Monday, June 12, 2017

A variety of topics.

Just another way for liberals, who love government, want to expand government  and thus, need to find ways to finance government's expansion find their way to tax carbon dioxide while disregarding scientific evidence: global warming perspective
My wife would say I too am guilty:


My wife Jill is missing.
She went shopping yesterdayand has not come home!
Sheriff: Her height?
Husband:  I'm not sure. A little over five-feet tall.
Sheriff: Weight ?
Husband:  Don't know. Not slim, not really fat.
Sheriff: Colour of eyes ?
Husband: Sort of brown I think. Never really noticed.
Sheriff: Colour of hair ?Husband: Changes a couple times a year. Maybe dark brown now. I can’t remember.
Sheriff: What was she wearing ?
Husband: Er -Could have been pants, or maybe a skirt or shorts. I don't know exactly.
Sheriff: What kind of car did she go in ?
Husband: She went in MY truck.
Sheriff: What kind of truck was it?
Husband: A 2016 pearl white Ram Limited 4X4 with 6.4l Hemi V8 engine ordered with the Ram Box bar and fridge option, led lighting, back up and front camera, Moose hide leather heated and cooled seats, climate controlled air conditioning. It has a custom matching white cover for the bed, Weather Tech floor mats. Trailing package with gold hitch, sunroof, DVD with full GPS navigation, satellite radio, Cobra 75 WX ST 40-channel CB radio, six cup holders, 3 USB port, and 4 power outlets. I added special alloy wheels and off-road Toyo tires. It has custom retracting running boards and under-glow wheel well lighting.
At this point the husband started choking up. 

Sheriff: Take it easy sir,
we'll find your truck!
 Dick ... Great post. Viet Nam was a catalyst speeding up our slow degradation and, I fear this clock has no pendulum ... J--"
Deferred maintenance comes at a cost: "Deferred Maintenance Reaches $10.8 Billion

Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, the deputy Army chief of staff for installation management, said the cumulative impact of years of under-funding installations “directly impacts the readiness of our units and the morale of our soldiers, civilians and families.” By her count, a decade of tight budgets leaves a backlog of $10.8 billion in deferred maintenance.

What to watch: The Army’s major focus is trying to prevent small things from becoming big things, she said. The fiscal year 2018 budget request includes $2.8 billion for installation sustainment, an amount she said “gets us closer” to meeting requirements."
Terrorists lurk everywhere, even in the Bronx. (See 1 below.)
Tobin sees what I see.  (See 2 below.)


Trump does not know how to balance cookies and sip tea on his knee as do those in our State Department. He is blunt and to the point (See 2a below.)
Erick Erickson states his views regarding Trump.

Trump is not the biggest problem The Republican Party faces. If they would get behind his agenda and act like adults, rather than peacocks, they would be soaring in the polls but they lack the testicular fortitude. Too many McCains, who have outlived their time. (See 3 and 3a below.)
Response to my memo about Israel and geography not the problem: "Well written. The progressive machine is always on attack mode and unconcerned with fairness or lawful, as long as the agenda moves forward.  A---"
Parents seem to believe their authority no longeri s absolute.: PragerU is live streaming PragerU Live: Family Psychologist John Rosemond (6/12/17).
California continues to embrace Socialism. (See 4 below.)
1) Hezbollah in the Bronx

The feds say the Iran-backed militia recruited agents in the U.S.

Federal prosecutors have charged two U.S. citizens with providing material support to Hezbollah and helping the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group prepare potential attacks in America and Panama. The charges, announced last Thursday after the men were arrested June 1, show that Iran’s terror proxies roam far beyond the Middle East.

The FBI and New York Police Department carried out the investigation, which resulted in a raft of terror-related charges for naturalized citizens Ali Kourani of the Bronx and Samer el Debek of Dearborn, Mich. Prosecutors say Hezbollah recruited the men as “operatives,” provided them with “military-style training,” then gave them a variety of ominous tasks.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York say the 32-year-old Mr. Kourani conducted “pre-operational surveillance” of military and law-enforcement sites around New York as well as Kennedy Airport. The feds allege that Mr. Debek, age 37, staked out targets in Panama that included the American and Israeli embassies as well as the Panama Canal. Attorneys for the two men did not respond to media inquiries.

Mr. Debek’s alleged Panamanian operations are consistent with Hezbollah’s presence across Latin America that goes back to the bombings of the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, in 1992 and 1994 respectively, killing more than 100 people.

In 2011 U.S. investigators foiled a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador at a Washington restaurant, leading to a guilty plea by the would-be assassin. Hezbollah was also behind a 2012 bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and their local bus driver.

Iran bankrolls Hezbollah to the tune of $200 million annually and provides most of the 80,000 missiles the group points at Israel. The latest allegations are a reminder that the Tehran regime still deserves its reputation as the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.
2)Why the GOP’s Bipartisan Tone Is Trouble for Trump
Though Democrats always fight to protect their side in hearings, Republicans show they won’t do the same for Trump.
By Jonathan S. Tobin 
President Trump may claim that former FBI director James Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee brought him “complete vindication.” But as he well knows, this was just one of the first shots fired in what will likely be a long, hard campaign by Democrats to build a case for his impeachment on whatever grounds they can find. But while he needs to prepare for more months filled with leaks, insinuations, and accusations of lying, abuse of power, and, more important, obstruction of justice, thrown in his direction, that prospect isn’t the only serious problem the Comey hearing revealed. What should also really worry him was the bipartisan tone of the spectacle.

Praise for the serious manner with which the senators from both parties approached their questioning of Comey was nearly universal. Unlike most congressional hearings investigating just about any scandal, what happened on Thursday wasn’t the usual partisan brawl in which members of the two parties pursued two competing agendas each aimed at undermining each other’s position. Though this is a committee that generally avoids partisan squabbles, it was still notable that both Republicans and Democrats weren’t fighting each other or their star witness.

It is true that some Republicans questioned Comey a little more sharply than the Democrats did. Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio raised some questions about Comey’s claims about the president’s asking for his loyalty and a request to let former national-security adviser Michael Flynn off the hook. James Risch asked if Comey had ever heard of anyone convicted of obstruction on the basis of expressing a “hope.” And John McCain made a brief and confused attempt to make Comey explain the differences between the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and the Russian-collusion case.

But for the most part, the Republicans treated Comey with kid gloves. Nor did they spend much if any time trying to justify anything Trump did or said.

The reasons for this are obvious.

Most of the Republicans present were not fans of Trump. They were also probably genuinely appalled by what Comey had to say about the president. Even if his testimony provided no conclusive proof that Trump was guilty of violating any law, if the former FBI director is to be believed at all (and the White House seized on the elements of his account that provided some vindication while damning those that didn’t), the president exhibited atrocious judgment that could be interpreted as an abuse of power if not worse.

Most Republicans believe there was no collusion with Russia and no proof of it having yet been unearthed. But Trump’s foolish interactions with Comey ensure that he is now the subject of an investigation about obstruction even if, as the FBI director finally said publicly, the president wasn’t being investigated for collusion.

Trump’s chances of emerging triumphant will primarily hinge on whether there turn out to be any crimes committed by the president or members of his administration. Since there is no telling where this will lead or how much more trouble Trump’s big mouth and Twitter habit will get him into, GOP senators may see no point in going down with his ship should Special Counsel Robert Mueller not ultimately clear the president of all charges.

But even if we are going to give Republican senators credit, as we should, for a high-minded pursuit of the truth as well as for having the good sense not to commit themselves to the defense of indefensible actions and statements by Trump, there’s something else going on here that speaks to a fundamentally different approach to scandals by the two parties.

Put simply, Democrats seem to view all congressional investigations through the same prism of presidential adviser Steve Bannon, that is, as total war, while Republicans do not.

The elements that made the Comey hearing so remarkable and which generated all the mainstream-media praise were exactly those that were missing from every congressional hearing that touched on Obama-administration scandals or those about Hillary Clinton.
Whether it concerned the abuse of power at the IRS, spying on the press, the Benghazi terror attack, or Clinton’s e-mails, those hearings always followed the same pattern. On the one side, Republicans probed for answers and sought to implicate the administration or Clinton. On the other, Democrats played defense, minimizing the issue, attacking their colleagues, lobbing softballs at witnesses under scrutiny, and generally seeking to delegitimize the entire enterprise.

Perhaps some Democrats genuinely believed the issues in question were mere partisan GOP attacks, but anyone without amnesia knows the same people when in power would and did make a meal out of anything done by Republicans. For all of their differences, most Democrats seem to instinctively understand, as many Republicans do not, that no matter which side is doing the grandstanding and venting righteous indignation at hearings, politics is a team sport. Their philosophy is that if it is your team that is in the crosshairs of an investigation, you can’t be neutral.

As we saw with the Comey hearings, many Republicans prefer the high road from which they can safely damn any misbehavior, even if a fellow member of the GOP is the accused. Though they may hope the story has a different ending this time, Senate Republicans appear to view the Watergate hearings in which both parties afforded Richard Nixon no mercy as an example to follow.

That is an honorable approach, but it is also exactly what Bannon has always hated about the GOP establishment. He sees politics as a war in which no quarter is given or received. That is a mindset that, as the IRS, Benghazi, and e-mail hearings revealed, Democrats share. They fight ferociously to defend their own even if it means rationalizing misconduct.

One reason Democrats can do that with impunity is that they are secure in the knowledge that the mainstream media has their back. That’s not a luxury afforded Republicans. But there’s more than media bias at play as we contemplate the dynamic of scandal hearings. If one party is going to consistently operate as if they are involved in a street fight with no holds barred while the other thinks they are primarily engaged in a Socratic search for the truth, the outcome is pre-ordained.

Conservatives may applaud the principled behavior of Republicans who won’t sully their honor by defending the indefensible. But so long as Democrats aren’t that fastidious, Steve Bannon’s critique of a GOP that is too proud or good to fight dirty and therefore doomed to consistent defeat can’t be dismissed as an irrational analysis. As the probes into the Trump administration continue in the weeks and months to come, that’s a sobering thought for conservatives to consider as they balance their disgust for Trump with their dismay at Democratic opportunism.

— Jonathan S. Tobin is opinion editor of and a contributing writer for National Review Online.

Jonathan S. Tobin is an award-winning columnist, blogger and editor. He can be reached via e-mail at:

2a) Right From Wrong
: Cutting Abbas down to size
Trump’s bark caused Abbas and his henchmen to fear that a bite might follow. On Thursday, Bloomberg quoted a Palestinian Authority official saying that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to forgo his usual preconditions for negotiations with Israel – such as a freeze on all settlement construction – in order to give the administration in Washington “a chance to deliver.”

In addition, according to the report, Mohammad Mustafa, Abbas’s senior economic adviser and former deputy prime minister, said that the Palestinian leader will “tone down his campaign to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes and to rally condemnation of the Jewish state at the United Nations.”

This claim came mere days after Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association and Olympic committee, declared in an interview on Israel’s Channel 2 that the Western Wall in Jerusalem “must be under Israeli sovereignty, but the Temple Mount is ours.”

Rajoub proceeded to praise US President Donald Trump for his “clear intentions for an ultimate deal to end the suffering of both peoples.”

Neither Mustafa nor Rajoub was telling the truth, of course. Rajoub even issued a firm denial in Arabic the day after the interview. But the relatively mild rhetoric used by each was highly significant, as it was the direct result of a tongue-lashing that Trump gave Abbas less than three weeks ago in Bethlehem, for being deceitful about his role in incitement to violence.

Buoyed by the warmth with which he had been greeted at the White House on May 3, and familiar with the previous American administration’s continual appeasement, Abbas was stunned by the reprimand.

Although Trump should have been informed by his advisers that Abbas is and always has been a bald-faced liar – professing to seek statehood and peace, while funding and glorifying terrorists and infusing hatred for Israel and the Jews into the PA education system and media – he was apparently taken aback when shown very recent concrete examples.

Trump’s surprise at something so self-evident was disconcerting, particularly in light of his faith in his ability to facilitate a deal between Israel and the PA, and his backtracking on his promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His response to being manipulated by the aging despot, however, was heartening.

In a global context, Trump’s dressing down of Abbas constituted a welcome shift in the attitude of the administration in Washington to its place among nations. One shudders to remember, for instance, that former US secretary of state John Kerry allowed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to browbeat him shamelessly and with impunity during the negotiations that led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers signed in July 2015.

More specifically, Trump’s bark caused Abbas and his henchmen to fear that a bite might follow. Whether any pain is actually inflicted remains to be seen, but in the Middle East, perception often carries more weight than reality.

This is not to say that all an American president has to do to force the Palestinians to make peace with Israel is flex his muscles. On the contrary, even if Abbas does end up agreeing to resume dead peace talks toward a two-state solution, nothing will come of it. The PA is a corrupt, failed entity that has squandered every opportunity – and billions of dollars – on blocking both coexistence and statehood. As Evelyn Gordon wrote in Commentary on Thursday, “[T]here’s one very simple reason why Israel still controls the West Bank: The Palestinians have consistently refused repeated offers to give it to them.”

Indeed, this week marked the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, the start of the Israeli occupation that Abbas constantly decries. Yet he and the rest of the Palestinian leadership openly bemoan the “catastrophe” of the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, and promote the “liberation of Palestine, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea.” What they want just as badly, however, is to maintain a stranglehold on their people and keep their hands in the till.

Trump may not be versed in the complexity of the conflict, but his gut reaction to Abbas’ two-faced machinations served a happy purpose: to cut the terrorist-ina- tie down to size.
I Don’t Care for Trump, But I Don’t Believe He Obstructed Justice
By Erick Erickson

My feelings on Donald Trump have been well known for a long time. I think he is a detriment to the GOP and the party is on the verge of annihilation because of him. I think the sooner the party stands up to Trump to sooner the party can figure out how to survive. I think the man needed some latitude as a novice chosen to sit in the big chair, but the man has doubled down on ignorance instead of trying to learn on the job.

But I do not think the man is guilty of obstruction of justice. I do not think the man even tried to obstruct justice. I think it is notable that all the people screaming the loudest about this are partisan Democrats. Yes, I think James Comey is a good man and an honorable man, but I also think Comey is sympathetic to the Democrats. Barack Obama would not have appointed Comey if Comey leaned right.
The Democrats can trot out all the old Watergate warriors and all the people fired by Donald Trump all they want. But I do not think Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice. I do not think Donald Trump worked with the Russians to steal the election. I do not believe the parade of awfuls that Democrats keep screaming about to mobilize and energize their base.
The problem for the GOP, however, is Donald Trump is not a believable person. His base is starting to get tired of defending the indefensible. He has contradicted his own White House team repeatedly. He has caused more confusion, and all these injuries to his administration are self-inflicted. He is his own worst enemy cheered on by enablers in the media and the crowds around him.
But still, I do not believe he obstructed justice. The one other thing I do believe, however, is Robert Mueller is a fair man who understands the gravity of the situation. I do not condone the character assassination of James Comey, nor do I condone the character assassination of Robert Mueller. If Robert Mueller finds that the President did obstruct justice based on his review of the situation, I will have to reconsider my position.
Until then, the daily cavalcade of hysterics from Democrats makes me more likely to believe the President

3a) John McCain was full of himself in Australia

Donald Trump’s new administration is mired in scandal, senior republican senator John McCain has conceded, but he urged America’s allies to stand by the nation as it navigates “troubled times”.
In a speech in Sydney, Australia, McCain said the US remained the most important country on Earth, and the global defender of “truth over falsehood”.
McCain also used the speech to launch a swingeing attack on China, accusing the emerging superpower of bullying other countries, stealing intellectual property and making illegal territorial claims in the South China Sea.
McCain, the decorated war veteran, senior senator from Arizona, and former Republican candidate for president, said many of America’s allies were fairly questioning the direction and reliability of Trump’s new administration.
“My friends, I know that many of you will have a lot of questions about where America is headed under President Trump. Frankly, so do many Americans. What I would say is that the new administration is just that – new. It is still finding its feet.”
McCain conceded America’s reputation had suffered in the early months of Trump’s presidency as scandals over ties to Russia, alleged obstruction of an FBI investigation, nepotism, and foundering relations with other world leaders rocked the administration with crippling consistency.
“We are going through a rough period,” McCain said. “We really are, and for me to tell you that we aren’t, politically, is not fair. But we’ve gone through other troubled times. I can remember the Watergate scandal and how it brought down a president. I’m not suggesting that’s going to happen to this president, but we are in a scandal and every few days another shoe drops from this centipede, and we’ve got to get through that.”
McCain said observers of the US must look beyond the president. “Our foreign friends always tend to focus on the person in the White House. But America is far bigger than that. America is our courts of justice. America is our state and local governments. America is our Congress.
“I know that the pushing and shoving and checking and balancing of my country’s institutions may not be pretty, but this vast intricate and beautiful system called American democracy is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.”
In Australia as a guest of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, McCain said while he respected China’s economic and strategic rise, the country must conform to established global rules. “The challenge is that as China as grown wealthier and stronger, it seems to be acting more and more like a bully,” he said.
“It is refusing to open more of its economy so that foreign businesses can compete fairly. It’s stealing other people’s intellectual property. It’s asserting vast territorial claims that have no basis in international law and it’s using its trade and investment as tools to coerce its neighbours. The idea that China is now the steward of the open rules-based global economic order – it may sell at Davos – but people in this country, in this region, know better.”
McCain said China’s claims to territory and exclusive maritime rights within the so-called “ nine-dash line ” in the South China Sea were illegal and must be resisted. He said America, Australia, and other allies should work together in the region, including by exercising freedom of navigation in the area, to push back against Chinese island-building and militarisation in the sea.
McCain concluded his address with a plea to Australia and other US allies to “stick with us”. He said: “We need your help, my friends. Now more than ever.
“I realise that some of President Trump’s actions and statements have unsettled America’s friends. They have unsettled many Americans as well. There is a real debate under way now in my country about what kind of role America should play in the world and, frankly… the future of the world will turn on a large extent on how this debate in America is resolved.”
4)California’s descent to socialism

By JOEL KOTKIN | Orange County Register

California is widely celebrated as the fount of technical, cultural and political innovation. Now we seem primed to outdo even ourselves, creating a new kind of socialism that, in the end, more resembles feudalism than social democracy.
The new consensus is being pushed by, among others, hedge-fund-billionaire-turned-green-patriarch Tom Steyer. The financier now insists that, to reverse our worsening inequality, we must double down on environmental and land-use regulation, and make up for it by boosting subsidies for the struggling poor and middle class. This new progressive synthesis promises not upward mobility and independence, but rather the prospect of turning most Californians into either tax slaves or dependent serfs.
California’s progressive regime of severe land-use controls has helped to make the state among the most unaffordable in the nation, driving homeownership rates to the lowest levels since the 1940s. It has also spurred a steady hegira of middle-aged, middle-class families — the kind of tax-burdened people Gov. Jerry Brown now denounces as “freeloaders” — from the state. They may have access to smartphones and virtual reality, but the increasingly propertyless masses seem destined to live in the kind of cramped conditions that their parents and grandparents had escaped decades earlier.

A green people’s republic?
There is some irony in a new kind of socialism blessed by some of the world’s richest people. The new policy framework is driven, in large part, by a desire to assume world leadership on climate-related issues. The biggest losers will be manufacturing, energy and homebuilding workers, who will see their jobs headed to other states and countries.
Under the new socialism, expect more controls over the agribusiness sector, notably the cattle industry, California’s original boom industry, which will be punished for its cows’ flatulence. Limits on building in the periphery of cities also threaten future growth in construction employment, once the new regulations are fully in place.
Sadly, these steps don’t actually do anything for the climate, given the state’s already low carbon footprint and the fact that the people and firms driven out of the state tend to simply expand their carbon footprints elsewhere in their new homes. But effectiveness is not the motivation here. Instead, “combating climate change” has become an opportunity for Brown, Steyer and the Sacramento bureaucracy to perform a passion play, where they preen as saviors of the planet, with the unlikable President Donald Trump playing his role as the devil incarnate. In following with this line of reasoning, Bay Area officials and environmental activists are even proposing a campaign to promote meatless meals. It’s Gaia meets Lent.
A different kind of socialism
The oligarchs of the Bay Area have a problem: They must square their progressive worldview with their enormous wealth. They certainly are not socialists in the traditional sense. They see their riches not as a result of class advantages, but rather as reflective of their meritocratic superiority. As former TechCrunch reporter Gregory Ferenstein has observed, they embrace massive inequality as both a given and a logical outcome of the new economy.
The nerd estate is definitely not stupid, and like rulers everywhere, they worry about a revolt of the masses, and even the unionization of their companies. Their gambit is to expand the welfare state to keep the hoi polloi in line. Many, including Mark Zuckerberg, now favor an income stipend that could prevent mass homelessness and malnutrition.
How socialism morphs into feudalism
Unlike its failed predecessor, this new, greener socialism seeks not to weaken, but rather to preserve, the emerging class structure. Brown and his acolytes have slowed upward mobility by environment restrictions that have cramped home production of all kinds, particularly the building of moderate-cost single-family homes on the periphery. All of this, at a time when millennials nationwide, contrary to the assertion of Brown’s “smart growth” allies, are beginning to buy cars, homes and move to the suburbs.
In contrast, many in Sacramento appear to have disdain for expanding the “California dream” of property ownership. The state’s planners are creating policies that will ultimately lead to the effective socialization of the regulated housing market, as more people are unable to afford housing without subsidies. Increasingly, these efforts are being imposed with little or no public input by increasingly opaque regional agencies.
To these burdens, there are now growing calls for a single-payer health care system — which, in principle, is not a terrible idea, but it will include the undocumented, essentially inviting the poor to bring their sick relatives here. The state Senate passed the bill without identifying a funding source to pay the estimated $400 billion annual cost, leading even former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to describe it as “snake oil.” It may be more like hemlock for California’s middle-income earners, who, even with the cost of private health care removed, would have to fork over an estimated $50 billion to $100 billion a year in new taxes to pay for it.
In the end, we are witnessing the continuation of an evolving class war, pitting the oligarchs and their political allies against the state’s diminished middle and working classes. It might work politically, as the California electorate itself becomes more dependent on government largesse, but it’s hard to see how the state makes ends meet in the longer run without confiscating the billions now held by the ruling tech oligarchs.
Joel Kotkin is the R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism (

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