Monday, February 13, 2017

Obama Schemes? The Revolt Against Elites. Bringing America and Capitalism To Its Knees. Words and Writings Can Boomerang.

More climate manipulation? (See 1 below.)
Is Obama scheming against Trump? (See 2 below.)


P.J O'Rourke explains the election was about a revolt against elites. (See 2a below.)
I was recently invited to join a group discussion by a neighborhood friend and fellow memo reader.

Participants are bright, successful and world travelers.  The program material is prepared by The Foreign Policy Association.  Yesterday's discussion was on world trade.

We began the discussion trying to figure out what GDP actually meant, how it was measured and began to realize no one really knew what a reliable measurement meant. However, we all agreed expanding world trade had produced wealth, cheaper costs, expanding technological advantages, and more benefits for more people but had also created distortions. In the case of America, possibly due to various trade agreements, that had not proven favorable, our own middle class had been negatively impacted.

From there, we began to discuss Trump's notion of righting some of the perceived disparities and the benefits and threats of raising tariffs etc. Most everyone agreed tariffs were not the solution because history had proven that to be a fact but neither were we able to conclude what the solution to regrowing our middle class was other than Trump needs to cut out as much red tape and restrictive government regulations as politically feasible/accomplish-able and bring about meaningful and rational tax reform, thereby, allowing the economy to recover and then,  leave the rest to fate.

Of course, the problem with that approach is there will be strong resistance by the far left who believe reducing government's involvement in our life will bring about chaos, pollution and unequal economic fairness and conservatives will resist because they will be appalled at the rise in deficits that will occur before the economy kicks  in and begins to produce greater tax revenues and re-employment.

Next week's discussion will be what is happening in The South China Sea.  I have another commitment and will not be able to attend.

The market is beginning to assume and reflect the fact that what Trump hopes to accomplish will be favorable.  Even if Trump is successful, markets often have a way of anticipating more than what actually happens. That said, great wealth has been achieved by those with iron nerves, titanium stomachs and some luck who buy and hold and monitor the progress of their company holdings to make sure none go the way of Polaroid, Xerox and/or even gems like Eastman Kodak.

Even greater wealth is accomplished by those with the prescience to sell at the top and buy at the bottom.

Few investors are able to buy and hold through market rises and corrections or sell at the top and buy at the bottom.

No one knows when the next market correction occurs but probably one will within the next two years but even that is not a reliable prediction.

The jury is out as to whether Trump will accomplish his espoused goals but I remain in the camp that believes any significant reduction in restrictive and harmful red tape, rules and regulations, in combination with meaningful and sensible tax reform, is the correct course of action. I would also be willing to swallow hard as deficits rise as long as there would also be a legitimate effort to attack wasteful spending on entitlements that have actually produced more poverty, economic dislocation and done more social harm.

I have an innate distrust of political decisions that restrict positive human initiatives.  Challenge human nature and education are, in my humble opinion, far more suitable in accomplishing worthy goals than allowing elected officials and un-elected bureaucrats to take over the reins of life and choking human productivity.

You decide.
The hysteria that is occurring  as Trump allows, encourages and supports our various agencies to enforce laws against illegal immigration and those who have committed serious violations and been found guilty is amazing to behold. Trump's acts should do more to produce needed change in our immigration laws than anything Obama accomplished by ducking the issue and allowing more illegal immigration and porous borders.

Time will tell as a concerted effort is made by irrational radicals and the uninformed who are more interested in creating discord than resolving a thorny problem that is having a negative impact on our nation.

Stay tuned as a populist president enforces the law and those opposed support those who have broken the law.  The hatred against Trump and his cabinet selections is unfathomable and largely induced by those who want to bring America and capitalism to its knees.
President  Realtor will solve the matter? (See 3 below.)


Another take?

Words, and particularly writings, have a way of catching up with you.  I am not at risk because I am not running for anything. (See 3a below.)

The Times Manipulates the Climate Science Scandal Data

If you were only to read the New York Times latest article on the most recent Climate Change scandal first reported by the Mail and the Daily Mail, you would never know that there was any scandal to speak of in the first place. Headline: “No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say.” Well, not all researchers. The background of the data manipulation story revolves around accusations made by David Bates, a recently retired scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Among his several accusations is that NOAA “rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris agreement on climate change,” a paper which would have been welcomed with open arms by the Obama administration. On February 4, Bates wrote a lengthy blog post at his website detailing the accusations. Here is a brief list of some of the charges:

1. Climate scientist, Tom Karl, failed to archive the land temperature data set and thus also failed to “follow the policy of his own Agency [and] the guidelines in Science magazine for dataset archival and documentation.”

2. The authors also chose to “use a 90% confidence threshold for evaluating the statistical significance of surface temperature trends, instead of the standard for significance of 95%,” and according to Bates, the authors failed to give a justification for this when pressed.

3. Karl routinely “had his ‘thumb on the scale’ -- in the documentation, scientific choices, and release of datasets -- in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.” Bates adds, “[a] NOAA NCEI supervisor remarked how it was eye-opening to watch Karl work the co-authors, mostly subtly but sometimes not, pushing choices to emphasize warming.”

4. Experimental datasets were used that were not run through operational readiness review (ORR) and were not archived.
To sum up, the “data manipulation,” as characterize by the Mail, consisted in not following proper protocols, selecting certain data sets which had not been properly analyzed, and manipulating scientific methodology with a political and not purely scientific end.

Is Bates right? It’s far too early to tell if the apparent rush to publish compromised the actual conclusions reached from the date, but Bates’ accusations certainly raise questions worth pursuing. Yet this is not how the Times‘ Henry Fountain sees matters in his slanted article. It is not a good sign that he launches into the body of the text with a not so subtle ad hominem attack on the original author:
Mr. Rose, who has made climate-related claims in the past that did not hold up to scrutiny, said a “high-level whistle-blower,” John J. Bates, a recently retired scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, had told him that the agency “breached its own rules on scientific integrity” in publishing the study in June 2015.
What are the climate-related claims that Mr. Rose made that did not hold up to scrutiny? In a previous article for the Daily Mail Rose avers that reported record high temperatures in 2016 “may” be caused by El Niño and not human produced carbon emissions. “This means it is possible that by some yardsticks, 2016 will be declared as hot as 2015 or even slightly hotter -- because El Niño did not vanish until the middle of the year.” That it is “possible by some yardstick” that 2016 was hotter than 2015 due in part to El Niño is about as modest a claim as there is. Surely it is possible. To show that this is false one would have to prove that it is not only unlikely, but impossible! And science is not in the business of proving the impossible.

What is Fountain’s evidence against Rose’s modest claim? He links to another New York Times article as evidence. Therein it is noted that reporters such as Rose have claimed “El Niño, and not climate change, was responsible for the record heat.” On the contrary, “scientists said that while the recent El Niño did contribute to the record warmth, climate change played a major role, too.” Yet notice that Rose never denied that climate change did not play a major role in the (alleged) record temperature. His claim was only that El Niño may have played a role such that there might not have been a record temperature in its absence.
Fountain’s case now turns to actual scientists who have raised objections to Bates’ contentions.
In a post on the blog of the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units at Maynooth University, Peter Thorne, who worked on the data but left NOAA before work began on the paper itself, disputed much of what Dr. Bates said.
 Dr. Bates, Dr. Thorne wrote, was not involved in the data work and had misrepresented “the processes that actually occurred.” Dr. Thorne also disputed the idea that Dr. Karl had his “thumb on the scale.” Dr. Karl only used the data -- he was not personally involved in the refinements, Dr. Thorne wrote.

How confident should the reader be about the remarks made by a scientist who admittedly left before work on the paper began itself? More importantly, in his extended commentary on the blog linked to above, Thorne does not address the archiving issue, leaving the reader to wonder about the accusation made to rush the paper for the Paris agreement.

Fountain next notes that another scientist, Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, also disputes the manipulation of data claim. The results of another paper, he says, “strongly suggest that NOAA got it right and that we have been underestimating ocean warming in recent years.” However, Bates’ main contention is not that in the final analysis the NOAA got it wrong. For all he knows, the paper’s conclusion is correct. Rather, the claim is that the process appeared to be rushed suggesting that there were other motivations at work besides an undefiled desire for the truth.

Finally, Fountain ends with the article suggesting that Bates himself is backtracking on his earlier remarks.
In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.
 “The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

If Bates is indeed distancing himself from his earlier claims that is a startling new twist. Moreover, if he is disavowing his earlier claims, the article could have been much shorter. Is he? What is reported on the E&E News website provides no further context. Taken in isolation it suggests no such thing. Bates says that there was no “tampering with data,” but he never claimed that data was tampered with in the first place. Tampering with data includes erasing and replacing numbers, a direct manipulation of data itself. Instead he claimed that the process of selecting the data did not follow standard protocol and appeared rushed. A more accurate statement would have been that Bates clarified that the data manipulation involved no tampering but nonetheless remains suspect. He adds at the end of the E&E News,
"You really have to provide the most objective view and let the policymakers decide from their role," Bates said. "I'm getting much more wary of scientists growing into too much advocacy. I think there is certainly a role there, and yet people have to really examine themselves for their own bias and be careful about that."
To that we might add that journalists also need to provide the most objective views. If we truly value science, one of the worst things that we can do is let biased journalists manipulate “the data” that the average voter relies on to inform his opinions.

Tully Borland is a philosophy professor at Ouachita Baptist University and blogs at TulliusEst.

How Obama is scheming to sabotage Trump’s presidency

When former President Barack Obama said he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests, he was sending a message of approval to his troops. Troops? Yes, Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.

In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.
He’s doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organization set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.
Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy,”it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.
Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account. In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.
“It is fine for everybody to feel stressed, sad, discouraged,” he said in a conference call from the White House. “But get over it.” He demanded they “move forward to protect what we’ve accomplished.”
“Now is the time for some organizing,” he said. “So don’t mope.”

Far from sulking, OFA activists helped organize anti-Trump marches across US cities, some of which turned into riots. After Trump issued a temporary ban on immigration from seven terror-prone Muslim nations, the demonstrators jammed airports, chanting: “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!”
Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show “nonpartisan” OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide. Registered as a 501(c)(4), it doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but they’ve been generous. OFA has raised more than $40 million in contributions and grants since evolving from Obama’s campaign organization Obama for America in 2013.
OFA, in IRS filings, says it trains young activists to develop “organizing skills.” Armed with Obama’s 2012 campaign database, OFA plans to get out the vote for Democratic candidates it’s grooming to win back Congress and erect a wall of resistance to Trump at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
It will be aided in that effort by the Obama Foundation, run by Obama’s former political director, and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched last month by Obama pal Eric Holder to end what he and Obama call GOP “gerrymandering” of congressional districts.
Obama will be overseeing it all from a shadow White House located within two miles of Trump. It features a mansion, which he’s fortifying with construction of a tall brick perimeter, and a nearby taxpayer-funded office with his own chief of staff and press secretary. Michelle Obama will also open an office there, along with the Obama 
Critical to the fight is rebuilding the ravaged Democrat Party. Obama hopes to install his former civil-rights chief Tom Perez at the helm of the Democratic National Committee.

Perez is running for the vacant DNC chairmanship, vowing “It’s time to organize and fight . . . We must stand up to protect President Obama’s accomplishments;” while also promising, “We’re going to build the strongest grass-roots organizing force this country has ever seen.”
The 55-year-old Obama is not content to go quietly into the night like other ex-presidents.
“You’re going to see me early next year,” he said after the election, “and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.”
Added the ex-president: “Point is, I’m still fired up and ready to go.”
Paul Sperry is the author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which details the link between race-based housing policies and the mortgage crisis.
2a) The Revolt Against the Elites
And the limits of populism

The election of 2016 was terrible because it wasn’t an election, it was a rebellion. America is having a civil war, or, to be more accurate, a War of Incivility. The war is not between Republicans and Democrats or between conservatives and progressives. The war is between the frightened and what they fear. It is being fought by the people who perceive themselves as controlling nothing. They are besieging the people they perceive as controlling everything. We are in the midst of a Perception Insurrection, or, depending on how you perceive it, a Loser Mutiny.

The revolt against the elites targets all manner of preeminence—political elites, business elites, media elites, institutional elites, and, kind reader, you. You're reading an article in a serious magazine, and the article is about a serious subject (however flippantly treated). This marks you as an elite.
We Are Not Alone
If it's any comfort, people all over the world are saying, "We're sick of the elites. We're tired of the experts. To hell with the deep thinkers who think they know what we should have better than we do and who—while they're at it—are grabbing everything we've got."

Great Britain's political, business, and trade union leaders were opposed to Brexit. That is, the people who supported the Iraq war plus the people who caused the 2008 global financial crisis plus the people who nationalized the British automobile industry were all in unprecedented agreement on one issue. Voters felt they couldn't go wrong betting against this trifecta.
A similar broad coalition of Colombia's good and great spent five years negotiating a peace treaty with a starving rabble of FARC guerrillas who had been marauding in the country's hinterlands since 1964. A plebiscite was held to ratify the peace agreement, causing voters to tacitly ask, "After 52 years of murder, kidnapping, pillage, theft, and trafficking in narcotics, FARC is being offered retirement benefits?" The plebiscite failed.
There can be a reactionary element to the revolt. Such supposedly MSNBC-philic places as Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands have seen the rise of nationalist, protectionist, anti-immigration, EU-skeptical political parties. Parties of this kind govern Poland and Hungary.

In France, Marine Le Pen's National Front is now the largest single political party, protesting an influx of foreigners and never mind that the French are foreigners.

3) Possibly Trump’s greatest deal ever
President Donald Trump will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is not a joke and the fact that people will assume it is a joke is the reason why he will do it.
I know the idea of Donald Trump settling this generations old feud seems ludicrous. How could he possibly succeed where so many other better prepared, more knowledgeable, greater leaders have failed? But in June of 2015 when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States, we all laughed. We assumed that this was a publicity stunt and that he would soon withdraw from the race when the more substantive issues arose. But he never withdrew.
We thought that there was absolutely no chance that this foul-mouthed, duplicitous purveyor of Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines and Trump University could possibly bamboozle enough Americans into voting for him this past November. Even after he won the election, many spoke out and even lobbied the Electoral College to rebuke the election results and choose someone (anyone!) else. They of course did not and we are now addressing him as “Mr. President.”
Perhaps it’s time that we all admit that Trump, for all his many faults, is a societal magician. Just when you thought his hat was empty, he pulled out a rabbit and won the Republican nomination. That was not good enough for you? Poof, he sawed the woman in the box in half and won the presidency. And now, for his next trick: peace in the Middle East.
Even after baffling us with his magic to win the election, there are many Americans who believe that Trump will be a total failure as a president. Some even believe that he will be impeached early in his presidency. Once again, people are vehemently doubting “Trump the Magician.” It would appear that his last magic trick wasn’t enough to convince his audience and so, to finally silence his critics and amaze us all, Trump will have to tackle the Holy Grail of international diplomacy. He will have to bring peace to Jerusalem. Make no mistake about it, accomplishing this task is literally the job of the Messiah. In 1992 Prime Minister Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for seemingly achieving this feat with the Oslo Accords. If President Donald Trump can resolve this conflict, he will claim the greatest, most elusive victory of all time. Just imagine the combined satisfaction and smugness on Donald Trump’s face when he receives a Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians. What grander bragging rights could Trump possibly claim? Surely by completing this trifecta of greatness – president, peacemaker, Nobel Prize winner – his critics will see him for his magic and not for his comedy.
The possibility of such greatness will be too tempting for President Donald Trump’s ego to resist and he will take his seat at the bargaining table of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While he lacks even the most basic diplomatic skills for such a task, I have to think that he is actually ideally suited to succeed. This is because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict represents to President Trump the greatest real estate deal in history. (Imagine Trump’s eyes lighting up at the thought of this!)
I am fully aware of the complexities of the issues: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water rights, security, culture clash … The list is long and complicated. But all of these issues are either aggravating or mitigating circumstances that have to be considered when deciding exactly how and where to divide the land. Trump will look at this task like building two adjacent buildings for two tenants who have a long history of hating each other.
Issues with water rights? Call the water company and produce more water (“Israeli desalination technology”). If security is an issue, then increase your tenant’s personal security capacity (“U.S. military aid to Israel”) and bring in an outside security company to make sure that there is no trespassing between the two properties (“U.S. to establish military base in Israel”).
What about Palestinian refugees? A compensation fund has long been discussed as part of a settlement, which Trump will see as a “tenant inducement.” Building the infrastructure of a fledgling Palestinian state? Trump will call that “tenant improvements.”
And who would put up the money for such inducements and improvements for a new Palestinian state? Why, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE of course. Israel has been rumored to be warming its relations with those very wealthy, oil-rich nations as they find a common foe in Iran. Maybe President Donald Trump can convince those countries that they’re better off seeding a new country, rather than letting Iran continue its influence in the refugee camps. Kind of like selling billboard space on the side of these new buildings in a high-traffic location.
All of those issues are negotiating points that Trump, the “self-made” real estate mogul and best-selling author of “The Art of the Deal,” will have to address when negotiating this – the grandest of all real estate deals.
Maybe President Donald Trump is actually what we need in order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maybe we need a fresh perspective. Maybe we need someone brash, unorthodox and unpredictable. Whatever the case may be, people should not doubt Trump’s ability to get this done. For over a year, so many people laughed throughout his magic show. So many people doubted him so often, and in each case he proved them all wrong. And the appeal of achieving the near-messianic feat of bringing peace to Jerusalem offers Trump the kind of bragging rights that he will not be able to pass up. So get your ticket, because the next act of the Donald Trump magic show is about to begin.
Kobi Dorenbush is senior executive vice president & general counsel at Sterling Global Financial.

3a) Trump Just Vetoed a Major Appointment. Here's Why It's a HUGE Deal
  • by: AAN Staff

Donald Trump just put the foreign policy establishment on notice. As Lifezette notes:
President Donald Trump has squashed Eliot Abrams’ hopes of being picked for a crucial State Department post.

Abrams had emerged as a possible contender for Deputy Secretary of State, it was reported on Monday, and even met with Trump to discuss the position, according to Politico.
The assumption being pushed by the mainstream media is that Trump had found out that Abrams criticized him during the election. But something deeper might be at play here:
In May 2016, Abrams wrote a column for neoconservative magazine The Weekly Standard entitled, “When You Can’t Stand Your Candidate.” Abrams wrote that the GOP had “nominated someone who cannot win and should not be president of the United States” and urged the party to resist “Trump and Trumpism.”

Even if Trump’s decision was motivated by his “thin skin,” the decision itself aligns with his America first agenda.

“What I’ve always wanted for President Trump is to have people around him who agree with him. I think a NeverTrumper should never be in the State Department,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Friday on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” before news of Trump’s decision broke.

“Eliot Abrams was dismissive of Donald Trump, was derisive, said that the chair that Lincoln and Washington sat in, Trump was not fit to sit in,” Paul continued.
Translation: The days of invade the world, invite the world are over. As Trump noted in his inaugural:
For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own.

And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We've made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
By leveling ridiculous criticisms at Trump and attacking the American people, neocons are doing Putin’s dirty work for him, reinforcing their own detachment from the public they serve, driving that chasm ever-wider.

Trump has loaded his staff up with generals who know the cost of war. He's crossed party lines to listen to Iraq Vet Tulsi Gabbard, and he's been supported by foreign policy skeptics like Rand Paul and Thomas Massie along the way. He's spoken at length about putting our families, and our veterans first, and embraced the Reaganesque notion that America should be a beacon of freedom, always prepared to annihilate our enemies but reluctant to go to war. Sending American troops to replace one dictator with another is not, it seems, high on his agenda.

All the while, Neoconservatives like Abrams sat around Washington and New York wishing the "lazy" white working class would just go away.

In his farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the American public:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. 
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
 It seems like the American people finally have a president who's heeding Ike. 


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