Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Transition in the White House

For John, BLUFThis is a sad commentary on the way DC works.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This appears to be an Editorial out of The Washington Examiner.  And insightful.

Here is the lede plus two:

Before moving into the White House, President-elect Trump needs to double check the Oval Office for trip wires. His predecessor has spent the last month setting traps to ensnare the new administration.

President Obama has more on his mind than an effort to solidify a legacy and nail down policy. He has adopted a guerrilla strategy designed to defame and debilitate.  Inherently political, it's administrative sabotage by extra legislative means and it threatens to hobble Trump.

Obama has prepared what looks like a classic episode from Mad Magazine:  Executive vs. Executive.  Instead of delivering on his own agenda, Trump will be forced to deal with the aftermath of his predecessor's final binge.  They could consume a notable portion of Trump's first 100 days, but if left unaddressed it would stain his administration long term.

So, the way I read this is that their Lordships, the editors of The Washington Examiner believe the Democratic Party did not implode with the election of Mr Trump, but rather immediately went to guerrilla warfare mode in preparation for 2018 (take back the Congress) and 2020 (recapture the Presidency).  The fact that the Democrats are disunited and have no one in line to be the next presidential candidate means nothing.  The muscle memory in the system is working to lay the groundwork for the next 18 months, when the next election begins in earnest.

Here is the sadist sentence in the whole thing, referring to President Obama.

He lacks the grace and modesty to recognize that the country does not want him or his policies any longer.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Another Threat in the New Year

For John, BLUFYou pays your money and you takes your chance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

CFR is the Council on Foreign Relations, an American Think Tank.  I have a friend, a Classmate from the Air Force Academy, who spent a year there as a Fellow, courtesy of the US Air Force. I talked about the threat that Germany fears it faces, here.

The President and the US Intelligence Community seem to think that our greatest threat is Russia and its cyber attacks, its hacking of computers here in the United States.

This article, from Yonhap News, a Korean news organization, talks to a survey of nearly 500 gray beards, conducted by CFR, which came to the conclusion that North Korea, with its nuclear weapons and missiles and paranoia, is the greatest threat going into the new year.

Here is the lede plus two:

A potential crisis involving North Korea ranked atop the list of international concerns for the United States in the New Year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations survey.

The annual Preventive Priorities Survey put "a severe crisis in North Korea" in the Tier 1 category of concerns, along with a potential military confrontation between Russia and NATO; a highly disruptive cyberattack on U.S. critical infrastructure; and a mass casualty terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland.

The CFR said in the report that a severe crisis in the North could be "caused by nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) weapons testing, a military provocation, or internal political instability.

Even though the leader of North Korea, Kim Jung-un, is highly unpredictable, I do think he can be deterred, as long as he doesn't face an internal collapse.  For Kim, and his Father before him (Kim Jung-Il) and his Father before him (Kim Il-sung), regime survival, survival of the Kim family in charge, is job number one.

I think I worry most about a "mass casualty terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland", but I worry even more about a loss of civil rights due to efforts to prevent such an (hypothetical) event.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Why a Korean outlet?  The person who sent it along is someone I would consider a Korean expert and someone who trolls the Korea news outlets.  I don't know it, but I assume he reads and speaks Korean.
  They sent the survey to nearly 7,000 folks in Government, in Academia or who were considered foreign policy experts (John Kerry and Hillary Clinton?)
  This is not a concern about a President Trump as it is a concern about Government in general.  The tools have already been fashioned by Presidents Obama and Bush and Clinton before him.  Heck it goes back to President Wilson and even President Lincoln.  It is up to the People to set the tone.

Facing the New Year in Germany

For John, BLUFFor us here in the US, it appears the threat is Russia, which wasn't a threat four years ago, but I think that needs some more thinking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Each nation faces its own threats.  In Estonia (or Finland) it is probably Russia.  But, this report from The Beeb talks to Germany.

Islamist terrorism is the biggest challenge facing Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said in her New Year message.

Referring to the deadly truck attack in Berlin by a Tunisian asylum seeker, she said it was "sickening" when acts of terror were carried out by people who had sought protection.

She said 2016 had been a year of "severe tests".

But she also said she was confident Germany could overcome them.

"As we go about our lives and our work, we are saying to the terrorists:  'You are hate-filled murderers, but you do not determine how we live and want to live. We are free, considerate and open'," Mrs Merkel said.

One of the questions to be asked is if they are "hate-filled murderers" because they are refugees who have been rejected or because they are jihadists or for some other reason.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Steve Martin Example

For John, BLUFThe Deplorables just don't understand, do they.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Because a man like Steve Martin won't fight for himself in a situation like this:
On Tuesday, the comic wrote in a since-deleted tweet, "When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well."
And Mr Steve Martin rolled over for the SJWs and deleted his tweet.

Here is how Ms Ann Althouse asks the question:

Imagine the first thing you notice about a person being how they look!  Unless you're meeting people by telephone or blind, it's always the first thing you notice.
The Comments are interesting, even veering over to discuss Miss Penny King (played by Gloria Winters).  Someone noted that US Astronauts, and their kids, sought autographs from Sky King and niece Penny at a Texas State Fair.

Here is a good comment:

12/29/16, 6:41 AM Lucien said... Ann nailed it. Trump didn't win because people want to go out and burn crosses in their neighbors' yards, but because they'd like to be able to look at a Dior ad on TV and say "That is sooo gay" without losing their job.
Too right.

Hat tip to the Althouse blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

SecState on Israel

For John, BLUFI believe the sticking point is concern about what the Palistinians will accept.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The source is Time Magazine.  It is a long speech and I have extracted interesting quotes.

It is also an interesting speech in terms of timing.&Nbsp; Mr Trump's Inauguration is less than a month away.  Is this about a final public plea to the incoming Administration or is it an effort to sum up the current Administration's position for when Mr Trump and Cabinet fail in their own efforts ti bring peace to the Middle East?

With all the external threats that Israel faces today, which we are very cognizant of and working with them to deal with, does it really want an intensifying conflict in the West Bank?  How does that help Israel’s security?  How does that help the region?  The answer is it doesn’t, which is precisely why so many senior Israeli military and intelligence leaders, past and present, believe the two state solution is the only real answer for Israel’s long-term security.
Here is SecState Kerry's point the situation.
And that raises one final question.  Is ours the generation that gives up on the dream of a Jewish-Democratic state of Israel, living in peace and security with its neighbors?  Because that is really what is at stake. Now that is what informed our vote at the Security Council last week.  The need to preserve the two state solution and both sides in this conflict must make response ability to do that.  We have repeatedly and emphatically stressed to the Palestinians that all incitement to violence must stop.
Here SecState Kerry defends the US Abstention on the UN Security Council vote a few days ago.
On the contrary, it is not this resolution that is isolating Israel, it is the permanent policy of settlement construction that risks making peace impossible.  And virtually every country in the world other than Israel opposes settlements. That includes many of the friends of Israel, including the United Kingdom, France, Russia, all of whom voted in favor of the settlements resolution in 2011 that we vetoed, and again this year along with any other member of the council.
East Jerusalem is a problem, a sticking point.  Here is what SecState Kerry says.  I think this is weasel worded Diplospeak, open to various interpretations.
And remember that every U.S. administration since 1967, along with the entire international community, has recognized east Jerusalem as among the territories that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War.

Now, I want to stress this point.  We fully respect Israel’s profound historic and religious ties to the city and to its holy sites.  We’ve never questioned that.  This resolution in no manner prejudges the outcome of permanent status negotiations on east Jerusalem, which must, of course, reflect those historic ties and the realities on the ground.  That’s our position. We still support it.

Here are the six principles SecState Kerry laid out.  At the link are details, but these lead sentences give us the broad view.

  • Principle number one; provide for secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable and contiguous Palestine negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent swaps.
  • Principle two; fulfill the vision of the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 of two states for two peoples, one Jewish and one Arab, with mutual recognition and full equal rights for all their respective citizens.
  • Principle number three; provide for a just, agreed, fair and realistic solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.
  • Principal four; provide an agreed solution for Jerusalem as the internationally recognized capital of the two states and protect and ensure freedom of access to the holy sites consistent with the established status quo.
  • Principle five; satisfy Israel’s security needs and bring a full end, ultimately, to the occupation.
  • Principle six; end the conflict and all outstanding claims, enabling normalized relations and enhanced regional security for all as envisioned by the Arab peace initiative.
It all sounds good, but the question is, what will the Palistinian Authority (1) agree to and (2) be able to deliver?

Here is Secretary Kerry's pitch for "do it our way".

That is the future that everybody should be working for.  President Obama and I know that the incoming administration has signaled that they may take a different path.  And even suggested breaking from the long-standing U.S. policies on settlements — Jerusalem and the possibility of a two-state solution.

That is for them to decide, that’s how we work.  But we cannot, in good conscience, do nothing and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away.  This is a time to stand up for what is right.  We have long known what two-states, living side by side and peace and security looks like.  We should not [be] afraid to say so.

Good luck to the Israelis and the Palistinians.

Good luck to us.

As a final thought, from Massachusetts Blogger neoneocon, when running in 2008, then Senator Obama did say that Jerusalem belongs to Israel.  Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Back When TV Was Good

For John, BLUFI remember the whole gang.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Mercury New, Page A02 Tuesday, 27 December.

1947: The original version of the puppet character Howdy Doody made his TV debut on NBC’s “Puppet Playhouse.”
Hat tip to My Brother Lance.

Regards  —  Cliff

Progressives in Retrospect

For John, BLUFDon't be fooled.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The article, by Mr Jeffrey Tucker, was published by the Foundation for Economic Education, back on 15 December.

Here are what I see as the two key paragraphs:

Over the last 20 years, an outpouring of research has shown a much darker truth. The Progressives were not about progress. They in fact longed to roll back the astonishing gains made by the marketplace of the late 19th century. They longed to put the world back together into what it once was, a place of hierarchy in which everyone knew his or her place. They used the science of their times to build a giant State apparatus to bring about results they determined to be the right ones.

And the “right results” often had racial criteria. The Progressives were obsessed with eugenics, the politics of treating human beings like farm animals to be bred and cultivated with intentionality, deliberation, and coercion. Once you understand how prominent this position was – and it was almost universally-held by the academic and policy elite – much of their work begins to make sense. This is the reason for erecting high barriers to entry into the workforce: they desired exclusion. It was the reason for marriage licenses, welfare provision, immigration restrictions, maximum working hour laws, zoning controls, business regulation, and so on.

Back when I was young, eons ago, I thought of myself as a "Progressive".  I also thought Woodrow Wilson was a great President.  I was ignorant.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Holiday Greetings

For John, BLUFAnd Merry Christmas to you, Mr McDonough.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A study by Professors Andrew R. Lewis and Paul A. Djupe.
Andrew R. Lewis is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati. He has published research on religion, politics and law in the United States.
Paul A. Djupe is an associate professor of political science at Denison University, an affiliated scholar with Public Religion Research Institute and co-editor of the Cambridge journal Politics & Religion.
Here is the heart of the issue:
The “War on Christmas” helps illustrate the cultural divide that was key to the 2016 election. Trump’s emphasis on cultural threat, including his calls for people to say “merry Christmas,” tapped into existing Republican angst, which heightened white evangelical concerns and mobilized support in largely white Midwestern states. The corresponding backlash from the left helps explain why more Democrats, secular people and Westerners grew in their preference for “happy holidays.” As the “War on Christmas” becomes increasingly political, perhaps we will see more Christmas skirmishes in the next few years.
Charts at the Link above.

Hat tip to the Five Thirty Eight Blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Professors of Political Science, like Professor George Anthes.
  I am sure they meant Caucasian.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Better Foreign Policy?

For John, BLUFIt isn't like our foreign policy is going so well for us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I admit I ripped this off from someone else, someone who is pretty knowledgeable in the area of foreign affairs.  This person asks some interesting and challenging questions.

These comments are in response to an item in The Wall Street Journal, "Obama's Anti-Israel Tantrum".

It is intriguing to me how a SITTING President (for another four weeks or so):

  • Stepping away from a Presidentially drawn red-line (one that the President drew himself);
  • Making a rapprochement with an longstanding enemy of the United States whose leaders regularly call for "Death to America!"; and
  • Breaking decades long precedent with regards to a longstanding US ally (albeit one without a formal treaty)
is seen as conducting a successful foreign policy that would see the United States stronger if sustained;


A President Elect who:

  • CHALLENGES a nation who is rewriting the rules by challenging its red lines;
  • TALKS about a rapprochement with a US adversary (who has arguably killed fewer Americans than the "Death to America!" folks have); and
  • THREATENS to break decades long precedent with regards to longstanding US allies in campaigns (but who has walked much of that back since being elected)
should be considered a disloyal American.
I think that one thing I have noticed is that President Elect Trump has been like an ice breaker, opening up the lake of foreign policy so that those who have been frozen out feel free to offer up alternative ideas.

Just a thought.

Regards  —  Cliff

Christmas in Fascist Germany

For John, BLUFCoopting the culture is important when one is trying to transform a society.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline is:
As they rose to power, party leaders sought to redefine the holiday to suit their own political needs
This is from the magazine of the Smithsonian Institution.  The author is Mr Joe Perry.

An interesting read.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Legacy of WWII

For John, BLUFThere are places in Northeast France that are still unsafe from World War One ordnance, including chemical weapons.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — More than 54,000 people in the southern German city of Augsburg must leave their homes Christmas morning while authorities defuse a giant 1.8-ton aerial bomb from World War II.
There were several US Army Kasernes in Augsburg following World War II, right up 1998.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

And a Merry Christmas to all.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 24, 2016

More Concerns About President Elect Trump's Appointments

For John, BLUFThe danger isn't great, but that is because there is always someone harping on it, keeping us sensitized.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

And the sub-headline is:
Trump's Appointing of Generals Should Trouble Us
Of course it is Professor (and retired Army Colonel) Andrew J. Bacevich.  From the 18 December issue of Commonweal Magazine.

Here is the lede plus one:

That the senior ranks of the incoming Trump administration have taken on a decidedly military hue is both entirely logical and deeply troubling.

It’s logical as a further confirmation of the ongoing militarization of U.S. policy, a process underway for several decades now. It’s troubling for precisely the same reason.

My guess is that President Elect Trump thinks of these generals as people who get things done.  Who have ideas and experience.  And who have come on board.

The worry of Professor Bacevich is the worry of Professor Charlie Dunlap, as expressed in his Essay, "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012", written when he was a student at the National War College.

As an aside, this isn't sour grapes on the part of a supporter of Mrs Hillary Clinton.  Skip Bacevich has worried about these issues for a long time.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

W  Well worth the twelve page read (footnotes are extra).

Quo Vadis re Syria

For John, BLUFWe were week in Syria and most now see it as being feckless.nbsp; Our policy for Syria is now at the mercy of others.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a little old (13 December 2016), but still timely.  The reporter is Ms Cheyenne Roundtree and the source is the UK's Daily Mail.

A young Danish-Kurdish woman who fled her homeland to fight ISIS in Syria could receive up to six months in prison for fighting against the extremist group.

Joanna Palani, 23, is facing punishment from Copenhagen City Court after she violated Denmark's 'foreign fighter' rule, which aims to stop Danes who fight alongside terror groups.

Miss Palani is being tried under that same law, although she was ironically fighting against the jihadis.

I think it is sad that Western Nations are going after their citizens who go to the Middle East to fight on the side of right and good.  However, this can of national level action is not much different from the confusion these nations have WRT their foreign policies.  For example, what is our mid-term goal for Syria?  Where do President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry see us, and see Syria, in three years?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sorting Through Fake News

For John, BLUFDon't trust fact checkers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here it is, Breitbart and Reporter Lucas Nolan, giving us advice from NSA Whistle Blower Edward Snowden on dealing with "fake news".  Of course there is "fake news" and there is "fake news".  If you are just making things up for clickbait then you are doing face news.  For example Mr Marco Chacon, doing it to earn a living.  On the other hand, there are reports that are incomplete and subject to interpretation.  If my spin is different from you, is my news fake?

Here is the paragraph Law Professor Ann Althouse excerpted.  Mr Snowden is on target here:

“The problem of fake news isn’t solved by hoping for a referee but rather because we as participants, we as citizens, we as users of these services help each other.  The answer to bad speech is not censorship.  The answer to bad speech is more speech.  We have to exercise and spread the idea that critical thinking matters now more than ever, given the fact that lies seem to be getting very popular.”
For sure, the last thing we need is Government as some sort of information gate keeper.  Almost as bad is for large private agencies to assume the role of gate keeper.  Sure, we have editors and publishers, but they tend to have small fiefdoms.  On the other hand, Facebook and Google are large organizations with broad coverage.

While Mr Snowden is still on my private list of bad guys, he is surely correct here.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Christmas Story

For John, BLUFYou would think a person could get some down time while on vacation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:
Here’s why the 1988 thriller “Die Hard” is not only a Christmas movie, it is one of the best of all time.
The author is Mr James Clark and the venue is the web magazine Task and Purpose.

Here is the lede plus two:

The holiday season is a time for family, gift-giving, and most importantly forgiveness.  Unless you’re John McClane, then it means all that, plus a ton of mayhem and violence.

The 1988 holiday classic centers around John McClane, a New York City detective who’s in Los Angeles to try to save his marriage when all hell breaks loose.  A group of heavily armed villains break into McClane’s wife’s office building during their Christmas party and take the staff, including his wife hostage.  Side note:  her name is Holly, as in “deck the halls” and “fa-la-la-la-la” holly — subliminal messaging on the part of the movie’s screenwriters, no doubt.

It’s left to McClane, played by Bruce Willis, to save the day.  Crawling around in air ducts and crashing through a number of windows, he takes out the bad guys one by one before dropping their leader Hans Gruber, played by an acerbic Alan Rickman, some 30 stories to his death.

And here is a good sentence:
It may not seem like a Christmas movie at first, but “Die Hard” hits all the marks, if you think about it, it’s basically “Home Alone,” but with live ammo.
And so it is.

Interestingly, the action takes place at the fictional Nakatomi Plaza, in LA.  The Japanese love Christmas.

By the way, I don’t think Die Hard was as bloody as the original Christmas Story.  Remember the Slaughter of the Innocents, celebrated on 28 December.

Your opinion invited.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Task and purpose, as in a good superior issuing a mission provides both the task and the purpose.
  The article is, in the last paragraph, NSFW.  You have been warned.

Viewing From a Different Location

For John, BLUFQuality v Quantity is the American Way of War.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a look at Defense choices, written by Major M L Cavanaugh, a Non-Resident Fellow with the Modern War Institute at West Point.  This is the hoary Quality vs Quantity argument, without ever mentioning those words.
Shaving habits reflect culture.  And while not all cultures shave the same, most of the daily shaving world uses some type of razor blade.
Right there the analogy starts to diverge from my cultural experience.  I use an electric razor, one which I just recently cracked open and replaced the two batteries with new rechargeable batteries from Amazon.

But, back to the argument, we in the US tend to use three to five blade packs.  In a lifetime shaving blades could cost up to $22,000.  In Russia people tend to still use the single double-edged razor blade, costing around $400 over a lifetime.  It is the same way with military weapons.

Here is the first page of a nine page article, behind a pay way for eight pages.  It goes back to a series of exercises named ACEVAL/AIMVAL, which looked at how complex weapons (F-14 and F-15) did against simpler systems (the F-5E).  And here is a paper by Colonel T X Hammes, "Future War:  Why Quantity Will Trump Quality", in The Diplomat.

I admit to being a quality person, as opposed to quantity.  I think TX is wrong.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The article is from 2014, so the word Trump does not reference the President Elect.

Some Good Advice

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about the Democrats not being able to face the reality out there.

For John, BLUFThe Democrats here in Mass are safe, but across the fruited plain they need to get their act together.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a pertinent Opinion Piece by statistics guru Mr Nate Silver, who operates the Five-Thirty-Eight Blog.  Here are two excerpts from the piece:
You can get into quite an abyss by reading the various cases that Democrats are making for electors behaving faithlessly, which turn on some combination of Clinton’s substantial win in the national popular vote, potential Russian interference into the election, and Trump’s conflicts-of-interest and possible violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause to claim that the election outcome was illegitimate.

At the risk of engaging in a hit-and-run argument, I wanted to go on record to say that I think this is a bad idea.  My reasons are best encapsulated in this tweetstorm by the political scientist Matt Glassman, who notes that there is a strong precedent toward electors abiding by the vote in their states.  Other than a few one-off cases like Leach, the historical norm has been that electors stick with the voters’ choice unless the candidate died, as in the case of Greeley or the losing vice presidential candidate James S. Sherman in 1912.  Furthermore, as Glassman notes, it’s not at all clear what the upside for Democrats would be.  This year, narrowly denying Trump a majority in the Electoral College would still probably result in Trump’s election via the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, producing the same president but with a Constitutional crisis along the way.  And in the long run, encouraging electors to deviate from the outcomes in their states would result in the House more often deciding presidential elections, which is probably not in Democrats’ interests given how their voters are clustered — and gerrymandered — into urban congressional districts.

This is toward the end of the opinion piece:
Some of the most important opportunities can escape the attention of the national media.  Special elections, such as the one that will likely take place for Montana’s at-large House seat, offer chances to pick up seats and to test out new messages.  Battles over voting rights take place in the shadows but can have implications that resonate for years.

Winning a House seat in Montana or expanded access to early voting in North Carolina might not be as sexy for Democrats as dreaming about an uprising in the Electoral College.  But Trump won the election, and Democrats probably ought to be thinking about how to win some elections of their own.

Mr Nate Silver is correct.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Life Lesson

For John, BLUFNever hold grudges.  A lot of folks out there are capable of tremendous personal growth.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Somehow I got an the EMail list for In & Out.  It seems to be about how the bien pensant view the world.  But, today's quote at the top of the EMail is this little gem from Ms Jane Fonda.
"We're not meant to be perfect. It took me a long time to learn that."
-Jane Fonda
I see this as a solid Christian way to look at life.  We don't earn our way into heaven by how well we act, but by our willingness to accept Jesus into our life.  The Evangelical phrase is "Accept Jesus as our personal Savior."  For Catholics it is an act of acceptance, the act of taking Communion.  How more practically can one show that one accepts Jesus?

Kudos to Ms Fonda, who, in a few words, points us in the proper direction.

You can sign up for the Daily In & OutEMail here.

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  Happy Birthday, Ms Fonda.

Your Group May Have Been Excluded

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about President Elect Trump's emerging Cabinet offerings.

For John, BLUFYes, some traditional classes of people have been neglected in Mr Trump's Cabinet picks.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

As some on the Clinton Side slide even deeper into outrage over Mr Trump winning the Electoral College I thought the above item might be interesting.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Phantom Pharewell

For John, BLUFThose were the days.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is an Associated Press story, by Mr Paul Davenport, picked up by Military Times.  The Dateline is 19 December, but the event is Wednesday, 21 December 2016. Here is the key part of the story:
The last of thousands of F-4 Phantom jets that have been a workhorse for the U.S. military over five decades are being put to pasture to serve as ground targets for strikes by newer aircraft.

But first some well-earned honors.

The Air Force will hold a "final flight" retirement ceremony Wednesday at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, where the last F-4s are still flying for the U.S. military.  The ceremony will celebrate the airplane's rich military history as the jet was a mainstay during the Vietnam War and used for decades for reconnaissance missions and anti-missile electronic jamming.

So, the Phantom NoLo flights are over and the aircraft is heading for the boneyard or some bombing range somewhere.

Farewell oh good and trusty stead.

Regards  —  Cliff

  NoLo is No Live Operator, as opposed to when the aircraft was being flown by a pilot for the pilot's familiarization or for a maintenance check.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Equal Isn't Always 50%

For John, BLUFWe should look for talent wherever we can find it and encourage all to work, even if it is raising children, which is a lot of work if done right.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The futile nature of gender equality

From USA Today and Ms Suzanne Venker we have a look at the statistics, in a general sort of way.

This article, published on the 14th of December, begins:

On Wednesday more than two dozen executives at companies such as Bank of America Corp. and LinkedIn Corp. signed a pledge to get more women out of the home and into our nation’s boardrooms.  The goal of this initiative, entitled Paradigm for Parity, is to have women represent 50% of the “upper echelons” by 2030.  Only then, these advocates believe, will America have achieved equality.

But gender parity in the workforce is futile.  There will never be enough women who want that kind of life — not as long as they choose to have children.  Indeed, children are “a key factor” in how women choose to structure their lives.

Basically Ms Venker is saying that if men and women are of equal capability and a percentage of women are stay at home moms, then were won't be enough women around.

Going to Wikipedia:

In Labor Force70,417,11659,295,159

So, right off the bat "half" looks a little unfair.

If you accept that there are about 4 million births a year and ten percent of mothers drop out of the work force for a couple of years (and 2 percent of fathers), then it looks like this:

Adjusted Number  70,017,116    57,295,159  
Labor Force Percent55%45%

So, how is half of all folks in the upper echelon female fair?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

: Column

Monday, December 19, 2016

Economic Growth and Mrs Clinton

For John, BLUFGraphics help us understand statistics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a map that focuses on the areas where Mrs Hillary Clinton did very well in the November election.

And here is a look at employment gains, October 2015 to October 2016.  It appears that the areas where Mrs Clinton did well are the places where employment is up over the last year.

Is there a correlation here?

Did voters respond to better economic conditions by voting for a continuation of President Obama's policies by voting for Mrs Clinton?

Not a perfect correlation, but indications.

Regards  —  Cliff

Boosting the Racists

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about the Democratic Party recriminations over the election.

For John, BLUFThis Presidential loss is hard for the Democrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is Politico, via Reporter Louis Nelson, today.

It is a short article and here is the lede plus one:

President-elect Donald Trump “doesn’t know much,” former President Bill Clinton told a local newspaper earlier this month, but “one thing he does know is how to get angry, white men to vote for him.”

Clinton spoke to a reporter from The Record-Review, a weekly newspaper serving the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York, not far from the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York.  The former president held court earlier this month in Katonah, New York, where he took questions from the reporter and other customers inside a small bookstore.

Former President Clinton also roped in FBI Director James Comey and the Russians.

But, back to what Mr Clinton said—for whom would he have had these "Deplorable" "angry, white (sic) men" vote?  Or does he believe they should not be allowed to vote?  And who would judge that?

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

It Is All Your Fault

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about how all Caucasians are evil, at least in the eyes of one college professor.

For John, BLUFWell, not you, John, or I, but all those other Caucasians.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline is "Professor sells 'George Bush is the real terrorist' t-shirts".

The source is The Washington Free Beacon and the author is Ms Elizabeth Harrington.  The dateline is 17 December 2016.

Here is the lede plus a couple of paragraphs:

The University of Wisconsin is offering a course this spring on the “Problem of Whiteness,” which is taught by a radical assistant professor who believes America is a terrorist state.

The course will cover institutional racism and “what it means to be #woke.”

Damon Sajnani, an assistant professor in UW-Madison’s African Cultural Studies department, is teaching the course.

“Have you ever wondered what it really means to be white?” the course description states.  “If you’re like most people, the answer is probably ‘no.’  But here is your chance!”

Too bad we don't have this course at UMass Lowell.  It would be interesting to audit such a course.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fake News

For John, BLUFEven real news is fake to some.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at Zero Hedge, back on 9 December, was an article by Mr Tyler Durden, in which he points out that The Washington Post wraps everyone up in the "fake news" meme.

In th interest of full disclosure, I get a daily EMail from the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank.  Interesting stuff about the economy and it is free.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Change The Electoral College!

For John, BLUFOdds are we won't change the Electoral College.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A Mr Mark Weston, writing for Time Magazine, proposes that if at some future date we again have someone win the Electoral College but not the popular vote, those who voted for the loser should stop paying their taxes. 
The approximately 65 million Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton should pledge that in the future if a Republican wins the presidency with fewer votes than a Democrat for the third time in our era, we won’t pay taxes to the federal government.  No taxation without representation!
I wonder why this only flows one way.  What if it were a Democrat who won the Electoral College and a Republican who won the popular vote?  A whiff of sour grapes on Mr Weston's part, I would think.

But, the issue is “No Taxation Without Representation”.

Sort of like how the majority of counties across the fruited plain would have to kow-tow to the population centers like LA or San Francisco, Chicago, DC or New York City or Boston, if a Democrat won the Presidency.

The real question is how we would reform the system, if we wanted, the People, wanted to do it.

Should we start first with the US Senate, wherein each state, regardless of population, gets two members.  Alaska, with 738,432 people (2015 estimate), gets two, as does California, with 39,144,818.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts population, estimated in 2015, was 6,794,422.  The Mass population is nine times that of Alaska, while California's is 53 times the size.

Having disposed of the US Senate, we now face the Electoral College.  So we abolish it, but what replaces it?  Will it be first past the poll or will it be a runoff.  If first past the poll, a plurality win, then it isn't any better than the Electoral College Mr Weston decries.

Thus we are left with some form of run-off electoral system, like they have in France.  By reducing the number of people running to two, you get the winner as having a majority.  This solves Mr Weston's problem, but not that of those who worry about fraud in voting.  To satisfy them I would suggest that the winner of the Presidential Election would need 50.5 percent of the vote, thus ensuring no fraud is present.

Or, we could stick with what we have.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Actually, not playing taxes might help force the Federal Government to better live within its means.
  I wouldn't go as far as the Democratic Party in its conventions up to 1932, where two-thirds was required for nomination.

Objectionable Material

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I mention hate groups.

For John, BLUFThe "Liberal" media are giving "hate groups" more ink than are others.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the Doonesbury cartoon for today, Sunday,18 December 2016.

I saw it in today's edition of The Boston Globe.  We recently started again receiving the Sunday edition via home delivery.

I wrote a letter to the editor (Mr Matthew Bernstein, Letters Editor, The Boston Globe), objecting to the cartoon and offering to be their cartoon screener, if they need one.  Part of the policy of The Boston Globe is that the letter must be exclusive to The Globe.  So, look for my letter.

In the mean time, let us all discourage the idea that Canadians are pushing the Klan these days.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dealing With The Presidential Election

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I assert that Trump Opponents are in a five stage process toward acceptance.

For John, BLUFOf course, they may never accept Mr Trump, even after he leaves the White House.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Several decades ago a Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross gave us the five stages of dying.  It is how people deal with death and dying and even lesser tragedies.  Ms Kübler-Ross left this planet at the age of 78, back in 2004, in Scottsdale, Arizona.  However, her observations of how mortals deal with loss continues and this most recent Presidential Election is another opportunity to observe how it works.

Here is the Kübler-Ross model of grieving, with its Stages of Grief (From Wikipedia):

  1. Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality.
  2. Anger – When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"; "Why would this happen?".
  3. Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.
  4. Depression – "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon, so what's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
  5. Acceptance – "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it; I may as well prepare for it."
And there you have it.  It is a map showing us how Never Trump folks are proceeding following the election.

Some have even advanced to the "Bargaining" level, where they are trying to work out deals to make a Trump Inauguration go away.  We see this in the actions of those who are trying to change the votes of the Electors, come Monday.

Regards  —  Cliff

Professor Krugman's Mind Adrift

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about how deranged some people are about Mr Trump appearing to have won the election.

For John, BLUFBoy, the Democrats are poor losers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Fair Warning.  It is Nobel Laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.  He is off on a rant and taking up the old Communist meme about "useful idiots".

The lede:

On Wednesday an editorial in The Times described Donald Trump as a “useful idiot” serving Russian interests.  That may not be exactly right.  After all, useful idiots are supposed to be unaware of how they’re being used, but Mr. Trump probably knows very well how much he owes to Vladimir Putin.  Remember, he once openly appealed to the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.
So, Paul Krugman as much as says that Mr Trump is in the tank for Russian President Vladimir Putin.  That is to say, he believes, but is unwilling to come out and say so, Mr Trump is a traitor.

And, to the second point of Professor Krugman, about Mr Trump's comments about Mrs Clinton's EMails, I was able to take it the way it was intended—Mrs Clinton had left her server open to being hacked and maybe it had been and maybe the Russians had the EMails.  That the Russians would release any EMails they had, except if it was useful to them, is risible.  Mr Trump was commenting on the carelessness of Mrs Clinton and the possible consequences of that carelessness.  He was pointing out that Mrs Clinton's carelessness could have adverse consequences.  People who have handled and respected classified information tend to get that point.

Then Professor Krugman says:

Still, the general picture of a president-elect who owes his position in part to intervention by a foreign power, and shows every sign of being prepared to use U.S. policy to reward that power, is accurate.
No it isn't.  It isn't like Mr Trump has hired the 1930s editorial policy of The New York Times.  Mr Trump is looking across the globe and trying to judge what is good for America.  He has the example of President Obama, who, four years ago, ridiculed Governor Mitt Romney's idea that Russia was a threat to the US.  Four years and a couple of months ago.  What has changed?  Has President Putin changed?  I am doubtful.  Professor Krugman is just out there blowing in the breeze.

Professor Krugman also attacks, in the same column, FBI Director James Comey.  The Professor writes:

…the dramatic, totally unjustified last-minute intervention by the F.B.I., which appears to have become a highly partisan institution, with distinct alt-right sympathies.
There it is, the "alt-right".  Maybe worse than "fascists".

We are talking conspiracy theories here.

The real problem is that after making his case that Mr Trump is a traitor and Director Comey is a co-conspirator, Professor Krugman fails to offer up a remedy.  He fails to tell us what to do.  Well, not those of us, the "deplorables", who voted for Mr Trump, but those who didn't.  Should they just stay home and pet their kitten or puppy and eat ice cream or should they take to the streets?  Is Professor Krugman calling for a putsch, like that famous one in Munich, 8-9 November 1923?  I hope not.  But he is not clear.  Things are terrible, and there is treason out there amongst the Republicans and the "alt-right", but . . ..

So, Professor Krugman is convinced that Mrs Clinton would have won if not for the intervention of the Russians.  The idea that she alienated a large segment of voters seems to have never entered his mind.  The only answer to why Mrs Clinton lost the Electoral College vote is because evil forces conspired with traitorous politicians to deceive the voters.  There you have it.  "We were pure and they were bad."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  It isn't clear to me that Professor Krugman differentiates between computer hacking and the use of the term "hacking" to describe political warfare.

Changes Inside the Beltway

For John, BLUFSomeone noted that The Old Gray Lady attributed the current cold snap (2º this AM) to global warming.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is by Mr Francis Menton, published in the blog, Manhattan Contrarian. The author plays off of the currently announced nominations in the upcoming Trump Administration,  and off of the idea that not everyone thinks the "science is settled".

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  We won't know if Mr Trump is the President Elect until Monday, and maybe not even then.
  There is some confusion in the media between nominated and appointed.  Those who are nominated are reviewed and approved by the Senate.  Those who are appointed, like the National Security Advisor (for example, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn if it is Mr Trump) move right into their position, without a review on Capitol Hill.
  If it is science, is it ever settled?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Explaining the Election

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I explain Mrs Clinton's loss.

For John, BLUFSome are still in the denial phase.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds told us, at 10:52 this evening, that he found the following on Facebook:
Just to be Clear
First they tried rioting, then they tried threatening electors, then they claimed the Russians hacked the voting machines, when all that failed, they came up with a new ploy, Donald Trump’s win isn’t legitimate because the Russians interfered int eh election in favor of Trump, so the electors shouldn’t vote for him.  But let’s be clear, they didn’t vote illegally, they didn’t hack the voting machines, no, what the Russians are being accused of is hacking the e-mails that Wikileaks released.  In other words, according to the Democrats, the electors should overturn the results of a legitimately won election, because the Russians exposed the lies, deceit, corruption, and collusion, of the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the media.
And you thought Facebook would be suppressing the truth.

Well, not just the EMail releases, but also the fact that Mr Trump offered hope and change to those who saw none in an upcoming Clinton Administration.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Gaudete Sunday Readings

For John, BLUFYes, I am a little late on this one.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This would be last weekend's reading.  Pink Candle.  Here is the Wikipedia writeup.

I was the last minute sub at the Saturday Four at the Immaculate.  For me the most interesting reading was the second, the reading from the Epistle of James, 5:7-10.

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
The thing that caught my attention was "Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged.  Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates."  Seems pretty clear to me—do not be cranky toward your friends and relatives and don't be judging them.  Give them a little space to be less than perfect, just as we are less than perfect.

In other news, Jimmy, you are welcome.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The Scheduled Reader called in that he was stuck in traffic.  Being over-scheduled is a problem.

Voter Fraud, From the Other End of the Telescope

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  In which I say Democrats missed the boat this year.

For John, BLUFThe Democrats manufacture issues when there are serious issues confronting us all.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

An article by Mr Richard Eskow, in Nation of Change.

Here is the lede plus one:

What does it tell us when leading Democrats are more upset about alleged Russian election-rigging than they are about proven Republican election-rigging? After all, American oligarchs like the Koch Brothers have no more right to undermine our democracy than Russian oligarchs do.

GOP voting laws systematically discriminate against minority voters and working people. Yes, leading Democrats have lodged pro forma protests against them, but they should be shouting about it from the rooftops. They seem more comfortable challenging Russians than they do challenging a party that’s undermining the electoral process much closer to home.

The first thing that jumps into my mind is why, after five decades of the Great Society, Minorities are not at a point in our economic life that they need IDs to join in.  I need an ID at various places, like the bank and Post Office.  If I were a little younger I would need an ID to buy cigs and booze, if I did.  Visit a new medical provider or go to the emergency room?  My experience is they ask for an ID.  Maybe that is just discrimination against Caucasians.

I am not asking for a society where the police can say "Papers, please" or where I have to give the hotel clerk my papers when I check in, so he can run them by the police.

But having an ID card for voting doesn't seem that hard.  Make it free, at the RMV.

The other thing is that I would like "Progressive Central" to tell a unified story.  TheWash Post, back in 2014, told us "A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast".

I am not sure I believe any of this stuff.  Grow up and vote.

Regards  —  Cliff

Last Thoughts For Monday

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  In which I talk about Mr Donald Trump getting 270 or more electoral votes.

For John, BLUFThe Founding Fathers were brilliant.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Editorial Page of The Lowell Sun.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 15, 2016

IC Refuses to Brief Congress

TRIGGER WARNING:  Wherein I talk about Mrs Clinton losing the Presidential race.
For John, BLUFThe Intel Community is politicized.  The goal is to minimize that politicization.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This would be a requested Thursday, 15 December briefing by the DNI, FBI and CIA Directors (respectively Mr James Clapper, Mr James Comey and Mr John Brennan).

The article appears in USA Today, written by Ms Erin Kelly.

So, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's Daughter, Christine Pelosi, an Elector from San Francisco, California, is calling for a "Day Pass" so the 538 Electors can be briefed on the latest intelligence, the Administration itself is not willing to update the US Congress.

I hope this is just great theater.  I hope it doesn't lead to the further politicalization of intelligence, a topic touched on by Prof Joshua Rovner at War on the Rocks.

Regards  —  Cliff

  IC would be Intelligence Community.  The 16 separate intelligence agencies, united.  They even have their own official seal.  There are several Department of Defense Agencies, plus CIA, and several cabinet departments, such as State, Justice, Treasury, Energy and Homeland Security.
  Regarding previous acts of politicalization, I do think it has existed for quite a while.  As a bonus, the US Intelligence Community has messed with the elections of other nations, including Italy.

The Europeans Are Different

For John, BLUFNot everyone sees freedom and democracy the way we do.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I was sorting through my EMail In-Basket and came across this comment from one of my correspondents, a campaign veteran from Afghanistan.  In fighting in Afghanistan he worked with our Allies, including the British and Australians, but also more.  He was talking to a post about a news story of Retired Army Lieutenant General Micheal Flynn and General Flynn's passing of otherwise "US No Foreign" Intelligence to our allies as the tactical situation required.  Otherwise our allies would not understand why we were proposing what we were proposing.

Here is my friend's comment:

I am not of the mind that our European partners are the same as we are.  They are different and have different traditions, goals, and objectives when it comes to military and political activity.  That is not a shortfall on their part, it is natural.  The shortcoming is when we do not recognize this.
Exactly!  There is a spectrum of nations from those which most empower its citizens to those who restrict its citizens.  We are on the side of the spectrum with freedom and a belief that we don't need a lot of guidance from government agencies to successfully cope with life.

Maybe the way to think about it is that Runnymede and the Magna Carta and 2015 are in our political DNA.

We are far from perfect, but we are making progress and overcoming a lot of history.  We are helping a lot of immigrants, from other political traditions, learn those traditions that have given us our freedom and democracy.

Regards  —  Cliff

Chairman Podesta and The Russians Have Come

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  In which I talk about the lack of basic IT skills within the Clinton Team.

For John, BLUFDon't let others type in YOUR password.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That is the Althouse Headline.

The InstaPundit read the whole post and quoted this paragraph:

OBAMA VOTER ANN ALTHOUSE ISN'T BUYING THE EMAIL SPIN:  “The story is about the idiocy of falling for phishing!  How is that ‘hard to see coming’?  And what’s the point of tracing it?  Just never fall for it and the problem is solved, wherever the hell it came from.  The Russians don’t deserve special credit for devious genius. The Clinton campaign deserves to be lambasted for its shocking stupidity.  And these are people who wanted to be trusted with the nuclear codes and who relied on the argument that Donald Trump is a dangerous ignoramus.”
Yes, those "nuclear codes".  The ones that Mr Trump was too stupid and irrational to hold in his hands.

Hat tip to the Althouse blog.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Cheap Trick Now Will Cost You Later

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about Democrats trying to state a Presidential Coup.
For John, BLUFFor some, all is fair in love and war.  They are both wrong and immoral.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I link to this Blog Post by Ms Neo-Neocon, a fellow New England immigrant from outside the region, because she says what I have said in a different, and better, way.

I am not shocked by the Blogger's view that Democratic Party Operatives are trying to delegitimize, to wound, a President Trump and thus cause him to fail.  That would, of course be good for the Democratic Party in the near term, but not good for the nation as a whole in the long run.

Just as the antics of Dingy Harry (Reid), then the Senate Majority Leader, to limit the filibuster will now be coming back to bite the Democrats, so too would over-the-top antics on the part of Democratic Party Apparatchiks to abuse our republican (small r) system of electing the President come back to bite the Democrats.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Disgraceful to the End

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I render an opinion on one of the Democratic Party Leaders, Senator Harry Reid.
For John, BLUFSenator Harry Reid doesn't know how to shut up and step out of the limelight.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reporters Sam Stein and Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post take advantage of an interview with former Senate Majority Leader and admitted fabulist Harry Reid to talk about Mr Romney and the supposed treatment of him by Mr Trump with regard to the Secretary of State position.

Here is Senior Reid on Mr Romney:

“This is a man who came out big-time against Trump. Oh, the things he said about Trump.  Well, that’s great, that’s wonderful,” Reid said.  “Either he wasn’t telling the truth, or he’s a person with no character.  After having said that, to go and do homage to this guy he said awful things about, I don’t think that shows much character.”

“Mitt Romney is somebody I had respect for,” Reid said, in a somewhat dubious assertion.  “I have none anymore.”

And here is Mr Romney on Senator Reid.
“I was indeed very critical of Mr. Trump during his campaign.  But now he has been elected president and accordingly, if I could have helped shape foreign policy to protect the country I love, I would have been more than willing to do so,” Romney said through a spokesperson.  “As for Mr. Reid, I lost respect for him when he repeatedly lied about my taxes and later admitted to it cheerily.  Good riddance, Mr. Reid.  The Senate will be better served without you in it.”
Not that I had a lot of respect for Harry Reid the person before this, but I think Mr Romney put him in his place.  And, Mr Romney showed himself to be a selfless patriot, as opposed to Senator Reid.

Mr Reid just seems like he is a bitter old man.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Any Means, Fair or Foul

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about Mr Trump v Mrs Clinton.
For John, BLUFRemember, Russia isn't pro-Trump.  It is anti-Hillary.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The OpEd writers are Ms Dahlia Lithwick and Mr David S Cohen.  The paper is The New York Times.

On Monday, members of the Electoral College will vote in Donald J. Trump as president.  Though he lost the election by nearly three million votes and almost daily generates headlines about new scandals, the Democratic Party is doing little to stop him.  If you’ve been asking yourself “Where are the Democrats?” you’re not alone.
Well, First Amendment and all that, I guess.  And, somewhere I heard that Joseph Stalin noted that "paper will accept anything written on it."  And, there is always the example of Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter Walter Duranty.

Then there is this innovative paragraph, full of hope and passion:

There’s no shortage of legal theories that could challenge Mr. Trump’s anointment, but they come from outsiders rather than the Democratic Party.  Impassioned citizens have been pleading with electors to vote against Mr. Trump; law professors have argued that winner-take-all laws for electoral votes are unconstitutional; a small group, the Hamilton Electors, is attempting to free electors to vote their consciences; and a new theory has arisen that there is legal precedent for courts to give the election to Mrs. Clinton based on Russian interference.
What "legal precedent" are they talking about?  Is this some sort of New York Times inside baseball thing?

Then there is Harvard University constitutional law professor Larry Lessig, who claims to know of 20 Republican Electors who are not going to vote for Mr Trump.  Per Politico.

Mr Trump has 306 Electoral Votes and needs 270.  If Professor Lessig can attract 20 more Republicans to his nefarious cause he will have thrown the election into the House of Representatives, for them to pick from amongst Mr Trump, Mrs Clinton and Mr Johnson.  While this might defeat Mr Trump, it is unlikely to elevate Mrs Clinton.

My sense is that Ms Lithwick and Mr Cohen are of the "any means, fair or foul" school of politics.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lost Their Bearings

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  Where in I talk about microaggressions on campus.
For John, BLUFIt is better to keep your mouth shut and be perceived as a possible Trump voter than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A column by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds in USA Today.

The Professor isn't worried about the special snowflakes who need puppies to play with.  He is talking about the "othering" of Conservatives and Libertarians.  It is OK to wear a Che t-shirt, but not to have voted for The Donald.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fears For The First Amendment

For John, BLUFThen there are the people out there who think there is some impartial way of divining the truth.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That is The New Yorker and Reporter Jeffrey Toobin.

The fear is a loss of the First Amendment protections for the Press and for Free Speech.

Here is the quote Blog Post Author Steven Green pulled from the article:

For decades, the news media benefitted from the deference paid by courts to the judgments of newspaper editors. The judge in federal court treated Gawker’s editors as if they were running a newspaper, and he declined to second-guess them about what constitutes the news.  The jury in state court did the opposite.  The question now is whether the law, instead of treating every publication as a newspaper, will start to treat all publications as Web sites—with the same skepticism and hostility displayed by the jury in Tampa.  The new President and his fellow-billionaires, like Thiel, will certainly welcome a legal environment that is less forgiving of media organizations. Trump’s victory, along with Hulk Hogan’s, suggests that the public may well take their side, too.
Yes, what is it about "Trump=Era Threat"?  With Mrs Clinton, who threw the First Amendment under the bus over Benghazi, as President, it would have been worse.

Here is part of Mr Green's comments:

Hillary Clinton was the subject of the movie in the Citizens United case, which as a candidate she promised to see overturned — silencing political filmmakers for generations to come. It was on Clinton’s behalf (following her blunder at Benghazi) that an innocent YouTube videomaker was jailed for nearly a year. Just last week it was Clinton who urged “that Congress should take action against” purveyors of what she deems to be “fake news.” And forget mere threats, what about two years ago when Democrats tried to repeal the First Amendment? That, too, was backed by Hillary Clinton.
When I was young we used to talk about people having their head in the sand.  I see that activity here.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hacking the Election

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about Mrs Clinton and the recent election.
For John, BLUFRush Limbaugh thinks it is a conspiracy on the order of forcing Richard Nixon from the White House, but I doubt the ability of those folks to be that organized.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This would be Mr Patrick Eddington, blogging at Medium dot Com. Here is the lede:
In the wake of the most remarkable presidential election in at least a century, we now face the very real possibility that "We, the People" didn't actually make the final choice about who will run the executive branch and effectively set national policy for the next four years.  Instead, #Election2016 may have been hijacked by former Soviet KGB officer-turned-Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, according to a still-secret assessment produced by my former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency.
That is to say, if it wasn't for President Vladimir Putin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be heading for an Electoral College victory on Monday, the 19th.

And, here from The Old Gray Lady and reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eric Lichtblaudec, we have, today, "C.I.A. Judgment on Russia Built on Swell of Evidence".  Here is the lede plus one:

American spy and law enforcement agencies were united in the belief, in the weeks before the presidential election, that the Russian government had deployed computer hackers to sow chaos during the campaign.  But they had conflicting views about the specific goals of the subterfuge.

Last week, Central Intelligence Agency officials presented lawmakers with a stunning new judgment that upended the debate:  Russia, they said, had intervened with the primary aim of helping make Donald J. Trump president.

Was it to help Mr Trump win or was it to defeat Mrs Clinton, who Mr Putin thinks worked against him as Secretary of State?

Here is the article from The Boston Globe, "CIA: Russia tried to help Trump win".

There is this from The Wash Post"FBI and CIA give differing accounts to lawmakers on Russia’s motives in 2016 hacks".

The mainstream media, and many Democrats, believe that the Russians hacked the election and helped Mrs Clinton lose (well, they phrase it as helped Mr Trump win).

So, grab your smelling salts!!

I think there are two separate things here.

The first is if the Russians hacked, participated in the hacking, initiated the hacks, and the distribution of the results.

The second is if the Wikileaks (or leaking to other media outlets) changed the outcome of the election.

The second is complicated by another question, which is if you believe that Mr Trump’s win was inexplicable outside of some kind of external force (e.g., Russian interference).  If you believe that, you fall on one side of the question (and perhaps conclude we need to redo the election).  If you don’t believe that (don't believe that Mrs Clinton had it iced) then you see this as just loser sour grapes.

Then there is the sub-question of if the IC really believes the successful hacking happened.

But, if we have to go to a do-over the follow-up question is what we are going to do about this in terms of (1) increasing our defenses in this area and (2) taking offensive punishing actions.

As a minimum, I would say, we need to isolate Russia and force it back on its economic heels (assuming they did it).

Otherwise too many of those voters out in fly-over country will feel the election was stolen from them by spooks and lawyers and the Media and Washington politicians.

UPDATE:  Some wording updated for clarity.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Political Junk"

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  We discuss Hillary Clinton losing.
For John, BLUFThe danger is we could talk ourselves into some stupid ideas.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That is what Law Professor Ann Althouse calls it, "political junk".

It is about The Old Gray Lady, and the White House, talking about Russia "hacking" our Presidential Election.  The articles conclusion was that the Russians were supporting Mr Trump.

Professor Althouse does quote this paragraph from the article:

The NYT also raises the theory that the Russians — like most people — assumed Hillary was going to win, and they weren't trying to defeat her, but undercut her presidency.  In this theory, they weren't so concerned with hurting Trump because they didn't think he'd win.
Unless you think the Russia intelligence apparatus is a lot smarter than Nate Silver, Paul Krugman, the Mainstream Media and almost all of Hillary Clinton's advisors, that is the view to take.

It appears we are still way early on the Kübler-Ross Model, somewhere between denial and anger.

The thing is, if this really happened it was an electronic Pearl Harbor.  If you believe this happened you should immediately disconnect from the "Internet of Things" and run out and buy a generator, a gas cook stove and a gas space heater.  The President needs to immediately and preemptively fire the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security and the Directors of CIA, NSA, and DIA.  Just like after Pearl Harbor we fired the Hawaiian Commanders, Admiral Husband Kimmel and Army Lt Gen Short.  If true, this breach is such an unmitigated disaster that emergency measures are needed.  We can"t wait for the next President to be Inaugurated.

I, on the other hand, think this is a tempest in a tea pot.

Hat tip to the Althouse blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

Whinging From Princeton to NYC

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  We discuss Hillary Clinton losing.
For John, BLUFNoted Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman can dish it out, but can't take it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Per Twitchy, this Morning Professor (and NYT Columnist) Paul Krugman Tweeted out:
So we'll have a president who lost the pop vote by 2.1%, got in thanks to FBI and Putin.  And supporters will demand respect.  Um, no.
There are few things less edifying than a poor loser, unless it is a self righteous poor loser.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Going After Climate Change Deniers

For John, BLUFIf she has to go, who pays for the airline ticket?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Boston Herald, but it isn't Howie Carr.  In fact it is Reporter Matt Stout.

Here is the deal.  Our Attorney General, Ms Maura Healey, who we elected to that high office back in 2014 (well, I voted for the other person, but still, she won), has been ordered to appear before Federal Judge James E "Ed" Kinkeade (United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas) on Tuesday of this coming week.  He is hoping she will explain her campaign against Exxon Mobil, a company out of Irving, Texas.

She is holding out, hoping her appeal will be upheld.

Two points.

  1. Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, back on 11 April 2016, wrote Dear attorneys general, conspiring against free speech is a crime.
  2. The other thing is I expect that is no truth to the rumor that our Attorney General, Ms Maura Healey, wants to ban sharp pencils in school as a dangerous weapon on the order of Assault Weapons.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Going for the Black Vote

For John, BLUFIf I were a President Trump chief of staff I would have him in a Black Inner City every 24 days.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is Author Roger L Simon and PJ Media.

The solution is a secret, but you can read it at the link, above.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Pretend it is on Mrs Clinton's private server and you are hacking it by clicking on the link.  Pretend you are a Russian cyber-spy, a Boris or Natasha.

Life on the Bleeding Edge of Medicine

For John, BLUFadvances is science and engineering demand advances in our understanding of the law.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is by a staff writer at The Pilot, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston.  Here is the lede:
Emma and Isabella are suing their mother, Sofia Vergara, according to court documents obtained by the New York Post.

Emma and Isabella are Vergara’s frozen embryos.

Vergara is a Colombian-born actress perhaps best known for her role as the quirky but loving Gloria Delgado-Pritchett from the ABC series “Modern Family”. In 2013, she created and froze embryos with then-fiancé Nick Loeb, a businessman, in a California clinic through in-vitro fertilization.

Here is a key fact:
The state of Louisiana legally recognizes a fertilized egg as a "juridical person".
The idea of fertilized embryos is one the Roman Catholic Church does not support.  On the other hand, they are a fact of life.  But, are they "life" or just material?

This is why the whole area of right to life is complicated.  When does life begin?  The whole area of Neonatal Intensive Care says that there is human life before the normal term birth.

Regards  —  Cliff