The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Déjà Vu

A few weeks ago, Congressional Intelligence Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, offered the suggestion, based on evidence presented to him by what many think was an intelligence agency whistleblower, that the Obama administration conducted surveillance that indirectly captured conversations of Trump campaign officials and then released surveillance reports widely across the government with the intent of precipitating leaks that would hurt the Trump administration. Upon hearing this, the Democrats do what they always do—rapidly change the subject with personal attacks (on Nunes), obfuscation ("collusion!"), and, of course, the massive help of their trained hamsters in the media.

Rather than exploring the suggestion that Obama's people did in fact set the stage for intelligence leaks in violation of the law, the Dems and their media hamsters would rather scream for a special prosecutor to investigate alleged collusion between Trump and the Russians and call for the head of Nunes. Within 24 hours, Nunes was called on by the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media to step down as committee Chairman because of partisan bias. After all, the ridiculous collusion meme was losing steam (except among unhinged Democrat partisans) and the surveillance story was starting to turn in a direction that the Democrats didn't like. Off with Nunes' head!

Victor Davis Hansen comments:
The entire Trump-collusion-with-Russia narrative has now descended into incoherence.

For five months, dating back to the heated final stretch of the 2016 election, mainstream media — in particular Obama-administration pet reporters at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC — ran creepy and occasionally near-obscene stories about “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russians. These published rumors were based on “unnamed sources” often identified generically as American intelligence officers inside the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Soon that narrative went from ominous to hysterical — but only once Hillary inexplicably lost the election.

... The lack so far of hard proof [of collusion] gradually created a boomerang effect. Attention turned away from what “unnamed sources” had alleged to the question of how unnamed sources had gathered surveillance of the Trump people in the first place — as evidenced by media reports of General Flynn’s conversations, of Trump’s private talks with foreign leaders, and of allegations of electronic contact between Russian and Trump Tower computers.

In other words, the media and their sources had gambled that congressional overseers, law enforcement, and the public would all overlook surveillance that may have been illegal or only partly legal, and they would also overlook the clearly illegal leaking of such classified information on a candidate and a president-elect — if it all resulted in a scandal of the magnitude of the Pentagon Papers or Watergate.

So far such a scandal has not emerged. But Trump’s opponents continue to push the Russian narrative not because it is believable but because it exhausts and obfuscates likely illegal surveillance and leaking. The real scandal is probably not going to be Trump’s contacts with Russians. More likely, it will be the rogue work of a politically driven group of intelligence officers, embedded within the bureaucracy, who, either in freelancing mode, or in Henry II–Thomas Becket fashion (“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”) with Obama-administration officials, began monitoring Team Trump — either directly or more likely through the excuse of inadvertently chancing upon conversations while monitoring supposedly suspicious foreign communications.
For those of us who have witnessed the many scandals that were stonewalled and buried during the Obama era, when no one was held accountable for serious government wrongdoing, this is déjà vu.


During the Obama years, the Democrats gained a lot of experience in burying scandals and obfuscating facts that point to scandal. Because members of the main stream media are (as Glenn Reynolds wryly notes) "Democratic Operatives with Bylines," the Dems have been remarkably successful in avoiding responsibility for really bad behavior on a governmental scale.

Kimberly Strassel comments on the latest Nunes story:
California Rep. Adam Schiff may not offer much by way of substance, but give him marks for political flimflam. The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee was so successful at ginning up fake outrage over his Republican counterpart that he successfully buried this week’s only real (and bombshell) news.

Mr. Schiff and fellow Democrats spent this week accusing Chairman Devin Nunes of carrying water for President Trump, undermining the committee’s Russia investigation, and hiding information. The press dutifully regurgitated the outrage, as well as Mr. Schiff’s calls for Mr. Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation into possible Russian electoral meddling.

All this engineered drama served to deep-six the important information Americans urgently deserve to know. Mr. Nunes has said he has seen proof that the Obama White House surveiled the incoming administration—on subjects that had nothing to do with Russia—and that it further unmasked (identified by name) transition officials. This goes far beyond a mere scandal. It’s a potential crime.

Strassel continues with some specifics:
First, there were dozens of documents with information about Trump officials. Second, the information these documents contained was not related to Russia. Third, while many reports did “mask” identities (referring, for instance, to “U.S. Person 1 or 2”) they were written in ways that made clear which Trump officials were being discussed. Fourth, in at least one instance, a Trump official other than Mr. Flynn was outright unmasked. Finally, these documents were circulated at the highest levels of government.

To sum up, Team Obama was spying broadly on the incoming administration.

Mr. Schiff’s howls about Mr. Nunes’s methods are bluster; the Republican was doing his job, and well. Mr. Nunes has spent years cultivating whistleblowers and sources as part of his oversight responsibilities, and that network scored him information that has otherwise remained hidden ...
Like Benghazi, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, the VA scandal and many others over the past eight years, it's very likely the Dems will escape this one. There just enough wiggle room to allow them to obfuscate, demonize, and use all of the other tactics in their playbook. Their trained hamsters in the media will help them as much as possible, and the result will be what it always seems to be—government corruption and criminality gone unpunished—as long, that is, as it's the Democrats doing the corruption and criminality.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"39 Percent" is Fake News

The most dangerous fake news doesn't come from obscure websites or random tweets by persons or groups unknown. Most people recognize that those sources are suspect. It comes from supposedly respected news organizations that claim to accurately and objectively report the news. The simple reality is that these so-called respected news sites exhibit some of the most egregious examples of the meta characteristics of fake news I discussed in a post a while back. One of the many meta-characteristics that I noted occurs when a news organization is guilty of:
Omitting important facts when they conflict with a progressive narrative.
With this in mind, consider a supposedly respected media source—The New York Times—that recently published the following headline: “Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants.” From the headline, one could rightly conclude that there were 40 percent fewer foreign students enrolled at U.S colleges and universities and that the reason—Trump. Wow!

The Wall Street Journal reports on one intrepid reader who decided to take a look at this claim:
Mr. [Tyler] Cowen [an economics professor at George Mason University who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard] decided to examine the survey for himself and discovered the following results published on the very first page of the report, listed first among its “key findings”: “39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35% reported an increase, and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.”
So ... the vast majority —61 percent to be exact—of all institutions reported an increase in foreign student enrollment or no change at all. But that didn't fit the bias or the narrative of the NYT reporter. After all, she projected her own (progressive) unhinged fear of Trump to all foreign students, and that MUST have caused an overall drop in enrollments, let the real numbers be damned. By the way, her conclusion that Trump had anything to do with any drop in enrollment is unsupported by any data or facts.

As an aside, did it occur to the genius reporter at the NYT that since 39% of colleges saw a decrease in enrollment and 35 percent saw an increase, one could conclude (lacking absolute numbers which the NYT didn't provide) that there was a net 4 percent decrease in enrollment. That is not earth-shattering news.

But certainly a paper as trustworthy as the NYT must have noted the percent increase of 35 percent experienced by other colleges and the fact that 26 percent remained the same? Nope. In 20 paragraphs of this news story, there was not one mention. Not one. After all, that would have at least provided some context.

By the way, there's another meta characteristic I mention in my post:
Presenting a news event or public policy without appropriate context when that context might negatively impact the progressive narrative.
Just another of many examples of fake news from a supposedly respected news source, The New York Times. The next time you hear a sanctimonious spokesperson for the NYT or any other left-leaning media source lament the damaging affects of fake news, you have my permission to laugh in their face.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Progressives have gravitated toward identity politics coupled with multiculturalism and diversity as primary ideological tenets for their worldview. Consider for just a moment an accomplished woman of color, African and Muslim by birth, born poor, an immigrant to the West, an accomplished writer, an elected politician, a fellow at a prestigious think-tank, an icon for many. Gosh, she would be elevated to the heights of the progressive pantheon, except ... she's Ayaan Hirsi-Ali.

Ms. Hirsi-Ali, a person whom I greatly admire, has a fatal flaw that causes her to be damned by progressives—she freely, eloquently, and convincingly condemns "political Islam," suggesting that the only way to defeat Islamist thought and Islamist groups who espouse that thought is for Islam itself to have a full-blown reformation.

She writes:
I argue that the American public urgently needs to be educated about both the ideology of political Islam and the organizational infrastructure called dawa that Islamists use to inspire, indoctrinate, recruit, finance, and mobilize those Muslims whom they win over to their cause.

There is no point in denying that this ideology has its foundation in Islamic doctrine. However, “Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Muslims” are distinct concepts. Not all Muslims are Islamists, let alone violent, though all Islamists—including those who use violence—are Muslims. I believe the religion of Islam itself is indeed capable of reformation, if only to distinguish it more clearly from the political ideology of Islamism. But that task of reform can only be carried out by Muslims. Happily, there is a growing number of reformist Muslims. Part of the Trump administration’s strategy must be to support and empower them.

The other part of the strategy requires confronting dawa, a term unfamiliar to Americans. Dawa as practiced by radical Islamists employs a wide range of mechanisms to advance their goal of imposing Islamic law (sharia) on society. This includes proselytizing but extends beyond that. In Western countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to instill Islamist views in existing Muslims. The ultimate goal of dawa is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with the rule of sharia law.

Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the “long march through the institutions” was to twentieth-century Marxists. It is subversion from within—the abuse of religious freedom in order to undermine that very freedom. Another analogy is also possible. After Islamists gain power, dawa is to them what Gleichschaltung (synchronization) of all aspects of German state, civil, and social institutions was to the National Socialists.

There are of course differences. The biggest difference is that dawa is rooted in the Islamic practice of attempting to convert non-Muslims to accept the message of Islam. As it is an ostensibly religious missionary activity, proponents of dawa enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.

Worse, Islamist groups have enjoyed not just protection but at times official sponsorship from government agencies duped into regarding them as representatives of “moderate Muslims” simply because they do not engage in violence.

All this means that the new [Trump] administration urgently needs to devise an anti-dawa counterstrategy that employs the full range of tools at our disposal.
Dawa is aided and abetted by a growing number of Democrats and their left-wing base. They label anyone who suggests that Islam is in any way culpable for "violent extremism" to be a racist and/or an Islamophobe. That's nonsense, of course, but it serves to stifle many who might otherwise argue that Islam must reform.

Niall Ferguson (who happens to be Hersi-Ali's husband) writes about the recent Islamic terror attack in London:
The network of dawa takes many different forms. In the UK a key role was played by the organization Al Muhajiroun (The Emigrants), to which Anjem Choudary [the 'lone wolf' terrorist] belonged before his arrest. But there are many less visible organizations busily spreading the mind-poison.

To see how this poison works, read the recent Policy Exchange study of Britain’s Muslim communities, “Unsettled Belonging.” At first sight, the news is good. Altogether, 90 percent of those surveyed condemned terrorism. Only 7 percent said they did not feel a strong sense of belonging to the UK.

But read on. Asked whether they would support the introduction of sharia law, 43 percent said “yes.” One in 10 British Muslims opposes the prohibition of tutoring that “promotes extreme views or is deemed incompatible with fundamental British values.”

Worst of all, nearly a third (31 percent) of those surveyed believe that the American government was responsible for 9/11. Get this: “More people claimed that the Jews were behind these attacks (7 percent), than said it was the work of al-Qaeda (4 percent).”

After 7/7, the 2005 bombings in London, the UK government’s anti-terrorism strategy was designed to “prevent” people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This policy has been denounced by the usual suspects, notably the Muslim Council of Britain. But the reality is that “prevent’’ has not prevented enough.
Repeating what I've contended for many years—no Western entity can prevent the success of dawa, only Islam can do it. If Islam refuses or remains ambivalent, that sends its own message and should also inform the actions of Western governments going forward.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Shaking at Turtle Bay

Back in December of last year, I wrote the following in a post entitled UN-necessary:
The limited good works of the United Nations don't outweigh the anti-Western tilt that has occurred over the past 50 years. It's bias, incompetence, corruption, and overall ineffectiveness are the sad results of a reasonable idea that went bad.

The UN will never change. In fact, its advocacy for rogue regimes, its championing of perpetual pseudo-victims (i.e., the palestinians), its hypocritical organizations (e.g., the "Human Right's Council) that allow oppressive regimes (e.g., Libya or Iran) to go without sanction but imply that liberal democracies are international outlaws (e.g., the recent anti-Israel resolution), its bloated bureaucracy populated by do-nothing functionaries on perpetual vacation in The Big Apple, it's obvious corruption and inability to perform its role as "peacekeeper" are all an acknowledged part of its sordid history.
To his credit, Donald Trump pledged to reign in the UN and he's doing exactly that.

Of course, the trained hamsters in the MSM have an on-going love affair with the idea of the UN, spend almost no time investigating its corrupt and often damaging practices, and would never, ever give Trump credit for anything, much less his stance with regard to the UN. Benny Avni comments:
Want to rein in the bureaucratic bees at the United Nations? Forget honey; grab the vinegar.

America is boycotting a weeklong session at the UN Human Rights Council that started Monday, and is pressuring others to oppose five related resolutions expected to be raised on Friday, at the end of that session.

As US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley pointed out Monday, only one country is subjected to regular scrutiny and condemnation in each of the three annual sessions of the 47-member Geneva-based human rights body.

Guess which one.
It's a tiny liberal democracy in a sea of Islamist thought and dictatorial regimes in the Middle East. You know its name. The corrupt UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel 68 times in the past decade, while condemning all other countries combined only 68 times. But who cares. The UN's actions are increasingly meaningless.

There's much more for the Trump Administration to do vis-a-vis the UN—and it all begins with cutting funding to the UN dramatically. Why should billions in U.S. Taxpayer dollars be wasted on an ineffective, corrupt organization that accomplishes little and is often antithetical to our interests? Why Indeed?

Avni continues:
The United States pays $5.4 billion, 22 percent, of the annual UN “regular” budget, much more than any other country. Additionally, US taxpayers fork over $8.25 billion for UN peacekeeping (28.5 percent of the total peacekeeping budget).

Haley said she’s scrutinizing those budgets, starting with peacekeeping — a target-rich environment with quite a few defunct, redundant or bloated blue-helmet missions around the world.

Other UN cuts were detailed in President Trump’s recently announced budget.

The trend is clear: America will significantly reduce its UN contributions and stop handing over blank checks to agencies controlled by US antagonists.

No wonder they’re freaking out at Turtle Bay. Last week, Guterres indicated in a statement that such US budget cuts would harm global efforts to combat terrorism and would undercut his attempts to reform the world body.

As evident by his scrapping of an anti-Israel report under Haley’s pressure, the opposite is true.

They’re shaking on the 38th floor. Good.
Very, very good.

Monday, March 27, 2017


For weeks, the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media have been hyperventilating over Donald Trump's tweet alleging that he and his campaign were surveiled by the Obama Administration (please spare me the verbal parsing that demands a literal interpretation of Trump's tweet—that only happens when the Democrats' opponents do the tweeting or talking). First, the media leaped to gleeful "I told you so's" when various law enforcement and intelligence officials testified that there was "no wire tapping of Trump Tower." That's probably true and purposely misleading. The FISA warrants and other surveillance tools don't investigate a place, they investigate people in that place, and it appears that those people were foreign nationals, not members of the Trump campaign. But Trump's people got caught up in the intelligence gathering (more on that later), so indirectly they became part of the surveillance. Trump was hyperbolic, but not wrong.

Now we learn that the very same media who called Trump a liar knew all along that surveillance was being conducted, reported the results of that surveillance, and did so in an effort to delegitimize Trump and his people. The initial story first appeared on November 7, 2016 when Heat Street, reported:
Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.
John Nolte comments:
So let's stop for a moment to make a couple of things clear. The FBI reports to the Department of Justice, which at the time was run by Obama's highly politicized Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. The author of this piece, Louise Mensch, despises Trump, and if you'll look at the publication date, she dropped this supposed bombshell the night before the election, and did so for reasons I should not have to explain.
Nolte correctly points out that Heat Street is a relatively obscure web-based media source, but here's the thing. From November 7, 2016 to February, 2017, first-tier media sources ran with the story of surveillance, broadened it, and happily used the leaks from the surveillance to smear Trump and his people. (For a full breakdown of news reports delineating ongoing surveillance and the leaks derived from them by sources like the NYT, CNN, The Guardian, WaPo, McClatchy, and others, read Nolte's full article.)

Then, eyes wide with horror when Donald Trump has the temerity to imply that the sainted Obama administration was doing something that wasn't very nice, these same media sources went full bore to call Trump a liar.

Andrew Malcolm discusses the underlying issues:
Here’s what really matters: During the waning days of the Obama administration U.S. intelligence was indeed monitoring the conversations of foreign persons of interest after the Nov. 8 election and before the Jan. 20 inauguration. That’s normal and actually encouraging given how many key things those agencies have missed in recent years.

In those eaves-droppings they overheard Trump aides being mentioned or talking to agencies’ foreign targets. That’s called “incidental contact” in the intel world. That means they weren’t supposed to be targeting the American, but he or she came up. That’s unavoidable in intelligence-gathering if you’re doing a thorough job.

T​o avoid “unmasking” those innocent bystanders, t​ranscripts of those overheard conversations refer to the foreign target by name and identify the other person simply as American ​No. ​1 or American ​No. 2. ​A very small number of very senior intelligence officials ​will ​know the actual identity of the American​, people like, oh, then-CIA director John Brennan or Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser.​

​Remember Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn? He was picked up talking with the Russian ambassador as part of his transition work. Subsequently, he was fired​, not for the conversation but for misrepresenting that conversation to Trump teammates, including Vice President Pence. Trump accurately saw that as fatally corroding the trust he needs in such a close aide.

But here’s the deal: We should never have known it was Flynn.

Yes, as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Flynn was very unpopular among Obama administration members and indeed was frozen out of contact with the commander-in-chief because he favored a much stronger response to ISIS, among other things. Talk about a president dodging opposing views.

Like Flynn or not, it is illegal — as in against the law — for anyone to reveal the name of an incidentally-overheard American. Someone in a small circle of Obama intelligence officials who knew the identity of that American No. 1 committed a felony by leaking Flynn’s name to media.

Safe to say the leak, like numerous others since Hillary Clinton was not inaugurated as president, was not intended to facilitate the smooth presidential transition that Obama so often publicly promised.
So ... a few questions. Why was the intel gathered under a legit FISA warrant released to approximately 16 different agencies without redacting (masking) the names of Americans who were "incidental" to the investigation? Who made the very unusual decision to do this? Did the decision come from inside the Obama administration? What was the intent of the decision, in other words, why was this intel distributed so widely? Were the purposeful unmasking and subsequent leaks criminal acts, and if so, who should be prosecuted?

It seems to me that the reason for the distribution of the intel to the widest possible audience is painfully obvious. With all of those eyes on the intel, persons loyal to the Obama administration, smarting over the voting public's rejection of his eight years of governance, and livid over the upset defeat of Hillary Clinton and their subsequent job lose, were only too happy to make Trump look bad by leaking parts of the intel. Those leaks were intended to damage the new president and his administration, to destabilize their early legislative efforts and to focus the public away from any early and positive accomplishments. The leakers knew that the Democrats trained hamsters in the media would run with all of this, and run they have.

Allegations of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russians are very serious and deserve investigation, but after all this time, there is nothing that indicates collusion. NOTHING. Not one phone call, not one piece of paper, not one word of credible testimony. Nothing. Yet the Dems and the media keep suggesting that something is there.

Allegations that an outgoing administration purposely acted to sabotage an incoming administration are very serious and deserve investigation. It is absolutely certain that leaks of classified intel occurred. It is absolutely certain that the Obama administration distributed that intel widely, even though there was no obvious reason to do so. Yet the Dems look away and the media shows a remarkable lack of interest.

Sadly, there's nothing new in all of this. When wrong-doing on the part of Dems is all but certain, the media avoids it altogether or buries it as a footnote. When wrong-doing is alleged by the Dems, the media mounts a tsunami of investigative resources and when no wrong-doing is encountered, repeats specious allegations as if they are fact, and then falls back on innuendo and character assassination.

Here's the problem. Clarice Feldman, correctly I think, characterizes this whole episode by comparing it to Russian nesting dolls:
Matryoshkas are Russian nesting dolls. Inside each doll are several others, smaller but identically shaped characters, until you get to the smallest one inside. Studying what we have learned of the timeline -- and we still don’t have the entire story -- we see Wikileaks, the smallest, at the core, and Obama as the largest piece in what is the most historically outrageous misuse of the people and institutions of government for partisan advantage ...

No matter how many dolls are hidden in the nest -- Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch -- it is undeniable that they all fit under the big one -- Obama. It was he who authorized the surveillance and multiagency distribution of intelligence -- in Bob Woodward’s reading, “highly classified gossip” -- about political opponent Trump and his team -- invading their privacy in violation of the law. If you were inclined to want Americans to lose faith in their intelligence community and media you couldn’t have done a better job than they did themselves. The Russians didn’t have to do a thing.
The complexity and the nesting was purposely built in to mask culpability and make even an honest investigation difficult and inconclusive (and remember, the media has absolutely no intention of investigating this, and the congress is largely incompetent). That's how corrupt and savvy politicians operate, and that's why no one will be held accountable much less go to jail.


Andrew McCarthy gets to the crux of the matter when he writes:
... To claim that something is technically legal is not to say that it is appropriate. Another analogy from law enforcement: Under federal law, any distribution of illegal narcotics is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment. But a judge who sentenced a man to 20 years in jail for merely passing a marijuana joint to the person next to him would be grossly abusing his power. Such a judge should be impeached — the fact that the sentence is technically legal is beside the point.

There is a salient difference between technical legality and political propriety. The Obama administration intelligence community’s monitoring of Trump associates during the presidential campaign may well have been technically legal. But whether it was an abuse of power hinges on whether the investigation(s) that rationalized the monitoring were legitimate. Was there a serious Russian effort to subvert U.S. interests, possibly including the integrity of our electoral process? Were there suspect dealings between Trump campaign officials and Putin operatives? Or was Russia just a pretext to spy on the campaign of the opposition party? Did the Obama administration spread intelligence information to people who did not have a need to know it — including White House officials — in order to facilitate its unauthorized disclosure?
The Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media fervently believe that something is "legal" when it meets their needs (e.g., in the case of unintentional surveillance of Trump people). At the same time, they reject laws they don't like (e.g., enforcement of existing laws that address illegal immigration) suggesting that they are "immoral." They can't have it both ways. If the Obama administration intended to undermine the new administration using intelligence data to precipitate leaks, that is an abuse of power, not to mention, an indictable criminal offense.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hive Mind

It's easy to forget the machinations that were ongoing in the run-up to the Obamacare vote in 2009 and 2010. The legislation was deeply flawed from the onset and was sold on knowingly false promises. Some moderate Democrats had significant reservations about the ACA, yet in the end, arm-twisting, back room freebies for specific legislators (think: the "Cornhusker Kickback"), and a desire to give their newly minted president a 'win' all combined to provide a unified vote. Not a single Democrat voted against Obamacare, not one Democrat even voiced concerns about the legislation.

In the years that followed, the Obama administration made bad decision after bad decision, created scandal after scandal, and did end-runs around the congress regularly. Yet, few Democrats expressed any concern about all of this. The few Democrats who did ask questions (think: Senator Robert Menendez) found themselves under investigation with the potential for criminal charges. Political hardball in the extreme.

It's almost as if a hive mind was and is at work among the Democrats. The president and party leadership defined the way forward (no matter how flawed that path was) and the party regulars dropped their heads, closed their mouths, and followed without a peep. I have on numerous occasions noted that in many ways, the Dems look like the Stepford Wives, robotically following an absolutist ideology defined by a few thought leaders.

Compare this the the Republicans in the run up to the defeat of Trump's repeal and replace of Obamacare. There was open and aggressive debate and disagreement throughout the party. There was pushback against the party leadership and the new president. There were alternative paths forward proposed and alternative philosophies offered. It was messy and chaotic, but it showed diversity of thought even as it led to a failed legislative effort. Why was this significant diversity of opinion not present among the Dems over the past eight years?

It's reasonable to argue that a hive mind puts Ws on the score board, while debate and individualism lead the Ls. That is true, and maybe Ws are all that matters, at least for elites who populate Washington, DC.

But it's also reasonable to argue that it's better for messy and chaotic diversity of opinion to result in the defeat of flawed legislation before it becomes law, so that the American people don't have to clean up the mess afterwards.

In the end, there's something troubling about the Stepford wives approach to governance. Bad ideas, serious corruption, and damaging policy are rubber stamped and/or defended because the hive mind demands it. Sure, it led to wins for the Dems, but loses for the country.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Candles and Fires

In an all to common occurrence, yet another "lone wolf" attack by a Muslim extremist occurred in London this past week, killing five and injuring many more, some critically. Local politicians get in front of the camera with brave words, Western leaders voice muted concern, intelligence agencies describe the problem with  'needles in haystacks' metaphors. But there is no outrage, there are no calls for Islam to reform itself, for local Islamic communities to identify and isolate extremists in mosques and community centers before they take the last step toward mass violence.

Richard Fernandez comments on the Muslim "lone wolves" and our reaction to them:
 In some respect the Lone Wolves are more accurately likened to the U-Boat wolfpacks of WW2 notoriety than to werewolves who mysteriously arise at random in the depths of the forest. The Wolfsrudel, like the Lone Wolves, were only loosely coordinated and "could attack as they saw fit ... If their number were sufficiently high compared to the expected threat of the escorts, they would attack."

And attack they do, surprisingly yet unsurprisingly. It is Western leadership that is more deserving of criticism for turning in such a poor defensive performance despite their vast resource superiority. Obsessed with looking good, timid to the point of inactivity, determined at all costs to proclaim their own virtue, the Western elites have proved singularly incapable of combating their vastly weaker foes. The ritualualistic candle-lighting, trite speeches, frightened processions and self-congratulation of the political class are completely ineffective against laser-like menace of their foes. They haven't noticed but the voting audience is starting to.
It is long past the time to stop worrying about offending Islam by suggesting, without equivocation, that it has at least some culpability for the lone wolves. After all, the lone wolves may be crazy and suicidal but they are devout Muslims who believe they are following the dictates of their holy books. It is long past the time to recognize that the battle isn't with ISIS alone (although they truly are barbarians). It is with Islamist thought throughout the Muslim world.  The only way Islamist thought can be eradicated is for Islam to eradicate it (fatwas from major clerics would be a good start, but major clerics are oddly silent on radicalism), and we must demand that they do just that. If Islam refuses, there will come a time when Donald Trump's "Muslim Ban" will look like a friendly gesture. It is long past the time to jettison the notion that if we act "virtuously" (and therefore meekly) it will somehow influence Islamic radicals to modify their behavior. It will not.

It's terribly un-PC to note that those who are sympathetic to the call for worldwide domination and Sharia law are NOT an infinitesmal percentage of all Muslims. They represent tens of millions of people, a small percentage of whom will become fully radicalized and therefore dangerous to the Western cultures that have absorbed them. The wolf pack will grow,

If we continue to light candles to mourn while Islamists light fires to kill, we're in far more trouble than we can begin to imagine.


 After the terror attack in her home city,  Katie Hopkins writes this in London Daily Mail:
No anger for me this time. No rage like I’ve felt before. No desperate urge to get out there and scream at the idiots who refused to see this coming.

Not even a nod for the glib idiots who say this will not defeat us, that we will never be broken, that cowardice and terror will not get the better of Britain.

Because, as loyal as I am, as patriotic as I am, as much as my whole younger life was about joining the British military and fighting for my country — I fear we are broken ...

London is a city so desperate to be seen as tolerant, no news of the injured was released. No clue about who was safe or not.

Liberals convince themselves multiculturalism works because we all die together, too.

An entire city of monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Blind. Deaf. And dumb.
Western elites are truly blind to threat. Deaf to the warnings. And dumb as rocks.

Friday, March 24, 2017


In a situation where everybody was a little right and everybody was a little wrong, Donald Trump's attempt at a repeal and replace measure for the collapsing legislation that is called Obamacare went down to defeat this afternoon. In my view, that's a good thing.

The proposed ACHA legislation did little to improve healthcare for Americans. It did save some money for the taxpayer, but did little to reduce premiums and even less to alter the course of what has become a collapsing entitlement. The Democrats will crow that Trump has suffered a major defeat, but did he really?

No one much liked the Trump/Ryan legislation, it polled very poorly, and it truly was Obamacare Lite. Few will remember the defeat of the bill in 3 months, but if it had passed, we'd be reminded of it's failings for the remainder of Trump's first term.

The Democrats seem perfectly comfortable continuing forward with Obamacare. Their willful blindness of its many, many failings will put the continuing health insurance of millions at risk. The Dems own Obamacare, and they should have been first in line to try and get it fixed. They were AWOL.

Although the Dems are smiling with bravdo now, the passage of the ACHA would also have gotten them off the hook for Obamacare. Deep down, there must be some worry in Dem ranks.

When outright collapse begins, it will be difficult, even for the Dems' trained hamsters in the media (who in their typically unhinged manner are now predicting that the Trump presidency is over) to avoid the fallout as millions begin to lose their insurance. Anger will be focused on both Democrats who created this monstrosity and the GOP, who failed to have the courage or patience to properly replace it. Maybe then, the public will demand that Dems and the GOP work together to craft legislation that is less an entitlement and more an effective approach to health for all Americans. It will not be free, it will not be comprehensive, it will not be without flaws, it will not cover everyone on day one, but if properly done, it would be hard for it not to be an improvement on Obamacare.

In admitting defeat, Donald Trump showed some class by inviting the Dems to help in the next round. We'll see whether their hatred of this president is more important than their professed concern about insuring millions.


In an article entitled, "The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death," Jia Tolentino, writing in the left-wing New Yorker, laments the manner in which gig workers (e.g., people who work for Lyft or Fiverr) work so hard as independent contractors, rather than paid employees with the usual pension, healthcare, and other employee benefits (e.g., maternity leave). Tolentino writes that gig companies that celebrate their contractors dedication and hard work are somehow morally bankrupt and that the reason is, well, read on:
At the root of this is the American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system. The contrast between the gig economy’s rhetoric (everyone is always connecting, having fun, and killing it!) and the conditions that allow it to exist (a lack of dependable employment that pays a living wage) makes this kink in our thinking especially clear. Human-interest stories about the beauty of some person standing up to the punishments of late capitalism are regular features in the news, too. I’ve come to detest the local-news set piece about the man who walks ten or eleven or twelve miles to work—a story that’s been filed from Oxford, Alabama; from Detroit, Michigan; from Plano, Texas. The story is always written as a tearjerker, with praise for the person’s uncomplaining attitude; a car is usually donated to the subject in the end. Never mentioned or even implied is the shamefulness of a job that doesn’t permit a worker to afford his own commute.
Phew. It's all about the evils of capitalism and about the horrors of worker exploitation.

It is interesting that Ms. Tolentino doesn't ask a fundamental questions: Why has a gig economy boomed over the past eight years?

Could it be that under the executive edicts and deficit spending of a left-wing president and the inaction of a stalemated Congress:
  • taxes grew higher and higher, depressing business investment?
  • regulations grew at a rapid pace, depressing the creation of small businesses—a primary employer of the kinds of people now doing gigs?
  • mandatory healthcare edict kept moderate size business from growing? 
  • "living wage" mandates (think: $15/hr) in many blue cities have caused entry level jobs to dry up?
Maybe that's why there are fewer and fewer hourly and salaried jobs with benefits and why so many young people have to make their way with gigs. And maybe, just maybe, the gigs might lead to something better ... but no, it's all about exploitation, isn't it?
    Based on her CV, I would venture to guess that Ms. Tolentino has never run any business that created anything but words, has never had to meet an actual payroll, has never had to navigate through a forest of regulations that forces many tiny businesses to shutter their doors, has never had to work long, long hours at no pay for a start-up in the hope that the infant business would grow and become profitable. Oh wait—profitable!! That's a bad thing, right?

    Better for "the government" to control the economy, mandating a "living wage," placing price controls on products to be sure that everyone is treated "fairly." Better for left-wing intelligencia like Tolentino to ridicule the story of a man who walks to work, shows up every day, rejects the welfare state, and tries hard to support himself and his family.

    Last week I posted on the smug style of far too many progressives. Tolentino's piece is just another example of the arrogant condescension that exemplifies the attitude of many social justice warriors.

    For them, "America's obsession with self-reliance" is the problem. After all, if we'd just go all-in as a socialist country, we could achieve the utopian social justice that has been achieved in places like, say, Venezuela or Cuba. Yeah ... that's the ticket!

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Sanctuary Cities

    In my post on the Meta-Characteristics of Fake News,  the first two characteristics of many are:
    • Promoting one ideological narrative to the exclusion of other competing narratives.
    • Emphasizing stories that support one ideological narrative (the progressive narrative) and burying or completely omitting stories that conflict with that ideological narrative.
    We'll return to these characteristics later in this post, but first let's explore an important narrative. For the trained hamsters of the mainstream media, sanctuary cities are the epitome in virtue. Blue cities (e.g., New York, SF, LA) flaunt their violation of federal law, refusing to work with immigration officials to deport illegal aliens who commit crimes. This, of course, signals their contempt for Donald Trump's suggestion that it might be a good idea to remove dangerous illegal aliens from our country. More and more Democratically run cities are joining the sanctuary city movement in an epic display of moral preening. One of those cities is Rockville, MD, who city council proposed it become a sanctuary city just last week.

    And now, our story begins: Tragically, two older teenager boys, one an illegal alien and one whose status is uncertain, raped a 14 year-old girl in their high school bathroom in Rockville, MD a few days ago. The 18-year old illegal alien was stopped at the border a number of months back, but was released by ICE under order from the Obama administration. He was then resituated in Rockville, MD. The city is now aghast, it's democratic majority suffering from the cynical but accurate adage that "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged."  There are angry parents worried about the safety of their children in school and angrier citizens who are now livid over the suggestion the people like the 18-year old rapist shouldn't be deported.

    But here's the thing. Although this story is many days old, as of yesterday, not one mainstream media outlet has covered it—not one. Not NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, the LAT .... (a few have covered the story at their web-sites, but not in their flagship news programs or publications). That may change as time passes, but the omission is a glaring as it is biased. The trained hamsters unfailingly exhibit the meta-characteristics I noted at the beginning of this post.

    The problem, of course, is that this legitimate news story conflicts with the prevailing narrative—about illegals, about sanctuary cities, about the past administration's overly lenient treatment of illegal aliens detained at our borders, and even about "dreamers." The story demands that the reader or viewer consider the impact of decisions made by leaders of the sanctuary city movement. The story notes that like any population of people, there are bad actors among the illegal aliens who currently reside in our country and those bad actors should be removed without equivocation. But the left-leaning media would rather not have their viewership consider any of this.

    So therefore, the story is buried or omitted in it's entirely because it doesn't promote the politically correct narrative. Fake News!

    Circumstantial Evidence

    The Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media keep telling us that there was "collusion" between the Russians and the Trump campaign during 2016. They (the Dems and the media ... but I repeat myself) have more reporters investigating this unsubstantiated charge than they had investigating all of the myriad serious scandals that actually did occur under the previous administration put together. After all, weaponizing the IRS to attack private citizens—no big deal, nothing to see there, move along. Politicizing and terror attack in Libya and then lying about its cause, no big deal, nothing to see there, move along. Hillary and Bill Clinton taking millions from foreign governments while Clinton was Secretary of State, no big deal, nothing to see there, move along. The Dems and their trained hamsters imply that the "Russian collusion" resulted in Hillary Clinton's upset lose. After all, how could a progressive agenda possibly be rejected by the America people?

    But for just a moment, let's take these specious allegations at face value. Here are a few simple (but embarrassing) questions:
    1. All of the Russian (and Chinese and Iranian and NoKo) hacking occurred under the previous Democrat administration. Did that administration drop the ball by not doing more to stop it? Were they even aware of it? What were our diplomatic actions against perpetrators during mid-2016 in this regard?
    2. All of the embarrassing leaks (at DNC and from other sources) focused on Dem's email. Were the Dems irresponsible for not better protecting their private communications?
    3. If there was collusion between Trump and the Russians, why didn't the Obama administration initiate surveillance on the evil operatives who worked for Trump, or for that matter Trump himself? The past administration claims they didn't surveil Trump, why not?
    4. And if there was even a whiff of Russian collusion, why didn't the authorities move in, arrest Trump and save the country from his election? Where were the Justice Department and the FBI, and why didn't they act?
    In fact, if Trump was as nefarious as the Dems claim, wouldn't they proudly note that surveillance was on-going throughout the election?* After all, as Adam Schiff tells us in the grand style of Joseph McCarthy, there's lots of "circumstantial evidence," isn't there?

    * Yesterday, we learned that, in fact, surveillance was on-going at Trump tower, although now the claim seems to be that it was "only incidental" that Trump campaign officials (and possibly Trump himself) were caught up in it. The surveillance was touted as perfectly legal, but the fact that people like Mike Flynn were "unmasked" (a felony) as a consequence of the surveillance is certainly worthy of investigation. The Dems, of course, scurried to negate the news of surveillance arguing that Trump's tweet about "wire tapping" continues to be a lie. Maybe so, but it's a lot less of a lie this morning than it was 24 hours ago. Heh.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017


    In its early seasons, the Showtime series, Homeland, was critically acclaimed. It provided an unvarnished view of CIA operations (with all their warts) and honestly depicted the clear and present threat of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East and worldwide. The writers were brave, penning plot lines that were complex and often unpleasant. Their writing was not politically correct.

    The series was criticized by the pro-Hezballah advocacy group, CAIR, for encouraging "Islamophobia," (absolute nonsense!) but the producers held their ground. That was then.

    This is now. Although I can't know for sure, my best bet is that the show's writers have been replaced by a more "evolved" crew. Written and filmed before last year's election, the writers sort of assumed a different election result and therefore a different political viewpoint emanating from Washington. They tailored this season's story line to be sure it was P.C., to define the correct bad guys (from the left-wing point of view), and to suggest that a continuation the past administration's disastrous soft power approach is the only way forward.

    In this year's Homeland story line, a female president-elect, we'll call her "Hillary," is grappling with her desire to make nicey-nice with Iran, reign in the CIA and the U.S. military, and otherwise peacefully control the unpleasantness in the Middle East. She's anti-interventionist, very suspicious of the military and our intelligence services, hard-nosed (of course), and a true leader (double of course). The story revolves around a evil CIA-Israeli plot to convince "Hillary" that Iran is violating her ptedecessor's Iran deal. Of course, Iran is pure as the wind-driven snow and would never violate any deal—ever! BTW, there no mention in the script of the tens of billions of dollars that her predecessor gave to the Iranians to buy weapons and foment Islamic terrorism around the globe, but that's inconvenient information for both the story's "Hillary" and the screen writers.

    The show's female lead, Cary Matheson, is ex-CIA operative who (in the last season) thwarted a vicious Islamic terrorist attack in Berlin. The attack was intended to use WMD nerve gas to kill thousands. But now Cary inexplicably has decided to join an activist group in New York. The group defends American Muslims from unfair persecution (this is, after all, Hollywood). Within the CIA Cary has an ex-colleague, Sol Berenson, a complex character who believes that the Iran deal is being upheld by Iran (in the real world, I suspect he would be the only person at Langley who believes this, but this is Hollywood, where Iran never cheats or lies and is just misunderstood when its leaders chant "Death To America).

    The plot thickens when the Israeli intelligence service (the Hollywood bad guy to Iran's misunderstood regime) plots with a truly sinister CIA operative, Dar Dahl, to convince "Hillary" that Iran is developing nuclear weapons in violation of the deal. Of course, in the fevered minds of the Hollywood writers who have hijacked Homeland, Iran would never do this because Barack Obama and John Kerry told us they wouldn't. So evil are the CIA and the Israelis that they stage a terrorist attack in NYC that kills dozens—all to convince Hillary that she must be more aggressive toward Iran.

    I could go on, but nausea would follow.

    Homeland has made the transition from a thoughtful, textured treatment of the real-world challenges Western intelligence services face to formulaic, grossly biased, intelligence-insulting Hollywood garbage.

    Too bad.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Only Progressives

    Today, we'll listen to political theater as only the Democrats can deliver it. We'll hear them ask accusatory questions that indict Neil Gorsuch for judicial rulings that followed the law ... but, came into conflict with the notion, particular to Dems, that the law should favor one group over another.* We'll hear mindless accusations that Gorsuch is "out-of-the mainstream," even though 98 percent of his rulings were in line with the majority of the federal court on which he served. We'll hear pontification and hypocrisy, whining about the fate of Merrick Garland, and a variety of other unrelated nonsense. We'll listen to statements that imply that the progressive way is the only way, all intended to provide some measure of solace to the Democrat base.

    And where is the Democratic base? I ran across a prescient essay on American liberalism written in April, 2016 by Emmett Rensin at Vox, a generally left-leaning on-line media source. Rensin's words are particularly appropriate, given the events that led to Donald Trump's upset victory in the presidential election and in the unhinged response to his victory by the America left. Whether it's urban hipsters, social justice warriors, the glitterati, or any of the other subcategories and groups that define American progressive thought, Rensin nails it when he writes:
    There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what's good for them.

    In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

    It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.
    Condescension may be the single most important reason that the Democrats are out in the wilderness. Those who don't agree with every progressive shibboleth are viewed by many within the progressive movement as flawed, uninformed, unintelligent, or otherwise "deplorable."

    This progressive condescension has grown in both depth and breadth in the months following the election. Nothing Trump says or does—no policy, no appointee (think: Gorsuch), no position—is acceptable, and anyone who suggests otherwise is beneath contempt.

    Here's an example of progressive condescension from an article by Conor Lynch in hard-left Salon. Lynch actually references Rensin's piece:
    Sure enough, many liberals have seemingly doubled down on this smug style, which tends to come out in full force whenever the president screws over his dumb, country-bumpkin supporters. But this attitude has also been challenged by those on the left who argue that the Democratic Party has to offer a more populist vision and break out of its technocratic bubble in order to start winning elections again. This tends to offend many liberals, who respond by reminding everyone that the Democrats ran on the “most progressive platform in party history,” yet still failed to persuade uninformed blue-collar Americans who credulously fell for the countless lies and false promises of Trump.

    Both sides have a point, of course, and it is hardly smug to point out that American voters are overwhelmingly ignorant and uninformed about politics and government, or that Trump supporters are particularly misinformed. Nor is it smug to correct someone when they state an obvious falsehood, or to challenge the nonsensical rhetoric of a demagogue like Trump. The truth is, it can be hard not to come across as smug when you have to repeatedly debunk the endless falsehoods and conspiracy theories that come out of the president’s mouth (and when so many of his supporters seem unwilling to listen to reason).
    Lynch does exactly what Rensin describes when he states: " ... it is hardly smug to point out that American voters are overwhelmingly ignorant and uninformed about politics and government, or that Trump supporters are particularly misinformed." Really? Only progressives are "informed" and sophisticated in their election choices? Only progressives have defined the right path for the country? Only progressives understand healthcare, or free speech, or the proper approach to immigration, or climate change, or school choice, or the role of government in the every day lives of citizens? Only progressives should be appointed to the Supreme court?

    Yeah ... only progressives.


    * As if on cue, CT Senator Richard Blumenthal demanded that Gorsuch answer questions on how he would vote in specific future cases. That is, of course, an absolute violation for any judge, but Blumenthal is too dishonest or too political to acknowledge that. By the way, Blumenthal was State Attorney General in CT. The Wall Street Journal documents the utter hypocrisy of this position:
    That’s [requiring any Supreme Court nominee to answer questions about future rulings] wildly inappropriate since Judge Gorsuch can’t know the facts or the law of future cases that would come before the Court. If he were to speak out extensively on any case at the confirmation hearing, his comments could require his recusal.

    Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor didn’t have to meet this open-kimono standard. Neither did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said at the time of her confirmation hearings in 1993 that “[a] judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints; for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.”

    Mr. Leahy told nominee Ginsburg at the time that he “certainly” did not want her “to have to lay out a test here in the abstract which might determine what your vote or your test would be in a case you have yet to see that may well come before the Supreme Court.” At the 1967 hearings for Thurgood Marshall, then Senator Edward Kennedy called it a “sound legal precedent” that “any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters which are either before the court or very likely to appear before the court.”
    Ahhh. We return to the "smug style" of Democrat Senators, defining one set of rules for conservative nominees and a completely different set of rules for progressives. Why? ... only progressives need apply.

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    Political Theater

    After almost 60 days of mass protests, pussy hats, hysteria on subjects ranging from healthcare to cutting funding for the EPA or the UN, and unhinged claims that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to cause the defeat of the sainted Hillary Clinton, more political theater begins today. The Senate begins its confirmation hearings on Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court. The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
    The Senate begins confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch Monday, and the image to keep in mind is professional wrestling. Democrats have dug up so little on the supremely qualified Supreme Court nominee that they’ll be huffing and puffing and pretending to body slam the judge around the hearing room. It’s mostly political theater.

    Progressives frustrated at the judge’s stellar record are pressuring Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to turn the hearings into the next show of political resistance to President Trump. In a recent letter to Democratic Senators, groups including abortion activists, and the Service Employees International Union called Judge Gorsuch an “unacceptable nominee” and demanded the nomination meet a 60-vote threshold.

    “Democrats have failed to demonstrate a strong, unified resistance to this nominee despite the fact that he is an ultra-conservative jurist who will undermine our basic freedoms and threaten the independence of the federal judiciary,” the groups wrote. By “basic freedoms” they must not mean free speech, religious liberty or gun rights that Judge Gorsuch has upheld.

    Mr. Schumer has responded by posing with flexed muscles, but he makes a lousy CM Punk. Mr. Gorsuch “may act like a neutral, calm judge” and “he expresses a lot of empathy and sympathy for the less powerful,” the Democratic leader said last week, but in reality the judge “harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate, special-interest agenda.”
    Oh my. In the fantasy world of Chuck Schumer and many other Dems, it's perfectly okay for a judge to be left-wing, anti-corporate, and side with special interests that have the Left's stamp of approval. But intellectual consistency is not a hallmark of the opposition party in 2017.

    Gorsuch is eminently qualified for the Supreme Court. He fills a "conservative" seat, so his appointment would not be a loss for the Dems. They would be far better served to keep their powder dry and save the real fight for the replacement of, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But that's not how they roll. Because—#resistance.


    Carrie Severino comments on Gorsuch's legal opinions:
    Democrats also complain that Judge Gorsuch’s textualist approach to the law, by which he interprets laws according to their plain meaning as written, makes him a judicial radical. In fact, Judge Gorsuch clearly swims in the mainstream of American jurisprudence. According to one study, 98% of the opinions he wrote for the Tenth Circuit have been unanimous, even though that court tilts to the left. Seven out of twelve of its active judges were appointed by Democrats.

    What’s more, his opinions have been unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court four times. These numbers show that he’s a consensus builder, which is why the Senate confirmed him to the federal bench by voice vote in 2006. It’s why his nomination has received support from many liberals, including a former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration. And it’s why the American Bar Association has twice given him its highest rating.
    Last time I checked, the ABA leans decidedly left, so rating Gorsuch so highly indicates that he is an exceptional judge and intellect.

    But no matter, a great legal mind from Harvard violently opposes him.

    This morning, Elizabeth Warren wrote an anti-Gorsuch screed in The Boston Globe that makes her sound like what she is—a broken record (sorry for the anachronistic reference). Rather than making an substantive argument against Gorsuch she writes:
    Over the past three decades — as the rich have gotten richer and middle-class families have been left behind — the scales of justice have been weighted further and further in favor of the wealthy and the powerful. That tilt is not an accident. It’s the result of a deliberate strategy by powerful interests to turn our courts over to the highest bidder.

    Its effects have been devastating. Recent court decisions have let giant corporations that cheated their consumers off the hook, unleashed a flood of secret money into the political process, and made it easier for businesses to abuse and discriminate against their employees.
    Of course, Warren's tired "solution" to this is to give centralized government intrusive power to control "big business," and in so doing, to wreck our once robust economy. She advocates judges who ignore laws they do not agree with or interpret laws in a way that stacks the deck again one litigant over another. Actually, the same socialist sentiment was espoused by Hugo Chavez and Nicholas Maduro in Venezuela. How has that worked out for the people of that country?

    Saturday, March 18, 2017


    When the Left encounters a government decision (policy or law) that it doesn't like, a common strategy is to conduct "lawfare"—bring a lawsuit in front of a friendly court (i.e., a court with predictably liberal judges) and convince that court to issue an injunction. This tactic works well, delaying or scuttling government actions effectively.

    As long as the judge bases his or her ruling on the law and on past legal precedent, lawfare, although frustrating and often maddening, is part of our legal system and must be tolerated. But when a judge completely disregards the law and instead bases an opinion on what he or she thinks the author of the decision intended, we move into a very dangerous area.

    That's what happened in the recent ruling against Donald Trump's decision to limit immigration (temporarily) from six mostly Muslim countries. Mollie Hemingway comments:
    Throughout the ruling, Judge Watson [of Hawaii] concedes there’s nothing about the executive order that would be problematic if not for his interpretation of Trump’s statements made in the months and years prior to issuing it. He repeatedly states his feeling that Trump had a bad motive in issuing the order.

    Judges using campaign rhetoric to infer intent instead of plainly evaluating the law as written is a dangerous development. Also because the public can witness the selective use of this trick, it undermines confidence in the judiciary at a time when the judiciary can’t afford too much erosion of trust.

    Imagine, for instance, if [conservative] judges ruled that the Obama-era Health and Human Services mandate forcing nuns to pay for birth control and abortifacients against their religious will was motivated by President Barack Obama’s religious animus, since he had made derogatory comments during his campaign about people bitterly clinging to God. Judges have ruled against powerful mandates such as that one for much better reasons than a parsing of Obama’s campaign rhetoric or political speeches.

    Or remember when the Supreme Court saved Obamacare by ruling it constitutional because the individual mandate — the penalty people had to pay for not buying health insurance — could be considered a tax? They ruled that way despite the fact that President Obama repeatedly maintained that the mandate was not a tax.
    Judges should rule on the letter of the law and, if you want to go one step further, on any affects implied by the actual words in the written law. They should not try to read the author's mind; they should not look back at comments made by the author in months or years past, and they should follow the constitution and well-established precedent. When they don't so this, judges erode the respect that all American's should have for our legal system. That's beginning to happen with ruling like the one offered by Judge Derrick Watson.

    Friday, March 17, 2017

    A Little Demon

    For most Democrats, Donald Trump is the devil, and new EPA Director, Scott Pruitt, is his assistant—a little demon. After all, Pruitt has the temerity to expect an unbiased scientific approach to the threat of climate change. That's unacceptable to absolutists who state that all scientific debate is over (that, in itself, is unscientific, but never mind), and that anyone who disagrees with the Left's alarmist orthodoxy on climate change is a "denier."

    Joe Kernen of CNBC asked Pruitt the following question during a recent interview: “Do you believe that it’s been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate?”

    Pruitt answered the question calmly, "“No. I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So no — I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we don’t know that yet. We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

    That's a reasonable answer. In fact, it's the answer that any unbiased scientist would provide—there is yet plenty of study that must be done, because climate is a complex, multi-variable system that is exceptionally difficult to model with any degree of accuracy. That's why every long-range climate model is notoriously inaccurate. Given that, it's odd that many Democrats and more than a few Republicans want to base major national (and worldwide) policy on unsettled science and inaccurate models. But whatever.

    Of course, the climate does change. Always has, always will. No one, and I mean no one, suggests that climate is static. The big question is what the anthropogenic affects are. Stated simply, what quantitative affect does human activity have on climate and climate change? The simple answer is that not one scientist (even the biased ones) can provide an accurate quantitative indication of what that affect might be. Is it 0.1%, 1%, 10%? That's two orders of magnitude, and no one knows what the right number is. The reason is the complexity of the problem, lots of different variables are known to affect climate.

    Jeff Jacoby provides an excellent discussion of the modeling problem:
    The list of variables that shape climate includes cloud formation, topography, altitude, proximity to the equator, plate tectonics, sunspot cycles, volcanic activity, expansion or contraction of sea ice, conversion of land to agriculture, deforestation, reforestation, direction of winds, soil quality, El Niño and La Niña ocean cycles, prevalence of aerosols (airborne soot, dust, and salt) — and, of course, atmospheric greenhouse gases, both natural and man made. A comprehensive list would run to hundreds, if not thousands, of elements, none of which scientists would claim to understand with absolute precision.

    But for the sake of argument, say there are merely 15 variables involved in predicting global climate change, and assume that climatologists have mastered each one to a near-perfect accuracy of 95 percent. What are the odds that a climate model built on a system that simple would be reliable? Less than 50/50. (Multiplying .95 by itself 15 times yields 46.3 percent.) Is it any surprise that climate-change predictions in the real world — where the complexities are exponentially greater and the exactitude of knowledge much less — have such a poor track record?

    Pruitt got it right: Measuring human impacts on climate is indeed “very challenging.” The science is far from settled. That is why calls to radically reduce carbon emissions are so irresponsible — and why dire warnings of what will happen if we don’t are little better than reckless fearmongering.
    Oh, my. That's heresy among those who treat climate change as a religion rather than a worthwhile area of scientific study. It's just possible that Scott Pruitt can move the EPA away from a religious experience and closer to a scientific one. If he did that, the little demon might actually be an angel is disguise.

    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    A Mother in NC

    As I drive into work every morning at about 7:30am, I listen to the MSNBC TV feed on Sirius radio—"Morning Joe," to be specific. On this morning's show, the always left-wing panel was interviewing, Mark Meadows, a right-wing member of the Congressional Freedom Caucus from North Carolina. The topic was Obamacare (the ACA) and its replacement. To their credit, the panelists were civil but aggressive in questioning the wisdom of repealing the ACA. Meadows indicated that the current repeal and replace plan is flawed (I agree) and needs to be amended.

    After much discussion, one panelist asked the following question: "Congressman, you have 550,000 people in your state covered by Obamacare. If you repeal it, can you guarantee that all 550,000 will maintain health coverage?"

    Congressman Meadows filibustered for a bit and then said that (1) there would be a transition period and (2) every person would have "access" to coverage. The panelists leaped on that and in typical fashion one asked: "A mother that looses her Obamacare coverage has a child who gets sick . What is she to do if she loses her coverage once Obamacare is repealed?"

    The Congressman answered in political speak, but it occurred to me that he had an opportunity to turn the question around. Here's what I would have said:
    Obamacare is collapsing. Premiums in NC are rising at 30 percent a year. Major insurance companies are pulling out because they're losing money and currently, many NC counties have one insurance option—and that option is threatening to leave. Exactly what is the poor mother to do if Obamacare collapses under it own weight in the next 18 months. You all seem so concerned about the mother and millions like her. She'll lose her coverage if Obamacare collapses, as will all 550,000 of my constituents in NC. Is that somehow a better option than repealing and replacing a structurally unsound healthcare program, so that that mother won't lose her coverage down the road.
    Obamacare is like a poorly constructed building on a rotten foundation, rife with termites in its structural members, with a leaking roof and a maintenance bill that is growing by the year. The Democrats are suggesting that a new coat of paint and a little wallpaper will make the building whole and at the same time reduce maintenance expenses. It's a fantasy.

    The best approach is to tear down the building and start afresh. But to agree to that would require the Democrats to admit that their hyperpartisan approach to healthcare was flawed from the beginning. That the 'promises" made by a Democrat president were not promises at all. That a new program created under a new GOP president they despise just might be better than an old program that is disintegrating before our eyes. They won't do that and certainly won't work with the GOP to help make it happen. Let the mother in NC with the sick child be damned.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    The 2005 Tax Return

    The Left had a quasi-comical Dan Rather moment least night when MSNBC's social justice warrior in-residence announced that she had come upon Donald Trump's 2005 tax return. The Wall Street Journal tells the tale:
    Opinions differ on whether President Donald Trump is a great businessman, but when it comes to tax avoidance he’s not even in the same league with Warren Buffett. Contrary to political myth, it turns out that Mr. Trump paid more federal taxes in one year than all but a relative handful of Americans will pay in their entire lifetimes.

    Last night, just before a heavily promoted MSNBC report on the subject, the White House disclosed that in 2005 Mr. Trump paid $38 million in federal taxes on $153 million in income.

    Across social media, Americans of all creeds and colors are joining together to laugh at Rachel Maddow. But they should give the MSNBC host a break. So what if her Tuesday segment revealing Mr. Trump’s 2005 tax return was over-advertised and under-produced? Night-time cable news tends to be a mixture of entertainment and information, and is often criticized for featuring too much of the former. If Ms. Maddow’s show failed as entertainment, it certainly seems like news when the television headquarters of the anti-Trump resistance reports that Mr. Trump has paid a ton of taxes.

    And did he ever pay. The Journal reports that because of losses in previous years, Mr. Trump’s adjusted gross income in 2005 was just $48.6 million. MSNBC may have just produced the greatest argument ever against the Alternative Minimum Tax. Does anyone this side of Bernie Sanders—or come to think of it, Rachel Maddow—think that the Internal Revenue Service should confiscate 78% of someone’s adjusted gross income?

    We learned last night that Hillary Clinton’s claims about Mr. Trump’s taxes were off target. But another person who should be feeling at least a little embarrassed is the American media’s most beloved billionaire, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. In the heat of the campaign last year Mr. Buffett [a Hilary Clinton supporter and recently, a darling of some on the Left], a Democratic donor, released his 2015 tax returns and challenged Mr. Trump to do the same.

    Mr. Buffett is estimated by Forbes to be worth around $78 billion, or roughly eight times Mr. Trump’s most optimistic assumptions about his own wealth. Yet in October Mr. Buffett revealed that he paid just $1.8 million in federal taxes in 2015, less than 5% of what Mr. Trump had paid a decade earlier, not even adjusted for inflation. Of course this is just one year of tax data on Mr. Trump and as a businessman who’s had his share of failures, he may have paid little or nothing in other years. But $38 million is a big tax bill for anybody, at any time.
    The New York Times stayed true to form by headlining this story, "Trump Wrote Off $100 Million in Losses in 2005, Leaked Forms Show." In the story the NYT grudgingly admits that Trump paid $38 million in taxes, but true leftists never think that any amount paid is a "fair share" or that Donald Trump is anything but a monster, so the NYT story in largely negative.

    As usual, unhinged positions regarding Trump often are proven wrong—making people like Rachel Maddow look kind of foolish. I suspect that the same will hold true for the unhinged contention that Trump and his people were working with the Russians to tilt the election in their favor. But critical thinking is generally not a strong attribute among far too many of the Left, so claims that Trump never paid income taxes or is a Russian stooge become a prevailing narrative—until the narrative is shown to be as ridiculous as it sounds.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017


    Poor, poor Preet Bharara, the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of NY. If you listen to the preponderance of media reports (fake news), you'd think that Bharara was batman, single-handedly conducting important investigations—that he's interviewing every witness, pounding the streets looking for wrong-doing, running off to meetings with junior FBI agents who are doggedly collecting evidence.

    In fact, Bharara is a political appointee with a large staff of lawyers, investigators, and law enforcement people who do almost all the work associated with the investigations. The staff are civil servants and they will remain in place. Yes, Bharara is the point man, but that doesn't mean that everything stops when he's on vacation or ... when he's fired because (as part of a blatant political stunt) he refused to follow long-standing precedent and resign. Every president replaces the political appointees of his predecessor and Donald Trump is no different.

    The faux outrage over Bharara's firing manufactured by the Democrats' trained hamsters in the media is as laughable as it was predictable. In fact, if you believed the reports coming from the hamsters, Bharara's departure will lead to lawlessness and chaos on Wall Street. Besides, they whine, Trump said he'd allow Bharara to remain in his position. He. Changed. His. Mind.

    Glen Reynolds comments:
    There’s been a lot of faux outrage about this decision of Trump’s, but it’s all bogus. And Bharara’s refusal to resign was childish, an effort to score anti-Trump points with Democrats that, all by itself, demonstrated why Bharara was unfit for office and why Trump was right to let him go.

    Here’s the thing to understand: United States attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. The prosecution of crimes, including the decision of which crimes to prosecute and which crimes not to prosecute, is at the discretion of the executive branch, which ultimately means the discretion of the president. U.S. attorneys work for the president in that capacity. And if the president thinks someone else would be better, he’s free to fire them and replace them.

    And there’s nothing whatsoever unusual or improper about doing so, something the press has no trouble remembering when the incoming administration is run by Democrats. When Barack Obama took office, he dismissed a bunch of U.S. attorneys. Attorney General Eric Holder explained that “Elections matter — it is our intention to have the U.S. attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can.”
    Ahhh ... the ubiquitous double standard at work. A Democrat president "replaces" political appointees—not a peep from the hamsters in the media. A new GOP president "ousts" or "fires" or "axes" appointees in the exact same position, and the hamsters get the vapors, whine about the cruelty of the action, and suggest that it's just another example of an uncaring, lawless, clueless administration. Fake news.

    Monday, March 13, 2017


    Programs, regulations, and policies established by Democrats and often driven by the Left are often established with the best of intentions. They are nominally designed to help those in need or otherwise mitigate an actual or perceived social injustice. At the beginning they sometimes work quite well, but because they give power to centralized government, it doesn't take very long for the original good intent to be expanded dramatically by politicians and bureaucrats. Simple regulations and policies become hundreds or even thousands of pages long. Enforcement, once benign, is extended to an army of enforcers, backed by an even bigger army of government functionaries and lawyers, driven by a grievance industry that does everything possible to extend and expand the original intent. The end result is Big Intrusive Government (B.I.G.) regulations that jettison common sense and replace it with offensive  government powers.

    A recent case in point is illustrative. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was originally created with the very best of intentions. After all, who didn't want to provide common sense accommodations for those who are truly disabled.? Andrew Ferguson comments on a law that started out well and morphed into a monstrosity:
    ... The ADA gave the federal bureaucracy the authority to muscle its way into the interactions of private citizens as never before. For the first time, a civil servant in Washington could reach across the country to demand, for example, that a store owner in Spittoon, Kansas, build his grocery shelves to whatever height the bureaucrat chose. For good measure the grocer could be fined if his water fountain spouted water at the incorrect angle.

    The ADA spread a feast for plaintiffs' lawyers. Its provisions are so comprehensively intrusive that no business could hope to be in perfect compliance. One federal manual, covering the single topic of "accessible design," comes to more than 275 pages. Walter Olson, author of The Litigation Explosion, has tracked many of the tens of thousands of lawsuits—from the deaf patient awarded $400,000 because his rheumatologist failed to provide a sign language interpreter, to the police dispatcher who won a settlement for discrimination after she was fired. Her disability was narcolepsy.
    Ferguson goes on to tell a story about UC Berkeley travails with the ACA. Berkeley, a bastion of left-wing thought and political correctness is, despite this, an outstanding academic institution. Ferguson writes:
    Since 2012, UC Berkeley (among many other schools) has offered video and audio recordings of many of its courses to the general public, via YouTube and iTunes U. The Seussian acronym is MOOCs, for massive open online courses. Over the years Berkeley's catalogue of MOOCs has grown to more than 40,000 hours of high-end pedagogy. There are introductory courses in economics, European history, statistics, physics, geography, and pretty much everything else. More advanced courses range from "Scientific Approaches to Consciousness" and "Game Theory" to "The Planets" and "Philosophy of Language," this last taught by John Searle, the country's, and maybe the world's, greatest living philosopher.
    MOOCs are a wonderful thing—all free, enhancing the knowledge of every person who desires to learn. They really do represent the best of the Internet. In many cases, the MOOCs are simply a video of classroom lectures, populated by Powerpoint slides, and in some cases, but not all, closed captioning.

    Enter the ADA. A single deaf person complained to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) that the MOOC course she wanted did not have closed captioning. It should be noted that Berkeley has widespread guidelines for "accessibility" for those student and faculty who are disabled. But doesn't applyb them for free MOOCs because—cost. Ferguson continues:
    NAD went straight to the white-hot center of the American grievance industry, the federal government's Department of Justice. The organization filed a complaint with DoJ on behalf of Nowak and a Gallaudet colleague as "aggrieved individuals." The government lawyers got to work.

    ...None of this impressed the Justice Department or the aggrieved individuals or the activist organization of which they are a part. Note that the accommodations listed above are for students and faculty only. But Berkeley opened its MOOCs to the general public. Among the videos, the intrepid DoJ investigators discovered some without captions, thus discriminating against members of the general public who are deaf. Some "contain[ed] text [that] had poor color contrast," thus discriminating against Americans with visual impairments. Others contained graphs and charts in which "information was sometimes conveyed using one color alone," thus discriminating against the color-blind.

    In August, Rebecca Bond, chief of DoJ's Disability Rights Section, sent a letter to UC Berkeley administrators demanding that these acts of discrimination be corrected. In addition, the school would have to "pay compensatory damages to aggrieved individuals for injuries caused by UC Berkeley's failure to comply" with the ADA.
    The cost associated with correcting these "acts of discrimination" for all MOOCs as demanded by DoJ would be in the millions of dollars. Ferguson describes what happened next:
    The easiest course, administrators concluded, was simply to pull all the MOOCs from the Internet, so that disabled members of the general public will no longer have to be subjected to such discriminatory offenses—and, also, so that the federal government won't sue UC Berkeley. Last week Vice Chancellor Cathy Koshland announced that beginning March 15, Berkeley's vast library of online courses would no longer be publicly available. If they couldn't be accessible to a member of NAD, they won't be accessible to anyone.
    So, because a deaf person might not be able to participate in one free MOOC out of hundreds; because a few visually impaired people can't read text or graphics in MOOCs whose contrast isn't up to regulatory dictate, everyone must loose an educational resource. That. Is. Insane.

    Recall that these courses are provided for free, are not required for anything other than the love of learning, and can be replaced by different educational content specifically designed for those with disabilities. But B.I.G. will have its way. The regulatory state prevailed and the vast majority of the rest of us lost.

    Donald Trump and his administration has committed to reduce regulation and chip away at B.I.G. I wish him the best in this endeavor, but honestly, it's probably futile. B.I.G. fights hard to maintain its power, supported by many Democrats and a few Republicans who believe that centralized power is the only power, even when it tramples the rights of most of us. Berkeley MOOCs are only one of thousands of examples of B.I.G. regulatory over-reach. It should be stopped, but I doubt that will happen.

    Thursday, March 09, 2017

    Healthcare and the Pig

    There's an old adage—putting lipstick on a pig doesn't change the fact that it's still a pig. For many reasons including the fact that the entire program is collapsing before our eyes, Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) is a pig. Those of us who opposed it from the beginning stated that it would be exorbitantly expensive, would raise, not lower, the costs of medical insurance, would limit health care options (remember: "you can keep your doctor"), would harm small businesses and stifle the growth of those businesses, would be managed incompetently, would be rejected by large segments of the public, and would irreparably harm a private health care system that for all its faults, actually worked pretty well. The Democrats, driven by their ideological zeal to create yet another entitlement on the road toward "universal health care" didn't listen. A pig was born.

    Now as Obamacare literally collapses (e.g., very expensive coverage with $8,000 deductibles, some countries with one or no insurers, major insurers dropping out of the program, 20 million people opting for a tax penalty rather than participation, the young and healthy bailing while the old and sick drain the system of resources), the GOP jumps in with lipstick.

    It's reasonable to ask why, after 7 years to think about it, the GOP hasn't come up with a workable and innovative plan to replace the pig. Instead, it appears that they've opted for lipstick. There are certainly procedural, policy and political issues that may have forced them to roll out a plan (phase 1) that nobody seems to like, but come on man!

    Ed Morrissey comments:
    One challenge facing Republican leadership is the reconciliation process in the Senate. Harry Reid famously used that budgetary exception to pass Obamacare on a majority vote, eliminating the use of the filibuster. However, only legislation with a specific impact on the federal budget can cite reconciliation to avoid the filibuster. That limits what the repeal bill can do and still be passed on a majority vote. The AHCA necessarily only addresses those portions which qualify under Senate rules.

    The next complicating factor is Donald Trump’s promise to ensure that Americans don’t get abandoned in the process. That’s almost certainly why the AHCA does not eliminate the Medicaid expansion immediately, as House conservatives had hoped, and why this plan continues the practice of subsidies for health-insurance purchases. The need to extend both of those for the next few years stems from the difficulty of getting a full replacement program through the Senate; Republicans clearly hope to have a filibuster-proof majority after the 2018 midterms, but need to leave some measures in place before then.

    That doesn’t necessarily make the AHCA the best bill that can pass under these circumstances, but it does explain why Republican leadership may have refrained from producing a final, full-scale repeal-and-replace bill in favor of a transition plan. And the White House has responded to criticism of the plan by offering to negotiate amendments through the legislative process. Tom Price, former chair of the RSC and now Secretary of Health and Human Services, made that explicit on Tuesday.
    This phased approach is dictated by political realities. So phase One sucks. What about the follow-on phases 2 and 3.

    Both sides of the ideological spectrum are—as is often the case—wrong on medical care. The Right wants a purely market-driven approach that sounds good but isn't workable after an entitlement (free stuff) has been created for millions. Removing the entitlement will be demagogued to death by the Dems (the current operative word is "mean!"). The Left dreams of universal coverage, and will accept nothing short of it. They live in a fantasy world ithat rejects the notion that the enormous medical costs for a country of 320 million people wouldn't result in scarcity of coverage, bankruptcy for the treasury, and inferior care for the most vulnerable among us.

    What to do?

    There are no easy solutions, but a good start would be comprised of the following elements:
    1. Catastrophic health care coverage for all Americans —premiums means-tested based on income, and where necessary, paid for by the taxpayers. This would preclude the Democrat claim that people are uninsured and that many are bankrupted by major hospital stays.
    2. Two doctor visits per year for all Americans—premiums means-tested based on income, and where necessary, paid for by the taxpayers. . This would allow physical exams to be conducted so that small problems are found before they become big ones.
    3. The right to maintain insurance once sick, if and only if the policy holder had insurance and lost it. If, however, the citizen voluntarily dropped coverage, then got sick, he/she has no right to pre-existing conditions coverage. Decisions have consequences, and bad decisions often have bad consequences. 
    4. The instantiation of tax deductible Health Saving Accounts to replace any attempt at universal dollar one coverage. No tax credits, no subsidies, but an individual's money used for rainy day medical protection.
    5. An open private sector medical insurance market for remaining coverages with a wide array of policies and coverages tuned to the buyer's needs. Policies could be purchased nationally.
    6. Tort reform to eliminate the enormous costs associated with malpractice suits and unnecessary tests as CYA measures among doctors.
    7. Reform of FDA regulations that allow drug approval in 25 percent of the current time and 25 percent of the current cost with commensurate (and significant) reduction in prescription drug costs.
    8. Allow states to control medicaid costs and even create specialized clinics that provide care to in indigent at reduced cost.
    The elements listed represent the core of a healthcare plan that might not be a runway model, but it certainly isn't a pig either.