The Week In Review

President Trump has been claiming that his communications were wiretapped by the Obama administration prior to the November election (an accusation that has some sympathy on the right). This is being denied on multiple fronts—including by FBI director Comey. While I do not believe President Trump to be a credible source of information for…well, anything…I have been lied to so often by Mr. Obama, Congresswoman Pelosi and the rest of the vile vipers in DC that their denials simply carry no weight with me. That said, until the Trump administration offers some kind of evidence, I’m going to go ahead and assume the Mr. Trump is lying.

Mr. Trump issued a new immigration EO on Monday. The new order is somewhat more carefully crafted than the last (full text here). Meanwhile, the government of Mexico continues to resist the administrations push to deport illegal immigrants. As the administration continues its efforts, the press is working to highlight every possible sob story. Regular readers of this post know that I lean toward open borders (while acknowledging the problems with that preference), but I calls ’em like I sees ’em, and the press is clearly trying to shape the narrative.

The IRS is experiencing budgeting difficulties. This is my sad face. Listen, I’ll grant that tax collectors are a necessary evil, but both the words “necessary” and “evil” apply—and the IRS has all-too-routinely abused its authority (quite famously during the Obama administration). Still, even if you were the most honest and upright employee of the agency, I wouldn’t want my daughter to date you.

There is a report that Senator Schumer intends to block Mr/ Trump’s “Great Wall” from receiving the necessary votes for appropriation. I oppose the wall, but I recognize that many of my fellow Americans do not. So I am more curious than involved in seeing how this plays out. Honestly…I think I’m good either way.

There is an interesting case going on locally in Vegas—a family that was convicted of running an illegal, off-shore gambling ring (after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offense) claims they are listed as felons by the federal government. This is one of those cases where (had it gone to trial and I had been on the jury) I would have voted to acquit no matter what evidence the government presented. I think all citizens should educate themselves on the principle of jury nullification.

In their ongoing effort to make flying so unbearable people just stop, the TSA has introduced new pat down procedures that some folks on Twitter have called “legalized groping.” Evidently expecting a fresh font of complaints of sexual assault, the TSA has been alerting local police departments of the new procedures. For my part, between the TSA and shrinking leg room I’ve stopped flying.

We finally got a look at what the Republican party calls a “repeal” of Obamacare. It’s about as bad as you would expect from this collection of spineless cretins. Rather than simply repeal the PPACA (as I tweeted on Monday), this proposal tries to give something to everyone. Remember when the Republicans claimed to be the party of the Constitution? By replacing subsidies for health insurance with tax breaks for HSAs (and saving no real money), these idiots are trying to claim this is the conservative solution. President Trump—who is no more a conservative than I am a penguin—has been praising this monstrosity on Twitter and promising that the real reforms (e.g. eliminating prohibitions against selling policies across state lines) will come in phase 2 & 3.*

The US Supreme Court has punted on the issue of whether gender identity falls under federal aegis for discrimination cases. Even a year ago, I doubt I would have read the article. However, if you are one of the couple dozen folks your read my debut novel,** then you know this is something I follow these days. This entire case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., is a State issue. I’m not sure that I care who uses what bathroom, but I see where others might and I’m pretty sure no group of judges’ “one size fits all” solution will be…just. (Of course, regular readers will know that I am highly suspicious of any expansion of federal power anyway.)

Wikileaks is targeting the CIA now. The organization’s latest attack on the US includes more than 8,000 documents.

The proposed Las Vegas Raiders football stadium has secured a new backer: Bank of America. Which begs the question…why can’t the folks who want to build this thing find sufficient funding that no public monies are required? Right now, $750 million in bonds from Clark County are a key component of the stadium’s financing. I’m a property owner in Vegas and would vote against this in a heartbeat.*** Meanwhile, the governor is pushing for more tax increases so he can expand education spending (among other things).

The hunt is on for monies to pay for Mr. Trump’s promised border wall. Regular readers know that I’m not in favor of the project, but I cede that I’ve been outvoted. I have significantly less of a problem with this project than I do the Republicans’ revised health care bill.

As the Trump administration continues dismantling the Obama legacy, AG Sessions has asked for 46 US Attorneys’ resignations.

Finally, the Catholic church may be reconsidering its centuries-long practice of demanding all priests be celibate.

*I ask anyone who believes that to send me their contact information, SSAN, and complete bank account info. There are some investments I would like to make on your behalf, you kind, trusting soul you.

** Blood Debt: A Modern American Romance. Just $3.99 on Kindle!

*** Yes, I know that UNLV will use this stadium as well. I do not care.

The Week in Review

Mr. Tom Perez (former Secretary of Labor) has been elected as the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, defeating Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN). As I tweeted last Saturday, I was pretty confident that Congressman Ellison had this locked up…which is just a little reminder that I shouldn’t be making any more political predictions.

There was yet another awards show this week. I’ve no doubt that a bunch of folks with high school diplomas and BAs in theater gave their sage advice on the direction of the country. But what I know for a fact is that someone announced the wrong best picture winner. (And am I the only cat who didn’t see any of the nominated films?)

The NYT was caught parsing the president’s CPAC speech to the point of telling a lie. The Times caught lying? Again? This is my shocked face.

Seems not a week goes by without some Islamic terrorist group reminding us why they are hostis humani generis. In this case, Abu Sayyaf has beheaded a 70 year old German man some three and a half months after kidnapping him and murdering his girlfriend.

There is a plan in place for Raúl Castro to step down and retire next year. Miguel Díaz-Canel is his designated successor. Here is a profile piece on Mr. Díaz-Canel (who, as Castro’s designated successor, I presume to be a horrible human being who will continue the regime of oppression).

Looks like it was a dose of VX nerve agent that was used to assassinate Kim Jong Nam.

Mr. Wilbur Ross has been confirmed as the Secretary of Commerce.

President Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday evening seems to have gone over well with most of the country. Some number of Democrats hissed at him. I remember when being disrespectful to the president while he was addressing Congress was racist. I’m glad that’s in the past, as I’m pretty sure I haven’t really respected any of them since Mr. Reagan—and I had a few problems with him, too. You can read the text of his speech here.

Amazon.com’s cloud hosting service suffered a mishap on Tuesday. The effects were widespread, and some of the responses were hilarious.

Former Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen has been banned for life from serving on the Nevada bench. Mr. Hafen was the JP that ordered a deputy public defender handcuffed for advocating for her client. Personally, I would have liked to have see him put in stocks in the public square, but I guess I’ll have to settle for this.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson has been given a $1,000 fine and a public reprimand for her inexcusable abuse of authority to help a friend secure a divorce from her estranged spouse. This is a follow up to her “tearful admission of wrongdoing” earlier. Just in case I wasn’t clear last time I mentioned this, JP Andress-Tobiasson is unfit to sit the bench and should have been removed from office and banned from the bench for life (as Mr. Hafen has been)…but then, our masters aren’t really subject to justice, are they?

A man named Juan Thompson has been arrested for making a large number of bomb threats against Jewish organizations across the country. A former journalist with the website The Intercept, Mr. Thompson made some threats in his former girlfriend’s name in a campaign of cyber-stalking against her. Mr. Thompson is reputed to be a staunch leftist—which of course means an anti-semite.

AG Sessions is under fire for an allegation of perjury to Congress. Now, I’m no fan of the AG—I think he is as wrong as can be about drug policy and civil asset forfeiture—but when you peel back the onion on this one it starts coming across as a smear campaign. Why? Well, first, Mr. Sessions didn’t lie to Congress; when he met with the ambassador (in a Russian requested follow-up to a meeting between Sen. Sessions and Ukrainian representatives), he had no role with the Trump campaign, and met with them in his role as a senator. Then there is the matter of the Democrat congresswoman who has  publicly castigated the AG and said she never met with the Russians—but did.

Finally, Rachel Dolezal (remember her?) is having trouble finding employment. Good! This con artist deserves every sling and arrow that falls upon her. Now, if only folks had the good sense to treat Miss Dolezal’s fellow frauds Ward Churchill and Elizabeth Warren the same way…

The Week In Review

Norma McCorvey [Jane Roe of Roe v Wade (1973) Fame] died last Saturday. I don’t know how many people are aware of this, but later in life she became a pro-life advocate (or anti-abortion; take your pick). She was 69.

Last Saturday, President Trump mistakenly made a claim that something refugee-related had occurred in Sweden the night before. The Twitterverse rose to the occasion with #swedenincident. Credit where it’s due, some of the comments were laugh-out-loud funny. On a more somber note, within 48 hours there were riots in Sweden…in predominantly immigrant neighborhoods.

On Sunday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon rocket successfully launched from Cape Canaveral. The rocket carried supplies to the International Space Station, successfully docking on Wednesday. Later in the week, a GPS malfunction resulted in an initial abort for docking with the ISS (It succeeded on Thursday). It’s good that we still have  It’s good to know we still have a space program despite the government’s inexcusable retreat on this front. Still, the efforts of Musk and Jeff Bezos (among others) do let me tweak the occasional progressive’s nose about who actually gets big things done.

Hopes for a quick repeal of the ACA (or Obamacare) continue to fade. Regular readers know that I have very little confidence that the Republicans will have the spine to repeal this law. John Boehner recently said that he doesn’t think it’ll happen.

Looks like Milo Yiannopoulos has lost his book deal with Simon and Schuster. I have no particular feelings bout the man, as I’ve paid every little attention to him. I have read reports about him, but as time goes by I am ever more leery about third person accounts—even when I find them in the mainstream (or “legitimate”) press. At any rate, since he’s lost his deal, he could always try CreateSpace. If there really is an audience for his writing, the publishing houses aren’t the gatekeepers they once were. He was also disinvited from speaking at CPAC. Both events seem to be a reaction to recent comments he made about relationships between older men and…younger. He has been widely been accused of endorsing pedophilia, which he has vehemently denied.

President Trump as selected LTG H.R. McMaster to be the new national security advisor. General McMaster enjoys a reputation as a top notch strategic thinker within the US Army., and looks to be a good choice.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued new guidelines on Tuesday which direct immigration officials to more closely enforce existing immigration law. Needless to say, this has upset allies of the illegal alien community and their advocates. I’ve mentioned several times in the past that I lean toward being an open borders guy; the idea of some government agent saying “papers please” damn near sets my hair on fire. But here’s the thing, we need to either enforce the law as it is written—which means deporting aliens who do not enjoy legal status—or we need to change the law. As it is, politicians who are too cowardly to reform immigration and grant a general amnesty to illegal aliens are also condemning as too harsh enforcement of laws as written. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.

The Mexican government has objected to the crackdown on illegal aliens. To be fair, part of their objection is rooted in the belief that the US will endeavor to deport all illegal aliens to Mexico (including those who are not Mexican citizens).

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Tillerson is in Mexico City, attempting to repair relations, while Homeland Security Secretary Kelly is promising that there will be no mass deportations of illegal aliens.

The Nevada legislature is taking steps to change the state constitution and normalize gay marriage. Good! This is how things like this are supposed to be done. As angry as the overreach of the courts made me, my own state amending the constitution in order to prohibit gay marriage (in 2000 and 2002) really got my goat. Now, if I had my way, we’d normalize polygamy as well. (Yes, I am a hard-L libertarian on marriage issues, too.)

The heavy snows in the Rocky Mountains this winter are good news for those dependent upon the Colorado river. Snowfall has been about 134% of the last 30 years’ average. Of course, some just can’t take a break from doom and gloom; the linked article also includes information on a forthcoming paper (to be published in Water Resources Research) in which the authors suggest that the Colorado’s flow could be halved by the end of the century.

On Friday, some members of the press started pissing themselves in outrage over the White House inviting only a small pool of reporters to cover an informal briefing. In the linked story, WaPo writes a fairly petulant article about CNN, the NYT, and other others being excluded, while Breitbart, the Washington Times, and Fox were allowed in. Personally, I think the press is confusing freedom with access–and the “cool kids” are miffed that they aren’t being favored any longer.

Finally—just in case you needed any more evidence that using the federal government to virtue signal is a bad idea, consider these two stories (which I really should write a Navel Gaze of the Week on):

Transgender use of bathrooms. Under the Obama administration, the federal government (unconstitutionally) interfered in the rights of the States to determine who would get to use which restrooms in public schools. Now, as I lean very hard toward libertarian ideals, its should be no surprise that I am incapable of caring any less where you make water. That said, I am equally incapable of conceiving of a reason for the federal government to try and set policy on this, so I am in favor of President Trump rolling back the previous administration’s overreach. Of course, for the very many American’s who believe “feels” should trump constitutionality, this is an outrage beyond measure, and an outright assault on civil rights.

Federal tolerance for legalized marijuana. At the same time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been signaling that the federal government is going to start more rigorously enforcing federal drug laws…which, again, the previous administration had turned a blind eye to. This will particularly affect States like my own, where marijuana has been legalized. Now I voted for the decriminalization of Mary Jane here in Nevada (despite the fact I have a strong personal prejudice against its use), but here I have to side with the Trump administration again. Because presidents are not supposed to pick what laws they want to enforce; rather they are supposed to enforce all laws constitutionally enacted by the Congress.

And folks, if you don’t like the result, be it with federal overreach about who uses which bathroom, federal proscription of recreational drugs, or current immigration laws, then demand Congress pass new laws! If the law had been amended (instead of the former president using his office to virtue signal in unconstitutional ways), we wouldn’t be in a position where a different president could signal in the other direction. Also, remember this—before you entrust the government with even a shred of power, it’s a good idea to remind yourself that people you hate will eventually hold the reins.

The Week In Review

A Las Vegas judge was “remorseful” about a mistake that resulted in a man finding himself divorced from his dying wife. I don’t care about Judge Melanie Andress-Tobiasson’s remorse; judges shouldn’t get even an inch of leeway. When they make a mistake of this magnitude, he or she should be stripped of their office. Maybe that will finally cut down on the many abuses of their authority.

Lieutenant General Hal Moore has passed away. May your rest be easy, sir.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe made the first state visit of the new presidency. Reports say that the PM and President Trump got along well.

There was some music awards show on Sunday. As the event was about celebrating music, the biggest stories were naturally about a dress, some lady’s pregnancy, the race of the winner, and the political statements of various entertainers.

The Oroville Dam in Northern California was in danger of breaking due to the recent deluge of rain. Area residents were evacuated and workers are raced to repair the dam before new storms this weekend. The evacuation order was lifted on Tuesday.

Mr. Steve Mnuchin was confirmed (along mostly party lines) as the Secretary of the Treasury on Monday.

Mr. David Shulkin was unanimously confirmed to be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

The Nevada legislature is debating raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022 ($11 if the employer offers health insurance). I wonder how many teenagers will be deprived of starter jobs should this pass? (And this does not approach the SEIU’s demand of a $15 minimum wage.) And how many people in general when automation becomes easier and cheaper thanks to the heavy hand of government distorting the wage market?

Lieutenant General Mike Flynn has resigned from his post as National Security Advisor. I’m not sure (and don’t care enough to research it), but I’m wondering if his wasn’t the shortest tenure ever. For all his faults (which are reputedly legion), he was an implacable opponent of of islamism. Of course, if the stories about him lying to VPOTUS (and others w/in the administration) are true, he had to go. Here and here are two pretty good pieces on his fall. His replacement is unknown as of today.

Kim Jong Un’s half brother Kim Jong Nam was murdered in Malaysia on Monday. Nam, who evidently never met his brother Un, had a reputation as a playboy. Is it a surprise to anyone that it turns out he was assassinated on his brother Un’s orders?

Mrs. Linda McMahon was confirmed to head up the Small Business Administration.

As the oft-promised repeal of Obamacare drags out, some members of the House are demanding immediate action. The Freedom Caucus is urging Speaker Ryan to bring the reconciliation bill to the floor now, out of fear that “repeal and replace” will give some of the more weak-kneed members of the Republican party an excuse to break the party’s promise. I never really had much faith that the Republicans would eliminate this monstrosity, and what little I did have lessens by the week.

The first state visit between President Trump and PM Netanyahu seems to have gone well. Albeit, I don’t know how much faith I have in the president’s ability to deliver on his promise that Iran will never have a nuclear weapon capability.

Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration for Secretary of Labor on Wednesday. I know that a lot of people who think that it is appropriate to have the government place its thumb on the scale in favor of labor will applaud this, but I think they’re wrong and here’s why: we don’t live in the 1930’s any longer. While I’m prepared to stipulate (with some considerable caveats) that American workers once needed the government’s help, it is my belief that that day has long since passed. (For the record, I have myself worked blue collar jobs.) Personally, I think it would be a good idea to start putting folks who are skeptical of the government’s role in modern society in charge of various departments—and maybe even dissolving those departments entirely.

On Thursday, Mr. Alexander Acosta was nominated in Mr. Puzder’s place. Some folks seem pretty excited about this; I’m pretty sure that I haven’t heard of him before.

The AP ran (and later amended) a story claiming that President Trump was planning to use some 100,000 National Guard troops to round up illegal aliens. The White House has roundly denied the story, claiming it is “absolutely incorrect.”

This weekend’s general election in Ecuador may finally decide Julian Assange’s fate (assuming there doesn’t need to be a second round of balloting in April). Mr. Assange, remember, has been hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he seeks to avoid being extradited for a rape charge in Sweden. While I judge Mr. Assange a despicable character—and consider him to be an outright enemy of the United States—I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the validity of this particular charge.

On Friday, Mr. Scott Pruitt was confirmed to head the EPA.

And hell just got a little more crowded. Omar Abdel-Rahman (aka “The Blind Sheik”), leader of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, has died.

An aide to the NSC, Craig Deare (who had been selected for that position by the recently resigned LTG Mike Flynn) was fired for making harsh criticisms of the president. While a number of the president’s political opponents have picked up this stick to further hammer Mr. Trump with, others are likely quite happy about Mr. Deare’s removal. As far as those that think the president is too thin-skinned (and I’m not saying they’re wrong), I wonder: how many jobs have you worked where an employee can go on a rant and make disparaging remarks about his boss and not suffer consequences?

Finally, here in Nevada, the state and the Clark County school district continue to battle it out in regards to the reorganization of the CCSD.

On a related note: If you are a Nevadan, and aren’t already reading the Nevada Independent (or following them on Twitter at @TheNVIndy), I strongly suggest you do so. In my (admittedly not so humble) opinion, they are currently providing the best coverage of Nevadan government and politics available.

The Week in Review

Mr. Trump’s immigration EO lasted barely 24 hours before being stayed by the first of several federal judges. In the meantime, a tremendous amount of hyperventilating by people who never bothered to read the EO went on. It would be easier to be alarmed if the anti-Trump crowd were not locked into an “all outrage, all the time” mode. Here is a pretty even-handed analysis of what the EO does and does not do.

On Friday the travel ban was stayed nationwide via a new TRO. In response the Departments of State and Homeland Security have reversed their positions and begun allowing entry to visa holders. Mr. Trump did not take this latest judicial action well.

President Trump signed an executive order banning administration members from lobbying for five years.

The internal debate among Republicans on how to get rid of Obamacare is continuing. Mostly, in my opinion, because no one wants to be the guy who takes away the freebies.

There was a shooting at a mosque in Quebec on Sunday. Looks like the perpetrator has a history of white supremacist nuttery.

Puerto Rico continues to struggle with massive fiscal issues. This week, the new governor signed a law that will allow his office to prioritize payments for necessary services.

A mosque in Victoria, Texas burned down Sunday night. So far the cause is unknown, but authorities are investigating.

The president signed an EO requiring that new regulations be implemented only when two or more are rescinded. Here is the executive order.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates directed DOJ attorneys not to defend the immigration suspension EO and was subsequently fired. Madam Yates was a holdover from Senator Obama’s administration, filling in while awaiting Senate confirmation of Jeff Sessions.

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Daniel Ragsdale was fired almost simultaneously.

President Trump made his first USSC nomination, Judge Neil Gorsuch,  who is currently serving on the 10th Circuit Court. NRO has an analysis of his record and qualifications here. Assuming he is confirmed, let’s hope that Justice Gorsuch proves to be a more honorable man that Chief Justice Roberts has.

Elaine Chow was sworn in as Secretary of Transportation on Tuesday.

Mr. Steven Mnuchin and Senator Tom Price were approved by the Senate panel under “emergency action” rules following a Democrat boycott. No word yet on when the floor vote will take place.

Rex Tillerson was confirmed as Secretary of State on Wednesday.

Wednesday night, protestors mounted a heckler’s veto on steroids against a planned Milo Yiannopoulos speaking engagement. The riot came complete with fires, violent assaults, and property damage. Here is a timeline of the riot. The folks on a left need to mark these days in their memories, because when the right (you know, those “bitter clingers” with all the guns?) starts matching them for violence it’ll be the fringe left’s own damned fault.

Psst. Hey, kid! Yeah,  you in the anarchy getup. Not everyone to the right of Lenin is a Nazi, pal. You should stop pretending they are. Because if everyone you hate is a Nazi, and it’s okay to attack Nazis, I’m gonna start saying the same thing about commies, dig?

Much to my chagrin, I bought into this report from the AP on Wednesday. My subsequent tweetstorm was especially embarrassing because I so often caution others against believing the first story. While there may have been some grain of truth to the original report, all three governments have denied the substance and characterization of it. The White House is investigating the leak.

Jerry Falwell, Jr. has been named to lead President Trump’s education task force. I can’t say I’m happy about this. I have no particular objection to folks seeking out a religious education, but I have a strong objection to religious folks having it shoved down their throats which is what I expect from this.

At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Trump vowed (again) to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment. While I don’t get wrapped around the axle on this particular piece of law (despite being a free speech absolutist), I think it might be useful to remember that the amendment was an act of political revenge by then-Senator Johnson in 1954. I’ll say this—we never seem to run out of reasons for why other people should be muzzled, do we?

There was a minor terrorism incident at the Louvre on Friday, in which the terrorist literally brought a knife to a gunfight. It worked out about as well as you’d expect.

President Trump imposed new sanctions against the Islamic republic of Iran in response to their recent missile test.

UN Ambassador Haley condemned Russian aggression in her inaugural statement. I haven’t heard anything in response from any of the many many anti-Trump crew who were just sure the president would be currying favor with President Putin.

Sec Army nominee Vince Viola has withdrawn his name from consideration for the post. He cited an inability to divest assets as his reason.

And finally, whichever team you favor in  Super Bowl LI tomorrow, let’s hope for a great game. Here are some tips for avoiding food-related problems.

The Week in Review

Happy Lunar New Year!

Mr. Trump signed an executive order suspending visas for travelers from seven countries with a history of terrorism. The left, anti-Trump activists, and some civil rights groups have decried the measure. While I see both sides of the argument, I tend to be an open borders guy. That said, I am not prepared to stipulate that the USA has a special responsibility to take in refugees when such may be inimical to our interests.

Earlier in the week, in his first substantive foreign policy action, Mr. Trump directed the establishment of “safe zones” for refugees in Syria.

The White House has instituted guidance suspending most communication from executive departments to the public and Congress until they can get messaging unified. Many are upset about this. How dare the chief executive demand his subordinates get on board with his policies!

The president announced on Sunday he’ll begin renegotiating NAFTA (along with border security) Being a free trade guy, I can’t say I’m wishing him success on scaling back the existing agreement. Getting right to work, the president signed a series of executive orders Monday morning: withdrawing from the TPP, ordering a hiring freeze, and restricting federal monies from supporting abortion overseas. On Wednesday, he signed an executive order directing the border wall begin construction. Shortly thereafter, Press Secretary Spicer announced an intent to fund the wall with a 20% tariff. I’m sure that will work out well.

Not sure whether this means Mr. Trump will keep his promise to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem or not. Regular readers know I’m entirely in favor of the move, even though I’m well aware that the Arab world will go nuts.

On Tuesday, President Trump threatened to intervene in Chicago if the level of violence isn’t dealt with. I’m uncertain which section in Article 2 grants him such authority.

Betsy DeVos went before the relevant Senate committee. Looks like they are postponing their vote pending completion of her ethics investigation.

Mike Pompeo has been confirmed as DCI. Mr. Rex Tillerson has been approved by the committee and his name sent to the floor for a vote (same source).

Displaying a bit of tone deafness, President Trump gave a somewhat self-congratulatory speech in front of the memorial wall at Langley. Certainly this sort of thing will aid the press at large as they continue their very public conflict with the new president. (See, e.g. this piece from WaPo.)

Lot of protests around inauguration time. The big one was the Women’s March in DC. I’m not sure what the marches were supposed to accomplish.* Maybe they thought Mr. Trump would see them and say “Oh, well then. I’m out,” and Mr. Pence would be sworn in? I hear some washed up singer from the eighties announced she had thought about “blowing up the White House.”

At a women’s march in Alberta on Sunday, Canadian Dion Bews (who was there to participate) punched a female Rebel TV reporter in the face. A man marching for women’s rights punched a woman in the face at the march. Let that sink in.

A couple real tragedies this week. In San Antonio, six people were killed when two bystanders tried to interfere with a robbery. And here in Las Vegas’s neighboring city of Henderson, a Jared’s jewelry worker was shot and killed by a security guard trying to stop another robbery.

A paragon of liberal tolerance got herself and her husband booted from a Baltimore-Seattle flight last Saturday after relentlessly badgering the man next to her for voting for Mr. Trump.

There is a report that a gang rape was live streamed on Facebook in Sweden. Two men were caught and face prosecution. I’m past wondering what drives animals to rape, torture, and murder—some “men” are just evil. But I can’t quite wrap my head around how stupid one has to be to broadcast himself in action.

Looks like “net neutrality” may be due for another look as the Republicans now dominate the FCC.

Over in the UK, Parliament must vote on whether or not to go along with the popular referendum on Brexit. More detail here.

Suicide bombers (a woman and two girls) in Nigeria detonated suicide vests; the woman was carrying a child strapped to her back. 6 dead. I don’t even have words for this.

At least five people were killed in a terrorist attack in Mogadishu. The al Qaeda-linked terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the truck bomb and follow-on attack. 28 dead.

*Having said that, I sincerely hope that this is the presidency that finally motivates Congress to reassert itself as the preeminent branch of government. The imperial presidency has always scared the crap out of me, and I’d really like to see it scaled back. Waaaay the hell back.

The Week in Review

President* Trump and Vice President Pence were sworn into office. Our long national nightmare is over…and our new national nightmare has begun. (Let’s face it, while Mr. Trump is totally unfit to be president, so was Mr. Obama). Enjoying an inauguration bounce, President Trump had a first day job approval rating of 56%. I’m guessing the poll did not sample any of the rioters gracing the nation’s capitol this weekend (more on that below).

Evidently, one of the new president’s first acts was to declare a national day of patriotism. (Not sure I needed the direction, but politicians are gonna politic, right?)

While Mr. Trump was visiting the Hill, Congresswoman Pelosi took the opportunity to make an ass of herself, refusing to accept the pen that the president used to sign HHS nominee Price’s nomination with (same link as above). He also signed his first executive order, granting leeway to federal agencies to grant a variety of ACA waivers—the first step in eliminating Obamacare.

Of course, lots of folks remain unhappy that Mr. Trump won the election. I don’t blame them; I remember how I felt in 1992, 1996, 2004, and 2008. Of course, I never rioted in the streets or set anything on fire while “peacefully” protesting, so I guess I can’t really relate. In fairness, many protesters didn’t bring chaos to the streets. Here in Las Vegas, for instance, the anti-Trump crowd was entirely peaceful. And of course, there the folks overseas who aren’t exactly thrilled about things.

Secretary Mattis was confirmed by the Senate for Department of Defense just two hours after the inauguration.

Secretary Kelly was confirmed for Department of Homeland Security shortly thereafter. (Should I point out again how much I despise even the idea of this department? For me, it’s on the list of things that should go, right along with Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services…)

Mr. Trump’s staff has been busy revamping whitehouse.gov. Pshaw! If he wanted to impress me, he would have named a new supreme court justice.

The new administration has been kicking around the idea of moving the press briefing room. The press is not taking the idea well. What are the odds it’s really because the incoming administration wants the swimming pool back?

An unnamed candidate for White House press secretary floated the idea of testing the White House press corps for drugs. These guys really don’t like the press.

Mr. Trump is now promising health insurance for “everybody.” And he’s promising to coerce pharmaceutical companies to “negotiate” with the government on pricing. Meanwhile, Democrats are rallying across the country to save and/or expand Obamacare. Look, I get it. Prices for health insurance (vice health care) are nuts. But do you know why? Because of 80 years of government mucking about with it. Which has led to price increases for actual health care as well. And people believe more interference will make things better?

Mr. Obama saw fit to commute the traitor Chelsea Manning’s sentence earlier this week. Manning had a bit less than 29 years remaining on her sentence. Now she’ll be out by late May. Let’s not forget the “what” and the “why” of what Manning did. Honestly, I surprised the former president didn’t pardon the traitor Snowden, too. Or the accused deserter Bergdahl. Both Snowden and Manning committed treason, and Bergdahl deserted to the enemy, and I will never pretend otherwise.

The latest in the ongoing series of political hit pieces comes from the New York Times. In it, they claim that Mr. Perry was surprised to learn that DoE oversaw our nuclear storage and security programs. New York Magazine attempted some moderation, but even they couldn’t help themselves and slipped in a jab in the last paragraph, asserting without evidence that Mr. Perry is unqualified for the post. It seems the only one of President Trump’s nominees that hasn’t been labeled as “unqualified” is Secretary Mattis (perhaps because such a claim would be ridiculous on its face).

There was a bit of traffic on social media last night, as a video of Ricard Spencer (the white separatist) getting sucker punched in the middle of an interview began to circulate. I say here what I said on Twitter:

I get folks enjoying seeing Richard Spencer get hit, but it was a sucker punch. Now, if he’d been bitch-slapped, *that* would’ve been funny. But that might have required facing him like a man, instead of sneaking up on the guy and then running away like a coward. And, of course, just letting the asshat say his piece was out of the question. ‘Cause that whole “free speech” thing is so passé. So do keep pushing the violence leftists. I’m sure that’ll work out well for everybody.

Both NASA and NOAA are claiming that 2016 was the hottest year on record, and for the third year in a row. I wish that were true. Or hope that it’s true. I didn’t move to Vegas because I enjoy the cold weather, after all. I’m doing my part—I drive an SUV, but I need everyone else to get busy helping warm up this damned ice cube we’re living on. My personal goal is to achieve Jurassic age temperatures, so I can wear shorts year ’round.

The Paris Mideast Peace Conference concluded with the usual calls for two states and an end to violence. In other words, they once again accomplished nothing. And never will, until the civilized nations of the world put their weight behind Israel. In related news, France has come out against the US moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Screw the French. In my view, the move is long overdue.

Finally, a somber note. Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, died this week. Another true American hero, lost.

*sigh* It’s gonna be at least four years before I get to use the term “PEON” again.

The Week In Review

The story of the week was first broken by CNN. The IC prepared a two-page document for President Obama and Mr. Trump reporting an alleged attempt by RIS to compromise PEON Trump.* Shortly thereafter Buzzfeed released a 35-page document set that included some startling accusations (and which may have been part of the basis for the IC briefing).

While most of the pundit class has focused on the sex, what caught my eye were the allegations of bribery and high-level contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Deeply damaging, if proven. Catastrophic, even. It looks like the document was prepared by a former British SIS officer; Mr. Trump claims it was falsely prepared for opposition research.

Of course, as I tweeted earlier in the week, I want actual confirmation of the allegations before I rage. I still remember CNN’s “nerve gas” story. Interestingly, the day the story broke, 4chan claimed to have manufactured the sex details as a hoax.

Here is the document in question.

I think we all need to remember that, as of this date, the contents of these documents have not been verified. I suspect I’m going to be saying that a lot, but after Dan Rather’s stunt in 2004 (The Killian Documents), it’s worth repeating.


President Obama gave his farewell speech in Chicago on Tuesday. I have never gone with the crowd where it comes to his skills as an orator, but I thought he did quite well with his delivery. I was somewhat troubled by his claims, chiefly about the (oh so carefully parsed) assurance we have avoided “foreign planned and executed” terrorist attacks, unemployment numbers being down, and the benefits of Obamacare.

On Wednesday, PEON Trump gave his first post-election news conference. I thought he handled it pretty well. I was at least as entertained as the next fellow with how he slapped around the press (especially CNN). But! Entertainment aside, we need the press, because government cannot be trusted. Not ever. That said, the press has been working for decades to demonstrate their lack of trustworthiness. Their worst excesses (and their most recent) being over the course of the 2016 campaign. They really need to stop that, and get started on reestablishing their credibility.

Sec State nominee Rex Tillerson is saying some reassuring things about Russia. Some. On the other hand, I’m getting reports that his hearings aren’t going all that well (not that he won’t be confirmed). GEN Mattis’s hearing was a home run. Sen. Sessions enjoyed the unique experience of having a fellow senator testify against him. Dr. Carson’s evidently went well.

David Shulkin, currently undersecretary of health, has been tapped to head the VA.

*Sigh.* Mr. Trump has selected an anti-vaccine guy to head up his vaccine panel.

Also, seems there may be a bit of a brouhaha between the Trump transition team and SecDef nominee Mattis over manning key political appointments with DoD.

The annual meeting at Davos is off and running.

A U.S. consular official was shot in Guadalajara, Mexico last Saturday. Thankfully, he was only wounded. A suspect was arrested on Sunday.

There was another murder-by-vehicle incident this week. This time it was in Jerusalem. Three of the dead are female Israeli soldiers. Of the four killed (all soldiers or cadets), the oldest was only 22 years old.

A German regional court upheld a lower court ruling that burning a synagogue was a valid act of criticism directed against Israel. No, I’m not making that up.

The four teenagers who kidnapped and tortured a special needs man were denied bail and rebuked for lacking a sense of decency. Trial date is pending. Facebook is being taken to the woodshed for allowing the video to stream for 30 minutes before they took it down. I’m not sure this is fair (and I’m no fan of FB); they did take it down when it came to their attention. It’s possible our expectations of social media providers are occasionally a bit high.

Many folks on Twitter had an absolute meltdown when Miss Ashley Rae Goldenberg (@Communism_Kills) ventured her opinion that men shouldn’t wear chokers (or dresses or makeup) in response to this article from GQ: “Stop Men’s Choker Necklaces Before They Start.” The degree of vile hatred (including outright antisemitism) directed against her was something to see. To her credit, Miss Goldenberg handled the attacks—which went on for days—with great aplomb.

Israeli PM Netanyahu thanked the House of Representatives for condemning the recent UN resolution censuring Israel. Regular readers are well aware that I am very pro Israeli, and will not be surprised that I support taking definitive action against the UN over this (e.g. suspending fiscal support or—even better—outright withdrawal).

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died this week, and Hell got a little more crowded. There are those who would cast Rafsanjani as a “moderate.” Don’t listen to them—he was a thoroughly evil son of a bitch, who helped institute a theocratic regime and was personally responsible for the murders of numerous Iranian exiles.

President Obama gave an interview where he both claims credit for saving the US economy, and accepts some blame for the Democrat’s devastation at the polls. My take is that he’s half right. Late in the week, he ended the special exemption policy for Cuban immigrants. A suspicious man might think there was some political retribution at work here.

A woman named Melinda Byerly posted a diatribe against rural America on Twitter. And was then revealed to engage in discriminatory hiring practices. Ever think we’d all be a lot better off if we stopped launching ad hominem attacks at our political opponents? Seems we all have a skeleton or two in the closet.

In similar news, there has been quite the hullabaloo about the remarks by some actress at the Golden Globes. I really try not to let this sort of thing into my bubble, as I really don’t want to know the politics of any entertainer. So it’s something when such awareness forces its way in.

And finally, work is ongoing for s single, lifetime flu vaccination.

*While I remain grateful to the great Kevin Williamson for “PEON” (President Elect Of the Nation), it is an acronym that takes on a whole new meaning now, isn’t it?

The Week In Review

Updated below.

To ring in the New Year, a gunman opened fire in a nightclub in Istanbul, killing 39 people. The gunman was dressed as Santa Claus. ISIS has claimed responsibility. ISIS also sent a suicide bomber into a NYE celebration in Baghdad, killing 33.

And of course, we had our own terrorist incident here in the US. Esteban Santiago shot 13 people, killing 5. There are a lot of conflicting details coming out on this. As always, I’m trying to hold off on reacting until the investigators have time to get the story straight. Having said that, guys like this always make me think that retiring the death penalty is a bad idea. Also, he may have told the FBI he was being recruited by ISIS months ago. Of course, him saying that and it being true may be two different things.

WaPo ran a story on Friday in which they reported that the IC has intel confirming that RIS celebrated their success in the election of Donald Trump. While I believe the growing number of reports that the Russians attempted to affect the election, I still don’t buy that their cyber intrusions into, and release of documents from, the DNC affected anyone’s vote.

Buzzfeed has done some follow-up on their own reporting in the “surge” in hate crimes since Mr. Trump’s election victory. Credit where it’s due, they admit there has been no dramatic increase since the election.

In other hate crime news, four Chicago teenagers kidnapped and tortured a special needs man—and live streamed it on Facebook. Evidently, one of the torturers was a friend of the victim. The four perpetrators are sitting in jail, and have been charged with a number of crimes.

A 12 year old girl streamed her suicide over the weekend. I’ll not link to it, but mention it because it seems to me that more and more kids are killing themselves due to (or at least in conjunction with) their social media lives. I haven’t looked at the stats on this, so I may be wrong, but Christ! that’s a scary thought.

Demonstrating that there is no functional party for classical liberals, Republicans are endeavoring to boost funding for Amtrak.

In the plus column, however, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has introduced a budget resolution to repeal Obamacare. Proceeding in this manner would allow them to do so without any Democrat votes. In other words, a mirror of how the Democrats passed it in the first place.

PEON* Trump has nominated Wall Street lawyer Walter Jay Clayton to head the SEC. No, I had never heard of him before, either. In additional PEON news, Donald Trump’s election has been certified by Congress.

President Obama has appointed Catherine Lhamon, author of the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter that has interjected universities and colleges into rape investigations, to the US Civil Rights commission. She, more than any other single individual, is responsible for the attack on due process rights of university students.

Apparently Mariah Carey experienced some difficulty with her performance in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Approximately 1,100 would-be immigrants battled Spanish and Moroccan police in Spain’s small holding in Morocco on Monday. Their intent (the immigrants) was to gain access to the Ceuta and seek political asylum with a European country.

In the “that’ll learn ya’” category, NYC police who arrested an 18 year old man had their car stolen by him.

Have you heard the complaints from the press that PEON Trump has been avoiding press conferences? Yeah…not so much. *UPDATE* As my friend @TsaraVenday pointed out, there is a difference between a press confrerence and an interview. Those, he’s done quite a few of.

The “hack” of the electrical grid in Vermont is looking more and more overblown has been completely debunked. This is why I try not to blow a gasket when a story first comes out—the first version is never right.

Ford has cancelled a plan to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico, instead adding 700 jobs in the US. Good news for American workers…maybe. On the one hand, PEON Trump gets to claim this as another victory (certainly his election promises a more pro-business environment); on the other, experience has taught me to listen for the sound of the other shoe…such as the 40% difference in price for US built vehicles.

McDonald’s is building a restaurant near the Vatican. Makes me proud to be an American, that does.

Megyn Kelly is leave Fox News for NBC. I gather there are a number of folks who are happy about her departure.

My favorite threads of the week all centered on the mass-murdering toddler who has been gunning down a person a week for the last two years. Here’s one.

Did you know the American astronaut Peggy Whitson is the oldest and most experienced spacewoman?

Not everyone is happy with the peace agreement in Colombia, apparently. There has been a spree of killings, presumed right-wing militias targeting outspoken leftists.

Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC) has introduced a national concealed carry reciprocity bill. Great idea! I expect it will die in committee. This take on defending gun rights by a liberal professor emeritus at Stanford University is interesting, if old.

*Still grateful to Kevin Williamson for “PEON” vice “PEOTUS.”

The Week In Review

I hope you had a merry Christmas. Let’s get started.

Following up on his contemptible attack on Israel at the UN last week, President Obama sent Secretary Kerry out to blame the Israelis for ongoing Middle East discord. Best Secretary Kerry quote: “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace.” The Secretary claimed that Israel has abandoned the two-state solution, neglecting to mention that everything Israel has tried to gain peace has resulted in ever more numerous attacks. The idea that it is Israel stymieing a peace deal is ridiculous on its face, but anti-semites are gonna hate.

President Obama ordered 35 Russian diplomats expelled and leveled sanctions against several others in response to RIS cyber intrusions during the election. Then, on Friday, a Russian cyber penetration of laptop belonging to a Vermont power company, Burlington Electric was discovered (albeit, the laptop was not connected to the grid). Hm. Looks like Russia might be our biggest geopolitical foe after all.

Meanwhile, Russia closed the Anglo-American school and brokered a cease-fire in Syria. But Mr. Putin seems to be waiting for the succession on January 20th. I honestly don’t know who I am more aghast at, President Obama for engaging in so much lame duck action without consulting with his successor (after years of inaction), or PEON* Trump, for signaling—repeatedly signaling—that he is fine with RIS cyber attacks on our political system (and I say that last while fully aware that if not for DNC malfeasance, there could have been no scandal).

Quite the tempest brewed up on Christmas day over the RNC’s annual Christmas message. Personally, I would have never gotten the subtext that the Republicans were calling PEON Trump a “King” if the twitter outrage mob hadn’t told me. Of course, I’m hobbled by not being not much good at faking outrage.

In other PEON news, a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has resigned rather than perform at the inauguration. And some leftists are pushing a boycott of the Rockettes because they have enough volunteers to perform at the same event. The young singer, Jackie Evancho, who will be performing at the inaugural has been relentlessly targeted by leftists for supporting the “racist, homophobic” PEON—only Miss Evancho isn’t backing down. She says she’s used to being a target, as her sister is transgender. Oh yeah—her music sales are booming, too.

As 2016 draws to a close, a fair number of celebrities have passed away. George Michael died on Christmas day. Carrie Fisher followed on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack a few days earlier. Like many men my age (and likely a few women as well), I had a tremendous crush on her back in the early 80s. Rumor has it she drowned in moonlight and was strangled by her own bra. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, followed her on Wednesday. Robert Hulseman, inventor of the Red Solo cup, died on the 21st. I’ll stop there, but enough famous(ish) people died this week to fill a post of their own.

I read the posts by  associate professor of politics and global studies George Ciccariello-Maher expressing a desire for white genocide. He’s an idiot—but he absolutely has the right to be.  See my post on “Hate Speech.”

President Obama expressed confidence that he would have won had he been allowed to run for a third term. (Of course, that suggests he knows that Mrs. Clinton was a bad candidate, doesn’t it?) He may well be right. Since he won reelection in 2012—following four years of demonstrated incompetence—my faith in the American electorate is…well, let’s say “sketchy.” That the two primary choices this last election were Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump hasn’t exactly repaired that opinion.

The great Dr. Thomas Sowell posted his final article this week. At 86, he’s certainly entitled to enjoy his retirement, but I will miss his wisdom dearly. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read his books. Basic Economics is an excellent primer for the layman. The Housing Boom and Bust does a first rate job of explaining how everything went so wrong with the housing market and the economy in 2008. Really, check out his work.

A Darwin Award winner and runner up tried to rob a gun store. Yes, you read that right.

Last night, Talking Points Memo founder Joshua Marshal accidentally tweeted porn. Hilarity ensued.

Here in LasVegas, the Rio experienced a fire and and major power loss. I suspect Russian hackers. And a major piece of gun control legislation that would have regulated private sales in Nevada will not go into effect, as it turns out to be unenforceable.

Also in Vegas, Amanda Nunes defeated Ronda Rousey by TKO 48 seconds into the first round.

In Sacramento, an Uber driver figured out a young girl was being prostituted and alerted police. She was a 16 year old victim of sex trafficking.

This bodes well. Future murderbot under development.

It is New Year’s Eve. Remember to drink heavily and take foolish chances. Just get someone to hold your beer first.

*As always, a tip of the hat to Kevin Reynolds for inventing the acronym PEON as as an alternative to POETUS.