Comey and Russia/Trump

Recently, in another one of Fox News' Fair and Balanced political food fights, I listened to a Democratic strategist argue that the FBI Director's firing was "unprecedented".  Unfortunately, that comment was never challenged and was a lie.  The fact is that the former Democrat, President Bill Clinton set the precedent when he fired the then-FBI Director William Sessions at the recommendation of his Attorney General Janet Reno.

Then there's this Russian conspiracy theory that Trump colluded with them and Putin to become President.  Democrats seem to forget that in early January, before Trump was even sworn in, the Director of National Intelligence released a co-authored, non-classified report by the FBI, NSA, and CIA titled: “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”.  The key assessments of that report were as follows:
  • "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency."
  • "We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President - elect Trump."
In coming to the first conclusion, the report stated the following:
Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012 , and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.
So, clearly, Hillary was the target of the hacking, without any specific attempt to put Trump into office.  The fact is, the email dumps by Wikileaks would have happened no matter who ran against Hillary. In the second assessment, the most powerful word in the statement is "developed".   This clearly means that Trump was not "job one" in the hacking of the DNC server and Wikileaks.  It took time for the Russians to decide that Trump was the better candidate from their perspective.

I just wish that the media would be honest and well-versed in the topics they are covering, so that political parties couldn't play these intentional games by hiding known facts and relying heavily on the knowledge that voters have short memories.

References:

An FBI director has been fired only once before — and it was under dramatically different circumstances: http://www.businessinsider.com/last-fbi-director-fired-bill-clinton-william-sessions-2017-5

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Politics of Naming a "Special Prosecutor" For Trump/Russia

Over the years, investigations into things like such as Watergate, 911, the JFK Assassination, Clinton/Lewinsky etc., have all been headed by a supposedly independent investigator. The titles of those investigations and others have ranged from Commissions, Independent Counsels, Special Counsels, and Special Prosecutors; all to do essentially the same thing.

It is interesting to me, that Democrats are now calling for a "Special Prosecutor" regarding the investigation of Russian meddling in our presidential election and possible collusion by Trump and/or his surrogates rather than calling for an Independent Counsel or a Special Counsel.  So why the words "Special Prosecutor"?  Well, it implies that a conclusion of wrong-doing has already been reached.  Here's the definition of a prosecutor: "a person, especially a public official, who institutes legal proceedings against someone."  Of course, the firing of Comey only helps solidify Trump's guilt in the minds of the Democrats.  Thus they feel, more than ever, a Special Prosecutor is needed.

It is all about the Democrats making the voting public believe Trump is already guilty by simply choosing the words that imply it.  Once again, its all about politics, since after months of FBI investigations, no Trump-collusion with the Russians has been found, stated or leaked.

References:

Senate Dems: Hey, Maybe We Won't Confirm a New FBI Director Until a Special Prosecutor is Appointed: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2017/05/15/senate-dems-hey-maybe-we-wont-confirm-a-new-fbi-director-until-a-special-prosecutor-is-appointed-n2326728

Definition: Prosecutor: https://www.google.com/search?q=prosecutor&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

CNN: The public really wants a special prosecutor for Russia investigation: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/15/politics/donald-trump-russia/

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Did the U.S. Hack Computers in 90 Countries?

Last Friday, hundreds of thousands of computers -- infected with ransomware -- demanded the equivalent of $300 be paid to regain access to the computers.  Everything from hospitals to FedEx were affected over 90 different countries.

Cyber experts claim that the ransomware attack was based on software that was developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) because of "fingerprints" identified in the code for the hack.  Yet no one really believes that it was originated by the NSA and the U.S. government.  So, then, if it is possible to copy software leaving "fingerprints" behind revealing the source of the software, isn't it possible that the software left behind in the infected DNC server wasn't from the Russian government at all?  But only software that had been hijacked to make it appear as if it were Russian?   Something that Wikileaks claimed just last month.

References:

Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/world/europe/uk-national-health-service-cyberattack.html?_r=0

Conspiracy theory: WikiLeaks CIA Dump Gives Russian Hacking Deniers the Perfect Ammo: https://www.wired.com/2017/03/wikileaks-cia-dump-gives-russian-hacking-deniers-perfect-ammo/

WikiLeaks says CIA disguised hacking as Russian activity | Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4367746/WikiLeaks-says-CIA-disguised-hacking-Russian-activity.html

Microsoft Claims Stolen U.S. Government Computer Code Fuels Cyberattack: https://www.wsj.com/articles/microsoft-complains-state-hacking-tools-fuel-cyberattack-risks-1494803026

Cyber attack latest: Vladimir Putin blames US for hack as thousands more computers hit by ransomware: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/05/15/nhs-cyber-attack-latest-authorities-warn-day-chaos-ransomware/

Friday, May 12, 2017

Firing Comey Gave Democrats Fuel for the Russia/Trump Connection

Nearly a day doesn't go by that a Democratic politician or strategist doesn't remind Americans that Trump may have illegitimately been elected because of collusion with the Russians.  This is despite the fact that ongoing concurrent investigations in the House, Senate, and the FBI have not produced any evidence to support it

So, it was no wonder then, that when Trump fired FBI Director Comey, the Democrats automatically smelled a rat.  Immediately,  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded a special prosecutor under the assumption that Comey's dismissal was a direct result of his investigation of Russian interference in the election.  Therefore, the Russia/Trump controversy continues to have legs.

However, there is an obvious flaw in that thinking.  Comey being fired does not stop the Russia investigation. And unless Comey was extremely hands on and had nothing else to do, there is most likely some lead investigator at the FBI who is actually in charge of thet investigation.  That's the reality.

My problem with the Comey firing is why it took so long.  Trump should have let him go early into his presidency because of the way he -- not the Russians -- interfered in the election regarding  Hillary's email server. In addition, the way the firing was handled was a violation of every code of conduct for any executive.  You just don't fire someone by letter unless that person simply isn't available.  The proper thing to do is to have a face-to-face meeting in which the person being released receives a full understanding as to why he/she is being let go.  That was not the case, and it clearly shows an insensitivity on Trump's part that I find reprehensible.

References:

Pence Calls Comey Firing 'Right Decision' as Democrats Pounce: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/democrats-charge-comey-firing-nixonian-demand-special-prosecutor-n757121

Chuck Schumer calls for special prosecutor for Russia probe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/05/10/trump-takes-twitter-defend-comey-firing-decision/5ozYTKF0klYhBhmRiDkNjO/story.html

Comey Firing Was Inevitable--Surprise Is It Took So Long: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/09/james-comey-fired-donald-trump-fbi-director-column/101488186/




Thursday, May 11, 2017

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates are Legion

We are only four months into the Trump presidency, and already, there is speculation as to who will run against him in 2020.  While the use of the word "legion" in the title of this post is pure exaggeration, the Hill.com has identified 43 potential Democratic candidates who could possible challenge Trump's reelection.  Most of the list is primarily made up of a hodge-podge of political types like mayors, governors, senators, and congressmen.  But, the fact that Trump, a political outsider, has won, has resulted in a number of non-politicians who have expressed a desire to enter the race.

These are the non-politicians that the Hill.com thinks may run:
      • Mark Zuckerberg - Billionaire Co-Founder and CEO of Facebook
      • Mark Cuban - Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks
      • Tom Steyer -  Billionaire Climate Change Activist
      • Sheryl Sandberg - Billionaire and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
      • Howard Schultz - Billionaire and CEO of Starbucks
      • Michele Obama - Former First Lady
      • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson - Wrestler and Actor
      • Oprah Winfrey - Billionaire Media Mogul
Except for Michele Obama and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the basic theme here is "billionaire".   And, there's more where they came from.  You have a number of billionaires who backed Hillary and  who may also be so-inclined to throw their hats in the ring.  Then too, there's a bunch of Hollywood types who might want to take on the "Trumpster".   All who perhaps aren't necessarily billionaires but are wealthy enough to support their own campaigns and who have high name recognition.  Maybe even billionaire movie mogul Steven Spielberg?

What is interesting about this "billionaire" movement is that it appears to be an attempt at fighting fire with fire.  But, it is also interesting that the Democrats would even consider a billionaire as their presidential nominee.  After all, for decades, they have hated the rich (except when it comes to donations), primarily because they claim that the rich represent income inequality and only exist off the backs of the poor.

In any event, 2020 may be shaping up to be one of the most contested campaigns against a sitting President in the history of the United States. In fact, we might even see a bevy of anti-Trump Republicans attempting to overthrow him.

References:

The 43 people who might run against Trump in 2020: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/332156-the-43-people-who-might-run-against-trump-in-2020

Here Are the Billionaires Backing Hillary Clinton: http://fortune.com/2016/08/04/hillary-clinton-billionaire-backers/


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Democrats are "Ginning Up" Support For ObamaCare

The Democrats seem to think they have a winning reason for people "not" to vote Republican in 2020 (and beyond) as a result of the repeal of ObamaCare. Because of this, they are willing to make up all kinds of lies in order to gin up support for keeping the ACA.

Bernie Sanders said 36,000 people a year would die with the repeal/replacement of ObamaCare.  The Washington Post said this about that:
That's the max Pinocchio's you can get from the "Post" for lying.  And, the lie didn't just stop with Bernie.  Despite the "pants on fire" rating by the "Post," the claim continues to be perpetuated by well-known Democrats such as Terry McAuliffe and Elizabeth Warren.

Then, there's this from Nancy Pelosi.  According to her, 17 million children have pre-existing conditions that would result in denial of coverage. First of all, that number represents 24% of the 70 million children in the country.  Does anyone think that one-out-of-every-four children in America will become uninsured?  Again, the Washington Post had to set the record straight by saying that it is more likely that only 4 million children have pre-existing conditions.

But, understand, there is a difference between having a pre-existing condition like ADHD and having an extremely serious condition that would warrant being uninsurable.  Healthcare economist John C. Goodman stated in an interview with CNBC, that before ObamaCare went into effect, the percentage of uninsured was just 1%.  Thus, Nancy Pelosi's 17 million would be further whittled down to 700,000.

The same goes for Representative Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, who is claiming 129 million people with pre-existing conditions would be hurt (I guess financially) by TrumpCare. Again, this is another gross exaggeration that had to be called out by the Washington Post, and to which the 1%  rule (noted above) would be applied.  The "Post" says the number is more like 50 million who will have negative impacts on their insurance.   Further, only about 3 million may find themselves uninsurable.

The word "might" is highlighted because the GOP House healthcare bill addresses pre-existing conditions with risk pools.  People who would have higher insurance rates would be placed in risk pools that would be partially funded by the Federal Government to keep their costs down.  In addition, the GOP healthcare bill mandates that no one can be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Those who don't have pre-existing conditions, should have their insurance costs reduced as a result of not having to pay for those with high healthcare costs due to long-term care for those pre-existing conditions.

 I could go on and on about all the lies being told.  But, people dying and pre-existing conditions seem to be at he forefront of the Democrat's effort to save ObamaCare.  Other related issues will be addressed in later blog posts.

References:

Fact Checker: Bernie Sanders’s claim that ‘36,000 people will die yearly’ if Obamacare is repealed: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/01/14/bernie-sanderss-claim-that-36000-people-will-die-yearly-if-obamacare-is-repealed/?utm_term=.9fd97e7078a6

Democrats' grim prognosis on GOP health bill: 'People will die': http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/democrats-grim-prognosis-on-gop-health-bill-people-will-die/article/2622207

Pre-Existing Conditions: Evaluating Competing Claims: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/us/politics/health-care-fact-check-preexisting-conditions.html

Pre-existing condition figures 'nonsense' — here's how to address it, author says: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/04/pre-existing-condition-figures-nonsense--heres-how-to-address-it-author-says.html


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Odd? Baltimore Asks For FBI's Help With Gun Violence/Murders?

The gun violence and homicide rate in Baltimore is no laughing matter.  Murders are at levels that haven't been seen in two decades.  Like a lot of cities experiencing record crime rates, much can be attributed to the "Ferguson Effect" or, more accurately stated, de-policing.  This has been primarily created by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division's intervention. This has caused the police to pull back for fear of being prosecuted for murder or for violating a black person's civil rights.

So, here's the odd thing.  The mayor of Baltimore wants the FBI to fix the violence problem. Who does the FBI report to?  The Justice Department.  This, to me, is like a dog chasing its own tail.

References:

Baltimore’s mayor finally asks for federal help with their murder epidemic: http://hotair.com/archives/2017/05/02/baltimores-mayor-finally-asks-federal-help-murder-epidemic/

DOJ "Ankle-Bracelets" The Chicago and Baltimore Police: http://cuttingthroughthefog.blogspot.com/2017/01/doj-ankle-bracelets-chicago-and.html

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fake News? Bloomberg News and Trump's Coal Order

Just a little more than a month ago on March 27th, Bloomberg News took Donald Trump to task on his pending "coal" executive order in an opinion piece titled: "Trump’s Executive Order Won’t Save Coal Mining Jobs".  In that article, the writer criticized statements made by Trump at a Kentucky rally where he said "A lot of people are going to be put back to work, a lot of coal miners are going back to work. The miners are coming back.”

Now, fast forward to this article in Bloomberg News on May 2nd: "Coal Country Is Back, Along With Signing Bonuses and Pay Raises".  To be fair, the above article and previous one were written by different people.  But, both represent Bloomberg news.  So, if coal mining is back, then the first article was more Fake News.  Maybe, a little too political, and just another opportunity to take a shot at Trump by the predominately liberal media?

References:

March 27, 2017: Trump’s Executive Order Won’t Save Coal Mining Jobs: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-27/trump-s-order-won-t-resurrect-jobs-of-miners-key-to-his-campaign

May 2, 2017: Coal Country Is Back, Along With Signing Bonuses and Pay Raises: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-02/in-u-s-coal-country-signing-bonuses-and-pay-raises-are-back


Friday, May 5, 2017

Is "PCMatic" the New "My Pillow"?

Back in January, MyPillow commercials were pulled and reworked as a result of 3 lawsuits and the fact that they carried a Better Business Bureau rating of "F".  No longer could they claim that they were the official pillow of the National Sleep Foundation, since the status was not earned but bought and paid for.  Its buy-one, get-one free was also a false claim because in order make that offer, the owner of MyPillow simply doubled the price and the limited-time offer was ad infinitum.  The biggest complaint was that if you wanted to exercise your money back guarantee, you had to pay a hefty return shipping cost.  Now, when the money back guarantee is shown on the screen there's an asterisk with the words "less S&H".

I am surprised that it took so long for MyPillow to get hammered for false advertising.  But, there's another company that is up to the same kind of false claims.  The anti-Virus software product, PCMatic.   The false claim is that PCMatic has been a consistent winner of every test conducted by the site Virus Bulletin.  In fact, this screen-shot from a September commercial shows two fingers being held up to represent the fact that PCMatic won every Virus Bulletin test in the last two years.

Really?  Here's another screen shot from Virus Bulletin's own website (a referenced link below):
PCMatic "Failed" every test conducted by the Virus Bulletin in 2016; and every test in 2015 (not shown, but included in the referenced link below).  Those big "X's" speak volumes. The "won every test in the last two years" claim is simply false.

You be the judge. Is this more false advertising just as with My Pillow?  Should PCMatic continue to make big bucks until it. too. is sued for false advertising?

References:

Full of Fluff? MyPillow Ordered to Pay $1M for Bogus Ads - NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/full-fluff-mypillow-ordered-pay-1m-bogus-ads-n677571

Truth in Advertising.org: MyPillow: https://www.truthinadvertising.org/mypillow/

Better Business Bureau revokes MyPillow accreditation over ads: http://www.startribune.com/better-business-bureau-revokes-mypillow-accreditation-over-ad-dispute/409593155/ 

Source of the first screen shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnbRh7Bd9jw

Source of the second screen shot: https://www.virusbulletin.com/testing/results/recent/vb100-antimalware/pcpitstop-pcmatic


Thursday, May 4, 2017

What Trump Doesn't Understand About Aluminum

Recently, President Trump signed an executive order to protect the U.S. aluminum industry from cheap imports.  But, what Trump doesn't seem to understand is that while aluminum is the 3rd most prevalent element on earth, it isn't economically extractable unless it is smelted from bauxite ore. And, this is something we have very little of.  In fact, 90% of all U.S. bauxite is found in just one state: Arkansas.  On top of that, most all of the aluminum that is smelted in this country is for non-metallic uses such as abrasives.

So, if we don't have enough bauxite to meet our strategic military metallurgical needs for aircraft, ships, etc., and Trump imposes tariffs against countries like China for cheap imported metals, the U.S. winds up being the big loser.  We'll just start paying even more for aircraft and all other military uses.  You and I will pay more for window frames, aluminum car parts, your can of beer, coke, and  all the other myriad uses of aluminum.

This is sheer stupidity.  He should stick to real estate!

References:

Trump moves to protect US industry from cheap aluminum imports: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-moves-to-protect-us-industry-from-cheap-aluminum-imports/article/2621504

Bauxite mining in the United States: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauxite_mining_in_the_United_States

Bauxite: Almost all of the aluminum that has ever been produced has been made from bauxite: http://geology.com/minerals/bauxite.shtml

Yes, we have no aluminum (ore): http://richardgibsonwriter.blogspot.com/2010/01/yes-we-have-no-aluminum-ore.html 

List of countries by bauxite production: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_bauxite_production 

Bauxite Dependency: Roots of Crisis: https://nacla.org/article/bauxite-dependency-roots-crisis 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

.Why North Korea Is So Dangerous Beyond Nukes

Today, much of the talk about North Korea is in regard to its nuclear weapons program and the concern that they could reach Japan, or even the U.S. with ballistic missiles.  But one aspect of North Korea's military prowess is that its army could threaten South Korea's relatively weak one.

NorKor has the 4th largest standing army in the world with 1.2 million members. Even larger than Russia's; and just 300,000 shy of all of our U.S. forces.  However, unlike the U.S. military which is stretched all over the world, NorKor's army is singularly focused on South Korea.  More importantly, NorKor  has the world's largest paramilitary reservist force of  nearly 6 million that could easily supplement any conflict with South Korea. 25% of its entire population!

But, the real problem is that South Korea's army stands at just 500,000.  Add to this the 28,500 American soldiers in the "South" and, as anyone can see, NorKor is a very intimidating force to deal with.  In addition, the "North" has steadily built up its conventional weapons while the "South" focuses less on its military and more on economics.  In other words, without additional and extreme intervention by the U.S.,  South Korea would be a sitting duck in a war with North Korea.

References:

North Korean Army: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_People%27s_Army#People.27s_Army_Air_Force_and_Air_Defence_Forces

List: Largest Standing Armies in the World: https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&q=largest+standing+armies&spell=1&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6rvW9g7vTAhVDwGMKHXkUDLgQvwUIIigA

United States forces in South  Korea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Forces_Korea

South Korean Army: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Korea_Army

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Modern Abuse of the Terms 'Antifa' and "NAZIS"

Recently, there have been threats and actual rioting because conservatives dared to speak on college campuses.  It is best reflected in this political cartoon by Ben Garrison who has a website at grrrgraphics.com:
The two words featured prominently in this graphic are "ANTIFA" and "NAZIS".  These words were theoretically left in the dust following the end of World War II; but, have been resurrected by extremists on the political left to negatively portray conservatives and any conservative political speech.  The word "ANTIFA" actually was coined by Benito Mussolini to define his opponents during his fascist rise in Italy.  It is simply short for anti-fascism or anti-fascist.  The other label that the politically left extremists love to use is "NAZI" which is now commonly used to associate any conservative with Hitler.  But, is this a fair use of those words?

While it is true that those they basically define similar forms of governmental ideology, they are more closely aligned with left-wing politics than with right.  For example, the word "NAZI" is short for "German Socialist Workers Party".  And, certainly, socialism has always been the political goal of the left.  But, you see, in order for socialists to divorce themselves from the stigma of being once associated with Nazism, they have painted Nazis as being right-wing.  So they put Hitler mustaches on George Bush or whoever they disagree with like Donald Trump when, in  fact, neither was hardly a fascist or Nazi. Or, they try to shut down conservative speech wherever and whenever they can.  Recently. a parade in Oregon had to be cancelled because of violent threats, simply because two local GOP groups would be marching in that parade.

The reality is that the "guy" depicted in that cartoon wielding a bloodied baseball bat is more analogous of Mussolini's "Black Shirts" and Hitler's "Brown Shirts" who were jack-booted thugs that violently shut down any speech against their respective governments.  The fact that these modern day "thugs" have to resort to violence and wear masks makes them not "main stream" in our society or in line with the principals of the United States.  I, for one, feel this kind violent behavior is a throw back to the to the days of Mussolini and Hitler and not the other way around.

References:

Anti-Fascism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-fascism

Nazism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism

Sturmabteilung: Brown Shirts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmabteilung

Blackshirts - Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackshirts

Hitler and Nazism: “Left Wing” or “Right Wing”? http://blog.paulmckeever.ca/uncategorized/hitler-and-nazism-left-wing-or-right-wing/

Coulter, Milo, Rice and the loss of free-thinking at colleges: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/20/ann-coulter-milo-rice-and-loss-free-thinking-colle/

Organizers Cancel Portland Rose Parade Following Threats by Anarchists: http://www.gopusa.com/organizers-cancel-portland-rose-parade-following-threats-by-anarchists/

Donald Trump is not a fascist: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/donald_trump_is_not_a_fascist.html

Wrong: Google's Dictionary: 'Fascism' Can Only Be 'Right-Wing':   http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tom-blumer/2017/02/06/largely-under-radar-google-has-revised-its-definiton-fascism

The Shadowy Extremist Group Behind the Anti-Trump Riots: Antifa, which stands for “anti-fascist action,” is a network of loosely affiliated far-left anarchist and communist groups that orchestrate violent protests and attacks on populists, conservatives, and anyone else its members deem to be “fascists” or “Nazis.”:  http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/the-shadowy-extremist-group-behind-the-anti-trump-riots/

pb


Monday, May 1, 2017

Our "Jobs President" Can't Seem To Fill His Own Jobs

As I write this, Trump is one day away from his 100th day in office.  While many are assessing his first 100 Days performance, one negative thing that sticks out is the fact that he still hasn't filled hundreds of critical jobs in his administration.

While he and others might try to blame the Senate Democrats for not quickly confirming his nominees, the real truth is that he has not yet named 470 nominees of 556 critical jobs; making his slowness in this area, the worst when compared to the 6 prior administrations.  Of the remaining "named" nominees, half are in limbo and haven't even been submitted to the Senate because they are awaiting the results of FBI background checks and ethics investigations.

It's hard to believe that the Trump agenda can be fulfilled while so many critical positions remain vacant.

References:

Help wanted: Trump administration still has hundreds of jobs to fill: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/24/help-wanted-trump-administration-still-has-hundreds-of-jobs-to-fill.html

Trump's biggest unfilled jobs: http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/04/25/top-unfilled-jobs-trump-administration-000426

Friday, April 28, 2017

Consumer Problems Revealed by Two Reports

Recently, the brokerage firm Credit Suisse released the results of a study on retail store closures.

According to the report, 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores are set to shutter their doors in 2017.  This is up from 2,056 in 2016 and 5,077 in 2015 with a combined total for the last 3 years being over 15,000 stores.  Many of these stores are anchors that support other in the malls they operate in.  Also, the 8,600 closures this year outpaces 6,163 closure in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession.  CNN, which reported on these stats, concluded that it was Amazon and other online activity that was responsible for the closures.

My problem with CNN's conclusion is that, while it may be true in some cases, it doesn't square with what's happened in the restaurant industry which is also suffering from a loss of business and, logically, would be unaffected by online activity.  As reported by Nation's Restaurant News, year-over-year, same-store sales were down 1.6% and foot-traffic was down 3.4% in March.  This disproportional drop in foot-traffic versus sales implies that low-end restaurants are seeing the greatest losses in foot-traffic.  And, this is worrisome.

The loss of low-end customers coupled with massive retail store closures tells me that consumer activity is weak.  And, if consumer activity continues to wane, we could easily find ourselves in another recession since 70% of measuring economic growth is based on consumer spending.  Then there's this reality.  Store closures mean losses of jobs, and subsequently, losses of even more retail activity and restaurant foot-traffic. Further, restaurant job growth is now negative. Two facts that further point to a potential recession.

References;

Stores are closing at an epic pace: http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/22/news/credit-suisse-retail/

Q1 restaurant sales performance disappoints despite March improvements: http://www.nrn.com/sales-trends/q1-restaurant-sales-performance-disappoints-despite-march-improvements

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Where Is Trumps Budget Cutting 'Penny Plan'?

Back in the fall and before the election, Trump was talking about implementing a spending cutting plan called the "Penny Plan".  If implemented, it would, year after year, cut one penny out the budget for every dollar of spending.  An analysis by the Washington Post showed that after a decade of applying this technique, spending would be reduced by 23%.  And, it could either be applied across the board or targeted to specific areas such as the EPA.  The cuts would be gradual and not immediately earth-shattering.

However, after Trump took office, his budget cuts started to appear earth-shattering by aggressively targeting  programs that political conservatives have never really like.  It would immediately cut the EPA by 31%.  The Department of Health and Human Services by 16.2%.  He also would eliminate all spending for things like Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment of the Arts.  It is these program eliminations that have the political left, and some on the right, in an uproar.

Trump is not going to get all the cuts he wants, and, quite frankly, I don't think most Americans will agree with the major changes and program eliminations he has proposed.  The final budget has to be approved by May 15th, and I strongly suspect that the Republican controlled Congress will cave and only moderate reductions will be made.  They want to keep their jobs after the 2018 election.  Congress is always good at creating spending, but never really willing to make cuts because of political consequences.

References:

This chart shows how Trump’s ‘penny plan’ would add up to huge budget cuts: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/16/this-chart-shows-how-trumps-penny-plan-would-add-up-to-huge-budget-cuts/?utm_term=.511c1525d4c5

CNN: Trump's budget would cut off funding entirely for several agencies, including arts, public broadcasting and development groups, and also proposes steep cuts to agencies like the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/16/politics/trump-budget-cuts/


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Interersting Facts From Latest WaPo/ABC Trump Poll

With only a week left before Donald Trump completes his "First 100 Days", the Washington Post/ABC News teams released the results of their last polling on Trump (and, also Hillary).  The lead story appears to be that Trump has the lowest `100-day approval' of any President in modern history.  While the average approval of those "modern" Presidents is 69%, Trump's number is just 42%. Of course, the biggest dig on Trump from these two liberal-leaning news agencies is the fact that Obama had a 69% approval as most of his predecessors did.  I guess, from this, we are supposed to regret that Obama isn't still President.

What isn't talked about in the Washington Post polling story is the fact that if the election was rerun today, Hillary would still lose to Trump: 43% to 40%. Another buried but interesting tidbit is the fact that only 4% of Trump voters regret voting for him, while 15% of Hillary voters regret voting for her. As a result, if the election was rerun, Trump would have won the popular vote.

And, guess what?  The Russians had nothing to do with these polling results!

References:

Nearing 100 days, Trump’s approval at record lows but his base is holding: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nearing-100-days-trumps-approval-at-record-lows-but-his-base-is-holding/2017/04/22/a513a466-26b4-11e7-b503-9d616bd5a305_story.html?utm_term=.0b34eccf70dd

ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-trump-100-days-honeymoon-regrets-poll/story?id=46943338

Wash Post poll hides: Trump still beats Clinton, 43%-40%: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/wash-post-poll-hides-trump-still-beats-clinton-43-40/article/2621016



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fear and Loathing of Terrorists in France

Since the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in 2015 that killed 130, France has been in a declared state of emergency.  In December, the French parliament extended it until after the national elections.  Now, with the most recent terrorist attack on the Champs Elysees, just before the election, the Parliament is sure to extend or renew the state of emergency again.

France offers a perfect example of the fact that more Muslims in the country doesn't make life better.  With up to 7 %, they have the largest Muslim population of any country in Western Europe.  Hate crimes against Muslims have soared.  According to Fox News Research, a poll of adults in March of this year said that 71% believe terrorism overshadows all other problems in France.  59% feel they are not safe anywhere in the country. French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has called for the expulsion of anyone who is suspected of terrorism.  I suppose, even if that person is a French citizen?

If this doesn't sound like Donald Trump's take on Muslim refugees and immigration, I don't know what does.  France is in a proverbial pickle when it comes to Muslims.  Even if they still represent a small percentage of the population, the higher the percentage, the greater the chance for attack.  I think that France will ultimately block the entrance of any further Muslim immigrants.  And, I think, other European countries are sure to follow their lead.  We'll see.

References:

French parliament votes to extend state of emergency until after 2017 elections: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/14/french-parliament-votes-to-extend-state-of-emergency-until-after-2017-elections

Paris shooting: Marine Le Pen calls for all French terror suspects to be expelled after Champs Elysees attack: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/20/paris-police-close-part-city-centre-amid-reports-officers-shot/

March 10-14, 2017 poll of French adults: https://twitter.com/FoxNewsResearch/status/855443024649871360

Hate crimes against Muslims and Jews soar in France: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/12075018/Hate-crimes-against-Muslims-and-Jews-soar-in-France.html

Islam in France: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_France




Monday, April 24, 2017

Thank God! We Lived To See Another Earth Day!

Last Saturday was Earth Day.  In 1970, when the first Earth Day was held, the doom and gloomers of our scientific community warned of the consequences of treating Mother Earth like crap.  Polluting her waters and air.  Over populating and depleting her great resources.  Of  course many of us ignored the warnings and went about our evil ways.  Evil ways that would lead to the eventual extinction of mankind.  Yet, this year, we still live to celebrate this year's Earth Day.

You see, back in the 1970's, there was no global warming to worry about.  In fact many scientists and climatologists believed that we were headed into an ice age.  Then, there was the depletion of the ozone layer which would cause the sun's intense rays to fry us all to a crisp.  Reflective aluminum garb was predicted to be the all the rage.  With all the plant life fried there would be no food to eat.  All the animals would be dead from intense U.V. ray exposure. So, why would we even need aluminum suits?

Then, there were all the failed specific scientific predictions. As itemized by Mark J. Perry at the American Enterprise Institute, here as some the "real beauts" that made up that first doomed list  for the first Earth Day in 1970:
  • "Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that 'civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.'”
  • "Paul Ehrlich predicted that "between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the 'Great Die-Off.'”  To put this prediction in context, the world population in 1980 was 4.5 billion. 
  • "Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, 'At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.'”
  • "Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, 'By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.''”
  • "Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look [magazine] that, 'Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all  species of living animals will be extinct.'”
This is just a sample of the ridiculous and supposedly real scientific predictions made that year; and I think you get the point.  Earth Day isn't a day of celebration.  It's a day of mass depression for a few thousand alarmists who hate themselves and all the rest of mankind.  Alarmists who see only the worst ahead of us.  What a beautiful place the world would be with humanity! But, this begs the question. If the scientists couldn't  get it right in 1970, how are we supposed to believe them now, as they drone on about the horror of climate change?

References:

April 22, 2017: Happy Earth Day. Enjoy It While You Last: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-21/happy-earth-day-enjoy-it-while-you-last

In the 1970’s, this research led to some interesting observations about the ozone layer and ozone hole of the Earth: http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-and-effects-of-ozone-hole.php

The 1970s Ice Age Myth and Time Magazine Covers – by David Kirtley: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/06/04/the-1970s-ice-age-myth-and-time-magazine-covers-by-david-kirtley/

18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year: https://www.aei.org/publication/18-spectacularly-wrong-apocalyptic-predictions-made-around-the-time-of-the-first-earth-day-in-1970-expect-more-this-year-2/


Friday, April 21, 2017

Will O'Reilly's Leaving Finally End a Sexist Culture at Fox News?

Having worked at a Fortune 200 company and been involved with numerous acquisitions and one major merger,  the most difficult task in bringing two companies together is dealing with two distinct corporate cultures.  Every company has it's own corporate culture, which usually stems from the personality of its leadership.

Fox News seems no different. The fact that Roger Ailes was forced out only weeks ago for sexual harassment; and, now Bill O'Reilly -- the network's "franchise" -- is forced out for the same reason speaks volumes as to the character and culture of this popular cable station.  Add to this, the fact that a lesser known Fox News personality, Steve Doocy, was also caught up in the sexual harassment story, one can only wonder if this attitude towards women is somewhat pervasive at the network.
The fact that O'Reilly was discharged is a good thing.  It sends a signal that even the network's top personality isn't  protected when sexual harassment is involved.  Thus, if there is a sexist culture alive at Fox News, cold water was just thrown all over it. 

My only problem with this whole sad story is why it took so long to happen.  Apparently, the Murdoch's took a "see no evil, hear no evil" stance while all this was taking place over the years.  For this reason, some fans of Fox News may elect to stop watching the network altogether. Just my opinion.

References:

Fox News Confirms That Bill O'Reilly Won't Return to Air: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/bill-oreilly-exits-fox-news-harassment-scandal-994675

6 More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/six-more-women-allege-ailes-sexual-harassment.html

Outfoxed? Gretchen Carlson’s harassment suit against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes seems to catch the network flat-footed: http://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/07/outfoxed-004650

Fox News employees saw Steve Doocy sexually harass Gretchen Carlson: report: http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/fox-news-employees-saw-gretchen-carlson-sexually-harassed-by-steve-doocy-report/


Thursday, April 20, 2017

In Georgia, Big Money Couldn't Buy Democrat Love

Because Democrat Jon Ossoff didn't get the requisite 50+% of the vote in the special election to replace Republican Tom Price, there will a runoff election in June with Ossoff squared off against Republican Karen Handel for Georgia's vacant 6th District's U.S. Representative.

The media and Democrats thought they really had this one, in what has been a decades long Republican stronghold in the belief that this election would actually be a referendum on President Trump. Outside Democrat money and outside activist volunteers poured into Georgia's 6th District in an attempt to give Ossoff the win.  In fact, Ossoff had raised $8.3 million in campaign funds of which 95% were from sources outside the state to win 92,390 votes.  That's about $90 a vote.  Compare that to Karen Handel's $463,000 campaign for 37,993 votes; or, a little over $12 per vote.

The point here, is that Democrats always think that money and not message is the winning element in any election.  Hillary spent double what Trump spent and still lost.  Then there was the recall election of Governor Walker in Wisconsin in 2012.  Democrats -- mostly from outside sources -- spent an unheard of $81 million in an attempt to oust Walker and failed.  By comparison, the combined Republican and Democrat Wisconsin Gubernatorial campaigns in 2010, that saw Walker become governor, spent a total of just $37.4 million.

The bottom line, is that Democrats aren't winning, and their policies aren't winning over the voters.  Some pundits are already predicting that Karen Handel is likely to win with only herself as the sole Republican in the June runoff instead of competing with this last election's 10 other Republicans.   If Ossoff only repeats his 48.1% vote count, she wins the majority and takes the District.

References:

Georgia Special 6th District Election: Final Voting Results: http://heavy.com/news/2017/04/georgia-6th-sixth-district-live-results-voting-numbers-who-won-winning-jon-ossoff-karen-handel-runoff-atlanta/

Outside Money And Volunteers Pouring Into Georgia Special Election: http://www.npr.org/2017/04/15/524076532/outside-money-and-volunteers-pouring-into-georgia-special-election

Trump spent about half of what Clinton did on his way to the presidency: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/09/trump-spent-about-half-of-what-clinton-did-on-his-way-to-the-presidency.html

Recall Race for Governor Cost $81 Million: http://www.wisdc.org/pr072512.php

Wisconsin recall breaks record thanks to outside cash: https://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/06/03/9039/wisconsin-recall-breaks-record-thanks-outside-cash




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Could Dems Hang A Recession Around Trump's Neck by 2018?

Thanks to the work of Ben Carlson in 2015 at "A Wealth of Common Sense" (referenced below) we have this extremely interesting graphic:
As you can see, the median time between recessions since 1929 is 4 years and 2 months.  The longest time between recessions is 10 years from 1990 to 1991.

By June, this country will have gone 8 years without a recession. The primary reason for this is that the Federal Reserve has treated those 8 years as if we were in a recession by keeping Fed Funds Rates at historically low levels.  But, in December 2015 the Federal Reserve began raising rates and there is no indication that they won't continue to do so because they're now responding to the growing inflation they're seeing in the economy.

Raising the Fed Funds Rate will have a negative impact by making it more expensive to borrow money.  Credit card debt, car loans, and mortgages will all become more expensive.  The problem  is that the economy isn't that strong and might not be able to support higher interest rates.  The Atlanta Federal Reserve is with the GDPNow estimates that the economy will grow at a meager 0.6% in the first quarter.  Well below consensus estimates, as you can see from this graphic:



What this all means is that we could see another recession before or during the 2018 elections and the Democrats are sure to pounce on this and blame Trump and the Republicans; arguing that Obama never had a recession during both terms;  something that uniformed voters are sure to swallow hook, line, and sinker.

References:

Source of 1st Graphic: http://awealthofcommonsense.com/2015/02/when-will-the-u-s-have-its-next-recession/

Fed Funds Rate History: Highs, Lows and Chart With Major Events: https://www.thebalance.com/fed-funds-rate-history-highs-lows-3306135

GDPNow: https://www.frbatlanta.org/cqer/research/gdpnow.aspx?panel=1


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why "The Mother of All Bombs" Wasn't Used Before

When the so-called "Mother of all Bombs" or "MOAB" was unleashed in a remote area of Afghanistan recently, some questioned why it hadn't been used before.  The simple fact is that the MOAB is an obliteration bomb; leveling everything in its blast radius.  Its predecessor was the "Daisy Cutter" that weighed a mere 15,000 pounds compared to the "MOAB" that weighs nearly 22,000.

The "Daisy Cutter" was originally developed for use in Vietnam to clear landing areas for troop transport helicopters as shown in this picture:

Can you imagine what impact that bomb would have on any human within its 5,000 to 5,500 blast area if trees can be obliterated in this fashion?  And, that's the problem.  As a result of the later use of this bomb as part of an intimidation program where, in some cases, civilian populations were maimed and killed,  the Geneva Convention was modified in 1977 to make its use against civilians a war crime.  This along with carpet bombing and all forms of area bombing where there could be concentrations of civilians.

Thus, a bomb like the "MOAB" is restricted to remote areas where civilians can't be harmed to avoid committing war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, to which the U.S. is a signatory.

One last thing. Because the "MOAB" detonates above ground and is not intended to create a cratering of the ground, some question its recent use against ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan, and I agree.  We have massive earthquake bombs that would more easily and effectively cause tunnels to collapse.  We currently have a 30,000 "Massive Ordnance Penetrator" at are disposal for this very purpose.  We also used smaller 5,000 pound earthquake bombs during the first Gulf War to destroy tunnel systems and underground complexes near Baghdad. So, this leads me to think that the real purpose for using the "MOAB" was more about intimidation rather than the destruction of a network of tunnels.

References:

Source of Photo: http://www.psywarrior.com/Blu82HeloLanding.jpg

THE United States has dropped a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb – the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal – on an ISIS tunnel target in Afghanistan: http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/605389/US-non-nuclear-bomb-Massive-Ordnance-Air-Blast-Bomb-ISIS-tunnel-Afghanistan

Daisy Cutter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLU-82

Carpet Bombing, Obliteration Bombing: Geneva Convention: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpet_bombing

Earthquake Bombs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake_bomb


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