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Updated: 2018-02-23T16:29:14Z

 



​Gun Control – Mike Allen Reveals SuperTrump to America

2018-02-23T16:29:14Z

Mike Allen of Axios – who I think of as a former Obama official given his rabid necessity to defend the former president’s legacy by attacking the current administration constantly – thinks Trump is all powerful now. At least that’s the direct conclusion one is forced to draw after reading this: President Trump has a […]

Mike Allen of Axios – who I think of as a former Obama official given his rabid necessity to defend the former president’s legacy by attacking the current administration constantly – thinks Trump is all powerful now. At least that’s the direct conclusion one is forced to draw after reading this:

President Trump has a rare political superpower – he can get Republicans to do what seems like the impossible:

Allen then lists evil things the superpower has achieved like getting the GOP to soften its stand on Putin – a debatable point if you look at this administrations actions and not Trump’s personal reticence to criticize Putin. Then he says this:

Every few months, friends, family and advisers like Ivanka Trump, Rupert Murdoch, and Gary Cohn fantasize that Trump will tap his superpower as a force for good – to pass a big infrastructure bill, fight global warming, strike an epic immigration deal.

Ok, so is this a blatant clue as to who does lots of leaking in the White House? I wouldn’t be surprised at all that Ivanka would chat constantly with certain key members of the press. But that’s not Mike Allen’s point. It’s this:

Now they (Ivanka, Murdoch, and Cohn) dream of new gun controls to protect schools, kids, and the innocent.

He could. No politician can move Rs to unthinkable places and provide more cover in the toughest of states or districts.

So now Mike Allen is telling us that President Trump is superman, if he only would take the kryptonite/guns out of the hands of evil/clinging/bible-reading American gun owners? Because SuperTrump could??

Or is it that Ivanka is telling Mike Allen that her dad is superman if only he would listen more to Ivanka instead of that annoying former general in the Chief of Staff’s office?

Look, it appears that President Trump will put together some modest gun control reforms, (bump stock bans, increasing the age limit for long guns, more background checks), that hopefully don’t anger his base too much and have the appearance of action after the growing momentum (yes, some of it helped by gun-control activists but it’s real regardless) gathering around the NeverAgain movement.

But one suspects that Ivanka and Cohn, and Murdoch, (who perhaps wants an Australian-style attempt at confiscation of guns), all want more than what President Trump will propose shortly.

Like the country, the White House appears deeply divided on the issue of gun control, and across America the divisions grow deeper with each shooting. It’s hard to say what could bridge that gulf. Because the NeverAgain movement is preaching to the converted, while GOP voters are far more negative on things like banning automatic weapons than they were back in the 90’s when the last ban was put in place, and then lifted.

Will Trump signal an important shift in the GOP’s gun-control policy positions? And what does that mean for Democrats and the upcoming midterms? Could gun-control be the issue that sweeps Mueller’s probe off center-stage? With SuperTrump himself handling the broom?

For the record, and it’s hardly surprising, Mike Allen thinks SuperTrump will stay in the phone booth as far as gun-control goes. That might be a mistake, because with President Trump nothing is certain until it’s done and signed.




​John Davidson Forces Us to Ask – What is the Price of Freedom?

2018-02-21T03:31:46Z

While proposals like banning bump stocks or tightening up guidelines for gun sales to mental health sufferers might be part of the post-Parkland shooting media landscape, there’s a far more direct argument being made by The Federalist‘s John Davidson, a veteran reporter who tends to think through issues to their logical conclusion. Despite the uncomfortable or […]While proposals like banning bump stocks or tightening up guidelines for gun sales to mental health sufferers might be part of the post-Parkland shooting media landscape, there’s a far more direct argument being made by The Federalist‘s John Davidson, a veteran reporter who tends to think through issues to their logical conclusion. Despite the uncomfortable or horrifying ends that those thought processes might lead to. This will be upsetting, I’m warning you. Davidson uses a thought experiment done by author David Foster Wallace in Atlantic magazine in 2007 that had to do with 9/11, and the policies put in place in the wake of the terrifying and horrifying event in 2001. Foster asked the question: What price are we willing to pay for freedom? An overused word, because there is not much freedom left. But a word that is a cornerstone of any democratic state, and a loadstone for everyone who needs to believe and live at least some freedom in their lives, freedom that is not constrained by the ever expanding laws and regulations that govern every last little detail of one’s life nowadays in America, never mind places like Europe, or say Canada. Basically Foster asked if we would be willing to accept a certain amount of deaths as a result of terrorism in exchange for less NSA surveillance, less TSA frisks and metal detectors at airports, less DHS bureaucrats with their rules, less spying on Americans; less wars abroad, and so on. Would we? In other words, are those freedoms worth some of us dying for? Most of us would likely say no. Wouldn’t we? Ever since progressive ideas – starting with Woodrow Wilson – have become the accepted goals of a modern and post-modern society, keeping us safe has become far more important than keeping us free. Now, here’s the leap into the abyss that Davidson takes: Would we be willing to consider the deaths of innocent young girls and boys with their lives ahead of them and their parent’s love nourishing and guiding them into the future, would we consider their deaths a price we would pay to keep the 2nd amendment in the constitution? Because that’s what it would take, following Davidson’s line of thought. I have a 7 year old son. I ponder every syllable of the 2nd amendment and it’s nuanced construction that still provokes such debate over 200 years later. I am not a gun owner but I know full well that statistics show that gun-owning towns in Texas – for example – are some of the safest places to live in America. But when put in the terms Davidson puts it, I can’t say yes. My reptilian cortex (preservation of self or family) and my limbic cortex (emotional bonds) outweigh my neo-cortex’s reasoning. Of course, a gun owner would say that’s precisely why she or he upholds the 2nd. Because – as Davidson points out, bravely following the logic of his argument – that’s what it’s going to take to make a difference. America adopting European style regulations and restrictions on gun ownership. Anything else is just dicking around the margins and is only a way to deflect the anger and pain and show some sort of action is being taken. If you’re serious about your belief that government is actually capable of eliminating these types of shootings – a debatable if noble belief – then wo/man up and say you want to repeal the 2nd amendment. So, you repeal the 2nd amendment with it’s 27 words and it’s dependent clause that sets up and meshes with the main clause in such powerful and complex ways. Then what? Yes, it would be harder for a Nikolaus Cru[...]



Can’t Anyone Take a Joke?

2018-02-16T14:31:57Z

Can’t Anyone Take a Joke? © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. We have two adult daughters. Both are married with children of their own. One of them lives overseas in Italy (don’t ask, it’s a long story, but it gives us a great place to visit), the other lives 10 minutes away in the […]Can’t Anyone Take a Joke? © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. We have two adult daughters. Both are married with children of their own. One of them lives overseas in Italy (don’t ask, it’s a long story, but it gives us a great place to visit), the other lives 10 minutes away in the same upper-middle-class suburban town as my wife and me, in the eastern part of the country. One of our local daughter’s neighbors is a broadcaster for a sports radio talk show. He and his wife are perfectly nice, normal people. Their young daughter plays with our daughter’s 6-year-old several times a week. They are remarkably unremarkable, regular in every sense. A few days ago, he made an on-air a quip in which he mimicked the stereotypical speaking style of a foreign ethnic group. It was a joke, the kind of thing every one of us has done a thousand times, in reference to any one of a dozen or two well-known ethnic/national groups. Well, apparently in this highly-charged, everyone’s a victim, incredibly thin-skinned and humorless environment in which we all now live, it wasn’t a joke. It was a heinous personal crime, betraying a shocking lack of sensitivity and cultural awareness on the part of the “joke” teller, injurious to the self-image of the target group to an irreversible degree. The morally-indignant brigade struck with Blitzkrieg-like (I probably can’t say that, either) suddenness and fury: No less than three very high-profile sponsors immediately—and very publicly—announced that they were pulling their advertising from the station. The station, trying desperately to get in front of what could be a PR disaster, instantly issued a public apology on all fronts—on-air, on social media and on its web site. And of course, they wasted no time announcing that the offending on-air host was suspended at once without pay, pending further investigation—with the implication that a firing might be imminent. This relatively recent development of widespread social/professional victimhood coincides very closely with the rise in identity politics, particularly as practiced by liberal politicians and supported by the liberal media. Liberals seem to orient their political strategy and activity around the notion of identifying special interest groups based on age, ethnicity, gender and gender-orientation, religion, socio-economic class and education. Liberal politicians then convince the group in question that they’ve been victimized (either by society at large or by conservatives in particular) and so the liberal politician proposes a specific program to cure their ill and garner their vote. Humor has no place in the liberal paradigm. There is no innocent humor; there are only intentional, degrading insults, designed to maliciously hinder or prevent the group in question from advancing to their deserved standing in our culture. Really? Every joke is meant to harm someone and prevent them from progressing? I work in the music industry, in the marketing department of a very large company that owns and manufactures several very well-known brands of electronic musical instruments and keyboards, DJ gear, recording equipment and musical composition computer software. It’s a “hip” company—everyone is into music and we have frequent contact and interactions with today’s biggest recording artists and DJs (arranging endorsement deals, loaner equipment, etc.). As the senior marketing person (both in age and tenure), I supervise the marketing department. Our department is so diverse, the generals of the Politically Correct Army should pin medals on us. You name the gender, ethnicity/race, age group and sexual orientation, and we have them. Connected by our l[...]



​A Day or Two to Get Immigration Right?

2018-02-15T00:00:12Z

The Grand Immigration Debate has begun, under a deadline that may not be deadline, and with several competing plans, some of which we don’t have all the details yet. And it all may be for naught in the end anyway, as anything that can muster 60 votes in the Senate (which means at least and […]

The Grand Immigration Debate has begun, under a deadline that may not be deadline, and with several competing plans, some of which we don’t have all the details yet. And it all may be for naught in the end anyway, as anything that can muster 60 votes in the Senate (which means at least and likely more than 9 Democrat senators voting in favor) will have a hard time passing the House, which is whipping up its own plan at the same time.

Then there’s a couple of judges – U.S. District Court Judge Garaufis in Brooklyn and U.S. District Judge William Alsup in California – who have placed injunctions on President Trump’s executive order that ended Obama’s executive order that created D.A.C.A. With the Supreme Court about to rule this Friday on whether to directly hear the government’s appeal against the Alsup injunction; or to let the case percolate up through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Does that clear it all up? Let’s take a closer look. Here are some of the proposed plans:

  • The Secure and Succeed Act 2018, sponsored by Iowa’s Grassley and Arkansas’ Cotton. It’s a Four PIllar Plan: Pillar 1 Border Security with $25 billion for a “border wall system” (talk about covering all angles) and lots of specific security tightening measures, including enacating Kate’s Law; Pillar 2 ends chain migration; Pillar 3 cancels the Visa Lottery; and Pillar 4 provides a 10-12 year path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million Dreamers. Trump likes it seeing it’s close to what the White House has proposed.
  • The Senate Bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Collins and perhaps Jeff Flake and perhaps Tim Kaine and perhaps Don Rounds and who knows who else but not Lindsey Graham who will not support a “narrow” bill which means kicking out at least one or two of the GOP pillars in the Secure and Succeed Act.
  • Coons and McCain have a proposal that would give legal status to Dreamers without any money – at least not right away – for border security or wall construction. Not a serious contender at this point.
  • The Goodlatte bill in the House is Secure and Succeed plus. The plus being plans to force employers to ensure they hire legals through an E-Verify program as well as authorizing the Department of Justice to withhold grants from sanctuary cities. It would also include an agricultural guest worker program which people like Bernie Sanders liken to “slavery.”

Will Secure and Succeed pass the Senate? That’s a tough call and if it does it almost certainly will be watered down to get Democrat votes and reach 60 votes over all. And if the House Goodlatte bill passes (no Democrat will vote for it in the House so only 22 House Republicans can defect) that means a large gap between the Senate and the House on what kind of solution to the Dreamers and immigration they each see as viable. Immigration has been radicalized and weaponized by the left, and arguably by some on the alt-right side of things. It’s no longer about the laws on the books. It’s about painting the other side as racist or as un-American. This kind of debate cannot be done in a week, if ever.




Please Don’t Blame the Liberal

2018-02-13T13:51:53Z

Please Don’t Blame the Liberal © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. Why is it that liberal politicians and liberal causes always seem to escape severe criticism and close scrutiny while their conservative counterparts are continually fighting off one allegation after another, no matter how fanciful and misleading those allegations might be? The standards to […]Please Don’t Blame the Liberal © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. Why is it that liberal politicians and liberal causes always seem to escape severe criticism and close scrutiny while their conservative counterparts are continually fighting off one allegation after another, no matter how fanciful and misleading those allegations might be? The standards to begin an investigation into rumored conservative wrongdoing appear to be essentially non-existent, while the requirement for serious media attention into liberal misdeeds must be something more ironclad than a non-Photoshopped image of a person standing over a body holding the dripping knife. Some recent examples: Uranium One Hillary Clinton’s Uranium One mess seems pretty significant, doesn’t it? Supposedly, she facilitated the sale of some 20% of American uranium and mining rights (through a Canadian intermediary) to a Russian firm in exchange for three million dollars to be paid to the Clinton Foundation. If true, it looks to be a clear case of “pay-to-play” influence peddling, done while Hillary was still Secretary of State. The United States imports more than 90% of its uranium, so it’s a rare commodity already. We produce very little ourselves. Why we would sell off such a significant portion of the material used to make nuclear bombs and nuclear reactors to our most dangerous worldwide strategic adversary defies even the smallest semblance of logic. The details of the development of the entire transaction were provided in minute detail to three Congressional committees by an FBI informant who had followed the Russian and American players for several years. His account of what happened certainly has passed the threshold needed to take a closer look into the matter. The subject is deadly serious to our national security, as opposed to its being merely political rooting points. The details provided by the FBI informant are credible enough to take seriously. The American players involved are very high profile. It merits “investigation,” no? Investigation. Not pre-judgment, but certainly investigation. Me too Another pet liberal cause is the “Me Too” initiative, where women who’ve been subjected to past gender-related pressures and improper treatment have been encouraged to come forward with their stories under the #metoo hashtag, naming names and exposing these past offenses for all their inglorious unseemliness. That this long-term objectionable behavior is now coming to light is a very good thing. Gender-based oppression and discrimination has absolutely no place in civilized society and many of the actions that have been reported are far past “shameful.” They are intolerable and inexcusable. However, as is often the case, liberal politicians and the liberal mainstream media pick and choose who to vilify and who to let off the hook. When California Democratic assemblywoman Christina Garcia—a central figure in the Me Too movement—was cited as accosting a male staffer, it went largely unreported. The liberal #metoo narrative is all about male mistreatment of women, not about inappropriate sexual pressures in general. Bette Midler-Rand Paul Tweet During the recent budget negotiation, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul objected to the budget proposal, threatening to derail the bi-partisan agreement and trigger another interminable Government shutdown. In the short time that the agreement was in question, entertainer Bette Midler (is she actually Joy Behar? Has anyone ever seen them in the same room at the same time?) tweeted, “Where is Rand Paul’s neig[...]



​A New Chapter in the Trump Russia Saga Gets Opened Up by the GOP

2018-02-07T22:55:24Z

The Democrats have moved their retreat to the Capitol complex. Which means they’re not moving anywhere over the next few days. Which means that maybe, or even likely, a shutdown will be avoided with full-year defense funding balanced by Community Health Centers and a lifting for 2 years of spending caps. In other words with […]

The Democrats have moved their retreat to the Capitol complex. Which means they’re not moving anywhere over the next few days. Which means that maybe, or even likely, a shutdown will be avoided with full-year defense funding balanced by Community Health Centers and a lifting for 2 years of spending caps. In other words with lots and lots of spending.The House has just passed their version of the spending bill, but the Senate has yet to add their touches, which may be significant, if the leaks about lifting spending caps turn out to be true.

Meanwhile, Christopher Steele – the British former MI6 spy of Dossier fame – apparently also wrote a memo which is now being called the October memo. Apparently because a few things about this memo – which listed Steele’s concerns about Trump’s campaign and alleged connections with Russia – are rather unclear at this point.

  • In The Hill’s piece on the October memo by Jonathan Easly and Katie Bo Williams they write: The memo, dated October 19, was given to Steele by a contact at the State Department and was based on information provided by “a friend of the Clintons” Grassley said. So again, Steele is not the source just like when he was a third or fourth or even fifth-hand transmitter of information from his Russian contacts for the Steele Dossier.
  • The contact at State seems to have been Jonathan Winer, former Special Envoy to Libya and former deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement.
  • The actual sources for the October memo are two Clinton aides from the 90’s: Sydney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, according to unnamed GOP officials.
  • On Sunday Talk, former Obama Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said this: Chris had a friend at the State Department and he offered us that reporting free so that we could also benefit from it. … He passed to two to four short pages of notes of what he was finding, and our immediate reaction to that was this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian federation.
  • In other words, a deputy assistant secretary of state hands Steele some information, perhaps from Clinton confidants. Steele makes notes and hands those notes back to the State Department, who then contact the FBI.

Does this strike you as just a tad circular? And unverified? Just asking.

So now it looks like Nunes and the House intel committee want to turn their sights towards the State Department while Schiff and the Democrats cry breach of House committee rules. And another chapter gets started in the Trump Russia saga.

 




The “Real” Russia Collusion: Oil

2018-02-06T14:00:56Z

The “Real” Russia Collusion: Oil © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. Russian collusion is indeed a major issue threatening the well-being of our country. It’s just not the Russia collusion that’s been bandied about in the news for over a year. No, it’s Russia colluding with OPEC to intentionally raise world crude oil pricing. […]The “Real” Russia Collusion: Oil © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. Russian collusion is indeed a major issue threatening the well-being of our country. It’s just not the Russia collusion that’s been bandied about in the news for over a year. No, it’s Russia colluding with OPEC to intentionally raise world crude oil pricing. That is a real threat to our economy and living standard, unlike that other, totally imaginary Russia collusion. In case you haven’t been paying attention, crude oil prices have been on an upward tear for the better part of the last two years. From a low in the high-20’s/barrel range in February of 2016, WTI (West Texas Intermediate) closed at $65.45 on Friday Feb 2nd. Goldman Sachs goes so far as to say that North Sea Brent crude oil (the other benchmark oil besides WTI) will likely top $80 within six months. WTI generally runs about 5% lower, so look for WTI to be around $76/bbl by the summer of 2018. Before we look at why this is happening, it’s a good idea for a quick refresher on the four main drivers of crude oil/retail gasoline pricing. Why is oil and gasoline rising? What’s happened?  First, let’s dispense with any simplistic “the oil companies are conspiring to raise prices” nonsense.  That’s not what’s happening. Oil is a commodity, traded on the world market like any other commodity, such as gold, copper, natural gas, diamonds, etc. Oil is subject to market forces like every other commodity is. There are four main factors that influence the price of crude oil-retail gasoline on the world market: World supply/demand Exploration/extraction activity and technology Refining/delivery capacity Geopolitical influences (Iran, North Korea, terrorism, etc.) (There’s also a 5th factor: currency value, or the “exchange rate,” since oil is traded in dollars. However, this is normally a peripheral factor that only shades oil pricing a little bit one way or the other.) Today’s situation is primarily one of tightening supply coupled with greater demand as the worldwide economy, led by the U.S., continues to improve. See #1 above. When the world was awash with over-abundant oil in 2015-6, with loaded tankers sitting by the dozens offshore, unable to unload their cargo for lack of empty storage facilities, it seemed as if low-priced crude oil and $1.899/gallon gasoline was a permanent fixture on the US economic landscape. Never again would we be beholden to the arbitrary whims and evil manipulations of greedy, anti-American, anti-Semitic Arab oil sheiks. The over-supply of oil was primarily because of the shale oil boom (fracking) in the U.S. With newly-developed exploration and extraction techniques, America was finally able to tap the previously unreachable mother lode of crude oil trapped in the huge shale rock deposits in the western and southern parts of the continental U.S. With a huge influx of additional oil being delivered to the world market, supply exceeded demand and world pricing plummeted. At first, OPEC was unsure how to respond. Initially, Saudi Arabia actually increased their oil production in an effort to lower world pricing even more and drive the U.S. shale producers out of business (since shale oil has a far higher cost of production than Saudi oil, which is easy to extract). That didn’t work. Shale extraction technology got better and better and the Saudis were never able to force pricing down far enough to permanently hurt the American frackers. So, they resorted to the tried-and-true economic dictum of supply and demand.[...]



Pieces of the Same Puzzle: SOTU, DACA, FBI

2018-02-02T13:53:08Z

Pieces of the Same Puzzle: SOTU, DACA, FBI © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. There are three issues swirling around in the news lately that may appear to be unrelated: The recently-delivered State of the Union (SOTU) address, the ongoing controversy over the DACA immigrants, and the about-to-be-released FBI memo regarding the basis of […]Pieces of the Same Puzzle: SOTU, DACA, FBI © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. There are three issues swirling around in the news lately that may appear to be unrelated: The recently-delivered State of the Union (SOTU) address, the ongoing controversy over the DACA immigrants, and the about-to-be-released FBI memo regarding the basis of the FISA warrants in the Russia collusion investigation. They are not unrelated. Quite the opposite: They are all incredibly important pieces of the same puzzle. Let’s look at them individually and then put the pieces together into one big picture. Piece 1—The State of the Union Address President Trump, by all accounts, delivered a very direct, surprisingly inclusive, clearly-America-first State of the Union address last week. Polls indicate Republican and Independent approval of the speech in the 75-80% range and even Democratic voters gave him a mid-40% approval rating. On issue after issue, he pointed to clear evidence of the success of his policies and approaches, coupled with a clear vision for moving the country forward. His harshest critics, the ones who will never concede to him even the smallest smidgeon of credit, the ones to whom he is an “embarrassment,” an “aberration,” had their minds made up about his SOTU speech before he uttered even a single word. Their take on his dynamic, inspiring performance was—sadly, predictably— “Well, he did a pretty good job of reading a speech that someone else wrote, but in my mind, he doesn’t deserve credit for that.” As if every president doesn’t “read a speech that someone else wrote.” The president may or may not actually write a majority (or any!) of the speech itself, but regardless, the speech is directly, accurately reflective of the president’s policies, plans and future strategies. The president edits, shapes, tweaks and ultimately approves the speech. The SOTU speech is the president’s speech, regardless of the actual authorship. The written/spoken line, “We’re going to keep Guantanamo Bay open” was as indisputably Trump’s as “I’m going to close Guantanamo Bay” was Obama’s. Regardless of who originally wrote it, those lines represent each president’s intended policy and they each deserve the credit or criticism as appropriate. That’s the way it is with the entire SOTU speech…and with every speech given by any president, for that matter. However, much to his opponents’ unending irritation, President Trump has an unambiguous, clear, and yes, inspiring manner of expression. He is capable of reaching and convincing a significant portion of the undecided “casually-attentive” voting bloc. That talent was clearly on display this past January 30th. The sophisticated liberal sect and their liberal media allies would never succumb to such a simplistic, transparent presentation. Instead, they purport to see right through his rhetoric, as if it was nothing more than the intentionally-misleading, disingenuous pap of an old-time snake-oil huckster. Unfortunately for the Democrats in Congress and CNN/MSNBC, President Trump pointed to much success for which he can justifiably take credit: Extremely low unemployment, especially among Blacks and Hispanics Dramatic stock market gains, to the direct tangible benefit of individual investors, pension participants and educational savings account owners The decimation of ISIS as a direct result of new military Rules of Engagement instituted under Trump The personal and corporate tax cuts, resultin[...]



​Code is Law – Social Media and Our Collapsing Institutions

2018-02-02T02:40:52Z

Warren Henry is the pen name of an Illinois attorney who writes an annoyingly compact and nuanced email that I receive. Annoying to me, because apparently his purpose is to “question his priors” and his emails often contain enough OTOH’s to leave one begging for a positive affirmation that does so in no uncertain terms. […]Warren Henry is the pen name of an Illinois attorney who writes an annoyingly compact and nuanced email that I receive. Annoying to me, because apparently his purpose is to “question his priors” and his emails often contain enough OTOH’s to leave one begging for a positive affirmation that does so in no uncertain terms. He is undoubtedly a very thorough lawyer. One of his latest missives deals with technology – social media in particular – and the dangerous collapsing of institutions in terms of trust, but also in terms of how they are run. He links to a wonderfully written if alarmist article in Buzzfeed by the site’s political editor Katherine Miller titled: Donald Trump, #Me Too, Facebook, And The Breakdown Of Institutional Power. In her article she links the sex abuse scandals by the powerful towards those who lack it, to the general degradation of institutions: Smash the exterior of an institution and you may reveal catacombs of cruelty, shame, sickness, all the terrible things people with power can do to those without it in the corridor of a hotel suite, inside an office, inside a home, in small places you feel you are not meant to be. After wondering why our institutions do not foster and protect virtue, or kindness (she leads her list with the church and the military, two of the institutions that try to do precisely that and have not fallen nearly as far as somewhere like Hollywood or mainstream media or Congress) she turns to the new institutions of social media: And then there’s all of us, consuming this weird year through our phones, living inside new institutions that are mind-blowing in scale and horribly ill-equipped for the task of handling us. Or is it that we are ill-equipped to handle the way we interact on social media platforms and the way we seek out information on them? The connected global village (to use a phrase that is so quaint nowadays it seems hopelessly archaic) has turned out to be a rather toxic place. Back when people didn’t laugh at you for using phrases like “global village”, radical academic Lawrence Lessig wrote this: Ours is the age of cyberspace. It, too, has a regulator. This regulator, too, threatens liberty. But so obsessed are we with the idea that liberty means “freedom from government” that we don’t even see the regulation in this new space. We therefore don’t see the threat to liberty that this regulation presents. This regulator is code — the software and hardware that make cyberspace as it is … For unless we can understand how cyberspace can embed, or displace, values from our constitutional tradition, we will lose control over those values. I can barely write a few (mostly wrong) lines of code in Python or HTML, but let me just say it’s really the software we’re talking about here when we say code. No kidding huh? But to the bigger point: Code is Law. That seems to be the creed for hacktivists whether related to Wikileaks or to the fact that you were dumb/unlucky enough to let someone hack your Ether coin. Code is law. And if you’re good at code, and good at a little psychology and bithneth, you build platforms that acquire a critical mass that makes them dominant players in today’s world. And where the engineering-dominant culture, according to another Buzzfeed article by Charlie Warzel, is: … one that views nearly all content as agnostic, and everything else as a math problem. Ok. Really? [...]



​FBI Deputy Director McCabe’s Terminal Leave, Howie Kurtz’s Book & That Memo

2018-01-31T02:28:16Z

I’m guessing that Howie Kurtz doesn’t spend as much on grooming as Michael Wolff does. And he likely will never have Hillary Clinton read from his book at the Grammy Awards. But if I had to decide which book – Kurtz’s Media Madness or Wolff’s Fire and Fury – has better journalistic standards, it wouldn’t even be close. And […]I’m guessing that Howie Kurtz doesn’t spend as much on grooming as Michael Wolff does. And he likely will never have Hillary Clinton read from his book at the Grammy Awards. But if I had to decide which book – Kurtz’s Media Madness or Wolff’s Fire and Fury – has better journalistic standards, it wouldn’t even be close. And it might be that now-former-although-not-quite-yet-retired-due-to-pension-considerations Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe agrees with me. He has announced his retirement on the Monday after portions of Media Madness suggested he was possibly part of an entrapment scheme involving then White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus back about a year ago in February 2017. Ok, actually McCabe’s on “terminal leave” effective immediately until he official retires in mid-March when he becomes eligible for a full pension. So what does Kurtz’s book say about McCabe that seems to have precipitated in part at least his sudden “terminal leave.” According to Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist, here’s how Kurtz’s book detailed how the scheme/process worked. McCabe drops by the White House around February, 2017 to tell Priebus that a NYTimes and by extension a related CNN story on supposed contacts between Trump aides and Russian Intelligence agents were false or “bulls–t.” Priebus apparently pointed to the TV screens which were obviously carrying the story 24-7 and asked if the FBI would publicly make some sort of statement to the same effect as what McCabe had just told Priebus personally. McCabe said he’d check to see what was possible and left. He then called later to say that he couldn’t comply with Priebus’ request. Director Comey then phoned a while later to say he couldn’t publicly say anything directly but that he would brief the Senate Intelligence Committee on the matter who would apparently then release the information that the FBI considered the NYT/CNN story false. About a week later a story broke on CNN that the FBI had turned down a request by Priebus to “knock down” the story on Trump aides meeting with Russian intel agents. The contents of the leaked story suggested that the FBI leaker had intimate knowledge of the conversation McCabe had with Priebus the week before. The story strongly suggested that Priebus had initiated the conversation and was possibly guilty of obstruction of justice. In June, Comey testified before Congress that the original NYT story was “not true.” The NYT insisted their sources in the FBI confirmed the story. As Mollie Hemingway puts it: There seems to be a disparity between what FBI officials tell reporters under the cloak of anonymity and what they admit under oath or to those more knowledgeable of the matters at hand. And she adds this: As Comey admitted under oath he did tell President Trump three times that Trump was not under investigation. These private statements to Trump occurred while Comey publicly insinuated the opposite. This story above fits the same pattern. Partisan operatives in or close to the FBI communicated snippets of information with reporters who didn’t demand proof or substantiation, then FBI officials denied to White House officials who knew the facts that they were seeding that information, then officials suggested that White House operatives were obstructing justice by[...]



​Trump’s Offer – How Much is a Dreamer Worth?

2018-01-26T21:03:31Z

Where were you on Sunday, May 25th, 1986? I wasn’t there, as in holding hands from one end of continental America to the other. I was somewhere else. But never mind. Hands Across America apparently linked around 6.5 million people from one coast to the other, raising money and awareness though for exactly what isn’t […]Where were you on Sunday, May 25th, 1986? I wasn’t there, as in holding hands from one end of continental America to the other. I was somewhere else. But never mind. Hands Across America apparently linked around 6.5 million people from one coast to the other, raising money and awareness though for exactly what isn’t too clear all these years later. And it’s not quite clear that hands were linked all across every single yard. Also, people lined up 6 to 10 deep in cities that the route deliberately went through, following a zig zag pattern to be able to include populated metropolises. So it’s hard to say how many people actually and truly linking hands it would take to cover every single yard of the southern border. How about 690,000? The original number of registered Dreamers if you will who signed up for DACA. It’s a long border isn’t it? From Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California it’s almost two thousand miles, all the way. 1,954 to be exact. So how much is each Dreamer worth as a bargaining chip? That sounds a tad medieval doesn’t it, especially when you throw in language like chain migration. Gives Democrats like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris a chance to weep and grandstand and polish up there safe-space skills for 2020. But that’s exactly what’s going on right now with the White House’s release of a broad deal on immigration. It’s what’s been haggled and negotiated over in explicit terms since the Trump administration announced early last September that it was letting DACA expire on March 5, 2018. How much will we give you for the wall Mr. President and how many Dreamers will you give us for our cherished amnesty? That’s the question that’s been coming from the Democrats, and from their GOP allies like Graham and Collins. Even if they don’t frame it that way. And Trump has just given them his answer. 20 Billion for the wall + 5 billion for added non-wall border security including the border with Canada + 5 billion to hire additional border agents and immigration judges. That’s 30 billion in total. And let’s please not forget that Trump’s deal also means: Ending the visa lottery Restricting family immigration to members of the immediate family. No abuelas hombre. But returning to the wall, let’s divide that 30 billion by not 690,000 but now by 1.1 million + 690,000 which adds up to almost 1.8 million registered and unregistered Dreamers. Which is Trump’s offer. That works out to a little over $16,700 of additional border security (wall and non-wall) per Dreamer. For a wall that will cost a little over $10 million per mile. Assuming these numbers are anywhere near actual costs. Ridiculous isn’t it? Actually no it isn’t ridiculous. Not in the least bit. This will help solve – and help further prevent – a decades if not generations old problem that has affected entitlement costs and the costs of other public goods in America, and has had some (perhaps a modest but a real one nonetheless) effect on wages, lowering them for working people in lower-skilled jobs. That’s going to save money, all the while giving up to 1.8 million children of illegals (many illegals themselves) amnesty and a path to citizenship. Now the question is, what will the House think of this? Because with immigration hawks like Senators Cotton and Perdue commenting favorably on the deal, th[...]



​What Would it Mean if There Was a Secret Society in the FBI?

2018-01-24T23:59:26Z

A Starbucks in suburban Virginia. Maybe one of the ones near Arlington National Cemetery. Five men in their forties and early fifties in jeans and windbreakers huddle in the parking lot. The tallest one – really tall – tells a worried-looking younger man, the youngest of the group: I swear to God, I will never, […]A Starbucks in suburban Virginia. Maybe one of the ones near Arlington National Cemetery. Five men in their forties and early fifties in jeans and windbreakers huddle in the parking lot. The tallest one – really tall – tells a worried-looking younger man, the youngest of the group: I swear to God, I will never, ever forget. Do you understand now? The worried younger guy gulps and says Yes. But it doesn’t work that way, does it? So, the point being that according to Texas GOP Rep John Ratcliffe – who’s also Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity – there is a reference to a “secret society” within the FBI, in the texts exchanged between FBI Agent Strzok and former FBI Attorney Page. Of which now there appears to be a few months of missing texts – from mid December 2016 to May 2017, when Mueller was appointed special prosecutor. Close to 50,000 texts apparently, gone, missing in action. Due to a glitch. Let’s take a leap of conspiratorial speculation and assume for a moment there may have been (or still be) a rogue group within the FBI, and this is what the words “secret society” refer to. We have no idea at this point what evidence there may be of their purpose. We can guess, however, that it would involve spreading incriminating information – or disinformation – on the Trump campaign, then on the Trump transition team, and finally, on the Trump administration itself. All in order to prevent, and then frustrate, and perhaps resist an elected administration. Or even help overturn it. Do they have secret codewords and rotate their meetings between parking lots around Northern Virginia and D.C.? Uh, no, surely not. In other words, the evidence that any supposed group of FBI employees might have or might still exist will have to be parsed from convoluted, bureaucratic procedures, and mountains of partial evidence that on it’s own may appear trivial at times but within a larger context may prove damning. But why do we have to go looking for a secret society? When former intel chiefs are in the media warning of the dangers of President Trump? When Sally Yates – Deputy Attorney General and Acting Attorney General for 10 days in January 2017 – defied her new boss over the first travel ban, rather than resign. She sided with the 9th Circuit rather than the White House, stating: For as long as I am the acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of th[is] executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so. Did you applaud? Would you care if I pointed to Scalia’s dissent in Morrison v. Olson in 1988, and how it illuminates the entire special counsel/independent counsel dilemma? If you applauded you don’t care about Scalia’s theory of the “unitary executive” of which the Department of Justice is part. Trump shouldn’t be president and Sally Yates was right to display undue deference to the lower courts’ doubts about the ban. So why should we unduly worry about a secret society in the FBI? When former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper states: Having some understanding of the levers of power that are available to a president if he chooses to exercise them, I found this (Trump’s speech in Phoenix last August) downright scary and disturbing. Never m[...]



​Angry Phone Calls in Maryland & Revenge Porn Leaks

2018-01-19T19:31:51Z

From David Frum’s Philip Roth-like cover story in Atlantic few days after President Trump’s election – one that echoed Roth’s The Plot Against America – to Chelsea Handler practically pleading and insulting on Twitter with America’s military brass to launch a coup last summer. From the anarchist and resistance protests on Inauguration Day that left […]From David Frum’s Philip Roth-like cover story in Atlantic few days after President Trump’s election – one that echoed Roth’s The Plot Against America – to Chelsea Handler practically pleading and insulting on Twitter with America’s military brass to launch a coup last summer. From the anarchist and resistance protests on Inauguration Day that left cars torched and stores vandalized to the constant leaks and half-truths from government employees that can have the vengeful salaciousness of revenge porn. From Ross Douthat suggesting that the Trump administration should use the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from the office of President of the United States to which he was duly elected, to Maryland Democratic Rep Jamie Raskin proposing a bill to essentially declare Trump mentally unfit for office. Aggressive, even extreme, and occasionally explicitly violent. All in the name of nullifying November 8, 2016. And in ways that would undermine America’s Republic long after this administration is gone. Look to countries like Turkey or Argentina, if you need a clue to some of the things that could happen. They won’t of course. America will never descend to those levels, as much as many in the Resistance are blindly encouraging processes that would nudge the country in undesirable directions. But never mind any of that. It’s all part of the #Resistance by any means, it seems. And apparently, there’s a real and dangerous threat of violence that recently happened. As stated above Maryland Democrat Raskin has continually pushed for a committee in Congress to analyze and of course declare President Trump unfit for office. And he recently had the support of a group of psychiatrists who blatantly disregard the Goldwater Rule – don’t analyze someone who has not been in your office for therapy, analysis etc. – and declared Trump a danger to the human race in hysterical and alarmist tones. You’re welcome Kim Jong-un. One of those is Associate Professor Bandy X. Lee (of Yale) who was scheduled to speak with Baskin at a Maryland seniors center. According to Baskin and Bandy Lee – sorry but I do not consider them impartial purveyors of the supposed events – angry Trump supporters threatened the gathering and they had to cancel. Thereby proving their thesis that President Trump will blow up the world anytime soon now. Did they get angry phone calls? Yes, it is likely and no, it isn’t a good thing. Letting them instead reveal their theory’s ridiculousness is a much better way to dissipate their fear-mongering. But it is absurd to suggest that humanity is threatened because, for example, Trump is taking a tougher stand on North Korea, and further, that some angry calls to a senior center in Maryland is confirmation of this absurd belief on Lee and Baskin’s part. The doom and disaster predicted after Trump was elected has not happened. Despite Charlottesville’s ugly racist confrontations. Despite Roy Moore’s pathetic campaign. Despite Trump’s s-hole or s-house or s-w/e comments. America is functioning as it should, with checks and balances, and rather well overall. From a robust economy with a booming if frothy stock market to modest tax reforms to modest administrative and regulatory pullback, to[...]



If Democrats Take the House, They’ll Impeach Trump

2018-01-18T14:08:16Z

If Democrats Take the House, They’ll Impeach Trump © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. Historically, the first mid-term elections in a new president’s first term result in major losses for the President’s party. The most famous recent example was in 1994, following the 1992 election of Bill Clinton. In spite of Clinton’s oratory skill, […]If Democrats Take the House, They’ll Impeach Trump © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. Historically, the first mid-term elections in a new president’s first term result in major losses for the President’s party. The most famous recent example was in 1994, following the 1992 election of Bill Clinton. In spite of Clinton’s oratory skill, favorable media coverage and appealing looks/smooth demeanor, the 1994 mid-terms were a disaster for the Democrats. Led by the “villainous, scary” Newt Gingrich, Republicans won 54 House seats. In what came to be called the “Republican Revolution,” they wrested Congressional control away from Democrats for the first time since 1952. Once in control, Gingrich instituted his Contract with America programs, a series of Congressional initiatives designed to implement what the Republicans felt was their electoral mandate from the populace. The liberal media hated Gingrich and the Republicans and resented their victory tremendously, ceaselessly deriding the Republican-controlled efforts and referring to it as the “Contract on America.” Similarly, during Ronald Reagan’s first term in 1982, his Republican Party lost 27 Congressional seats, despite Reagan’s overwhelmingly lopsided presidential victory over the hapless Jimmy Carter just two short years prior. It appears that even popular presidents coming off strong wins are susceptible to profound Congressional losses in the first contest out of the gate. The Republicans may well lose control of Congress in 2018 for the first time since 2006. This is significant, because one of the things a Congressional majority has the power to do is bring articles of impeachment against a sitting president. In recent (post-World War II) history, this has only been done once, when the Republican House voted in 1998 to impeach President Clinton for his alleged lying under oath and obstruction of justice during the Monica Lewinsky matter. It certainly would also have happened during the President Nixon/Watergate affair in 1974, but President Nixon resigned before any formal charges were brought. The standard for Congress to level charges against a sitting president are a clear and willful commission on the president’s part of “high crimes and misdemeanors” against the country, such that the rule of law, national security or the common good is grievously threatened. It’s an inexact standard, to be sure, subject to the political whims and mood of the controlling Congressional party. To say that Democratic politicians in DC, Hillary’s 60+ million voters and the liberal mainstream media regard President Trump as an illegitimate president is an understatement. They have been complaining and protesting his presence in the Oval Office since day one, starting with their invention of “Crowdgate,” where they purported to show how much bigger President Obama’s Inauguration Day attendance was than President Trump’s. That day—Day One of his presidency—gave birth to liberal “fake news” coverage of his tenure in office, as the liberal cable stations shamelessly and disingenuously compared early morning photos of Trump’s crowd with peak afternoon pictures of Obama’s crowd. So it has continued, unabated, non-stop for over a year. Each roughly-worded Trump Tweet, every criticism by him or his staff of the liberal [...]



​Science-Based Google Gets Medieval on James Damore

2018-01-18T17:36:53Z

Forgive me. I am so prejudiced. So, so biased that I did not even realize that Otherkin is a word, and that it is much more than a word. It is a subculture, apparently, where people decide they’re like fish. Or dragons, which seems to be a popular choice. Like, for example, a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin. Otherkins […]Forgive me. I am so prejudiced. So, so biased that I did not even realize that Otherkin is a word, and that it is much more than a word. It is a subculture, apparently, where people decide they’re like fish. Or dragons, which seems to be a popular choice. Like, for example, a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin. Otherkins might even identify sexually as a dragon with yellow-scales but no wings. Yes, there are people who sexually identify as a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin. Which is NOT the same as a yellow-scaled winged dragonkin. Exactly what the difference between those two sexual identities is is way beyond a bigot like me. So you’ll have to ask the real thing, apparently a particular Google employee who gave an in-house workshop or chat or presentation (was there any dance involved?) on the matter of so-called plural sexual identities. Should this person who has taken what might seem like an adolescent fantasy and raised (I’m trying to find a neutral verb here) it to the level of an identity (which does not seem to have anything to do with gender, perhaps …) actually read these words and should I ever try to work for Google – two probabilities that limit with zero which if you multiply them together to get the probability that both occur, would get you even closer to zero; I’m trying to be science-based here like Eric Schmidt says Google and Googlers are – then I would be harassed and hounded into the waters of the Pacific. And I would drown as the yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin hissed vengefully over my sinking body, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. On dry land, however, James Damore has a much better plan than being hounded into the Pacific for writing a few satirical paragraphs. The former Google employee has launched a lawsuit against his former employer and has released a long document with lots of screenshots that display what it’s like to work at Google as a white male who’s conservative or at least not crazy. Here’s an example of one of the reactions to Damore’s original memo, (which suggested cultural choices and gender differences might have produced the overabundance of white male programmers as well as suggesting ways to actually increase workplace diversity): I’m a queer-ass non-binary trans person that is f!cking sick and tired of being told to open a dialogue with people who want me dead. We are at a point where the dialogue we need to be having with these people is ‘if you keep taking about this sh!t I will hurt you’. The university campus free-speech shout-downs and intimidation and violence are influencing the corporate world in a much faster and more profound way than the path the radicalism of the sixties took to work it’s way into corporate culture. What is happening at Google makes the early years at Apple look like a Mennonite church gathering. But it comes from the same source, and that notorious meeting of Berkeley radicals in the late 60’s where it was decided the only answer to oppression was to kill white babies is still at the heart of cultural marxism. You’re a white male? Confess your guilt or be silent or even better, just quietly leave. That (mostly) white billionaires are in charge of the companies in Silicon Valley where this is occurring (not the only place[...]



Democrats Are All About Winning, Not Governing

2018-01-12T14:20:58Z

Democrats Are All About Winning, Not Governing © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. It’s been said that we have two major governing parties in this country, the Democrats and the Republicans. Each party has a different, broad-based approach to managing the country: The Democrats believe that Government-created, taxpayer-funded programs—implemented from DC—are the best way […]Democrats Are All About Winning, Not Governing © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. It’s been said that we have two major governing parties in this country, the Democrats and the Republicans. Each party has a different, broad-based approach to managing the country: The Democrats believe that Government-created, taxpayer-funded programs—implemented from DC—are the best way to guide the country’s fortunes, while Republicans feel that market-based, individually-oriented solutions work to the best advantage of the nation. That’s a 30,000-ft generalized look at things, but it is widely accepted as being true. It’s not true. Just the opposite: It’s fundamentally false. The Democrats are primarily concerned with winning political battles first and governing the country to the population’s benefit second. A look at some of today’s higher-profile issues illustrates this quite clearly. And this is not a peculiarity limited only to present-day circumstances. The Democrats’ approach to both yesterday’s and tomorrow’s major issues are equally persuasive as to their “governing” priorities. Today’s Issues: DACA/Dreamers—The Democrats pose as if this is the big humanitarian issue of our time. “Through no fault of their own,” some 800,000 children were dragged across our border when their parents illegally immigrated to this country. The Dreamers, as they’re so amusingly called, should not only be afforded amnesty and forgiveness according to the Democrats and allowed to stay in this country, but they should also be allowed to bring in their relatives as well (so-called chain migration). But President Trump wants funding for his border wall, a central tenet of his campaign, as a condition to any compromise regarding the Dreamers. The Democrats don’t really have humanitarian concerns and thus they have no incentive or inclination to compromise. Their primary motivations are growing their voting base with low-income Gov’t-dependent immigrants whose offspring will become automatic Democratic voters a few years from now and the desire to simply make President Trump look bad, as a typical “heartless, cold” Republican. Anything that reduces illegal immigration (the wall) or lessens the future pool of Democratic voters (deporting the Dreamers or ending chain migration) will be opposed by the Democrats with a vengeance. The “public good” has nothing to do with anything. A political win for the Democrats is all that matters. Tax Reform—The Democrats don’t care about the actual financial benefits that lower corporate taxes will deliver to the economy (such as greater investment by companies in plants and equipment, leading directly to increased employment), nor do they care about how much the average middle-class family will benefit from their extra few hundred dollars of disposable income per month. Democrats just want to further the cliché of rich Republicans getting huge underserved tax breaks, while the average person suffers as a result. Democrats simply want to sully the Republicans’ image in the eyes of the casually-attentive voter. Mueller/Collusion—The Democrats’ only goal here is to make Trump look bad, undermine his legitimacy as president, and keep his approval numbers low [...]



​Would it be President Oprah? Or President Winfrey?

2018-01-10T21:40:38Z

Are you scornfully offended over the allegations in Fire and Fury? Because of what Trump’s administration perhaps, possibly, maybe did in its first months in office? Or are you incensed because Michael Wolff does things like misspell “public” as “pubic” on what seems to be more than one occasion in what is a rushed and […]Are you scornfully offended over the allegations in Fire and Fury? Because of what Trump’s administration perhaps, possibly, maybe did in its first months in office? Or are you incensed because Michael Wolff does things like misspell “public” as “pubic” on what seems to be more than one occasion in what is a rushed and sloppy, often inaccurate, as well as a nasty, gossipy, insider’s/Bannon’s-knifing-in-the-kidneys of a book? Never mind. Does stable-genius make you laugh or cringe? Doesn’t matter anymore. Why? Oprah is coming. In 2 years, 9 months, and 25 days. On November 3, 2020, Oprah will save us all with a warm smile, a big hug, and maybe a new car! Suddenly Tom Steyer says he will focus on funneling tens of millions into Democratic candidates’ campaigns. and will not run for office. Is he thinking of a cabinet level job? Imagine Joe Biden’s face as he watched the Golden Globes and “the speech.” Imagine Kamala Harris thinking: I can’t even think of running anyway and hoping for Vice President because Oprah will likely have to pick a guy as her running mate. Imagine Bernie Sanders thinking: what do I do now? Will my base still stick with me? Because none of them and the other less known but qualified candidates – like Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who has policy chops and a fair bit of legislative experience – would ever think of trying to run against an Oprah campaign. Would they? Or pointing out that her policy experience is nil. Would they? Or having their backers fund a little opposition research on her: and not just going back through the thousands of hours of tapes of her show, but really digging up some dirt. Maybe something financial? Tax liabilities anyone? Undeclared income? (even if it’s a case of oversight). Relationships with Hollywood abusers. Would they? For the most fought over job in the world, in which people are willing to do almost anything to get elected as President of the United States of America, yes they would. At least some of them would. Maybe even the GOP too. Is Fusion GPS is getting a lot of calls? Oprah, like Trump is going to have to expend her brand, her capital, almost immediately. It’s already started in the media in fact. She’s going to have defend and answer and deal with a level of scrutiny that only someone like Trump, or her friend Obama can advise her on what that feels like. Is she tough enough to deal with that? Maybe she is, but we will certainly find out, one way or another. Is she nasty enough to swing hard when cornered? Swinging back can be with any tone you can manage to put together: remember noxious Harry Reid who sounded like a concerned elementary school teacher while setting off fire storms in the Senate. Is Oprah flinty enough to eviscerate a Kamala Harris during a debate with a warm smile and a compassionate tone? Or can she somehow rewrite the rules once again – after Trump rewrote them by breaking them and still getting elected? How would that look? What would that sound like? Before we talk about a possible President Oprah, we need to consider Candidate Oprah and how that would work out. But wait a minute. Can we actually say Candidate Oprah?? Isn’t [...]



Sometimes Late is Worse Than Never

2018-01-09T18:09:46Z

Sometimes Late is Worse Than Never © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. It seems like timing is everything in life. Job opportunities, investments, political initiatives, travel schedules, etc.—things can work out to maximum advantage or with disastrous results depending on a small shift in the timing of the event. This is certainly true in […]Sometimes Late is Worse Than Never © 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. It seems like timing is everything in life. Job opportunities, investments, political initiatives, travel schedules, etc.—things can work out to maximum advantage or with disastrous results depending on a small shift in the timing of the event. This is certainly true in business. Companies that have an innovative, exciting new product under development have to balance the need to announce its existence to the market on one hand with their ability to actually deliver the product in a reasonable time frame on the other hand. Announcing an exciting new product that embodies a brand-new technology or that breaches a previously unreachable price barrier conveys undeniable market advantages to that company. The industry press writes about it and the company enjoys great publicity that shines not only on the new product, but brings great visibility and attention to the company’s other offerings as well. The competition scatters off in a frenzied attempt to match the new product, but since they usually have no idea exactly how the new technology actually works (only having read the press releases and trade write-ups), their efforts are unfocused, time-consuming and expensive. All of this redounds to the benefit of the company that announces the cutting-edge new product. They have the spotlight. Their market attractiveness goes way up, since customers will want to be “on board” and “first in line” when the new widget is delivered. Announcing a new product is a double-edged sword, however. Wait too long, and a competitor may beat you to the punch, robbing your forever of your day in the sun. Or even worse, if a company waits too long, the market conditions may shift away from the new product, rendering it irrelevant. If the company had made a more timely announcement, they could have moved the market’s expectations in their direction. But do it too soon, and you risk burning your goodwill equity as customers and industry analysts alike get tired of waiting for an oft-delayed production date. The market will accept just so many delays and excuses before they write you off completely. The very worst thing that can happen to any company is when their much-ballyhooed invention is delivered to a “So what?” reaction instead of a “Yes! It’s here!” reaction. Two excellent business examples come immediately to mind. The first is the Tesla Model 3 electric car. Announced with great fanfare in the spring of 2016, it was going to be the first affordable electric car, suitable for the masses. At an expected price in the mid $30k range, it was no more expensive than a fully-equipped Honda Accord EX. Beautiful, fast and free of the chains of gasoline power, the Tesla Model 3 would be delivered in large quantities by the fall of 2017 and it would single-handedly usher in the era of the practical EV, ending forever the internal combustion engine’s monopoly on the personal automotive market. It hasn’t worked out the way Tesla led us to believe it would. Maybe they knew all along that they would miss their large-quantity manufacturing dates as badly as they have, but they kept reassuring industry analysts all along that they’d m[...]



​President Trump Scorches Bannon While Manafort Fights Fire With Fire

2018-01-05T00:20:22Z

This was a brazen act, a defiant challenge to the powers that be that was slapped down with a swift ferocity within a short while of it’s being released to the public. Oh yes, and also today on Wednesday there’s news about Steve Bannon’s spat with President Trump. But let’s return to the first case: […]This was a brazen act, a defiant challenge to the powers that be that was slapped down with a swift ferocity within a short while of it’s being released to the public. Oh yes, and also today on Wednesday there’s news about Steve Bannon’s spat with President Trump. But let’s return to the first case: Paul Manafort’s lawsuit against the Department of Justice, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller for overstepping their authority. It’s a long shot, given that Manafort has been charged with 12 violations of the law, an admittedly dramatic beefing up by Mueller’s team of what are essentially charges of money laundering and lying. And what is essentially a result of failing to register as a foreign agent, a crime that is usually dealt with by requiring the offending party (often lobbyists) to duly register. Not this time however. Does Manafort’s past list of clients provoke at the very least uneasiness on the part of most of us? Of course. Do the charges against Manafort have anything to do with any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s regime in Moscow? Not so far. And that’s essentially Manafort´s legal strategy apparently. The order signed by Rod Rosenstein back on May 5, 2017 is now being attacked in Manafort’s lawsuit as too broad, seeing it in part says: (b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intellligence on March 20, 2017, including: (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. 600.4(a). (c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters. It’s parts (ii) and (iii) of (b) and (c) which may prove to be most damaging for Paul Manafort, seeing that the order basically allows Mueller’s team free range to dig into financial transactions of any sort that they deem of interest. Not sure Manafort is keen on that. Yes, (b) (ii) and (iii), and (c) are fishing expeditions for the most part. Is that appropriate for a special counsel? The courts will decide and so far opinion has been dismissive of Manafort’s lawsuit. But it will be interesting to see how the courts rule and what their rulings might imply about a special counsel’s reach in general. On the other hand why bother with details of lawsuits concerning special counsels and deputy AG’s when you have Steve “Fire and Fury” Bannon using the T word in Michael Wolff’s soon to be released book? One can imagine the curious mixture of wonder, glee and apprehension in Democrat (and Special Counsel) circles … How do we spin this without seeming like Nazi-loving alt-right white supremacists? The specific quote in question that apparently infuriated the president is the one where Bannon tells Wolff that Donald Jr, Jared [...]



​Coming to Terms With Tom Petty

2018-01-02T22:41:57Z

Shall I talk about the top twenty 2017 tweets of President Trump? How about Alvin Kamara’s awesome Santa Cleats which have resulted in a fine by the NFL, delivered in an envelope to the New Orlean’s Saints running back? It looks like those 32 yards he ran for in the Christmas Eve game are going […]Shall I talk about the top twenty 2017 tweets of President Trump? How about Alvin Kamara’s awesome Santa Cleats which have resulted in a fine by the NFL, delivered in an envelope to the New Orlean’s Saints running back? It looks like those 32 yards he ran for in the Christmas Eve game are going to be the most expensive of his career. Or maybe I should dive right in to Trump’s interview with the NYT in which he says that the Mueller probe: … makes the country look bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position. No? How about if instead I talk just for a moment about a wonderful, very talented, very hard-working artist who suddenly left us in September. Tom Petty. It was a warm snap, in I think December, in 1979, and I was jogging past the house where the cool people lived in college. The windows to Andy’s room were open and the thunder of Stan Lynch’s opening drum roll turned my head as the opening chords (F#minor, D, and E) of Refugee poured out the open window. I swiveled and kept jogging up the path, through the front door, and up the steps into Andy’s room, and we sat and listened to Tom and the Heartbreakers’ early masterpiece. More were to come of course, but this was the first time when it felt like they really could do anything they set their minds to. Over the previous year, Andy had made me listen to their first two albums, as he would shake his head and say “I can’t believe they’re not huge!” So that mild December afternoon in 79 was like a confirmation of all the expectations that the few early TP fans in our circles had nourished. By the time I belatedly saw their 2008 Super Bowl half-time show on Youtube, it was a year or two after the event. Sorry, I haven’t followed Super Bowls religiously for a long time. I watched the opening chords of American Girl and I started weeping. But they were tears of gratitude for all the wonderful music Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have given us. And just to remind everyone, Tom Petty was very much alive and kicking when I got mushy watching the halftime show on Youtube. I’ll let music critics argue over who the greatest rock bands are. TP and the Heartbreakers were one of the best. Try playing Mike Campbell’s solo in American Girl. It was twenty years ahead of its time. It took punk, post-punk, 80’s big hair, grunge and post-grunge, for guitar solos to catch up to what he did back in 1976. Try playing the guitar-piano combination in the chorus of Here Comes My Girl. Fascinatingly, Tom said in the VHS series on great albums that you had to come from the South to play the riff that floats behind Petty’s vocals and Stan Lynch’s backup vocals. Try playing that magic handful of chords that Tom plays in Learning to Fly. Try to get that beautiful ache in just your rythm guitar playing. Now try to do it on a Rickenbacker. Not easy, huh? Now sing please. De Tocqueville writes about the optimism and confidence that he found that women in America were raised into. It’s there in the opening lines to Tom’s song American Girl: Well she was an American girl, raised on promises But that would be to ascribe political ends to Tom Petty’s mus[...]



​The Anti-Mueller Feedback Loop

2017-12-28T00:03:44Z

The Hezbollah crime syndicate that was let off the hook by pressure and slow-walking or stonewalling by the Obama administration. At least until the Iran Deal was in place. Next to nothing in mainstream media. The evidence that is slowly accumulating on the very real possibility that the “insurance policy” FBI agent Peter Strzok mentioned […]The Hezbollah crime syndicate that was let off the hook by pressure and slow-walking or stonewalling by the Obama administration. At least until the Iran Deal was in place. Next to nothing in mainstream media. The evidence that is slowly accumulating on the very real possibility that the “insurance policy” FBI agent Peter Strzok mentioned in a text message to then FBI lawyer Lisa Page in a conversation about a meeting almost definitely held in Deputy Director McCabe’s office in the summer of 2016, was quite possibly the very Steele Dossier that they had started to receive at the FBI? Mainstream media? Next to nothing. The fact that the House Select Committee on Intelligence is demanding evidence from the FBI and the DOJ to clear up the role that various members of Mueller’s team have played? Now that’s big news. Why? It’s the anti-Mueller feedback loop! You guys decry Ben Rhodes for his echo chamber (that was Rhodes’ language by the way: he’s the one who coined the phrase)? Well we’re (CNN’s Brian Stelter to be specific) going to coin a phrase too! And we’ll get Perry Bacon Jr. to write about the evil plan in the wonkish fivethirtyeight’s blog. And use phrases like: It’s not clear that the anti-Mueller campaign is coordinated, in the sense that Congressional Republicans, White House officals and Fox News executives sat in a room together and planned how to attack Mueller and his team. Of course not Perry, you’ll just let that image sit uncomfortably in your readers mind as you inevitably make comparisons to Nixon’s attempts to discredit Watergate investigators, because it’s basically the same, right? Sorry this is way worse, right? Russia is involved! Keep it about process. Imply nefarious motives at every turn. And avoid actually talking about the evidence that Mueller’s team has so far failed to turn up, or at least disclose. And especially avoid talking about the evidence that Mueller’s team appears very much biased in favor of the Democrat Party establishment. Ignore further evidence like: The Steele Dossier it turns out was opposition research paid for by the DNC and Hillary’s campaign and contracted out through Fusion GPS who likely helped leak details of its existence and then of its contents. The evidence in the Dossier is often second or third hand heresay. Andrew McCarthy hi-lites this gem from the Dossier: Another source, apparently Russian, told Steele that an official “close to” Putin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov had confided to “a compatriot” that Igor Diveykin (of the “Internal Political Department” of Putin’s Presidential Administration) had also met with Page in Moscow. And apparently Divekin at that supposed meeting had told Carter Page that Russia had kompromat (compromising material) on both Hillary and Trump so they should make a deal with Russia on sanctions. Follow the bouncing ball: Igor tells a friend of Sergei that he talked to Carter Page. Sergei’s friend tells an unknown Russian. The unknown Russian tells another unknown Russian. Unknown Rus[...]



Random Thoughts on Recent Happenings

2017-12-22T18:49:32Z

Random Thoughts on Recent Happenings © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. No. 1—The Tax Bill Buried away in a postage stamp-sized small parcel of this bill was the authorization to –finally!—open up the ANWR region for oil exploration. If you’ve paid attention to this issue over the last, oh, 30 years or so, I […]Random Thoughts on Recent Happenings © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. No. 1—The Tax Bill Buried away in a postage stamp-sized small parcel of this bill was the authorization to –finally!—open up the ANWR region for oil exploration. If you’ve paid attention to this issue over the last, oh, 30 years or so, I don’t have to explain that very tongue-in-cheek reference I made as to the size of the bill. It’s not going to “ruin the environment.” The existing Alaskan Pipeline hasn’t disrupted your precious caribou nor has it besmirched the Alaskan countryside with all manner of nasty accidents. The irony is that we just may not really need ANWR’s oil at this point. When geological experts first predicted that the ANWR region like held a treasure-trove of billions of barrels of crude oil, fracking had not yet come of age. The world was still getting its oil the old-fashioned way: by drilling down for it, with conventional wells. Fracking would come of age decades later, with horizontal as well as vertical drilling technology and the ability to drill several miles to reach the oil. Then, by injecting high-pressure water into the fissures of oil-soaked shale rock, the oil is released and able to be recovered. Not as easy and uncomplicated as those simple vertical wells in the Saudi desert, but we’ll take it. Shale fracking’s contribution to the world’s oil supply is directly responsible for the world-wide drop in oil prices that has made your gasoline $2.47/gal today, a far cry from the $4.08/gal you were paying in the pre-fracking days of 2008. Tapping ANWR’s massive oil reserves will ensure American energy independence for decades to come—oil-based independence. It’s just that with the emergence of EVs like Tesla and the Chevy Bolt, gasoline (oil)-powered cars are on the decline. How long before oil-based transportation is no longer the dominant format? 20 years? 40 years? It’s coming, and fast, so ANWR looms as a less important piece of the American energy puzzle than seemed possible just 20 short years ago. Twenty years ago, no one could have predicted either fracking or EVs. That’s how fast things move. No. 1a—The Tax Bill All through its gestation, up to and including its no-Democrats passage, the bill was denounced by its political opponents with every tired, trite, incorrect reason that Democrats always use to criticize any Republican-sponsored tax-reduction bill: It will only benefit the ‘rich,’ the Republicans are doing this only to reward their fat-cat donors, the middle-class gets nothing, it’s a sham, etc., etc. We’ve heard it all before. The only thing more remarkable than the predictable inaccuracy of their criticism is the certainty that Democrats will gladly take the tax relief and pocket it to their own personal benefit. As they should. But wouldn’t we all be impressed to see some liberal business owner give back the 14% break they got from the Gov’t (from 35% down to 21%) on their corporate taxes? To quote every liberal when you back them into a logic-based corner from which there is no escape: “Well, that’s different…..” No. 2—The Move to Recogni[...]



​Would You Trust Peter Strzok’s Insurance Policy?

2017-12-15T22:34:21Z

About a week ago, writing in National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy rose to the defense of his former profession as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York: a prosecutor in other words. His point was that political bias or passion cannot possibly be a reason for disqualifying a prosecutor or an […]About a week ago, writing in National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy rose to the defense of his former profession as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York: a prosecutor in other words. His point was that political bias or passion cannot possibly be a reason for disqualifying a prosecutor or an agent of the FBI. It would set a dangerous precedent. That was on December 6, when his piece was published, and he was referring of course, to Peter Strzok the FBI agent who exchanged around 10,000 text messages with then FBI attorney Lisa Page, some of them very critical of Trump. McCarthy said this: Are we now saying that whether a prosecutor or agent is qualified to work on a political-corruption case depends on his or her party affiliation or political convictions? That would be a terrible mistake. It would do more to intrude politics into law enforcement than remove it. Yes Andy, it sure would. And you suggested in the same article that we should wait to see more evidence. The facts please. Unfortunately, the facts are starting to suggest that it was precisely their political leanings and/or affiliations that seemed to matter whether they were picked to be part of Mueller’s team charged with investigating any possible Russia collusion. In other words, the political test was applied before the team even started. It was already baked into the very process of this increasingly dubious investigation. Victor Davis Hanson sums up the accumulating evidence against Mueller’s team – One Mueller-Investigation Coincidence Too Many in National Review – and how each individual demonstration of bias, or outright opposition research in the case of Bruce Ohr’s wife Nellie, is rationalized away, until the long trail of denial becomes too obvious to wish away or normalize. Like the case of Andrew Weissman – Mueller’s right-hand man in the investigating team – praising Acting AG Sally Yates’ refusal to implement President Trump’s travel ban. In other words, openly praising resistance-like actions that were clearly an act of insubordination as Yates disobeyed her constitutionally-mandated boss, President Trump. But the fatal piece of evidence (we only have information on around 375 text messages out of a total of about 10,000) is a single text message that reads: I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you’re 40 … Peter Strzok sent the text message to Lisa Page. “Andy” is likely Andrew McCabe, the 2nd in command at the FBI . “He” (as in “he gets elected”) could very well refer to Trump, at that time in the heat of the campaign against Hillary. Strzok had texted Page on August 15, 2016 with the message above. But what was Peter Strzok referring to when he wrote “It’s like an insurance policy”? What the hell is “It”? I can hardly wait to read Byron York’[...]



Emotional vs. Logical Voting

2017-12-15T20:14:23Z

Emotional vs. Logical Voting © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved.   There are often hard dividing lines between the reasons voters favor one party or candidate over another. One on hand, there are the concrete policy and philosophical reasons. Stances on issues such as abortion (euphemistically referred to as “choice”), gun control, illegal immigration, […]Emotional vs. Logical Voting © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved.   There are often hard dividing lines between the reasons voters favor one party or candidate over another. One on hand, there are the concrete policy and philosophical reasons. Stances on issues such as abortion (euphemistically referred to as “choice”), gun control, illegal immigration, military spending, taxation, fossil fuel development vs. environmental considerations, and demographically-based hiring/admission issues are generally make-or-break factors in determining whether an informed voter does or does not support a particular candidate or party. It’s hard to vote against a strongly-held conviction. On the other hand, many times people vote contrary to their basic convictions and beliefs simply because of emotional or egotistical conflicts. People often can’t bring themselves to vote for a candidate or party with whom they’ve had a long-standing emotional conflict or personal aversion. In particular, many seemingly intelligent, thoughtful people vote against their own interests when they support liberal Democratic candidates, contrary to the way they lead their own lives. Granted, some percentage of Democratic voters are True Believers of liberal mantra, non-hypocritical followers of their chosen life philosophy. They walk their talk and for that, deserve a measure of unambiguous respect for their personal integrity. However, many Democratic voters seem to vote more along emotional “rooting for a team” or “everyone I know has always voted this way” lines than by a purely logical analysis of which party platform most closely aligns with their life’s outlook. Many liberals simply find conservatives repulsive on an emotional/personal level and could never bring themselves to vote for them. The Joy Behars of the world will never vote for the Donald Trumps of the world. The use of the name “Trump” here is merely a stereotype of the manner in which many liberals view many conservatives: middle-aged, white, male, cold-hearted, rough-edged, overly militaristic, still caught in the “old way” of thinking about women-minorities-gender issues, too pro-business, anti-environment, etc. Even if the Trumps were in virtually total agreement with all their positions, the Behars would then re-state their own positions so as to fabricate some technical difference between themselves and “Trump” and provide a publicly-defensible rationale to not support the conservative. The personal revulsion and loathing that a Behar feels for a Trump completely overrides any chance whatsoever of voting for a Trump under any circumstances for any reason. It’ll never happen, ever. There are many basic beliefs that most people share that could be considered “conservative” in nature. These include: Hiring/advancement in professional endeavors or admission/attainment of scholastic grades should be based primarily on merit in most cases.   Related to the above, as long as your company is abiding by Government-mandated minimum wage and em[...]



​Yes, God is in Control Roy

2017-12-14T03:35:35Z

Yes Roy, God is in control. If I may quote the good book: A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Good Lord directeth his steps Proverbs 16:9 Many of those telling you to fight on can quote the Bible with far more facility than a rather unchurched conservative like me, admittedly. And there is […]Yes Roy, God is in control. If I may quote the good book: A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Good Lord directeth his steps Proverbs 16:9 Many of those telling you to fight on can quote the Bible with far more facility than a rather unchurched conservative like me, admittedly. And there is an abundance of quotes therein. And many of them that support you are understandably alarmed by Doug Jones’ view on a woman’s right to abortion. But having Doug Jones as Alabama’s next junior senator will not change Roe v. Wade one iota. Yes, the Senate advises and consents to SCOTUS appointments; but having you, Roy, in the Senate wouldn’t have necessarily made it any easier for President Trump to get anything done, including appointing another Justice should someone like Ginsburg or Kennedy finally retire. The Supreme Court of the United States will, perhaps, take on Roe v. Wade at some point in the future. Perhaps. Perhaps not, or not for a long while yet. On the other hand, any investigation into Planned Parenthood’s resale of baby parts is a far more important battle for pro-life proponents at this point in time. And that does not require Roy Moore in the Senate. Because the battle for life is cultural above all, and how that pre-political culture works its way into the judicial decision making process. Did I say pre-political? Sorry. The pre-anything is political in today’s fevered progressive/radical worldview. So the battle is literally in the streets and homes, not in the court room. In other words, until life is truly valued in a clear majority of society at large, it will be next to impossible to overturn what is considered settled law by many in the judiciary and also considered settled law by a slim but solid majority in the Supreme Court. President Trump kept his distance from you then winked at you across the poker table during the last hand, and put all his chips on you. He lost. You lost. Now the Democrats are quickly filling in the details on the jackpot narrative they will steamroll through and over and around mainstream media. First step: Expel Franken and Conyers and proudly contrast yourself with the Republicans. Second step: Paint the GOP as the party of sexual abusers, precisely because of your example Roy. Although Congress and state and local legislatures are likely filled with examples from both sides of the aisle. We’ll see about that. Third step: Make sure the media revisits Trump’s own accusers from last year’s presidential campaign. Fourth step: Have over 50 female members of the House Democratic Caucus demand an investigation into accusations of harrassment or abuse by President Trump from years gone by. Fifth step: If the Russia probe fizzles even on its obstruction of justice charges against Flynn and potentially President Trump, use the newly commissioned sexual abuse probe to try and impeach Trump. Strike while the iron of outrage is melting hot. Sixth step: Accuse now-President Pence of being oppressive in his views towards women because he’s a practising Christian who doesn’[...]



I’ve Got Good News and……

2017-12-08T13:34:26Z

I’ve Got Good News and I’ve Got Bad News © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. There are lots of important stories in the news every day, but the truly fascinating thing is way that they’re covered and the positive/negative spin that’s assigned to the major political groups. Economic news is certainly a significant political […]I’ve Got Good News and I’ve Got Bad News © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. There are lots of important stories in the news every day, but the truly fascinating thing is way that they’re covered and the positive/negative spin that’s assigned to the major political groups. Economic news is certainly a significant political football. The party out of power generally hates it when things are going well in the economy. If the economy is good, there is a far greater likelihood that people have a job and are providing for their family or themselves. Pocketbook issues are by far the most important to the average voter; everything besides a job is merely a theoretical intellectual indulgence. If you’re paying your rent, buying clothes and food, making car payments, sending the kids to college and perhaps even saving a little for retirement, then all is right with the world. Only when those boxes are checked do people enjoy the luxury of worrying about things like global warming, gay/trans rights, Supreme Court rulings and whether or not we use military force to settle a conflict in some overseas backwater. Economic activity—whether it’s consumer spending by individuals or investment/capital outlays by major corporations—depends in large part on their perceptions and expectations of current and future economic conditions. If entities have reason to believe that economic conditions are solid and stable (and likely to stay good for the foreseeable future), then they spend and invest with confidence. Retail activity is high. Investment in equipment and systems increases. Home and car buying is strong. Factories are busy. Employment is high. It’s a matter of perception and expectations. Given the political importance of the economy, it’s little wonder that political combatants have such a strong vested interest in portraying the economy—good or bad—to their electoral benefit. All the participants play their role: the politicians themselves will criticize or praise cherry-picked aspects of the economy to their liking. Their media allies will support or oppose those positions as expected. There is a story—urban legend, its verity unprovable at this point in retrospect—from around 2006. A cable TV reporter was interviewing a Democratic operative (perhaps James Carville) about the upcoming Christmas shopping season. The reporter said, “Wouldn’t it be great for the country if we had strong holiday sales this year?” To which Carville replied in his distinctive Southern drawl, “I don’t cay-ahh what’s good for the country! I cay-ahh what’s good for the Democratic Party!” Whether or not it was specifically Carville in exactly 2006 is unimportant. The sentiment is unerringly accurate. This brings us to a major aspect of today’s economy and how the media and competing politicians react to it: the stock market. Competing political interests—which includes the media— will either extol or berate the markets’ performance, depending on how it serves their political purpose[...]



​Alabama Dreaming – Roy Moore’s Race & Dreamers & Funding Government

2017-12-08T00:02:55Z

Any bill that funds the governments business requires 60 votes in the Senate. That means that 60 minus 52 = 8 Democratic Senators will need to sign on to any funding bill the GOP puts forward in the upper chamber. And, unfortunately, it’s wiser to write out the formula rather than say that 8 Democrats […]Any bill that funds the governments business requires 60 votes in the Senate. That means that 60 minus 52 = 8 Democratic Senators will need to sign on to any funding bill the GOP puts forward in the upper chamber. And, unfortunately, it’s wiser to write out the formula rather than say that 8 Democrats will be needed with no further qualifications. Why? Because the GOP in the Senate has a hard time agreeing on anything. They miraculously managed to agree on tax reform – but we’ll see how the final bill is shaped by the time it leaves conference and heads to President Trump’s desk for signing. So Republicans might need more than 8 Democrat senators in order to keep government open if, say, a Susan Collins objects to the demands that Dreamers – the children of illegals and many illegals themselves – not continue to be given the protection that the Obama administration handed them a couple of years ago. But of course, there is also plenty of disagreement on the Democrat side when it comes to how to respond to any funding bill the GOP put forward. Will Senator Schumer bend to the will of the angry, activist wing of his party and demand that DACA be kept intact in exchange for keeping the government open? In other words: you want to keep government open? Open up the borders and keep them open! That seems to be where these negotiations are heading. DACA is essentially an entitlement – an entitlement to be above the law if you were brought to America illegally as a younger child or if you were born to illegals. And trying to curtail or roll back an entitlement – like Obamacare – has proved impossible at the federal level since LBJ’s Great Society in 1965 brought the modern welfare state into existence. It’s almost a given that Schumer will take the activist side of the Democratic Party and ignore those senators who are facing re-election in Trump friendly states and whose voters have concerns about DACA. You can imagine Schumer’s and Pelosi’s soundbites: Republicans build walls and elect child molesters! Although the matter of Roy Moore’s election still has to be decided on December 12, but if another stopgap measure is passed and the government funding deadline moved out to December 22, then Chuck and Nancy will have about a week and a half to claim their party are the party of the pure having ejected Conyers and Franken. And then to demand DACA be maintained in exchange for the votes necessary to pass a funding bill. Never mind that Conyers left with no admission of guilt and appointed his 27 year old son to take his place, and that Franken has barely apologized; why look at that Roy Moore! Imagine Schumer with his arm around a bright university student who happens to be a Dreamer solemnly denouncing the GOP for allowing a predator into their chambers. And no, Chuck will make sure he doesn’t squeeze any cheeks if the Dreamer happens to be cute. This is some of what Moore’s presumed election to the US Senate will bring. The[...]



​Roy Moore’s Senate Race & The Professor Who Started a Firestorm

2017-12-06T02:42:23Z

Tuly Borland is an associate professor of philosophy at Ouachita Baptist University, apparently located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, a little south of Little Rock. Borland has caused a firestorm with an article in The Federalist entitled: Why Alabamians Should Vote for Roy Moore. It will likely infuriate you or just disgust you, or make you very uncomfortable. But […]Tuly Borland is an associate professor of philosophy at Ouachita Baptist University, apparently located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, a little south of Little Rock. Borland has caused a firestorm with an article in The Federalist entitled: Why Alabamians Should Vote for Roy Moore. It will likely infuriate you or just disgust you, or make you very uncomfortable. But if you’re a voter in Alabama, you may possibly agree with at least some of what the professor writes. Roy Moore is again leading, in perhaps a majority of polls, despite what seem to be very credible allegations that he molested and/or assaulted underage girls. His polling numbers are a fact and it’s (with uncertainty surrounding the exact level of voter support that Moore may or may not have) a fact that will likely impact the Senate, who may very well have to deal with an elected senator that they have from all sides denounced and demanded resign from the race, something Moore has refused to do. Needless to say, the firestorm has been mostly directed at The Federalist – especially publisher and commentator Ben Domenech – for publishing the article. From Salon to National Review, the denouncements have hailed forth like small artillery, raining down on Domenech and his staff. To his credit, Domenech has defended the reasons for publishing the article: an attempt to understand how in the world Moore could be anywhere close to Jones much less leading in many polls, after a series of sexual assault allegations. Domenech has stated clearly that he disagrees strongly with Borland’s arguments but he published his article precisely to try and gain insight into local voters’ reasons for still supporting Moore, much of which revolve around Doug Jones’ – Moore’s opponent – support for abortion. Does Borland’s article do that? That’s hard to tell, because all of us who are not from Alabama cannot presume to know the thought processes going on there. I won’t get into the details of Borland’s article, you can read it if you want, but David French’s response in National Review (Borland was in a way responding to an earlier French article) includes the following: I’m not urging any person to vote for Doug Jones. I would never vote for a pro-abortion politician. But if you believe this election will make any material difference in the prevalence or legality of abortion; then you need a civic education. In fact, it’s far more likely that electing a man like Moore will damage the pro-life cause. French advocates voting for third-party candidate, writing someone in, or staying at home. But never voting for someone who may turn out to be a sex-offender. It’s a powerful piece and concludes forcefully. I suggest reading it. It has been repeatedly said that issues like abortion are decided more on a pre-political, upstream, and cultural basis before they actually get to the courts. Do[...]



​Of Donuts & The Battle Against The Administrative State

2017-11-29T23:14:19Z

My first question regarding the showdown at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is this: If you are a CFPB staffer who quickly took Acting Director Mulvaney’s offer of a Dunkin’ Donut and trundled up to his office to partake, will you go on a Democrat black list? Will you find your career as a beltway […]My first question regarding the showdown at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is this: If you are a CFPB staffer who quickly took Acting Director Mulvaney’s offer of a Dunkin’ Donut and trundled up to his office to partake, will you go on a Democrat black list? Will you find your career as a beltway bureaucrat from now on strangely stymied over and over again by the opaque, clutching hand of the administrative state of which you, until recently, were a proud member? How does a CFRP staffer accept a donut from the man who called your beloved agency a “sick joke”? How ingratiatingly do you smile and how eagerly do you bite down on the proverbial apple, if you will allow the mixed (up) metaphor? Because whether you like it or not, you treasonous muncher of sweets, you are and have been in the center of a grand struggle over what the administrative state’s reaches are or should be. And most likely you are perfectly aware of the struggle which has been waged since the CFPB was brought into existence in 2010. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Senator Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild. She did the wonky academic groundwork as a Harvard Law professor, publishing her work around 2007, on the cusp of the financial meltdown and subsequent Great Recession. Senator Warren – as an academic at Harvard, as a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel that was in charge of keeping track of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (or TARP), and as a senator, has been pushing for and getting increased regulation of the financial industry. It’s her goal and her baby. Who has been fiercely critical of Mulvaney whose appointment as an Acting Director of the CFPB has been public news for a few weeks now – the White House knew that ex-CFRP Director Richard Cordray was going to pull a fast one at any time – and which spurned Cordray to do what he did last Friday? Senator Warren. Who did recently appointed Deputy Director Leandra English (until Friday she was Cordray’s Chief of Staff at the CFPB) go see on Monday, along with, naturally, Chuck Schumer? Senator Warren. The CFPB was put together in a way that was designed to make it as independent of any Congressional oversight as constitutionally possible. Did I say constitutionally? Sorry, sorry. There is at least one case winding it’s way upward that is based on the complaint that the CFPB is not constitutional, given the way it’s Director has broad sweeping powers not typical of an agency. The specific issue is who has the authority to appoint an Acting Director at the CFPB. There is a conflict between Dodd-Frank and 1998’s Federal Vacancies Reform Act. But both White House counsel and the CFPB’s own legal counsel – General Counsel Mary McLeod – agree that the president has the authority and that the Vacancies Act takes precedence over Dodd-Frank, in this matter. McLeod has published a memo in which she considers t[...]



Donald Trump’s Crimes

2017-11-29T15:59:21Z

Donald Trump’s Crimes © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. President Trump is indisputably guilty of many crimes against the societal and political norms of this country. These crimes are profound and grievous and they shake the very foundations upon which acceptable Presidential behavior has always been based. His actions and demeanor are so abhorrent […]Donald Trump’s Crimes © 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved. President Trump is indisputably guilty of many crimes against the societal and political norms of this country. These crimes are profound and grievous and they shake the very foundations upon which acceptable Presidential behavior has always been based. His actions and demeanor are so abhorrent and antithetical to the fundamental Progressive doctrine espoused by the Democratic Party and their supporting liberal media that his very presence in the Oval Office is regarded by them as not merely an interim occupational tenure by the opposing party, but as proof of a moment of temporary national insanity from which we may never recover.  A closer look at the worst examples of Trump’s criminality will be instructive for what the country should be on guard for, should we want to avoid such behavior in the future. Accusation: Denying a Female Access to the Highest Office Verdict: Guilty President Trump didn’t get the memo that 2016 was the Year of the First Female President. In a time period where same-sex/transgender rights, glass ceilings, Title IX and the well-publicized/amply documented Republican “War on Women” dominate the gender cultural landscape, Donald Trump had the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to disregard all those signs and campaign as if gender didn’t matter. He campaigned on what he’d do for the country and why America—and American workers—would benefit from a Trump presidency. During the campaign, he took full advantage of Clinton’s lack of qualifications. As I wrote back in June 2016, So what exactly, besides her Democratic femaleness, is her candidacy based on? Hard to say. She has no real, tangible accomplishments to point to, either as Secretary of State or NY senator. There are no Clinton Acts. There are no Clinton Accords. She has no military service, no heroism under fire, no great business and/or managerial accomplishments, no outright high-level expertise in any technical or economic or social or scientific field. She’s never started a business or run anything or managed a great number of people or made difficult, fast-paced life-or-death decisions. She gives every impression of being situationally dishonest, opportunistic, loyal only to her own self-advancement. Candidate Trump ignored the directive that in 2016, America will elect its first woman president. Guilty as charged. Accusation: Recognizing the Average American’s Desire for Strong Borders and Strict Immigration Policy Verdict: Guilty Trump tapped into a strong national craving for a return to immigration fairness and verifiable national sovereignty. Americans are the world’s most generous and compassionate people. The degree to which we help others—whether it’s an international disaster or local charity—is well-documented. Our innate sense of altruism and human kindness is unprecedented. We fight [...]