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Op/Ed Political

Trump & His Generals

it’s friday morning and i just got my first cup of coffee, so let’s see what victor hanson is writing about this week — Trump and His Generals

Donald Trump earned respect from the Washington establishment for appointing three of the nation’s most accomplished generals to direct his national-security policy: James Mattis (secretary of defense), H. R. McMaster (national-security adviser), and John Kelly (secretary of homeland security).

In the first five months of the Trump administration, the three generals — along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO — have already recalibrated America’s defenses.

At home, illegal immigration is down by some 70 percent. Abroad, a new policy of principled realism seeks to reestablish deterrence through credible threats of retaliation. The generals are repairing old friendships with allies and neutrals while warning traditional enemies not to press their luck.

Trump has turned over most of the details of military operations to his generals. According to his critics, Trump is improperly outsourcing to his generals both strategic decision-making and its tactical implementation.

But is Trump really doing that?


another good read, as usual… didn’t realize that illegal immigration was down by 70% already — damn.

and we haven’t even built the wall yet! ;)

emmmmm… coffee…….

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Can a Divided America Survive?

time for the friday morning ritual and see what victor hanson is writing about, so let’s see what he has for us this week — Can a Divided America Survive?

The United States is currently the world’s oldest democracy.

But America is no more immune from collapse than were some of history’s most stable and impressive consensual governments. Fifth-century Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Florence and Venice, and many of the elected governments of early 20th-century Western European states eventually destroyed themselves, went bankrupt, or were overrun by invaders.

The United States is dividing as rarely before. Half the country, mostly liberal America, is concentrated in 146 of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties — in an area that collectively represents less than 10 percent of the U.S. land mass. The other half, the conservative Red states of the interior of America, is geographically, culturally, economically, politically, and socially at odds with Blue-state America, which resides mostly on the two coasts.

The two Americas watch different news. They read very different books, listen to different music, and watch different television shows. Increasingly, they now live lives according to two widely different traditions.

Barack Obama was elected president after compiling the most left-wing voting record in the U.S. Senate. His antidote, Donald Trump, was elected largely on the premise that traditional Republicans were hardly conservative.

Red America and Blue America are spiraling into divisions approaching those of 1860, or of the nihilistic hippie/straight divide of 1968.

Currently, some 27 percent of all Californians were not born in the United States. More than 40 million foreign-born immigrants currently live in the U.S. — the highest number in the nation’s history.

Yet widely unchecked immigration comes at a time when the country has lost confidence in its prior successful adherence to melting-pot assimilation and integration. The ultimate result is a fragmenting of society into tribal cliques that vie for power, careers, and influence on the basis of ethnic solidarity rather than shared Americanness.

History is not very kind to multicultural chaos — as opposed to a multiracial society united by a single national culture. The fates of Rwanda, Iraq, and the former Yugoslavia should remind us of our present disastrous trajectory.

Either the United States will return to a shared single language and allegiance to a common and singular culture, or it will eventually descend into clannish violence. Continue…

good stuff as always… i’m still kinda in shock over that leftie nutjob going to the ballpark outside of DC and opening fire on a bunch of guys simply because they were Republicans — unbelievable.

anywho, time to lean back and enjoy my morning coffee and login into a couple meetings before lunch.


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It’s the Hypocrisy, Stupid

time to kick back, sip on some delicious morning coffee, and see what victor is talking about this week — It’s the Hypocrisy, Stupid

Some concerned Democrats are worried that their party may have lost the key blue-wall states because of its elitism, manifested as disdain for Americans between the coasts.

Perhaps emblematic of their worry is the strange metamorphosis of Hillary Clinton’s two presidential campaigns. In 2008, as Bill Clinton 2.0, she drank boilermakers, bragged about bowling and shooting, boasted about her resonance with the “white” working class, and clobbered Obama on his Pennsylvania clingers speech.

But after Obama’s win — and his assumed new formula of registering record numbers of minority voters and seeing them often vote in a bloc on the basis of racial solidarity — Clinton thought she too could follow this new pathway to Democratic victories. So she made the understandable political contortions.

This time around, Clinton was bent on out-Obaming Obama’s “clingers” with her own “deplorables” and “irredeemables.” Her campaign was based on pandering to identity-politics groups — while she had cashed in on Wall Street in what can be fairly called a payola scheme with Bill to enrich the Clinton Foundation and thus indirectly themselves. The result was both a cultural and economic affront to what used to be the bedrock of the Democratic party.

Americans neither hate nor envy meritocratic elites. Here in one of the poorer areas of the nation in rural southwestern Fresno County, the poor admire the skilled surgeons who operate on their children. Most of the new agri-barons are up-by-their-bootstraps ethnics: Basques, Punjabis, and descendants of the Okie diaspora and the 1960s waves of immigrants from Mexico who may now farm more than 2,000 or 3,000 acres of orchards and vineyards and on paper be worth $10 or $15 million, though they dress in old clothes and drive run-down pickups. They are looked upon as success stories worthy of emulation because most talk and act like the people who work for and with them.

So perhaps what drives proverbially average Americans crazy is not the success and money of others, but the condescension and hypocrisy of what a particular elite says contrasted with how it lives: The disconnect recalls the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, the televangelist who on Sunday mornings three decades ago used to break into tears as he loudly condemned the sins of the flesh, while he privately indulged his worldly appetites.

Elites, whose lifestyles lead them to burn lots of carbon, rail about the Paris accords to those who get by burning lots less. What is galling is to see how little the elites’ green rhetoric is backed up by their green behavior. Could Hollywood celebrities at least for a year swear off the use of their private jets that emit more carbon emissions in a year than entire small towns in Ohio? Continue…

another good one from victor hanson, and well said… and yeah, i’d have to agree about how galling the whole hypocrisy thing goes… but to be fair, that’s really neither a liberal or conservative thing since they all are hypocrites to some degree IMHO.

i definitely need another espresso doubleshot.

PS. Victor Gold, R.I.P.

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The Old German Problem

it’s friday morning and you know what that means… yup, time to kick back, sip on some mornging coffee, and see what victor hanson is writing about this week — The Old German Problem

Berlin — Germans do not seem too friendly to Americans these days.

According to a recent Harvard Kennedy School study of global media, 98 percent of German public television news portrays President Donald Trump negatively, making it by far the most anti-Trump media in the world.

Yet the disdain predates the election of Trump, who is roundly despised here for his unapologetic anti–European Union views.

In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey of European countries, Germany had the least favorable impression of America. Only about 50 percent of Germans expressed positive feelings toward the U.S. Former president Barack Obama, who visited here last week to lecture the world on diversity and tolerance, never changed negative attitudes much from the unpopular George W. Bush years.

Germans apparently do not appreciate that fellow NATO member America still subsidizes their defense. Nor do they seem appreciative of their huge trade surplus ($65 billion) with the United States.

Germans seem to have forgotten that American troops for 45 years kept the Soviets from absorbing all of Germany. The Berlin Airlift is now premodern history.

Why, then, do confident Germans increasingly dislike the United States?

It is complicated.


having lived and practically grew up over in Germany as a teenager back in the late 80s, saying it’s “comlicated” is a bit of an understatement… even back then, having lots of german friends i’d hang out with, it was complicated… and there was this big diff in viewpoints and attitude between the older germans and the younger — i still remember how stark that seemed, even to me as a kid, back then.

good stuff as usual, victor.

PS. emmmmm, coffee coffee coffee…


Post Manchester Amnesia

Manchester Isn’t the First Time Jihadists Have Slaughtered Children

For now, everyone knows the sonorous name and cherubic face of eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.

She’s the littlest known victim of Monday night’s jihad attack in Manchester, England. Her doe-eyed image spread as rapidly across social media as the #PrayForManchester hashtags and Twitter condolences from celebrities.

But I guarantee you that beautiful Saffie Rose will evaporate from the memories of those most loudly proclaiming “never forget” faster than a dewdrop in the desert.

Look no further for proof of the West’s incurable terror attack amnesia than the reaction to the Manchester massacre. Reporters, politicians, and pundits expressed shock at the brutality of Muslim murderers targeting children and young people.

Labour Party leader Yvette Cooper posited on BBC Live that it was a “first.”

“The architects of terror have hit a new low,” a Liverpool newspaper editorialized.

U.K. columnist Rosie Millard described the bloody bombing as an “attack unique in its premeditated targeting of the young.”

What planet have these people been living on for the past 16 years? How quickly the blind, deaf, and dumb virtue signalers forget.

Last year, the Orlando, Florida, nightclub jihadist purposely targeted young people simply having a good time. Among the youngest victims cut down in their prime: Jason B. Josaphat, 19, and vacationing high school honors student Akyra Monet Murray, 18.

Somali jihadist Abdul Razak Ali Artan plowed his car into Ohio State University students last fall before stabbing several of them. The attack was swept under the rug as the usual, terror-coddling suspects worried more about a nonexistent “backlash” against Muslims than they did about the steady infiltration of refugee jihadis and Islamic extremists at colleges and universities across the country.

In 2004, Islamic baby-killers attacked a school in Beslan, Russia, during a three-day siege that took the lives of 186 young children.

At Fort Hood in 2009, soldier Francheska Velez and her unborn child were murdered by jihadist Nidal Hasan with 13 other victims. Her last words: “My baby! My baby!”


another good op-ed from victor, and he makes some really good points as always… was a little curious at some of the news and reporting i saw online in the aftermath of the hit on manchester, but can’t say i was all that surprised… found myself watching the BBC tuesday night just so i could watch some of the coverage from over there versus what was on our cable news over here — have to say the difference really isn’t as stark as it used to be… or maybe i’m just more “wise” or jaded or something, i dunno.

anywho, time for some more coffee!

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Lessons from the Battle of Midway

Lessons from the Battle of Midway

Seventy-five years ago (June 4-7, 1942), the astonishing American victory at the Battle of Midway changed the course of the Pacific War.

Just six months after the catastrophic Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. crushed the Imperial Japanese Navy off Midway Island (about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu), sinking four of its aircraft carriers.

“Midway” referred to the small atoll roughly halfway between North America and Asia. But to Americans, “Midway” became a barometer of military progress. Just half a year after being surprised at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy had already destroyed almost half of Japan’s existing carrier strength (after achieving a standoff at the Battle of the Coral Sea a month earlier).

The odds at the June 1942 battle favored the Japanese. The imperial fleet had four carriers to the Americans’ three, backed up by scores of battleships, cruisers, and light carriers as part of the largest armada that had ever steamed from Japan.

No military had ever won more territory in six months than had Japan. Its Pacific Empire ranged from the Indian Ocean to the coast of the Aleutian Islands, and from the Russian-Manchurian border to Wake Island in the Pacific.

Yet the Japanese Navy was roundly defeated by an outnumbered and inexperienced American fleet at Midway. Why and how? Continue…

these are the type of posts from victor hanson that got me hooked, and really how i sorta fell into this friday morning blogging routine of mine… love the history posts, victor! keep ’em coming dude.

PS. kinda addicted to this guatemalan coffee from wawa lately.

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Op/Ed Political

Trumpism v. Republicanism

Can Trump Successfully Remodel the GOP?

If Trumpism succeeds, it could replace mainstream Republicanism.

The Republican-party establishment is caught in an existential paradox.

Without Donald Trump’s populist and nationalist 2016 campaign, the GOP probably would not have won the presidency. Nor would Republicans now enjoy such lopsided control of state legislatures and governorships, as well as majorities in the House and Senate, and likely control of the Supreme Court for a generation.

So are conservatives angry at the apostate Trump or indebted to him for helping them politically when they were not able to help themselves?

For a similar sense of the paradox, imagine if a novice outsider such as billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban had captured the Democratic nomination and then won the presidency — but did not run on either Bernie Sanders’s progressive redistributionism, Barack Obama’s identity politics, or Hillary Clinton’s high taxes and increased regulation. Would liberals be happy, conflicted, or seething?

For now, most Republicans are overlooking Trump’s bothersome character excesses — without conceding that his impulsiveness and bluntness may well have contributed to his success after Republican sobriety and traditionalism failed.

Republicans concentrate on what they like in the Trump agenda — military spending increases, energy expansion, deterrence abroad, tax and regulatory reform, and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act — and they ignore the inherent contradictions between Trumpism and their own political creed.

But there are many fault lines that will loom large in the next few years. Continue…

another good read from victor, as usual… got my hot cocoa and bagel, and i’m ready to get the day started.

TGIF, right? :)

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Potemkin Universities

well it’s friday morning so you know what that means around here… so let’s see what victor hanson is writing about this week — Potemkin Universities

College campuses still appear superficially to be quiet, well-landscaped refuges from the bustle of real life.

But increasingly, their spires, quads, and ivy-covered walls are facades. They are now no more about free inquiry and unfettered learning than were the proverbial Potemkin fake buildings put up to convince the traveling Russian czarina Catherine II that her impoverished provinces were prosperous.

The university faces crises almost everywhere of student debt, university finances, free expression, and the very quality and value of a university education.

Take free speech. Without freedom of expression, there can be no university.

But if the recent examples at Berkeley, Claremont, Middlebury, and Yale are any indication, there is nothing much left to the idea of a free and civilized exchange of different ideas. Continue…

another good read on this overcast and rainy friday morning… everything he says is true, and paints a pretty grim picture of our universities — at least as far as free speech, a broader sense of acceptance and inclusion, and not to mention financially, is concerned.

#ugh  #damnhippies

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2020 For Democrats?

Will 2020 Be Another 1972 for Democrats?

Forty-nine years ago, Vice President Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic candidate for president.

The year 1968 was a tumultuous one that saw the assassinations of rival candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy and civil-rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. Lyndon Johnson’s unpopular lame-duck Democratic administration imploded because of massive protests against the Vietnam War.

Yet Humphrey almost defeated Republican nominee Richard Nixon, losing the election by just over 500,000 votes (43.4 percent to 42.7 percent).

Infighting Democrats could have defeated the unpopular Nixon if not for a few unforeseen developments.

Their convention in Chicago turned into a creepy carnival of televised rioting and radical protests. Hippies and leftists were seen battling police in the streets on prime-time news.

The former Democratic governor of Alabama, George Wallace, ran as a states’ rights third-party candidate and drew 13.5 percent of the vote. Wallace destroyed the Democrats’ traditional hold on the old “solid South” by winning five Southern states outright. He also siphoned off enough traditional Democratic supporters to give Nixon astonishing Republican victories in half a dozen other states in the region.

Nixon won over a few Northern blue-collar states that had often voted Democratic, such as Wisconsin and Ohio — again with help from Wallace, who appealed to fed-up, working-class Democrats.

What was the lesson from 1968?

always cool to see what victor hanson is writing about come friday morning, especially since he usually has some historical bent to his op/eds… nothing wrong with a little light reading first thing in the morning over some fresh coffee, right?

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In Defense of Robots

In Defense of Robots

There was a time in America, not too long ago, when most people, including journalists, business leaders, politicians, and scholars, were full-throated advocates of technologically powered productivity growth. They understood that through mechanization, automation, and other forms of innovation, we can produce more, better, and cheaper goods and services, and have higher incomes. It was understood that some workers might lose their jobs after we figured out how to do them more efficiently, but most Americans believed, to quote Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Those days are gone, though. Current opinion now routinely echoes the mythical 19th-century machine destroyer Ned Ludd, warning in a growing avalanche of books, academic theses, market forecasts, and op-eds that technology is leading us to a world of mass unemployment, that it is creating a newly idle lumpenproletariat, and that we had better put in place a universal basic income (UBI), under which the state cuts a check to everyone, regardless of their income or work status, if we are to have any hope of avoiding mass unrest.

This kind of worry, verging on “robophobia,” represents a remarkable reversal from a long period in American history — stretching from the 1890s to the early 1970s — when most Americans sang the praises of technology as an engine of progress that not only raised our living standards but also made America great. Exultantly titled books such as Triumphs and Wonders of the 19th Century, The Marvels of Modern Mechanism, Our Wonderful Progress, and Modern Wonder Workers were common. When Henry Adams viewed the huge dynamo for producing electricity at the 1900 Great Exhibition in Paris, he wrote (in the third person) of his reaction:

As he grew accustomed to the great gallery of machines, he began to feel the forty-foot dynamos as a moral force, much as the early Christians felt the Cross. The planet itself seemed less impressive, in its old-fashioned, deliberate, annual or daily revolution, than this huge wheel, revolving within arm’s length at some vertiginous speed, and barely murmuring.

Harvard economist Benjamin Anderson spoke for many when he wrote 40 years later that “on no account, must we retard or interfere with the most rapid utilization of new inventions.” And it wasn’t just defenders of capitalism who saw technology as a progressive force. Socialists did too, as when Jack London praised automation, proclaiming, “Let us not destroy these wonderful machines that produce efficiently and cheaply. Let us control them. Let us profit by their efficiency and cheapness. Let us run them by ourselves. That, gentlemen, is socialism.”

These days, Harvard economists are as likely as not to worry that automation is hurting too many people. Larry Summers wrote in the Financial Times that “it is widely feared that half the jobs in the economy might be eliminated by innovations such as self-driving vehicles, automatic checkout machines and expert systems that trade securities more effectively than humans can.” Summers, a macroeconomist who has in the past expressed faith in the Fed’s ability to achieve near-full employment, now believes that one-third of men between the ages of 25 and 54 could be unemployed because of technology by midcentury.

Such voices have been growing louder in recent decades. Artificial-intelligence scientist Nils Nilsson was in the advance guard when he warned in 1984 that “we must convince our leaders that they should give up the notion of ‘full employment.’ . . . The pace of technological change is accelerating.” But what’s different today is that such thinking has become a common, widely repeated narrative, greatly amplified by a supercharged media landscape and a packed calendar of “thought leader” events. You cannot attend Davos, a G20 summit, or a TED talk without being told that the pace of technological change is accelerating and the days of “work” as we know it are numbered. Continue…

there’s been sooooo much stuff posted lately about AI, autonomous driving cars, and robotics in general of late that it’s like an invisible drum beating away somewhere in the background… not to mention all the stuff from F8 this past week… anywho good read, especially over some delicious coffee on this fine friday morning.

emmmm, coffee….

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Op/Ed Political

Single-Payer Health Care?

The Road to Single-Payer Health Care

Washington – Repeal-and-replace (for Obamacare) is not quite dead. It has been declared so, but what that means is that, for now, the president has (apparently) washed his hands of it and the House Republicans appear unable to reconcile their differences.

Neither condition needs to be permanent. There are ideological differences between the various GOP factions, but what’s overlooked is the role that procedure played in producing the deadlock. And procedure can easily be changed.

The House leadership crafted a bill that would meet the delicate requirements of “reconciliation” in order to create a (more achievable) threshold of 51 rather than 60 votes in the Senate. But this meant that some of the more attractive, market-oriented reforms had to be left out, relegated to a future measure (a so-called phase-three bill) that might never actually arrive.

Yet the more stripped-down proposal died anyway. So why not go for the gold next time? Pass a bill that incorporates phase-three reforms and send it on to the Senate.

September might be the time for resurrecting repeal-and-replace. That’s when insurers recalibrate premiums for the coming year, precipitating our annual bout of Obamacare sticker shock. By then, even more insurers will be dropping out of the exchanges, further reducing choice and service. These should help dissipate the pre-emptive nostalgia for Obamacare that emerged during the current debate.

At which point, the House leadership should present a repeal-and-replace that includes such phase-three provisions as tort reform and permitting the buying of insurance across state lines, both of which would significantly lower costs.

Even more significant would be stripping out the heavy-handed Obamacare coverage mandate that dictates what specific medical benefits must be included in every insurance policy in the country, regardless of the purchaser’s desires or needs.

Best to mandate nothing. Let the customer decide. A 60-year-old couple doesn’t need maternity coverage. Why should they be forced to pay for it? And I don’t know about you, but I don’t need lactation services. Continue…

totally agree… after the clusterfuck mess that we just watched play out over the past few weeks or more, i’d say “fuck it” and put forth the full repeal-and-replace bill that they want — not this 3-phase multibill approach — and see if the senate can step up and get it done… probably with Trump in the background making calls and twisting a few proverbial arms, if needed.

PS. what a fucking mess.

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GOP: Fix The Health Care Bill

The House Should Slow Down and Fix the GOP Health-Care Bill

The American Health Care Act, the House Republicans’ proposal for repealing and replacing large parts of Obamacare, has had a rough start in life. It was introduced by House leaders on March 6 to a chorus of groans from all ends of the party. Freedom Caucus members and some other conservatives opposed its refundable tax credit and thought its Medicaid reforms took too long to get going. Many of the conservatives most engaged in the details of health care in recent years, meanwhile, thought its credit was not well designed to allow most people to obtain at least catastrophic coverage, and they worried about some peculiar features that seemed counterproductive. The hope of Republican leaders to rush the bill through the House and then the Senate in record time seemed implausible.

And then on March 13, the Congressional Budget Office made things even worse. The agency’s modelers projected that, while the bill would significantly reduce the deficit and ultimately reduce premium costs in the individual market, it would leave about 24 million more people without insurance in ten years than would have been the case under Obamacare.

To see how harsh an assessment that is, consider that in January the CBO projected that a bill that simply repealed all of Obamacare — its taxes, mandates, subsidies, and regulations of insurance — would leave 23 million more people without coverage in ten years. So a full repeal alone would actually leave more people covered than does the Republicans’ repeal and replacement, in the agency’s judgment. But things are not nearly so simple, of course, and the CBO’s assessment might actually point toward improvements that could strengthen the Republican approach.

Defenders of the Republican bill have responded to CBO’s score of it by questioning the agency’s health-care modeling and its past performance. Critics of the bill have responded by pointing to the proposal’s numerous peculiar flaws. Both sides are right.

Without question, CBO’s health-care model has enormous problems. The congressional scorekeeper has always exaggerated the effectiveness of blunt rules like Obamacare’s individual mandate. Its baseline Medicaid projections have long overestimated growth rates in ways that make conservative reforms look like bigger cuts than they turn out to be. And its insistence that competition does not lead to business-model innovation in insurance has led it astray before too — as in its vast exaggeration of the cost of the Bush administration’s Medicare prescription-drug benefit in 2003. Continue…

seriously, what a fucking mess… feel like i’ve been hearing about healthcare in one way or another for the past decade now, and they still can’t seem to get together and figure it out… but i guess that’s simply asking too much.

Obamacare Was the Wrong Road to Go Down, but Backtracking Is Hard


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Op/Ed Political

Repeal Obamacare

i’m still not sure what the hell happened to victor hanson, but i figured i’d drop by NRO and see if anything caught my eye… and this one about repealing Obamacare is the first one i clicked on.

As Washington people go around doing Washington things and talking to other Washington people about Washington-focused health-care reform, we would do well to take a step back to simplify the debate in front of us.

We are the most prosperous country in the history of the world. As such, we have many of the best hospitals, doctors, nurses, and medicines available. We have hundreds of insurers that take risk — for profit — to insure us. We have fairly broad, but expensive and not always effective, social safety nets in which we pool our resources through taxation in an effort to help those who need it.

But the truth is, we have a very badly broken health-care system. We are losing doctors by the thousands. Health-care costs have been skyrocketing and insurance premiums are increasingly flat-out unaffordable. Insurance companies are no longer serving vast swaths of our country — leaving people with no choices and reduced access to care. Americans, in short, are no longer able to get the health care of their choosing from the doctor of their choosing at an affordable cost.

Very few people dispute these facts or the need to reform health care. So we now confront a choice between two paths – and when we make this choice, it is highly unlikely we will reach a similar fork in the road.

Path One is to do something different – to acknowledge the failures of Obamacare, which are massive, and then do a very un-Washington thing and honor commitments made to fully repeal it (which have been numerous), and actually roll back a federal mistake. Then, make a fresh start, with two simple steps. First, freeze Medicaid enrollment immediately and send Medicaid dollars to states with zero strings attached to allow them to innovate and be more effective. Second, increase portability and decrease costs through increased competition, by equalizing the tax treatment between employers and individuals.

If we choose this path, we will, in essence, be saying: Let competitive markets and the states clean up the mess Washington created. Drive down costs through unfettered competition, and increase the number of doctors competing for our business. Cost is the problem. Coverage will naturally increase if costs are lowered and will provide far better health-care options for far more Americans.

Furthermore, we should give states maximum flexibility to create programs for the poor and those lacking access to care as well as to create innovations such as high-risk pools and targeted health-savings accounts for those without insurance. The benefit would extend beyond health care, to creating more unity in our country through federalism – allowing us to accommodate our differences. Continue…

after all this time, i still fail to truly understand why this is so g’damn complicated… it was a mess before, it’s a mess now with obamacare, and they still can’t seem to just sit down and figure this shit out — seriously, what the fuck?

The GOP Repeal Plan Is Pretty Bad


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News Op/Ed

The Press Is Not the Enemy

The press is not the enemy… but it’s not objective, either.

Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, had an unfortunate turn of phrase the other day. She said it’s the mission of the press to “control exactly what people think.”

My suspicion is that this was less a Freudian slip than a simple slip-up. Brzezinski was referring to her fear that President Trump may be trying to control the way people think by discrediting the media — whom he calls “enemies of the American people” — and she lost her rhetorical footing, stumbling into saying that mind control is “our job.”

But the misstatement resonated with a lot of people, as did Trump’s claim that the press is an enemy of the people.

The first thing that needs to be said is that whenever you hear a politician talk about “the American people,” either they’re over-generalizing to the point of banality, or they’re referring to only one segment of the American public. “The American people love an underdog” is an example of banality. The press “is the enemy of the American people” is a highly subjective declaration.

I don’t blame journalists for taking offense. It was a grossly irresponsible thing for the chief constitutional officer of our government to say. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a point or that people are crazy for seeing it. Continue…

i’m not sure what happened to victor hanson, since he hasn’t posted anything new on NRO since december 16th… but i still hope he’ll be back at some point, because i really do enjoy looking up his latest op/ed’s on friday’s and seeing what he has to say… damnit… but oh well, guess for the time being i’ll just have to snag whatever article grabs my attention.

PS. emmmm… starbucks double-shot.

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Op/Ed Political

Obama Shows His True Colors

Obama Shows His True Colors as He Leaves Office

Barack Obama did not go out quietly. His unquiet final acts were overshadowed, in part by a successor who refused to come in quietly, and in part by Obama’s own endless, sentimental farewell tour. But there was nothing nostalgic or sentimental about Obama’s last acts. Two of them were simply shocking.

Perhaps we should have known. At the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he joked about whether he had a bucket list: “Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list.”

Turns out, he wasn’t kidding. Commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning, one of the great traitors of our time, is finger-in-the-eye willfulness. Obama took 28 years off the sentence of a soldier who stole and then released through WikiLeaks almost half a million military reports plus another quarter-million State Department documents.

The cables were embarrassing; the military secrets were almost certainly deadly. They jeopardized the lives not just of American soldiers on two active fronts — Iraq and Afghanistan — but of locals who were, at great peril, secretly aiding and abetting us. After Manning’s documents release, the Taliban “went on a killing spree” (according to intelligence sources quoted by Fox News) of those who fit the description of individuals working with the United States.

Moreover, we will be involved in many shadowy conflicts throughout the world. Locals will have to choose between us and our enemies. Would you choose a side that is so forgiving of a leaker who betrays her country — and you? Continue…

i usually head over to NRO to see what victor hanson is writing about this week, but i guess he’s on vacation… krauthammer is always a good backup, though ;)

on a slightly related note, today should be pretty damn… ummmm, interesting… what with the Trump inauguration going on up in DC — sooooo happy i’m working from home today, because traffic is probably gonna be a nightmare.

Obama dog Sunny bites white house guest…

p.s. yup, i definitely need more coffee.

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American Farm Animal

America as Animal Farm — Again

he socialist essayist and novelist George Orwell by 1944 grew depressed that as a cost for the defeat of the Axis Powers the Allies had empowered an equally nightmarish monster in the Soviet Union.

Since his days fighting for the loyalists during the Spanish Civil War, the left-wing Orwell had become an increasingly outspoken enemy of Communism. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, when Stalin renounced all his wartime assurances and steamrolled Eastern Europe, Orwell came to see state socialism under authoritarian auspices as the greatest threat to human freedom. It was not as if right-wing dictators were not equally lethal, but the inclusion of the words “socialist” and “republic” in a left-wing tyrant’s official lexicon tended to fool millions.

Indeed, it was precisely the leftist totalitarians’ habit of embroidering their murderous pursuit of power with professions of “equality,” “fairness,” and “egalitarianism” that so often allowed them to employ any means necessary to achieve their supposedly exalted ends. In sum, in Orwell’s eyes, the radical Left’s erasure of historical memory and its distortion of reality through the manipulation of language were the chief threat of the 20th century.

His 1945 novella Animal Farm — initially difficult for Orwell to publish and deeply hated by Western leftists — was an allegorical warning to liberals of the dangers of left-wing propaganda. Words and phrases changed their meanings — again and again — to serve a tyrannical agenda. The assorted creatures of Orwell’s fictional barnyard frequently wake up to new commandments posted on the barn wall by their Stalinesque pig leaders, with yesterday’s edicts crossed out or modified — and soon to be forgotten.

His 1945 novella Animal Farm — initially difficult for Orwell to publish and deeply hated by Western leftists — was an allegorical warning to liberals of the dangers of left-wing propaganda. Words and phrases changed their meanings — again and again — to serve a tyrannical agenda. The assorted creatures of Orwell’s fictional barnyard frequently wake up to new commandments posted on the barn wall by their Stalinesque pig leaders, with yesterday’s edicts crossed out or modified — and soon to be forgotten.

Rich people were suddenly not all bad blue-stocking Republicans, but also hip, valuable Silicon Valley progressives in flip-flops who, with some reluctance, outsourced and off-shored.

In our past eight years of historical revisionism, huge political contributions — like the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies given by multi-billionaire financial speculator George Soros — were now helpful for democracy if only they were given to left-wing causes.

Once-liberal public campaign-financing laws and limits on fund-raising applied to all candidates except Barack Obama, who became the largest recipient of campaign cash in election history.

Drone assassinations were suddenly, in 2009, no longer proof of Bush’s efforts to kill the innocent abroad, but sophisticated tools in the Obama’s sober anti-terrorism tool kit. Radical Islamic terrorism simply vanished from our collective minds.

Terrorist killing was reinvented as vague “man-caused disasters” and “workplace violence” that occasionally called for American “overseas contingency operations.” If we did not have the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” then there would be no radical Islamic terrorism — apparently on the theory that if we ban “gravity” from our vocabulary, we will all instantly float upwards.

More recently, “fake news” did not mean promulgating the lie “Hands up, don’t shoot,” doctoring George Zimmerman’s 911 call, or insisting on national TV that the Benghazi attacks were spontaneous riots sparked by a right-wing American-based video maker, who, for his provocations, was perp-walked and jailed on trumped-up charges of parole violations. Continue…

oh man, another really good one from victor hanson worth the read… really does make some damn good points, and it’s almost hard not to sit back… think on it for a few… and not find it all rather freaky.


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Assessing the Obama Legacy

Assessing the Obama Legacy—Against His Own Mileposts

In his 2016 State of the Union address, President Obama summarized his achievements. That same night, the White House issued a press release touting Obama’s accomplishments.

Now that he will be leaving, how well did these initiatives listed in the press release actually work out?

“Securing the historic Paris climate agreement.”

The accord was never submitted to Congress as a treaty. It will be ignored by President-elect Trump.

“Achieving the Iran nuclear deal.”

That “deal” was another effort to circumvent the treaty-ratifying authority of Congress. It has green-lighted Iranian aggression, and it probably ensured nuclear proliferation. Iran’s violations will cause the new Trump administration to either scrap the accord or send it to Congress for certain rejection.

“Securing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Even Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton came out against this failed initiative. It has little support in Congress or among the public. Opposition to the TTP helped fuel the Trump victory.

“Reopening Cuba.”

The recent Miami celebration of the death of Fidel Castro, and Trump’s victory in Florida, are testimonies to the one-sided deal’s unpopularity. The United States got little in return for the Castro brothers’ propaganda coup.

“Destroying ISIL” and “dismantling al Qaeda.”

We are at last making some progress against some of these “jayvee” teams, as Obama once described the Islamic State. Neither group has been dismantled or destroyed. Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, the widespread reach of radical Islam into Europe and the United States remains largely unchecked.

“Ending combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The Afghan war rages on. The precipitous withdrawal of all U.S. peacekeepers in 2011 from a quiet Iraq helped sow chaos in the rest of the Middle East. We are now sending more troops back into Iraq.

“Closing Guantanamo Bay.”

This was an eight-year broken promise. The detention center still houses dangerous terrorists.

“Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region.”

The anemic “Asia Pivot” failed. The Philippines is now openly pro-Russian and pro-Chinese. Traditional allies such Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea are terrified that the U.S is no longer a reliable guarantor of their autonomy.

“Supporting Central American development.”

The once-achievable promise of a free-market, democratic Latin America is moribund. Dictatorships in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua remain impoverished bullies. All have been appeased by the U.S.

“Strengthening cybersecurity.”

Democrats claimed Russian interference in the recent election. If true, it is proof that there is no such thing as “cybersecurity.” The WikiLeaks releases, the hacked Clinton e-mails and the Edward Snowden disclosures confirm that the Obama administration was the least cybersecure presidency in history.

feels like it’s been awhile since i dropped some victor hanson around here, but this is a pretty good rundown on looking back at all the promises Obama made and how well he stacked up on accomplishing it… funny, but some of my more liberal friends have said much the same thing to me over the years — where i might feel that he’s failed and made some truly horrible “deals” in his tenure (obamacare, the iran deal), they think he didn’t go far enough and flat out didn’t do what he promised.

good times, good times… still can’t believe that the Trump inauguration will be coming up here in DC pretty soon… oh man, it’s gonna be a crazy mess around here! i’m definitely working from home that day, i think.

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A Party of Teeth-Gnashers

The broken record of racism/sexism/homophobia plays on and on and on… A Party of Teeth-Gnashers

After the Democratic equality-of-opportunity agenda was largely realized (Social Security, Medicare, overtime, a 40-hour work week, disability insurance, civil rights, etc.), the next-generation equality-of-result effort has largely failed.

What is left of Democratic ideology is identity politics and assorted dead-end green movements as conservation has become radical environmentalism and fairness under the law is now unapologetic redistributionism. The 2016 campaign and the frenzied reaction to the result are reminders that the Left is no longer serious about formulating and advancing a practical agenda. In sum, for now it is reduced to a party of teeth-gnashers.

The Podesta archive, when coupled with the pay-for-play Clinton Foundation, summed up the liberal ideology: progressive platitudes as cover for an elite’s pursuit of power and influence. Examine a coastal Democratic establishmentarian, and there is little discernable difference in his lifestyle, income, or material tastes from those conservatives (usually poorer) whom he accuses of all sorts of politically incorrect behaviors. Self-righteous outrage is a Democratic selling point and a wise career move for journalists, academics, bureaucrats, and politicians.

Without an ideology that even remotely matched the life she led, Hillary Clinton could only run a campaign without consistent positions. She flipped on the Keystone pipeline and trade agreements. She refuted the entire 1990s Clinton economic and social agenda. Indeed, her positions of 2008 — anti–gay marriage, border enforcement, and rural populism — were the very positions that she smeared others for embracing in 2016. In 2008, Clinton damned Obama for his “clingers” speech; in 2016, she trumped him with her deplorables and irredeemables.

She both derided Wall Street and was enriched by it. Her 2008 brief flirtation with the white working classes as a modern Annie Oakley came full circle in 2016, with exultant promises to put coal miners out of work. In the end, Hillary had no ideology other than getting even richer by leveraging the office of secretary of state and pandering to identity politics in hopes that record numbers of women and minorities would vote for a 68-year-old white multimillionaire, much as they had voted for Barack Obama. The more she talked of the LGBT or Latino communities, apparently the more we were to think that the Clintons had subverted their offices and reputations to grift a $150 million personal fortune for the underprivileged.

One of the reasons Trump won without commensurate money, organization, ground game, big-name endorsements, establishment unity, conservative media encouragement, and despite a campaign of gaffes and opposition-planted IEDS, was that half the country felt it would not have survived four more years of the cynicism of left-wing politics. In other words, voters got tired of being accused of thought crimes from a party led by wealthy people who made them poorer while adding insult to injury. Continue…

a little on the heavy side for first thing in the morning, i know… but i just got into the habit somewhere along the way, and i usually enjoy sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading whatever victor is writing about this week.

emmmm, coffee…

For Democrats, the Road Back…

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The Appointment Game

The Appointment Game

Everyone is playing the “what if” recommendation game. For what little they would be worth in an ideal world, here would be four of my slightly unorthodox recommendations:

First, Larry Arnn, Hillsdale College president, for secretary of education. No one, for obvious reasons, understands better how that department works or does not work, or is more familiar with ways of saving kindergarten through graduate education, or is a greater protector of constitutional principles.

Marine general James Mattis would be a unique secretary of defense. He is apolitical, a widely read Jacksonian, blunt, and combative; he has a wealth of experience, especially in the Middle East, and is highly respected abroad and at home. It is no exaggeration that he is acknowledged as America’s most admired retired soldier.

There could not be a better director of the National Endowment for the Humanities (or Arts—or both!) than Roger Hertog, New York philanthropist and patron of the arts, National Humanities Medal winner, classical conservative, student of literature and history, and a gentleman with strong constitutional views and fearlessness in expressing them. Continue…

seems like all the news is freaking out because Trump hasn’t selected his entire cabinet within days of winning the election… forget the fact that nobody does that… hell, Obama took a good 3-4 weeks before announcing any of his cabinet members, so i think people need to chill.

Sen. Sessions, Rep. Pompeo picked by Trump to run Justice Department, CIA

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A Braver New World

Braver New World — for Now

Given the status of the post-election state legislatures and executive offices, the Republican-controlled House and Senate, a Republican president, and a Supreme Court that will not go leftward for a generation, it is hard to see how conservatives could be anything other than relieved by Tuesday’s result. Even Trump’s critics must concede, one, that he incurred the right enemies, whose post-election teeth-gnashing was not unwelcome to them; two, that Phoenix-like (or to his enemies vampire-like) he was insidiously resilient, overcoming enormous odds and electioneering disasters, some self-inflicted, that would have sent most other candidates with lesser energy or purpose into therapy; and, three, that his cabinet and Supreme Court picks will likely slow the leftist trajectory of the country.

Donald Trump also did what neither Barack Obama, the Bushes, nor Mitt Romney could accomplish: He at last put the Clintons into permanent political retirement. He showed that identity politics and tribalism do not doom Republicans, that there really were “missing Romney voters,” that being politically incorrect was still a lesser sin than the censorship and restricted speech of political correctness — a fact which will have a liberating ripple effect on free expression throughout the country.

He eroded the idea of a blue wall, restored the electoral importance of fly-over America, and left the mainstream media discredited and, for a while, impotent. And odder still, he reminded us that billion-dollar campaigns that demand huge investments in ground games, polling, costly consultants, opposition research, cash bundlers, official endorsements, and celebrity entertainers — the stuff now of the Podesta WikiLeaks archive and elite liberalism — can still fail if opposed by an enthused candidate and a committed movement.

If one collates Trump’s positions on military spending, illegal immigration, taxes, regulations, the Second Amendment, the debt, abortion, fossil fuels, or Obamacare and compares them with his spats with Republicans over entitlements, trade, and foreign policy, the bridge is far greater than the abyss.

The “divider” Trump for now also leads a far more united Republican party (if indeed 90 percent of Republicans “came home” in the final days) than does the “uniter” Obama who leaves as his legacy a vastly reduced, out-of-power and soon to be strife-ridden Democratic party reduced to the municipal level that could duplicate only Obama policy failures but never his personal electoral successes. And whereas the Bushes, McCain, and Romney soberly and judiciously fended off left-wing hits, Trump, for better or worse, has created a sort of deterrence, in the sense that although he may be baited, he may also reply with megatonnage inordinate to the provocation. And that is a not necessarily a bad thing.

good stuff on this fine friday morning… crazy fucking week, wasn’t it?! feel like i kind of need to sit back for a moment, enjoy and process it all… a nice pair of titties and a hot cup of morning coffee is a great way to start it off, though.

RIP Clinton, Inc.

#relax  #sigh  #coffee

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