Let’s Start This Year Off Right Open Thread

Former Obama aide figures that Trump is akin to cross burning…keep it up, Progs…not only will you get Trump for 8 years, but Pence for 8 years after that.

The Democrats plan to convince at least their own base that the election was stolen from Hillary is proving a great success – 52% of Democrats believe that Russia altered the vote in favor of Trump. Remember, the election wasn’t hacked – Podesta’s e mails were hacked (and not one person has disputed the information in those e mails). But the MSM – which I believe must have been instructed on these lines – morphed “hacked DNC e mails” into “the election was hacked”. And a lot of Democrats believe this. The bad news is that this will make a good portion of the Democrats relentless in their opposition to Trump…the good news is that the Democrats who don’t believe this nonsense are, in my view, already getting primed to vote Trump in 2020. As long as Trump doesn’t have a monumental screw up on his watch, I don’t see much risk of him losing…and if he gets some genuine success to his credit, 2020 may be a replay of 1984.

The experts did, indeed, get it wrong in 2016. A reminder from Lord Salisbury:

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of common sense.

The experts will be wrong, again – and again and again. The reason is, in my view, is that there are no real experts outside the hard sciences and mechanic arts. You can be an expert plumber – you can’t be an expert politician. When dealing with human activities, you just can’t be sure – things just don’t work the way you think they should. A wise person just tries to do what is right and is always ready for the entirely unexpected.

Start second-guessing every police action and the natural result will be the police being ever more cautious before acting. Remember, police officers are people – they’ve got bills to pay and a life to live. Being an officer is a job (a noble job, just still a job) and if there’s a dicey situation which is unclear but could cost you your job, you might shy away from it…or just not patrol often in neighborhoods which have a high propensity for tricky, protest-generating situations. The result of all the over-heated rhetoric about the police is a spike in violent crime as police back off. I’ve been an advocate for criminal justice reform for a while; I dislike the over-militarization of the police; I think most big city police forces are badly organized for the job of crime prevention, which is 99.9% of what the police are actually for…but I also know we need our police and that almost all of them are splendid people. One thing Trump must do over this term is restore respect for the police – and we, the people, have to make sure that our police are given their proper due, and that our justice system is reformed.

53 thoughts on “Let’s Start This Year Off Right Open Thread

  1. Retired Spook January 2, 2017 / 11:06 am

    If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome

    And every drug they prescribe will cure whatever’s wrong with you. Prior to reaching age 60 my wife and I had had the same family doctor for several years after our life-long family doctor retired. He was a cocky, opinionated guy who was never wrong (in his mind). He didn’t just recommend courses of action — he demanded them. A routine blood test indicated that my cholesterol was high — around 285. At the time I didn’t know cholesterol from a hole in the wall, so I trusted his advice that I needed to take something to lower it. To make a long story short, over the course of a year or two I tried Zocor, Lipitor and Provacol and had several of the listed side effects of each, one of which (muscle weakness) was intolerable. On my last appointment with this doctor he was insistent that my cholesterol was still too high, and I was going to have to try another statin. I had just been informed that, due to a change in insurance, I was going to have to change doctors anyway, and I just blurted out, “fine, prescribe whichever one you get the biggest kickback on.” His reaction and facial expression confirmed what I suspected, and he told me to go find another doctor.

    I continue to have routine blood tests, my current doctor says my cholesterol is still too high, although he notes that my HDL (good cholesterol) is way above the level that would cause concern, and my homocysteine and C-reactive protein levels (the main indicators of arterial inflamation) are normal, so he’s not worried, particularly since there’s no history of heart disease on either side of my family. My mother had cholesterol as high as mine and nearly made it to 92.

    BTW, a comment I made a few threads back about potential heart problems ended up being PVC’s (premature ventricular contractions), pretty common, especially in older people, not serious absent underlying heart disease (which I’ve confirmed I don’t have), generally don’t require treatment, and often resolve themselves. So I guess I’m likely to stick around for a while continuing my mission of offending Liberals.

    • jdge1 January 2, 2017 / 1:35 pm

      The cholesterol “problem” is much like our global warming “problem”. It’s actually a series carefully orchestrated lies and half truths by the pharmaceutical companies, (just like a slew of other “fixes” they perpetrate like most vaccinations and depression drugs and the like) to bolster their bottom line. Big pharma intentionally uses misdirect to assign (incorrectly) cause and affect.

      One of the lies that big pharma proliferates is that high cholesterol “causes” heart attacks. While cholesterol is a part of the plaque substance that can sometimes clog blood vessels, what is sadly missing from that observation is that the plaque is actually a patch applied by the body to blood vessels walls to prevent them from bleeding out. Blood vessels can be scarred in many ways, often due to high sugar concentrations and a poor functioning pancreas where insulin manufactured, or a variety of other toxins often consumed as part of our food source and/or handling of hazardous materials. Without this patch you would continuously leak blood outside the blood vessels, causing all kinds of other problems including death.

      What most people don’t realize is that cholesterol is manufactured in several places of the human body. It is a key component of hormone production as well as an important substrate of all cells (just the thing I want pharmaceutical companies toying with – not). A slew of studies have shown the lack of evidence between high cholesterol and heart attacks. Just as many people with low cholesterol have atherosclerosis (narrowing of the blood vessels) as those with high cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol in the blood is NOT the problem. The problem is “why does the atherosclerosis happen in the first place”. The “fix” presented by big pharma does NOTHING in preventing atherosclerosis, and they never work at or divulge the true underlying causes. But you can be sure, taking statin drugs will lead to all kinds of other problems, some of which you’ve already experienced.

      • M. Noonan January 2, 2017 / 11:09 pm

        I’ll have to disagree with you on vaccinations – even for non-fatal diseases, they are very much worth having. OTOH, we do medicate far too much in my view.

      • jdge1 January 3, 2017 / 12:40 pm


        If you knew the dangers of most vaccinations and their overall lack of effectiveness, I doubt you’d consider them “worth having”. Take for example the polio vaccine. A fact that may surprise you is that the vaccine itself is the source of most new cases of the disease. Many older Americans received polio shots in the 1950’s and 60’s. 50 years later we’re finding that many of those experimental shots were contaminated with a monkey virus (simian virus 40 – SV40) which has been linked to brain, lung and lymphatic cancers. We rarely know of the consequences of most vaccines until well after the fact and you can be absolutely sure the pharmaceutical companies will do whatever they can to hide the ugly devastation of their money machines.

        In 2002, the Lancet journal published compelling evidence that contaminated polio vaccines were responsible for up to half of the 55,000 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases occurring each year. Such statistics are never discussed when the success of a vaccine program is touted. The problems associated with these and many other vaccines are often shrouded in secrecy, sometimes even by our own government agencies.

        On top of the direct problems pinned to vaccines there are also other issues rarely brought up. For example, viruses and bacteria are adaptive. When you take steps to eliminate certain strains, newer and potentially more dangerous stains evolve. This is in large part why we’re seeing the widespread immergence of super viruses, for which there are NO KNOWN CURES.

        I could go on for pages, but I’ll end with this. There are an estimated 1.3 to 10 times as many bacteria in the human body as there are human cells. And there are an estimated 5 to 10 times as many viruses in the human body as bacteria. A good number of both of these work in synergy the human body. For example our gut has a significant number of bacteria (gut flora) that helps with our immune system. In a typical healthy body the “good” bacteria / viruses account for 80% or more of all the bacteria / viruses inside us. They are largely responsibly for keeping the “bad” bacteria / viruses (the ones that will kill you or make you very ill if left unchecked) at bay. Most man made substances we use to kill bacteria are non-discriminating, meaning they will kill the good along with the bad bacteria. When that happens, whether thru medicines or poor diet or chemical toxins, an imbalance occurs which leaves us subject to a variety of ills. This is in part why people take pro-biotics. In today’s world, especially in the US there is an overabundant use of vaccines, not because they’re good for you (most pharmaceutical reps I know rarely take the pills they push – especially vaccines), but because they are a significant source of income for the manufactures. Even in the livestock business, vaccines are heavily used in concentrated animal feeding organizations (CAFO’s) because the methods they use to speed growth and size are detrimental to the animal’s wellbeing (as AMZONA already touched on). Vaccines are simply a temporary measure to keep the animal viable until slaughter.

      • M. Noonan January 3, 2017 / 4:03 pm

        Yeah, well, about 400,000 people a year were dying in Europe in the 18th century from smallpox…so, let’s call the smallpox vaccine a rousing success.

        Even if every last one of the most terrible horror stories of vaccination are true, it is still very much worth it. The reason life expectancy used to be 35 is not because people died at 35…remember, “life expectancy” is a figure which says that “half the people will die before this age, half will die after”. The reason it used to be so low is because such a very large number of children died…and they died of measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough and a host of other diseases we can now prevent. The bottom line is that you don’t want to live in a world without vaccination…

      • jdge1 January 3, 2017 / 11:08 pm

        In past times the outbreak of smallpox and other diseases were attributed to a variety of factors. This was especially true when the poor moved to the cities during the industrial revolution looking for work and choked them in overcrowded unsanitary slums ripe for breeding and spreading disease.

        The demise of the smallpox disease came about as a result of the interaction of completely different factors, particularly isolation of the ill (once it was recognized that smallpox was a contagious disease) and improved living conditions, particularly with regards to nutrition, sanitation and refrigeration. The effect cannot be attributable to the smallpox vaccine as any vaccine which takes over 100 years to work ipso facto proves itself not to have. Any scientific analysis of the history and data, crediting smallpox vaccine for the decline in smallpox is misplaced.

        Not only did the smallpox vaccination not work, it sometimes killed as many or more than the disease itself while many of the “vaccinated” still contracted the disease and readily spread it thru contact. Initially, only the wealthy could afford to be inoculated and the reduced incident of deaths was initially thought to be attributed to the vaccine. However, the fact that the wealthy also lived in cleaner conditions and had the availability of better nutrition & cleaner water were the key factors in their reduced incidents of death.

      • M. Noonan January 3, 2017 / 11:56 pm

        Uh, but they had access to those things before the smallpox vaccine…and they still got it. King Louis XV died of it; I don’t recall Versailles being akin to an urban slum.

        Your comment makes it appear that you are unconvinced of the nature of smallpox – that it is a virus which can be transmitted by either direct or close contact with an infected person, and that a vaccine, by introducing a weaker form of the virus, can build up an immunity in a person. I happen to believe both the method of transmission and the efficacy of vaccination as a preventative. I doubt we’ll bridge our gap.

      • jdge1 January 4, 2017 / 12:18 am

        “Even if every last one of the most terrible horror stories of vaccination are true, it is still very much worth it.”

        That’s like saying; “Even if every last problem of the most terrible horror stories about liberalism is true, it is still very much worth having as liberals sometimes do some good”.

      • M. Noonan January 4, 2017 / 1:20 am

        Liberals, unlike vaccines, never do any good.


      • jdge1 January 4, 2017 / 10:30 am

        It matters not to me if people get vaccinations. The problem I have are the lies pushed about the efficiency and safety of vaccines. People cannot make informed decisions whether or not to get vaccinated when the information they’re fed is in contradiction to what the studies show (and I’m not referring to the hand selected data used by those who stand to gain). This is even more troubling when government agencies that are perceived to be looking out for our safety, are headed by individuals of groups who are in the pockets of the very same companies they’re supposed to protect us from.

        It should be even more evident when countries that previously used certain vaccinations, looked at the actual studies and data, read correctly what that data inferred, then removed those vaccines from use by their people and saw a sharp reduction in the number of cases of the disease.

    • Amazona January 2, 2017 / 5:16 pm

      I recently listened to an audio book on fat, and it unmasks the bad science and hysteria of the “experts” on the role of fats in our diets. One of the issues is not fat itself, but the quality of the fats we now eat, which goes back to how our animals are fed and handled.

      I have never been a food faddist, but lately I am finding myself more and more concerned about the quality of foods we eat as well as the opinions of “experts”. I have a niece who started to develop breasts before she was ten, thought to be the result of the hormones in commercially slaughtered beef and chicken, and I have read about similar things happening to both boys and girls across the country. While the jury is still out on the possibility of developing drug-resistant organisms because of constantly eating meats full of the antibiotics necessary to keep the poor animals alive long enough to gain weight and get slaughtered, it is a concern.

      The treatment of these animals is unconscionable. I spoke with a man who worked, briefly, at a slaughterhouse in Colorado, who said he had to quit because he couldn’t stand it. Now, instead of using the humane killers (think of the bolt used by the killer in No Country For Old Men) they simply push the cattle into a trap with electric cattle prods, hook them by the back feet and hang them upside down and cut their throats, while they are alive and conscious—they bleed out faster that way. This is after spending weeks in filthy crowded feedlots, being fed anything that might make them gain weight, having hormone pellets inserted under the skin to aid in weight gain, and being fed antibiotics to counter the lethal effects of their food and housing. Chickens don’t fare any better.

      I know several people who have developed food intolerances, to food types that have not been problems in the past, and wonder how much of this is due to tampering with the way our food is grown. I have heard both sides of the GMO argument and don’t have an opinion yet. But in the next couple of months I am going to slaughter a couple of my grass-fed yaks (great meat!) and am talking to a couple of people about doing shares of a grass fed buffalo owned by a man who has to cull his herd. I AM convinced of the health benefits of grass fed meats over feedlot beef and mass-produced chickens and eggs.

      • M. Noonan January 2, 2017 / 11:08 pm

        Remember when coffee and eggs were going to kill you?

        I look at it like this – all things in moderation. But, also, I think the more processed a food is, the less likely it is to be good. Keep in mind that the sellers of food in large quantities are mostly looking for volume and consistency…they want a lot of it, and they want it to taste the same. I think this does lead to some problems – as well as a lack of flavor and variety in the food we eat…and, perhaps, an explanation for why junk food is so popular: at least it has flavor (though mostly generated by sugar and salt).

      • Amazona January 3, 2017 / 1:00 pm

        In a New Year’s Day conversation with a friend who has developed some food sensitivities, she made the comment that the food we eat today is “dead”. That struck me.

        We no longer eat fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden, though a good produce section will provide some decent food. But processed foods are all dead, have the life cooked and preserved right out of them. And the jury is still out on the effects of GMO tinkering and other messing with foods while they are growing. I once read a pretty scary article on the practice of using Roundup to kill weeds in a field a few weeks before planting food crops, and the effect of the chemical composition of Roundup on the body. If this is in the soil it will be drawn up into the plants planted there, so large crops such as corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, etc. can very well have these chemicals in them.

        I know, you can read something scary about anything, but this was a pretty well-researched article. Gluten sensitivity was not a big deal many years ago, and I have read that the selective breeding of wheat, in particular, has resulted in a type of wheat with glutens that many find it hard to digest.

        What was that old saying? “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature”?

      • rustybrown2014 January 3, 2017 / 2:39 pm


        I share your concerns about the treatment of slaughter animals. The horrors of factory farming should be higher on our national radar. I think it was psychologist Paul Bloom who was asked, “a hundred years from now, what will people look back upon in our present times and shudder over, like we now shudder over slavery for instance?” His answer was our callous treatment of animals and their potential for suffering as optimized by factory farming. I’m inclined to agree. On the other hand, I do love a good steak…

      • jdge1 January 3, 2017 / 11:54 pm

        It bugs me when I hear the term “all things in moderation”. It is often used by the food manufactures to downplay the problems associated with many of the additives used in today’s food. For example, there was a TV commercial not that long ago where a teenager was eating a bowl of cereal. His friend comments; “Dude, don’t you know that has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it?” The response was; “So, HFCS is just sugar, sugar is sugar” (suggesting it’s just like any other sugar and in moderation it’s no problem). It all seems rational, except for one problem. Because so may of our foods are loaded with this stuff (it’s sweet, cheap (largely thru government subsidies to corn farmers) and addictive), what “moderation” means is a highly unknown factor. HFCS is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, diabetes, inflammation (the root of many diseases) and more. So how much is “ok” when most people rarely understand how much they actually consume and it consequences, both short term and long?

        They message they portray is that HFCS is “just sugar”, no different than cane sugar. But in fact HFCS and cane sugar are NOT biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body. Among other things, HFCS is actually converted to alcohol and eliminated thru the liver.

        Doubt and confusion are the currencies of deception, and they sow the seeds of complacency. “If you can’t convince them, confuse them – Harry Truman”.


        One of the issues with GMO’s is that one the predominant modifications made to the plant is to be able to tolerate greater amounts of pesticide / herbicide without destroying it. The key ingredient of Roundup is glyphosate which among other things is thought to be a major contributing factor in the recent disappearances of the colonized bees.

      • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 3:36 pm

        You guys do realize that concern over food quality and safety, herbicide and insecticide effects, and most of all animal welfare, are all supposed to be owned by Liberals, don’t you?

        They do get the vapors when we Conservatives trespass on their claimed areas of exclusive virtue, you know. I run into it all the time. “I just can’t believe that YOU are a Conservative!”

      • jdge1 January 4, 2017 / 10:03 pm

        Liberals think they own a lot of things. I just rarely like their so called solutions. They seem to excel at unintended consequences. They almost never start at a point if truth and therefore can almost never end at a point of truth.

  2. Retired Spook January 2, 2017 / 1:47 pm


    What you said confirms everything I’ve read, and I’ve read quite a bit about the subject. The first thing the doctor I went to when I left the one I wrote about asked me was what medications I was on. When I told him none he smiled and said I was his kind of patient, and that we are the most medicated society in the world.

    • jdge1 January 2, 2017 / 9:08 pm


      If you have any interest, I can send you some audio cd’s that discusses this and other interesting health related items. The cd’s are both informational and entertaining.

  3. Retired Spook January 2, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    Over the holidays I heard President Obama spouting his oft-repeated mantra that (I’m paraphrasing) there is no metric by which the American people are not better off than they were when I was first elected. I thought to myself he has told of lot of lies over the last 8 years, but that certainly has to be one of the biggest. I thought it might be interesting to see how many “metrics” we can come up with that are worse than they were in 2009. I’ll start it off.

    There are currently more Americans of working age unemployed than at any time in American history.

    • Amazona January 2, 2017 / 8:21 pm

      How about American people in Chicago? That city’s skyrocketing murder rate is a statistic that covers a lot of Obama ground—-poverty and the Dependent Class, gun control, life in his adopted city…..

      2009: 459
      2010: 436
      2011: 435
      2012: 516
      2013: 441
      2014: 432
      2015: 492
      2016: 762


    • Amazona January 2, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Perhaps Obama does not think that national debt has an impact on those “American people”.

      • $19.9 trillion: “The staggering mountain of debt Obama will leave behind on January 20, 2017.” Source: Treasury Department.

      • $9.2 trillion: “The increase in the national debt since Obama took office.” Source: Treasury Department.

    • Retired Spook January 2, 2017 / 11:48 pm

      Obama is the first President since Herbert Hoover to not have a single year of 3% or higher GDP growth.

      While the number of Americans on food stamps is down from its peak 3 years ago, it’s still nearly 12 million higher than when Obama took office (43.6 million vs. 32 million)

      • M. Noonan January 3, 2017 / 12:38 am

        It really has been awful. I know I’ve said this before, but as Matt and I were writing Worst, we were continually astonished by what we found. It was just endless – one bad and/or stupid thing after another. As we wrote it in different States, there was a lot of texting and e mailing back and forth and over and over again, it was “can you believe this!?!?!” as one or the other of us unearthed some other thing.

        Immediately after Obama leaves office, I’m sure we’ll get some Progressive books praising him to the skies, but Matt and I felt we were doing a real service with the book…a detailed, massively sourced book showing that by Obama’s own standards, he failed. It has 221 reader reviews on Amazon at this point 65% of them are 5 Star…plenty of 1 Star, but the common thing about them is that the reviewers who give it that rating haven’t read the book.

        Now, on to the next project…the working title in my head is “Stupid Liberals”, but that won’t be the final title.

      • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 11:12 am

        “…the working title in my head is “Stupid Liberals”, but that won’t be the final title.”

        Too obvious?

      • M. Noonan January 4, 2017 / 12:51 pm

        LOL – pretty much. Actually, it was our Cluster and a review of an Obama book I recently saw who inspired my idea. Cluster a couple days ago quoted from an article written about Obama back in 2008 which was just nauseating in its sycophancy for Obama. I mean, I understanding liking and supporting a politician…but especially when the jury is still out, a healthy skepticism is in order. The Liberals never had that…they were all-in from day one, and it lead them from one stupid thing to another and another and another. The idea is also partially inspired by Tyrrell’s The Liberal Crack-Up from 1984.

      • Retired Spook January 4, 2017 / 12:16 pm

        Well, they’re not ALL stupid; some are just ignorant, and some are truly ideologically driven, as in they see Progressivism as the best avenue to power.

      • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 3:04 pm

        I think many, if not most, are basically good-hearted and well-intentioned but have never critically examined the flood of negative things they have been told about the evils of an Invented Other—-the dreaded “right wing”.

        It is a fact that the more emotionally generous many people are, the more they tend to be naive, simply not believing that people they trust would lie to them. When the vast majority of what they are told, from one source after another, is in agreement that the Left holds the higher moral ground and is for all the most right, most kind, most generous, most compassionate things, and that by definition the Right, by being Not-Left, is against those important and feel-good things, it follows that the only right, kind, generous and compassionate thing to do is to support the Left.

        It has taken years and years of targeted, focused and often brilliant emotional manipulation, through constant propaganda, to develop this unexamined belief and build a shell around it that is hard if not impossible to penetrate. It can only be penetrated in two ways: By personal experience that forces the person to examine those beliefs, which can be painful and demands courage and fortitude, because these beliefs form a lot of the person’s core identity and self-image (kind, generous, etc) and/or by having reality forced upon him in a brute-force attack on those beliefs and leaving no alternative but to accept it because there is no defense left.

        Wrapped in the warm fuzzies of self-congratulation for being “better” most Liberals are simply not motivated to examine anything that might shake that smug conviction.

      • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 6:55 pm

        Mark, I bought the book on Amazon (it seemed appropriate…) but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It’s been a crazy political year, and I just got some new Sowell books in.

  4. Amazona January 2, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    At the top of 2017’s YCMTSU category is Rosie O’Donnell claiming that Trump is “mentally unbalanced”. OK, it is true that she ought to know “mentally unbalanced” from the inside out, but for her to apply this term to anyone else—and I mean anyone else—is too funny for words.

    Oh, she is also mounting a campaign to “STOP him!” Yes, she says we have three weeks remaining to keep him from being sworn in. Her grasp of the law is even more fragile than her grasp of reality in general.

    Ah, yes, the Loony Left—the gift that keeps on giving.

  5. Retired Spook January 3, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    Anyone have a feel for why Republicans first act right out of the gate this morning was to gut the Independent Ethics Panel?

    • Amazona January 3, 2017 / 1:20 pm

      First, I object to the propaganda calling this measure “gutting” an “independent ethics panel”. When you get past the headline, if you bother to do so, you learn that this panel has not been “gutted” at all. This is just more of the Complicit Agenda Media manipulation of fact, which is finally being accurately identified as “fake news”. Yet this IS the headline in all the references that pop up on Google. (all emphasis mine)

      As usual, President-elect Foot-In-Mouth has to weigh in without thinking it through, adding to the lie. (“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it,” Trump said in a Twitter post.) He is trying, in his uniquely clumsy way, to straddle the fence here, claiming that the panel is “weakening” this “watchdog” while admitting that it is also “unfair” but the takeaway word from his latest tweet is the word “weakening”.


      On one hand I think it is a good move. On the other, it is PR nightmare, if not—-and here I go again—explained properly. (“Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress,” Pelosi said in a statement.)

      This was created by Nancy Pelosi, which makes it automatically suspect, and it was created at the beginning of the Obama presidency, allegedly to address ethical shortcomings in Congress but really to continue slinging mud at the Bush Administration as well as provide a legitimate-sounding mechanism to slime Republicans in the future.

      Did it address any of the Dem scandals or ethical violations?

      And it was set up to communicate its “findings” directly to the media. In other words, it was always less of an independent oversight committee and more of a bludgeon to be wielded against conservatives, with the implied moral high ground and authority of being both “independent/nonpartisan” and also about “ethics”.

      As for “nonpartisan” you can’t just have some token Republicans on board who are outvoted and claim the committee is “nonpartisan”. I remember the witch hunt for Tom DeLay, who was found guilty by an allegedly non-partisan committee of doing something that was legal when he did it. I need to look it up to see if that was this “ethics” committee.

      The body will now have to deliver its reports to lawmakers, rather than releasing them directly to the public, according to a summary released by Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte. It will be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review.

      Does that sound like the work of the committee has been “gutted”? Or is it just a means of providing oversight to prevent abuses of its powers?

      “The OCE has a serious and important role in the House, and this amendment does nothing to impede their work,” said Goodlatte, who sponsored the measure.


      • Amazona January 3, 2017 / 1:43 pm

        DeLay was censored by the Committee On Standards Of Official Conduct in 2004, and I can’t find a list of who sat on that committee. I probably could if I spent more time looking.

        I did look at the files of this committee, and it was quite a tour of the past. If you happen to go to this site and scroll down to the bottom and work your way back up (assuming that 18th and 19th century misdeeds don’t really grab your attention) it is kind of interesting reading. One of the things that jumped out at me was the obvious intent to take down Newt Gingrich, with complaint after complaint lodged against him, for some really silly stuff. And 1983 was interesting, with a flurry of sex-and-drugs charges.


    • Amazona January 3, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      And now, thanks to the mumbling stumbling political ineptness of conservatives, we see that they have withdrawn the move to change some of the parameters of the panel.

      And, as usual, the Right trips over its own feet, which are firmly planted in various parts of various anatomies, and creates a whole new mess that only makes it look bad. As Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.”

      Goodlatte defended his proposal in the wake of the outrage Monday evening, telling CNN that the move “will make sure that work is properly done,” but “will also make sure that people who are wrongly charged have an opportunity to protect themselves.

      “There should be no entity in the entire federal government that doesn’t have review by some committee of the Congress so that’s all it sets up is oversight,” he said. “It still has its designated statutory responsibilities. It has some new rules that it has to follow but it still is empowered to take complaints from individuals as it was intended to do and investigate those complaints but every agency of the government whether it’s executive, legislative or judicial should have a committee that reviews it’s (sic) work.”

      GOP Rep. Hal Rogers, the Appropriations Committee chairman, told reporters he backed the proposal because “it’s the right thing to do.”

      Rogers said there were “numerous examples” of members “who were falsely accused by this group who had to spend a fortune to get their good name restored so I think there’s been an abuse.”

      Texas Congressman Bill Flores also backed the change, saying the panel is “out of control‎, we don’t even get constitutional rights, constitutional protections. They don’t tell us who accuses us and they leak the data — they are out of control.”


      But when the President-elect comes out in one of his infamous tweets using the language of the opposition to completely misrepresent the move, what can Congress do?

      BTW, if the work of the Committee does in fact violate the Constitutional right to due process, its very actions are unconstitutional, and the Committee requires oversight.

      This protection (of due process) extends to all government proceedings that can result in an individual’s deprivation, whether civil or criminal in nature, from parole violation hearings to administrative hearings regarding government benefits and entitlements to full-blown criminal trials. The article “Some Kind of Hearing” written by Judge Henry Friendly created a list of basic due process rights “that remains highly influential, as to both content and relative priority”. These rights, which apply equally to civil due process and criminal due process, are:

      An unbiased tribunal.
      Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it.
      Opportunity to present reasons why the proposed action should not be taken.
      The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
      The right to know opposing evidence.
      The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.
      A decision based exclusively on the evidence presented.
      Opportunity to be represented by counsel.
      Requirement that the tribunal prepare a record of the evidence presented.
      Requirement that the tribunal prepare written findings of fact and reasons for its decision.

      • Retired Spook January 3, 2017 / 2:40 pm

        Excellent research, Amazona. I thought there was probably more to the story than the news accounts were letting on.

      • Amazona January 3, 2017 / 3:24 pm


        BTW, when I Googled ” Members of Independent Ethics Panel” and “Members of Committee On Standards Of Official Conduct” I could not find any info. This must be a matter of public record but I couldn’t find it.

        What I did find was reference after reference, in nearly every single story on the GOP move (literally dozens) using the word “gut” to describe their effort, with the other word used being “weaken”. The power of the Complicit Agenda Media at work—and we have no one who can respond.

      • M. Noonan January 3, 2017 / 4:19 pm

        I just love an ethics panel – because we can’t expect Senators and Congressmen to know what is ethical!

      • Retired Spook January 3, 2017 / 5:22 pm

        BTW, when I Googled ” Members of Independent Ethics Panel” and “Members of Committee On Standards Of Official Conduct” I could not find any info.

        I did not find any names, but I did find the House bill that set up the panel, referred to as the Office of Congressional Ethics.

        The Office shall be governed by a
        board consisting of six individuals of whom three shall be
        nominated by the Speaker subject to the concurrence of the
        minority leader and three shall be nominated by the minority
        leader subject to the concurrence of the Speaker. The Speaker
        shall nominate at least one alternate board member subject
        to the concurrence of the minority leader and the minority
        leader shall nominate at least one alternate board member

      • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 12:50 pm

        Yesterday I heard Hugh Hewitt say that the OCE is an unconstitutional star chamber with no legal authority. He said something about once being called to testify in some hearing and refusing to answer questions because the Committee had no authority.

        Today I signed up for the Hughniverse to try to find that comment, and couldn’t—-don’t feel like sitting through the whole show again, though as a side note his interviews were brilliant and packed with great insight. The one with Judd Legum was really funny—the guy is so clueless I was actually a little embarrassed for him. That interview was transcribed so I copied a short quote.

        HH: Think Progress is one of the online hubs of the left. Its founder and editor Judd Legum joined me this morning:

        JL: I’m going to be looking for that, for the move to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, which I’m sure is the first step of your plan.

        HH: I actually believe wholeheartedly in that, because I’ve dealt with them, and it’s an unconstitutional due process-breaking star chamber within the Congress

        Note the Progressive use of the meme “gut” and his determination to insert it into the interview.

        A couple of comments on the show, and on Hewitt. I like him. I don’t always agree with him, but overall I think he is pretty darned smart and articulate. He tends to be absolutist on some things. For example, he flat out refused to entertain any discussion of the birthplace, etc of Obama, while I thought it was an issue so important it should have been officially and publicly investigated, no matter what the result, because of the impact of its open question on the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.

        Anyway, Hewitt has a new book coming out in three weeks, The Fourth Way, which is his blueprint for moving forward effectively with a Republican government. His theme is to go fast, go big, and his message is to ignore the wails, shrieks of outrage and efforts to roadblock Republican agendas and just keep going.

        Tom Cotton had a great quote, which I have to paraphrase here because I didn’t write it down. He said that when he was in the Infantry the manual said when the Infantry is moving it is on offense and when it is not moving it is on defense. I think that is a great motto for the Republican Congress.

      • M. Noonan January 4, 2017 / 12:55 pm

        As the OCE was created by the Democrats in 2008, it is highly suspect by me…remember, the Democrats absurdly ran against a GOP “culture of corruption” in 2006, and that got Matt and I to write Caucus of Corruption to demonstrate that it is actually the Democrats who are relentlessly corrupt. The purpose of the OCE was never to go after corruption, as such, but as a means to batter GOPers for partisan reasons…there being zero chance that a party where corruption is endemic and key to their “success” would go after corruption.

  6. rustybrown2014 January 3, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    Speaking of cross burnings, A&E had to cancel a documentary on the KKK after it became apparent that they were paying the participants to engage in extra Klanny behavior, right down to supplying wood, kerosene, and burlap for a cross burning that was not on the agenda of any of the participants. Just like the surfeit of hate crime hoaxes spreading across our land, it would seem the professional victims in this country just can’t find enough examples of people actually victimizing them so they have to make up their own.


    • M. Noonan January 3, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      It was just an absurd attempt at some Anti-Trump polemics, even if a bit on the sly. I can’t imagine there being more than a few thousand Klansmen in the whole United States these days…

      • Retired Spook January 4, 2017 / 9:47 am

        I just read the other day that the number is around 3K; can’t remember who did the survey, maybe Pew or Gallup.

      • M. Noonan January 4, 2017 / 12:44 pm

        Something like that – the Progs did have one real clever idea round about 25 or 30 years ago…sue Klan outfits for damages. That did more to finish the Klan as an organization than anything. No one dares set up an actual Klan organization for fear of being taken to court; there’s just no way a Klan group can go into court and win a case…no jury in America is going to rule in their favor…after Klansmen started having their personal assets lost in judgements, they dissolved their groups. There are still people who dress up in the costume and such, but I doubt you’ll find a Klan group that is actually “on the books” as it were.

      • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 2:12 pm

        I think there is an element of Kinda-Klan involved. Think of the Goth movement. These people, mostly disaffected young people looking for not just an identity but for one that will shock or offend people, never did actually drink blood or sacrifice animals or do any of the weird things they tried to associate themselves with. I think there is an element of that in some of the alleged KKK membership. I doubt that there are many serious, committed, anti-black radicals out there any more. And remember, the KKK was also anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic.

        The KKK was a fairly strict and regimented organization, with a hierarchy of authority and status, and also functioned as a political entity and a social club. It tended to flourish in areas where there was little competition for political power or social activity and involvement. It filled a lot of emotional and practical needs that were not associated with race, but race and religion provided the public identity aspect and focal points.

        Today’s society just doesn’t provide the same vacuum that existed back in the day, and certainly doesn’t give much in the way of approval or validation for anti-black racism. The only racism that has any significant social validation these days is black anti-white racism.

        Today’s KKK is much like today’s American Nazi Party—-clearly outposts of social misfits with no respect or power.

      • M. Noonan January 4, 2017 / 5:55 pm

        That is pretty much what I’ve seen on social media – youngsters with a thin grasp of history but who don’t like the Progressive enforcers of conformity. If you think about it, a 20 to 25 year old today spent more than half his or her life just being relentlessly propagandized by the left and there’s bound to be a reaction against that. Trouble is, while they were being propagandized, they couldn’t be taught actual history…they were taught a nonsense bit of history about the United States and the world which even a cursory examination shows to be false. Once the falsehood is shown, it is quickly rejected as only a fool continues to hold to demonstrable falsehoods…but, the bad news is that they can’t readily access true history, and thus fall easy prey to the false history taught by “blood and soil”, alt Right types. Remember, the alt Right types deny the Progressive version of history – and they can speak the truth when denying it, because the Progressive view is false…of course, the alt Right types skirt around the truth which would deny the alt Right (and, I suspect, 99% of alt Right people have no idea of true history, themselves). So, make the easy refutation of Progressive history, and then present the kids with a plausible-sounding alternative history – Presto! A host of young alt Right guys and gals out there.

      • Amazona January 5, 2017 / 1:34 pm

        I’m still in the dark about the meaning of “alt right”. It is like “alternative rock”. I once asked a couple of young women who said that is their favorite kind of music, “alternative to what?” and just got blank looks.

        I am very suspicious of the term “alt right” because it would mean, literally, an alternative to the right, which would mean the Left, yet it is being used as a term for some element of allegedly right-wing thought. I’m thinking the whole term, and those who claim to be defined by it, as a Trojan Horse or other sneaky mechanism to associate lunacy of one kind or another with the Right.

        This only works if you have already been brainwashed into defining the Right by issues instead of ideology, but that is a ship that has apparently already sailed, as so many who seem to be ideologically on the Right still get suckered into constantly using issues to explain their positions. It has been an insidious invasion of political ideology, designed to be divisive and emotionally disruptive, and it has worked very very well—but only because we went along with it.

      • Amazona January 5, 2017 / 1:41 pm

        Speaking of history, in a previous thread JDGE1 said something very profound, that I think should be used as the platform for reform of our teaching of history:

        History seems more like a fictitious story book than a true account of man’s capacity for both immense evil as well as vast expressions of courage / love / sacrifice.

  7. Retired Spook January 4, 2017 / 1:57 pm

    Interesting article at MarketWatch this morning about the pitfalls of repealing ObamaCare. For someone in academia, the guy makes what, at least on the surface, sound like valid points. His claim of being a former health insurance CEO is somewhat specious as he was a CEO back in the 90’s for 3 years while between jobs.

    My fear is that Republicans will rush to get rid of ObamaCare and create problems that are as bad or worse. I would hope they’ll talk at length to insurers, doctors, hospital and clinic administrators and especially to patients, both those who like ObamaCare and those who don’t.

    • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      I read the article you linked, and found it blatantly biased in favor of Obamacare and dismissive of alternatives. For example, the author states:

      Generally, this model (individual insurance policies) forces insurers to take fewer risks so that they can still make money. They do this by excluding pre-existing conditions and paying fewer claims. In such a market, fewer people are helped, and when they are able to get insurance, they pay a lot more for it than if they were part of an employee-sponsored plan.

      This is true, as far as it goes. However, it ignores or overlooks other details that offset this problem.

      One is the fact that when insurance is provided through employment, it ends when that employment ends, meaning that the person who was insured through his employer and used insurance to cover illnesses and conditions is then considered to have those pre-existing conditions when he tries to get a new policy. He is older, he has had more health problems, he may have developed a chronic condition, all of which affect his ability to get a good plan at a reasonable cost somewhere else. Taking insurance plan ownership out of employee benefits means that he owns his plan, and it goes with him no matter where he works. Any conditions he has developed or negative health history he has experienced all occurred while he was covered, and he doesn’t have to re-qualify with those elements affecting his eligibility or premium.

      One is the fact that companies are restricted through state insurance laws, so the pool of people with a certain condition is going to be a whole lot smaller if the company is only looking at people in one or two states, instead of at the population of the country as a whole This can remedied by changing the insurance laws so companies can cover people in any state.

      The Affordable Care Act changed all of this. Companies were required to stop doing these bad things.

      “These bad things”? Wow–talk about bias! Thank God for a bully government to step in and MAKE them stop!

      In exchange for taking on substantially more risk of less healthy patients, they were promised more business by getting access to more potential customers.

      He clearly has no problem with government intervention in business, and government forcing people to enter into contracts.

      And then we find out why Obamacare has failed—–it’s not the fault of the system, it is the fault of CONGRESS! …..when the time came to pay up for risk reduction in the Obamacare exchanges, Congress reneged and paid only 12% of what was owed to the insurers. So, on top of the fact that the companies had to bear the risk of unknown costs and utilization in the startup years, which turned out to be higher than they expected, insurers had to absorb legislative uncertainty of whether the rules would be rewritten.

      Sorry, fella, but that’s what happens when at least some members of Congress try to uphold their oaths of office and protect and defend the Constitution.

      The author lists a couple of what he sees as problems and then takes the position that the only solutions are in Obamacare. But when you look at the real problems, you can see that there are other solutions.

      None of the other solutions are quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions. A lot of the problem will have to be resolved gradually, through education and experience. We will need to start convincing young people that they will HAVE to start buying their own health insurance while young, and keep it no matter what, to avoid serious consequences when they get older. This will be a huge hurdle to overcome, and it will take time, probably a couple of generations, if we work at it. It will take having careless young people reach the age of 50 or so and then having to pay top dollar for basic health care coverage, while their responsible peers are paying half as much for better coverage because they figured it out while they were young. It may take states having to develop subsidy programs, such as Colorado did years ago, to help provide coverage for people deemed “uninsurable”.

      You can’t screw up a system as badly as the Left has screwed up the health care provider system in this country in one or two legislative actions. But you have to start somewhere. The place to start is to stop calling this “health care” and call it what it is—-contracts with companies in which they pay for health care costs in return for the regular payment of premiums to belong to a plan designed to do so.

      I think it will help to remove the emotional context of HEALTH CARE and put the discourse where it belongs—-in the arena of contract law, and the ability of the federal government to intervene in personal contracts and dictate their terms.

      • Retired Spook January 4, 2017 / 4:25 pm

        We will need to start convincing young people that they will HAVE to start buying their own health insurance while young, and keep it no matter what, to avoid serious consequences when they get older. This will be a huge hurdle to overcome, and it will take time, probably a couple of generations, if we work at it.

        Comprehensive health savings accounts would be a giant step in this direction.

      • Amazona January 4, 2017 / 7:03 pm

        Exactly. There are so many good ideas of how to help people deal with catastrophic medical costs, and we need to examine and incorporate all of them.

        Speaking of catastrophic medical costs, we used to be able to pay our own day to day medical costs if we wanted to, and just buy insurance to cover the big-ticket items. That would be best for me—I not only can pay my doctor for a visit, and pay for tests and prescriptions, I prefer to do so. I am always getting some random bill weeks or even months after a doctor’s visit, not knowing where it came from, because he sent out a test to a lab in Rhode Island that has its billing done on evidently a random basis out of Phoenix and I have to track it down as I don’t just automatically send a check to anyone who asks for one. I am healthy for the most part, and being able to pay my own regular expenses while being covered for the big stuff would work out a lot better for me. But Big Brother decided to do away with catastrophic medical care plans.

        I also learned, during a period when I was not insured, that paying cash means paying about 60% on average of the original bill—-that extra 40% or so is what it costs the provider to do the paperwork associated with billing insurance companies and collecting from them.

        (Speaking of which—young people today don’t even get the Big Brother reference as the only Big Brother they know is some tacky “reality TV” show. And with today’s location detectors, traffic and security cams, GPS trackers, cell phone trackers, remote computer cam control and so on, even the Orwell Big Brother probably just seems like everyday life to them anyway if they even read the book.)

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