Saturday, August 29, 2015
Run, Joe, Run Joe is leading the polls. Will Joe run? Will grief for Beau keep Joe from running? Will the third time be a charm? Joe is sucking the oxygen out of the air for the Democratic candidates, which is a mixed blessing for Secretary Hillary Clinton. The mainstream media is not paying as much attention to her foibles. No news is good news in her campaign. The media recognizes that at the present time she is a loser, but does not want to hand the election to a Republican. The media would love it if he enters the race. It would add excitement to the race. Yet, his polls would immediately drop as the public takes a closer look at the candidate. That’s been the norm for candidates in recent primary seasons. He has no reason to jump in now. If Hillary recovers from her current, self-imposed travails, then she will win the nomination. If her campaign in doomed, then he announces as the savior of the Democrats. Labor will immediately back him. Progressives will leave Senator Sanders for him, especially if he names Senator Elizabeth Warren as his Vice Presidential running mate. Trial lawyers will jump on the bandwagon. Hollywood will dump money on him. The media will line up behind him, excoriating the Republican nominee. President Obama will support his candidacy, probably raising money for him. Experienced Obama operatives will join his staff. The media will ignore his usual malapropisms unless one is especially egregious. He once claimed to have graduated in the first half of his law school class. The truth is that it was the top half of the bottom ten students. If he enters the race too early, then a drowning Clinton Campaign will run a vicious, no holds barred campaign against him. He knows this election will be his last hurrah, but he needs to win. His first two campaigns failed miserably, the first falling prey to rampant plagiarism in 1988 and the second in 2008 to less than 1% in Iowa. The potential to be a three-time loser is high. He has to realize that Vice President George H. W. Bush was the first sitting Vice President since Martin Van Buren in 1836 to win an election to the White House. It’s better for the Vice President to lay back, and wait for the right opportunity. He will wait.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
The Clintons Obviously Learned the Wrong Lesson From Watergate Five operatives broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Office Complex on June 17, 1992. Frank Wills, an alert security guard, discovered the burglary in progress and called the police. Five operatives were arrested with the trail leading to CREEP (The Committee for the Reelection of the President), President Nixon’s reelection campaign. Several high officials were implicated in the break-in and subsequent coverup, but no evidence surfaced that showed the President was involved with the break-in or coverup. The publicity was bad for the President, but he could survive. Not even a vengeful Mark Felt, Jr., Deputy Director of the FBI, “Deep Throat,” could bring the President down. White House aide Andrew Butterfield disclosed to Senate investigators on July 13, 1973 that the White House had a voice activated recording system in several rooms. President Nixon’s legal obstruction failed and he was ultimately forced to turn over the tapes, absent a missing 18½ minutes segment on June 20, 1972. President Nixon still had time to destroy the tapes, but did not, thereby dooming his Presidency. It’s unclear if the President authorized the Watergate break-in, but his involvement is clear in the subsequent coverup. Hillary Clinton knew all about Watergate. The 27 year old Yale Law School grad was hired in 1974 as a staff member for the Presidential Impeachment Inquiry of the House Judiciary Committee., from which she was fired for unethical behavior. The general consensus is that President Nixon’s failure to destroy the tapes cost him the Presidency. Certainly, that is what Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration believe (cf. IRS). First, the former secretary of State said she did not use the State Department server for her email, but a private email account. Second, she claims that she turned over hard copy of her official emails on the server, but not her personal emails. Aides had reviewed the emails and determined which ones to destroy and save. Third, there are no classified emails as secret on her server. Fourth, any classified email on her private email account was not classified at the time. Fifth, she has denied receiving or sending any emails classified as secret. Sixth, she turned over the server to the FBI, but it has apparently been scrubbed clean. The obvious question is that if she didn’t use the State Department computer, then how did she receive classified information on her private email account? If she didn’t receive or send classified emails, then how did they end up on her server? Was it an immaculate text? A stray email? Trojan Horse Virus? “I never had emails with that server?” Are her aides who examined her emails cleared to handle classified information? The Clintons believe they can bluster their way through scandals. They believe that President Clinton succeeded with perjury, suborning perjury and obstruction of justice. He got him through eight years, but he ultimately paid a penalty and saw his law license suspended. They adhere to: “Do you believe what you saw with your own eyes, or what I’m telling you?” President Nixon was not forced to resign because of the Watergate burglary, for which he was not linked, but for orchestrating the subsequent coverup. The evidence, the “smoking gun,” was in the tapes. He was doomed when ordered to turn them over. The former Secretary of State is not repeating that mistake. She destroyed the evidence. Or so she thinks. The problem with coverups is that they get increasingly difficult to maintain. Hillary has had to engage in an infinite number of stories with each misstatement being increasingly incredulous. Her husband had charm and style in his prevarications. She does not. She doubly broke the law, first with the pirate email account with classified information, and then trying to cover it up. Her ardent supporters may stick by her to the end and blind themselves to her misconduct, but her crowds are small and the public confidence in her is plunging. She could have come clean at the beginning and admitted a mistake. But no, she had to coverup. She would have survived, but now she is not going to be the next President of the United States.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Section I of the 14th Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” That language is as plain and clear as you will find. It’s the basis of birthright citizenship. What did the drafters intent? Was it aimed to protect the newly emancipated slaves? Was it intended to overturn the Dred Scott decision, which held African Americans were not citizens? It doesn’t matter! The language speaks for itself. There’s no awkward comma like the Second Amendment. There’s no exceptions, “provided that,” or “insofar as.” The primary rule of statutory construction for the Supreme Court is to look to the words of the statute, unless, of course, Chief Justice Roberts is saving ObamaCare. If they are plain on their face, then there’s no need to look to legislative history. I don’t doubt the ability of clever lawyers to craft a superficially appealing argument against birthright citizenship, or even find a friendly district court judge, but th appellate courts will uphold birthrate citizenship. Thus, the cries to deport those born in the United States and strip them of the United States citizenship are the cries of demagogues, who should know better. They are setting up the American public for a fall if elected. The desire for birthright citizenship for the children led to Hispanic mothers giving birth in San Diego or other American communities along the Mexican border. The financial costs to the hospitals are great. We are now witnessing the growing industry of birthplace tourism, whereby expectant mothers, often Asian, visit the United States for several months to give birth in the U.S, receive the newborn’s birth certificate and passport, and then return home. The use of the term “anchor baby” overlaps birthright citizenship, but usually has a slightly different connotation. Several proposed statutes would give special rights to the parents, siblings, indeed extended family, based on the birthright citizenship of the child in the name of not separating children from their family, perhaps 25-30 in the extended family. The child thus becomes the anchor upon which the family members receive residency and eligibility for American social benefits. “Anchor baby” is becoming a derisive term to immigration supporters who recognize the political potency of the term with the majority of the American public, which is opposed to illegal immigration. Opponents of the term are looking for a suitable euphemism, but as Governor Jeb Bush said: “What would you call them?” The innocent babies are being used to “legally” open the porous borders. I never blogged about President Obama’s birth certificate or joined those questioning his American citizenship because I viewed them as non-issues. I similarly view birthright citizenship in itself as a non-issue. However, extending rights to relatives of anchor babies is different. It is a potent political issue. Donald Trump’s proposal is to deport them all, including the baby. That will never happen in this United States.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Milwaukee Lawyer Complains About Meijer’s Low Prices Meijer, AKA Meijer Thrifty Acres, is a hypermart chain in the Midwest. It is a pioneer in supersized retailers that seemingly sell everything. It precedes Wal-Mart’s Superstores. Meijer has survived and expanded to over 200 superstores in the Midwest despite vigorous competition from Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, and Sam’s Club. The Grand Rapids, Michigan chain in entrenched in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky. It is expanding into Wisconsin, and as is its practice, it does what several companies do in entering a new market: offer attention-grabbing specials to attract customers. These offers may be below cost. That grabbed the attention of Milwaukee attorney Gerardo Gonzalez, or whoever is funding him. He dusted off Wisconsin’s anti-chain store statute/relic from eight decades ago. A national fear erupted in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s over the rise of chain stores, whose purported predatory pricing and other practices were driving small merchants out of business. Sound familiar? The then large offending chains were A&P Supermarkets and Woolworth’s. Anyone todays remember the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. and F. W. Woolworth & Co.? How about S.K. Kresge & Co.? or Kress & Co.? What about Sears, Roebuck & Co. where “America used to shop?” The fears were palpable. The result was the enactment by states and the federal government of anti-chain store legislation. They purported to protect consumers, but were geared to propping up prices by protecting existing competitors. They do not exclude low-price competitors, such as Wal-Mart. Congress enacted in 1936 the Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibited price discrimination; e.g. large retailers getting discounts unavailable to smaller competitors. It has rarely been used successfully in recent decades. Sixteen states, including Wisconsin, enacted minimum pricing markup laws. The 1939 Wisconsin Unfair Sales Act prohibits marketing and selling goods below the marketer’s costs Consumers are hurt by these statures. For example, Wal-Mart cannot offer its flat rate policy of $4 for generic drugs. Meijer was opening stores in Kenosha and Grafton, Wisconsin. The grand opening ads contained the chain’s slogan “higher standards lower prices,” coupled with selective low prices. Attorney Gonzalez filed four complaints with 37 products with the Illinois department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection, charged with enforcing the unenforcible law. Among the charges were selling bananas at $.28/pound and milk at $1.99/gallon. These come-ons are common in weekly ads by retailers. Black Fridays features scores of products that would technically violate the statute. Among the utter inanities of the statute is that it does not ban free givaways, e.g., buy $15 of cereals, and receive a gallon on milk free. One effect in Wisconsin is that attention is being paid to repealing the Wisconsin Unfair Sales Act.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Customers and Employees are paying for the Haggen Debacle. Meredith Wilson’s great line in The Music Man: “You gotta know the territory.” Haggen doesn’t. The founding family of Haggen sold out a few years ago to an investment firm who knew nothing about supermarket retailing. They shrunk Haggen by progressively shutting stores. Down to 16, they rolled the dice, shot the moon, and purchased 164 stores from Albertson’s and Vons in the Pacific Southwest. They expanded nine fold their existing, shrinking base in the Pacific Northwest. The Northwest is not the Southwest, Seattle has many similarities to San Francisco, but San Francisco is not Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley. The characteristics of each county or state in the Southwest are different, but none relate to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle or San Francisco. Albertson’s and Vons were forced by the Federal Trade Commission to spin off the stores as a condition of merging. Haggen jumped in to buy the castoffs. Haggen did not know the territory. Acting out of hubris, arrogance, stupidity, ignorance, who knows? Haggen believed that its policy of a broad product line, quality meats, fruits and vegetables, and organics at high prices would appeal to the Southwest. Haggen did an amazing turnaround of the stores, often in 24-36 hours. That was a mistake. The time was spent changing signage and the prices, usually raising the prices. Customers excitedly came in for the grand openings. They found high prices on the existing Albertson’s and Vons products. The result was “One and Done.” You can overcome an initial bad impression, but Haggen didn’t. Its weekly circulars do not attract customers. The short, by Southern California standards, ads do not contain specials that will attract customers. Business is booming at the overlapping Albertson’s, Vons, Ralphs, and Stater Brothers stores. Consumers are sophisticated. Many are willing to pay more for high quality, not mass processed foods. These consumers shop at Bristol Farms, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Costco. They also patronize Trader’s Joe. They will not pay non-competitive prices at a standard super market. Haggen made other mistakes. The employees at the stores transferred to Haggen went with the stores. There were no longer employees of Albertson’s and Vons. One provision of the FTC settlement is that the staff at these stores (managers, assistant managers, etc.) may not be rehired by Albertson’s or Vons for two years. Haggen is reported to have cut their wages and benefits in the takeover. Haggen’s debacle is in record time. Pan Am, Borders, Radio Shack took years. Sears and Kmart are still open. Haggen closed on the stores in May and June. They announced in July personnel cutbacks at the stores, terminating part time employees, and converting full time workers to part time. They announced a few days ago, August 14, that they will be closing 27 stores over the 60 days: 16 in California, 5 in Oregon, 5 in Arizona, and one in Washington. The announcement said they were “right sizing” the operations. They said that a month ago with the cutbacks. The goal is to streamline and improve operations;” to “improve its business and strengthen its competitive position.” The chain also said more closings may follow. They will. The costs of each remaining store will rise as the corporate advertising, including ads, will be spread among fewer and fewer stores. For example, Haggen is closing five of its ten Arizona stores. The remaining five will be hard to sustain. Unless Haggen can quickly create an attractive brand for the remaining stores, they are doomed. The four stores being closed in Orange County, out of a total of eleven, tell the story. Orange County is nationally known for political conservatism, affluence and quirky TV shows, such as The OC, the Real Housewives of Orange County, Laguna Beach and Arrested Development. Orange County is highly affluent, but most of the county is solid middle class with a large economically disadvantaged segment of the population. I would in a sense analogize the OC to Westchester County, New York. We lived within a few blocks of a Albertson’s Ralphs, and Vons as well as a Sprouts and Trader Joe’s until Haggen moved in. Two Stater Brothers are within a couple of miles, as well as and an additional Ralphs and Vons and two new, large Albertsons. The two Vons were converted to Haggens and the Ralphs closed for competitive reasons. They are closing. I actually went into one of them a month ago for a few items. The prices weren’t bad, but the cashier was a young, bored man. The wonderful Vons lifers were gone, just like the customers. Haggen turned profitable stores into losers within a couple of weeks. Business schools should do a case study of Haggen. Our choices are now much more limited than before the Albertson’s-Vons merger. It is an inconvenience to us, but an economic disaster to the former Albertson’s and Vons employees.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Seven Day Update on the EPA Dam Breach: EPA Administrator Goes to the River while President Obama Goes Golfing on Martha's Vineyard
Seven days later and the EPA is still confusing the situation. It has reported that in some stretches of the river that the water quality is back to where it was before the spill. Yet, it also said that preliminary tests showed arsenic levels were 300 times the norm in the Durango area and 3,500 times the normal lead level. EPA continues to warn against drinking the water. Farmers and ranchers are looking at large economic losses. If the EPA weren’t a government agency, the class action suits would be flooding the courthouaw. The public wants straight answers, not mixed messages. That ignores the heavy metals settling in the sediments at the bottom of the streams and the orang coating on the riverbanks. EPA originally understated the extent of the contamination, just as BP with the Gulf Oil Spill. EPA said an estimated 1 million gallons escaped from the dam. The U. S. Geological Survey raised the figure to 3 million gallons. A BP employee was indicted for providing the erroneous estimate. It appears no heads will roll at the EPA. EPA delayed 24 hours in providing notification of the spill. That would be a crime if by a private enterprise. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy finally flew out to the river Wednesday, but did not go to the scene of the dam breach. She said it was too far. It was not too far for the toxins to travel 100 miles downstream. President Obama is golfing on Martha’s Vineyard. He has not interrupted his time on the links to utter a word about the EPA fiasco. He has not even issued the usual bromides about getting to the bottom of it or finding the responsible parties. The White House will not even confirm if the President has been recently briefed on the environmental disaster. Colorado Governor Jim Hickenlooper, who barely won reelection last year, was apologetic for the EPA. He said it’s not as though the EPA were a private company, which would be bad. EPA Administrator McCarthy said the EPA “was committed to a full review.” We are still awaiting the full reviews of Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the IRS. Here’s what happened in a recent environmental spill that did not involve a loss of life. A Duke Energy stormwater pipe burst on February 2, 2014, spilling 39,000 tons of sludge and slurry into North Carolina’s Dan River. Investigators found problems at five Duke Energy facilities. Duke paid guilty on May 14, 2015 on 9 criminal counts of unpermitted discharges and maintenance issues. It agreed to pay $68.2 million in fines and restoration costs and an additional $24 million community service fee to the National Fish and Wildlife Fund and $10 million for wetlands restoration. Duke further agreed to a 5 year probation period with an environmental compliance program and a court appointed monitor to ensure compliance. Companies and individuals, which have felt the sword of the EPA, are hoping the EPA receives a dose of its own medicine. The Congressional Hearings could be even more painful to the EPA. EPA and the responsible contractor, Environmental Restoration LL.C., will write out checks. The EPA’s share though will come from the taxpayers, thereby relieving the agency from major accountability. Governor Hickenlooper is right.. The government is different from a private corporation.
Monday, August 10, 2015
Who is Donald Trump? Who Supports him? Why? The Tea Party came about in 2009 in the aftermath of President Obama’s inauguration. Anger arose over his fiscal and immigration policies. The indebtedness incurred by reckless and feckless spending scared these Americans. TARP, the Stimulus Bill, ObamaCare upset them. The foreign policy of rejecting American Exceptionalism is repugnant to them. The Tea Party pioneers are Americans who adhere to the traditional values that made America great. Their anger was directed at the Obama Administration and Republicans who appeared to be co-existing with the Democrats. They wanted fighters for their values. They see lacking in House Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority McConnell the strong leadership they want in Congress to fight for Republican/American principles. The Republican leaders seem too imbued with their duty to govern responsibly rather than stand on principle. The Tea Party lost faith with the Republican establishment. The Tea Party is not a formal party unlike the Democrats and Republicans. It is a loose confederation of volunteers in local groups. The Silent Majority of Richard Nixon is the Tea Party of today. They expressed their zeal in Republican primaries by nominating their candidates to run in the general elections, even when it tossing aside incumbents and party favorites. They elected Ted Cruz (Texas), Deb Fischer Nebraska), Mike Lee (Utah), Marco Rubio (Florida) and Rand Paul (Kentucky) to the Senate in 2010 and 2012 as well as Ted Scott to a House seat in South Carolina and Nikki Haley to South Carolina’s governorship. Congressman Tim Scott was subsequently elected to the Senate. The mostly White middle class Tea Partiers voted on the basis of expressed beliefs – not religion, race, ethnicity or sex. They also though did not vote based on electability. They nominated some real losers, who cost Republicans 4-5 Senate seats in the general elections: Todd Akins in Missouri, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Ken Buck in Colorado (He subsequently won a House seat in 2014), Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and Richard Murdock in Indiana. Todd Akins and Richard Murdock uttered absurd statements about rape and abortion, insulting the intelligence of voters, especially women. Sharron Angle and Ken Buck had anti-Hispanic/illegal immigration rhetoric that doomed their campaigns. Sharron Angle was also accused of being tight (my phrase) with Scientology. Christine O’Donnell’s most famous campaign statement was “I’m not a witch.” Donald Trump’s extreme rhetoric wins favor with some of the ardent Tea Partiers. They want a candidate who calls it like it is rather than the double-talk common for many politicians. They like his outspokenness and directness. They like that he speaks truth to power. They are smitten with him. They are in the early stage of infatuation. He is the greatest. He can neither say nor do anything wrong. They believe they see in Donald trump the boisterous, ferocious fighter for America. They fail to realize they are witnessing a narcissistic bully. They also support Senator Ted Cruz as the backup. He too speaks truth to power. Another Newt Gingrich or Dick Armey is what they want. Donald Trump is not that person. He will be totally unable to govern. He is though a symptom of their discontent. Until a more electable candidate arises! If Donald Trump cannot handle the fair questions asked by Megyn Kelly, how will he respond in the general election to the ensuing down and dirty campaign? The vast American populace is repulsed by him. The Democrats and media love it. They see in Donald Trump the worse caricature of Republicans. Most Tea Party members now understand that they cannot prevail with a split government. Even control of Congress with the power of the purse is limited. Deep down, they know Donald Trump cannot win the Presidency and could well drag the Congressional Republicans down with him. Most of the Tea party will not go down with Donald Trump
Sunday, August 9, 2015
The EPA unleashed an estimated 1 million gallons of polluted water into the Cement Creek 30 miles north of Silverton, Colorado. The Cement Creek flows into the Animus River through Durango and Silverton. The Animus has been seen by millions of Americans as a backdrop to scenes in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Animus is currently a leisurely 5 miles an hour flowing 126 mile bright orange, almost neon orange, river as the toxins head into the San Juan River. The orange-ish river has crossed into New Mexico on its way through Utah, ultimately settling in Lake Powell on the Colorado River. The River, chameleon like, has transformed from azure blue to orange to mustard colored and now brown as it enters New Mexico. The EPA says it can do nothing to clean the water. Natural dissipation should evaporate most of the contaminated waters with the heavy metals settling at the bottom of Lake Powell. EPA knows the wastewaters contain aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, calcium, copper, and lead. It’s a toxic mixture, but EPA says it either does not yet know the severity or doesn’t want us to know as it “studies” the River’s toxicity. If this were a spill by a corporation, EPA would demand the contaminants be removed and would impose substantial fines, and perhaps criminal prosecutions. The Obama Administration, led by the President and EPA’s Administrator would be publicly excoriating the greedy, reckless corporate malefactor. The EPA said “It was trying to protect the environment.” Private attorneys would be racing into court, filing class action suits on a multitude of claims. If this were an EPA disaster during the Bush Administration, either Bush Administration, the critics would be out in droves complaining of the incompetence of Bush and the budget cutting of the EPA. The media, to its credit, has brightly covered the story, but is not calling out for heads to roll. The Sounds of Silence are coming out of Washington on the environmental disaster. They cannot believe the EPA could muck up, just like the VA and IRS. Always remember the classic line “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” Dave Ostrander, regional EPA Director for Emergency management, said: ”This is a huge tragedy. It’s hard being on the other side of this. We explicitly respond to emergencies. We don’t cause them.” The EPA has been short on information, but an early statement would be unacceptable to the EPA if made by a private polluter: the impact on wildlife and the environment will probably be “minimal” because of the “longstanding” low water quality. This statement is especially insulting to the residents of Durango, often referred to as “River City” because of the widespread recreational uses of the river for fishing, swimming, kayaking, rafting, and tubing. Dozens of recreational workers are temporarily unemployed. EPA did not immediately notify New Mexico of the spill. The state learned of the disaster from an official of the Southern Ute Tribe. A press spokesman for New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said: “The Governor is disturbed by the lack of information provided by the EPA to our environmental agencies in New Mexico and strongly believes the people in or communities downstream deserve to have all the information about this situation.” The EPA was investigating acid leakage from the abandoned Gold King Mine, last mined in 1923. The Rockies contain a large number of abandoned mineral mines in operation when environmental protection was unknown. Many are a toxic time bomb. An EPA supervised clean up crew, using a heavy digging machine, punched through the dam holding back the waters in the abandoned mine. EPA explained the waters were “held behind unconsolidated debris near an abandoned mine portal.” Translated, the EPA is saying a tailings dam held back the mine’s contaminated waters. These unengineered, slapstick retaining structures have given rise to some of the great environmental disasters . They require delicate care. Instead, a heavy digging machine punched through, unleashing a torrent of toxic waters. New Mexico expects compensation. The accident will be studied. The ultimate cause will be found to be human error, or a series of human errors. These are always the root causes of non-natural disasters. Government is just as likely to screw up as the private sectors because individuals make the decisions. We punish the private sector in environmental disasters of this magnitude. One cannot expect the Obama Administration to punish the EPA anymore than it has the VA, ATF, or IRS. The EPA is the Crown Jewel of the Obama Administration in its War Against Coal. The question therefore is what will Colorado and New Mexico do? Will they bring action against the EPA? How about criminal prosecutions against the responsible individuals?
Friday, August 7, 2015
Drumroll please. The winners of yesterday’s debates are: Carly Fiorina Megyn Kelly The American People The GOP Fox News 24 million Americans on Fox watched the highest viewed cable program of all time. Another 6.1 million viewed the undercard. They learned that all but one of the Republican candidates is highly credible. Americans saw the future, not the past. Carly Fiorina showed she should have been on the mainstage. She acquired the “gravitas” that establishes her as a major candidate. She is the most likely to break out of the undercard as Americans give her a second look. She has substantially performed better than, and learnt from, her failing California Senate race three years ago. She is the only candidate who has consistently run against Hillary Clinton rather than President Obama. Senators Rubio and Cruz performed well, as did Governors Christy and Kasich, and Dr. Ben Carson. The Underperformers Governors Bush, Walker and Huckabee. Governor Bush still has the most money, but he continues to underperform as a candidate. The Did-Not-Help-Himself Senator Paul, whose views on national security do not resonate well with Republican voters. The Big Loser The Donald was the irrepressible Donald to a hard core of supporters, but the majority of Americans saw him as the egotistical buffoon that he is. The oft-bankrupt Donald Trump can talk the talk, or more accurately scream the scream, but the thin skinned pompous Trump will be unable to walk the walk. Any doubts about the Donald should be resolved by his post-debate tweets. The reality show star will face reality one of these days. If voters want a non-traditional candidate, then they can choose from Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. If voters want brashness, then they have the in-your-face Governor Christy, a proven success in a blue state with a Democratic legislature. If voters want a compelling life story, then they can choose between Senator Rubio and Dr. Carson. If they want the Lone Ranger, then Senator Ted Cruz fits the bill. If voters want compassionate conservatives, they can choose from Governors Bush, Huckabee, and Kasich. If the want a union buster, Governor Walker is the one. The Biggest Loser Hillary Clinton She took a selfie with Kim Kardashian and Kayne West and then with Kris Jenner.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Attention is focused on the main Event, the debate between the ten top polling Republican candidates. The main question is what will the Donald do? Will he be negative or positive? Will his thin skin emerge? Why is the media still letting him suck the oxygen out of the Republican race? Donald trump is currently a bright comet speaking truth to power, but he will fade, like all comets. Voters, when it comes time to vote, cannot see him as the next President. They are currently sending a message to the Republican establishment. They don’t like what the President is doing, and they’re not that enamored with Boehner and McConnell either. Here’s the standard themes with each candidate presenting their standard talking points: Anti-Obama – on everything. The Iran deal Immigration ObamaCare ISIS and national security The economy Perhaps Common Core (Bush) Perhaps Medicaid expansion (Kasich) Perhaps minimum wage Perhaps inequality Perhaps police brutality and All Lives Matter Hillary Benghazi and Fast and Furious probably won't emerge. THey have never received traction with the public. There’s not much any candidate can say in ten minutes so my assumption is that most of the ten will play it safe, worried about a gaffe that could sink their campaign. They look three years ago to Texas Governor Rick Perry, who, if the polls are to believed, still hasn’t recovered in the eyes of the American people. Jeb Bush has to be especially careful what he says in light of recent misstatements. There’s currently not much room for error in this race. Few remember, but President Gerald Ford never recovered fro his statement in the Ford-Carter debate that “There is no Soviet domination of eastern Europe.” My prediction is that Chris Christy, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckalbee, will stand out because of their innate debating ability. Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich will be themselves, quiet spoken, poised, articulate, and competent, as successful Midwest governors. Marco Rubio will also come across as similarly poised, thoughtful and competent, but could face a question on his shifting immigration views. Rand Paul has the ability to sink himself on national security. Ben Carson represents the common American. He has the best personal story of all the candidates. Perhaps some one-line, seemingly spontaneous, zingers will come out, but if they fall flat, as most do, then the candidate looks bad. The undercard, about to begin as I type this, could be the most interesting. Seven Republican candidates who narrowly missed out on the Top Ten- so close are many of the candidates in the polls. One sitting governor, Jindal of Louisiana, three former governors, Perry of Texas. Pataki of New York and Gilmore of Virginia, one sitting Senator, Graham of South Carolina, a former Senator, Santorum, who won Iowa four years ago, and a business woman, Fiorina, are all worthy candidates The seven have nothing to lose. Therefore, the odds are they will be the most outspoken, trying to emerge from the scrum of candidates. Expect more histrionics from the Undercard candidates. The only flake in the 17 is The Donald.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Senator Obama said at a January 2008 editorial board meeting of the San Francisco Chronicle: “So if someone wants to build a coal power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt hem because they are going to be charged a high sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” He said at the University of Missouri at Columbia five days before his inauguration that “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” He is succeeding in fundamentally transforming America. In his eyes, America succeeded as an unequal society by exploiting the world’s resources. The military has been used to extend America’s rule around the world. A reset, starting with Russia, will extend to the traditional enemies of the United States. Our special relationship with Great Britain will be abandoned. Similarly, Israel has been an oppressor of the Palestinian people, although he carefully couched it as a bad relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will pivot America’s support to Iran as the source of stability in the Mideast. One of his first acts was to unilaterally scrap the anti-missile systems being installed in Poland and the Czech Republic as a sign of goodwill to Russia. As usual, he got nothing in exchange. He’s made peace with Iran, the Munich peace of appeasement. He recognized Cuba. He let Russia invade Ukraine, offering the Ukrainians MRE’s to fight tanks. He substantially shrunk the military, essentially neutering it with a weak Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He abandoned Iraq, giving rise to ISIL His domestic policy would be to implement the Liberation Theology of reverend Jeremiah Wright coupled with protecting the core constituencies of the Democratic coalition. He will support the teachers unions and other public sector unions (The Stimulus Bill). His NLRB, nominally an independent agency, will do everything to support unions and penalize management. His Federal Communications Commission, again a nominally independent agency, will regulate the internet. The nation’s police, viewed as oppressing African Americans, will be neutered through “oversight” by his Justice department. He will consult with the Reverend Al Sharpton. He will impose high taxes on Americans, corporations, and the cost of capital because none of them made it on their own. They made it with the help of government on the backs of the poor. He quasi-nationalized healthcare, 1/6 of the nation’s economy. He will convert America’s energy base to a green economy, funded by the Stimulus Act funds not going to the unions. Solyndra was but one of scores of failing green energy companies receiving Stimulus funding. He believes green energy will create millions of jobs, the proof in Spain to the contrary notwithstanding. High taxes, high healthcare expenses, and high energy costs are squeezing America’s economy, especially small business, the creator of jobs in America. He has substantially increased the number of Americans receiving government assistance, thereby increasing American dependence on the government rather than themselves and the private sector. His economic ignorance is shown by thinking that healthcare and green energy will be the economic stimulus of the new American economy, eventhough they do not add to American productivity. They add costs to the economy. That brings us to the War on Coal. The Supreme Court in the 2007 5-4 decision in Massachusetts versus Environmental Protection Agency gave the EPA the power to regulate greenhouse gasses, especially carbon dioxide, under the Clean Air Act. His EPA, which is not an independent agency, does not therefore need a new act of Congress to regulate coal power plants. It is doing it under the proposed rules issued last Monday. Its earlier attempt to regulate the power plants by restricting their mercury emissions was struck down this term for lack of an adequate cost-benefit study. In his mind climate change is the greatest threat to Americans. He addressed the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit: “For all the immediate challenges we gather to address this week – terrorism, instability, inequality, disease, there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.” He addressed the graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy on May 19, 2015. He said: “Cadets, the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service.” He stated “climate change is one of the most severe threats” and that it is ‘dereliction of duty” to deny climate change. His, the EPA, plan will require power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from the 2005 levels by 2030. The draft plan was 30%, partially met by a shift to natural gas and only 22% from renewables. The new rule requires at least 28% from renewables, which have shown themselves so far to be expensive, often unreliable, and damaging to the environment, as well as meeting local opposition, such as with the wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard. The War on Coal is a proxy for the War on Fossil Fuels. The EPA is setting specific emissions levels for each state to meet, in theory giving the states flexibility in doing so. It appears at this point a large number, if not majority, of states will refuse to cooperate with the EPA. It remains to be seen if under our state sovereignty the EPA can set state standards when its power under the Clean Air Act is to regulate emissions from individual plants. Of course, this Supreme Court can arbitrarily rewrite the statute to accommodate the Administration, as it has done twice with ObamaCare. All the while, the BRIC Nations, China, India, Brazil, and Russia are plunging ahead with coal power.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Let’s start with some premises. First is the precept that a woman controls her body and has a right to choose. This right is in no way dependent upon the ability of Planned Parenthood to sell the body parts of fetuses. Second, this Supreme Court is not going to overturn Roe v. Wade. Third, Planned Parenthood may or may not have the legal right to sell the baby parts. They claim not to profit from the sale, but if they sold them, then they are making money off the fetuses. Whether or not they are making money could be a matter of their accounting. Planned Parenthood may be acting legally or legally, but the appearance is one of amorality. Fourth, Planned Parenthood is a major player in the Democratic coalition. Democratic legislators are in a conundrum. The videos are a modern sting operation by the “Center for Medical Progress,” a non-profit created for the purpose of the sting, reminiscent of the ACORN sting a half decade ago. The released videos are disgusting. The first is Dr. Deborah Nucatola,, Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, nonchalantly telling how she kills the fetus to preserve the critical body parts while drinking wine and eating salad over lunch is repugnant. She’s so cavalier in describing the medical procedures. She said: “We’re being good at getting heart, lung, liver because we know that.” She explained that “I’m basically going to cut below, I’m going to cut above, and I’m going to see that I can get it all intact.” Then we have the second tape in which another Planned Parenthood official, Dr. Mary Gatter, President of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Director’s Council said “We’re not in it for the money,” which sounds good. However, she continued: “Still the payment has to be big enough that’s it worthwhile to me.” She said about $100/specimen is the norm. She also joked about a Lamborghini. The third tape has an employee describing her emotions as she retrieves the organs from the fetus. The fourth, and most recent video, features Dr. Savita Ginde, once medical director of Planned Parenthood in Denver. She explained that a fetus can emerge intact. She emphasized sales should be labeled as “research:” “I know putting it under the research gives us a little bit of, a little sort of a overhang over the whole thing.” Dr. Ginde added: “Yeah, and in public it makes a lot more sense for it to be in the research vein, than I’d say the business venture vein.” I believe a majority of Americans, especially women, believe I a woman’s tight to choose. I also believe though that the majority of Americans to not want to be exposed to the gory details of the procedures and the apparent sale of aborted body parts for money. They know the tapes are damaging. Yet, they also know better than to cross Planned Parenthood. They know the Susan B. Komen Foundation suffered a major backlash a few years ago when it announced it was pulling some funds from Planned Parenthood. They also know that the release of the first tape promised more to follow. Four are now out with at least eight to follow. Most have stayed quiet. They do not want to support Planned Parenthood without knowing while waiting for the next shoes to drop. They have to suck it up and vote against defunding Planned Parenthood, but they are not happy about it. They want to stand out of the way if Planned Parenthood goes the way of ACORN. Even worse for the Democrats. They will have to take a recorded vote in the House and Senate. Harry Reid is no longer the Senate Majority Leader who will block votes. The vote will be used against them in general elections. Even the loquacious President Obama on social issues was strangely silent for a long while on Planned Parenthood. He will veto, he has to veto, any defunding statute that comes to his desk. His Administration first referred to the Center for Medical Progress as “Extremists on the right.” If that’s the best talking point they can come up with, then they are desperate. Josh Earnest, the press secretary, then labeled the videos as “fraudulent,” without ever viewing them. When questioned, he admitted he was echoing or parroting (my terms) Planned Parenthood. In other words, he was speaking out of ignorance Planned Parenthood knows the videos are damaging. They know the videos are offensive and repulsive. The organization also knows that $528 million of last year’s $1.3 billion budget came from taxpayers. They are scrambling. They claim the videos are edited. They are, but the Center for Medical Progress posts the full, unedited videos on line. Viewers can decide for themselves if this is selective editing, cutting and pasting, or the accurate statements of Planned parenthood employees. One Democrat is sticking her neck out for Planned Parenthood. California’s Attorney General and Senate candidate Kamala Harris announced a week ago her office is investigating the Center for Medical Progress to determine if the organization violated the law as a non-profit. She is attempting to shoot the messenger. It won’t work. The message speaks for itself. Res ipsa loquiter as the legal phrase goes. Two organizations in the videos, but not Planned Parenthood, have obtained injunctions against future releases applicable to them. The attempt is to silence the messenger through the courts while Planned Parenthood attempts to silence them in the media. The state organizations warned the media that they will be at risk if they publish the Council for Medical Progress’s stories. So much for the First Amendment.