Saturday, April 29, 2017
Always remember President Trump’s major campaign pledge to the American people: “Make America Great Again.” He wants to restore America’s economic, military, and foreign policy greatness. He started with appointing strong, successful cabinet officials. The media tells us President Trump has been an abject failure in his first 100 days. CNN surveyed its correspondents. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm led off the parade. The former liberal Democrat Michigan Governor, who ran Michigan into the ground in 8 years, and then promptly fled Michigan for Berkeley immediately after her term ended, rated the President a solid “F.” She said President Trump’s “honeymoon is the worst we’ve seen in modern times” and “Divorce … can’t come quick enough.” Van Jones, the leftish commentator, graded President Trump a solid “F-“. President Trump has succeeded, if nothing else, not only by surviving but also persevering despite a relentless venomous attack by the media. They couldn’t destroy him in the general election. They won’t do it now. From their perspective, he either fails, as with not repealing ObamaCare, or by not doing anything. The Wall is not built. Tax reform will be dead in the water. His travel ban and sanctuary city orders were stopped by federal judges. Thus he is an empty suit or blowhard by their measurement. President Trump faced an incredible handicap in his first 100 days. He is trying to clean up the 8year mess left by President Obama, the Obama Administration, and Obama’s “independent” agencies. He can’t overturn 8 years in 100 days. If President Trump does nothing, he will still be better than President Obama, as would have a President Romney. If President Trump does nothing, he will still be better than Secretary Hillary Clinton. The true legacy of FDR’s first 100 days was changing the atmosphere in DC and America during the depths of the Great Depression. President Trump is changing the current atmosphere in America. He is restoring the spirit of American Exceptionalism, not-withstanding the media, the academic left, and Hollywood. Remember, “Make America Great Again.” Washington is a deep swamp; it will not drain in 100 days. President Trump has actually accomplished more than his predecessors since FDR in the first hundred days. What has he done? Judge Neal Gorsuch, a strong conservative, was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 90 days. The judicial filibuster on Supreme Court justices was abrogated, thanks to Senator Harry Reid. The Keystone Pipeline was approved. The Dakota Access Pipeline was approved. He ended the War on Coal and the War on Guns. President Trump recognizes the American economy and life style is based on cheap energy. He restored our historic relationship with Israel. He scuttled the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Trump got Canada and Mexico to agree to reopen NAFTA. He imposed a 20% tariff on Canadian lumber. President Trump knows where his base is. President Obama governed partially through executive orders. President Trump has already rescinded several of the Obama executive orders, with more to come. He rescinded the Obama Executive Order barring off-shore drilling in the Arctic (115 million acres) and Atlantic (3.8 million acres). That will not start the drilling, but it unfreezes the process. President Obama in his final months pursuant to the Antiquities Act of 1906 designated two national monuments, the 1,351,849 acres Bear Eyes National Monument in Utah and the 296,937 acres Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada. The Bears Eyes National Monument was especially controversial, being opposed by Utah’s political leaders. President Trump directed Secretary of the Interior to review the status of all national monuments over 10,000 acres in size created since January 1, 1996. No President has ever rescinded a national monument, and no case law exists on the issue. If President Trump rescinds or reduces one of these monuments, a monumental legal battle will ensue. President Trump early initiated a freeze on federal employment. Both the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency are seeking to cut thousands of jobs in their agencies. The President also seeks a 1/3 drop in the EPA’s budget. He’s directed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to revisit the “waters of the United States) (WOTUS) rule, and the EPA to redo the Clean Power Plan, especially carbon dioxide emissions levels. He’s addressing the VA debacle. The fate of the Paris Accords is still in the air. The mpg requirements for the auto industry are also under review. He ordered to eliminate two existing regulations for every new one they issue. He reasserted a strong American foreign policy. The cruise missiles in Syria and moab (the Mother of All Bombs) in Afghanistan told the world America is back. His foreign policy is based on strength rather than apology and appeasement. He is reasserting American leadership in the world. President Trump does not lead from behind. He is reviving the Reagan program of rebuilding the American military. He unleased Governor Nikki Haley on the United Nations, much to the consternation of the State Department curia. President Trump, allegedly the “Russian candidate” and the ”good friend of Vladimir Putin” has chilled relations with Russia while warming up to China. He is releasing the yoke on American business. The FTC is in the process of rescinding the “Net Neutrality” Rule. He continues to fight the export of American jobs to Mexico and overseas. He is restriction the H1B Program to stop the discrimination against American jobs. The Wall is not built, but illegal immigration is down about 70% along the Southern border. ICE is back to both deporting illegals committing crimes, despite the opposition of sanctuary cities and states. The 100 Day benchmark, which goes back to FDR’s classic 100 Days, is deceiving, FDR measured by legislative days, not calendar days. The Republican Congress with President Trump’s signature has reversed to date over a dozen Obama Administration regulations pursuant to the Administrative Review Act, with more to come. President Trump showed in his business career that he gets things done. President Trump still has many days to go. Making America Great, Again
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
President Trump's Problems with the Ninth Circuit: An Alternative Theory; He Angered the Brethren by insulting Judge Curiel
President Trump’s Problem With Ninth Circuit Judges: An Alternative Theory President Trump is getting skewered by federal district judges in Seattle, Hawaii, and now San Francisco as well as the Ninth circuit. The ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit is judicially trashing the Trump Administration. The judges either did not read or consider the law, the statutes, or precedence. Judge Robart in Seattle and Judge Orrick in San Francisco looked outside the record to consider campaign statements by candidate Trump in striking down the immigration and sanctuary cities orders. That is not judicially appropriate! The district judges know their anti-trump decisions will almost automatically be affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit appellate judges know the Supreme Court cannot hear all their bad decisions. Even if reversed, the preliminary injunctions will stay in effect for years. Just blame it on the liberal justices. Let me suggest that another reason is also behind their anti-Trump animus. It goes back to law school at the University of San Francisco in the late 1960”s. The Jesuit USF was considered a “local” law school in the vernacular of the times unlike the prestigious national law schools. We were taught the law rather than policy. We learned about the Courthouse and not White Shoes. We also knew that our future was not in the Wall Street firms. Heller Ehrman, Brobeck, and Thelan, now all defunct, would not interview us. That was fine; we learnt the law. Several were destined to become incredible trial lawyers. Thus, we were also taught the realities of practicing law. One was that when you tried a case outside your jurisdiction, be sure to retain local counsel to sit at counsel’s table. Else you will be home towned. The second lesson was that judges were a “fraternity,” now a “fraternity and sorority.” They stick together. Even if initially appointed to the bench, California judges must stand for reelection. Except for the state Supreme Court justices, the elections are contested. The lesson was “Don’t run against a sitting judge, unless you expect to win.” Otherwise the judges will consistently rule against you. The problem President Trump faces with the federal judges on the West Coast is that he “took” one of them out during the election. Federal District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, sitting in San Diego, issued rulings against the Trump defense in the Trump University litigation. Donald Trump was unhappy with these rulings. Judge Curiel is a second generation American of Mexican descent. He was born, raised, and educated in Indiana – a Hoosier. Candidate Trump said of Judge Curiel at a May campaign rally in San Diego: “This [case] should have been dismissed on summary judgment easily. Everybody says it, but I gave a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump. He is a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel …. “We are in front of a hostile judge. The judge was appointed by Barack Obama …. “So what happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe Mexican, which is great ….” Candidate Trump continued in this vein in the upcoming days. He asserted Judge Curiel had an “absolute conflict” because of his Mexican heritage: “Let me just tell you. I have had horrific rulings. I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK? I’m building a wall.” He alluded to Judge Curiel being in La Raza. Donald Trump was roundly criticized for his comments about Judge Curiel. Must people have forgotten these statements from 11 months. I believe Judge Curiel’s brethren in the Ninth Circuit have not. It's not a conspiracy of the judges - just the ethos and mores of the Bench.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Scott van Zyl disappeared last week on a hunting safari in Zimbabwe. The South African hunter was accompanied by a Zimbabwe tracker and a pack of dogs. They left their pickup track and went in opposite directions. The dogs returned hours later without van Zyl. The tracker tracked van Zyl’s tracks to the bank of the Limpopo River. He found a backpack and several large, well-fed Nile crocodiles. The 44 year old van Zyl operated a hunting safari company, SS Pro Safaris, specializing in exotic trophy kills. He marketed the company to wealthy trophy hunters. $9,000 would get you a safari to hunt seven species. His web site mentioned lions, leopards, rhinos, antelopes, buffalos, wildebeests, and zebras. It also alluded to elephants and giraffes. The company’s slogan is/was “Stop whining; Go hunting.” Nile crocodiles are a perfect killing machine. They harken back to the age of the dinosaurs with little evolution. They eat anything they can catch, hundreds of humans a year, 4 in Zimbabwe in March alone. Van Zyl forgot the maxim: “Don’t go near the water.” Zimbabwe investigators got permission to shoot the well-fed crocodiles. Van Zyl’s remains and DNA were found in the bellies of two of the crocs, a veritable croc corpus delicti. We have the making of a National Geographic or Discovery Channel Special: “Hungry Crocs Eat Hunter: The Predator Becomes the Prey.” Alas, at least three crocodiles were killed in the CSI search for van Zyl. Alas, no live coverage exists of the fabled, crocodile roll of van Zyl as they ripped his body apart. No problem; they can simulate it! The pain on van Zyl’s face as he realized he was the victim of poetic justice would have been a priceless photo, worthy of an award. The hungry crocs would be the stars of the special. Today’s graphics allow a celebratory army of antelopes, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, leopards, lions, rhinos, wildebeest, and zebras, cheering on the crocs in the demise of the trophy hunter. They could give points on the quality and style of the kill: a perfect 10 points for a quick roll with little splash.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Ann Coulter, the University of California Berkeley, and Free Speech Ann Coulter is a lawyer and polemicist. Some will call her a provocateur. She is quite outspoken in her conservative views. She arouses strong feelings. Ann does not believe in safe spaces and trigger warnings. She accepted an invitation from the Berkeley Young Republicans and the Young American’s Foundation to deliver a speech at the University of California Berkeley on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Milos Yiannopoulous, another outspoken conservative, spoke at Berkeley last February. Riots occurred outside his speech, fueled by Antifa (Anti-fascists), a group of bullies, goons, and thugs in the greater Berkeley area. The University incurred about $100,000 in damages. Berkeley’s Mayor Jessie Arreguin apparently told the police to stand down in the Antifa riots. The results were a small version of the Baltimore riots when the police were ordered to stand down. University officials quickly cancelled Ann Coulter’s appearance for “safety reasons.” They claimed to have “legitimate concerns and credible evidence that it will jeopardize the safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors.” They said they feared for her safety. She said she was coming anyway. They then reconsidered and said she could come on December 2 during midday at a science hall far from the central campus. December 2 is perhaps just coincidentally during “dead days” when students are studying for exams. Attendance would probably be low. Sproul Hall is usually the foci of demonstrations and protests at Berkeley. If the threat of violence from Antifa and their fellow travelers is legitimate, then it wouldn’t matter when or where she appeared. The risk exists on either November 27 or December 2, day or night. The Berkeley administrators joined others continuing to be cowed by the alt-left demonstrators and protestors. They are inherently biased against the outspoken conservatives, and hence eager to downplay the free speech rights of the conservative speakers by banning them. The muzzling of conservatives on campus is escalating as alt-left militants threaten violence. Heather MacDonald at Claremont-McKenna, Charles Murray at Middlebury, Ben Shapiro at UCLA, and the list goes on. The supine administrators make no action to bring criminal charges or disciplinary actions, including expulsion, against the academic nihilists, academic Neanderthals, and snowflakes, thereby emboldening their behavior. Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, had no problem with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the vicious anti-Semitic, former President of Iran, from speaking on campus. Sadly, the only recourse may be what happened last week at Auburn. The Auburn administrators cancelled a speech by Richard Spencer, a White nationalist. He got a court order against the university, requiring them to allow his presentation. The judge said that there was no evidence that Spencer advocates violence. Ann Coulter may be strident, but she also does not advocate violence. I say sadly, but it may be the only recourse. A lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 is always a possibility against a public university. Remedies include attorneys’ fees and costs of suit. It would be best if the offending college officials were individually named as defendants, and then subject to rigorous discovery, including depositions. College officials might act differently when they realize they could be subject to personal liability. University regents and trustees will not turn a blind eye to large judgments because of violations of the free speech rights of speakers.
Once upon a time, in an era not long ago, the role of judges was to enforce the law and follow the Constitution. Our democracy is based on the rule of law, and not the rule of man. Then came the Warren Court, which turned the Supreme Court into a judicial legislature. The Constitution evolved into a “living constitution,” which would be molded to fit the social views of the individual jurists. “Social justice,” as defined, interpreted, and applied by progressives will become the leitmotif for judges. Some conservative Supreme Court justices succumb to Potomac Fever and become progressively liberal. Justice Kennedy is an example. He sojourns in Salzberg, Austria during the summer He is imbued with European social justice and believes international law and foreign law should be used in interpreting our constitution. European social democracy is failing the people of Europe. The framers of the Constitution rejected much of European law in drafting the Constitution. The Constitution posited a government of limited powers. The Bill of Rights is intended to protect the rights of the people., Today, judges are no longer be appointed on their judicial expertise and impartiality, but rather on their political views. Judicial appointments became partisan appointments after Senator Kennedy Borked Judge Robert Bork. The Democrats increasingly turned to the courts to advance their political goals unachievable through the political process. Republicans responded at both the state and federal level by seeking conservative appointments to the federal courts. State judicial elections have become pitched battles with out-of-state money pouring into the races. The wishes of the President on appointments cannot always be followed. Senate confirmations under the unwritten rules of the Senate can be vetoed by either Senator of the state in which the judge is to appointed and confirmed. Take the Ninth Circuit for example. California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii each have two very liberal Senators. Thus the Circuit judges and district court judges will be overwhelmingly liberal, whether appointed by a Democratic or Republican president. The Ninth Circuit was the most conservative when I was in law school. It has increasingly become the most liberal and likely to ignore the law and rewrite the Constitution. Judge James Robart and the three Ninth Circuit appellate judges could thereby ignore the Constitution, statutes, and precedence in tossing President Trump’s immigration ban. Judges are human. They are subject to the same emotional response as the rest of us, but are supposed to present an aura of judicial impartiality, such that the public can continue to respect the judiciary. The American people have jaundiced opinions of presidents, governors, and legislators. The judiciary should not lose the respect of the people. Judges can be activists, but most know to couch their opinions in judicial legalese. Arkansas Judge Wendell Griffin, an ordained Baptist Minister, is a prime example of a judge stepping over the line and letting his biases and prejudices blatantly show outside the courtroom for all the public to see. Capital punishment is a major social issue today. Arkansas announced it was planning to execute two death row prisoners within a few weeks. Judge Griffin issued an injunction staying the execution of eight of the defendants. He claimed it was a matter of pure property law. A supplier of one of the drugs to be used in the execution claimed the State of Arkansas was misusing the drug. He ruled, he said, purely as a property matter: “My job as a judge was to apply property law to the facts presented by the verified complaint and decide whether the medical supplier moving party was likely to succeed on its property law claim for return of vecuronium bromide.” He was most likely wrong, but that could be reversed on appeal. The problem is what he did after his decision. He went to a Good Friday anti-capital punishment demonstration and lay on a cot for 1½ hours, professing to be an executed dead man. Judge Griffin blogged: While the world meditates about divine love, forgiveness, justice, and hope, Arkansas officials plan to commit a series of homicides.” He turned his opposition to capital punishment into a political statement, which brings discredit and disrespect on the judiciary. The Alabama Supreme Court has stripped him of his power to decide capital punishment cases. Several Arkansas legislators have called for his impeachment.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
So, Jon Ossoff, the Democratic carpetbagger in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, did not win out Democrats were salivating! The mainstream media was cheering him on. $8.3 million poured into his campaign from out of state, 95% from outside Georgia. Hollywood was backing him. Jon Ossoff, the 30 year old, telegenic Democrat was touted to be the first Democrat to win the Congressional seat in 4 decades. Newt Gingrich held the seat. Senator Johnny Isakson held it. Secretary Tom Price recently vacated it to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. The media was hyping an Ossoff victory as a rejection of the Trump Administration. President Trump had barely carried the district by 2% while Congressman Tom Price won reelection by 23%. The media focused last week on the Kansas special election for the House. The Republican candidate won that election. The media thereupon dropped coverage of that race, as if it never happened, and moved to Georgia. The problem for the Democrats and media is that their only message is the failed Hillary Clinton campaign theme: “I’m not Trump.” His media campaign was “Make Trump Furious.” They lack a positive message, just as they did in 2010, 2014, and 2016. The Republicans control 33 governorships, 32 state legislatures, and both houses of Congress. Democrats need a message to overcome the Republicans. They threw a 30-year novice into the breach. They mounted a strong ground campaign. They brought in Hollywood: Samuel L. Jackson, Chelsea Handler, Debra Messing, George Takei, Alyssa Milano. The election was heralded as a referendum on Trump. The Democrats and mainstream media were ready to celebrate the early demise of the Trump Administration DOA on Day 87. Ossoff failed. He won 48.1% of the vote. Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel, received less than 20%. Georgia though is one of the states which require the winner to receive 50% plus one vote. Else there will be a runoff between the top two finishers. Ossoff received 92,370 votes, but the 11 Republicans in the race garnered 97,937 votes. He’s gearing up for the June runoff, but he’s toast. The Democrats propped up a young Millennial with a fresh face to reflect a new face for the Party. He carried the same old “I’m not Trump” message. He’s had his 15 minutes of fame. He couldn’t even vote for himself since he lives outside District 6. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota specifically asked him on election day: “Is it true you cannot vote for yourself?” He sounded like a politician, not a fresh face in his answer: “I grew up in this district. I grew up in this community. No one knew there was going to be an election. I have been living with my Alicia my girlfriend of twelve years down by Emory University where she is a full time medical student. As soon as she concludes her medical training I will be back in the district where I grew up., but I want to support her and her career and do right by her.” Alisyn repeated the question, essentially asking for a direct Yes or No. He again responded: “I am a mile and a half down the street to support Alicia while she completes medical school. It’s something I’ve have been very transparent about. I am proud to be supporting her career. As soon as she finishes her medical career, I will be ten minutes back up the road where I grew up.” In other words, he’s just another political opportunist And a carpet bagger.
Monday, April 17, 2017
President Erdogan and his AKP Party won the Turkey referendum to reform the Turkey Constitution by 18 articles. Turkey will now become a Presidential Government with President Erdogan able to stay in office until 2029. He won because he had to. He won narrowly, 51.4% to 48.6%. He won because he controlled all the media. He won because he has used the past 6 months to chill the opposition. He won, or did he? Was the count fair, or was there voting fraud? The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) questioned the election. It found “an unlevel playing field” and ‘not equal opportunity.” It said the vote "fell short of adherence to international standards." Was the count fair, or was there voting fraud? Election observers were barred from monitoring the vote. Was the count fair, or was there election fraud? The rules were changed on counting ballots during the election. The rules required ballots to be stamped when submitted to minimize fraud. About 1 million ballots, almost the margin of victory, were stamped after submission. A person who will suppress the press, jailing more members of the media than any other country, will not hesitate to stuff the ballot box. A person who has imprisoned or purged 145,000 judges, lawyers, teachers, police, professors, military, and soccer players. will have no problem rigging the election. A person who stripped opposition legislators of their legislative immunity is not concerned by the nuances of democracy. A person who closed schools and opposition newspapers will not tolerate dissent. A person leading a war against the Kurds in Turkey and Syria will have no qualms about suppressing their vote. He lost the vote in the three largest cities of Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir as well as the Kurdish homeland, but he still won, He polled 85% in much of Anatolia and along the Black Sea Coast. His victory may have been narrow and unexpectedly low, but he won. Fairly? The main opposition party is demanding a recount of 60% of the vote. They won’t get it. He does it all in the name of religion. He serves Allah, but he and his family have been enriched in office. He blames it all on the Gulen Movement, the Crusader nations of the West, the Kurds, the Nazi nations of the West, you name it. His response to the election results was to claim at the Ankara Airport that he won despite the attack by nations with the “Crusader Mentality.” He also called for a new referendum on restoring capital punishment to Turkey. He is vengeful and vindictive, but has a right to be so. The military imprisoned him when he was Mayor of Istanbul, and then tried to overthrow him in a bloody, abortive, incompetent coup last July. The tragedy for the world is President Erdogan and Turkey have tremendous leverage. The secular Turkey was a critical stalwart of NATO because of its location during the Cold War. Today’s Turkey is critical to the stability of Europe because it controls the spigot of Syrian refugees to Europe. President Erdogan built his support on the twin base of Islam and economic development. Istanbul was a basket case when he became Mayor. He turned it around. He fostered economic development as Prime Minister of Turkey. The economy grew at a 10% annual rate. The cities were booming. Turkey is becoming an economic basket case. The fabled Grand Bazaar is empty of customers; shops are closing The Turkish Lira is tanking. The tourist industry is moribund. His purges have struck the professional class and the middle class. His military adventures against the Kurds and in Syria are draining the economy. His fights against both Kurdish and ISIS terrorism, albeit necessary, are further sapping public morale. But he is winning. To a great extent the referendum simply formalizes the powers he has already accrued under the successive “states of emergency” imposed in the aftermath of the failed coup. One of the 18 articles grants the President the power to unilaterally declare a state of emergency. The government is planning to issue an extension of the current state of emergency, which expires later this month. Another article will make him President for Life, albeit not in those words. It provides the President can serve two successive terms of five years with the possibility of a third term, all taking effect after his current term expires in 2019. He’s 64 now. He can be President of Turkey for another 17 years until 2034. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I probably shouldn't publish this blog, but so be it.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
United reinforces our dislike for flying. View flying today as being crammed like sardines into an elongated aluminum cigar tube. We recognize that’s the tradeoff for low fares and the freedom to travel almost anywhere in the world in a short time. We expect the airlines to treat us with respect. Every service business should treat its customers with respect. It risks going out of business if it doesn’t. Think of the retailers, large and small, who died or are dying due to poor service. We will even put up with nickel and dime fees for luggage, upgrades, entertainment, food, changes to schedules, and even talking to live operators. We realize that flights can be delayed or cancelled. Flying can be stressful. We love getting there, and look forward to returning. It’s the hassles of travel that are stressful. We may get lucky or unlucky with our involuntary seatmate. Just treat us with respect. Many of us created personal “Do Not Fly” lists. My two never fly again airlines were U.S. Air and Northwest. U.S. Air may have changed its name, but it remained Agony and Useless Air. Northwest was Northworst. United was my primary carrier for two decades. I racked up about 1 million frequent flyer miles on United. We took the family from Massachusetts to Kauai in first class on frequent flyer miles in 1994. United was good to me. That was then. Delta was my secondary carrier. Delta and United gradually changed positions as United’s service progressively deteriorated over the past two decades. The United pilots, flight attendants, and agents were usually friendly, but they could work only so many miracles with poor service. Delays were common and luggage late. On-time rates were usually the lowest in the industry. The last time I flew United was a few years ago. They took off from San Francisco to Orange County a few hours late on a clear day. It’s now Southwest for me within California. The 2010 United merger with Continental Air Lines promised relief to flyers. Continental, rising like a Phoenix out of bankruptcy, was soaring in the marketplace. Its great service was highly appreciated by frequent flyers. The Continental management would take over the merged airline. Thus, great management would restore United to its preeminence, That was the theory. The reality is that United’s poor service survived the merger. Indeed, for six years the flight attendants from the two airlines had separate contracts until a short time ago. Only United flight attendants could fly the former United planes and Continental attendants on Continental planes. Three reasons why Americans are outraged at United. First, it was captured on cell phones. We all saw the innocent bloody and bruised passenger being dragged out of the plane. Police officers and service workers should understand that a high risk exists of being captured on video if they screw up. It only takes a few seconds to go viral. Second, we empathize with Dr. David Dao because we can visualize ourselves in his position. Third, United’s response compounded the mishandling of the situation. United’s CEO Oscar Munoz’s first response was that United had the right to do it. All you have to do is read the 46 pages of fine print carriage rules to know that. United is now on apology number four, vowing it will never happen again. Maybe! United will be a case study in how not to both create and respond to a problem. We now learn that Dr. Dao was not involuntarily removed because the flight was overbooked. It wasn’t. It was full, but not overbooked. Four crew members dead heading to Louisville to crew a flight the next morning showed up after Dr. Dao’s flight was loaded. Their earlier flight to Louisville was cancelled for mechanical reasons. If they didn’t make it to Louisville that night, then that morning flight would be cancelled, costing United, technically Republic Airlines and United, money and grief the next morning. Now it is going to cost United millions of dollars in costs and legal settlements. Dr. Dao has hired a great Chicago trial lawyer to represent him. More has come out about United’s poor customer relations. An almost similar incident occurred two weeks. An Irvine financial manager paid the $1,000 full fare to fly first class from Kauai to Los Angeles on United. He was seated, sipping on a complimentary orange juice, when a gate agent rushed on board and told him to get off because they needed to give his seat to someone more important. United threatened to put him in handcuffs if he didn’t comply. Just a few days ago a scorpion fell out of an overhead luggage bin and stung a passenger. And check out the United Airlines YouTube video of breaking guitars. That was the infamous video United was known for prior to Dr. Dao. United better hope the worse is over.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Hillary Clinton is Still in Denial About How She Lost to Donald Trump: Is it Misogynistic, Deplorable White Women?
Hillary Clinton is Still in Denial About How She Lost to Donald Trump Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still can’t believe she lost the Presidency to Donald Trump. Thus, she still cannot understand how she lost to him. She lost because Hillary is Hillary. Introspection is not a Hillary Clinton virtue. She thinks she lost because of the Russian hacking, the Wikileaks email leaks, FBI Director Comey, and misogyny. America was not, in her mind, ready to accept a woman as President. She said “certainly, misogyny played a part.” She added “Some people, women included, had real problems” with a female candidate. Prior to 2000, It was inconceivable that America would elect an African American as President. Whites voted for him rather than her. Were the American voters misogynist when they went for Senator Barack Obama, an African American, in 2008 rather than her, a white woman? No, they chose the better candidate. Her arrogance and disdain for the American people came out in the general election when she called Trump supporters “deplorables.” It came out again two days ago when she called them misogynists. Thus, she did not lose to blue collar voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and almost Minnesota, but to misogynist deplorables in those states. Her campaign was based on two precepts. First, she would be the first woman President of the United States. Second, she was not Trump. Donald Trump offered hope. She offered welfare to the coal miners after directly telling then she would put them out of work. The Russian hacking did not defeat her. Polls show white women voted 53% for Donald Trump. That is why Hillary lost. The gender gap, men voting Republican and women voting Democratic, has favored Democratic Presidential candidates for decades. She won the female vote 54-42%, only a 12% difference. She lost the election to a white male who allegedly had issues. Were the 53% of white women who voted for Donald trump misogynists? Or were the members of blue collar families in America’s Rust Belt – blue collar families worried about their future? Hillary Clinton took them for granted while pushing the Obama policies which cost them jobs. She ignored her staff’s advice to increase efforts in Michigan and Wyoming. Her use of an unsecured private server hurt her. The apparent corruption of the Clinton Foundation hurt her campaign. John Podesta, or one of his assistants, falling for a simple phising hurt her campaign. She couldn’t lose, in her mind. She had the mainstream media on her side. She had the elites, the intellectuals, the intelligentsia. She had the campuses. She had Hollywood and the celebrities. Indeed, she campaign in Philly shortly before the election with a bevy of celebrities. Why worry? Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin had voted Democratic for President since forever. She didn’t need Ohio. She had the mainstream media, which was crucifying Donald trump. They still are. She forgot the people. They were enthusiastically at Trump rallies. Hers had small attendance. She outspent Donald Trump by a horrendous margin. She put together a rainbow coalition of core Democratic groups. She excluded whites and Christians from her coalition. She would win because she was entitled to the Presidency. President Obama was supporting her. She had the coasts and Illinois. What more did she need? The Heartland of America! She lost because she could not connect with people, the working class people of America. Bill Clinton could; Barack Obama could, George W. Bush could; Donald Trump could; Bernie sanders could. Al Gore could not. Hillary Clinton didn’t even try. It was visceral. She called them deplorable. To sum up, the distinguished Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is saying she lost because of misogynist, deplorable white women.
Friday, April 7, 2017
California’s Democrats Only Needed One Week to Enact a $54 Billion Gas and Car Tax Increase California is a case study in how fast Democrats with a super majority in the legislature can enact unpopular tax increases. California is an amazing state politically. Taxes have to be increased when the economy slips since the state budget shows a deficit. Taxes have to be increased when the economy is booming since the state budget will show a deficit. They can’t control spending. The general budget grew $36 billion over the past 6 years, but none of that increase went to highways and roads. Infrastructure is not a priority for the Sacramento Democrats. The affluent state which pioneered freeways is becoming a national disgrace with its deteriorating roads. The state is undergoing an epidemic of potholes. California has raised income taxes, the sales tax, and cigarette taxes in the past couple of years, but it’s never enough. California has the nation’s highest income tax rates and state sales tax. It’s way up there in gas taxes and cigarette taxes, but the sky is the limit. Governor Jerry Brown ignored the state’s highways and roads in his first 8 years as governor. Now 6 years into his second 8 years, he suddenly discovered them. Or not! The state has a $59 billion deferred maintenance tab for the highways and $78 billion for local roads and streets. He proposed a week ago with the Democratic legislative leadership a bundle of car and gas taxes. He exclaimed it was time to fix the roads. He said it was good for the environment. Here’s the details. First is a 43% increase in the state’s gas tax from 18cents/gallon to 30 cents/gallon Second is a 125% increase in the diesel tax from 16 cents per gallon to 36 cents. Diesel cars have better gas mileage than internal combustion cars, but it’s for the environment. The auto registration fee will increase between $25 and $175, depending on its value. The taxes and fees will be indexed to inflation! Hence, automatic increases are programmed into the infinite future without the legislature having to vote on them. California imposes the sales tax on gas purchases in addition to the excise tax. The act increases the sales tax on diesel 4% from 5.75% to 9.75%. Don’t rush to purchase a hybrid or pure electric car. They don’t pay gas taxes so he’s imposing an annual registration fee of $100 on them. Remember, it’s for the environment! California has raised the gas tax in the past. The purpose of the tax is to pay to maintain and build our roads and highways. The legislature has diverted funds in the past to the general budget from the gas tax. But not this time, as Lucy kept saying to Charlie Brown as she pulled the football out. Not this time, the Governor said as the legislature will place on the ballot a state constitutional amendment that will prohibit transfers except for transportation. Therein lies the rub – the definition of “transportation.” The taxes are expected to raise $52-54 billion over a decade. $7.5 billion is scheduled to go to mass transit, the mantra of Governor Brown. Another $1 billion is earmarked for pedestrians and bike lanes. Los Angeles, the city built on the car culture, is taking some of its busiest, most congested streets, such as Sunset Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, and carving bus and bicycle lanes out of them. It’s for the environment – not for drivers. State Senator Scott Weiner of San Francisco says mass transit needs even more. The tax proponents lost a Democratic Senator from Orinda. They had to get a Republican vote. The cost was high. Senator Anthony Cannella pf Ceres agreed, but for $500 million. $400 million will go to extending a commuter railroad from San Jose to Merced. Another $100 million is to build a parkway from the UC Merced campus to Highway 99. Another $427 million went to two legislative districts held by vulnerable Democrats in Riverside County. The proponents silenced truckers by including provisions to exempt them from future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from commercial trucks. It’s for the environment. The tax increases are incredibly regressive, hitting the poor in the state, especially in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire. One can survive without a car in San Francisco, but not in most of the state. It is a tremendous increase in the cost of transportation in California. Farmers and truckers will feel it. Don’t worry though. The Democrats will blame the greedy oil companies next time gas prices spike up. The last governor to raise the vehicle registration fee was Gray Davis. The voters recalled him. Jerry Brown will not be recalled, but some of the legislators may be. The Democrats will keep raising taxes as long as he California voters let them.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
President Trump Just sent a Message to the World President Trump passed his leadership test today. He sent a message to Assad. The use of chemical gas to kill civilians, men, women, and children is unacceptable. He sent a message to the world. Assad, Putin, Kim Hyong-Jun, Erdogan, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians should heed it. The United Nations should pay attention. He sent a strong, swift message to the world. Many pondered what could be done. President Trump did not dither. He acted quickly. President trump is unpredictable. He’s the successor to President Reagan. The Air Traffic Controller cemented President Reagan’s image as a leader. They threatened to strike. He warned against it. They struck. He fired them. President Trump struck the Syrians with Tomahawks. President Obama warned Assad against using poison gas. He drew a red line in the sand. A President should never bluff unless you are prepared to carry it out. Assad used gas. President Obama erased the line in the sand. He showed the world that he was not a leader. He proved it in both the Iran and Cuba agreements. The United State will pay for the Iran agreement for years because of a weak President. President Obama fired strong military leaders, especially Generals McChrystal, Petraeus and Flynn. He Hired political hacks as national security advisors, Donilon, Rice, and Rhodes. President Trump has hired strong, decisive military leaders for his national security team. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines know they have a leader. President Trump is unpredictable, but decisive. Unpredictability is good. Let the enemies of the United States fear the President of the United States. None of them feared the United States under President Obama. Let the tyrants of the world understand that they are playing with fire with President Trump. Let them fear the next strike might be directed at them. Let them understand that their naked aggressions of the past eight years will not be tolerated in the Trump Administration. Let the Democrats understand that President Trump is not a puppet of Putin. The Russians claimed two days ago that Syrian airplanes struck a rebel chemical weapons plant, releasing the poisoned gas. The Russians also claimed three years ago to have received all of Syria’s biological weapons. President Obama trusted Putin. President Trump and his national security team are not naïve. They lashed out at Russia. President Trump is a quick learner. That too is a message to the world. The Arab leaders that fear Iran should breathe easier now. President Obama began his administration with a world apology tour in which he prostrated himself and American before global leaders. President Trump introduced himself and a renewed America to the world stage with cruise missiles. The foreign policy of appeasement is over. America is becoming great again.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
2018 will be a banner year in California politics. Governor Jerry Brown will be term limited out of office. Senator Dianne Feinstein will be 85, but says she intends to run for a fifth term. Potential candidates are lining up for both offices. Those mentioned for Governor are Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, California Treasurer John Chiang, former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Potential Senate candidates are Representatives Brad Sherman and Eric Swalwell, former Representative Loretta Sanchez, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, and Berkeley Professor Michael Eisen. Hanging over both races are hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, who has financed referenda campaigns featuring him. All Democrats; California is a one party state at the state level. It takes money and often public recognition to win statewide election in California. The state is too large with several distinct media markets. All of these announced and potential candidates should be able to raise money. Several are open to vicious character attacks. The question is who will emerge from the scrum? Representative Schiff had the potential throughout much of March. He was receiving daily media attention. As the soft spoken Democratic leader on the House Intelligence Committee, he has a factual basis for leading the Russian Connection campaign against President Trump. Representative Schiff was becoming a national figure in the Democratic Party. His soft-spokeness was an assets. He was not bombastic. He seemed reasonable eventhough he had to know that no factual basis existed for the Russian Connection. He also led the Democratic/media attack on Republican Devan Nunes, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He demanded the resignation of Congressman Nunes for informing President Trump that he was being revealing to President Trump that his campaign and staff were surveilled, and then told the public. Congressman Schiff and his colleagues were in the cold. Congressman Schiff was in a tiff. Congressman Schiff was gaining increasing media time daily. His stock was rising. He could have his choice of the Governorship or the Senate. He’s been in the House since 2000. The nine term Congressman was unknown throughout California until the past few months. He was riding the Russian Connection to higher office. He was on a roll. He seized the moment. He led the chorus against Congressman Nunes. Governor or the Senate? The choice would be his. Then he saw the documents that Congressman Nunes talked about. He emerged chastened. Congressman Schiss is not stupid. His narrative was falling apart. He knows that former Obama Administration officials will have major legal problems. He stuck his neck out to far in what might become, despite the media, another Watergate. His argument was now we don’t know; that’s why we need a special prosecutor. And now back to the back bench. The audition is over. Congressman Nunes is looking better all the time.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Russia President Vladimir Putin is easy to understand. He wants to restore the glory and power of Mother Russia. He wants the Russia of 1914 without the tsars. Vladimir is like his neighbor Recip Erdogan of Turkey. Recip wants to go back to the glory of the Ottomans without the Ottomans. He wants the old borders back, almost all of them. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Finland He’ll take more of Poland if he could. The Ukraine and not just the Crimea Georgia and the caucuses Moldova Mongolia would be nice He’ll pass on the “stans;” they’re too rebellious, but he would exert controlling influence over their economies and politics over satraps. That goes for Belarus and the Balkans as well. He is not going to give the Kurile Islands back to Japan He wants to repress from Russian history the eight decades of Communism, especially the Stalin period. And maybe with the chaos in the Mideast and Turkey, he could finally achieve the goal of the tsars – control over the Turkish Straits He’ll love to see an increasingly weakened and humiliated United States, the collapse of NATO, and the end of sanctions. His biggest prize, a figment of his imagination and wildest dreams, is Alaska, and perhaps even Fort Ross in California. What he needs are rising oil and natural gas prices.