Days of Change

It’s Halloween

October 31, 2015
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Set back your clocks and stick out your, um, socks.


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The Real Trump Effect

October 30, 2015

Of the thousands of people who think they can run for president, I tend to favor the hundred or so who are or were governors. No one is a more effective Republican as a governor than Scott Walker. His presidential aspirations are over for 2016. Now we’re left with people who only achieve support by not having a history of crushing Democrats.

Donald Trump has forced Republicans into outrageous comments, making uncomfortably strict statements about immigration punishment and having to answer weird personal insults from the Donald himself. The silver lining is that Wednesday’s debate also encouraged the candidates to do something Trump has been doing all along, calling out the media.

The GOP is not lacking in the “tell it like it is” category. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz do it on a regular basis. Republican talking points are highly popular. Republican action (or lack of same) is what disconnects them from the votes they seek. The only reason why they don’t take action is the fear of losing future votes. At the very least, the GOP needs to leverage their power to schedule debates to leave out openly hostile entities. The Democrats already shut out Fox in 2008.

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Rhetoric vs. Results

October 29, 2015
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The possibility of a government “shutdown” where the Congress does not pass a budget that the president will sign (and that’s what it’s been over the last 2 decades) has one of two outcomes. Either the shutdown makes Republicans look unreasonable and politically tactless and therefore lose the electoral support of voters or shutting down the government draws a line in the sand that forces negotiation by a formerly resistant president.

In 1995, it was the latter. The government ran out of budget allocation and eventually a budget was passed. After the second time, President Clinton knew there was a certain amount of negotiation that had to be done. In the last few years, there was both a budget lapse and a debt ceiling freeze. The president did not budge, supported by a slim majority in the Senate. The GOP caved that time. However, the party was criticized even 20 years ago. Shutdowns do not lose points for Republicans, even with media disdain. Caving does. Look at the electoral losses among TARP supporting Republicans in 2008.

Key votes near an election often sway voters the most. On his way out, John Boehner tried to “fix” the budget so that debt ceiling votes were not a problem anymore, much like the bankrupt socialist democracies in Europe. However, that vote will be the one remembered rather than some fictional debt limit vote that can’t happen now.

One of the differences between modern Democrats and modern Republicans is that promising a chicken in every pot really only works for Democrats now. Obama is popular with the establishment because he puts more control over people on the government (Obamacare) and funnels money to constituencies (the Stimulus). Big business tolerates him because his administration gives them a taste, like influence in regulation, tax breaks for fictional green technology and millions of health insurance customers compelled to purchase an expensive product.

Republicans are tired of that waste. The recent budget “compromise” spends more money on defense. Well, anyone with libertarian leanings knows what a big corporate welfare scam that is. Tax cuts are not as popular anymore because they have become targeted kickbacks rather than a sound growth plan. Many Republicans want less regulation and less spending. They want to get less and the establishment doesn’t understand how to not give it to them.

This is why the House is ungovernable and the only Republicans candidates with traction are not career politicians. Trying to court Latinos 20 years from now or whatever the GOP strategy is will lose them elections right now.

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Everybody Wins

October 28, 2015
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Everyone at the Prime Time Debate tonight faced one foe. The remarks were unreasonable, the attacks were ridiculous and the value to voters was impossible to determine. It wasn’t Trump, it was the moderation. It turns out that CNBC, the “business” network, is very much the same as having MSNBC moderating a Republican debate. This isn’t much of a surprise, given one of the moderators is a contributor on MSNBC.

I think Ted Cruz brought up the idea to Sean Hannity on the Fox News after coverage (which will probably get higher ratings) that Hannity and other conservatives (Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin) moderate a debate. It would be similar to the concept of the liberal media hosting a Democratic debate. Conservatives would ask the candidates questions that the actual Republican primary voters want to know. They could actually spell out specific ideas and plans. It might even be more contentious because the candidates would have to prove who is more conservative. It’s also the reason why the RNC wouldn’t go for it.

In fact, the winner of the CNBC debate was the entire collection of Republican candidates. They took on a blatant example of media bias right in front of them. It wasn’t a petty complaint about being asked hard questions like the Trump blow up over Megyn Kelly. This was a direct assault where media people asked the candidates to defend their existence on the planet or trash other candidates.

I wonder what the Lame Stream media will make up about tonight?

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But I’m Still Sick From the Last Debate

October 27, 2015

We’re actually just a few months away from the Iowa caucus and the more important New Hampshire primary. Winning both puts one in good shape for getting the nomination. Right now, Ben Carson has a good chance of winning Iowa while Trump is likely to win New Hampshire. Trump’s current advantage is that he doesn’t have the baggage of a candidate who “goes negative” on his own party because he’s a negative person in general. Everyone who supports him is great, everyone who doesn’t is a “loser.”

Since the last debate, Carly Fiorina has gone from standout to also-ran. In fact, any gain she had seems to have been completely absorbed by Carson. Most of the professional politicians are in the low to mid single digits. Tomorrow’s debate will do little to change the lineup. I think the only thing that’s left is for someone like Jeb Bush to go hard on Trump, kind of like he did this weekend. It’s not good governance, but it seems to be good campaigning to say the other guy is a stupid clown and that if you don’t vote for me, you’re a clown, too. At fourth place, he has nothing much to lose.

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The Right To Not Be Policed

October 26, 2015
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In a country with hundreds of millions of people and hundreds of thousands of police, there will be times where an officer shoots and kills a suspect. Systems have been put in place so that the community is allowed to evaluate these incidents. Police departments are also subject to lawsuits and controls by local governments. Now, they get to experience the injustice of social justice.

Let’s say you have a police force and some unarmed Black criminal is shot by a cop. Police are not required to be shot at first, or even see a gun. Sometimes, they are exonerated. Other times, they are found at fault. What happened in Baltimore is that the police were found to be at fault by default. The mayor promised to crack down on abuses by police to prevent the death of a suspect.

In industry, the goal is to have 0 defects and 0 tolerance for error. That is impossible. The closer you get to zero defects and minimal tolerances, more effort, time and money is involved. When it comes to something as human as law enforcement, there is no extra time or money and the effort can only go so far.

The result is that police are being more careful to not get in trouble with the vigilante law. They won’t engage unless the situation is clear, and must act from a position of greater safety because they have little recourse in defending themselves. The result is the increase in the deaths of citizens by other unsavory citizens.

This is more a matter of pragmatism than right and wrong. It is a simple equation. If a population does not respect police, crime goes up. If police are attacked for doing something, even a justified response, they will avoid that response and the public gets in greater danger. If law enforcement as a profession is denigrated, there will be a less qualified pool of applicants. If you fight for a city without law enforcers, you will have a city without law.

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Caveat Emptor

October 25, 2015

I’ve gotten abused and criticized for my dismissal of Donald Trump. I haven’t actually dismissed him. I don’t like him. I don’t think he can get the nomination and I know he won’t be president. That may be the reason why I don’t believe his crap.

Very few presidents get elected telling people what they don’t want to hear. Obama told people that by electing him, they were part of changing government. He also claimed that he was going to work with the other side. He’s basically broken every campaign promise that he made in 2008 and people love him anyway. Those are the people who wanted a Democrat to win.

I want Republicans to win. When I voted for George W. Bush in 2000, he was criticized for “talking down” the Clinton economy. By Election Day, the stock market had already begun its slide. The economy recovered under Bush and grew until oil prices crashed the market. He talked about cutting taxes and did it. Unfortunately, September 11 halted his plans.

Clinton made promises about a new day for America. So did Ronald Reagan. They believed what they said, even if they couldn’t accomplish their goals. With Donald Trump I get the very real impression that he says things that he either knows he can’t do or is too stupid to know he can’t do. Either way, he’s not getting my vote.

It is true that many of the rich people bankrolling the establishment are interested in illegal Mexican labor and tax breaks for business. They’re libertarians. They like illegals. Trump has plenty of illegals working for him but he knows that no one is stupid enough to promise getting rid of all illegals. He also claims he will get Mexico to pay for a fence and strike fear into Vladimir Putin’s heart. If you’re going to spread bullshit, you might as well lay it on thick.

I would suggest that the voter (or buyer) beware. Lots of people lost money on Trump’s promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you want an outsider candidate with brains and integrity, there’s still Ben Carson, beating Trump in Iowa. In fact, you can watch him do surgery on a brain on the Discovery Life channel in about half an hour.

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Speaker Games

October 24, 2015

If America goes crazy (crazier) in 2016 and puts in a Democratic Party majority in the House, Nancy Pelosi will be the Speaker of the House. She’s been the #1 top Democrat in the lower house since 2003 and she’ll likely stay there. Even though she was responsible for leading the charge in one of the worst losses for House Democrats in 2010, the leftist establishment wing of the party has the power to keep her in.

This is not the case with Republicans. The inability of the GOP to get behind a conservative candidate for president has led to a sort of Tea Party revolt where some Republicans want a Congress that meets Obama’s unwillingness to compromise with their defiance to passing any budget for the White House to use. This is similar to what Newt Gingrich did as a newly minted Speaker. That garnered him disdain from the media and a short term in office. Dennis Hastert took the place as a guy who didn’t want the job, but was willing to do it.

In that Groucho Marx tradition, Paul Ryan will likely accept the role of Speaker vacated by John Boehner after only a few years. However, he will not work weekends and does not plan to fight to keep the job. If Tea Party Republicans wanted a fighter, it probably won’t be Ryan.

How do you have unity in a party where one group thinks they can work with a president and the other group has seen every example to the contrary? I don’t know the answer. I don’t even know if it will change with a Republican in the White House. All I know is that the Democrats are drinking some kind of unity Kool-Aid and it worries me.

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Rules are Good

October 23, 2015

One of the differences between jobs now vs. the last century is the structure of the work. In the past, if you worked in a factory, or a mill, or at a farm, there were rules. There were strict start and end times. The work was repetitive. Things had to be set up, cleaned up and maintained on a schedule. In the last decades, modern labor forces have been reduced with technology. Also, plans known as systems were put in place to define how work could be made more efficient, if less intuitive.

I’m one of the people who writes rules and procedures. Besides writing rules, I am also evaluated on those procedures. I have to answer to the end users who may not understand them. I also have to answer to bosses who will never use them but still have opinions on them. Even with that, the worst thing that’s happening to work in this country is when rules are ignored.

I think that’s one reason why I’m incensed with this current administration. They ignore some rules, but use other rules to get what they want done. Democrats criticized filibusters six years ago, but threaten them now. If they don’t like one restriction, they use some other process and redefine it on the fly. The only recourse of the Republicans is to have a work stoppage. It’s become a game of chicken, and that doesn’t work for anyone.

I’m not a sports fan, but rule violation with no consequence makes me think of the Patriots and the ball deflation scandal. They knew the rules, they didn’t like the rules, so they skirted the rules instead of trying to change them. I suspect a rule change would have put other teams on a level playing field and the Patriots liked their special process at the edge of legality. They still won and the important player received little punishment.

When rules are broken, things fall apart slowly. People have to make more decisions with less information. Workers get burned out. They quit. The whole operation suffers. When the overhaul eventually happens, the effort to fix things is much greater than the work that could have been done to keep things running. Government is broken. It keeps moving on. It won’t be that way forever.

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What Difference Does Hillary’s Testimony Make?

October 22, 2015
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It’s basically impossible for there to be a “smoking gun” e-mail where Hillary Clinton writes that she took the money for embassy protection and gave it to Muslim outreach. Instead, we can only see a trail of information, followed by disinformation. That’s what we got today in Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony.

Witnesses can give whatever testimony they want. We have laws and principles in place that require they be truthful and factual. The thing about lying is that if one can be caught in a lie, it taints the rest of their testimony. We call that impeachment. It’s the only kind of impeachment we’ll get.

The most important revelation in the hearings today was that Clinton’s (business and personal) e-mails in the hours after Benghazi were remarkably accurate about the eventual perpetrators of the attack, namely AL-Qaeda. It also sheds light of Clinton’s “what difference, at this point, does it matter?” outburst during previous testimony.

The problem is that it did not make a difference at the hearing so much as it made a difference during the 2012 campaign. The news that Mitt Romney was right about administration failings and that Obama was wrong about AL-Qaeda being on the ropes could have had a much different impact on the election. Remember, Richard Nixon’s crimes amounted to influencing his 1972 re-election.

Obama is president and there’s not much we can do about that. What we can do is stop the spread by keeping Hillary Clinton (and Joe Biden) out of the White House. That’s what the House panel is doing. It’s not political, it’s shedding light on political crimes.

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