Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dagny and Forklift. Funding Never Ending Wants. Maxine Waters Assigned To Trump Detail!

Our five year old granddaughter Dagny, is staying with us this week and attending The Landings Summer Camp which includes learning to play tennis.  She came home yesterday and I asked her what she learned and she said she learned how to do the "forklift."  She meant forehand.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Top row from left: Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.). Middle row: Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Gov. John Kasich (Ohio). Bottom row: Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah), Bill Cassidy (La.). PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS (1), GETTY IMAGES (2), REUTERS (2), EPA (2), ZUMA PRESS (2)
Another comment from a dear friend, fellow memo reader and market professional: "Hey Dick,
Hope you are doing well and having a good summer.
I have never been as disappointed in the Republican party as I am these days....!
 I understand it is one thing to campaign and another to govern.

When you campaign you say things to win on the assumption you might not if you don't hype and thus, you resort to hyperbole. Also, when you campaign you are off on your own journey. However, when you have to govern you are on a bus of, often, less like minded particularly if you are Republican because independent thinking tops coalescing.

The Republicans who threw IED's in the way of those who want to rid the nation of a legislative albatross, called Obamacare, should, themselves,  be thrown out of office.

Obamacare was never intended to succeed.  It was simply a precursor to a single payer health care system which progressives and liberals love because it means more government control over individual choice and freedom.  Progressive and social liberals distrust individual decision making. They profess they care about people's welfare but what they really want is more centralization, through bigger government and power and the ability to fund constituency groups loyal to them. 

What did Johnson's "War on Poverty" accomplish? Trillions spent, more on welfare, more receiving food stamps, more out of work, and the dumbing down of American education and the break-up of the family. A perfect score for compassionate stupidity ie. Intellectual Yet Idiot crowd (IYI.)

As we age, government payment for health care will consume most of what is left of GDP as welfare transfers absorb an already increasing/dominant amount of GDP. 

We are facing a Hobson Choice. Help people who do not work to have better health care availability  and, theoretically, live longer so they need/receive more government health welfare later and then, expect a shrinking number of increasingly taxed citizens to pay for it all.  

Woe is us because either way we eventually lose our republic and freedoms. You cannot expect the middle class and wealthy to pay for everything everyone wants.  Eventually you run out of numbers, for those who can still add, Meanwhile, funded wants never stop growing. (See 1 and 1a  below.)
Trump's ideas are mostly sound.  His execution is lacking. When you have the opposite aisle and mass media against you, your own Senate numbers are narrow and Republicans approach governing on the basis of everyone for themselves it is difficult.  Finally, Trump has contributed to much of his own problems and Obama appointees and sympathizers, buried in the bowels of government, are also helping to cripple Trump's ability to govern.

If Republicans keep up their folly they will probably lose heavily in the 2018 election and then Trump's impeachment could become a rising possibility. Perhaps this is also what many Republicans want but not something they are willing to express public-ally.

Whatever is the case one thing is for sure.  Republicans have shown they are an  unruly crowd of peacocks. Rather than preen their feathers they need them clipped. Then where are we?
Political correctness intrudes once again. (See 2 below.)
We now know Trump had dinner with some 80 people and spoke with Putin for a long time.
I am sure they did not discuss the meal so they must have been talking about how Putin can help Trump win in 2020, if he  makes it that far.

It is wrong for a president to speak with foreigners without allowing the mass media in on the entire conversation.  How rude of him. That alone should be enough to bring impeachment proceedings. At least when Obama chatted with Medved, he kept his mike on so the entire world knew he would be able to do more for Putin once re-elected.

Maybe instead of having a military person carrying the detail numbers for our nuclear bombs he should have Maxine Waters assigned. That way our nation will be better protected.
Maxine could also undergo a sex change so she could accompany Trump to the men's room.

Making matter's worse, Trump's wife actually did sit next to Putin and no doubt sought to charm him. How boorish of her. We simply cannot have The First Lady going around being gracious, chatty and representing our nation in a manner that is treasonous.

In the future, Melania should stay home and take up knitting or baking cookies as Hillary once suggested.

The sooner we get the Trumps out of The White House the safer our nation will be. Maybe we could bring N Korea's "Fat Boy" over and sit Donald down to teach him how to treat people and behave in public.

The ObamaCare Republicans

Voters may repeal and replace the Senators who broke their promise.

Senate Republicans killed their own health-care bill on Monday evening, and some are 
quietly expressing relief: The nightmare of a hard decision is finally over, and now on to supposedly more crowd-pleasing items like tax reform. But this self-inflicted fiasco is
 one of the great political failures in recent U.S. history, and the damage will echo for 
The proximate cause of death was Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas linking 
arms and becoming the third and fourth public opponents. The previous two public 
holdouts were Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Majority Leader 
Mitch McConnell could lose only two GOP Senators. But this defeat had many authors, 
some of whom are pictured nearby and all of whom hope to evade accountability for 
preserving the ObamaCare status quo.
But this wasn’t the inevitable result of some tide of progressive history. These were 
choices made by individuals to put their narrow political and ideological preferences 
ahead of practical legislative progress. The GOP’s liabilities now include a broken 
promise to voters; wasting seven months of a new Administration in order to not solve
 manifest health-care problems; less of a claim to be a governing party; and the harm that 
these abdications will wreak on the rest of the Republican agenda and maybe their hold 
on Congress.


The ObamaCare Republicans come from both the conservative and moderate wings, but 
all of these Senators campaigned for nearly a decade on repealing and replacing 
ObamaCare. Now they finally have a President willing to sign literally any bill that lands 
on his desk, but in the clutch they choked. Some wouldn’t even allow a debate on the 
floor and the chance to offer amendments.

The ObamaCare Republicans ran on fiscal discipline but they rejected the best chance for entitlement reform in a generation. They campaigned against deficits—and some like Mr. Moran and Nevada’s Dean Heller have endorsed a balanced-budget amendment—yet they dismissed a $1.022 trillion spending cut. They denounced ObamaCare’s $701 billion in tax increases but then panicked over repealing “tax cuts for the rich.”

Conservatives like Ted Cruz and most GOP Senators played constructive roles, but a question for the ages is which cargo cult Messrs. Lee and Paul have joined. They pose as free-market purists but reject progress toward a freer market. Their claim that the bill didn’t do enough to reduce insurance premiums is risible given that Mr. Cruz’s deregulation amendment was adopted and the alternative is ObamaCare’s even higher rates and fewer choices.
Mr. Lee opposed the first draft of the bill in part because it “included hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the affluent.” He opposed the new version for “not repealing all of the ObamaCare taxes.”
Messrs. Lee and Paul will try to absolve themselves by voting to move to a debate about straight repeal with no replacement, but no one should believe the ruse. They want to vote against anything that can pass lest they have to take responsibility. By the way, Mr. Lee’s stunt of holding hands with Mr. Moran so neither was the deciding killer vote is a political-evasion classic on par with Arlen Specter voting “not proved” on Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
The same applies to the centrists who behind the scenes formed a death panel for the bill. No concession was ever satisfactory, and their demands watered down reform. Yet they wouldn’t defend their own compromises, or even try to rebut the media-Democratic caricature of the bill as a human-rights violation.
West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito came out against the bill with a statement that began: “As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people.” Does she honestly think so little of her colleagues, and the party she chose to affiliate with, to insult them so casually? This moral grandstanding would be more persuasive if Ms. Capito hadn’t pledged to “turn the tide from a Washington that tells us who our doctors are and delivers a lower quality of care” at the 2016 GOP convention.
The moderates will now say that failure can be redeemed with bipartisanship, and watching them beg to be rescued by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will be instructive, not least for exposing the futility of a good-faith health deal. Mr. Schumer will offer to enshrine ObamaCare and bail out the insurance companies in return for Democratic votes. If such a bill did pass the Senate, it would put the House in a bind and make Speaker Nancy Pelosi more likely.
Mr. McConnell says he will hold the repeal-only vote, and Americans should understand that any Senator who votes against moving to the floor is voting to preserve ObamaCare. If the moderates really want a bipartisan solution, they will vote for repeal with a delayed replacement fuse and then try to persuade Democrats. But they don’t want that amount of political responsibility.


If the ObamaCare Republicans now get primary opponents, they have earned them. In two weeks nobody will recall this or that grievance about the Senate bill, but GOP voters will wonder about the bill of goods they were sold.
The damage to the GOP’s political image will radiate in ways that are hard to predict. If Republicans can’t be trusted to fulfill a core commitment to voters—whether repeal and replace, or simply to reduce the burden of government—then what is the point of electing Republicans? “Sorry, it was too hard” isn’t a winning 2018 message, and botching health reform will add to the betrayal narrative that has so inflamed conservative politics. In this case the critics will have a point.
Perhaps this Congress can recover with a rewrite of the tax code. But failure tends to compound, and this show of dysfunction will make Senators even edgier about taking difficult votes.
The coming days will see more than a few liberal tributes to the invincibility of the entitlement state, and how Republicans miscalculated by declining to accommodate ObamaCare. Entitlements by their nature are hard to reform once they’ve gained a constituency, but what these odes will omit is how close Republicans came. They had the power to reverse the march toward single-payer health care, and most wanted to use it but were blocked by a few feckless deserters.
The ObamaCare Republicans are betting voters won’t remember, but implosions this consequential take a long time to forget.

1a) Turns Out Governing Is Hard

Republicans can win big majorities, but running the country is another story.

By William A. Galston

At a meeting with GOP senators on Monday night, President Trump reportedly said that Republicans would look like “dopes” if they couldn’t pass a health-care bill. “If the Republicans have the House, the Senate and the presidency and they can’t pass this health-care bill, they are going to look weak,” Politico reports Mr. Trump said. “How can we not do this after promising it for years?”
I don’t often agree with Mr. Trump, but I do this time. He has posed a fair question that requires an answer.
Here’s my crack at an explanation: Campaigning is one thing, governing another. Opposing is not the same as legislating. Republicans had seven years to coalesce around a replacement for Obama Care, and they wasted them. The bill they passed in 2015 was for show; they knew that President Obama would veto it and that they would not have to take responsibility for its consequences. Republicans are a majority party, but they have yet to prove that they are a governing party.
After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s effort to broker a compromise collapsed Monday evening, the president tweeted that “Republicans should just REPEAL failing Obamacare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate.” In a burst of enthusiastic fantasy, he added that “Dems will join in!”
No, they won’t, and some Republicans won’t either. Just hours after Mr. McConnell declared his intention to bring the bill the House passed earlier this year to the floor and then move the 2015 bill as the first amendment, Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced their opposition, refusing to repeal ObamaCare without simultaneously replacing it.
“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Ms. Capito said. “I cannot vote to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
Although these three senators were out in front, I doubt they were speaking only for themselves. In 2015 the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the ObamaCare repeal plan passed by the Senate would result in lost insurance coverage for 22 million Americans if enacted. Republicans are already concerned about the coverage losses their current proposals would produce. Why would they back repeal legislation that would do no better while throwing the entire health-care sector into turmoil until they were able to agree on a replacement?
There is a way forward, and Mr. McConnell has pointed to it. Republicans and Democrats could sit down together to negotiate much-needed fixes to ObamaCare’s troubled health-insurance exchanges. With even a modicum of goodwill on both sides, this would not be “Mission: Impossible.”
Along with bipartisanship, Mr. McConnell should do what he promised—return the Senate to regular order. Explaining his decision to deliver the coup de grĂ¢ce to the McConnell bill, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran criticized the “closed-door process” that had produced the bill and called on his party’s leaders to “start fresh with an open legislative process.” I suspect the American people would welcome this shift.
This episode reveals some larger truths. One is that the Republican coalition disagrees on fundamentals. Small-government conservatives want to reduce spending and cut regulations as a matter of principle, and they are willing to accept the human and political consequences. Others—for whom Sen. Capito spoke—focus on the needs of their constituents. Although they prefer market solutions, they are willing to accept public-sector action when markets fail—even if this means a permanent expansion of government.
Last month the Urban Institute estimated that more than 200,000 of Ms. Capito’s constituents would lose access to health care if the Senate bill became law. The bill’s draconian cuts to Medicaid would have driven these losses, and the working-class West Virginians who voted for Donald Trump in droves would have been hit the hardest. Low-income Americans just don’t earn enough to purchase health insurance in the private market. This reality—not abstractions about the role of government—drove her choice.
In addition, the United States has an aging population. In coming decades, tens of millions more elderly Americans will need help with the normal activities of daily life, and many will end up in nursing homes. Most Americans of average income will be unable to save enough to afford more than a few months in such institutions, let alone the years that many end up staying. This is why Medicaid finances a large share of nursing-home costs—and why these outlays are bound to rise for the foreseeable future.
Yes, reforms are possible. But more than anything else, it is hard-to-change economic realities and immutable demographic trends that drive federal government expenditures. Sooner or later, Republicans will have to make their peace with these stubborn facts.
2) Obstacles to peace: a politically-incorrect diagnosis
By Yoram Ettinger

Political-correctness suggests that the resolution of the Palestinian issue is predicated upon a dramatic Israeli land-concession and the establishment of a Palestinian state: the two state solution.
Moreover, political-correctness has subordinated Middle East reality and long term national security to the achievement of the holy grail of peaceful-coexistence between Jews and Arabs west of the Jordan River.  In the process, the “holy grailers” have oversimplified the highly-complex, unpredictable, violent, intolerant, fragmented Middle East.  This is the same school of thought, which applauded the 1993 (Oslo Accord) and 2005 (uprooting all Jews from Gaza) sweeping Israeli concessions – which, in fact, escalated terror, war and hate education – and misperceived the Arab Tsunami, in 2011, as an “Arab Spring,” the “Youth Revolution” and the “transition towards democracy.”

Political-correctness has preferred talk and assessment-based subjective “hope” over centuries-old, well-documented, objective walk-based realism.

While political-correctness has failed to advance peaceful-coexistence, it has forced the Arabs to outflank Western pressure (on Israel) from the maximalist side, radicalizing their demands, and further intensifying the obstacles to peace.

Political-correctness resembles a surgeon, who focuses on the spot of the surgery, ignoring the complex medical history of the entire body and its bearing upon the surgery.

For instance, the sustained Arab war against the Jewish State has taken place in the Middle East, which has featured a systematic, regional state-of-war, terrorism, subversion, provisional one-bullet-regimes, tenuous policies and agreements, short-lived ceasefires and the lack of civil liberties since the seventh century appearance of Islam. These have been almost entirely intra-Islamic, intra-Arab wars, reflecting the (so far) unbridgeable ethnic, tribal, cultural, religious, historical, ideological battles, which has dominated the region, totally unrelated to Israel.

Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue are not “the Middle East conflict” or the top priorities for Arab policy-makers, irrespective of the Arab talk, which has, historically, deviated from the Arab walk.

Contrary to political-correctness, the 
Palestinian issue has never been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers, nor a core-cause of regional turbulence; but for Arab talk, unsubstantiated by Arab walk.

Political-correctness has assumed that “everyone wishes peace, prosperity and civil liberties,” ignoring the fact that the dictatorial Arab regimes have systematically denied their people such prospects.  While most Arabs may hope for regional peace, and are not preoccupied with Israel, the concept of the majority-rule is yet to assert itself in Middle East political reality.

Political-correctness has considered 
Islam to be another religion of peace, overlooking its fundamental tenets. For example, the constant battle between the Abode of Islam and the eventual subservience of the Abode of the “Infidel”; the determination to spread Islam, preferably peacefully, but via war if necessary; the duty to dedicate one’s life to Jihad (Holy War) on behalf of Islam; the option to conclude provisional agreements – and to employ double-speak (Taqiyya), when negotiating – with the infidel; etc.  

Arab attitudes toward Israel derive from the fourteen-century-old Islamic intolerance of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and other “infidels,” who claim sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.”  The key issue has never been the size – but the existence – of the “infidel” Jewish State on land, which is, supposedly, divinely-ordained to be ruled by “believers.” 

Political-correctness has ignored, or down-played, another chief-obstacle to peace: the Palestinian track record from the wave of terrorism of the 1920s, through their alliance with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, North Korea and Venezuela, their training of international terrorists in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen, and their current hate-education, incitement and terrorism. Such a track record attests to the 
anti-US impact of the proposed Palestinian state.

Would it be reasonable to assume that Israel’s withdrawal from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (which would drastically erode its posture of deterrence, unlike Israel’s substantial land concession to Egypt – the Sinai Peninsula) would cause the Arabs to grant to “the infidel Jewish State” peaceful-coexistence, which they have denied fellow “believers” since the seventh century?!

Would it be reasonable to assume that the Arab Middle East, which has been merciless towards weak, vulnerable fellow-Arabs, would display compassion towards a highly vulnerable “infidel” Jewish State, if it is reduced to a 9-15 mile-wide sliver along the Mediterranean, over-towered by a mountainous Palestinian state?! 

The unfathomed gap between Middle East reality and the two-state-solution was demonstrated in 1993 when Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, promoted the two-state-solution and his vision of peace in The New Middle East”  (Henry Holt publishing). Attempting to rationalize Israel’s dramatic concession of its most strategic mountain ridge to the PLO, Peres asserted: “Arafat is a national symbol, a legend in his own time (p. 17)…. The international political setting is no longer conducive to war (p. 80)…. We must focus on this new Middle East reality… wars that will never be fought again (p. 85)…. We must strive for fewer weapons and more faith…. You could almost hear the heavy tread of boots leaving the stage….  You could have listened to the gentle tiptoeing of new steps making a debut in the awaiting world of peace (p.196)….”

In 1994, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Arafat, Peres and Rabin “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.” It was praised by the political, academic and media establishments, which chose to ignore Arafat’s track record, underlined by his 1959 and 1964 founding of Fatah and the PLO terror organizations, calling for “the liberation of Palestine” eight years and three years before the 1967 War, respectively.

In other words, the Palestinian focus has been the de-legitimization and destruction of the pre-1967 Israel, as highlighted by the 2017 Palestinian Authority K-12 school curriculum (established in 1993 by Mahmoud Abbas), Palestinian media and Friday sermons in Palestinian mosques.

The “two-state-solution” gospel is a miniaturized replica of the 1938 “hope”-driven Anglo-German “peace-for-our-time” initiative of the British Prime Minister Chamberlain, who sacrificed national security clarity on the altar of a peaceful holy grail. He appeased a rogue regime, yielded the most strategic Czechoslovakian land to Germany, reflected feebleness and whetted the aggressive appetite of Hitler; thus producing a robust tailwind for the Second World War.

Will contemporary policy-makers avoid – or repeat – severe blunders?

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