Monday, August 14, 2017
I have nothing good to say about the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and their ilk, but they have every right to demonstrate and protest. As long as they are non-violent. Antifa has every right to demonstrate and protest. As long as they are non-violent. Protesters and counter-protesters have the same rights. As long as they are non-violent. Every protester and counter-protester has a right of self-defense when attacked. Who physically started yesterday’s melee is still unclear, but self-defense does not give James Alex Fields, Jr. any right to mow down protesters with his car. I have no idea what he was thinking, but he will have plenty of time for reflection in his life in prison, quite possibly on Death Row. Reports have also surfaced about his possible insanity. The scary thing about the Charlottesville violence is that it is becoming more common in the United States with the decline of civil discourse. More often it’s the left resorting to violence, be it at Berkeley, Chicago, Claremont McKenna, Davis, Evergreen State, Middlebury College, or Missouri. A pro-trump rally in Anaheim was attacked by anti-Trump protestors on May 25, 2016. Provocateurs were hired to disrupt Trump rallies last year. A Bernie Sanders supporter tried to assassinate Republican members of Congress in Alexandria, Virginia at a baseball practice on June 14, 2017. President Obama never referred to Radical Islam Terrorism, even calling the Fort Hood shootings “workplace violence.” Yet the media is throwing a hissy-fit because President Trump initially decried all acts of violence in Charlottesville rather than singling out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The failure in Charlottesville was the extreme pacificity, at least initially, by law enforcement. By way of comparison, the Seattle Police interposed themselves between the protesters and counter-protesters yesterday, reducing the risk of violence. Police forces should have learned from Berkeley, Baltimore, and Ferguson that failure to act decisively at the beginning leads to greater violence in these incidents. The city vehemently claims that no order was issued to the Charlottesville police to stand down. If so, they were poorly led, poorly prepared or poorly trained. The President of the University of Virginia, Mayor of Charlottesville, and Governor of Virginia all condemned the rally before it began, adding to the poisoned atmosphere in the city. The Mayor afterwards accused President Trump of being responsible for the violence.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Silicon Valley has a reputation for discriminating against women in the technical and executive ranks. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Meg Whitman of HP are exceptions, but an overall look at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google/Alphabet, and Microsoft shows male heavy employment. Google is roughly 80% male, mostly Caucasian and Asian, in its tech ranks, and 75% in leader positions. It is also fighting a federal investigation that claims it underpays women. Only 23% of Apple’s tech staff and 17% of FaceBook’s are female. The HBO series Silicone Valley focuses on men and gives actresses a secondary role. James Damone failed to understand that diversity of thought does not exist in the Academy, Hollywood, or Silicone Valley. Thought is fine as long as it comports with the accepted orthodoxy, which George Orwell/William H. White, Jr. called Group think, policed by the Thought Police. He penned a memo entitled: “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” His memo cites several studies that show men and women think differently; that men are into things and women into people. He wrote that women in general have more empathy and neuroticism than men. His problem in the memo is that he stepped into the Harvard President Lawrence Summer’s infamous question: “Why are there fewer women in science?” James Damone answered that biological differences play a role in the lack of women in tech positions at Google. President Summer’s provocative answers cost him the Presidency of Harvard. He posited that innate or biological differences between men and women could explain the lack of female success in science and math. Married women with children might be unwilling to spend the long hours necessary for advancement. Let me add anecdotally that after 45 years of teaching law I have seen many incredible young women do it all: marriage, children, and the practice of law. Let me add that I have also seen many incredible young women sacrifice the practice of law to their family, raising children. I have not seen many incredible, young male lawyers sacrifice the law to be Mr. Mom. James Damone was careful to note that generalities do not apply to individuals, but he questioned the shibboleth of diversity and diversity training for the sake of diversity. He was concerned that Google’s diversity efforts were misdirected and ineffective, accompanied by the company’s “politically correct monoculture.” He wanted to start a dialogue within the company. The rigidity of thought in Silicon Valley is amazing because the Valley exemplifies the success of capitalism free from government regulation and rigidity. The orthodoxy leads to the Obama Administration trying to regulate the internet under. the guise of net neutrality. The Obama Administration through FBI Director James Comey tried to force Apple to unlock its users’ IPhones. Statism, the antithesis of capitalism, is how the EU is mugging Google, Apple, and other American innovative companies. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO overreacted by publicly firing Damone and then stating “We strongly believe in Googlers expressing themselves,” but Damone violated company policy “by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” He added: “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to such work is offensive and not O.K.” That’s not what James Damone wrote. I’m sure the Google lawyers grimaced when they heard the CEO’s remarks. The standard statement for legal reasons is “We do not discuss personnel matters.” The United States follows the “employment at will” doctrine whereby absent a contract or legal restriction, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, or no reason. In addition, the Freedom of Speech guarantees of the First Amendment only apply to the government and not to private parties. James Damone, like most employees, could thus be fired for his remarks without any legal cause of action. He wrote after his firing: “As far as I know, I have a legal right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior, which is what my document does.” Actually he doesn’t. However, when CEO Pichai publicly accused Damone of violating Google’s Code of Conduct, a cause of action for defamation could be pled, followed by extensive discovery. The process will be very painful for Google. Management has made it clear to Googlers that they are not to question the company’s diversity program. Damone’s memo was in response to that attitude. Some Google employees made it clear that they will record the names of fellow employees who support Damone or oppose the company’s diversity efforts, and then blacklist them. The new rule at Google is Group Thought. The merits of Damone’s memo are debatable, some saying it’s well researched and others questioning the research, as you might expect on such a volatile subject. Lost in the debate is that Damone was careful about warning against broad generalizations. Damone’s memo decried stereotyping, but that got lost in the coverage of his memo. I believe in judging people on their individual merits. The computing industry shows a number of women engineers who have achieved greatness, including Admiral Grace Hopper and NASA’s Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and the other African American "computers" in Alabama made famous in Hidden Figures. They triumphed under incredible stress, starting with the deep racism in the South. Google’s problem is that James Damone started a dialogue, but CEO Pichai poured fuel on the fire by terminating James Dimone. Google will need to settle with James Damone for a large sum once the lawsuit is filed. The continuing debate will be costly to Google, not in monetary terms, but in employee morale and publicity. Google will become the punching bag for Silicon Valley sexism.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Sex Discrimination in the Airline Industry Revisited 47 Years Later: Air India's 30 Year Old Anna Divya is the World's Youngest Boeing 777 Pilot
I smile when I see female pilots walking through airports. I don’t smile as often as I would like because they are still a rarity. Anna Divya, a 30 year old pilot for Air India, is now the youngest pilot, pilot – not co-pilot, pilot – not flight engineer, pilot – not flight attendant, of a Boeing 777. She has a large smile on her face. She accomplished her childhood dream of becoming a pilot. But why do I smile? It goes back to the summer of 1969. I was hired as a legal clerk for the 2 man firm of Darwin & Riordan in San Francisco. Jay Darwin was a pioneering labor law attorney going back to the days of the New Deal. One of the firm’s clients was Jan Dietrich (1926-2008), a well-qualified woman pilot. Jan and her twin sister Marion were among the group of 13 women, the Gemini 13, privately financed to complete the same tests as NASA’s Gemini 7 astronauts. The odds are that NASA never expected at that time that any of these women would be flown into space, but it was good publicity. Jan sought employment with Oakland based Word Airways, a charter operation. World denied Jan a position despite her qualifications because she was a woman. The airline told Jan the public wants pilots to be “tall, gray-haired men.” Unfortunately for World Airways, Congress had enacted title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII forbad discrimination in employment based on sex, race, color, religion or national origin. The southern Senators tossed “sex” into the statute, hoping it would cause defeat of the bill aimed at racial discrimination in employment. They miscalculated. The bar on sex discrimination in employment is highly popular. The case settled on the courthouse steps with Jan flying for World Airways. My assignment was to do substantial research on the case. The research also led to a Labor Law Seminar paper my last semester in Law school. One of the sources of information for the paper in spring 1970 was the Soviet Embassy in Washington. I knew women pilots flew for Aeroflot and the Russian military. The embassy responded to my request with some published material, which I could quote. I don’t have any of the legal file on the case, but I also remember an affidavit by a retired brigadier general. He wrote women could not be relied upon in flying commercial airlines because once a month …. You get the drift. Far more pervasive and pernicious than the airline bans on woman pilots were their restrictions on stewardesses, and stewards, all now called flight attendants. Many of the domestic airlines were marketing glamorous young, single female stewardesses as the reason to fly their airline. “We really move our tail for you” was one such slogan for Continental Airlines. Another was “I’m Jo, Fly me” for National Airlines. Braniff Airlines promoted the designer dresses of their stewardesses. Here’s a quick summary of the restrictions: No male stewards, except on international flights All stewardesses must retire at age 35 Stewardesses could not be married or marry Pregnancy was verboten. Delta Airlines was an exception. Its stewardesses could make a career of flying for Delta. The flight attendant unions fought the restrictions and with the new Title VII behind them ultimately defeated them. My seminar paper was accepted for publication by the law review at the University of California Berkeley. The cite is “Sex Discrimination in the Airline Industry: Title VII Flying High,” 59 Cal. L. Rev. 1091 (1971). The article begins: “Women have historically been relegated to a secondary role in life. Cotemporary experience suggests that they may become legal secretaries, but rarely lawyers, secondary school teachers, but rarely university professors, airline stewardesses, but never pilots. The purpose of this article is to argue, based on examples of sexual discrimination in the airline industry, that society can and must change these existing patterns of unequal employment opportunities.” I am still proud of the wording of this intro. Ironically, the section on female pilots was edited out because of the length of the article. If any of the few readers of this blog are interested, I can send them an earlier draft of the article. Anna Divya, I salute you and Air India.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Have you heard about the Trump Admin The ironies of 2017! The Trump Campaign has been accused of colluding with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. The Clinton Campaign has been accused of colluding with the Ukrainians to defeat Donald Trump. The Russians announced the other day that they are kicking out 755 U.S. diplomats as Congress increases sanctions on Russia. President Trump said he will sign the Bill. So much for the alleged Trump-Russia détente! President Reagan ran the “Bear” Commercial in his 1984 reelection campaign against Vice President Walter Mondale: “There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say he is vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who’s right, isn’t it smart to be a strong as the bear? – If there is a bear.” The Russian Bear hibernated after the fall of the Soviet Union. President Obama and his fellow Democrats refused to see the bear even when it was staring them in the face having emerged from hibernation. Governor Romney said during the 2012 Presidential debates that Russia is the greatest geopolitical foe of the United States. President Obama had a pithy response: “The 1980’s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War has been over for 20 years.” He was caught on a hot mic before the election, telling Russia President Dmitri Medvedev that “After my election, I have more flexibility.” The media, which is so intent with its daily linking President Trump to a non-existent Russia collaboration, gave President Obama a pass. Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008, seizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia near the end of the Bush Administration. Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 seizing full control of the Crimea, and sponsoring with Russian soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles Russia based “separatists” in the Doneysk, Luhansk, and Dombass regions of eastern Ukraine. Russia had violated the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances when it invaded Ukraine. Ukraine inherited a large army and supply of nuclear weapons when it achieved independence from the collapsing Soviet Union. As part of the nuclear non-proliferation movement, which has otherwise been a failure in Iran and North Korea, Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for assurances of territorial integrity from Russia. It also leased Sevastopol in the Crimea to Russia for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine traded its leverage for hallow promises from the Russian Bear, an erstwhile teachable moment. Russia is currently massing troops in “maneuvers” along both the Ukrainian border and the Baltic nations. President Obama responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by sending the Ukrainians MRE’s (meals ready to eat) when they requested military assistance. They are currently receiving some Humvees and drones from the United States. The Defense Department and State Department announced yesterday that they are considering sending defensive weapons to the Ukrainians; i.e. anti-tank weapons. The final decision would be up to President Trump. Russia quit Afghanistan when surface to air missiles started shooting their helicopters out of the air. The United States has many ways to make Russia pay for its naked aggression. The President also announced yesterdaythe sale of 700,000 tons of Pennsylvania thermal coal to Ukraine, displacing Russian coal. President Obama practiced a foreign policy of leading from behind, if not outright appeasement on occasion. President Trump has an activist approach to America’s foreign policy.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Memo to Anthony Scaramucci and General Stanley McChrystal The media is not your friend. “Off the record” is not off the record if it would embarrass you or a conservative administration. It’s only off the record if you don’t say it. The reporters get kudos and awards. You get the boot. Check out Secretary of the Interior James Watt, who got a boot, but kept his job. Memo to Trumpanistas: “The mainstream media is at war with the Trump Administration. It is unconditional war on their part. It will only end if President Trump resigns or is impeached, at which point they will then attempt to destroy President Pence.” Even your friends may reveal your statements. Secretary of Agriculture Early Butz resigned 4 decades ago because John Dean, the disgraced John Dean, published in Rolling Stone Magazine a crude, highly offensive racist joke. Finally, understand that anyone may tape your remarks on a smart phone, any time, any place, even in closed, friendly audiences, such as campaign fundraisers. Memo to Scaramucci, McChrystal, Butz, Romney, Obama, et al, “Zipper Your Lips!” If you can’t zipper your lips, then temper your remarks. You just never know!
Jack Webb in Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Here are the bare facts about bare ass on bare fare Spirit Airlines. An unnamed passenger caught the spirit of Spirit Airlines by barring it all in boarding the airline. No fig leaf No pasties No shame The media won’t report if it is a he or she, so I will prefer to the person as “he/she/it.” He/she/it boarded in Las Vegas for a flight to Oakland. We can safely assume he/she/it is not an Oakland raiders fan. They loudly overdress rather than underdress. We can safely assume he/she/it did not lose its shirt in Vegas because he/she/it was wearing it before embarking and disrobing. Perhaps he/she/it was mistaken about a gig. We can safely assume he/she/it either caught the Spirit of Spirit, which painted “Home of the BARE FARE” on an engine, or the letter of Bare Fare. One must bare it all to get the bare fare. Spirit is known for its cheap fares, its bare fares, but you pay for everything else except one 16” X 14” X 12” carry on, personal bag and oxygen. Spirit would charge for the air if it could. Spirit’s charges are a caricature of the larger airlines’ fees. Want to print out a boarding pass at the airport kiosk, that’s $2. Want a reserved seat, pay for it. Want to sit with your family, pay for reserved seats. Want an upgrade, pay for it Want to check in luggage, pay by the dimensions and weight. How much? Go to Spirit’s “Bag-O-Tron” and prepay No refunds On a family vacation? Bikes, golf bags, skis, scuba equipment are oversized luggage. Pay extra. Want to carry on a bag to stow overhead, pay for it. Thirsty? Buy a drink Hungry? Pay for a snack Want to fly standby, that’s cost you with no guarantees Nothing though in Spirit’s rules of carriage about passengers with lice. Presumably they can come aboard if they are attached to members of the family. Delta kicked the whole family off the plane. Good for Delta! He/she/it proves that what doesn’t go in Vegas may still stay in Vegas But where’s the video?
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The Senate Republicans Have Effectively Advanced the Single Payer Option, and Other ObamaCare Thoughts
The Republicans said give us the House and we can do something. They got the House in 2010 and did little. The Republicans said give us the House and Senate and we can do something. They gained and Senate in 2014 and did nothing. The Republicans said give us the House, Senate and Presidency, and then they could act They got the House, Senate, and Presidency in 2016, and now they would act. Let me rephrase it pursuant to the Kiss Theorem: Give us the House! Give us the Senate! Give us the Presidency! Give up!!!!!! The Senate Republicans rejected all changes to ObamaCare, the single most important factor in the Republican rise over the past seven years. They risk fading into oblivion and meaninglessness, as ObamaCare accelerates the road to implosion. The only solution then with our current healthcare system shattered will be single payer. Single payer can be highly seductive, just as socialism. Get rid of the avaricious insurance companies and let the efficiency of a single payer take over. To see how single payer would work, look to the Veterans Administration. Look to the Indian Health Service, which rivals the VA with poor health service. Look to the Army’s fabled, flagship Walter Reed Hospital, which closed in 2011, because it was physically dilapidated. The single payer will be a large, ever growing federal bureaucracy, protected against sloth and incompetence by civil service rules, and which will be unionized by the next Democratic President. Think of England’s National Health System, which is the largest employer in England, and the fifth largest in the world with 1.4 million employees. The Senators who fought change in 2017 are not up for reelection in 2018. What do they care? Four years is an eternity in politics. They must believe the Republican voters are stupid with short memories. The GOP is the party of the elephant and not the donkey. The Republicans voted in a meaningless gesture for seven years to repeals the reviled ObamaCare. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona ran ads against ObamaCare. Senator Murkowski sponsored several bills to limit ObamaCare. That was then; this is now. Their votes matter now; every vote matters. Hypocrisy; they got cold feet when it mattered. Senator McCain has a reputation as a maverick. He is, but he is also consistent in one respect. He respects the civility, dignity and bipartisanship of the Senate compared to the raucous House. Note to Senator McCain. Those days are history, destroyed by President Obama and then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republicans are criticized for not cooperating with Democrats on their attempts to deal with the Act. The Democrats, having 60 Senate votes in 2010, totally ignored the Republicans in drafting and enacting ObamaCare. It goes back even further. President Obama and the Democrats enacted their Stimulus Bill in 2009, totaling ignoring the Republicans. They didn’t even throw them a bone. Senator Reid further destroyed the decorum of the Senate by eliminating the filibuster on federal judges, except for the Supreme Court. He further limited amendments on bills the democrats wanted enacted. Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain said before the last vote that they could not support the “skinny” Senate proposal as the final bill, but wanted assurances from the House that it would go to conference for changes. Speaker Paul Ryan gave those assurances. Senator McCain voted against it anyway and is now back in Arizona undergoing cancer treatment. Here’s what the Republicans could not even do: Repeal ObamaCare outright? No Repeal and replace ObamaCare? No Adopt block grants leaving more discretion to the states on implementing the Medicaid extension? No Repeal the reviled individual mandate? No Repeal the employer mandate? No Repeal at least the medical devices tax? No They couldn’t pass any measure, fat, lean, skinny to at least get to a House-Senate Conference Committee. The Senate couldn’t even live up to its reputation as the world’s greatest deliberate body. They debated little behind closed doors. The Republicans spent seven years listening to horror stories about ObamaCare: high premiums, high deductibles, limited networks, loss of existing insurers and medical providers. They’d heard the blowback in recent months from ObamaCare beneficiaries who fear losing their existing coverage. Their fears are real, but not realistic. The House Republicans made it clear that the current Medicaid beneficiaries would be protected. The opponents were loud, jamming the Congressional open houses back home. The protests were often organized, as they were during the Presidential campaign. Many Republicans were spooked. Now they’re hearing the blowback from their base, letting them have it. Now they’re facing the threat of President Trump to throw them onto ObamaCare, as I blogged on July 14. The Republicans should have held public hearings with witness after witness telling horror stories reminding the American people of why they detest ObamaCare. A rumor is that Senator McConnell asked President Trump to stay out of the negotiations prior to the votes. I don’t know if that’s true, but if is, then the President have further reason to be upset. Another observation is yet again the false conclusions of the “non-partisan” Congressional Budget Office, which said the skinny bill would cause 14 million Americans to lose health coverage. Absolutely false! See May 26 blog. They count as those “losing” coverage Americans, especially the young healthy Americans, who don’t want ObamaCare, and persons who prospectively would be ineligible if the loosened requirements for Medicaid would be tightened somewhat. Finally, let the American people understand that Medicaid does not = medical care. Providers are increasingly leery of taking Medicaid patients because of the low rates – another harbinger of a single payer system in the United States. Hispanics in san Jose, California have filed suit because they are enrolled in MediCal (California’s version of Medicaid), but unable to obtain coverage. This is what 51 Republican Senators voted to perpetuate!
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The 1960’s and early 1970’s witnessed demonstrations and violence on our campuses, starting with the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in 1964. Anti-Vietnam War fueled most of the subsequent demonstrations, riots and sit-ins, followed by Kent State and Cambodia in 1970. Other causes were the CIA, Dow Chemical, disinvestment in South Africa, and civil rights. Berkeley, Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth, UCLA, Maryland, Indiana, San Francisco State, Kent State, Dartmouth. University leaders were seemingly helpless, although supine is a better word. The great Catholic University of Notre Dame was not immune to the student’s outpouring of rage. The campus experienced demonstrations, sit-ins, and student strikes. Notre Dame’s President Father Theodore Hesburgh led the University for 35 years, guiding it into a great academic institution. Father Hesburgh was sympathetic to the students. He also opposed the war. He believed in academic freedom. He issued a letter on February 17, 1969. His words were clear and simple. He promulgated the 15 minute rule: “Anyone or group that substitutes force for rational persuasion, be it violent or non-violent, will be given fifteen minutes of meditation to cease and desist.” They would then be asked for their ID and face suspension. They would be expelled if they persisted for another five minutes. Decisive leadership! His intent was to preserve freedom of speech and a diversity of expression at Notre Dame in a peaceful manner. The past two years has witnessed a return to riots, sit-ins on our campuses, starting with the University of Missouri, a state with underlying racial issues from Ferguson. Allegations of racism led to protests. The losing football team joined the protests, supported by their coach. Melissa Click, a communications professor, became the public face of the protesters as she was caught on video asking for some ”muscle” to muzzle against a student reporter. The University of Missouri has encountered a large backlash among students, potential students, parents, and alumni. Freshmen enrollment has plunged 35% in two years. Overall enrollment has dropped 7.4%. Faculty have been laid off, dorms closed, and the Republican legislature reducing funding. Professor Click was terminated. The craven response at Missouri was the resignation of the President and Provost, thereby emboldening the left both at the University of Missouri and nationally. Claremont McKenna students last year blocked the entrance hall in which Wall Street Journal columnist and Thomas S. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute Heather MacDonald was scheduled to appear. Ms. MacDonald is a staunch supporter of police and has criticized Black Lives Matter for its anti-police rhetoric and actions. She has published “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.” Social media was used to shut down her event, calling her an “anti-Black Fascist.” Police led her into the near empty lecture hall for livestreaming. Her speech was interrupted by protestors banging on the windows. University President Hiram R. Chodosh promised disciplinary against the demonstrators. The University fulfilled his promise a few days ago. Five students were suspended and two placed on probation. Four of the students were seniors, whose graduation was postponed pending the completion of their suspensions. Four students from other campuses were barred from non-academic activities on the Claremont McKenna campus. Attorney Nana Gyamfi, lead organizer and co-founder of Justice warriors 4 Black Lives, protested: “Universities should be places where students learn about the power and limitation of civic engagement and this completely shuts that down with the hot-button issues of our current time.” She accused the college of “over reacting to a minor incident” with “cruel and unusual punishment.” Civic engagement does not include the right to violent demonstrations and shutting down speakers one disagrees with. The demonstrators had earlier forced on November 132 the resignation of Dean of Students Mary Spellman who had emailed a Latina student during campus protests seeking greater diversity and concerns about “marginalized” diversity students that she would work to help students who ‘don’t fit out CMC mold” I don’t think she meant it the way it was construed, but she resigned in the uproar that followed. By way of comparison to Claremont McKenna we have Middlebury College in Vermont. Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, was scheduled to speak on March 2, 2107. He was met with violent demonstrators who assaulted and battered both him and his faculty interlocutor, Professor Allison Stanger. She suffered a concussion as her hair was pulled and neck twisted. No arrests were made. College President Laurie L. Patton promised accountability while issuing a public apology. The college announced sanctions on May 23 against 67 students. The sanctions raged from probation to written sanctions of the students’ transcripts – in short, a slap on the wrist for violent violence resulting in personal injury. No academic discipline has been imposed against the rioters who shut down Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley on May 2, 2017. The University, the site of the Free Speech Movement, also muzzled Ann Coulter by denying her a reasonable time and place to speak on April 27, 2017. Yale, Ithaca College, Smith, Evergreen State, have also failed to support academic freedom and administrators. This fall promises to be hot, fueled partially by anti-Trump animus, unless other campuses follow the lead of Claremont McKenna making sure consequences follow violent action and disruption of speech. Peaceful demonstrators are appropriate, but stifling debate through violence is unacceptable.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
The Cleveland woman screamed out during the 2012 Presidential Campaign: “Everybody in Cleveland - low, minority - got Obama phone! Keep Obama president, you know. He gave us a phone.” The free Obama Phone! The Lifeline program for free phones goes back to the Reagan Administration with President George W. Bush extending it to mobile phones. President Obama did not in fact start the Obama Phone program, but he extended it. The more that’s free, the greater cost to those working and the greater the diminution of the work ethic for those receiving benefits. The list of often substantial free benefits keeps growing. Cell phones are the least of it; food, housing, medical, and even cash head the list. Why work hard to achieve the American dream when you can get much of it for free? Government’s role was limited, except during war, until the Great Depression and the New Deal. The government promoted economic development and growth. The American ethos was limited government, self-reliance, and hard work. The change from reliance to at least quasi-dependence occurred earlier around 1890 when the Director of the Bureau of the Census announced the Frontier was closed. The early English settlers in Jamestown and Massachusetts always had a western frontier to settle. Wave after wave of mostly European immigrants poured into America as they progressively settled the West. Hundreds of millions of acres were cheap, if not free. The frontier settlers had to be strong and self-reliant to survive. The American people believed in independence and personal responsibility. They had to for survival. (As a side note, I took little note of the Turner Thesis, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” in my American history course in college). The formal end of the frontier was accompanied by the rise of the cities, whose residents could not be self-reliant. They have to rely upon others to supply food, clothing, utilities, protection, transportation, waste disposal, sanitation and public health, which necessitates a growing role for government. The New Deal started the progressive change in government’s role to one of redistribution and dependence with entitlement program after entitlement program. FDR started social security in 1935 pursuant to which many beneficiaries will be able to earn substantially more than they and their employers paid in. Unemployment compensation started in 1932 in Wisconsin, spread to five more states, and then became a federal/state program in 1935 in an expansion to the Social Security Act. The periods of receiving benefits is normally 26 weeks, but is often extended. Social security was further expanded in 1956 during the Eisenhower Administration to include disability benefits. Housing can be free or subsidized for low income residents. Los Angeles is responding to the escalating homeless problem by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on shelters and housing. Portland, Oregon is experimenting with tiny homes for the homeless. Berkeley mandates marijuana dispensaries provide free marijuana for low-income and homeless residents. Lyndon Baines Johnson, a young Democratic Congressman from Texas during the New Deal, followed FDR’s New Deal with his Great Society when he became President. He gave America Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is for seniors and Medicaid originally for those in poverty. Medicaid is free for some, with co-pays and cost-sharing for others, but heavily subsidized. It is one of the fastest growing part of state budgets, squeezing out other programs. The ObamaCare extension offers Medicaid to those with income up to 138% of the poverty level and increased the eligible groups. President George W. Bush added Medicare Part D, a prescription plan, to Medicare. Free medical benefits also exist in a federal statute which requires emergency rooms to treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay. Free food benefits accrue through The Food Stamp Program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Act – “SNAP”), which covers about 46 million Americans in addition to the School Lunch Program, which has been extended into summer and breakfasts. Students are demanding free tuition, realizing that their student loans are not in fact as free as they seemed at the time. Mark Zuckerberg is advocating for a universal basic income of $13,000 per person. Think of a Berkeley student with free tuition, free pot, free or subsidized housing, free food stamps, and $13,000 cash. Free! Free! Free! The days of of struggling college students working their way through college on a tight budget, receiving a basic education in economics and self-discipline are history for many of today’s students. Hard work was the path to success. It still is. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary! It's not free. Harvard students were traumatized by overdue library fines, so now they have free use of books for however long they want. President Nixon gave us the Earned Income Credit. Many of the programs are means tested, directed at the less fortunate in our society, but not all. We end up with about half of Americans (Governor Mitt Romney’s infamous 48%) receiving government benefits, often for free. In addition, every new program creates a new bureaucracy, federal and state, to administer it. Once implemented, a new entitlement is almost impossible to repeal. Government keeps growing. Free quickly becomes addictive to the beneficiaries. An entitlement, once in place, becomes politically impossible to repeal. Free is addictive, even to Republican governors. Yesterday’s failure of the Senate to rein in, much less repeal ObamaCare, is illustrative. Much of the potent political opposition to the Republican’s efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare was by Republican governors who signed onto the ObamaCare extension. It was “free,” hence seemingly free money to the states. The federal and state governments normally share the costs of Medicare with the current ratio about 57% for the feds and 43% for the states. The Medicaid expansion was 100% covered by the feds. Hence, free cash to cash starved states. Many Republican governors rejected the extension because it was 100% free but only for three years. The state’s share will rise to 10% by 2020. The House and Senate proposals would roll back some of the Medicaid expansion The governors squawked. Yet it was their jumping for the free money which puts them in this position. State health insurance laws and requirements imposed compulsory mandates on health insurance coverage. ObamaCare expanded these mandates at the federal level with the Secretary of Health and Human Services authorized to impose additional mandates as essential health benefits. She extended it to reproductive rights. Mandates may seem free to the beneficiaries, but someone is paying for them. It is not the insurance companies which will pass them on. The catch about "free” is that someone has to pay. They impose an increasing tax burden on those working for a living. Government at the federal, state, and local level though a series of large taxes, such as income, property, sales, payroll and excise, as well as a seemingly infinite number of lesser taxes and fees, keeps seeking more funds. National Tax Freedom Day was April 23 this year, the day when American income has covered all federal, state, and local taxes. In short 31% of American’s income went to fund government this year. It is never enough. Free is not free when someone has to pay for we all pay in the end, directly or indirectly.
Friday, July 14, 2017
President Trump may know the Art of the Deal, but he’s not yet a President Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ, both as Senate Majority Leader and President of the United States, was a master politician, who knew how to cajole both Democrats and Republicans in enacting legislation. Former Speaker Nancy and former Senate Majority and Minority Leader Harry Reid were good, but they were no LBJ. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is no LBJ, and neither is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Admittedly, they lack some of the powers of past presidents and Congressional leaders to enforce party solidarity. The Speaker Gingrich House eliminated earmarks, reducing the ability to “buy” Congressional votes. The media will savage President Trump if it was discovered he made threats or express offers to individual members of Congress. He does have one ace in the hole. The ObamaCare statute threw members of Congress and Congressional staffers into ObamaCare and stripped them of their 75% federal subsidy. The statute provides “The only health plans that the federal government may make available to members of Congress and Congressional staff … shall be health plans that are … (i) created under this Act … or (ii) offered through an exchange ….” The language is very clear. The intent was to not exempt Congress from ObamaCare. President Obama in 2013 ignored the express provisions of the statute. He granted a waiver pursuant to which the Office of Personnel Management allowed the members of Congress and their staffers to obtain health insurance in the District of Columbia Small Business Exchange (SHOP). Both Federal and District of Columbia law limits SHOP to small employers with no more than 50 employees. That definitely excludes Congress. President Obama also let them retain their 75% federal subsidy. President Trump should explicitly state that if the Republicans do not carry through their promise to repeal and reform ObamaCare, then he will revoke the illegal Obama Congressional waiver. The media will scream. So what, the American people will cheer. The Hill will erupt with outrage. Americans hate that type of double standard between them and Congress. The House of representatives supposedly represent “the people.” Let them join the people. If ObamaCare is failing, then Congress and its staffers should share in the pain. If they have to feel the pain, then they will act. President Trump should make that threat.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
President Trump’s speech in Warsaw last Thursday should lay to rest any questions about a Russia-Trump collusion in the Presidential Election. Vladimir Putin is not stupid. The eight years of the Obama Administration with the Clinton/Kerry State Department were wonderful for Russian foreign policy and aggression. A President Clinton would have augured more of the same. She started with a botched Reset Button and then approved the sale of 20% of the United States uranium deposits to a Russian company, whereupon the Clinton Foundation and former President Bill Clinton, her husband, received missions of dollars from the Russians. President Clinton gave a speech for $500,000 and $2.3 million flowed to the Clinton Foundation. Indeed, up to $145 million was donated to the Foundation by eight investors in the company when it was sold to the Russians.. The speech as a great speech. We know because the media mostly ignored it, except for complaining about his talking about (Western) Civilization and . President Obama started his Administrational with a global apology tour, followed by appeasement. Putin and Russia complained, so he unilaterally withdrew the missile defenses from Czechoslovakia and Poland. He asked nothing in return, since it was a sign of “goodwill” on his part. Vladimir Putin quickly got the measurement of President Obama. Russia invaded the Ukraine and occupied the Crimea. President Trump offered MRE’s to the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians needed bullets, but received “meals ready to eat.” He was caught on an open mike saying to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on missile defense: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space.” He added: “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” President Trump’s approach is the opposite from President Obama’s. Poland announced on Wednesday, the day before President Trump’s speech, that it was acquiring almost $8 billion in Patriot missiles from Raytheon in the United States. The Polish people heard President Trump’s speech Thursday, loud and clear because President Trump stuck it to Russia. Poland’s historic plight historically is to be stuck between Germany and Russia. Poland has historically been a country on wheels as its boundaries have expanded and contracted and shifted eastward and westward over the centuries. Even at the end of World War II Poland lost its eastern area to Russia, but was given much of Germany’s Prussia in compensation. The Soviets attempted to reconquer Poland in 1920, but the valiant Poles defeated them at the Battle of Warsaw, achieving 19 dynamic years of independence. Germany and Russia, Hitler and Stalin, entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement, also known as the Russian-German Non-Aggression Pact on the night of August 23-24, 1938. A secret codicil to the agreement divided Poland between Germany and Russia. Germany invaded Poland a week later on September 1, triggering World War II. Russia invaded eastern Poland on September 17. Poland was not free again until 1989. President Trump symbolically spoke at the Warsaw Uprising Monument in Krasinski Square. The Polish Uprising is a proud, but sad, day in the history of Poland. The Germans were in retreat against the onslaught of the Red Army. The Polish Home Army rose against their Nazi occupiers in Warsaw. The goal was two-fold: 1) facilitate the entry of the Red Army; and 2) establish Poland as a free country. The home army expected the Red Army to cross the Vistula River into Warsaw. Stalin ordered the Red Army to stand in place. He let the Nazis and Poles fight it out, sapping their strength. The battle ran from August 1, 1944 to October 2, 1944, until a capitulation was entered into. The Poles agreed to surrender. The Nazis agreed to recognize them as prisoners of war. Amazingly, the Nazis essentially adhered to the agreement. The Nazis were ruthless as they suppressed the uprising. They killed any Poles they found, men, women, and children, as they proceeded block by block. An estimated 130,000 were massacred by the Nazis. They evacuated the remaining Warsaw population and destroyed almost all of Warsaw after the Capitulation. Warsaw was a city of rubble. Stalin ordered the red Army to advance after the Nazis completed the leveling of Warsaw. Stalin’s perfidy was not done. Stalin and Beria executed the leaders of the Warsaw Uprising. The Poles cannot forget Stalin because of the “gift” he bestowed upon them, the 778’ tall Palace of Culture and Science, which towers over the Warsaw skyline. Poland opened the Warsaw Uprising Museum in 2004. Polish schoolchildren are bussed to the museum, where they graphically learn of the bravery of the Polish fighters, the Nazi atrocities, and the Russian betrayal. The Poles may not always know who their friends are, but they certainly know the Germans and Russians, especially today the growling Russian bear on the prowl. President Trump spoke to the Polish people Thursday – no diplomatic niceties and broad platitudes. They knew he knew the Russian menace. He recognized: “In 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That’s trouble. That’s tough.” He reminder the Poles, not that they needed reminding, but an acknowledgement by the American President was greatly appreciated, “From the other side of the river, the Soviet armed forces stopped and waited. They watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed the city, viciously murdering men, women, and children. They tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.” He raised the 40 years of Soviet occupation in which Poland and the other occupied countries “endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity … indeed the very essence of your culture and humanity.” He urged the Russia “to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere ….” President Putin may test President Trump, but he understands this American President is the polar opposite of his predecessor, perhaps a little wild, just like President Reagan. Contemnit procellas!
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Seemingly assured of a landslide reelection, Mayor de Blasio is shirking his responsibilities to the people of New York City. His contempt for the NYPD raised its ugly, little head again. The rail system in New York City is deteriorating with a number of accidents and delays. The mayor is gallivanting around America, lining up big city mayors in an anti-trump crusade. Ayn Rand, if she’s looking down with Atlas Shrugged in her hand, will be smiling, saying “I told you so”. Major de Blasio is in Hamburg, Germany. Alexander Bond, a deranged police hating nut job suffering from schizophrenia and depression, assassinated NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia at 12:30AM Wednesday as she was filling out paper work in the cab of a NYPD mobile crime control vehicle in a high crime area of the Bronx. The Mayor said a few words at a press conference a few hours later, and then flew to Hamburg, Germany on Thursday to join the G 20 protestors. The Mayor, who idolatrized the Sandinistas and honeymooned in Cuba, still retains contempt for the police. The NYPD was swearing in 524 new officers on Thursday. The Mayor could have congratulated them on their dedication, their proud service to New York, the long history of the NYPD. He could have warmly welcomed them to the force. He could, but didn’t! He didn’t even leave a formal message to them. His absence was a message. He does not have their backs. The mayor flew to Hamburg Thursday to deliver the Keynote Address at the Hamburg Shows Attitude event, a protest for “democracy and human rights,” and to visit his son in Germany. The Mayor at a press conference in Hamburg blew off a reporter for the New York Post. The Post ran a headline: “AND DON’T COME BACK.” The Mayor, during his campaign four years ago, and after his inauguration, badmouthed the police. NYPD Sergeant Hugh Barry was indicted a few weeks ago for murder in his fatally shooting a woman who attacked him with a baseball bat. Sergeant Barry had the privilege of self-defense to protect himself against deadly force. The Mayor praised the indictment. That was a message to the police. Mayor de Blasio is posturing himself to be the Progressive Anti-Trump. The garbage is piling up on city streets, the trains are derailing, the homeless numbers are growing on the city streets, the streets weren’t cleared over the winter, cops are being killed, and the Mayor is absent. The country, not just New York City, will pay a steep price if the City resorts to its status two decades ago.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Michelle Kelban-Carteron owns a Manhattan condo in the Chelsea Modern complex. Both Michelle and her husband, Gino Carteron, are attorneys. They retained a third lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey, to represent them in a dispute with their condo board. The board issued an eviction notice to Luna, their five year old pet pit bull. Pit bulls were historically a mix breed between bulldogs and terriers. Luna assaulted Kinje, a small Havanese mix, in front of the condo, illustrating why pit bulls have acquired a vicious reputation. The condo lease contains an anti-pit bull clause, which allows the condo board to evict any pit bull or other dangerous dog. Michelle presumably read the contract before signing; she is not only a partner in the large, prestigious Latham & Watkins law firm, but co-chair of its real estate practice. If she didn’t read and understand it, then questions could be raised about her competency. She claims it was a one-time only incident. The board’s attorney says the pit bull has been unruly for a year. The common law holds owners of a vicious dog liable if they knew or should have known of the dog’s vicious propensities. The lore of the common law was that every dog “gets one free bite.” Luna had her bite. In addition, cases establish that landlords, or by analogy condo boards, could be liable if they know of the dangers posed by a dog on the premises, but fail to take steps to minimize the risk. Thus, the anti-pit bull clause in the condo contract. Michelle is not going to let her sleeping, or vicious pit bull, lie on her legal rights. Attorney Bailey is a noted real estate lawyer, who is acting like a pit bull of an attorney. He claims “dog racism” because the breed of pit dogs is being singled out and discriminated against. “Dog racism” is akin to the suit filed a few years ago seeking a writ of habeas corpus for Kiko, a chimpanzee. Admittedly, there’s about a 96% overlap in human and chimp DNA, but animals aren’t protected by the Bill of Rights. The case was tossed fairly quickly without a bone to plaintiffs. Similarly, courts have upheld pit bull bans in communities. Bailey threatens to take his dog racism case to the New York City Human Rights Commission, expecting a prosecution. Lawyers can be creative and ingenious. Michelle had Luna certified after the dog mauling incident as a “service dog” for her husband, who is sung the US Postal Service for allegedly being struck by a postal vehicle while cycling – not the wisest act in Manhattan. Two doctors have recommended that a dog, ergo Luna, be provided for emotional support for Gino, proving that the lawyers have gone to the dogs. Attorney Bailey thereby claims that depriving Gino of Luna would violate the Americans With Disabilities Act: “Unfortunately, they’re putting whatever petty grievances they have, or this [board member] woman has, over the need of my client to have a therapy dog and the welfare of the actual dog, a mixed-breed pit bull, which is very sad.” Every dog gets one free bite. Luna’s next bite could be a child! Now we have a battle between service dogs. Kinje is a certified service dog that visits pediatric cancer patients. Luna is servicing a lawyer.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
“All men are created equal.” Technically, all property owning white men were equal in one sense at the time. All men are created equal in the eyes of the law. The concept that the people would control government rather than the government people, especially the Divine Right of Kings. That government derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” was revolutionary. It still is in much of the world. The Declaration of Independence was a revolutionary, radical document. The signers of the Declaration put their lives, liberties, and fortunes at risk. The British would have executed the signers and seized their fortunes had the Redcoats won the Revolutionary War. Today’s America with its freedoms and opportunities sprang from the Declaration of Independence, but the Declaration by itself was just words. It needed action to have effect. The first step was the approval of independence on July 2, followed by ratification on July 4 of the Declaration of Independence. The 13 American colonies still had to win their independence from Great Britain. The blood of Patriots with the help of France secured independence in 1783 through the Treaty of Paris. 1788 saw the writing of the Constitution followed in 1791 with the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights grants us our freedoms and liberties. The purpose was to protect the people against the government. The critical provision in the Constitution was Article V which allows the Constitution to be amended. The Constitution has thus been able to evolve over 218 years. The War of 1812, technically a draw with Great Britain, solidified American independence. No longer would England, France and Spain covet the American lands. Instead, they started selling much of the territory of the current 50 states to the United States of American. America was on course to American exceptionalism. America was an experiment in unleashing the human spirit and Yankee ingenuity. Flee poverty, oppression, and semi-serfdom in the old country and seek opportunity in the New World. The American people spanned the continent in 241 years from Jamestown in 1607 to the Statehood of California in 1848. They conquered the Eastern Wilderness, the frozen Northern Plains, and the burning deserts of the Southwest. Rivers were bridged, dammed, diverted and tunneled. Mountains were cut, blasted, and tunneled. Wetlands were filled, drained, and dredged. The American people may have primarily been Anglo-Saxon with some Dutch in 1776 and an influx of Ulster Irish. The Native Americans were considered savages and the slaves were slaves. America opened its doors to the peoples of the world. They all became Americans over time. The Civil War freed the slaves and united the country into one republic. It did more though; the Civil War Amendments - 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were construed to extent most of the Bill of Rights to the states and not just the federal government. American history, as with the history of any people, has shameful periods: the Native Americans and slavery, the anti-Asian animus, starting with Chinese immigrants, especially on the West Coast, limited rights for women, periods of xenophobia and racial discrimination. The genius of America, especially but not exclusively through the Constitution and Bill of Rights, has been over the span of 241 years to rectify those wrongs. American have become a people, but not one based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or skin color, but on a culture, ethos, and shared values. Today we bask in the success of the American revolution and the American people; Our Founding Fathers would be surprised, but thrilled to see the United States of today on the 4th: Freedom Independence Equal Rights Under the Law Due Process and the Rule of Law Parades Fireworks Bunting and Flags BBQ’s Picnics Family Reunions Speeches Protests Sales Drinking Joey Chestnut and the Coney Island Hotdog Eating Competition
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Memo to Media and Politicians on President Trump: The First Amendment Works Both Ways and Does Not Provide a safe Space or Comfort Zone for the Media
The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ….” The media has the First Amendment right to print almost anything it wants. It can print fake news, up to a point. It can print garbage and trash. It can be vitriolic and intemperate. It can be caustic. It can question the President’s sanity, call for his impeachment, label him with treason. It can call him sexist and misogynist. All of which they have done with President Trump. They are not bound by journalistic standards. Yet, the First Amendment does not grant immunity from criticism. The First Amendment work both ways. President Trump has a First Amendment Right to respond to the media. He can call them douchebags if he thinks they are acting like douchebags. Much of the media and many Democrats have been on a non-stop Crusade against President Trump, even before he was elected. They have thereby opened themselves up to criticism, criticism as strident as theirs. The First Amendment does not immunize them against responses, even if in bad taste or despicable. The First Amendment does not provide a “comfort zone” for journalists. Media that dish it out should not be surprised to be on the receiving end of criticism. They act like bullies, but then call President Trump a bully when his tweets insults them or others. The conduct, or misconduct, of the media symbolizes the deterioration of civil discourse in the country. The commentators, editorialists, and even reporters are no longer content professionally to critique on the merits and policies. Instead, they engage in personal ad hominin attacks on the President. They attack his character, his judgment, and his family. Morning Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have hurled highly offensive remarks about the President. In one broadcast she wondered if there’s “” a mental problem – or early onset dementia?” She’s also said she thought “he’s mentally ill in a way.” She compared the President another time to Kim Jong-Un, the brutal dictator of North Korea. Morning Joe said “My mother’s had dementia for 10 years. That sounds like the sort of thing my mother would say today.” He’s called President Trump “stupid,” a “jackass,” and a “schmuck” on other occasions. He’s said the President “clearly has a personality disorder.” We’ll told on June 23 that it feels like a “dictatorship” is developing in America. We also hear that] “This is a dark time.” Joe said on April 4 that “something is deeply wrong with this person.” Mika tweeted a photo of a box of Cheerios containing the caption “MADE FOR LITTLE HANDS.” She then commented on a Time Magazine cover of Donald Trump. She said he covered his hands “because they’re teensy,” echoing a statement of Senator Rubio during the primaries. She knew, and intended it to be, a comment on President Trump’s masculinity. She said he “is destroying the country.” Their broadcasts have been incessantly tasteless and classless. President Trump on Thursday tweeted Joe Scarborough was a “psycho” and called Mika Brzezinski “Low IQ crazy Mika.” He said he saw her “bleeding badly from a facelift. She denies the facelift, but admits to having “a little skin under her chin tweaked.” So not a full face lift, but a chin tweak? They responded Friday in an op-ed in the Washington Post. The title was “Donald Trump is Not Well.” Morning Joe said in a broadcast Friday that President Trump “attacks women because he fears women.” Mika said on Friday: “I’m just telling you, Melania’s got the worst job in the country and I don’t think she wants to do it a lot longer. I think she will do it for as long as she has to for her son, and that’s it.” Melania Trump responded with dignity and class: “It is sad when people try to further their own agenda by commenting on me and my family, especially when they don’t know me.” Mika also said President trump “appears to have a fragile, impetuous, childhood ego that we’ve seen over and over again.” The President tweeted on Saturday “Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their show is dominated by NBC bosses. Too bad!” It’s all good for the ratings! I personally like the unofficial Kennedy Family motto: “Don’t get mad; Get even.” I also like the saying “Revenge is best served cold.” President Trump has a different approach. He will not sit back and ignore the attacks, unlike President George W. Bush. President Bush thought it beneath the dignity of the President to respond. The media and Democrats proceeded to destroy his Presidency. President Trump has every right to respond. The media believes it has Freedom of Speech to pillory the President any way it wants, but call it bullying for the President to respond in kind. Critics accused President Trump of acting below the stature of a President; in short, “conduct unbecoming the President.” They don’t mention President Kennedy and his affairs, including a Mafia moll, a White House intern, an East German prostitute, a stripper, Jackie’s press secretary, and two White House secretaries, not to mention Marilyn Monroe, Gene Tierney, Janet Leigh, Kim Novak, Jayne Mansfield, Marlene Dietrich, and Angie Dickinson. JFK’s successor, LBJ, claimed to have had more women accidently than Kennedy had intentionally. President Clinton not only cheated in the White House, but then committee perjury about it. They say the President is acting uncouth, whereas more is expected of him as President. As to couth behavior, let’s look to some of our elected representatives. Senator Kristian Gillibrand at a New York conference asked if President Trump had kept his promises. She answered her own question with a resounding “F (expletive deleted) … No.” She had one F word, two “f…in” words, one “BulllS….” word, one “pissed off” and one “that sucks” in her presentation. Children were present in the audience. Senator Kamala Harris of California also used the F word in discussing healthcare at a San Francisco event: “What the f..k is that?” Outgoing California Democratic State Committee Chair John Burton led the delegates in a “F..k Trump” chant. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said Republicans don’t “give a s..t about people.” He used the S word several times. And of course we have Vice President Joe Biden saying the passage of ObamaCare was “a big f..king deal.” The mainstream media’s goal is to destroy the Trump Administration. CNN has been caught using fake news. They will attack him regardless of what he tweets. If he were to tweet Happy Easter or Merry Christmas, they would jump on him for violating the separation of Church and State. The media attacked him a few weeks ago for his tweets criticizing the Mayor of London after the terrorist attacks. President Trump is a New York streetfighter. He will fight back, giving as good as he receives. The media also asserts the President should spend less time tweeting and more time running the country, which is precisely the one thing they don’t want him to do. MSNBC issued a statement: “It’s a sad day when the president spends his time bullying, lying, and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.” Perhaps, instead of tweeting he could engage in the dalliances of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, or emulate President Clinton’s oral sex in the White House. Then we have President Obama who spent an excessive amount of his eight years out of the White House campaigning and fundraising, golfing, and vacationing. Despite the constant negative media barrage, President trump is governing and his Administration continues to pare back the Obama “Legacy.”
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Margrethe Vestager, an unelected bureaucrat, in her capacity as Commissioner for Competition of the European Union in Brussels, and formerly a career politician in Denmark, announced a €2.4b fine against Google for alleged antitrust violations in the EU. She said Google abused its power by providing its own companies’ companion services at the top of search results. She found Google “has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly, it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice, and innovation.” Its conduct distorted the market. Thus Google’s conduct was illegal under EU antitrust rules. As I understand it, Google is accused of abusing the market it pioneered. Consumers have choices. They choose Google out of their own free will. Significantly, Margrethe Vestager made no showing consumers were injured by Google’s conduct. Nothing prevents consumers from scrolling down the page and flipping pages. Nothing prevents consumers from using alternate sites, such as Bing or Safari. Nothing prevents consumers from going to Amazon. Nothing prevents consumers from checking out EBAY. Nothing prevents consumers from going directly to company sites. Google has 92% of the global search market and 90% of the European market. The complaint against Google was actually initiated by Microsoft, the arch-monopolist in U.S. computer software. Microsoft has failed and flailed against Google with Bing, eventhough it attached Bing to its operating system found on most personal computers. She’s not through with Google. She’s also looking at Google’s Android platform for cell phones, map app, flight pricing, and local business listings. Google is in a bad legal position with its search engine in Europe because of the choice Commissioner Vestager gave it: Change practices within 90 days or pay a daily fine of 5% of Alphabet Company’s (Google’s corporate parent) daily worldwide earnings. The real problem with Google from European eyes is that it’s an American company. She and her agency have animus against American success. A tentative settlement was reached with Google a few years ago, but the EU rejected it. The story is that France and Germany wanted strong sanctions imposed. Europe is scared of the GAFA companies: Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. She is seeking $14.5 billion from Apple in tax penalties for complying with Ireland’s tax laws. Investigations are also proceeding against Amazon and Qualcomm, not to mention McDonalds’s and Starbucks. Google is not the first United States technology company to feel the wrath of the EU. Now will it be the last. 2008 Microsoft €899m 2009 Intel €1.06b 2017 Facebook €110m The problem is the lack of innovation in Europe. About 7 decades of social democracy has rained most Western European countries of entrepreneurism. The disease is Eurosclerosis, a hardening of the economic arteries. France is a classic example. Squeezed by a monolithic bureaucracy, rigid work rules, and powerful labor unions, the economy has stagnated for decades. France’s GDP growth has averaged .79% from1949 to 2017. France’s population is growing an average .6% annually. The French people know it. They elected the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy President in May 2007. He failed. They elected the socialist Francois Hollande President in May 2012. He failed. They just elected Emmanuel Macron, a neophyte politician, President and gave his new party an overwhelming majority in Parliament. The European ethos and Brussels bureaucracy have deadened business initiative. The European countries have missed out on the high tech revolution, the greatest economic boom of recent decades, except for illegal drugs. Presence in mainframe computers 0 Presence in PC’s 0 Presence in software Minimal Presence in social me Essentially 0 Presence in smart phones Nokia was once big in cell phones, now 0 Europe has no Silicon Valley or Route 128 - not even a Research Triangle Square Europe has the brain power, but suffers a brain drain. Where are the European: Paul Allen Marc Andreessen Jeff Bezos Amar Bose Steve Case Michal Dell Larry Ellison Bill Gates Andy Grove William Hewlett Steve Jobs Alan Kay Gordon Moore Robert Noyes Adam Osborne David Packard An Wang Thomas Watson Sr. and Jr. Steve Wozniak Mark Zuckerberg, And a host of others? Margrethe Vestager and the EU bureaucracy are engaged in extortion and thuggery under the guise of law.
Monday, June 26, 2017
If ObamaCare goes under during the Republican Administration and Congress, they will be blamed for it by the Democrats and media If Medicaid fails under the Trump Administration and Republican Congress, they will be blamed by the Democrats and Media for the failure If they repeal ObamaCare or tinker with it, they will be roundly condemned. No matter what they do, they will face opposition in the primaries or general election So just do the right thing – whatever you believe is the right approach. Americans are divided on ObamaCare. Polls, often wrong these days, consistently showed Americans opposed to it, but a recent poll shows only 16% favor the Congressional proposals. Americans did not want it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. I doubt the majority of Americans want it in 2017. Some Republican members of Congress don’t think the House or Senate Bills go far enough in repealing ObamaCare. They call it ObamaLight. Senator Rand Paul will apparently be satisfied with nothing less than total repeal of Obamacare. That will not happen. Of course the republican proposals are ObamaLight; the Republicans face two major quandaries in “repealing” ObamaCare. The first is keeping the current provision on pre-existing conditions, probably the biggest source of economic distress in Obamcare and healthcare in general. Insurers did not cover pre-existing conditions in individual policies for economic reasons. That limitation, along with lifetime coverage limits and pre approvals were the major problems with existing health insurance. ObamaCare eliminates the pre-existing condition requirement. Many of the people rushing into the exchanges are those with expensive pre-existing conditions, which makes eminent sense and is highly foreseeable. It’s politically impossible to terminate an entitlement program upon which millions have become dependent. Pre-existing coverage is a political given, but expensive. The second issue is the expansion of Medicaid. ObamaCare greatly expanded Medicaid by raising the eligibility limit to 400% of the poverty level. Medicaid is an example of a politically popular program headed to economic disaster. It covers about half of all births and nursing home admissions in the United States and is the primary source of coverage of those with disabilities. States control costs by squeezing providers, such that an ever shrinking number of healthcare providers accept Medicaid patients. Escalating demand while restricting supply is a disaster. The only question is when it will implode. Millions of Americans enrolled in Medicaid pursuant to ObamaCare. Once again, these Americans cannot be thrown out of Medicaid without health coverage. Both the House and Senate bills will retain pre-existing conditions coverage and reduce Medicaid over a number of years, but not immediately. In other words, the Republicans are kicking Medicaid down the road. Critical provisions that will provide a boost to the American economy are the elimination of the individual mandate, the repeal of the scores of Obamacare tax increases, and the relaxation of coverage mandates. Medicaid is a drain on state budgets, often the largest expenditure and growing. The initial increase in Medicaid enrollment was covered 100% by the federal government, but it's share is dropping, placing a greater financial burden on the states. The Republican proposals will convert Medicaid into block grants with great discretion in the states in deciding how to allocate the funds. States currently have little discretion, except in squeezing providers. Of course, the demagogues in the Democratic Party are attacking the Republican proposals, echoed by the media. House Minority Leady Nancy Pelosi, with her usual hyperbole, said “We do know that many more people – millions, hundreds of thousands – of people will die if this bill passes.” ‘Millions, if not hundreds of thousands,” of America died before ObamaCare was enacted, during the past 8 years of ObamaCare, and in the future with or without ObamaCare. She also called it “mean and heartless.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said it was “heartless” and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” “Heartless” must be the focus group word of the week. California State Treasurer and aspirant Governor John Chiang said the Senate bill will result in 200,000 in California losing their jobs. Hillary Clinton asserted the Republicans will become the “Death Party” if they enact the Senate bill. Senator Elizabeth Warren called the Senate proposal “Blood money.” She claimed we would pay for the tax cuts with human lives. Her soulmate, Senator Bernie Sanders, called it a “barbaric and immoral piece of legislation.” He was more restrained than Representative Pelosi in estimating the casualty rate from the republican proposals, only asserting “thousands will die.” They are calling the proposals a tax break for the wealthy, such that the sick will subsidize the rich, such that Senator Richard Durbin labeled it a “tax cut for the wealthy.” He compared the Senate draft to the previous House proposal: “Put a lace collar on a pit bull and it’s still a mean dog.” Senator Sanders said the Republican proposals constitute a “massive transfer of wealth from working families to the very rich.” The reality, of course, is that the young and workers are subsidizing the ill and elderly. It’s called the individual mandate. The unsubsidized insured under ObamaCare face escalating premiums, high deductibles, and a limited pool of doctors. The Republicans need to understand that these are dangerous times for politicians; it is not politics as normal. The Republican landslides of 2010, 2014 and 2016 were caused by popular opposition to ObamaCare. Brexit and the election of President Trump further illustrate the vagaries of today’s body politic. 2017 is their chance to slow down, if not prevent, the collapse of the current American medical system. The voters who elected them can just as easily vote them out of office. ObamaCare is the defining legacy of President Obama and the Democratic Congress of 2008-2010. The act was viewed as a step on the path to single payer. The Democratic presumption was that if ObamaCare failed, which it would, then the next step would be single payer. ObamaCare is in a death spiral. The Republicans have two choices: 1) They can suck it up and vote for an ObamaCare replacement; or 2) Be voted out of office in 2018 and await the enactment of a single payer plan, in which case President Obama has won and the American people have lost.
President Trump Signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblowers Protection Act Last Friday
The Veterans Administration in recent years became a national disgrace: poor, non-existent or delayed medical treatment, bonuses and promotions to non-performing administrators and staffer, falsified reports, decrepit facilities, old technology. Veterans died while waiting for medical care. President Obama appointed General Eric Shinseki, former Army Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Veterans Administration on January 20, 2009. President Trump fired General Shinseki on May 30, 2014. General Shinseki failed to solve the VA’s problems and institutional morass, which existed before the Obama Administration. General Shinseki understood the bureaucratic obstacles when he assumed office. He did not resolve them. He couldn’t get past the civil service protections for most of the VA employees. For example, the independent Merit Systems Protection Board recently overturned the punishment meted out to three senior VA executives. Members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican, were outraged by the VA. They considered an accountability act for the VA last year. President Obama threatened to veto it. He was responding to the pressure of the American Federation of Government Employees, the VA employees union, rather than the veterans. He placed public employee unions above the needs of their charges. Donald Trump made a major campaign pledge to reform the VA. That became true last Friday in a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The House of Representatives approved the bill 368-55 on June 13, 2017. The Senate had unanimously approved it on June 6. President Trump signed it on June 23 with very little press coverage. President Trump expressed the sentiments that President Obama could have said: “Our veterans have fulfilled their duty to this nation, and now we must fulfill our duty to them.” Some of the provisions include removing the appeals process for senior executives from the Merit Systems Protection Board and transferring it to the VA Secretary. . Staffers would have only 180 days to appeal their punishment. They will stay off the payroll during the appeals process if they were dismissed from their positions. The grievance procedure has been cut to 21 days. The notice period for removal has been cut to 10 days from 30 days. The standard to remove an employee has been lowered. No bonuses or relocation expenses could be made to staffers found guilty of wrongdoing or abuse. Managers should address poor performance and mismanagement by staffers since this requirement will now be a factor in the VA’s Secretary annual performance plan. The Act will hopefully improve the medical care we provide our veterans. A larger appropriation for medical providers will also help. The Act should also be a warning to the public sector employee unions that they may be losing their power to protect incompetent and venal workers.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Steve Jobs unleashed the IPhone3 on the world ten years ago. Great success in the marketplace can create new industries and opportunities. Capital flows to the winners and away from the failing and flailing companies. Success can also leave in its wake the detritus of failed companies. Civilization improves through the adoption of new technology and ideas. Henry Ford neither invented the automobile nor the assembly line, mass production of cars, but his Model T revolutionized America. It also put the carriage makers and buggy whip manufacturers out of business. It led to highways and suburbs and the demise of downtowns. Walmart’s success has put many retailers out of business. Kmart and Sears did not adapt and are headed into economic oblivion. Thousands more will lose their jobs. Google has shattered traditional advertising. Amazon is hurting traditional retail. Steve Jobs has been one of the greatest innovators of our generation. He and Steve Wozniak in a garage created the Apple computer, which led to the collapse of the large minicomputer manufacturers, Digital (DEC), Data General, Prime, Wang and others, after they in turn took substantial business away from the mainframe computer companies, IBM and the Bunch. Who remembers Burroughs, Univac, NCR, Control Data, and Honeywell? GE and RCA earlier failed in mainframe computers. After the Apple desktops and laptops in their various iterations survived the brutal Microsoft-Pc competition, Apple introduced in 2001 the IPod, a sophisticated MP3 Player. The SONY Walkman became history. Apple’s ITunes allowed the downloading of songs for $.99. The App store allowed independent software programmers to provide apps for downloading onto the Apple devices. The IPod led to the ITouch, a miniature computer with internet capability, including wifi capability and email, a great tool while traveling. The IPhone3, released on June 29, 2007, built on the ITouch, adding the phone service to the pre-existing ITouch features. The days of the dumb phone were numbered, while land lines are disappearing. In addition, pay phones are increasingly hard to find. The IPhone 3 was primitive compared to today’s IPhones, but it took off like Henry Ford’s Model T. Telecommunications will never be the same. Say goodbye to Nokia, Motorola, Siemens, SONY Ericsson, and a host of others, and soon Palm Pilot and Blackberry. Amazon and Microsoft failed in cell phones. The IPhone also included a mapping source and a camera. Future IPhone models substantially improved upon the camera quality and GPS capabilities of the map services. The digital camera on the phone and subsequently IPads shattered the 35mm SLR markets. I still love my digital Nikon phones, but that’s unusual these days. Digital photography sent the once great photo giant Kodak into bankruptcy. The map apps include voice directions. Drivers no longer need separate Garmin or Tom Toms in their cars. (Tom Tom is the basis of the Apple Map app). Traditional map sales are in the tank. The IPhone followed by Google Android phones are miniature computers absent a DVD drive. Apple did not stop with the IPhone. It released the IPad, a tablet, opening up yet another market. The mini computer lacks some of the features of the larger PC’s, but has caused a substantial drop in PC sales. Tablets have become ubiquitous in many commercial operations. All the while during the past decade Apple PC sales continue to grow while the sales of the other manufacturers have dropped. All the while Apple draws upon its cachet to price its products higher than competitors. Consumers, myself included, are willing to pay more for more. Apple hands-on service is outstanding, especially when you have an Apple Store nearby. We have three in Orange County, and have been quite satisfied when we’ve had to use their services. Apple’s products and competitors have revolutionized American society, but have left a trial of failed companies behind. That’s destructive capitalism! Those that couldn’t successfully innovate or respond to competition fell by the wayside. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft could also fail someday.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
How fast perceptions can change in Politics. Just two days ago President Trump was an albatross wrapped around the Republican Party: Russian hacking of the Presidential Election; the Russian Connection; Obstruction of Justice; the constant attacks by late night shows, celebrities, and the media. His polls, already low, were in the tank. Time to impeach or dump the President. The Democrats had high hopes of winning the special election in Georgia 6. They wrapped the President around Karen Hander, the Republican candidate. The Republicans wrapped House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi around Jon Ossoff, as they have in other elections. The Republicans won. Congresswoman Pelosi is toxic in much of the country. Residents of red America don’t like Nancy Pelosi or her San Francisco Values. The young Ossofff was portrayed as Nancy Pelosi’s pupett. A classic republican ad (available on You tube) for Hander had San Francisco “residents” praising their next Congressman, Jon Ossoff, ending with a san Francisco cable car with a big “ad” for Jon Ossoff, next to a peace symbol, and above “San Francisco Congressman.” San Francisco Values don’t play well between the coasts. They also don’t like her. She comes across as arrogant, contemptuous, shrill and snarky. Congresswoman Pelosi has led the Democrats in the House for almost 15 years. She led them to victory and recontrol of the House in 2006. She gleefully pushed through ObamaCare (“We have to pass the Bill to know what’s in it”), and led the House Democrats to defeat in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016, four losses in a row. Yet, she has retained her position as leader of the House Democrats. How? Money. Jesse Unruh, the great California politician, said “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” Nancy Pelosi is a consummate fundraiser, raining money on her Democratic colleagues, $568 million. Just as money can’t always but love or an election, it also doesn’t always buy loyalty. Democrats don’t like losing, having controlled Congress for much of the past eight decades. They don’t like losing when they believed they would win, and she played a major role in the loss. The knifes are out with several Congressional Democrats meeting behind closed doors to discuss her future. Her days are numbered. The Democrats thought they had a real chance of winning because Georgia 6 contains a high percent of college educated graduates. They believe that educated Americans prefer Democrats to Republicans. The elitists believe the uneducated, hayseed, gun-clinging “deplorables” support President Trump and Republicans. President Trump barely carried District 6 in 2016. National surveys showed that voters with a college degree voted 52-43% for Clinton in 2016. Roughly 60% of District 6’s registered voters have college degrees. Ergo, 6 would turn blue from red, in their dreams. They forgot the great Speaker Tip O’Neill’s adage “All politics is local.” They ran a national campaign against President Trump for a carpetbagger in a local Congressional District. They continue to misunderstand “Flyover Country.” Even if the highly educated District 6 voters were lukewarm on President Trump, they did not want to go back to Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats. They don’t share the same values. Then we have the Hollywood celebrities. They were out in force in the primary and general election supporting Jon Ossoff. Campaign contributions rained in from Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Sean Daniel, Connie Britton, Sam Waterson, Kyra Sedgwick, Samuel L. Jackson (also did radio ads), Jon Cryer, Rhea Perlman, Lynda Carter, Sarah Silverman, George Takai and John Leguizamo. Tweets came from Chelsea Handler, Debra Messing, Mark Ruffalo, Kerry Washington, Billy Baldwin, and others. Alyssa Milano even drove Ossoff voters to the polls in the primary. The American people may watch their movies and TV shows, but they don’t like Hollywood values. Nor do they think Hollywood understands Americans who reside outside the Beverly Hills/Brentwood/Malibu cocoon. 7,218 contributions of $200 or more were recorded from California for the Ossoff Campaign. From March 29 through May 31 almost as much came from the San Francisco Bay Area ($220,532.10) as from all of Georgia ($228,474.44). Only 14% of his roughly $24 million campaign funding came from Georgia residents. Even his contributions were carpetbagged into the District. Voters don’t like incessant robocalls, which are political spam. The Ossoff Campaign engaged in a multitude of robocalls. (Side Bar – Congress has exempted political campaigns from the Do-Not Call List). Academicians also contributed to his campaign with month coming from each of the top 15 highly ranked universities, and public universities, such as Michigan. The Georgia 6 voters resented the external elitists trying to buy their seat. The Democratic “Get Out the Vote” effort encountered an obstacle in attempting to contact many Millennials, who were living in their parent’s homes because they either were unemployed or underemployed. If President Obama had spent more effort in growing the economy rather than in a policy redistribution, they might have homes of their own. One mother, in answering a Democratic call for her son, told her son that if he answered the call or voted for Ossoff, then he would immediately be cast out of the house on his own. The Democrats need a new message. Anti-Trump failed nationally in 2016. It failed locally in 2017.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
The Hillary Clinton campaign collectively spent $1.4 billion dollars to lose to Donald Trump’s $958 million. These sums include individual PAC campaigns. Money doesn’t always buy love or elections. An unpopular candidate with a poor message, campaigning skills, and strategy can still lose to a better candidate. She did not lose because of Russian hacking, Russian collusion, the FBI, James Comey, sexism, WikiLeaks, fake news, right wing media, mainstream media, Netflix, the Democratic National Committee, Vladimir Putin, voter suppression in Wisconsin, and Macedonia. She lost because she was the wrong candidate at the wrong time. Jon Ossoff lost Georgia 6 because he was the wrong candidate in the wrong district at the wrong time. About 40 years too late. Georgia 6 has been a strong Republican district since Newt Gingrich first won it in 1979. The Democrats have been seeking a special Congressional election to swing a Republican District to the Democrats. It would be a large morale booster to the dispirited Democrats. It would be a momentum builder. It would provide the game plan first to win back the House of Representatives in 2018 and then the Presidency in 2020 on an anti-Trump platform. It would show a way to divide President Trump from his base. Not Trump! Not Trump! Not Trump! That’s the campaign strategy. The media’s hammering President Trump non-stop. The accusations are relentless. Yet the President keeps coming, just like the Energizer Bunny. Ossoff young, 30, a fresh face, telegenic, an earnest campaigner. He grew up in the district, but now lives outside of it with his fiancé, which makes him a carperbagger. Jon Ossoff – the new face of the Democratic Party – earnest, enthusiastic, energetic! A Bernie Sanders acolyte as the Democrats move to the left. He lost 53%-47%, a wider margin than expected. The polls were wrong again. First Kansas. The Republicans won. Second Montana. A pugilistic Republican won. Today, Georgia and South Carolina. Both Republicans won. The Democrats thought, or hoped, that the moderate, highly educated Republicans in Georgia 6 would reject the Republicans. Donald Trump, the presidential candidate, barely carried Georgia 6 in 2016. Many even believed Ossoff would win. They poured money into his campaign. Total estimated expenditures of the two campaigns are between 54 and $60 million, the most expensive Congressional campaign to date. The Ossoff campaign raised $23.6 million compared to $4.5 for the handel campaign. Outside spending by the Democratic Party and PACs added another $7.6 million to his campaign. However, the Republicans poured another $18.2 million into the Handel campaign. Add them up, the Ossoff campaigners spent about $31.2 million and the Handel campaigners $22.7 million. As with the 2016 Presidential Election, money did not decide the election, notwithstanding the Democratic hysteria over Citizens United. The Georgia campaign on the issues was interesting. Ossoff was stridently anti-trump during the primary, but toned it down during the general election. Karen Handel had the support of President Trump, but did not run with him or against him. Her campaign focused on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is still a negative figure in Red America. Other issues were tax reform, ObamaCare, and terrorism. The shooting House Republican Steve Scalise also played a factor in the outcome. The Republicans claim a real victory. The Democrats claim a moral victory. Which do you want in politics?
Friday, June 16, 2017
Memo to Democrats and the Media: President Trump and the Republicans’ Accomplishments Over the Past Two Weeks The Russian Connection, Obstruction of Justice, Comey, Mueller, and the tragic shooting of the Republicans in Alexandria have sucked the oxygen out of the air. It’s as though nothing else occurred in D.C. this past week. Yet some pundits can’t understand how the President can be so sanguine during this period. He seems unfazed in public despite the relentless academic, media, political, and legal attacks, How can he withstand the massive Trump Derangement attacks, the never ending negative news and blistering media attacks? Why won’t President Trump simply give up and resign? The answer is simple. His Administration, the Republican Congress, and administrative agencies are implementing his campaign promises. One by one, step by step, the Obama Legacy is becoming history. One of the most significant acts was taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, June 5 was to end the diversion of federal settlement funds to private liberal, progressive groups favored by the Obama Administration. For example, the settlements with BP and Transocean over the Macano Blowout sent $2.3 billion to organizations, such as the American Lung Association, Ducks Unlimited, and the National Fish and Wildlife Federation. The defendants have been wiling to enter into these “contributions” to NGO’s because they are deductible as charitable contributions whereas government fines are not. These recipients are not victims of the alleged wrongdoing, but they get to benefit from it. The funds not going to the government should go to the victims, not government favored organizations. I have seen an argument that these settlements violate federal law. AG Sessions’ memo prohibits settlement provisions “that directs or provides for a payment or loan to any non-governmental person or entity that is not a party to the dispute.” Another significant step to protect America was done by the State Department. The Obama Administration kept seeing a rigorous processing procedure was used in vetting refugees into the United States. However, it barred the use of a major measure that could uncover some potential terrorists or criminal’ the use of social media. The Trump Administration approved a new questionnaire for visa applicants. It will ask for social media accounts used over the preceding five years and travel history over the previous 15 years. The Obama Administration through the Department of Education went on a Jihad over the past couple of years against for-profit higher education institutions, putting some out of business. The Administration issued rule making it easier for students at these institutions to write off their student loans. These new regulations were due to go into effect July 1. The Trump Department of Education suspended these rules a few days ago. The Department will now restudy and situation and adopt new rules, which will also be directed at reducing the fraudulent practices of which some of the schools were accused. The House approved 368-55 “The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017.” The Senate approved it June 6. The bill will make it easier to fire VA managers and employees for cause. The Senate approved 97-2 on Wednesday a bill that will toughen sanctions against the Russians. Wednesday was a big day. The Department of Labor rescinded a controversial Obama Administration standard defining when companies, such as fast food chains, can be held as a “joint employer” with a franchisee. The Democrats as fellow travelers who previously had no problem with Secretary Clinton’s Russian reset, and President Obama’s statement that he could do more after reelection, now had no problem now acting against Russia, since it is the lynchpin of their delegitimizing of President Trump. (I hate writing sentences this long and convoluted). Just today, in Little Miami, Florida, he rescinded much of the Obama pact with Cuba. A little over two weeks ago on Thursday, June 1 President Obama announced “We’re getting out “of the Paris Accords. Why is President Trump hanging in there against a veritable tsunami? He is succeeding with his agenda.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
James T. Hodgkinson, a left-wing Bernie Sanders volunteer and supporter, and a crazed nutjob with a long rap sheet, shot up a Republican baseball practice this morning. He severely wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner, Congressional aide Zach Barth, and lobbyist Matt Mika were also shot. He had previously posted on Face Book “Trump is a traitor. Trump has destroyed our democracy. It’s time to destroy Trump and Company.” He did not think of those thoughts on his own. This year has seen the politics of personal destruction reach a new low, dropping into the sewer of politics. The tone of debate has been deteriorating for years. Let’s not blame it on Democrats or Republicans. Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate this year that said nasty comments about opponents. Hillary Clinton often took the low road while professing to stay on the high road. Politics is a blood sport. Presidential elections can take rhetoric and dirty tricks to unacceptable levels because so much is at stake. This year though did not see the vitriolic end on election day. Instead, it has escalated against President Trump. Illegitimate, impeach, resist, treason have become the watchwords of the leftwing of the Democratic Party. We’ll told to “Resist” and “Fight Back.” Hillary Clinton says she’s setting up a “Resistance” PAC. “Traitor” and “treason” have joined the everyday lexicon. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times have led the mainstream media parade in daily drips of anti-Trump rhetoric, anti-Trump-all the time, 24-7. It’s time to back off, relax, take a deep breath, exhale, It’s time to engage in critical analysis. Reasoned debate is leaving the academy and society. Celebrities have taken low comedy into the swamp. Madonna has thought of blowing up the White House. Kathy Griffin held up a gory decapitated head of Donald Trump. New York’s Shakespeare in the Park is playing Julius Caesar. That’s art. Caesar is assassinated. That’s history. They’ve updated it to modern times; that’s poetic license. The Bard’s plays aren’t copyrighted. Their version of Julius Caesar portrays Donald Trump as Caesar, yellow hair, red tie, and a Slovenian accented wife. That may be protected Free Speech, but it’s outrageous. Progressives, such as the LA Times Michael Hiltzak, have criticized Bank of America and Delta Airlines for withdrawing their financial support of Shakespeare in the Park. He would have been apoplectic if President Obama had received this treatment. Let us not forget the academics, the molders of the minds of our students, promoting intolerance on our campuses. Professor Lars Maischak tweeted President Trump “should hang.” He also wrote that two Republicans should be executed for every deported immigrant. Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox called President Trump “a white supremacist” and the election as an “act of terrorism.” Her colleagues were so pleased with her statements that they voted her faculty member of the year. Professor Ray Michalowski of Northern Arizona called the President “the racist in chief.” Professor Thomas Chung, a professor painting at the University of Alaska Anchorage, displayed a painting with Chris Evans, Captain America, holding up President Trump’s decapitated head, by his hair. The lack of reasoned discourse and freedom of speech on our campuses will test our democracy. Violence did not begin this morning. The past year has witnessed not only threats but also physical violence directed at conservative speakers on our campuses, conduct which far exceeds protected peaceful picketing and demonstrations. Let us remember that protestors were hired during the general election to disrupt Trump rallies. No one statement or act led to this individual act of violence. Collectively they create a tone and atmosphere inciting violence, often by nut jobs. Left wing violence, right wing violence, they’re out there. Don’t feed them red meat. My concern is also based on history. Weimar Germany experienced increasing acts of street violence and riots between the Communists and Nazis before the Nazis came to power. Violence begets more violence. We need to back down from the uncivil discourse.