Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Media's Blitz Against Trump

The past few weeks have seen an all out media assault on Trump.

It began during the Democrat's convention. Khizir Khan, a Muslim lawyer who advocates Sharia law, gave a speech in which he attacked Trump. Khan was on the stage at the DNC because his son, Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq. Trump responded to this attack and was lambasted by the media for attacking a war hero's parents. 

This carefully laid trap ensured a cycle of negative news as rest of the media was quick to pile on. The feeding frenzy pushed Trump's poll numbers down. This in turn started another negative news cycle. The next angle of attack was the media misrepresenting Trump's sarcasm about Hillary's emails. The Democrat party and their media allies kept up these spurious attack for several weeks. 

The standard cuckservative presidential candidate would have crumbled under this barrage. Trump remained unbowed. He did make some tactical adjustments as he brought in a new head of campaign. He also gave a more positive speech in Charlotte last week.

After this thunderous attack, the media is showing unease as the most recent LA Times national poll shows a slight Trump lead. This is disconcerting to them as this occured despite their heavy artillery barrage. 

 Trump still has work to do as the battleground polls show him lagging in most of the key battleground states like Florida and Ohio. However, the media hurricane has not crippled him and he is showing signs of a surge.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Book Review: Riding the Red Horse

Riding the Red Horse is a military anthology by Vox Day and the iconoclastic Tom Kratman. In it nonfiction short essays are mixed military fiction. This blending of fiction and nonfiction provides a nice change of pace compare to most of the other fiction only anthologies.

Like any anthology, one will like some works are better than others. However the overall quality of the anthology shines as the entries  are uniformly entertaining and  thought provoking.

I had four favorites.

My first favorite was the excellent short essay Make the Tigers fight by James D. Perry. This essay examines the Soviet strategy of keeping the United States and China entangled in a series of proxy wars in Southeast Asia. Perry provides an interesting perspective on the causes and effects of this strategy. He offer a new lens with which to examine the Vietnam and Korean war.

The second essay I especially liked was the non fiction Battlefield Lases by Eric S. Raymond discussing the future of warefare in an era of ever cheaper and more powerful lasers. The author also examines the vast geopolitical changes this technological shift threatens to unleash.

Sucker Punch by Eric S. Raymond  is a gripping story of the Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the near future. It reads like Tom Clancy novel and is an exciting read while also being though provoking.

The final favorite was the short story Turncoat by Steve Raza. In the far distant future an Artificial Intelligence grapples with morality and warfare as an interstellar war rages between humanity and the post humans.

I recommended this anthology to anyone who enjoys history and military fiction.

Rating: Gold

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Third Rail: Welfare Reform

The Current Issue
As deficits have climbed to record highs, and the government is borrowing almost thirty-three cents for every dollar it spends, money that frequently comes from countries that do not have the United States’ best interests at heart, it is critical for the United States to stop spending so much money. Expenditures must be slashed and the federal budget trimmed, in order to not only bring spending into parity with governmental inflows, but also to drive government spending down to the point where we can begin to pay down the national debt. 

Our children and their children deserve to live in a country that is not crippled by massive amounts of debt to our enemies. But in order to do this, the next administration must aggressively move to contain welfare costs, which are spiraling out of control. The growth of the welfare state has created a debt crisis that is not only majorly affecting the United States, but many other countries as well. We must bring under control welfare costs, moving people off of it while still ensuring that those who cannot take care of themselves are provided for.

            Massive federal debt affects the country negatively in a number of ways; including inflation, higher taxes, and indebtedness to nations unfriendly to the United States’ best interests. Any of these three poses a serious deleterious effect to the economic freedom and security of the United States of America; all three together could prove to be permanently devastating in the long run. Serious leadership will be needed to overcome these challenges, and it will not be easy, nevertheless the issue is so pressing that it cannot be put off, “kicked down the road” any further. President Obama has badly damaged America's national security with many ill considered plans, but none have been more hurtful than his gargantuan attack on the future of this country through his reckless spending. 

The Size of the Debt
America’s current debt stands at many trillions of dollars, and is increasing every year. Under President Obama and his Keynesian cronies, American debt has increased by leaps and bounds over what any previous administration has done. 
This weight of debt worries the American people; a Pew poll from January 2013 found that more than seventy percent of Americans said that reducing the debt should be an administration’s top priority

Clearly, Americans will respond well to an administration taking a commanding lead in aggressively attacking this problem. The largest portion of the federal government’s budget is consumed by entitlement programs, and welfare is the first one that can be dealt with. It is not an easy problem to solve, but welfare can be gotten under control and the economy as a whole will benefit from the reduced load in federal spending. 

The way to do this is to keep the focus on the facts of the case, without allowing the argument to descend into an issues based morass, where fact play a secondary consideration at best. And as we all know, where liberals are concerned facts matter not, only emotion and rhetoric.

Welfare Today
Welfare in the United States has reached a level to where it actually provides a marked disincentive to work, especially in states where the level of welfare payments is so high, as to make it almost impossible for an entry level worker to leave welfare and begin taking a paycheck without taking a marked decrease in earnings. According to a 2013 study by the Cato Institute, there are an astonishing 126 separate federally administered programs aimed at combating poverty. This is just at the federal level; there are also state, municipal, and county welfare programs as well. 

According to the study, welfare recipients in 35 states earn an increased income over the majority of entry-level jobs available to the average welfare receiver, with thirteen states paying more than fifteen dollars an hour. The gap between entry level earnings and welfare also is found in the fact that in the United States, welfare is not taxed. Since a paycheck is taxed for, especially for  FICA and Social Security, this has created an even wider gap between anticipated earnings for welfare receivers and entry level workers, which gap has only increased in recent years.

            In high welfare states such as Hawaii, the yearly value of welfare aid that a single typical recipient can receive equals 49,175 dollars of non-taxable income. The next highest two were the District of Columbia, with 43,099 dollars a year, and Massachusetts, with 42,515 dollars a year. It is certain that those who are unable to provide for themselves should be provided for, but when the bottom rung of the economic ladder that is available to them represents a drastic cut in income, it creates a marked economic incentive to avoid leaving the welfare rolls. We must work to cut back the size and scale of these programs, in order to provide positive economic incentives for welfare recipients to move themselves into a position of economic independence. Specifically, welfare recipients should not be placed in a position where finding a job requires them to accept a loss of income.

Welfare Affects Everyone
Americans must understand the fact that welfare affects everyone in America, whether or not they actually receive it. Indeed, the middle class is often the most affected, as they see a sizable percentage of their paychecks garnished for social welfare programs. As one author put it, “everyone pays taxes for Social Security, Medicare and many other…programs that trap them all in the welfare state.”  Americans as a whole must deal with the results of losing a good section of their paycheck, which leaves them with less money for discretionary spending, reduces their financial cushion, and for those at the very bottom of the work ladder, leaves their financial security a matter of instability.

This is not about shifting the economy to benefit one set of people, this is about growing the economy to benefit every single economic strata.

            Money that is spent on welfare is money that is not spent on paying down the federal debt, reducing taxes, or national defense; it is thus important for the next administration to work to ensure America’s welfare model is reformed in order to function as the safety net, not a form of early retirement on the public dole. 

The people of America are the world’s most charitable, and working to reduce the growth of welfare is not a matter of abandoning the needy and helpless, it is a matter of pruning back a massively overgrown system that damages those who it allegedly seeks to help. A citizen who is unable to leave the welfare system is an economic drain that can turn into a generation’s long trap.

 Given the opportunity, the majority of current welfare recipients will exchange their welfare check for a paycheck, but they must have the opportunity and economic incentive to do so. The Cato Institute study found that currently, only 42 percent of adults receiving welfare have any sort of job, which figure includes those who are training or job searching. We must pursue and support policies that will increase this figure, and one of the primary ways to do that is by reducing the multitude of overlapping agencies that oversee federal welfare largess, as well as reducing the payouts of welfare.

Prior Welfare Reform
The 1996 welfare reform signed into law by President Clinton proved a resounding success. By adding work requirements as well as time limits, welfare recipients were economically motivated to push to leave the welfare rolls and they did. Unfortunately, the reforms only targeted one of the 157 poverty programs, leaving 156 still untouched. This provides a good foundation to build on, but much more needs to be done.

Consolidation and Renovation
In a study published by the Carlson Center for Welfare Reform, authors Carleson and Mashburn laid out a blueprint for overhauling the welfare system, and it is a blueprint that is sound, takes care of the needy still, and is carefully based on facts. They target 30 programs that provide no direct assistance to any individual classified as poor and cost the nation 849 million dollars a year. In total, they identify a total of 157 welfare programs that can be completely eliminated or reformed in such a manner as to save the American taxpayers two trillion dollars in the next ten years. Their reforms are sensible and doable, and there is no excuse for not putting them into action. Our children's security depend on this. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Review: Civilian Warriors


The name sounds as ominous as the events that swirled around the infamous company. The media has portrayed the company as a bunch of wild eyed mercenaries killing at will with total immunity. Critics have piled on with accusations ranging from murder to corruption.

Personally, I am skeptical of mercenaries. A quick look at history will suffice to show that  the use of warriors for hire has a checkered past. While I question the media's narrative in general, I certainly have deep reservations about outsourcing to mercenaries.

Civilian Warriors by Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, is an engaging read.  In it, Erik lays out his life story and how the son of a businessman ended up running one of the most famous private military companies. He gives an insider view on how the company grew rapidly from a training company into a diversified contractor with an air wing, weapon development center, and bodyguard services. Their main focus was safeguarding of US State department personal which they flawlessly accomplished.

He tackles the good and the bad including the infamous Nisour square incident. The short version of the story is that an Iraqi vehicle refused to stop and set off a firefight that left seventeen people dead and Blackwater under the cloud of investigation. He makes a strong case that Blackwater became the victim of a media and congressional witch hunt.

 He also rails against Pentagon waste and argues forcefully that his contracting services were a benefit to tax payers through their efficiency.

In the end I still have reservations about utilization private military companies ( mercenaries). However, Erik Prince lays out a thoughtful and compelling case that Blackwater and others like it operate in the interest of the Unites States.

Rating: Silver

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pork Politics

Today in America, an epidemic is sweeping the nation, an epidemic that steals money from the pockets of the citizens of America; and an epidemic that must be stopped. Pork spending on bills is out of control in Washington, as legislators swap favors with each other to get goodies for their constituents, goodies such as bridges to nowhere, roads that nobody uses, and structures that are unneeded.

 In a time when America is deeply in debt, fighting overseas, struggling to pay off jus the interest on our massive debt, and sinking ever deeper into the endless hole that is government entitlements…the same hole that dragged Greece into chaos and is destroying the majority of economies in Europe…American legislative members are weighing the already burdened economy down with massive pork barrel politics. The American people do not deserve to have their hard earned money further taxed for the benefit of some legislative member’s pet project.

 Paying for a bridge to nowhere just so some fat cat congressman can get his name on it is not right, not just, and not American. Americans deserve pork barrel reform and it starts with electing somebody who might actually make even baby steps in this direction. I don't know if Donald Trump is the man to do it, but I know that Lying Hillary, the Lizard Queen isn't.

Pork, Spam, and Legislative Grease
In 2010, Citizens Against Government Waste: a non-partisan organization that tries to track how much frivolous spending moves through Congress; uncovered 16.5 billion dollars’ worth of government waste and pork barrel spending, spread amongst more than nine thousand earmarks.Some of the notable articles in the lengthy list they compiled included 500,000 dollars to help control a particular species of snake in Guam, as well as more than 200,000 dollars of federal money to contribute to the no doubt pressing research into wool that has been pressing Americans’ minds heavily as of late.

            Congress frequently finds itself with the pressing need to push some earmarks through rapidly, without them undergoing even the cursory oversight that can happen in the normal course of legislation. To help them solve this dilemma, natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy can be a blessing in disguise. The emergency bill for aid to help clean up in its aftermath totaled over 60 billion dollars, of which huge sum only about thirty-six percent would be spent immediately, with the remaining sixty-four percent not being spent until 2015.This massive sum of money was slipped into the legislation using the crisis as a rubber stamp for it. This type of pork barrel politics must be stopped. Again, I don't know if Donald Trump is the right guy to do it, but he is saying a lot of the right things. And I know darn sure that Crooked Hillary isn't going to do anything but line her pockets, buy votes, and spend our posterity deeper and deeper into debt servitude.

One of the most striking instances of bi-partisanship in the United States Congress was shown in October of 2005 when the Senate closed ranks and heroically voted shoulder to shoulder to protect the “Bridge to Nowhere” by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 82-15 coalition of fiscal stalwarts. This bridge was infamous for being built in the heavily populated area of the United States known as Alaska and was meant to connect the metropolis of Ketchikan to Gravina Island(Population 50). This bridge was initially to cost 453 million dollars, but since it expanded Anchorage’s access to certain wetlands, it ballooned to almost two billion dollars. 

Congressmen Defending the Indefensible
The leading titan of fiscal rectitude in the Senate; Harry Reid has defended his repeated offenses against the American taxpayer in the matter of earmarks by saying that he has a “constitutional obligation” to use earmarks to bring “stuff back to Nevada.”Such unspecified items that he classes under the nebulous term “stuff” include a total cost to the American taxpayer of 662 million dollars in just two years ending in 2010.Of course; much of this money did not actually come directly from the overburdened American taxpayer, it came instead from our good friends and allies the Chinese. All this money was borrowed at the usual interest rates of course, and repayable by our children, who will no doubt thank him profusely in between long days and nights of slaving away to pay down the enormous national debt. 

For his services in continuing to indebt future generations to the Chinese; Harry Reid has been repeatedly sent back to the Senate proving that you can fool enough of the people all the time. His loyal ally in the Senate; Patty Murray defends her earmark record on the grounds that it is not frivolously spending Americans’ hard earned money; it is instead an “investment”. In her guise as a fierce fiscal war hawk; Senator Murray has also criticized slashing taxes, stating that “a culprit for the fiscal situation in this country [is] the billions and billions of dollars in tax cuts that have been granted to multimillionaires in this country.”

 According to Patty Murray, the hundreds of millions of dollars of earmarks that she has supported play no part in government over spending; rather it is tax cuts to those nasty “multimillionaires” that are the culprit. The 4.5 million dollars in 2002 that Senator Murray forced the Navy to use to purchase a speedboat that it neither wanted nor needed, and that it was eventually forced to give away because it could literally find no use for is irrelevant to her way of thinking. In a no-doubt unrelated action, the company that made the boat and received federal funding later gave money to Murray’s campaign.

This has got to stop. People who hate Donald Trump frequently miss the fact that Donald Trump was created as a reaction to voter's being sick and tired of electing people to represent them and then having those same representatives turn around, join the chummy congressional pork caucus, and become part of the problem. We need change in Washington DC badly, and it starts with shaking things up so badly that rotten apples start falling out of the congressional tree. 

Again, Trump is not perfect, but he is a far better candidate than Hillary. We are in a war for the heart and soul of America today and I will take any ally I can find. A step in the right direction is far better than sliding down the wrong direction. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Storm Brewing in Philly

The Democrat's convention kicks off in Philly this week. Last week Donald Trump led the Republican convention to a somewhat bumpy but ultimate satisfying conclusion. This week the Democrats arrive at the  the convention with a base that is showing signs of fracturing.

The Democrat party is facing a fracture along age lines. During the primary the old Feminist guard rallied to Hillary and the younger Millennial base rallied to Bernie. The young are entranced by Bernie's vision of European style socialism.  Hillary is a shrewd enough politician to realize that mainstream America will not go for overt socialism. However, by having to chase Bernie leftward in the debates and  primary campaigning, she is going have trouble tacking back to center. Meanwhile the Bernie Bros feel left out with the centrist, Wall Street friendly selection of Kaine for vice president.

Another set of fracture points is along economic and ethnic lines. The democratic base of public and private union members, BLM, and Hispanics is increasingly at odds. The Hispanics and blacks fight for many of the same jobs and neighborhoods. Just take a look at Compton and how the Hispanics pushed the blacks out. Combine the aggressive  Black Lives Matter movement and Hispanic power group La Raza and there are bound to be sparks The globalist trade policies of the Democrats mean that the private union members face increasing job loss as the trade agreements like NAFTA push their union  manufacturing jobs out of the country. Meanwhile the private sector union workers look at the bloating local, state, and federal work force and feel left behind.

Trump is wily and has started  hammering at the fracture points by attacking Hillary on trade policies and illegal immigration. This week in Philadelphia could prove chaotic as the various Democratic classes battle it out for control of the platform and campaign.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Welcome to the Oligarchy

Despite clearly violating federal law, Hillary Clinton has skated free.

In a rather logically incoherent statement the director of the FBI, James Comey, announced he will not recommend prosecution of Hillary. Despite laying out the convincing evidence of lawbreaking, Comey decided not to recommend prosocution. This baffling decision has left many wondering why.

The decision clearly indicates that their are two tiers in the judicial system, the normal one that all of the peasants (you and me)  encounter and the system for the privilege elite. Since Hillary is an elite, she walked away from potential charges that would have left a normal person in jail.

I believe it is a clear indication that the Oligarchy has begun to rule openly. Rather than pretending to abide by the laws that govern us, they are openly flaunting their special status.