Open Thread

If you’re planning on hiking across Antarctica, bundle up. A lot.

Madonna and Hillary – sisters in arms. Yeah. I can see that. They’ve both irritated me since about the second time I noticed either of them.

Rep Jim Himes, (D-CT) isn’t taking Trump’s victory very well, at all. I guess that with write-ups of the popular vote, recounts and even Russian hacking not propelling Hillary into the White House, our Progs are now pinning their hopes on a revolt of the Electoral College. Sorry guys, that isn’t how this works. Sure, the Founders set up the Electoral College a certain way, but after the 1824 election, the Andrew Jackson forces changed the laws in the States to make the winner of the popular vote in the State the winner of that State’s Electoral College votes. The Electoral College voters are not actually free agents – they can technically vote for whomever they want, but that would work out to a betrayal of what they were set to do…which is the formal ratification of what the State electorate decreed. If you don’t like it, change the law – try and get the Electoral College abolished, or have the States set it up so that the Electors are genuine free agents, in no way bound by the vote. You’ll never succeed, but have at it. But, meanwhile, things are as they are – and if Progs keep pressing on this, all that will happen is that States will make it iron-clad that their electoral votes go to the State-vote winner…perhaps by not even having actual Electors, but just assigning the votes to whoever won. People will not long put up with this nonsense of trying to overturn an election because Progressives didn’t like the outcome.

Related: Ann Althouse digs through the definitive, New York Times expose’ of the Russian hacking and comes away with, ‘meh’. There’s no there, there, folks.

Turns out a Hollywood “thriller” about a policy wonk taking on the “gun lobby” wasn’t box office gold. Who woulda thunk it?

Don Surber is unsurprised at Trump’s rather Conservative cabinet picks. I’m not, either – and for much the reasons Surber suggests. Trump won’t appoint out-and-out liberals because he must know, by now, that there’s no making peace with them (his nice-nice with Hillary right after the election only got him recounts and, now, Team Hillary joining in the “faithless elector” effort). He also doesn’t have to make nice-nice with the GOP Establishment types – he will make nice-nice, but only as he thinks it helps him. The GOP Establishment was either in direct opposition to him, or wasn’t being at all helpful during the campaign. Trump owes them nothing – and if the GOP Establishment wants a seat at the table, they now much go, hat in hand, and ask pretty-please, may I. This is a grand advantage for Trump…and his Cabinet picks are reflecting these advantages.

Comment of the day from Instapundit:

I’M INCLINED TO THINK THE BUZZ ON THIS WAS JUST A HEAD-FAKE: Ralph Peters: Rex Tillerson would be a “terrible” choice for Secretary of State.

But who knows? Surprise is Trump’s chief weapon. And unpredictability. And an almost fanatical devotion to Twitter.

And if you don’t get that last joke, I feel sorry for you – but I’ll also be helpful:

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36 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Cluster December 13, 2016 / 11:08 am

    Well let’s not forget that the Democrats were big fans of the electoral college in years past citing their “blue wall” strategic advantage as their never ending road to the white house. That is until their blue wall collapsed and they found themselves running to the safety of sanctuary cities in deep blue states and the popular vote – because we all know how popular they are. All is not lost though, NBC has found a silver lining: Life Expectancy Lower for Trump Voters

    http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/life-expectancy-lower-trump-voters-n694421

    In years past I enjoyed Ralph Peters take on issues, but lately he seems to have become a little unhinged. I agree with Amazona that if McCain, Graham, etc., are against Tillerson, well then he must be a good pick. Besides, Condi Rice endorsed Tillerson and that alone is good enough for me.

    • Amazona December 13, 2016 / 11:35 am

      Cluster, my comment on McCain was very very tongue-in-cheek. Sarcastic, if you will. I never mentioned Graham.

      Remember, I used the term “head-fake” regarding the alleged leak of this alleged decision before Peters did, or at least before I read his comment.

      I don’t know enough about Tillerson to make an informed decision. My instinct is to say Trump could have, and should have, done better, but maybe there is something about the man I simply don’t know, that Trump does know.

      A friend sent an email with an interesting possibility: That the Deputy SecState, Bolton, will really be doing the heavy lifting, but as Deputy he might not be subjected to Senate approval. I don’t know if that is true. I don’t know how far down the line the Senate has to vet appointees. I do suspect that naming Bolton to the top job would result in even more Borking than he got when Bush wanted to appoint him as ambassador to the UN. And I could see a good team, with Tillerson using his connections and personal relationships and Bolton providing the nuts and bolts.

      But no, I did not make a serious decision based on McCain. That would be silly. And I’d need to know what Condi knows that makes her like Tillerson before just saying “if Condi likes him that’s all I need to know”. I’m funny that way.

      • Amazona December 13, 2016 / 11:53 am

        Evidently even the deputy Secretary of State must be confirmed, and Rand Paul says he would fight a Bolton nomination. I started getting tired of Rand Paul a while back and nothing has happened to change that. He clearly sees his own “worldview” as the only “sane” one.

        “I don’t know about Tillerson,” Paul said, “but I do know that John Bolton doesn’t get it. He still believes in regime change. He’s still a big cheerleader for the Iraq War.” If Trump indeed picks Bolton for the deputy position, “I’m an automatic no,” Paul continued. “He should get nowhere close to the State Department, if anybody with a sane worldview is in charge.”

        http://theweek.com/speedreads/666743/rand-paul-pledges-block-john-bolton-nomination-im-automatic-no

  2. Cluster December 13, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    And this is how you answer the global warming question……

    • Retired Spook December 13, 2016 / 2:35 pm

      Cluster,

      One of the key lines in the interview – “the American people are pretty smart; they can handle trade-offs.” The problem is the Left doesn’t believe that.

      Carly is absolutely correct when she lists the problems that are more pressing than climate change. Poll after poll supports the fact that, even among people who buy into the climate change hoax, it’s not very high on the priority list. IMO that’s because unlike most Liberal ideas, it can’t be addressed just by putting caring people in charge and throwing money at it. It requires sacrifice on the part of everyone. And most Liberals, certainly your average foot soldier Liberal, look at the issue and say, “yeah it’s a problem; we should do something about it, but I’m not going to change my lifestyle to be part of the solution.”

  3. jdge1 December 13, 2016 / 5:27 pm

    I’ve recently read that Tillerson served as the national president to the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) from 2010 – 2011. He also served on the board of executives of the BSA in 2013 when they voted to lift the ban on gay scout leaders and in fact lobbied for the to end the “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy.

    That sits a bit uneasy with me especially when dealing with a long running institution such as the BSA who strived up to that point to believe in and honor God and his word. I guess we’ll have to se just what kind of character he displays when serving in such a high position.

    • Amazona December 14, 2016 / 12:43 am

      You’re not the only one with these concerns,

      Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, aired his thoughts on the nominee for America’s top diplomat, specifically drilling down on Tillerson’s past positions on abortion and gay marriage.

      “The ExxonMobil executive may be the greatest ally liberals have in the Cabinet for their abortion and LGBT agendas,” a post on FRC’s website reads. “That should be particularly alarming to conservatives, who’ve spent the last eight years watching the State Department lead the global parade for the slaughter of innocent unborn children and the intimidation of nations with natural views on marriage and sexuality.”

      Perkins pointed to Tillerson “leading the charge” to allow gays to serve as Boy Scout leaders and the company he leads giving money to Planned Parenthood.

      http://www.theblaze.com/news/2016/12/13/tony-perkins-trumps-secretary-of-state-pick-should-be-particularly-alarming-to-conservativesw us

  4. Cluster December 14, 2016 / 9:05 am

    Progressive Democrat Thomas Friedman has always been a special kind of stupid in my opinion, always exaggerating the nobility and effectiveness of the progressive agenda while at the same time demeaning and maligning the intentions of conservatives and his latest column linked below does not disappoint.

    Here are a few of my favorite Friedman passages:

    “There is actually something “prehistoric” about the cabinet Trump is putting together. It is totally dominated by people who have spent their adult lives drilling for, or advocating for, fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal.”

    umm Thomas – there is nothing “prehistoric” about oil, gas and coal. Despite your progressive utopian dreams of a windmill and solar panel fueled society, there is simply no substitute for oil, gas, and coal and our effort to improve the economy and subsequently the living standards of the lower class, is 100% dependent on these three natural elements.

    “You would never know that what has actually made America great is our ability to attract the world’s smartest and most energetic immigrants and our ability “to develop technology and to nurture our human capital”

    Well again Thomas, I hardly doubt that amongst the recent influx of refugees and illegal immigrants are highly skilled engineers and scientists, and with 95 million Americans currently out of the work force, I don’t think that “nurturing our human capital” has been very effective as of late.

    “…..the carefully crafted security balance among the U.S., China and Taiwan — which has produced prosperity and stability in Asia for over four decades —”

    Because we all know that the “one China” policy has brought tremendous prosperity to the average child laborer in China and increased stability to the people of North & South Korea.

    “Putin wanted Trump to win because he thinks that he’ll be a chaos president who will weaken America’s influence in the world by weakening its commitment to liberal values.”

    Because we all know that the best weapon against tyranny is a commitment to gay marriage, abortion, and climate change.

    I think this article proves beyond any doubt that progressives like Friedman still don’t understand why they lost and that’s a good thing.

    • Retired Spook December 14, 2016 / 11:19 am

      there is simply no substitute for oil, gas, and coal and our effort to improve the economy and subsequently the living standards of the lower class, is 100% dependent on these three natural elements.

      See, that’s important to people like you and me, Cluster, but it’s not something that’s on the Left’s radar. Someone has to sacrifice for the greater good, and it’s much easier to convince people who don’t have much to begin with that their sacrifice is necessary for the survival of the planet.

    • Cluster December 14, 2016 / 11:19 am

      Well Thomas is no match for the delusion and insanity of Mr. Keith Obermann. Behold

      “We are at war with Russia. Or perhaps more correctly we have lost a war with Russia without a battle. We are not a democracy, we are no longer a free people. We are the victims of a bloodless coup – so far, a bloodless coup! – engineered by Russia with at best the traitorous indifference of the Republican Party and Donald John Trump, a man, to borrow a phrase from a December long ago, will live in infamy! The nation, and all of our freedoms, hang by a thread, and the military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum who are beholden to scum. Russian scum! As things are today, January 20 will not be an inauguration, but rather the end of the United States as an independent country. It will not be a peaceful change of power. It will be a usurpation, and the usurper has no validity, no credibility, and no authority under the Constitution. This is a reality that will become the only reality until this country rids itself of Donald John Trump. He is not a president, he is a puppet put in power by Vladimir Putin. And those who ignore these elemental, existential facts — Democrats or Republicans — are traitors to this country, and will immediately, and forever after, be held accountable. Resist. Peace.”

      • Retired Spook December 14, 2016 / 11:22 am

        WOW! Talk about going off the rails. Someone should tell Mr. Olberman that there are medications for his condition.

      • Amazona December 14, 2016 / 11:45 am

        Yet Keith was perfectly happy in a country in which our president “… is not a president, he is a puppet put in power by Vladimir Putin George Soros. ..”

      • Amazona December 14, 2016 / 12:21 pm

        What can be funnier that Keith Obermann squealing about “treason” when his hero, his preference for the position of President of the United States, plotted well in advance to sell her influence as a high-ranking government official and to that end, to try to keep her nefarious dealings out of the grasp of future FOIA demands, made the most private, confidential and even classified information of our government available to anyone who cared enough to take a shot at her server?

        None of this shrieking and carrying on acknowledges the core fact of the whole thing—how Russia or any other entity got hold of the information in the first place. It’s not as if a government server was hacked—-Hillary pretty much did the equivalent of leaving classified material on a park bench and walking off without it. Does he want her held accountable?

        And we need to remember what John Bolton pointed out—–our own “intelligence” agencies said their in-depth investigations showed no Russian hacking, which means if Russia HAD hacked her server they were too good at it to leave cyberfingerprints behind. And then, according to the overheated poor loser Left, they suddenly became clumsy and inept and started leaving clues telling anyone who looked “Hey! Look here! It’s us, the Russians!”

        Or, just spitballing here—-the Dems, in the nature of their planning ahead in Florida in 2000 by hiring a PR firm to call voters to tell them they might have accidentally voted for Bush long before the election itself—might have set up a fake entity they could identify as “Russian” to reveal stuff from Hillary’s server, to give them a means to upset the election or at the very least cast doubts on the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.

        It’s not as if this is not in the Dem playbook. We saw them do this in 2000 in Florida.

      • M. Noonan December 14, 2016 / 12:28 pm

        I wonder if the dimwit realizes he’s calling for armed insurrection?

    • Amazona December 14, 2016 / 12:26 pm

      Thomas is actually stating that “America’s influence in the world” is based on “its commitiment to liberal values”.

      That is one of the funniest, yet saddest, things I have heard Friedman admit to believing.

      I wonder which “liberal values” have contributed to “America’s influence in the world”.

    • M. Noonan December 14, 2016 / 12:31 pm

      I was driving thru rural California yesterday to go visit some family and one thing I noticed – a huge number of solar power plants and windmills (ie, a bunch of Hawk Woks and Eagle Cuisinarts) while the roads are worse than Third World standards. California kindly put up signs saying “rough road”…in case your jarred kidneys didn’t advise you earlier. I’m betting some of the roads I was on hadn’t seen any serious maintenance in 20 years. This is the world our Progressives want to bring us to: subsidized “Green” energy and roads which don’t work…

      But this also brings me back to why California needs to be broken up – those green energy things are the desire of Los Angeles and San Francisco…while the bad roads are suffered by the people of the California outback who have been effectively disenfranchised by Los Angeles and San Francisco. You can bet your bottom dollar that while a new State of, say, East California might have solar plants (the could sell the over-priced electricity to Los Angeles and rake it in), they would also have roads in good working order.

  5. Retired Spook December 14, 2016 / 11:38 am

    Now this is funny.

    Public Policy Polling reported Tuesday that Democrats have “mixed feelings” about who they’ll run in 2020, but there are two standouts: 70-year old Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and 74-year-old Vice President Joe Biden

    • Cluster December 14, 2016 / 11:41 am

      What about that famous native American Elizabeth Warren? If Trump is as effective as I hope, the Democrats can simply phone in the 2020 election. And their prospects of losing more Senate seats in 2018 has to be keeping them up at night too.

      • Retired Spook December 14, 2016 / 12:09 pm

        The have good reason to worry.

        Still nursing their wounds after last week’s thrashing, Democrats already are grappling with how to defend 10 senators up for reelection in 2018 in states that Donald Trump carried, some resoundingly. (emphasis – mine)

  6. Retired Spook December 14, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    Excellent op-ed in our morning paper today. This is a topic every parent should be discussing around the dinner table with their kids. Otherwise our society is going to resemble a dystopian movie in the very near future.

    If the recent state of affairs in America can teach us anything, it is that we are utterly failing as educators to raise children who can entertain opinions differing from those they currently have and to hold respectful discourse with anyone who challenges their beliefs. You only have to tune in to the latest shouting match on any news channel or see the increase in violent crimes to see how unproductive our rhetoric has become. But how have we gone from a nation where challenging topics were considered intellectually stimulating dinner conversations to being so divisive and contentious that we have ended up avoiding the very issues we need to discuss the most desperately?

    • Cluster December 14, 2016 / 5:42 pm

      In my opinion this all started with Bill Clinton’s impeachment and when the morality card became a factor. What Clinton did was inexcusable and unbecoming of the office and lying about it made it worse, but I also think the GOP went a little over the top in their pursuit. Over the following years that morality card became a hammer which has been yielded very cunningly by the Democrats who proceeded to bludgeon their opponents with it. Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, leftist policies always fail so their morality play didn’t work this time much to their shock and awe. If we can get back to discussing politics absent moral judgement we will all be better off. We have had many conversations about the perils of our educational system and I think a lot more people are now waking up to this fact.

      Rush had a great segment today equating how the Russians (allegedly) have treated the Democrats to how the media has treated the Republicans over the last several years and the Democrats don’t care for it all that much. Great analogy.

  7. Retired Spook December 14, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    The poetic justice from this election just keeps getting batter and better.

    In a decision that is sure to be second-guessed by political observers for all eternity, interim Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile hatched a plan to spend money to drive up inner-city turnout in places like Chicago and New Orleans — even though neither Illinois nor Louisiana was remotely competitive — because of fear that Clinton would win the Electoral College vote but lose the popular vote. So confident were Clinton campaign officials of their Electoral College win that they refused requests to reallocate resources to places like Michigan because they did not want to risk the public relations nightmare that would come along with losing the popular vote.

  8. Retired Spook December 14, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    Ya think maybe there was a little cheatin’ going on in Detroit?

    Optical scanners in Wayne County show that 248 of the city’s 662 precincts counted over one third more ballots than the number of voters reported by poll workers. That totals 37 percent more voters than originally counted, and because of the statewide discrepancies, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson sanctioned a state audit of the votes.

    The Detroit News reported that many Detroit precincts could not be counted during the Michigan statewide recount that ended Friday.

    Statewide, records indicate that 10.6 percent of precincts in the 22 counties that were subject to the recount could not be counted because state law prohibits including any precincts that are unbalanced or any ballot boxes with broken seals. In Detroit alone, officials were not able to recount 392 precincts.

    All I can say is Democrats are fortunate that we aren’t yet to a point where we shoot cheaters.

    • jdge1 December 14, 2016 / 8:54 pm

      Just what do you see would be the catalyst to implement real changes to eliminate voter fraud? There have been a number of suggestions in ways to
      end the fraud, but that has been going on for some time. Do you see a “last straw” kind of moment where the anger is so loud that politicians have little choice but to initiate actual change to take place, or have we just been waiting for a situation where we have the triangle of political will (President, congress / senate) in place to set these changes in motion?

      • Amazona December 14, 2016 / 9:18 pm

        I don’t know that we have to wait for something to get the people riled up enough to demand voter fraud legislation. That is why we elect legislators. Have you contacted your legislators and asked for this? That is a good step.

        I think we are close to that triangle you describe. I think right now the attitude is there, that we have to do something, and I think having this “something” initiated by the winning party takes away a lot of the potential claims of voter fraud reform being sour grapes. The Dems are setting this up, though they might not be doing it on purpose, but a smart GOP can spin their screeching into something positive.

        (The first thing I would do as a new president would be to acknowledge the fears of some that a foreign nation has tried to influence our election, which is why the new administration is going to be very very adamant about internet security—no more easily accessible private servers, no more official business going out over private accounts. We can and should take this whole thing and use it to point out that the core of the problem is not who got into what accounts, but how easy it was to do it.)

        I also think that it will be hard for a lot of Dem legislators to vote against something like this. The stink is already on the Dems, as so much of the proven fraud is in their strongholds, and objecting to cleaning up the mess will just make them look bad/worse.

        My concern is that the Republicans will be typically tone-deaf and heavy-handed, and not do the little things that need to be addressed proactively and not defensively. What I mean is, I think any action has to be prefaced by a lot of very clear and specific statements about what will be done to PROTECT voters who are legitimate. That is, plenty of publicity about the purging of the old voter registration rolls, and plenty of explanation about why this is necessary. The “third party candidate” in Nevada who recently did his own research can show the need for this. It has to be prefaced with plans to make it easier for people to re-register if they have been bumped off the rolls because they moved and were not at the correct address when forms were sent out. We should have detailed plans for setting up voter registration booths in places easy to get to—-but official booths manned by trained personnel. No more grocery store registrations, no more Motor Voter.

        I would even be in favor of funding programs to help people who don’t have IDs get them. This would be pretty safe to do, as I think most people, even those on the street, have IDs. The Left claims these poor people can’t get state issued IDs because they can’t get birth certificates, etc. I don’t see these Liberals working to help people get the documentation they need, so let the Republicans make the offer. By “safe” I don’t think many would take advantage of it, but it would be good PR and it would help some people.

        So: New laws upping the ante for illegal voting, purging the voter registration rolls, requiring everyone to attest under oath and penalty of perjury that they are citizens, eligible to vote and registered in only one place, and lots and lots of auxiliary programs to show an interest in helping people with legitimate problems get them solved, requiring state issued photo IDs to vote, getting rid of Motor Voter, tightening up absentee voting and mail-in ballots, making it mandatory to count every ballot even if statistically the uncounted ballots can’t change the outcome, and basically doing everything possible to ensure that every vote counts.

        It just needs to be presented in a way that is clear and explanatory, and the Right is really really bad at that.

      • Retired Spook December 15, 2016 / 12:00 am

        JDGE1, Amazona’s answer was pretty complete, but it really comes down to the political will on the part of our elected representatives to do something. Up until this election the Left has been pretty successful in downplaying the extent of vote fraud, and almost always countering such accusations with (a) there is so little evidence of people being convicted of vote fraud that it’s not a problem, and (b) Republicans do far more damage to the election process by engaging in voter suppression. Between the leaked videos of high level Democrat operatives admitting to massive voter fraud and cheating, the substantial over vote in hundreds of Detroit precincts, and the research done by the third party candidate in Nevada, this election cycle made it clear that vote fraud is not just a problem, it’s a major problem. But there are still tens of millions of honest voters who just want to be assured that their votes are not negated by cheating.

        There will always be cheating — it’s just human nature, but, as Amazona pointed out, there are a number of things that can be done to restore a significant amount of integrity to our election process.

    • M. Noonan December 15, 2016 / 12:53 am

      Been saying it for years – there is just no way that the people of Detroit are actually re-electing the people who have destroyed Detroit. What I’ve wanted to have happen is that people go to the Detroit (and other deep blue areas) at election time and just count the number of people who go in to vote and compare that to the number of votes actually reported…I’ve been betting they’d find a huge discrepancy in the numbers. This worked out nearly as well – a huge, can’t-hide-it level of discrepancy. Bottom line is that we don’t know how many people actually voted in Detroit…and I’ll bet if we dug down, we’d find similar problems in places like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and other Democrat bastions. Of course, once a vote is counted, it can’t be uncounted…there will never be a way to know just how many fraudulent votes were generated in 2016…but this sort of thing is to be looked into, hopefully by Trump’s Justice Department, in the end. We can make it painful to stuff ballot boxes…and if we do that, the Democrats will get out of that business.

      • jdge1 December 15, 2016 / 2:38 pm

        Thanks for the thoughtful responses. As mentioned, there have been numerous suggestions as to “how” to go about fixing the voter fraud issues, but I’m still waiting for that spark to initiate actual change. I think Amazona’s suggestions about tying changes to clear explanations of known problems, is a good start. I doubt even that will satisfy most liberals as I believe they will buck at ANYTHING proposed, with whatever claims their imaginations can dream up (true or false), as this will most assuredly negatively impact the benefits they’ve gained through voter fraud for quite some time. Without real change, it’s near impossible to know just how pervasive the problems are and to what extent valid voters have been disenfranchised. If we could institute a number of changes within a single year it would be very telling to see the affects at the polls. I’ve a feeling, if done right, we would see some very noted changes in voting percentages and patterns, especially in heavy blue areas. When (if) this happens, of course the left will harp on voter disenfranchise concerns for lack of turn out, as opposed to voter fraud corrections. I would think the Republican / Conservative entities would be major pushers of voting changes as they’re most likely to benefit, regardless of whatever blowback the left might try to instigate.

        With regards to clearing the books, I wonder if this can be done on a regular basis as a matter of law that’s tied to something like the census that’s performed every 10 years.

      • Amazona December 16, 2016 / 12:11 pm

        JDGE, I really like the idea of legislation that calls for cleaning up the voter registration rolls every ten years. I think it conveys a sincere desire to do nothing more than ensure the legitimacy of our voting class, rather than some partisan effort to cast doubts on any one outcome. While I would like such a clearing-up of the rolls before the next midterm, it would also work to tie it to the 2020 census, at least regarding its timing, so the rolls could be sorted out early in the year and there would be time to get people re-registered in plenty of time to vote in November.

      • M. Noonan December 16, 2016 / 11:49 pm

        That is probably best – as we do our census, we clear our voting rolls. Just make it a normal, every-ten-year thing…nothing partisan about it.

  9. Retired Spook December 15, 2016 / 11:29 am

    I got my annual explanation of benefits from the Social Security Administration yesterday. I used to get chastised regularly by our former trolls for sucking on the government teat by taking a benefit that I paid into for 46 years, but, in reality, I would be OK without Social Security because I was responsible and put away money for retirement. I noticed on my EOB that the COLA this year is .3% (that’s 3/10 of 1 percent for you public school graduates (or drop outs). The increase in the Medicare deduction, however, ate up the entire increase, making this the 4th time in Obama’s 8 years that there was no increase. The average increase for the entire 8 years was 1.1% per year. Again, not a complaint, just a statement of fact.

    Since 1975 there had never been a year that Social Security recipients didn’t get a COLA until Obama was elected. Under Obama there were four. There were only two previous years in which the COLA was less than 2%. Under Obama there have been seven. Now I know this is all based on the fact that during Obama’s two terms we just didn’t have any inflation. What a great time to be alive — thank you President Obama. Please share the secret to extremely low inflation with President Trump on your way out the door.

  10. Retired Spook December 15, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    In spite of the endless leaks from the intelligence community that the Russians hacked the election to get Trump elected, even going so far as to say Putin was directly involved, the CIA refuses to brief Congress on the matter. Suspicious? D’ya think?

    • Amazona December 16, 2016 / 11:59 am

      I just wish we would zero in on the claim that only a superpower could have penetrated that server, because that is the core lie in this whole charade.

      They are setting up the fantasy that Hillary, though using a private unsecured server, was still professional and prudent in setting up one so darned impenetrable that it took those canny RUSSIANS to do it, with their advanced technical skills. This, of course, is ridiculous. Do we really think some rinky dink outfit in Denver had a more secure system than, say Yahoo or MasterCard? Did the Russians hack all those banks and credit card companies and social media accounts, too? You know, the ones for multi-million-dollar international companies with huge IT departments trying to protect their data?

      This is the tack we need to be taking, this and the fact that her system could probably have been a hacking test for a high school computer club.

      Of course, now that we have a new president who hasn’t boasted of hating Putin, and a probable Secretary of State who actually knows him and gets along with him, the narrative builds up layers of increasingly interwoven conspiracies, including the actual participation of Putin himself in the nefarious deed.

      Now Putin doesn’t just have contempt for Hillary because she is a shrill, stupid harridan—no, now Putin FEARS her. Now Hillary isn’t someone who slinks up to the Russians with her tail between her legs and a slobbery offering—-that sad bizarre misspelled “RESET” button she apparently thought was oh so darling—-panting for approval and a pat on the head, but she is tough on Russia and would, if elected, do all sorts of mean things to Russia.

      Now, after watching her utter failure as Secretary of State, he isn’t laughing at her but instead is desperately plotting to keep her out of office. Now, instead of bragging that our new SOS has established a warm and fuzzy relationship with Russia and showing that embarrassing video to “prove” it, we are supposed to get the vapors because we might have a Secretary of State who actually DOES have a good relationship with Russian leaders?

      We need someone to keep track of and chart the wild flip-flops of the Left as they tailor their current narratives to their current agendas, with no regard at all for facts.

  11. Retired Spook December 15, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    Saw a great quote in a comments section of a financial markets article this morning:

    “If only the truth hadn’t come out, Hillary Clinton would be President.”

    The truth is clearly not the Democrats’ friend.

    • Amazona December 16, 2016 / 11:41 am

      What the poor sap of an author doesn’t seem to realize is that the real point he is making is that the worship of Ivy League credentials has given us a whole roster of incompetent boobs.

      The Left, for all its egalitarian posturing and pretense, is at heart snobbish. It reveres the trappings of aristocracy while trying to create one, and it appears to find a fancy degree the only criterion for being given great power and status.

      Trump ought to use this article to show that he can see beyond the superficial to discern talent and skill even when not decked out in Ivy League degrees. His appeal was to the middle class, and I can’t think of a better way to shore up that reputation than to point out that he, unlike his predecessors, doesn’t think an Ivy League degree conveys automatic superiority. In fact, the list of highly “educated” people who were not good at what they did is proof of the opposite.

      I did have to laugh at the praise of Kerry, thinking back to the days when the Left was sneering at Bush and it turned out he had better grades at Yale than Kerry had had.

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