Open Thread

A bit of foreign influence in our elections which the Democrats, MSMers and Never Trumpers won’t talk about – because it was Iran and it harmed the GOP.

Alabama tells a donor to take his money and shove it over the donor’s opposition to Alabama’s pro-life legislation.

AOC flashes the White Power sign – for you and me its and “ok” sign, of course…but, hey, the Left says it means White Power…so, why is AOC flashing it?

Former Florida Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has been subpoenaed by the Feds. Seems like it has to do with some charity groups he worked for. My bet: he was running a con via non-profits…something I bet a very large number of non-profits so. My view is that a very large portion – perhaps of majority – of non-profits are actually just grifts designed to enrich the bosses of the non-profits.

Our Democrat governor in Nevada vetoed the Popular Vote bill passed by the State legislature. My view: Nevada is rapidly being Californicated, but there are still enough sane people here that the governor can’t go full screwball…and this was an easy way to appear moderate.

Never care what people say, always watch what they do. Rachel Maddow has been a premier Russia collusion booster…and her ratings are in the tank. People aren’t tuning in to listen to it any longer. Democrats would be making a huge mistake to impeach. OTOH, they might just want to keep it percolating deep into 2020.

Rumor is that Trump may punish Mexico with tariffs unless they get serious about securing the border. Thing is, I’m not sure Mexico can do that – the cartels profit heavily from the illegal crossings, and as they tend to horribly murder anyone who tries to stop them, who in Mexico would actually try to control the border?

Open Thread

Listening to Democrats, I can only assume that they are really going to impeach the President. They can’t possibly believe they have 67 votes in the Senate to convict…but the way Democrats talk, it seems clear to me that they believe a majority wants Trump impeached. We’ll see how it comes out – but I suspect that Trump will come out the winner in that fight.

Meanwhile, the RNC is still blowing the doors off the DNC in fundraising – and most remarkably in the “small donor” segment. I keep hearing that everyone hates Trump, but I’ve yet to see that translate into practical reality.

We here in Nevada handed the State over to the Democrats in 2018 and, true to their paymasters in California, Nevada Democrats have passed national popular vote legislation, thus impounding our electoral votes to Democrat ballot-box stuffers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. This happens because Nevada Democrats – like all State-level Democrats – don’t give a damn about their States, but only dictatorial, national power.

Ace has an article about how frightening China’s “social credit” system is becoming, and points out that this is be beta test for its use in the United States. Don’t doubt Ace on that – the left very much wants such a system in order to punish anyone who does’t behave correctly: ie, behave in a manner approved of by the most recent and kook-left part of the global elite. Remember, while jail/torture/execution is a large tool in the tyrant’s tool kit, the Soviets learned long ago that the real way to control people is to make it impossible for them to simply live unless they are approved by the government. Give the liberals power long enough, and you won’t even be able to ride a bus without their permission.

Don Surber points out that vis a vis Iran, all Trump was ever doing was saber rattling to get Iran to back down a bit. We’ll see how it ultimately comes out, but I’ve always doubted that Trump would instigate a war. He’s a businessman who has the businessman’s natural abhorrence of war: it’s bad for business (unless you’re a defense contractor, which Trump isn’t). Trump is actually turning out to be quite effective in foreign policy – mostly because he eschews globalist theories. Iran – or another enemy – could do an overt act which makes war a reality, but in such a case it wouldn’t be Trump leading us to war, but taking charge of a war someone else started.

RSM looks at Alabama’s attitude towards abortion: bottom line, not a lot of Alabama women have abortions. Vastly smaller proportion than in, say, New York City. And that is the crux of the matter: there are several States, like Alabama, which simply don’t want abortion. It is all tied to culture and religion, of course: but in a pluralist Republic, we should be able to accommodate divergence. But liberals won’t allow that – they’re sitting there in their tiny, urban apartments feeding the cat and furious that some woman out there has such a satisfying sex life with her husband that she’s had three kids. They want to put a stop to that.

The Middle East is Changing

So, Iranian forces in Syria attacked Israeli targets and Israel, naturally, responded – a big thing and important in itself, but this struck me:

Bahrain has backed Israel’s right to “defend itself”, following dozens of Israeli airstrikes on Iranian military targets in Syria overnight.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa said on Thursday that it backed Tel Aviv’s military response to attempted Iranian missile strikes on an Israeli army base, early Thursday morning, in the occupied Golan Heights.

“As long as Iran has breached the status quo in the region and invaded countries with its forces and missiles, so any state in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying sources of danger,” the minister, whose country is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, said on his official Twitter account…

Bahrain is a tiny country and is allied with Saudi Arabia mostly for protection against Iran. So, no surprise that Bahrain would be pleased to see Iran harmed, but it is massively surprising that an official of the Bahrain government would publicly declare Israel – which, officially in most Muslim countries, doesn’t even exist – has a right to self-defense. This is a sea-change in Arab attitudes.

What I think has really broken the log-jam here is the fact that Trump pretty much dropped the Palestinian issue like a bad habit. As long as our actions in the Middle East were always tied to a theory that we had to remain somewhat neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict – and thus had to pretend that the Palestinian leadership was a key element – we were tied to a false idea, and thus couldn’t really move. Trump moved; now, everyone is moving. Its been a couple decades since anyone in the Arab world really gave a darn about the Palestinians and while no one would object to a permanent peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, everyone with any sense at all knows the Palestinian leadership has staked out an impossible position (return to the 1967 border, return of “refugees” to Israel and, of course, still rhetoric about marching on Tel Aviv one day), and so there’s no chance of it right now. So, let’s move on until the Palestinian leadership changes.

And as people are able to move on – as people no longer have to pretend that a few fanatics in Gaza have to be appeased in order to do anything – the political realities which have existed at least since the Iranian revolution are rising to the surface…and are being dealt with. I’m not saying they are being dealt with properly – there’s a lot of confusion and an outsider like me really can’t judge all that well – but they are being dealt with. Saudi Arabia is determined to check Iran (wise move, Saudi Arabia) and in that effort, ignoring a powerful Israel which is also determined to check Iran would be foolish. I think we’re still a ways away from an Israeli Embassy in Riyadh…but I don’t think that far away. The times, they are a-changing…and it is Trump, the Agent of Change on Steroids, who is making it happen.

SOTU/Iranian Hostage Crisis Open Thread

Wonder if this will put a damper on Obama claiming success in the Iran deal during the State of the Union?

Iranian military forces seized two U.S. Navy boats Tuesday and are holding them in custody on Iran’s Farsi Island in the middle of the Persian Gulf, senior U.S. officials told NBC News.

Officials said it’s unclear whether the 10 American sailors who were aboard one of the small riverine boats had strayed into Iranian territorial waters before they were captured.

The officials said the Americans were on a training mission around noon ET when their boat experienced mechanical difficulty and drifted into Iranian-claimed waters and were seized by Iranian Coast guard.

Iran is claiming they were in Iran’s waters – naturally, our government is appearing to go along with this claim. Even if true, the proper response from a civilized power is to just warn them off, not seize them. This could, of course, just be one of those things that happen – but it could also be Iran seeing just how far they can go. They are already routinely insulting us and challenging us and seeing that Obama is willing to put up with anything rather than put his “legacy” deal with Iran in jeopardy. This just might be more in that game – and if it is, then expect some very aggressive Iranian action in the area soon…if we back down on this, Iran’s government will pretty much know for certain that Obama will not, under any circumstances, take on Iran.

Perhaps Obama should set up an empty chair for our national honor…

Out and About on a Sunday

A few recent polls show Trump fading in Iowa and Carson surging – which makes sense just on the fact that Carson is a much better fit than Trump for the highly socially conservative Iowa GOP. Be that as it may, Trump is for real. I thought he was a joke candidate. Then I thought he was a candidate surging because of the fury the GOP base has against the GOP establishment. But now it is different – and watching Trump on the trail reveals a man who is a quick learner. He still has massive obstacles to overcome to attain the nomination, but he’s starting to look like a political tsunami…something akin to the way Andrew Jackson came out of nowhere to completely overturn the political establishment in 1828 (and he’s also quite a lot like Jackson – supremely self-confident and determined to have his way, without too much concern about the legal and social niceties). In all the good and bad you can have in a President, the best good is a quick learner…because there is always a learning curve and the best pick it up fast (Obama, like Carter, has not learned a thing – likely because, also like Carter, he doesn’t think he has anything to learn). It remains to be seen if he can navigate his way to the nomination and then to the White House…if he does, the crucial aspect of whether he’ll be a good President is that ability to learn…and if he’s really smart, he’ll learn that the only way an Executive gets the government to do anything is to ceaselessly pester it with Presidential directives (Churchill was one of the few who knew this – and all his “pray give me the facts on one sheet of paper” and “action this day” memos were his way of just giving the bureaucracy no rest until they darned will did what he wanted them to do). The bottom line here is that if the establishment or even insurgents like Cruz want to beat Trump, then they’re going to have to out-campaign him. I don’t think he’ll implode for our entertainment at this point.

The Japanese have a hotel staffed by robots. A look at the future, folks – we’re not replicating ourselves and so we’re building a completely artificial world. Hopefully, this is only a temporary thing and we’ll snap out of it soon.

Climate alarmism – it is designed to scare you into compliance.

Why would Orthodox Russia ally with Islamist Iran? Because they both need oil to be north of $100 a barrel. Please note that China would not be pleased with oil that pricey – if we had anyone in DC with any diplomatic ability, at all, we’d be making hay with this situation. Bismarck said that success comes with hearing the hoof beats of history and grabbing hold of the tail as it goes by…unfortunately, our foreign policy is run by faculty lounge pinheads.

Tony Blair, in what I suspect is an attempt to placate the left in a bid to save Labour from a drubbing next election due to their kook-left party leader, has apologized for the Iraq war.

The prospect of Ryan becoming Speaker is actually a signal that the GOP is uniting. Don’t pop too many bottles of champagne, folks, but it is the way it is working. I see it as this: the TEA Party and the Establishment are getting on the same team. This means we’ll have to put up with some RINOism, and they’ll have to put up with some actual conservatism. This is the way it works, folks – always has and always will. Half a loaf is better than none.

Out and About on a Sunday

Sources say female troops were given special treatment to pass Ranger School. The thing is no enemy of the United States is going to cut us any slack. Any woman who wants to be in a combat unit should have to meet the exact same standards as the men – and no lowering of standards. In fact, I’d like to see the standards raised for all military services – perhaps even a smaller overall Army and Marines, but each soldier and Marine trained up to Special Forces quality. 250,000 such soldiers and Marines could make mincemeat of most global military forces.

Bill Clinton has identified the culprit in the Hillary e mail scandal: the Republicans.

Trump is claiming that his GOP rivals want to start World War Three over Syria. This is an exaggeration, of course – but that is Trump in a nutshell. But it must be kept in mind that unless we decide we want to back the Assad regime (and there is a case to be made for this – I’d set our price at the removal of Hezbollah from Lebanon), there is a risk of war with Iran and Russia, who are backing Assad (so, if we decide to fight Assad, they might decide to fight us). Careful thought is necessary in the Syrian mine field.

Hey, fellow Conservatives, just because it is a defense program doesn’t mean it isn’t a boondoggle. I’m pretty sure that about 1 in 3 dollars spent by Uncle Sam is waste, fraud or abuse. And that goes for military spending, as well. British Admiral Jacky Fisher in the early 20th century managed to reduce Naval spending while also providing Britain with a vastly more powerful Navy – big spending doesn’t necessarily translate into a strong military. I bet we can actually cut defense spending and get a more powerful military – and as we set about trying to get rid of regressive, anti-human social spending, we’ll need to find some military cuts so that our proposed reforms don’t come out as “cut welfare and spend on military”. Politics is an art – and you’ve got to play the game to win.

Corporations are selling each other corporate bonds in order to buy back their own stocks. I’m sure this will end well…

A lot of my fellow conservatives have taken strong issue with some statements by Pope Francis. Well, here’s something he said which will make you happy:

In this place which is symbolic of the American way, I would like to reflect with you on the right to religious freedom. It is a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own. Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate. But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.

In other words, liberals, religious liberty means we’re allowed to act upon our religious beliefs even in the public square.

Weekend Open Thread

The rumors are starting to fly thick and fast about a Biden run. My view: he’ll get in…but it might be a lot later than people think. Could even be after the New Hampshire primary. It has happened before – specifically, in 1968 when Bobby Kennedy entered the race after New Hampshire revealed the weakness of Johnson.

A few liberal fascists are urging Uncle Sam to bring RICO charges against global warming doubters – nothing says “science” like using the heavy club of government to stifle debate.

More and more people are coming to the understanding that our inaction in Syria is because we don’t want to upset our new friends in Tehran. The Syrian people are being thrown to the wolves in the name of this new policy – much as the Poles were thrown to Stalin in service to FDR’s idea that Stalin would be a nifty post-War partner for us. I suspect our Syrian policy will work out as well as our Polish policy did.

Turns out, The View sucks. But you already knew that.

No one at the EPA has been fired over the EPA’s poisoning of a river. Government is just a word for things we do together – and it’s ok that all of us dumped pollution. It’s only bad if a private company does it, you see?