Friday, February 26, 2016

If the Government Can Force Me to Buy a Product, Why Can't it Force Apple to Make a Product


I'm with Apple on its fight with the FBI. As far as I'm concerned, the FBI has no right to force Apple to create something for it. But...

The Affordable Care Act requires me to buy a product. It compels me to engage in commerce. It doesn't seem that far a step to suggest if the government has the authority to compel me to buy a product, it also has the right to compel Apple to create a product.

When it was suggested by opponents of the ACA that requiring consumers to enter into a commerce would result in a government of unlimited power, the proponents laughed off that concern.

What I find amusing, is hearing all those in favor of the ACA expressing outrage at the FBI's attempt to bully Apple.

Reap what you sow.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

NY Times Embraces Citizens United


The NY Times in "Donald Trump Keeps Winning. Here’s What Could Make Him Lose." suggests some ways to stop Donald Trump (the bloviating ignoramus). First on their list is unlimited spending by the millionaires and billionaires running the Republican party.

Top Republican donors have shied away from confronting Mr. Trump, but at some point the party’s bankrollers may get serious about saving it from a man they view as a catastrophe. If they did, this could represent a serious threat to Mr. Trump. Imagine tens of millions of dollars in attack ads blanketing the landscape of primary states.
Marvelous, the Times seems to never stop writing about the evils of the Citizens United ruling that allows corporations other than media companies from engaging in free speech. Or as The Center for Public Integrity puts it

The Citizens United ruling, released in January 2010, tossed out the corporate and union ban on making independent expenditures and financing electioneering communications. It gave corporations and unions the green light to spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools, calling for the election or defeat of individual candidates.

In a nutshell, the high court’s 5-4 decision said that it is OK for corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate.

The decision did not affect contributions. It is still illegal for companies and labor unions to give money directly to candidates for federal office. The court said that because these funds were not being spent in coordination with a campaign, they “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
But I guess embracing existential threats to democracy (Citizens United) is OK under special circumstances. Can't wait for Bernie (the socialist) and Mrs. Clinton (the felon) to embrace this strategy.


Trump has Small Hands and a Small Wallet


Ben Domenech has a piece in the Transom this morning that suggests attacking Trump in the manner of Trump.

This may seem unpresidential in the scheme of things. But it is not the case in this cycle. Going after Trump on Trump’s term will require behaving in a way that any traditionally minded person will find appalling – but it would make for must see TV. Take the flamethrower to him. Interrupt him constantly. Belittle him. Insult him. Play on his very obvious insecurities. Give him a nickname – just start calling him “Marla”, without any explanation, and pretend you don’t even realize it. Don’t let him talk. Bash him for hiring foreign workers.  Bash him for loving Planned Parenthood.  Bash him for his obsession with Megyn Kelly. Make note of his stubby fingers and small hands – we all know what that means. When he responds with ever-increasing insults and shushing, tell him to go get his shinebox.

Of all people, Mitt Romney is your guide at this moment, hinting that the “bombshell” in Donald Trump’s undisclosed tax returns is that Trump is not as rich as he claims to be.  Do you want to know why we know this is Trump’s soft underbelly? A few years ago, insult comic Anthony Jeselnik told Joan Rivers that when he roasted Donald Trump on Comedy Central, he was told the only thing off-limits were jokes suggesting that Trump had less money than he claims.  Not his family, not his kids or his parents – his net worth was what he chose to be off-limits.
I agree. Go full Trump on this rectal orifice. You can get under his skin. The reference to the size of his hands is from a Vanity Fair article. People magazine summarized:

For the last 25 years, Donald Trump has been sending pictures of his hands to Graydon Carter to prove his fingers are properly proportioned, the Vanity Fair editor has revealed.

The bizarre, decades-long feud between the journalist and the billionaire presidential candidate began when Carter wrote an essay for Spy magazine calling Trump a "short-fingered vulgarian," Carter wrote in this month's editor's letter. 
We'll see. It would be fun to watch Cruz or Rubio giving Trump the Trump treatment.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Bernie: Bringing People Together


Take a look. Bernie has hired some pretty good marketing personnel.


Life is Awful in Iowa and New Hampshire and the Koch Brothers and/or Mexico is to Blame.


The unemployment rate in Iowa is 3.4%. The unemployment rate in New Hampshire is 3.1%. These are the states that have glommed onto Mrs. Clinton's (the felon), Mr. Sander's (the socialist) and Trump's (the bloviating ignoramus) claims that life is horrible and the reason is the banks, Wall Street, Citizen's United, the Koch Brothers, the Mexicans, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Muslims. It's an odd mix of nationalism, socialism and racism.

David Harsanyi at the Federalist wrote this. His focus is on Sanders, but you could insert Trump or Clinton instead of Sanders and it still works.

Events can always alter the dynamics of American politics, but right now Sanders represents the natural trajectory of liberalism. Where else did people think eight years of relentless fearmongering about the inequities and corruption of capitalism would lead? You can’t keep blaming everything on the inherent racism in America and not expect your party to radicalize. You can’t accuse oil companies of bloodlust and not mainstream the idea of nationalizing the energy sector. You can’t blame every economic tribulation on Wall Street and bankers and the Koch Brothers and then be surprised a major candidate ends up railing against “speculators” and argues that the entire business model of modern banking is a “fraud.”
Reap what you sow.

Still, there is something about this dog, that don't hunt. Unemployment ratios far below the national average, and near what economists call full employment. Is the message of things are awful and the millionaires and billionaires or the Mexicans the reason why really resonating with the fully employed, or is there something else going on. I think it's something else, but what do I know.


"Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street Talks Were Highly Paid, Friendly"


I have nothing against Mrs. Clinton giving speeches to Wall Street, or anyone else. I've been at these events and always walk away thinking, "they paid for that?" I would have preferred a better breast of rubber chicken.

This picture of Mrs. Clinton and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein from the Wall Street Journal article, "Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street Talks Were Highly Paid, Friendly" must be an early birthday gift for the Sanders campaign.

They look as happy together as she does in the picture of her and her husband at one of Donald Trump's weddings.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

From The Federalist: "Considering The Alternative, I’ll Take The Establishment"


I liked this from the Federalist: "Considering The Alternative, I’ll Take The Establishment"

 We are told that the rise of Sanders and Trump is the result of establishment clowns who have repeatedly ignored their base. Somehow, however, in an act that literally defies every single law of nature, the radicals have managed to out-clown the clowns

on Sanders:

Rather than incrementally raising taxes on the people who actually fund the government and slowly but surely digging our economic grave, as Democrats are wont to do, Sanders is calling in a backhoe with a proposed $18 trillion in new spending, or America’s entire annual gross domestic product.

on Trump:

Not to be outdone, the Republicans have welcomed their own wannabe outsider in the tangerine-faced narcissist Donald Trump. In an effort to upstage P.T. Barnum as the greatest con man in American history, the guy who has gone on record for years staking out liberal positions across the political spectrum has somehow managed to garner support from a sizeable chunk of America’s far Right. The guy who claims the Bible as his favorite book despite being unable to recite a single verse has somehow managed to capture the loyalty of a large share of evangelicals.

The guy who was proudly pro-choice, pro-bailout, and pro-Hillary, not to mention pro-Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer now, much like Sanders, makes outlandish promises to garner populist support, such as vowing to deport all illegal immigrants and build a wall along the southern border. Even better, he’ll make Mexico pay for it. If you’re buying any of this, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona you might be interested in.

Republicans, it seems, don’t want a radical at all, but rather a Democrat, and an establishment one at that. There’s been no shortage of those to vote for, which makes Trump’s rise all the more curious.

Thank God for Gridlock.


I still don't (and won't) believe the bloviating ignoramus will be the Republican nominee. Whether his shtick grows old, or he is forced to spend his own money and decides not to, or the rest of the field coalesces around someone, I don't know.  The Democrats have a much harder choice: socialist or felon. Good luck with that.

An interesting comparison for you: The bloviating ignoramus got about 93,000 votes in NH. The felon about 89,000.

Here's what I don't understand about this election: the major issues pushed by the socialist, the felon and the bloviating ignoramus are, to me, not even on the list of things I care about. I don't care about immigration. More immigration is better for the country than less immigration, but if everyone else wants to build a wall to make prices higher, go ahead. Won't hurt me that much. I don't care about income inequality. The blathering about income inequality doesn't rise to the level of debate or conversation. It's filled with statistical errors, intellectual errors and demagoguery. I don't care about Citizen's United or Super Pacs. Jeb Bush wants to spend $100 million on a failed campaign? Why do I care. Besides, if anything, the socialist's popularity shows money ISN'T driving election results.

Almost everything the socialist, felon and bloviating ignoramus propose will harm the groups they claim to care most about. Walls, restricting trade, taxes on oil, banks, and the wealthy will raise prices, reduce choice, reduce income and reduce growth. And the group hurt most will be the lower income, less educated. You like to tell me the game is fixed. I almost agree. It is fixed to hurt the poor, but the fix is a result of policies put in place with the proposed purpose of helping the poor. The socialist and the bloviating ignoramus have it completely backwards.

Meanwhile, the real world recently slapped my second child in the face. He was complaining about his FICA taxes and having to support old people. Bummer dude. His candidate? The socialist, of course.

Thank God for gridlock.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

This was insulting, even for the NY Times.


Cruz and Rubio aren't quite Cuban enough for the NY Times.

With Senator Ted Cruz taking nearly 28 percent of the vote and Senator Marco Rubio getting 23 percent, each vastly surpassed the results for any other Latino candidate in any previous United States presidential contest.

How is that not being celebrated as historic or at least worth a headline for a day or two?

The answer is not that complicated: Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave.
I suppose they could act like a socialist? Or a felon?


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Whistling Past the Graveyard-Part 2


The Hartford Courant reports,
State legislators are concerned about a lack of strong statements from Aetna that have raised questions whether the company will remain headquartered in Hartford after an upcoming merger.
After GE left, Bob Duff and the appropriately named Martin Looney issued a press release that included this:

“It is clear that GE’s decision has nothing to do with taxes, or even business costs, and cannot fairly be viewed as a referendum on Connecticut’s growing economy. Connecticut’s unemployment rates have dropped to the lowest level since March 2008. In 2015, Connecticut saw the sixth-largest unemployment drop in the country. In fact, GE just increased its workforce in Connecticut after purchasing Alstom Energy, adding 1,200 jobs in Windsor and Bloomfield,” continued Sen. Looney.

“Those who would seek to paint GE’s departure as an economic referendum should have their motives examined very closely. The 16 Fortune 500 companies that still proudly call Connecticut home, a number that places Connecticut by far as number one in the nation for most Fortune 500 headquarters on a per capita basis, will continue to prosper here, as will the new businesses that move to our state every single day,” Sen. Looney concluded.
What? Me worry?


From Donald Trump Enters the Game of Thrones: An Interview


I've never seen Game of Thrones, so much of this was over my head. Thought it hilarious anyway.

The Donald recently sat down with Reason for a chat about his strategy to win Game of Thrones’ War of the Five Kings, slay Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons, and build a giant wall of ice around the known world.


Monday, February 1, 2016


I heard of couple of things yesterday I thought were classic.

A Donald Trump caucus go-er was asked who his second choice was. The answer: Bernie Sanders.

A pundit was asked about Hilary's demographic supporters. According to the pundit, Hilary has the elderly women demographic sewn up.