The Circus Continues

If anyone has doubts about Hillary Clinton running for President in 2020, they need to take a look at her recent actions. Hillary went semi-silent for a while, but now she is back with a vengeance. Her latest feud is with Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard. As an aside, Tulsi Gabbard is probably one of the more sane Democrats running for President.

Breitbart posted an article today about the feud.

The article reports:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the “queen of warmongers” on Friday, blaming Clinton for orchestrating recent smears against her in the mainstream media.

Earlier on Friday, Clinton suggested that Gabbard was being “groomed” by Russia as a potential third-party candidate. Appearing on a podcast hosted by former Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, Clinton called Gabbard “the favorite of the Russians.”

Last weekend, the New York Times made similar accusations against Gabbard, without any evidence, calling her “a potentially useful vector for Russian efforts to sow division within the Democratic Party.”

This is getting ridiculous. I guess the latest smear of any candidate the Clinton left doesn’t like (or represents competition) is that they are a Russian agent.

The article also notes:

Gabbard, who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2016 presidential election, resigned a leadership post in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in protest at its favoritism toward Clinton.

As I said, I think Tulsi Gabbard is probably the most reasonable Democrat candidate running for President. It’s interesting that according to Election Central, Tulsi Gabbard has not yet qualified for the November 20th Democrat Presidential Debate. I suspect that she has too much common sense to be included in the field.

Economic Policies Matter

As the Democrat presidential candidates continue their debates, all of us need to step back and consider the consequences of economic (and other) policies. For instance, Medicare for all sounds like a really good idea–until you consider that the one place the government has been running healthcare for a while is the Veteran’s Administration. That hasn’t worked too well. Guaranteed income for all also sounds like a great idea–until you begin to calculate how much it will cost. Income inequality is a problem–it is most prevalent in our largest cities that have been under Democrat control for decades. So what has been the result of President Trump’s economic policies?

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the current state of the economy.

The article reports:

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released significant wage and salary data yesterday which held stunning upward revisions for 2018 and 2019.   Wage growth of 5.5% combined with low inflation remaining at 1.4 percent; the disposable income of U.S. workers jumped to a stunning 4.1%.

Within the revised BEA data, we find employee compensation rose 4.5% in 2017 and 5% in 2018.  Importantly the growth trend continued into 2019, with compensation increasing 3.4 percent in the first six months alone.  Year-over-year wages and salaries were revised upward to 5.3% for May, and 5.5% in June.  These are stunning increases in worker pay.

There are various economic indicators we have shared through the years, but wage growth is one of the more critical.  First, wage growth lags behind business activity – workers don’t get pay raises until after business volume demands/provides it.  Second, wage growth is generally uni-directional – once businesses hike pay, the increases cement.

The wage growth is across the board–it has not impacted only the wealthy.

The article concludes with a summary of President Trump’s overall economic strategy:

The U.S. consumer is driving the economy.  The jobs and labor market remains strong.  Wage growth is rising in proportion to the diminished availability of the labor pool. Price inflation is low because manufacturing economies (EU and China) are devaluing their currency, and subsidizing their industries (China), in an effort to avoid Trump’s trade policies (tariffs).  Their efforts increase the value of the dollar and we are importing deflation.

Simultaneously, global manufacturers -multinationals- need access to the U.S. consumer market.   As President Trump applies a series of strategic global trade moves, intended to draw manufacturing back to the U.S., those multinationals are in somewhat of a holding pattern for further investment.  Simply, the multinationals are trying to figure out where to put their investment capital for the highest return.

Example: The U.S. economy is strong, unemployment is low and wage rates up; so if China is a non-option, the profit determination shifts.  Where to manufacture? It might be more profitable for a multinational in either Southeast Asia or North America. The key is which country has a long-term agreement with the U.S.  That’s why the USMCA is critical.

CTH still predicts POTUS Trump will eliminate the uncertainty as soon as the USMCA is ratified.  I suspect President Trump will drop massive tariffs on all Chinese goods.

Think of China like a big lake filled with U.S. economic value. Through his Asian discussions with Vietnam, S Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Japan, et al, President Trump has stealthily built a thin levy, an ASEAN dam of sorts, that will direct the China lake of economic value into Southeast Asia.

Once the USMCA is signed, Trump will blow the dam by triggering the tariffs.  This will move all of the multinationals who are in a ‘holding pattern’, and capital investment will flow fast.   The China exodus will benefit North America (USMCA) and those ASEAN nations who have partnered with Trump and made proactive trade agreements.

This is the reason it is good to periodically get politicians out of the White House and elect a successful businessman.

When The Story And The Facts Collide

According to Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog:

On July 9, (2018) Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted:

Two decades after Brown v. Board, I was only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools. Without that decision, I likely would not have become a lawyer and eventually be elected a Senator from California.

That’s the power a Supreme Court Justice holds.

Harris’ election to the Senate is one of the lesser reasons to celebrate Brown v. Board. Moreover, it’s far from clear that Harris wouldn’t have become a lawyer without attending an integrated public school. Plenty of African-Americans became lawyers without having that benefit.

But is it even true that Harris was in only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools? Based on an examination of old yearbooks from Berkeley High, Freida Powers reports that classrooms at Berkeley High were already integrated in 1963, a year before Harris was born.

Maybe Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. But even if that’s true, and it seems implausible given the early integration of the high school, it’s ludicrous to suggest that attending a segregated kindergarten would have prevented her from becoming a lawyer and Senator.

At the Democrat debate this week, the story was retold.

However, Paul Mirengoff printed another article at Power Line Blog on Friday which reported:

I wondered whether Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. However, according to Gateway Pundit, Harris went to school in Berkeley for only two years before moving with her mother to Canada where she attended grade school and high school.

Maybe Harris means that her class (minus her) was only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. This doesn’t seem likely either given the early integration of Berkeley High.

Harris presents a misleading picture of Berkeley and, implicitly, of her family’s status. A friend who graduated from college there around the time Harris depicts tells me:

Berkeley was not segregated or racist during that era. It was one of the most liberal places in the country.

I’d like to learn a lot more about [Harris’] busing. I accept that she took a bus to elementary school, but I don’t think they were busing kids to various neighborhoods for racial reasons in Berkeley in 1971. Makes no sense at all to me.

Her mom and dad were PhDs, and she went to India during summers to stay with her mom’s family (see Wikipedia). She makes it sound like they were poverty-stricken. . .or something.

Actually, Harris herself presented evidence that she did not live in a segregated neighborhood, such that she needed to be bused to attend school with whites. During the debate, she told of a would-be friend whose parents wouldn’t let her play with Harris due to race.

I guess the message in the Democrat debates is don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

A Get-Out-The-Popcorn Moment

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article with the following headline, “Tempers explode, Democrat candidates balk over debate rules.” I guess it’s difficult when you have more than twenty candidates who want to president all vying for a place on the debate stage.

The article reports:

Montana Governor Steve Bullock is angry that he doesn’t qualify for a spot on the debate stage in the DNC’s first two debates scheduled for June and July. His late entry into the race has hampered his ability to qualify for either of the DNC’s requirements – receive 1% support in three polls from an approved list of pollsters and receive campaign donations from 65,000 unique donors, including 200 donors each from 20 states. That sounds simple enough, right? It should be noted that the candidates don’t have to meet both requirements to qualify to participate in the debate, just meeting one of them is enough. The qualifications will be raised higher to qualify for the third and fourth debates scheduled for September and October.

…Two other Democrats aren’t going to be on the debate stage. Rep. Seth Moulton and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam. Moulton sounds at peace with the fact that he’ll miss the debate while no one knows who Mayor Messam is, outside of his city. Messam entered the race in March and has been missing in action ever since.

…Washington Governor Jay Inslee is upset that his main focus, climate change, will not have its own debate. Wednesday Inslee blasted the DNC.

The article concludes:

The Democrat field is huge. None of them are going to be able to speak very much during the debates, at least until the herd is thinned. Whining about the very first and most basic qualifications seems petty. If a candidate can’t raise money and get himself enough publicity to be recognizable to the general public, how will that candidate possibly be able to win a general election? Pass the popcorn.

The Republicans went through a similar process in 2016, and Donald Trump was the winner. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the Democrat debates. Donald Trump was experienced in media and knew how to use the media to his advantage. I am not sure any of the Democrat candidates have that experience or knowledge.

Bad Day at Black Rock

Below is a guest post by Raynor James, an eastern North Carolina resident who has followed the debate on North Carolina House Bill 184 very closely:

Tuesday, April 3rd was a sad day in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Let me tell you about it. Dale Folwell is North Carolina’s Treasurer. He’s a very popular fellow for all the right reasons. He did a good job when he served in the North Carolina General Assembly. He got North Carolina’s unemployment insurance out of debt to the Federal Government when he served in Governor McCrory’s administration, an accomplishment that continues to save North Carolina’s employers significant sums annually. He’s known as a problem solver.

North Carolina’s State Health Plan (which pays for medical expenses of current and retired state employees) is seriously underfunded and is projected to be bankrupt by the year 2023.When Dale Folwell was elected Treasurer, many who voted for him expected him to solve the Plan’s problems as its administration was in the Treasurer’s portfolio.

Enter HB-184 which if implemented will tie the Treasurer’s hands and not allow corrective action to be taken while a committee studies the situation.

HB-184 was debated on the floor of the House April 3rd. Let’s look in on how some conservative House members tried to kill the bill.

First, Representative Michael Speciale offered two amendments to the bill. Representative Speciale’s first amendment would give the Treasurer a vote on the study committee and would make it impossible to expand the size of the committee (something that is sometimes done when the “powers that be”don’t like the direction a committee seems to be taking).

That amendment passed by a vote of 106 to 5.

Representative Speciale’s second amendment would remove Section 2 from the bill. Section 2 requires that Blue Cross-Blue Shield continue to be used during the study period.

It also prevents the Treasurer from switching the Plan to using referenced based pricing for medical services to the Plan during the study period.That amendment failed by a vote of 88 to 23.

During debate on HB-184 itself, Representative Larry Pittman cited a memo from the Plan’s Board of Trustees that projects that the plan will be out of money in 2023, and said that we can’t wait on a two year study. He talked about how hospital groups were groaning about how burdensome the Treasurer’s planed payment changes would be on them [tie pricing of medical services to 172% of the average Medicare pays for the same service], and pointed out how well funded many hospitals are. In support of his assertion, Representative Pittman mentioned that the hospital at East Carolina has given $10 million dollars to fund a stadium.

Representative Pittman asked that members not pass the bill and added that when Treasurer Folwell had requested info from the hospital groups, they had sent him the schedules he asked for with page after page blacked out. “They might as well have slapped him in the face and spit on him,” Representative Pittman said.

He continued by saying passage of the bill would hurt both members of the Plan and taxpayers who pay the freight and pointed out that members of the Plan are also taxpayers, so they get hit two ways.

He stated that Dale Folwell is “competent” and “honest” and renewed his request by saying, “Defeat this bill.” Representative Michael Speciale said, “We’re told that if we don’t pass this bill, the sky will fall; we’ll lose our rural hospitals.” He went on to say that they’d heard the same thing when he was trying to get rid of the CON [Certificate of Need] laws [which did not pass] and shortly thereafter they closed one of the hospitals in my district.”

“I hear fake news ads” [on the topic of rural hospitals closing if HB-184 doesn’t pass] when I drive in my district.”

Representative Speciale went on to say that Dale Folwell got the people together who are opposing him [mainly large hospital groups] and asked how much waste, fraud, and abuse there is in the system. The answers they give him ran from 12% to 25%, so he took a middle number and asked them to figure out how they could reduce costs by 15% and said that they needed to get together again as soon as that was done.

After that meeting, Treasurer Folwell tried to set follow up meetings, and time after time he was stonewalled.

Representative Speciale continued, “Now we’re faced with $33 to $36 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities. If we don’t allow him to cut costs, how are we going to cut costs because it’ll be on us!”

“Dale Folwell has increased what would be going into rural hospitals. He’s compromised, but they won’t budge an inch.If we do not pass this bill, then the hospital lobby will sit down and talk to him. Let the state Treasurer do what he was elected to do. Throw the politics aside and vote NO!

Representative Keith Kidwell said, “For the last 10 years, health care costs have gone up and up. We asked Treasurer Folwell to handle it. Let’s not bobble him,or we’ll be faced with taking $235 million to $509 million [dollars] from the general fund to deal with the problem AND $1.1 billion will be added to the unfunded liability.”

“HB-184 will cost us a ton of money!” “Cut through partisanship and look at the numbers! We HAVE to block this bill!’

In spite of those eloquent pleas and others, too, HB-184 passed 75 to 36, and it will now be sent to the North Carolina Senate where it is hoped that wiser voices will prevail.

If you’d like to hear the whole debate, you can go to the NC General Assembly website at which NC House sessions are archived.

Thank you, Raynor. This is a picture of what is going on in the North Carolina state legislature. President Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex. What we see here is the result of intense lobbying by the healthcare-industrial complex. We need to stop this bill.

Even A Blind Squirrel Occasionally Finds An Acorn

Bill Maher is a very smart man. I totally disagree with his politics, but he is a very smart man. Townhall posted an article today about his comments on the Democrat Party’s decision not to allow Fox News to host any of their primary debates.

Mr. Maher made some very good points:

“Last week, the Democrats made a terrible decision when they announced that they had turned down Fox News’s offer to host one of their 2020 primary debates, saying that Fox was nothing more than propaganda. OK, so why not go on Fox News and tell them that?” Maher asked rhetorically.

“You wanna be in the big leagues, but you refuse to ever play an away game? You don’t like the questions that Fox News might ask, so you’re deciding not to take any questions at all? How very Trump of you,” Maher explained. Republicans never shy away from coming on this show, and they come with a smile on their face despite knowing that the only people in the crowd cheering them on are the three campaign aides they brought with them … The audience is against them and they don’t care — it’s an opportunity to expose people to your side of the story.”

Telling you side of the story to people who disagree with you helps you refine your side of the story.

The article concludes:

“It’s not just on [Maher’s] show that Republicans are willing to go on,” Co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy explained. “Most of the media is very liberal, and conservative Republican members of Congress are very accustomed to going on to CNN and MSNBC and ABC and taking tough questions, and yet the Democrats are afraid to do that.”

Maher is right. If the Democrats claim to be the “resistance” then they should be fearless. If they truly believe in what they’re saying then they should have absolutely no problem answering the tough questions Fox News has for them.

Conservatives have to continually talk to liberal news anchors and reporters because the majority of news outlets are liberal. If conservatives refused to talk to liberal outlets then they’d be construed as “cowards” who are hiding from the tough questions.

It’s 2019. Get it together, Dems. If your candidates are too afraid to answer questions they don’t like while they’re running for president, then they won’t be able to handle the weight of answering tough questions while president.

Get out the popcorn. Its going to be a very interesting year and a half.

An Amazing Story From A Middle School Teacher

The following was written by a friend of mine who teaches Middle School. My hope is that they are many more teachers like him and many more students like his students.

Sharing a Wonderful Experience

I know many of us grow weary and worried for the future of our great nation. This is often amplified when we look at our younger generations and the fruit of our educational system. It can certainly be food for depression. However, I would like to share a dose of superb sunshine and positive encouragement I recently received while working with two classes of middle-school students.

I was presenting material on folk literatureoral traditions. We were specifically studying fables. I had selected two pieces which create an opportunity for challenging and discussing some of the troubling modern thinking. The first selection was “The Grasshopper and the Ants.” The second was “The Scorpion and the Frog.”

The students were given the first passage to read for homework. In addition to reading the selection, the students were to answer one question, were the ants right in their response to the grasshopper? They were to write three brief paragraphs which would include their answer and support for their answer. On the following day, I asked the students to get into one of two groups – those who thought the ants were wrong, and those who thought the ants were right. We then proceeded to have a structured debate with opening comments, rebuttal statements, a period for questions and answers, and closing statements. It was an absolute joy to see the majority, about 4/5, of my students supporting the ants. Through the course of the debate/discussion, my students further impressed me with their passionate arguments supporting the rights of the producer/worker to reap the rewards of his labor. When presented with the counter argument that the ants should have at least been a little helpful to the starving grasshopper, a few students promptly set the record straight by arguing that the ants had tried to help by warning the grasshopper and encouraging him to do some work in preparation for the coming winter. When asked if it would be right for some outside force, The Grasshopper Protection Society of the Universe, to pressure/force the ants to give a portion of their goods to the grasshopper, my students responded with a resounding no. They did acknowledge that the ants could choose, on their own, to give some of their goods away, but the choice belonged to the ants. Even when applying to real-life situations – one of which was the sharing of academic success with under-achieving students – my students argued that those who worked for successful outcomes should benefit from their work and choose how to help others. They submitted that if others wanted to be successful they need to work for that success.

A real encouragement came when similar results occurred in my second class.

The second fable, given for the next day’s assignment, dealt more with the influence of our nature – i.e. the scorpion stings and kills the frog saying he had to because that is what scorpions do. The question for my students was, did the scorpion have to do what he did. Again, we had a group discussion – not a debate, but a sort of panel with a randomly selected student to represent the frog and another to represent the scorpion. At the conclusion of this discussion, I presented the students with a final question, what is stronger and more important – your nature or your power of choice? My students warmed my heart with a unanimous outcry that our choices are the most powerful.

Again, similar outcomes for both classes.

While this year has been a good year already, these two days were extraordinary! Our country will be great if these young people have anything to do with it. Find them, and encourage them.

Random Notes On Last Night’s Debate

Smart Politics posted an interesting article on the debate last night between President Obama and Governor Romney.

The article reported:

Obama spoke for 42 minutes and 40 seconds or 52.7 percent of the candidate-allotted speaking time.

And while Romney at times appeared to interrupt moderator Jim Lehrer, perhaps he did so for good reason.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that Mitt Romney spoke for 38 minutes and 14 seconds, or 47.3 percent of the candidate-allotted speaking time – a full four minutes and 26 seconds less than Barack Obama.

Interesting.

I enjoyed the debate. I liked the format–it gave both candidates a chance to state their case and dispute any questionable facts given by the other candidate. I also liked the fact that the moderator kept a low profile and let the candidates talk.

The article further reports:

Lehrer, meanwhile, seemed to disappear and at times lose control of the debate – speaking significantly less than debate moderators from the GOP primaries this cycle.

Lehrer spoke for just 8 minutes and 10 seconds, or 9 percent of the total time between himself and the two nominees.

During the GOP presidential primary debates, moderators spoke for an average of twice that amount (19.8 percent) ranging from a high of 27 percent to a low of 14 percent.

The debate should be between the candidates–not a stage for the moderator. I liked the way Jim Lehrer moderated the debate.

One final thought:

“80 percent of success is just showing up”  — Woody Allen

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Something To Watch For In The Presidential Debates

Hugh Hewitt (my favorite talk show host) posted an article at the Washington Examiner yesterday about President Obama’s poker tells. I am not a poker player, but I understand the concept of watching your opponents’ actions in order to win a card game.

The article lists the ‘tells’:

First, the president begins a pattern of “ahs” and “uhmms” which are as embarrassing as they are revealing. The awkward pausing punctuated by these semi-stutters increases in frequency as the president senses his own flailing about.

Next, the president begins filibustering. His average length of answer in every press conference is already epic, but he has been getting worse as the presidency has dragged on.

…the president’s feigned outrage that anyone would interrupt or question him. When this happens, his countenance displays a disapproving sneer and his voice clouds with displeasure. It is practiced. It is also profoundly anti-democratic and arrogant, and if he plays this card on this stage, it will backfire.

Watch as well for nonresponsive self-pity, verbal essays on how difficult it was when he took over and how hard he has been working.

Finally, watch for the parade of straw men, the president’s favorite rhetorical trick.

Television has changed presidential debates–those who heard the Nixon-Kennedy debate of the radio declared Nixon the winner–those who watched it on television declared Kennedy the winner. I believe that Al Gore’s antics during the time that George W. Bush was speaking during their debate was one factor that cost him the election in 2000. President Obama needs to avoid falling into the same trap.


Enhanced by Zemanta

The Three Ring Circus Called The Republican Primary Debate

My source for this article is the CNN story posted about the debate. I do, however, have a few of my own comments.

I understand the need to reach a wide audience, but why are the Republicans debating on CNN when Fox gets higher ratings? Why are the Republicans putting up with stupid questions instead of discussing serious issues?

The question right out of the box tonight was to Newt Gingrich about an interview done with his ex-wife. First of all, what do you expect to hear from someone’s ex-wife? Second of all, where was the media investigation of John Edwards before the National Enquirer forced his mistress into the open? Would we have ever heard about Monica Lewinski without Matt Drudge and his knowledge of the blue dress? The double standard is going to be an obstacle to having a fair campaign.

I guess the debates are giving the Republican candidates television time so that the American people can see them and draw conclusions, but I wish there were some substance in the discussions. This isn’t ‘Dancing with the Stars;’ this is a campaign for President of the United States.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Politics Of Scheduling

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Image via Wikipedia

I haven’t mentioned the dust-up about the scheduling of the President’s speech on the economy because I really wasn’t too impressed by all the ruckus. Frankly I thought the whole discussion was dumb. However, Michael Barone, who is considerably smarter than I am, posted a very interesting article about the kerfuffle at the Washington Examiner website tonight.

It is naive (at best) to believe that President Obama was unaware that the Republican presidential candidates were having a debate on the night that he first suggested making a speech about the economy to a joint session of Congress. I think it is also a safe guess that he knew this would be Rick Perry’s first appearance as a candidate and that Rick Perry is a definite threat to President Obama’s desire to serve two terms. I also expect that President Obama also assumed that someone would actually watch his speech (or the Republican debate).

Michael Barone points out that the request to give a speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday showed a lack of respect for the Constitution. Congress is a separate branch of government and is not subject to Presidential dictates. Mr. Barone points out that in the past when a joint session of Congress was requested by the President, the arrangements were made privately, then announced.

The original plan of a Wednesday night debate also showed a contempt for public opinion.

The article reports:

White House press secretary Jay Carney said it was just “coincidental” that the president wanted to speak at the same time as the Reagan Library debate. It was just “one debate that’s one of many on one channel.”

Wow. The article points out that in the past President Obama has tried to upstage opposition with scheduling.

The article lists some other weaknesses of the Obama Presidency that are becoming very apparent. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article. This is a difficult time for the President–the economy is not doing well and his poll numbers are falling–I expect we will see him play some serious hardball in the coming months.

Enhanced by Zemanta