Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mitch McConnell Verbally Battles Bannon Fodder

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Verbally Battles Bannon Fodder

At the Value Voters Summit, ex Trump Administration strategist Stephen Bannon declared war against the Republican Establishment who will not support President Trump's agenda.  Bannon specifically targeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). According to Bannon, he will not raise funds for any candidates who would vote for McConnell as the GOP Leader in the 116th Congress. 

After a working lunch between President Trump and the Senate Majority Leader, the two Republican leaders had a Rose Garden press conference which sought to mollify Bannon's calls for internecine revolt. President Trump claimed to understand why Bannon was agitated but suggested that not everyone in the Senate should be thrown out, as some members are good for the Trump agenda.

Majority Leader McConnell battled the Bannon fodder by suggesting that the way to win in Washington is to choose the right candidates, rather than achieve legislative accomplishments for a President in the same party.  McConnell called to mind the Tea Party boomlet in 2010, in which insurgents like Sharron Angle (R-NV) and Christine O'Donnell (R-DE), who upset GOP establishment candidates but who lost in the end.  Of course, these Tea Party insurgents did not get strong assistance from the national Republican Party and faced hostility from prospective colleagues like Senator John McCain.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Stephen Bannon Declares War Against Republican Establishment

Ex Trump White House Advisor Stephen Bannon Declares War on Republican Establishment

Although he opened his 2017 Value Voters Summit speech by echoing Ecclesiastes about the time of the season, former Trump Senior Adviser Stephen K. Bannon kept true to his street fighting instincts by declaring political war in a bombastic address to Evangelical voters in Washington DC.

Bannon voiced frustration that many Republicans in the Senate were either Janus faced or openly hostile to their President Donald Trump.  Bannon particularly took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Foreign Policy Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN).

To wit, Bannon declared war on the GOP Establishment.  As Bannon is no longer shackled as a White House West Wing advisor, Bannon is free to support the Trump nationalist populist agenda from the outside.  Bannon intimated that he is working hard to primary many RINOs who do not support the Trump agenda.

Bannon claimed that there is time for Establishment sinners to repent, but otherwise he insisted that Deplorables will come after those not supporting Trump during the 2018 primaries.  

FRC President Tony Perkins at VVS17
This message was well received by the Values Voters Summit crowd.  A constant theme during the three day conference of politically active Evangelicals was "Drain to Swamp."  To underline that sentiment, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins honored his Louisiana roots and jocularly dressed in muck wear to open the Value Voters Summit. 

Sebastian Gorka on Donald Trump

Sebastian Gorka says Donald Trump is Kryptonite to political correctness

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trump Gunning to Increase America's Nuclear Stockpile

NBC News is reporting about a July 20th meeting between President Trump and Pentagon officials in which he  expressed an interest in greatly increasing America's nuclear stockpile.  This exhortation was prompted by a slide which showed that America's nuclear arsenal was at its peak in the late 1960s, which Mr. Trump approved.  

Rather than interpret this approval as a desire for a ten fold increase from today's nuclear levels, military officials appreciated it as the Commander-in-Chief wanting to increase America's military strength. This is consistent with Mr. Trump's pre-inaugural predilection to increase and expand America's nuclear capabilities. 

But the episode revived questions about President Trump's familiarity with America's nuclear triad

At one of the early Republican primary debates in late 2015, Hugh Hewitt questioned Mr. Trump's knowledge about the nuclear triad. Candidate Trump fumbled through the answer but insisted that while it is key to be careful about nukes, he would be well informed once in office and would concentrate on American strength not climate change and global warming.

This impetus to increase America's nuclear arsenal comes in the midst of a prospective conflict with a nascent rogue nuclear North Korea as well as the prospect of finding Iran being declared out of compliance with the Obama Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Several concerns come from this National Security leak.  Allegedly, after this July meeting, Secretary of State Tillerson was heard to call President Trump a "moron".  Aside from the insult, this episode illustrates how far Rex Tillerson is out of step with the West Wing.  It is reasonable to believe that once the crisis with North Korea cools down, Tillerson will no longer be at Foggy Bottom. There has been serious talk of a Trump Cabinet shuffle which CIA Director Mike Pompeo would move over to the State Department

Some arms control experts vex that increasing America's nuclear stockpile would spur an arms race with the Russia Federation as well as the Peoples' Republic of China.   Moreover, increases would challenge America's international treaty obligations.

As news about President Trump gunning to increase America's nuclear stockpile leaked out, Trump National Security Adviser Lt. General H.R.  McMaster stated: 

"But in recent years, in particular, the problem with leaks has become a real challenge to national security and so I think what is very important is that everyone who is involved in these sort of policy discussions understand the sacred trust that is placed in them, and they realize that speaking to the media about government deliberations is treasonous when it involves national security." 

Those are bold words, meant to quell an alluvia of embarrassing leaks meant to damage the Trump Administration. But Lt. Gen. McMaster upped the ante by intimating treason.  The question is whether the Trump Justice Department will be all talk and no action.  Attorney General Sessions has allegedly demurred from seeking prosecutions of Democrats concerning  Hillary Clinton's repeated mishandling of classified emails. Treason is a much more serious charge and more challenging to prosecute. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Appraising the Impact of Tillerson at Foggy Bottom

Rex Tillerson on Being Trump's Secretary of State
Over the weekend, Trump Administration Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was accused of saying that the President, his boss, was a "f***ing moron". This exasperated expletive was alleged uttered after President Trump's rousing remarks before the 2017 Boy Scouts Jamboree. When these comments came to public light, Tillerson held a news conference which denied that Vice President Pence needed to convince him to stay at Foggy Bottom because he never considered resigning.  It is notable, however, that Tillerson did not back away from the original insulting allegation. This has led pundits to ponder how long Tillerson will remain as Secretary of State.

In the Politico Magazine, Rich Lowry wondered if anyone would notice whether anyone would notice if Tillerson left his position at Foggy Bottom.  In the Trump Administration, foreign policy leads seem more driven from the Oval Office (or perhaps Twitter postings) than from Cabinet officials. Secretary of State Tillerson has voiced policy positions, particularly on Climate Change and Qatar, which seem at odds with President Trump.  Moreover, @POTUS Trump has posted Twitter thoughts which undermine Tillerson attempts to achieve diplomatic solutions with North Korea.

During his nomination hearings, Tillerson was vilified for his role at Exxon and connections to Big Oil. But through these petrochemical connections, Tillerson was said to have cultivated good relations with the Russian Federation.  It does not seem that Tillerson has neither been effective in lessening tensions with Moscow nor distancing the Trump Administration from accusations of Russian collusion.

One of Tillerson's virtues was that he had more of a business background than a political resume, thus his organizational skills might be different at Foggy Bottom.  Perhaps this may be true on paper, but Secretary of State Tillerson seemed reluctant to clean house at the State Department. In April 2017, well after his confirmation, Tillerson indicated that he was in no rush to fill nearly 200 State Department posts.  In August 2017, Tillerson announced that there would be fewer promotions at State. These may have been an attempt at pruning an overstaffed State Department, but it also gave the opportunity for Obama Administration holdovers to exert undue influence in Foggy Bottom.

One of the major motivations for many loyal Trump voters is to "Clean the Swamp". In other words, to divest power from progressive elites who have burrowed their way into the bureaucracy.  This is especially true in the State Department. But this is impossible to achieve if the chief acts like a short termer.  In late July 2017, Tillerson confided with friends that he did not expect to last a year on the job.  Notwithstanding his recent denial of resigning over the moron kerfuffle, Tillerson is not taking the broad measures to clean house. The Iran Deal is an example in which the State Department has been enthusiastic in promoting and preserving, yet it is in conflict with Mr. Trump's campaign promises as well as inklings from the West Wing.  A cabinet official who is deemed a short termer will have little sway with the bureaucracy in aligning with the President's foreign policy predilections.

Secretaries of State can take different tacks to their job.  Henry Kissinger, who was Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford, took a leading role in formulating the realpolitik and detente foreign policies.  George Schultz, President Reagan's long serving Secretary of State, did not seek the limelight and was able to earn the loyalty of State Department officers by staffing for professionalism rather than political concerns.  Hillary Clinton, President Obama's First Secretary of State, did her bosses bidding by racking up frequent flier miles in visiting diplomatic outposts rather than take the lead on foreign policy.

Aside from trying to shrink the size of the State Department by attrition and to stop relying on special envoys, it is unclear how Secretary of State Tillerson is making a difference at his job.  Moreover, the friction between Tillerson and Trump on personal and policy fronts, makes his position tenuous.

At a time in which Americans have been distracted by ephemeral issues like the NFL Taking the Knee during the National Anthem and dealing with disasters, such as hurricanes and the Las Vegas shooting, there are serious foreign policy concerns brewing.  North Korea continues to be belligerent.  The world will no longer buy the peace through bribes for worthless promises of non-aggression or denuclearization.  While the United Nations has applied additional sanctions, this does not seem to be achieving the objective of de-escalation of tension or DPRK regime change.

Rich Lowry on Trump Secretary of State Charles Sprugeon

Considering a prospective conflict with North Korea, it would be unwise to have Secretary Tillerson leave his Secretary of State post at this time.  However, presuming this situation with the Kim Jung Un regime comes to a head in the near future, it would be prudent to have a Secretary of State who is more in tune with the Commander-in-Chief's expectations for Foggy Bottom and who more accurately reflects (at least in public) the President's foreign policy positions. 

Immanuel Kant on Wisdom

Immanuel Kant on Wisdom

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Las Vegas Massacre Prompts Faith

The Las Vegas Massacre inspires faith in God by shooting victim

The Las Vegas Massacre  at the Country Music festival near the Mandolay Bay hotel exposed evil in humanity as well as goodness of people.  In the heat of the shooting and the aftermath, in which 58 people were killed and over 500 people injured, strangers helped one another to safety.  There were many stories in which off duty law enforcement officers and former military selflessly sprang into action to help others and possibly lay down their lives for the safety of others.

When CNN was interviewing victims of the shooting, one of the attendees professed that the horrible experience jolted him from agnosticism to faith in God. 

The humanity of how many responded to the terrible travesty and the faith which the adversity inspired is another instance  of how God writes straight with crooked lines

Stephen Hawking on Adversity

Stephen Hawking on Adversity

Monday, October 2, 2017

R.I.P. Tom Petty

Tom Petty on Life

Rock legend Tom Petty died today after being found unconscious after suffering a massive heart attack at his home in Malibu, California.  The 66 year old rock iconoclast was taken to the hospital and put on life support.  However, since Petty showed no brain activity, it was decided to pull the plug.

Petty had been around the entertainment world for four decades.  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty was also a successful solo artist as well as a member of the 1980s supergroup "The Traveling Wilburys".  Petty also hosted a music channel on Sirius XM.

President Trump on the Las Vegas Shooting

President Trump on the Las Vegas Shooting

NFL Players Pissed Off at Trump

Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver predicted on MSNBC that NFL players will continue to Take the Knee throughout the regular season.  Oliver opined the protest is about President Trump, while others have pushed a Black Lives Matter motivation or even an anti-American animus.

Former President Clinton spokesman Joel Lockhart, reportedly advised the NFL to shift the symbolic protest to locking arms to show unity during the National Anthem.  Unfortunately, not all players adhered to this crisis management suggestion.  In addition, the lock step pose still did not allay the ire of many patriotic NFL fans. 

It is unclear what sort of behavior that League officials will tolerate.  In the past, the NFL has threatened New York team players  from donning decals  to show solidarity with 9/11 victims.  More recently, the NFL denied the Dallas Cowboys  permission to wear a "5" on their helmets  to remember the fallen law enforcement officers from a shooting.  Yet antics like Odell Beckham Jr. seems to be tolerated.

A better question is what NFL fans will tolerate.  Television ratings are markedly down. Long time fans are publicly burning licensed merchandise and even tickets. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"Rev." Jesse Jackson's Cotton Picking Advice on Taking A Knee

Jessie Jackson on the NFL Taking The Knee to Protest Donald Trump

Perhaps Jesse Jackson should remember that the First Amendment refers to the government making laws against the free exercise of speech. Private entities, such as a professional football team, can restrict or fine speech and behavior by their employees. Hence, the NFL's Take The Knee moment does not apply, notwithstanding President Trump's blue collar blurtation about "Sons of Bitches" who do not respect the flag or the National Anthem. 

Despite "Rev." Jackson's assertion that the Take The Knee protest is not about race, he uses a Cotton Picking analogy, which would be a micro-aggression if it was uttered by someone else.

Jackson's suggestion again demonstrates that he is more inclined to organize political factions than organizing a church much less evangelizing the Gospel.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ellen De Generes on Donald Trump

Ellen De Generes tells Megyn Kelly that she would not have President Donald Trump on The Ellen Show

One can understand why a partisan might be chary about giving a political foe a platform. However, De Generes cited dangers which she feels as a homosexually oriented woman. It might have been educational for her to chat with Mr. Trump, as he has been the most friendly national Republican ever to the LGBTQQ? community, so her feelings of being in danger may well be chimeras. 

Steven Wright on Nature

Steven Wright on Nature

Monday, September 18, 2017

GAB Faces Big Fat Dilemma Balancing Free Speech and Censorship

Milo Yiannopoulos on the cyber censorship of GAB by internet overlords

Of late, there has been a growing realization that our internet overlords are controlling the public square.  In 2016, Facebook faced some consternation when the social media giant's curation of news in the sidebar consistently slighted conservative news stories.  Twitter took to banning some who defied the politically correct weltenanschauung that our cyber elites favor in their posts.  Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for posting  alt-right opinions while similar sort of liberal content continued unabated.  It is not uncommon for conservative sites to experience shadow-blocking, which covertly thwarts wider dissemination of posts through censoring algorithms. Platforms can summarily block access based on anonymous, spurious complaints, and due to the Star Chamber handling of such charges, it is almost impossible to protest much less redress any alleged issues.

To counter efforts of cyber-censorship, Andrew Torba et ali. created GAB during the summer of 2016.  As a social media platform, GAB exhorted users to #SpeakFreely and vowed not to censor posts unless it advocated violence or child pornography which was against laws.

As a start up, GAB not only faced typical challenges of funding and creating a market, but faced difficulties from a politically correct driven cyber community. GAB encountered tremendous difficulties from Apple to have a i-phone mobile app approved because of the Speak Freely philosophy.  Even after GAB successfully developed and started distributing an Android mobile app, there are concerns that the GAB appl will be removed from the Play Store because users might post objectionable contention on GAB's platform.

Alas, it is not only technology giants who are exerting their power as internet overlords.  The latest controversy involves a fat meme posted from a neo nazi (who has been banned from other sites and platforms).  Torba politely responded to the post that it was a violation of the Terms of Service and asked that it be taken down.  This uncharacteristic action roiled users who wrapped themselves around the mantra of #SpeakFreely.

Torba later clarified that Asia Registry, demanded that the post be banned or else GAB's registry would be revoked. The GAB leadership is currently scrambling to address the issue.

It is ironic that a fat joke would be used as the linchpin to destroy GAB, however that is the cause celebre which is being exploited by small time internet player Asia Registry, but they have the power.  Yet is mirrors the other tech giants efforts to obstruct alternatives to their virtual monopolies by using politically correct Trojan Horses.

In an age in which alleged micro-agressions, such as a Hobby Lobby customer is triggered by the "racist" notion of using cotton flowers in a vase, that the left countenances bilious blurtations when it tracks the progressive agenda of the moment. Such in loco parentis progressive sensibilities prompted a Zerohedge pundit to wonder if Internet behemoths are acting as colonial powers.

UPDATE: September 19, 2017

GAB was successful in finding other registrar for the domain which would not play games with them.

Thomas Paine on Freedom

Thomas Paine on Freedom

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ronald Reagan on the Constitution

Ronald Reagan on the Constitution during his Farewell Address

President Ronald Reagan invoked the special character of the American Constitution during his Farewell Address in 1989.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Anthony Bourdain would have No Reservation about Serving Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump Hemlock

Anthony Bourdain quips that he would poison a catered North Korean summit with President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un

During an impromptu interview at Los Angeles Airport, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain served up some hot quotes about international affairs.

Bourdain's current television series Parts Unknown, is a travelogue premised on food prowess with CNN's sensibilities on the world. 

The independent journalist asked Bourdain if he would do a show based on North Korea.  Bourdain opined that such a show would not work because the North Korean regime would control what is shown and North Korea is really prone to famine under the Kim communist dynasty. 

The interviewer then asked how Bourdain would cater a hypothetical North Korean-US summit. 

In such an unlikely event, it would be advised to avoid using the ketchup with that well done steak. 

Rod Blagojevich on Jurisdictions

Ex Illinois Governor and convicted felon Rod Blagojevich on Jurisdiction

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stevie Wonder's Vision About Climate Change Deniers at Hand in Hand Telethon

Stevie Wonder disses climate change deniers during Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon

Hand in Hand was a charity telethon that was simultaneously broadcasted on all major networks in the aftermath of Category 4 Hurricane Harvey in Texas in late August 2017.  The mission should have been to raise money for the victims of the flooding and wind damage.  Instead, celebutards treated it as a time to raise consciences.

The telethon led off with an appearance by Motown wunderkind Stevie Wonder who chided anyone who denied climate change as being blind and unintelligent.

Despite his adherence to the liberal shibboleth on climate change, was Wonder talking about himself?

During the Hand in Hand telethon, Canadian hip hop artist Drake addressed viewers as if they were zombie-like automatons, instructing how the elite echelon's want their subjects to act on politicized environmental issues.

In the first twenty four hours, Hand in Hand allegedly was able to raise $44 million, including a $5 million donation by Apple in a seemingly quid pro quo free ad.

While it is noble to try to raise monies for victims of natural disasters, it is foolish to polemicize them or to shift the focus to liberal non-sequitur environmental conclusions. But this presupposes that the purpose was to raise money for victims, rather than Hollywood virtue signaling.  Perhaps the telethon should be better know as Foot in Mouth. 

Of course, politicizing charity telethons is nothing new for celebutards. Consider how  Kanye West claimed that President George Bush doesn't care about black people after the Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005. 

George Bernard Shaw on Knowledge

George Bearnd Shaw on Ideas

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On Celebrity Candidates and Whether Stephen King is It for Maine’s Governor

Ex Maine Gov. John Balducci renews Draft Stephen King campaign

Recently, former Governor John Baldacci (D-ME) has revived an effort to draft home state author extraordinaire Stephen King to run for the top post in Maine.  Aside from King’s celebrity status, the best-selling author has running grudge with the incumbent Governor Paul LePage concerning a quip that the writer left the state to avoid income taxes.  Even though King issued a Shermanesque denial of candidacy in March 2017, Democrat partisans still are seeking to draft him for Governor in 2018..

There have been some successes in celebrities turned into politicians. Obviously, President Donald Trump (R-NY) gained fame by parlaying his realty mogul status into a starring role in The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice before successfully running for the White House in 2016.  

President Ronald Reagan (R-CA) was a “B” movie star in the 1950s and corporate spokesman in the 1960s and was elected President for two terms in 1980. 

While both Reagan and Trump got a leg up from their celebrity status both in name recognition and fundraising potential, they were outsider candidates who rallied on reformist political platforms. Reagan espoused a Western brand of conservatism, which sought to cut the size and scope of government and live up to constitutional principles.  Trump identifies more with nationalist populism and an impetus to “drain the swamp” between the beltways to “Make America Great Again”.  Reagan was more committed to a conservative philosophy than Trump seems to adhere to a strict ideology, but both challenged their party to go in different directions.  

There have been some other recent cases of celebrity candidates.  Senator Al Franken (D-MN) was a contributor on Saturday Night Live along with having a minor movie and radio career until he won an extremel close three way Senate race in 2008.  Despite his self publicity, it is dubious if Al Franken is a Giant of the Senate (2017), even tongue in cheek.

Minnesota has a knack for electing celebrity politicians as Gov. Jesse Ventura (Reform-MN) was a professional wrestler before winning a three way election in 1998.  But Ventura was an outsider candidate who had several years experience being mayor of a Minneapolis suburb. 

In the recall special election to replace Governor Gray Davis (D-CA), Arnold Schwartznegger (R-CA) won the Governorship of California in 2003 against 134 other candidates. So clearly celebrity status helped in that special election, but star status did not boost all celebrities as Gary Coleman's and porn star Mary Carey's campaigns were for naught.   Schwartznegger served two terms as the "Gubernator".

Music sensation Kid Rock seems to be seriously flirting with running for Senate in Michigan in 2018.  Partisans are taking a Kid Rock candidacy so seriously that the Rev. Al Sharpton sought to have Kid Rock’s concerts inaugurating Little Caesar’s Arena to be cancelled as Sharpton's group vituperatively charged that the singer was dog whistle white supremicist. 

Although they have name advantage, celebrity candidates do not always pan out well. Consider the case of Ashley Judd, who took a leap into partisan politics skewering Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) over abortion during the 2012 Presidential campaign. Judd seriously flirted with running for Senate against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014. But Judd opted against the run after the Democrat establishment made it clear to her that  combination of being inexperienced as well as being too liberal and anti-coal doomed her candidacy.

There have been some sports stars who have parlayed their celebrity status into electoral success, such as Congressman Jack Kemp (R-NY 31st, 38th, 39th), Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK 4th) and Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY).  But all of the aforementioned officials got their start in the House.  

Being in the media also has launched some political careers, such as Congressman J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ 5th) and Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC).  Radio hosts tend to form a bond with their listeners but those on television tend to have more exposure.  The challenge for celebrity candidates is to connect with voters by compelling keeping on message and guarding against exploitable unscripted moments.  Thus it is easy for Ashley Judd to appear in anti-pro-life ads against Santorum but how does she react when her life is an open book and there is not someone off-stage feeding her lines.  Or in King’s case, he is adept at taking pot shots against his bete-noire LePage but how does he sound on the stump if that is his predominant schtick? King is a good public speaker with a friendly audience but he might sound prickly with unfriendly audiences.

It is uncertain if the 69 year old King will back away from his Shermanesque refusal to run. However, Democrats are concerned about the 2018 cycle. In the Senate, Democrats have 24 of 33 seats up in 2018 with 10 vulnerable incumbents.  In the states, Republican have 34 of 50 governors’ mansions.  

It seems that Democrats see an opportunity to gain another statehouse against a weak incumbent Governor. Gov. LePage has a 47% favorable to 48% unfavorable rating so party insiders might think they could pick up a win with King.  And having a high profile governor, even of a small state, would be useful as the national Democrat leadership fights it out as to who will lead them in the 2020 election.  Along with being cajoled from Maine Democrat movers and shakers to run, King might also be swayed by that old typing exercise: “Now is the time for all good men to come to aid of their party.”