Monday, July 24, 2017

WoW! Forum: How Would You Rate Trump's Performance After Six Months?



Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's Question:How Would You Rate Trump's Performance After Six Months?


Don Surber: My 401-k -- fully invested in Bogle's S&P 500 stock index fund -- is up 15% since Election Day.

860 regulations are gone.

14 Congressional Review Act resolutions have wiped out other regulations.

Factories are hiring, mines too. And coal miners make $75,000 a year in a state where $100,000 still buys a nice three-bedroom ranch.

Patriot missiles are in Poland.

The Islamic State is out of Iraq -- and Syria.

President Trump made the first direct flight from Riyadh to Israel. The BDS movement is on the wan.
NATO nations are living up to their military commitments. The LNG and oil we will sell to Europe could collapse the Russian economy and end Putin's political career.

Self-deportations are up. ICE is doing its job. Wages are creeping up.

Food stamps are falling, as is the corruption that goes with it. Schools no longer have to serve Michelle Obama Meals that kids dumped in the trash.

The pace however is slow. The judicial appointments need to be speeded up. All the appointments do. And of course, he blew it by allowing a special prosecutor to go fishing for a crime.

The media wastes its time and credibility on Russia. I love it.

Six months in, I am glad I voted for Trump twice last year (in the primary and the general election) and look forward to doing the same in 2020.

He easily gets an A for his efforts and his accomplishments. There is more to do, of course. And there is a lot of bluster. But grownups look upon the media madness with amusement. When you are draining a swamp, expect a big stench and loud roars from dying critters.

Mike McDaniel: Consider Donald J. Trump’s accomplishments: He is not Hillary Clinton. One cannot say that too often: he is not Hillary Clinton. Despite what the Media would have us believe, he is not providing Obamite “flexibility” for Vladimir Putin. He is reversing much of the damage Barack Obama did. He is reversing Obama’s betrayal of Poland by providing missile defense systems to the Poles. He has greatly increased American imports of energy, particularly natural gas, which is absolutely to the detriment of Russia.

He is reversing unnecessary, punitive and costly regulations across the board. He is, slowly but steadily, dismantling the administrative state. He is reversing innumerable Obama executive orders including vast western land grabs.

Neal Gorsuch.

Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord; that was worth it just to see the greenie’s heads explode, as they continue to explode today. He approved the Keystone XK and Dakota Access pipelines.

Economic confidence and optimism is soaring and the number of actual, not paper, jobs created in only six months is nearing a million.

You’d never know it by listening to the Media, but he’s signed more than 40 bills that are actually worthwhile. He’s rebuilding our military.

Illegal immigration, despite constant media lies and Leftist lawfare, has declined in numbers the head of the Border Patrol calls “miraculous.” This not because he has been able to revamp the law, but merely because he is enforcing the law, and everyone, including Mexico, know he’s serious.

Donald Trump can actually speak the words “radical Islamic terrorism,” and has often done so. Not only that, he understands our enemies, and is treating them as enemies. He also is repairing the damage Barack Obama did to our allies, including NATO.

James Mattis.

In just six months, President Trump's accomplishments outstrip those of many president’s entire terms. This despite impediments that would bring others to a complete halt.

Mr. Trump’s ultimate problem is he is an actual leader, not a beltway leader. Witness the Media, the self-imagined elite of the Beltway, politicians and academics as they scream in anguish "Trump isn’t normal!" He’s not doing it right! He’s not doing it the way it should be done, the way they’re used to, their way!

Theirs is the leadership of messaging, the narrative, of the correct, soaring, sophisticated rhetoric, of good and exalted intentions, of the moral--progressive--high ground. It’s the leadership of pay to play, of enriching oneself and one’s friends, and destroying one’s political enemies. It’s the leadership of double crossing the nation’s allies--especially those nasty Jews--and embracing and enriching America’s enemies. It’s the leadership of taking one’s time, doing one thing at a time, and patting oneself on the back for one’s great intellect and morality.

Donald Trump was elected because he’s the opposite of all that. He’s the kind of leader that uses every minute of the day and wishes he had more. His focus is getting the job done, and he juggles multiple tasks at the same time while expecting everyone that works for him to do the same. He says he’ll do it, and he does it, and expects it done yesterday. He’s used to working in the real world, with real people. When he says “the people,” he thinks of individuals, actual people he knows, not some abstract body of slaves laboring for his noble goals.

Trump deals with the world as it is. He doesn’t try to make the world conform to what he thinks it should be. This, alone, is an enormous accomplishment, one many presidents never truly master.

All of this makes the Media, and the Never Trump Republicans absolutely crazy. They can’t understand it, but they know it is absolutely foreign, just as normal Americans find it comforting, because it’s their reality. That’s why they hate him--and us--so much.

If Congressional Republicans ever find a backbone and use the power the Constitution gives them to set the rules of the Congress so they can ignore the Democrats, Mr. Trump will actually be able to repeal and replace Obamacare, truly reform our tax system, reduce the IRS in size and power to what it ought to be, and make our immigration system work to benefit America and Americans.

If he can do that in four years, he’ll be one of our most consequential and accomplished presidents.

To be sure, he’s made errors—Jeff Sessions—but by any honest measure, his accomplishments are many, and in many cases, historic.

 Rob Miller: I think President Trump's first six months have been amazing. He's been faced with what is an organized and well funded attempt to delegitimize his presidency and obstruct him at every turn unlike any in our history, one that includes members of his own party.The fact that he's accomplished as much as he has in view of this is absolutely jaw dropping.

I've written before that what President Trump is doing is an attempt to reverse a quarter century of American decline under three of the worst presidents in our history.  It isn't going to be easy, and he's made a few beginner's errors along the way, but his record speaks for itself.

He has totally remade American foreign policy from the abyss it was in, refreshing alliances with traditional allies estranged by Obama and reassuring the world that  'leadership from behind' is a thing of the past. He also has defied Russia by selling anti-missile systems to the Visograd alliance,  is shipping them natural gas to nullify Russia's energy blackmail, and has revitalized NATO by insisting that the member nations fulfill their commitments of defense spending, although some of them like Germany persist in refusing to do so.

He has cut illegal migration substantially, even with congress shirking it's responsibility to fund the border wall we need for national security. He also has revitalized the efficiency and leadership of ICE and our Border Patrol.

He has made substantial progress in repairing the swamp known as the VA, fulfilling another of his campaign promises.

He has appointed a stellar cabinet, including, yes, Jeff Sessions...who I can't demonize for what amounts to a beginner's  mistake in judgement.

He is defeating ISIS, has finally stopped U.S. funding by the CIA of the al-Qaeda affiliates characterized by Obama and his minions as 'moderate Syrian rebels' and is showing unusual resolution and decisiveness as our Commander in chief. Even WAPO shill David Ignatius had to admit that much. or to quote one of SecDef Mattis's bon mots when pestered by an obnoxious reporter as to the status of the fight against ISIS, simply looked at him sideways and said just four words "We're winning, they're losing."

He has substantially cut stifling federal regulations, far surpassing his original 2 for 1 goal. And the economy? Estimates are that during the first six months of his presidency, the national wealth has increased by over $4 trillion. Admittedly, a lot of this is stock market gains and as I consider the Market overvalued, this could be subject to change. But it is still an undeniable fact, as is the increse of manufacturing and energy related jobs.

Then there's the Keystone pipeline, the dramatic decline of unemployment claims and food stamp users. getting out of the economy killing Paris Accord, and a number of other accomplishments.

The two things that give the Trump administration the impression of 'accomplishing nothing' are simply not something you can blame him for...by which I mean repealing ObamaCare and tax reform. Those missteps are entirely the fault of weak Republican leadership in congress. The House produced a decent replacement bill that would have resulted in an $800 billion tax cut for Americans pauperized by ObamaCare's demands. It wasn't perfect, but it was far better than the nonsense the senate finally came up with after engaging in outright bribery redolent of the sordid smell attending ObamaCare's introduction. Fun fact, not reported by the media...the three female senators from Alaska, West Virginia and Maine who opposed repealing ObamaCare have something in common besides gender. All of them come from predominantly rural states with a huge problem with opiate addiction, something these states have fought by expanding MedicAid to put the cost back on the Feds. There are other members of Congress in love with all those luscious tax dollars ObamaCare provides, just as some of them combat the president's attempt to curtail our problem with illegal migration because their donors love the continued flow of cheap labor, Illegal migration is something that directly contributes to the high cost of health care in America as well as other problems.

President Trump is going to have to find some way of dealing with this element of his own party, and the solution may very well be to form a new one out of the ashes of the GOP. There are definitely Democrats like Joe Manchin, Heidi Hightkamp and the handful of members of the Blue Dog caucus who might cheerfully join a new party like that.

Dave Schuler : Incomplete. There have been no substantial legislative accomplishments during the first six months of his term. The attacks by the media have been so continuous, determined, and mean-spirited at one level it's been amazing that he's done anything other than push back.

Despite it all the country hasn't actually collapsed yet, there are few signs of imminent impeachment, he may accomplish something yet, and amazing as it seems the mood of the country has actually improved so I, in a spirit of generosity, give him an Incomplete.

Laura Rambeau Lee : In spite of the constant negative reporting and Russia obsession from the main stream media, President Trump’s performance has been a positive and welcome change from the past administration. He has signed more than forty bills and almost that many executive orders dealing with many issues. It is reported that he has saved businesses nearly $18 billion a year by reining in oppressive regulations and bureaucratic red tape. He approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, rolled back the Clean Power Plan, and horrified the progressive left by withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

On the foreign policy front he has succeeded in reasserting America’s position as a global leader. His meeting with the nations of the Muslim world in Saudi Arabia, his speech in Poland, and the G20 meetings show he understands and will protect our interests and support our allies in the future. His nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court assures we will have a more conservative leaning court for decades to come.

In short, President Trump is making good on his promises to the American voters who supported and voted for him. The Republican Party must get behind him and the people who elected him or the party might just collapse. Many of us are losing patience with the health care repeal and/or replace debacle and are losing faith in the party. The American voters will have to do their part to drain the swamp by voting out the entrenched career politicians in Congress and those who promised they would repeal Obamacare.

I just hope President Trump can continue to do the job we elected him to do; his new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci can uncover and eliminate the leaks coming out of the White House; and the witch hunt being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is quickly wrapped up. We are six months into the administration. It’s time the Democrats get over their disappointment with the results of the election and accept that President Trump is and will be president for at least the next four years. It’s time for them to buck up and do their jobs and stop being obstructionists to everything this administration has been charged by the American voters to do.


Well, there it is!

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

As Obamacare Repeal Dies Again, A Simple Answer

http://brainshavings.com/images/gop-as-lucy.png

The Republican Party proved again today why Pat Caddell was spot on when he referred to them as 'The stupid party' as opposed to the other one which he dubbed 'The corrupt party.' Yes, the GOP majority decided that the ObamaCare repeal dies yet again in the Senate, not that it was anything wonderful itself.

These ignorant swine had 8 years - 8 years - to figure out a decent alternative. After all, it's what they promised us, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan. Give them the majority and they'd repeal it, remember? Instead, the whole process ended up with the same stench as ObamaCare gave out when it was shoved through, with massive bribes, special back door deals and hidden gimmees.

The House bill was actually a little better, because it was a tax cut, not a healthcare bill. The Senate bill was bureaucratic mess. So now that ObamaCare repeal has died once again, everyone's wondering where we go from here.

That, I have no idea about, but here's a simple way to get rid of the whole mess.

There's no reason why the Republican congress couldn't simply vote for an ObamaCare repeal, right?. They did it in 2015, but didn't have enough votes to override a veto. Don't try to fix it, tweak it or rationalize it. Flush it where you usually deposit such waste matter. It's bankrupting the country, keeping millions of Americans from using their healthcare because of the ridiculous co pays and high premiums. Give it a deadline of say, six months and then end it. Burn a copy of the bill on the White House lawn to celebrate. This, by the way is exactly what President Trump wanted to do from day one. After yesterday's fiasco, I was sure the Republicans in the Senate and House can manage to scrape up that much testosterone between them.

Nope! When Mitch McConnell put that forward with a bill for ObamaCare repeal after 7 months of this nonsense, the senate wouldn't buy it. Three senators immediately said they wouldn't even vote for an immediate repeal, Susan Collins (R-Me), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV). They're concerned about the chaos a straight ObamaCare repeal would cause at this point and I agree with them. I'd be very surprised if there weren't others.

You see, McConnell's repeal bill keeps ObamaCare in place for two years! If I were a senator I'd vote against it. It's a cynical ploy to delay things until after the midterms and just what I'd expect out of Mitch McConnell . What he apparently doesn't realize is that people aren't going to play kick the football again. Why vote to re-elect people who lie to you repeatedly and do absolutely nothing they told you they'd do? Not only that, but McConnell is assuming the Republicans keep their majority. That's a big 'if' the way I see it...and then, of course, ObamaCare stays.

Actually, crafting a good replacement for ObamaCare shouldn't be all that difficult. Let's start from scratch with the sensible notion that outside of Medicare the Veteran's Administration and basic consumer oversight, there's very little reason for the federal government to be involved with day to day healthcare insurance. Senator Cruz's simple amendment (which of course didn't pass) was a partial recognition of this principle, that people would be allowed to buy whatever policy they wanted as long as an ObamaCare policy was also available.

Leave it to the states to regulate what insurance is sold in their jurisdictions, although the sensible ideal would be to allow consumers to shop across state lines for the best deals. If medicaid grants from the feds are necessary, give each state a block grant based on their population and let them decide how to apply it, for MedicAid or whatever. Of course, if I were writing this bill, I would tie it to the necessity of states receiving such grants agreeing to cooperate with ICE, thus solving one of the major causes of the high cost of healthcare...our problem with illegal migrants. And if you seriously doubt that a lot of illegal migrants are on medicaid and other social welfare programs, just check out what California's president of the State Senate Kevin De Leon(D-Los Angeles) had to say about the matter.

I'd love to include serious tort reform as well, since predatory lawsuits are the other major factor driving up cost, but try getting a bunch of lawyers in congress to vote for any bill that includes that.

Since a simple ObamaCare repeal isn't an option now, the Republicans had better get their heads together and come up with something simple that works and hopefully gets the feds out of day to day healthcare except for the instances I mentioned above. Otherwise, a lot of them who are up for re-election in 2018 are going to lose their seats.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why Trump’s Pulling Out Of The Mideast Peace Process As DOA For Now

 Image result for Trump and Abbas in Ramallah

President Trump came into office with the idea of succeeding where other presidents had failed. His goal was to forge a comprehensive Mideast peace process that would both end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and create a bloc between the most powerful Sunni States of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates (and possibly a newly formed, U.S. backed Kurdistan) with Israel to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda, oppose Iran and reaffirm U.S. leadership in the region. How's that working out? It Isn't, and President Trump may be pulling out of the Mideast peace process, at least the part concerning Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

First, some background.

President Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia and his remarks there made a huge impression on the Arab states that attended the Riyadh summit. They had experienced 8 years of President Bush's amateurism, which only served to unleash Iran by establishing a Shi'ite dictatorship in place of a Sunni counterbalance in Iraq. And even worse, they had experienced President Barack Hussein Obama going even further to appease and empower Iran with billions of dollars and a clear path to nuclear weapons.

http://i2.wp.com/www.jewishpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/iran_cartoon.png?w=477

President Trump's speech did not excuse previous winking at or financing of terrorism by Sunni states like President Obama's Cairo speech. What it was instead was a reset, a clear invitation...stand with America, against Islamic terrorism and against Iran and you can expect our help. Otherwise, you stand alone and incur America's enmity. Implicit in that was a new policy by the Sunni states towards U.S. ally Israel, something that had been gradually happening anyway.

Much of the basis of this was solidified behind closed doors with a large deal for the Arabs to buy U.S. arms among other things. One of them was a deal for the Arabs to significantly alter the notorious Saudi 'peace' ultimatum' to Israel in exchange for some minor land concessions to the Arabs who call themselves 'Palestinians.'

I should also mention that I'm reliably informed that Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu was fully informed about all of this before President Trump went to Riyadh, okayed the arms deal and was on board for certain concessions in exchange for significant quid pro quos from Abbas and the Palestinian authority.

The Sunni states made two significant steps that showed they were taking all this seriously. Of course, with a media concentrating on fake news about phantom links between Russia and the Trumps, you might not of read about them, but I'll present them here.

The first major action was a radical shakeup in the Saudi Royal family.Saudi King Salmon made a surprise decision to elevate his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, to crown prince and heir to the throne, in place of his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef. King Salman obtained the support of 31 out of 34 members of Saudi Arabia’s Allegiance Council for confirming Prince Muhammad Bin Salman as crown prince as well as deputy prime minister and minister of defense.Bin Salmon is outspokenly in favor of a new US-Arab-Israeli alliance that will confront Iran, as well as social and economic reforms. Like Egypt's al-Sisi, he favors an end to non-relations between Israel and the Arab world. Other changes in Saudi leadership are already occurring, and will likely continue with Prince Mohammed as heir to the throne.

The second was four Arab nations(The Saudis and the Emirates) boycotting Qatar, with the Saudis in the lead, in response to President Trump's demand for strong action to stop the funding of Islamic terrorism. Qatar’s funding of terrorists is notorious. Along with Turkey and President Obama, Qatar provided the financing,arming and training of radical jihadist elements of the Syrian Free Army that created ISIS.

The aggressive Saudi and UAE stance against Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani makes this a whole new ballgame.

The appointment of Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates as crown prince is another indication of change, since he's a contemporary of Crown Prince Mohammed and they have similar views on these subjects.

So, peace between the 'Palestinians' and Israel?

President Trump is on the verge of walking away from it as a bad deal.

Things started badly when President Trump first met with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority's unelected dictator in year 10 of a four year term. Abbas planned to trick President Trump by setting up the route to the conference so that the President would pass directly in front of Yasser Arafat's tomb, where camera men were ready to snap pictures that would be represented as President Trump paying homage to Arafat. Fortunately, the State Department found out about the scheme and changed the route.

In the conference itself, one thing President Trump explicitly asked Abbas for was that the Palestinian Authority stop using international donor funds to pay convicted killers and their families, and to end incitement in it's schools, media and mosques against Jews and Israel. That's why President Trump looked directly at Abbas at their joint press conference and said that "peace cannot flourish where terrorism is funded, encouraged and rewarded."

The PA further infuriated the Trump Administration by having one of its functionaries tell Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the PA was going to comply with President Trump's wishes on funding terrorism. Once Tillerson conveyed this to the media, the PA embarrassed him publicly by denying it. And of course, incitement and the funding of terrorists and their families still continues.

Even worse was to come. The recent meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner on June 25 might have been characterized as 'productive' in some wishful thinking media, but the reality is that it was anything but. The The London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayat had a much more accurate account.

Kushner again directly challenged Abbas on using international financial aid to pay salaries to terrorists sitting in Israeli jails and their families, as well as on the constant incitement against israel and Jews. And Kushner also mentioned the White House's disappointment that Abbas had failed to condemn the deadly terrorist stabbing in Jerusalem that occurred shortly before the meeting. It took the life of a young female Border Police officer, Hadas Malka. This is the one the BBC reported with the headline, "Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem" *

http://www.conservatives4palin.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Hadas-Malka-Israeli-Border-Police-Master-Sergeant.png

Abbas was outraged and said he would never stop paying convicted killers in Israeli jails, saying it was his 'social responsibility.' Several people outside the room heard them actually yelling at each other,something I was able to confirm.

Since then, Abbas has ramped up incitement against Israel, continued to finance terrorism and attack Israel at the one forum where anyone takes him seriously, at the UN. In violation of the UN Charter, several UN organizations like UNESCO have 'Palestine' as a member even though it isn't a country. Thanks to the anti-Israel resolution Barack Hussein Obama cheerfully instigated and allowed to pass, Israel is supposedly denied access to its major religious sites like the Kotel and the Cave of the Patriarchs, and UNESCO'S World Heritage committee has deemed them 'Palestinian territory' and thus Judenrein in the Nazi sense of the word. Needless to say, in the real world outside Turtle Bay, none of this means anything at all, None of it is legally binding or calls for the UN to enforce it. But it does show that the Palestinian Authority and Abbas have no real interest in peace or in compromise of any kind. That's never been part of their agenda.

Image result for Abbas holding map showing no Israel

Abbas's rejectionism hasn't gone unnoticed by the Sunni Arab states, who need this arrangement a lot more than they need Abbas and Fatah. Mahmoud Abbas's constant shilling for more money from them hasn't been met with open wallets lately, and Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has abruptly scrapped a series of meeting with Abbas that were scheduled.

And one last bit of evidence on how the Mideast peace process is DOA. Israeli PM Netanyahu (perhaps at President Trump's urging) put together yet another concession to help things along and get the ball rolling. This involved building approval for 14,000 homes in Qalqiliya, a small Arab town on Israel's borders. The new homes would have been in Area C, the part of Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank for CNN viewers) under Israeli sovereignty per the Oslo Accords. In other words, a large enclave of hostile Arabs right on Israel's border.

Israeli public reaction was absolutely livid, since building permits for Israelis in the area and elsewhere are rationed, and Israeli residents who lived in Amona and Beit -El are still waiting for the government to keep its promise and build new homes for them to replace the ones they lost when they were forcibly evacuated as part of the 'peace' process.

Netanyahu and Israeli defense minister Avigdor Liberman, who brainstormed this idiocy ended up not even bringing it to a vote in Israel's security council, let alone the Knesset. The behavior of Israel's 'peace partners' pretty much killed this, which is actually a good thing given the track record of the Arabs whom call themselves 'Palestinians'.

The recent murder of two Israeli border police (both Druse, whose funerals were accompanied by thousands of Israelis) is yet another sign of where all this is going. The two policemen were shot in the back by Arab terrorists after Muslim prayers with weapons they smuggled into the al-Aqsa mosque.



Mahmoud Abbas (after prompting by the White House) issued a half hearted condemnation of all violence...followed by a rebroadcasting on the official Fatah Facebook page of a Mahmoud Abbas speech calling for exactly that, violence and rage to take over the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Temple mount and to stop Jews from defiling it - in Arabic, of course.



The Palestinians also erupted in violent demonstrations when the Israeli police attempted to put metal detectors up to stop the murder of Israelis from recurring. This was after a number of weapons were actually found stored in the mosque itself.

The Israeli response to this nonsense was to take Jerusalem off the table entirely.

The Knesset Ministers committee unanimously approved legislation on Sunday approving a bill advanced by Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) leader Naftali Bennett. It mandates a special, 80-MK majority on any future legislation dividing Jerusalem. The Knesset has 120 seats, so an 80 seat vote is virtually an impossibility. The Israelis were never going to redivide Jerusalem anyway. But this makes it official.

Meanwhile Abbas is continuing to stir the pot, visiting leaders like French President Macron and China's President Xi and lobbying them to get involved in the peace process. Abbas understands that President Trump now realizes he has no interest continuing the peace process with Abbas as a factor, something I predicted would happen back when President Trump first started dealing with Mahmoud Abbas. Negotiating can't work when one of the parties continues to operate in bad faith.

And pot stirring tactics is about all Mahmoud Abbas has left, and they're totally ineffectual. UN groups like UNESCO could declare all of Israel except a strip near Tel Aviv Palestinian territory and it would have no effect except the cutting of even more UN funding. Abbas can continue to rant about the Temple Mount and do his best to inspire hatred and violence towards Israel, but it won't get him any closer to what he wants. And Abbas, at 82 and a chain smoker isn't going to be around much longer anyway. Another Capo al Tutti will take over the Fatah mafia, thump his chest and attempt to steal as much international aid for his personal fortune as possible, just like Arafat and Abbas did. But his take is likely to be less than theirs as even the gullible Europeans are getting tired of funding one of the longest running con games in history.

Actually, there is a way to bring this sorry situation to a satisfactory climax, believe it or not. But more on that in a coming article.

* Since Donald Trump Jr. is in the headlines these days, I thought I'd share his response to the BBC's disgusting bias:
You mean after they stabbed a female Israeli police officer to death... right? This is as close to being misleading as possible. https://twitter.com/bbcworld/status/875810753571418113



Rob Miller

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.

Follow him on Twitter here
and on Facebook here.

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Watcher of Weasels

As Obamacare Repeal Dies Again, A Simple Answer 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Seattle Wealth Tax Approved On Incomes Over $250K

 Image result for Seattle tax the rich demonstrators

The Seattle City Council voted to approve a wealth tax on total income. The vote was unanimous, 9-0. The new Seattle wealth tax is 2.25% over $250,000 per year for a single person and $500,000 per year for a married couple filing jointly.

The city estimates that the new Seattle wealth tax would raise $140 million per year, and would cost between $10-13 million to set up and $5-6 million per year to assess, manage and enforce. Those figures will almost certainly prove top be optimistic, as I'll explain.

For those familiar with Seattle and what it costs to live there, the dollar guidelines for the new wealth tax target quite a few people who hardly qualify as 'rich' especially small business owners since it targets total income. Also, given the nature of Seattle's city government, this tax is likely to be raised more and more as time goes on.

One of the attractions of living in Washington State is that it has no state income tax. So there will likely be a legal challenge to the new law once Mayor Ed Murry signs it into law, since it violates the state constitution. But Washington being a Blue State, there's no guaranty it will be successful. Mayor Murry's argument is that Washington's tax system is "antiquated and regressive, causing people with less money to pay more of what they have."

The Mayor thinks it's time Seattle and the whole State "adopted a progressive income tax."

This is a curious argument, although the Left has been repeating it ad nauseum.This is not a 'progressive income tax' no matter what Seattle's mayor and his socialist buddies claim. A progressive tax affects everyone in varying degrees according to their income and situation. This one does not, only affecting people above a certain total income.

And if people are already not paying state income tax at all, how are they paying 'more of what they have?' The sales tax in Seattle has now been raised to 10.1%, one of the highest in the nation. There's been absolutely no talk about using this new windfall from the rich to lower that tax and I can guarantee you there won't be. Ditto with Seattle's relatively high property taxes, which are levied by King County anyway, not the City of Seattle. So that won't be changing either, at least not as a result of this new Seattle wealth tax.

If it becomes law and survives the legal challenge, here's what will change...Seattle's tax base. If you're a person with a gross income of $250,000, the new Seattle wealth tax will set you back a hefty $5,650, almost $500 a month.And remember, you might only come home with part of that $250,000 after federal taxes and expenses. If you're a professional or highly skilled, there's a good chance you'll move to some place like Kirkland, Renton or Kent or even a little further out and commute in. That's especially true if you live in Seattle but work for say, Microsoft in Redmond or Boeing's factory in Everett. And if you own a home or condo in Seattle, you'll either sell it or rent it if you don't need the sale to finance a new house. If you own a business, you'll either raise the prices you charge for good and services or close your doors and relocate. Especially as this levy on the 'rich' goes up, and rest assured it will.

 Related image

This is very much yet another instance of the failed Blue State model, similar to Detroit, Chicago, etc. The only place this kind of nonsense can be imposed is when people have no choices available, ala' Venezuela. That isn't the case here, and what you end up with as people exercise those choices is a deteriorating tax base, less revenue and a declining city.

There likely are people willing to pay through the nose to live in the Emerald City. But I think that the numbers are unlikely to net anywhere near $140 million per year. And the city of Seattle is going to have to pay something like $15-$20 million to find that out. But hey, it's fun to got to Vegas with other people's money! If you gamble and lose, who cares?

Of course, what Mayor Murray and his socialist friends on the Seattle City Council are doing has nothing to do with actual economics. It's political red meat for their portion of the Seattle electorate.

Rob Miller

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.

Follow him on Twitter here
and on Facebook here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Forum: Will Media Outlets Like CNN Ever Practice Journalism Again?




Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's Question, courtesy of Don Surber
: Will Media Outlets Like CNN Ever Practice Journalism Again?


Mike McDaniel: No. OK…back to that article I was working on…what’s that? What do I mean “No?” You want me to explain? Very well.

The most important thing to understand about the contemporary media is they are virtually all progressives. I don’t mean center of the political road Democrats, I mean far left, pajama boy, womyn leftist/progressive/socialist/communist/antifa/BLM/Greenie/LGBTQWERTY+/open borders/Anti-America/let everybody vote early and often fanatics. In this, they have followed and mimicked the progression of the Democrat Party to the point that even the few semi-rational Democrats remaining have begun to publicly admit unless the party is somehow drug, screaming, fire bombing, property destroying, assassinating the police back toward the political center, the Democrat Party may be doomed.

Their political ideology takes on all of the characteristics of fervent religious faith. They just, for the most part, leave out God. For the contemporary Progressive, Barack Obama was the higher being, and by their association with him and their shared ideals, they too have ascended beyond the strictures of mortal existence.

Progressive ideology, ideas, programs, and yes, writings and broadcasts, cannot possibly be wrong. They are infallible, non-falsifiable. No evidence can possibly prove them wrong because they can’t be wrong. If they appear to be wrong, they’re actually right, and the appearance of error is due to factors such as:

*Conservatives are allowed to exist.

*Not enough money has been spent for the program’s magnificence to be fully manifest.

*Not enough time has passed for the program’s full effect to be felt.

*The ungrateful people haven’t had the program good and hard enough yet.

*That damned Constitution keeps getting in the way.

So when a CNN reporter reads President Trump’s speech in Poland he, by virtue of his superior, super human progressive intellect and ideology, can find racism and white nationalism lurked behind every metaphor and ready to pounce from behind every connotation. And when the First Lady of Poland shakes Melania’s Trump’s hand a few seconds before Donald Trump’s hand, she snubbed him, even though she didn’t snub him, but she snubbed him because TRUMP! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Whatta ya mean “fake news?!” Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

The media have fallen so far from ethical journalism, returning to it would require firing virtually every employee, from the head of each network to the lowliest technician, and replacing them with carefully vetted, honest, honorable and humble human beings. That can’t happen because progressive ideology can’t be wrong. Draining that particularly swamp would require the admission of error. Against their faith. Won’t happen. Can’t happen.

What might happen, if ratings dip low enough and networks start really getting hit in the pocketbook--even more than they already are--is a temporary bit of restraint that might bring networks like CNN or NBC down to 88% negative coverage of President Trump instead of 93%, but that’s about it.

Notice the NYT firing copy editors. Has anyone detected any change in the content of its coverage? The NYT’s financial straits are dire. Have they admitted, even to themselves, they’re wrong? Do they believe, for a moment, they should return to honest, balanced, non-biased journalism?

There will always be a sufficient number of Americans in Name Only to keep progressive news organs afloat at some level, thus there is no reason for any of them to significantly change their coverage. Anyone trying will be labeled an apostate, excommunicated, and symbolically killed by being denied congress with fellow elite media progressives. It’s an article of faith.

What is most amusing is the self-imagined media elite believe when the civil war they are provoking occurs, they’ll be left alone to advocate for the lions against the Christians, to cheer for the barbarians at the gate, ready to rape and kill and burn. Should that happen, by the time the barbarians breach the gates, there won’t be any remaining media elites for the pleasure of the barbarians. The Left always eats its own, and the lowly, flyover country Americans so long denigrated, insulted and abused by their media betters will, in those conditions, restrain themselves no longer. They’ll pay brief and intimate visits to their tormentors.

They’ll go down, to the last pajama boy, womyn, and transnational whatever, believing they were right. It’s an article of faith.

;Don Surber: Since I asked, journalism is dead because the people who run the news organizations are short-sighted and dim-witted. The public's trust was all they had and it was quite valuable. Newspapers were worth $1,300 a subscriber when Clinton was president. The New York Times paid $1.1 billion for the Boston Globe in 1993 -- and sold it 20 years later for $70 million.

The newspaper industry is a wreck in part because of technology; instead of embracing the Internet, they fought it. Their paywalls amuse me because they are a throwback to a way of life long gone. The last time I saw a newspaper boy was in a Nintendo game.

The gravy train will soon end for cable news as cord cutters cut into their subscriber fees. Why am I paying CNN a buck a month? The network is Fake News. In the words of Nancy Sinatra last January: “That's not true. I never said that. Why do you lie, CNN?”

Jeff Zucker and the rest see their future in niche markets, as they seek to become Daily Kos.
Jim Acosta is not a journalist but an actor -- a mascot -- for a Fake News organization that feeds people what they want to hear.

Can the Republic survive without them?

Maybe.

Trust God, not men -- and trust men before you trust an institution.

 Rob Miller:Well, I never say never. Media outlets get sold, or come under new management from time to time. I'd also say journalism isn't entirely dead, but that it simply doesn't exist where you'd expect to find it.

When it comes to places like CNN or similar outfits, I think it's worth remembering a few things. The talking heads that are the on air talent or the print reporters and columnists live in a bubble.  They grew up in the same kind of neighborhoods, went to the same kind of schools and move in the same circles. They have similar beliefs and similar connections based on a shared ideology, and if they don't they aren't hired unless there's a huge perceived economic benefit in doing so. I don't see that changing, at least not for some time.


Fausta:Only if they start hiring real, independent journalists.


Patrick O' Hannigan: I don't think media outlets like CNN will ever practice journalism again, because they're outlets that pay lip service to the ideal of following stories "without fear or favor," but they can't walk the talk about policing the establishment while accepting money and kudos from that same establishment. To the extent that real journalism -- as opposed to commentary -- has a future, it rests in the hands of the people on the air and on the web who are not beholden to the bi-coastal elites, and people who ferret out news because they're curious rather than because they want to "make a difference." I also think there has to be more to redemption, if it comes, than finding a local angle for national stories. On-air talent at local affiliates can be every bit as smug about progressive platitudes as their higher-profile colleagues with bigger expense accounts.

Doug Hagin: Only if they can remember what journalism is, and separate their ideology from their mission. That mission is to report news. That mission is to investigate, and then pass their findings along. Lots of local stations do nice jobs of doing that. But the alphabet soup of NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, etc have sacrificed their integrity in favor of their political leanings.

Just imagine what the media could do if they put as much energy into uncovering facts about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and so many other scandals as they did into finding a Reddit user to bully. Imagine!

Simply Jews:Not wanting to interfere in a US internal problem, I shall avoid answering this question, unless it's made an international one (and why not, by the way?).

But I can tell you all an old Israeli story, about one of the ministers of finance whose name I have forgotten.

When the trade unions during his reign started demanding a five days working week, he objected, saying:

- Why are you being so extreme? Let them start with two, then move to three gradually etc...

So there...

If you think it's absolutely unrelated to the question... oh well, I feel it is.

Dave Schuler : Let's start by defining "ever". as "in my lifetime". For that the answer is "No".

For the major media outlets to return to actual journalism they'd need to report the news in a balance, non-agonistic fashion consistently over a period of years to regain the credibility they've lost. I don't believe the present crop of editors are capable of that. It would take commitment and a generational change.


Laura Rambeau Lee : As long as progressives have control of our universities the indoctrination of our youth will continue. The “journalists” coming out of these institutions perceive and report world events through the skewed lens of identity politics and social, economic, and environmental justice. Their ability to think critically has been carefully and methodically taught out of them. This culture is promoted by outlets like CNN to the point where truth is the enemy. New media outlets such as One America News (OAN) are already attracting viewers searching for true journalism; reporters committed to telling the whole story and who respect the viewer or listener to make their own judgments based on the facts presented. Media outlets like CNN will never change, the ideology is so entrenched. They will be replaced eventually or exist only on the very fringes of the media.


Well, there it is!

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Friday, July 07, 2017

In First Encounter, Trump Dominated Putin As They Met For Hours

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For the first time ever, President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met face to face, and while the meeting was only supposed to last 30 minutes, they talked together for two hours and 16 minutes. And as always, this picture tells a thousand words about how Trump dominated Putin in their initial meeting. I mean, have you ever seen Putin look less than sure of himself before like this?

Even more revealing was President Trump's opening gambit...he asked president Putin, point blank if Russia had interfered in U.S. elections and continued to press him on the subject. Even bringing this up right at the beginning in his first meeting with Putin and putting him on the defensive showed that President Trump was not at all intimidated by the Russian leader. And Putin denied it, according to secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who was in the meeting with his Russian opposite number Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. According to Secretary Tillerson, election interference was at the top of the agenda..and appears to have surprised the Russians.

That said, as President Trump said afterwards,he and Putin had been 'discussing various things and I think it's going very, very well'"


Among the topics, aside from possible Russian interference in our elections, an agreement on a ceasefire in part of Syria was reached, the two agreed that the entire issue of possible Russian meddling in U.S. elections had become a 'substantial hindrance' to the U.S.-Russia relationship.'

Counter terrorism, an issue the U.S. and Russia have in common was also reportedly discussed as was Ukraine.

One other issue that was undoubtedly discussed was North Korea. The Russians and Chinese have been hedging on this one, offering to 'mediate' in exchange for President Trump removing the THAAD anti-missile systems from South Korea, something President Trump refused to do.

What's most important about this? Two things. First, that Russia's Vladimir Putin now understands that he isn't dealing with a lightweight like Barack Hussein Obama anymore, that President Trump is a completely different kind of leader. And second, that both the U.S. and Russia have apparently decided to put the past behind them and work together on issues of mutual concern.

And that's an important realization for the War on Jihad.

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California's New 'Sanctuary State ' Law

 Image result for illegal aliens rally with mexican flags

The State of California is putting the finishing touches on the “California Values Act." Essentially, this is California's New 'Sanctuary State ' Law. The new law, just vetted and passed by the California Assembly Judiciary Committee would prevent state and local law enforcement from cooperating in any way with federal immigration authorities.

Related image

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, (D-Los Angeles), is sponsoring the state senate version of the new law, Senate Bill 54 to fight what he called the “Trump Deportation Machine.”

Back in February when he was first crafting the bill, De Leon admitted in an interview with left wing public broadcasting station KPPC that, "half my family is here illegally" and using fake IDs, a felony under California and federal law:

"I can tell you half of my family would be eligible for deportation under [President Donald Trump’s] executive order, because if they got a false Social Security card, if they got a false identification, if they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB60, if they got a false green card, and anyone who has family members, you know, who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification. That’s what you need to survive, to work. They are eligible for massive deportation."

“Someone simply who received or purchased a [fraudulent] Social Security card down at MacArthur Park, or elsewhere in my district would be eligible immediately for mass deportation,”

And of course, with a fake Social security card or a fake green card, many illegal migrants can easily obtain social welfare benefits like welfare, SSI, food stamps, section 8 public housing, and MediCal, California's taxpayer funded free medical care. And of course, they can - and many do- also vote, especially since in California  it's established policy  in social welfare  departments and the state's voter registration office not to check things like immigration status too closely.

 Related image

That last fact is a huge reason why De Leon and many of his fellow Democrats are going all out to protect illegal migrants from being deported. Believe me, if illegal migrants voted Republican, people like De Leon would be calling out the National Guard to conduct mass deportations, and the Border Wall would have been built a long time ago. The Democrats want the votes of this new 'constituency' and the campaign donations from donors who love the continued flow of cheap labor.

 “Under constitutional threats from the reckless Trump administration, SB 54 protects state and local law enforcement and resources necessary to keep our communities safe,” De Leon said. De Leon also claimed that "Arrests of undocumented immigrants with no previous criminal record are up 150 percent since Trump became president.”

We'll explore these falsehoods in a second.

Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes chimed in, saying the measure is necessary not just for California, but for the nation. “California must send a clear message that we will remain the last line of defense against the fear-mongering and xenophobia,” Reyes said. “Rather than addressing the failure of policy, the federal solution has been to demonize our immigrant communities.”

Hmm...if these people she's talking about are 'immigrants' rather than illegal migrants,  why ever would they need fake IDs? And why would public policy in California need to have such strict measures against inquiring as to someone's immigration status? But I digress. None of these politicians seem overly concerned about ID theft, voter fraud or respecting any existing laws that conflict with their political agenda.

Back on May 25 of this year, there was a raid in which ICE agents arrested 188 illegal immigrants in Los Angeles. But according to U.S. immigration officials, total numbers of arrests of illegal immigrants are relatively flat in California and somewhat lower than during the Obama administration. So De Leon's nonsense about the 'Trump deportation machine' is simply partisan horse manure.

Oh, and his other remarks about how SB54 keeps our communities safe? Let's see how California's New 'Sanctuary State ' Law does that.

Most of the illegal migrants arrested in the May 25 raids had ties to El Salvadoran prison gangs such as MS-13, one of the most vicious and violent gangs in America. Almost 90 percent had previous criminal records for a variety of crimes including drug offenses, domestic violence, DUI, sex crimes, battery, weapons violations, assault, burglary, fraud, vehicle theft, arson, cruelty to a child, robbery, obstructing justice, property damage, larceny, escape, manslaughter, prostitution, trespassing, incest, and receipt of stolen property.

 

Under SB 54, none of these individuals would be transferred to ICE after serving their sentences after they were tried and convicted for these offenses. The bill specifies “serious felonies” but doesn't include almost all of the ones listed above. Instead of being turned over to ICE for deportation, these criminals would simply be released into the very communities De Leon and his cohorts claim SB 54 would 'keep safe.'

The question of the bill's legality is interesting.

SB 54 was given a a constitutional legal sign-off written by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was paid a large sum for his analysis and is still on the State of California's payroll as it's lawyer to defend California's sanctuary policies. The state's Democrat legislators chose to pay for Holder's analysis rather than rely on one prepared by the California legislature's Legislative Council.

As Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, (R-Rocklin) pointed out, Holder announced his approval of SB 54 just one day before announcing his intention to run for president in 2020. how convenient!

So what are the actual legal precedents for California's New 'Sanctuary State ' Law?

The Constitution is pretty clear on the subject. The 10th Amendment  states that those powers not claimed by the Federal government in the Constitution "are clearly  are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Control over immigration and naturalization, like the coining of money or foreign policy are expressly given to the Federal Government.

And legislation signed, ironically by none other than President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s bars states from creating laws that restrict communication with federal law enforcement agencies.

Now there are also two recent decisions by the Supreme Court that ruled against Federal Law superseding state laws ( New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 [1992] and Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997). Neither involved powers reserved constitutionally to the Federal government, since one involved the dumping of waste within a sovereign state's borders and the other involved a clear violation of the Second Amendment via the Brady Bill.

There are also a few judicial decisions at the lower federal level, creating precedents that the federal government cannot commandeer local law enforcement resources for the purpose of immigration enforcement. SB 54 deals with all cooperation with ICE including merely providing information on criminal illegal migrants. Do these decisions apply? The feds are not asking for the use of manpower or other resources to round up illegal migrants  but merely for basic cooperation by local law enforcement that SB 54 essentially blocks,

Given the effort, time and taxpayer dollars Democrats are willing to spend in protecting illegal migrants, even criminals from being deported, California's New 'Sanctuary State' Law will probably be headed to the Supreme Court if Governor Brown signs it and SB 54 becomes law.

President Trump In Poland 'The West WIll Not be Broken'

http://media.breitbart.com/media/2017/07/donald-trump-Poland-REUTERSKacper-Pempel-640x480.jpg


President Trump received a warm and enthusiastic welcome when he spoke spoke in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle in Warsaw at the foot of a statue commemorating the 1944 Polish uprising against German occupiers. He and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath at its base.

The Polish crowd greeted President Trump with the sort of warmth and enthusiasm the president gets at his rallies, with repeated chants of 'Donald Trump' and 'USA!'

 

And what President Trump had to say to them was almost Churchillian:



Here's a brief excerpt:

"Each generation must rise up and play their part in [their culture's] defense. Every foot of ground and every last inch of civilization is worth defending with your life.

Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield, it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls. Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital and demand no less defense than that bare shred of land on which the hope of Poland once totally rested.

Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory, and today as ever Poland is in our heart and its people are in that fight.

Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever, be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph."

Trump's words had particular impact in this time and place. Poland has always been in the forefront of defending the West, whether is was the Mongols, the Ottoman hordes, the Nazis or the Soviets. The monument in Krasinski Square commemorates a heroic Polish uprising against the Nazis in 1944 that saw something like 200,000 people murdered, almost all of them civilians and Warsaw razed to the ground.

And Poland, since its liberation from the Evil Empire has always been a firm U.S. ally, even sending its soldiers to fight at our side in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their reward, of course, was to be betrayed by Barack Hussein Obama and denied them the anti-missile protection they were promised. To add insult to injury, President Obama's announcement came on September 17th, the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of eastern Poland during World War II in collaboration with the Nazis.

When Polish President Polish president Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, Solidarity leader Anna Walentynowicz,Poland's National Bank President Slawomir Skrzypek, Army chief of staff General Franciszek Gagor were killed in a tragic and somewhat mysterious airplane crash over Russian territory, President Obama almost alone among world leaders declined to attend the funerals.

In another context, Trump's appearance in Poland and at the Three Seas summit* marks a major change in the relationship with what former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld presciently referred to as 'New Europe and the United States. What we're talking about is brand new, stronger ties to the Visograd nations and the Balkan countries.

Aside from the obviously much warmer and friendlier climate with a key ally, President Trump put three very important cards on the table:

  • Poland and very likely Czechoslovakia and other Visograd nations are going to finally be able to purchase U.S. Arms, particularly missiles and missile defense elements. And security cooperation is going to be vastly improved.
  • President Trump reaffirmed his iron clad commitment to Article 5 of the NATO charter, that an attack on one signatory would be considered an attack on all.
  • Poland just received its first shipment of American liquid natural gas. Remember the war between Russia and Georgia? As I pointed out in the story linked above, one big reason for Russia's aggression had nothing to do with South Ossetia but with energy. Russia's biggest 'persuader' when it comes to Europe is the Kremlin's monopoly on the energy export routes to the West from the old parts of its former Soviet empire. The one part the Russians didn't control was the oil and gas pipeline that leads from energy-rich Azerbaijan to Turkey, across Georgia...and it's notable that the Russians bombed it as well as the Georgian port of Poti, neither of which is anywhere near South Ossetia. What President Trump is talking about here is removing a key element of blackmail from Russia's arsenal by all by guaranteeing an alternate supplier to New Europe. And as you'll hear in the joint news conference below, Poland's conservative President Duda has hopes of making Poland a trading corridor for U.S. energy and goods to the rest of the Visograd and Three Seas nations.
  • And finally, President Trump is signalling support for New Europe in defying Germany and Angela Merkel on Muslim migrants and even remaining in the EU itself if it comes to that. A recent poll revealed that 70% of the Poles would rather leave the EU that be bullied into importing the same kind of chaos Germany, France, the UK and Sweden among others have brought into  their countries.





Before the speech, President Trump held a joint press conference early Thursday morning in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda.(skip ahead to 51:53 for the actual joint press conference)

I particularly like the part where some idiot U.S. 'journalist' tries to once again tries to resurrect  the old story about Russia hacking the election, and wasn't the president going to admit that? After all, hadn't 17 U.S. intelligence agencies all come to the same conclusion?

President Trump's reply was a gem.He patiently explained that maybe Russia was involved, but it might also have been at least five other countries. And he also let her in on the fact that it was only three intelligence agencies  that thought Russia was involved, although there was no real evidence yet. And a lot of what he called her 'compatriots' had already had to apologize and correct their stories.And then he lowered the boom...

"Here's the question I want the answer to. The CIA told president Barack Obama that there was a possibility of Russian hacking in the election back in August.  Now th eelection was in Novemeber. That's a long time,but he never did anything about it. Why? His people say he choked, but I think it was because he was sure Hillary was going to win the election and he didn't want to disturb anything."

The reporter immediately blurted out a follow up again insisting that Trump say that Russia was responsible, so President Trump  calmly repeated his answer.

Now as you'll see in the video, President Duda had told the press beforehand that there would only be four questions because he and President Trump had to be at Krasinski Square for the ceremony, but this woman paid no attention, which didn't exactly make her popular with the other reporters. She said pretty much the same thing again, after which President  Trump and President Duda exchanged a brief, weary smile , President Duda made slight gesture and the harridan's microphone was cut off so the two men could leave for a far more important task.  




* The Three Seas summit, convened by the presidents of Poland and Croatia, involves nations situated between the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas and is designed to strengthen trade and economic ties and energy platforms as well as address joint national security. Most of the nations involved have refused to obey German Chancellor Angela Merkel's diktat to open their country's borders to more Muslim 'refugees.' Many of these countries, like Poland have Euroskeptic governments.President Trump's appearance there after his speech was a major coup for the Poles   and  an excellent opportunity for a lot of the leaders of New Europe to meet President Trump forth first time, a vastly different leader than his predecessor.

Now, it's off to the G-20 summit in Germany, where President Trump is, shall we say, far less popular. and of course, a meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin for the first time.  Alpha male meets Alpha male!





Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Stars And Stripes Forever...Happy Fourth!



Courtesy of the US Marine Band.

Gettysburg - A Fourth Of July Long Ago



Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:What place is this? Where are we now? I am the grass.Let me work. - Carl Sandburg

One hundred and fifty four years ago today, brave men fought in and around a small town in Pennsylvania to determine whether the Union would endure or whether it would not.

The Battle of Gettysburg broke the tide of the advance of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and while the war itself didn't end for another 22 months, Gettysburg decided the outcome.

Lee's objective was psychological as much as strategic. By 1863 there was substantial sentiment in the North to allow the Confederacy to go its own way and end what had become an increasingly bloody, unpopular and costly war. By subjecting the North to the same sort of invasion the South had been subjected to - in essence, bringing the war home - Lee hoped to increase this sentiment and force the North to negotiate a settlement.

Gettysburg was very much an accidental battle. Neither side was really looking to fight here, but the armies accidentally collided, largely because Lee was deprived of Jeb Stuart's cavalry in the early stages of the battle and thus lacked his usual awareness of where the Union forces were. Once the initial impact was made,on July 1st 1863 in a battle between Brigadier General John Buford's Union cavalry division and two corps of Union infantry and two large Confederate corps that attacked from the north and northwest under General Richard Ewell, the armies came together and the battle was on.

An astounding fact about Gettysburg is that the victorious commander of the Union forces, General George Gordon Meade, had only been in command of the Army of the Potomac for a scant three days, after General Joseph Hooker was relieved of command. Meade was caught by surprise with the sudden collision of the two armies, but he reacted with coolness and unexpected courage at several points when the battle could very well have been lost with a different sort of general in charge.

The missing man at Gettysburg, one who might very well have altered the course of the battle and of history was Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who was accidentally killed by his own troops after his amazing victory at Chancellorsville.

The key to Gettysburg was the control of the high ground, the hills and ridges outside the town. After Gen. Buford's troops were scattered into the hills that first day of battle, they could easily have been driven out of the high ground with an assault by the victorious Confederates, and had Stonewall been in command there's no doubt he would have driven his troops to do exactly that, digging them in on the high ground and reinforcing them with Longstreet's divisions to wait for General Meade's Union Army to come at them. Gettysburg would then have been a very different battle. But the troops Jackson would normally have commanded were under the command of General Richard Ewell.

General Ewell, even after he was ordered by Lee to take the Union position on Cemetery Hill "if practicable" chose not to make the attack. When he finally did, on the second and third day of the battle, it was the Union forces who were reinforced and dug in and the Confederates who were forced to assault them. Ewell's hesitancy likely cost the South the battle.

On the second day of the fighting, July 2nd, General Lee sent General Longstreet's divisions against the Union Left flank in an attempt to roll it up and knock the Union forces off of the high ground. Meade sent reinforcements to the Left flank to shore up positions that later became legendary - the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, Plum Run Valley and the Devil's Den. The Union forces held on in spite of horrendous casualties. One of the most amazing exploits of that day happened in the defense of Little Round Top, where Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, a former college professor in command of the 20th Maine maintained a precarious hold on the Union's extreme left flank under assault from General John Hood's troops.When the 20th were almost out of ammunition, Colonel Chamberlain led them in a surprise bayonet charge downhill that swept the Confederates off the hill, saved the position and likely the Union, a deed for which he later won the Medal of Honor.



On the third day, July 3rd, Lee decided to risk everything on a frontal assault on the right center on the Union lines, and 12,500 Confederate troops advanced from the ridge line three-quarters of a mile (1,200 meters) towards Cemetery Ridge in that gallant attempt to reverse fortune known to history as Pickett's Charge.

It was a slaughter. The Union artillery had deliberately held its fire during the Confederate bombardment prior to the Charge, but as the Confederate troops approached they were hit with fierce artillery fire from Union positions on Cemetery Hill and north of Little Round Top, and from the Union center. Nearly one half of the Confederate troops who participated in the Charge failed to return from the attack.

Somehow, some way, Confederate General Lewis Armistad's brigade managed to make it through the withering fire and briefly breach the Union lines at a place called the "Angle", a place with a low stone fence near a small wooded area. But they were quickly hurled back, and with that, the battle was essentially over.



After the battle it rained, something that occurred frequently enough to give rise to a belief among soldiers on both sides that the smoke and gunpowder somehow brought on the weather.

The two armies, both licking their wounds and having been through almost more than men should be able to bear gazed at each other across the field of battle on that long ago July Fourth. On both sides combined, there were over 50,000 casualties from three days of battle.

Late in the evening, Lee began the torturous retreat southwards. Did he understand at that point that the war was lost? We have no way of knowing. But on that July Fourth, one nation's hopes for independence were doomed and another nation's hopes reaffirmed.

After the battle, there were huge amounts or corpses that needed to be disposed of, and the Union decided to make the site a national cemetery, for convenience as much as anything else. Four months after the battle, on November 19, the cemetery was dedicated, and a ceremony was held.

The main speaker was a nationally known orator, Edward Everett. In those days of oratory as a national sport, he was expected to deliver a real rip snorter of a speech, and he reportedly did just that.

Oddly enough, Everett's isn't the speech that's remembered.Almost as an afterthought, the organizing committee invited President Abraham Lincoln to participate a scant two weeks before the ceremony, where they requested that he appear and "make a few brief remarks to honor the occasion".

So after Edward Everett finished his speech, which clocked in at close to an hour, the President rose and delivered those few brief remarks, ones that started with "Four score and seven years ago" and have come down to us through the mists of history.

Gettysburg today is a living version of Sandburg's poem. The grass has done its work, much of the original landscape has been altered and it takes some effort to visualize what happened there.

To do that, you have to go there when its quiet and listen to the ghosts. Trust me, they're there in abundance and they'll tell you the whole story if you feel like listening.

Have a wonderful July Fourth...and take a moment to remember and honor the ghosts of July Fourths past. They deserve that much, at least.

(reposted by request)


Addendum: This year, the Antifa movement threatened that they were going to invade the Gettysburg site and desecrate the graves and the monuments. This is an excellent indication of what bullies and sniveling cowards they really are. They would never dare to attack these brave men if they were alive...although I must admit, watching these Antifa dregs mixing it up with some of Pickett's Division or the men of the 2nd Vermont would have been amusing.

Fortunately, a number of men from the local militias, Sons of Confederate Veterans, a number of the locals and similar concerned parties went to the park armed and ready to protect it from these scum. And the Antifa clowns made the wise decision not to show up.