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101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 22, 2016, 08:04:10 PM
We are hardly out of the woods yet. I am hoping the boom will be soon enough and big enough to start to mitigate the looming collapse.

Can Donald Trump Prevent the Economy from Falling Into a Black Hole?

Posted by Kevin Villani on December 13th, 2016 (All posts by Kevin Villani)

Interest rates will eventually rise without an even more devastating policy of financial repression. When they do, rising interest costs will produce a vicious cycle of ever more borrowing. We are already approaching the “event horizon” of spinning into this black hole of an inflationary spiral and economic collapse from which few countries historically have escaped. A substantially higher rate of growth is the only way to break free.

National economic growth is typically measured by the growth of GDP, and citizen well being by the growth of per-capita GDP. The long run trend of GDP growth reflects labor force participation, hours worked and productivity as well as the rate of national saving and the productivity of investments, all of which have been trending down.

The population grows at about 1% annually and actual GDP growth averaged 2% overall for 2010-2016 (using the new World Bank and IMF forecast of US GDP at 1.6% for 2016), hence per capita GDP grew at only 1%. Moreover the income from that 1% growth went primarily to the top one percent while 99% stagnated and minorities fell backwards.

Why we are approaching the Event Horizon
The Obama Administration annually predicted a more historically typical 2.6% per capita growth rate, consistent with the historical growth in non-farm labor productivity. How could their forecasts be so far off?

The Obama Administration pursued the most massive Keynesian fiscal and monetary stimulus ever undertaken. Such a policy generally at least gives the appearance of a rise in well being in the near term, as the government GDP statistic (repetitive, as the word “statistic derives from the Greek word for “state” ) reflects final expenditures, thereby imputing equal value to what governments “spend” as to the discretionary spending of private households and businesses in competitive markets. But labor productivity gains stagnated at only about 1%, most likely reflecting the cost and uncertainty of anti-business regulatory and legislative policies that dampened investment, something the Administration denied, trumping even a short term boost to GDP.

As a result the national debt approximately doubled from $10 trillion to $20 trillion, with contingent liabilities variously estimated from $100 to $200 trillion, putting the economy ever closer to the event horizon. Breaking free will require reversing the highly negative trends by reversing the policies that caused them.

Technology alone isn’t sufficient
Obama Administration apologists argued that stagnation is “the new normal” citing leading productivity experts such as Robert Gordon who dismissed the potential of new technologies. Many disagree, but Gordon’s findings imply even greater reliance on conventional reform.

Fiscal policy won’t be sufficient
Raising taxes may reduce short term deficits but slows growth. Cutting wasteful spending works better but is more difficult.

The list of needed public infrastructure investments has grown since the last one trillion dollar “stimulus” of politically allocated and mostly wasteful pork that contributed to the stagnation of the last eight years. Debt financed public infrastructure investment contributes to growth only if highly productive investments are chosen over political white elephants like California’s bullet train, always problematic.

Major cuts in defense spending are wishful thinking as most geopolitical experts view the world today as a riskier place than at any prior time of the past century, with many parallels to the inter-war period 1919-1939.

The major entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare for the elderly need reform. But for those in or near retirement the potential for savings is slight. Is Medicare really going to be withheld by death squads? Are benefits for those dependent on social security going to be cut significantly, forcing the elderly back into the labor force? Cutting Medicare or SS benefits for those with significant wealth – the equivalent of a wealth tax – won’t affect their consumption, hence offsetting the fall in government deficits with an equal and offsetting liquidation of private wealth. Prospective changes for those 55 years of age or younger should stimulate savings and defer retirement, improving finances only in the long run.

The remaining bureaucracies are in need of major pruning and in numerous cases elimination but they evaded even budget scold David Stockman’s ax during the Reagan Administration.

Americans will have to work more and consume less
That is the typical progressive economic legacy of excessive borrowing from the future.

The first Clinton Administration created the crony capitalist coalition of the political elite and the politically favored, e.g., public sector employees and retirees, subsidy recipients and low income home loan borrowers. The recent Clinton campaign promised to broaden this coalition, which would have accelerated the trip over the event horizon.

Reform that taxes consumption in favor of savings and a return to historical real interest rates could reverse the dramatic decline of the savings rate. Regulations redirecting savings to politically popular housing or environmental causes need to be curtailed in favor of market allocation to productive business investment.

Repeal and replace of Obama Care could reverse the trend to part time employment. Unwinding the approximate doubling of SS Disability payments and temporary unemployment benefits could reverse the decline in labor force participation.

Service sector labor productivity has been falling since 1987, the more politically favored the faster the decline. Legal services are at the bottom, partly reflecting political power of rent-seeking trial lawyers, followed by unionized health and then educational services. Union favoritism through, e.g., Davis Bacon wage requirements and “card check” increases rent seeking, particularly rampant in the unionized public sector.

Competition, of which free but reciprocal trade has historically been a major component, has traditionally provided the largest boost to well being by realizing the benefits of foreign productivity in a lower cost of goods while channeling American labor into employment where their relative productivity is highest. The transition is often painful, but paying people not to work long term is counterproductive. Immigration of both highly skilled and low cost labor (but not dependent family) generally contributes to per capita labor productivity in the same way as free trade.

None of this will be easy. The alternative is Greece without the Mediterranean climate or a sufficiently rich benefactor.


Kevin Villani, chief economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985, is a principal of University Financial Associates. He has held senior government positions, been affiliated with nine universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on the political origins of the sub-prime lending bubble and aftermath.

"Real GDP growth in Q3 was revised to a 3.5% annual rate from a prior estimate of 3.2%, beating the consensus expected 3.3%."

I must admit I was wrong when I predicted the growth estimate would be revised downward after the election.  Still, this and the current quarter will conclude 8 years of lethargic, pathetic and ARTIFICIAL growth.

Nominal growth is 3% and our inflation target is 2%.  The difference is a rounding error; we aren't better off.

What would the real growth rate be without 10 trillion in new fiscal deficit stimulative spending?  What would it be without quantitative easing, asset re-purchases and 8 years of near zero interest rate policy?  Zero growth or worse, I suspect.

Easy money when it shouldn't be was a major cause of the last financial meltdown:
Have we learned anything?

What would the growth rate be if we didn't tax corporations at the highest rate in the world?  If we didn't pour two dozen new tax increases on the economy with Obamacare, or if we didn't add tens of thousands of new pages of regulations onto what used to be a relatively free economy?  If we hadn't dropped out of the top ten freest countries in the world in the Heritage Freedom Index?

Stay tuned.  Maybe we will find out.
102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pension Collapse in Big D on: December 22, 2016, 09:55:35 AM

Pension Collapse in Big D
The retirement fund for Dallas’s public-safety workers is nearly ruined.
Steven Malanga
December 13, 2016 Texas
Economy, finance, and budgets

When Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, the city’s emergency-financial team said that high levels of retirement debt could prevent them from rescuing the Motor City’s finances. Detroit had been in economic decline for decades, and the pension problem—including billions of dollars in bonuses handed out while the city was hurtling toward insolvency—was just one part of the depressing financial picture. Dallas, by contrast, has been one of the fastest-growing American cities in recent years. Becoming a magnet for investment and opportunity, however, hasn’t protected the Texas city from experiencing its own Detroit-style financial crisis. Dallas’s retirement system for cops and firefighters combines many of the features that have nearly sunk state and local pension plans around the country. Things got so dire over the summer that retirees began pulling their money out of the system. It’s the first run on a government pension plan in recent memory.

Dallas created the police and fire plan in 1916. The system’s trustees eventually persuaded the state legislature to allow employees and pensioners to run the plan. Not surprisingly, the members have done so for their own benefit and sent the tab for unfunded promises—now estimated at perhaps $5 billion—to taxpayers. Among the features of the system is an annual, 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment that far exceeds the actual increase in inflation since 1989, when it was instituted. A Dallas employee with a $2,000 monthly pension in 1989 would receive $3,900 today if the system’s annual increases were pegged to the consumer price index. Under the generous Dallas formula, however, that same monthly pension could be worth more than $5,000. No wonder the ship is sinking.

The system also features a lavish deferment option that lets employees collect pensions even as they continue to work and earn a salary. Moreover, the retirement money gets deposited into an account that earns guaranteed interest. Governments originally began creating these so-called DROP plans as an incentive to encourage experienced employees to keep working past retirement age, which in job categories like public safety can be as young as 50. In Dallas, the pension system gives workers in the DROP plan an 8 percent interest rate on their cash, at a time when yields on ten-year U.S. Treasury notes, a standard for guaranteed returns, are stuck at less than 2 percent. According to the city, some 500 employees working past retirement age have accumulated more than $1 million in these accounts—on top of the pensions that they will receive once they officially stop working.

To make all of this seem reasonable, the state legislature placed a cap on contributions. Under the cap, cities can budget up to 28 percent of payroll to funding pensions every year. It’s a high price, but not nearly high enough to fund Dallas’s generous plan, whose officials lately predicted that investment returns would stay above 8 percent forever. Trying to hit that crazy target, the system’s trustees began investing in increasingly risky assets. At one point, a startling 50 percent of the fund’s money was invested in private equity, real estate, and other volatile assets. Since 2010 alone, the pension system has had to write off nearly $200 million in bad bets, and the system’s funding level has slipped below the mark that experts say dooms a pension plan.

Recently, fiscal experts and city officials began mentioning the possibility of bankruptcy. What officials didn’t count on, apparently, is that participants in the system, who have the right to withdraw their savings, would actually start doing so once they heard such dire warnings. Retirees have withdrawn nearly half a billion dollars since late summer, sending the system’s funding levels plummeting to a dangerous 36 percent. The system’s liquid assets—that is, money it can draw on to pay benefits—is down to just $729 million, not much more than the $600 million it needs to keep on hand to assure that it can meet its obligations. That’s forced the system to halt withdrawals. It’s officially a run.

Fixing this mess without serious reform is almost unimaginable. Even a 40-year plan to pay off the pension debt (twice as long as the Society of Actuaries recommends) would require the city to spend the equivalent of 75 percent of its payroll on pensions alone. Finding the money to do that would require Dallas to more than double property taxes. Even so, a four-decade plan would expose the city to future market crashes that could undermine any recovery. Instead, the city is looking at a host of unpopular changes to the current pension plan, including cutting back cost-of-living adjustments and asking employees to forgo some of the interest they’ve earned on their DROP accounts. State legislators, who crafted a system they didn’t have to fund, would need to approve any changes. Things could get complicated: Republicans dominate the legislature, while Democrats control the city. Still, the prospect of an insolvent Dallas should focus some minds.

Plenty of state and municipal pension systems around the country are in the same situation, but Dallas is the only one facing an immediate drain on its funds. Plans in Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Kentucky, Illinois, and Connecticut are all less than 50 percent funded. Many have features similar to the Dallas police and fire plan. More than half of large state and local pension boards, for instance, are dominated by employees and retirees, who get to make crucial decisions that taxpayers must fund. Like Dallas’s plan, many funds are veering into risky investments in a desperate attempt to improve their finances. Also like Dallas, many of these funds saw such steep declines in their assets after the 2008 financial meltdown that even the second-longest bull-market in American history hasn’t dramatically improved their prospects.

During the last year, as the nation has been consumed by a presidential election focused on issues like immigration and trade, our government-employee pension woes have continued to fester. Though it’s developed largely out of view, this crisis threatens to undermine our fiscal future. Dallas is a reminder that no magical incantations exist that can make insane pension math suddenly rational.
103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Clinton won the Presidency of California on: December 22, 2016, 09:23:34 AM

It's like a whole other country. We should make that official.
104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hate crime hoaxes on: December 22, 2016, 09:22:49 AM

Strange that as horribly racist as America is, the left is forced to fake hate crimes to prove it.
105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration on: December 21, 2016, 11:01:14 PM

Posted on December 21, 2016

If you had asked me about immigration 30 years ago, I would have shrugged and said it was a good thing for the country. My family, like most everyone I knew, came over from the old country. It was not until I reached adulthood, living in New England, that I became aware of people who traced their roots to the colonial times. Even so, I was trained in the American mythology about a nation of immigrants, so I just assumed immigration was mostly a good thing, when I bothered to think about it, which was not often.

It was only after I came to know recent migrants that I started changing my mind about the topic. The people, who had recently gone through the system, had very different ideas about it than Americans born here. More important, they had no illusions about the state of the population in the old country. Talk to recent migrants and they will be happy to tell you that most of the people they left behind should stay over there. The recent migrants left the old country for a reason.

This came to mind the other day when I sat listening to a Turk and an Indian discuss immigration. Both were Trump people exclusively on the immigration issue. Both had come to America the old fashioned way – legally. The Turk was a Coptic Christian. He left for America thirty years ago as a young man, figuring there was no future for Christians in Turkey. The Indian had come here on a student visa, got a job, fell in love with America and decided to stay. In both cases, it took ten years to gain citizenship.

One of the things you learn from immigrants, when it comes to the immigration issue, is they place a high value on citizenship. That’s because they spent a lot to get it. Acquiring citizenship was a transaction for them, not an accident of birth. The Turk in this story left his home, and all that he knew, because he correctly saw where things were heading in Turkey. He was a guy that sold all his stuff, bought as many black chips as he could afford, and pushed them into the middle of the table.

The other thing immigrants know is that America is a lonely place. Europe, for example, is full of old cities and villages where people grow up in the shadow of ancestors. There’s no fresh start in a place like that. Every man is just a dot on the timeline started by people long ago. In other parts of the world, there’s the shadow of history and the entanglements of tribe and clan. In a place like India, the obligations to family and custom are more limiting than anything government can conjure.

In America, immigrants are free to start their own timeline. The past is no longer a set of boundaries on them. Just as important, they are free of the family and tribal restrictions. The Turk in this story married a Greek woman, who was also an immigrant. The Indian went into a career that does not exist in India and even if it did, his family would not have approved. You can do those things where it is just you, striking out on your own. That’s the attraction of America. It’s a blank canvass for immigrants.

None of this means we should fling open our borders and let the world move to America. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Borders and barriers are a filtering mechanism that helps tamp down the number of bad migrants a country gets. If the Germans had been more scrupulous, for example, they would not have murderous Muslims rampaging through their streets right now. Europe is headed for a very dark time solely due to their rulers forgot that good borders make for good citizens.

America should be learning from this. We have no shortage of workers and we no longer have vast tracks of unexploited land. We could have zero immigration and no jobs would go unfilled. There’s also the cultural aspect. We have had high levels of immigration for half a century, but low levels of assimilation. Even if there is an economic argument for more migrants, and there isn’t, it is far outweighed by the cultural arguments. It will take many generations to absorb the current migrants.

Even so, low levels of legal immigration are probably a good thing. The people willing to go through all the steps it takes to migrate legally are going to be people who scrupulously observe the law. They are not coming here just to screw it all up for everyone including themselves. Recent legal immigrants tend to be hyper-patriotic for that reason. They take nothing for granted because they had to earn their citizenship. Their presence is a healthy reminder that citizenship has value.

That’s ultimately the truth about the open borders crowd. They place no value on citizenship. That’s because they put no value on people. To the open borders enthusiasts, humans are just undifferentiated raw material, inputs they can manipulate. Whether the material comes from home or abroad is irrelevant because everything normal people associate with being human is of no concern to the managerial types. They see people the way normal people look at furniture.
106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: NY Times argues for abolishing Electoral College on: December 21, 2016, 09:52:10 AM
We need to know the arguments-- e.g. the slave holder argument and how to counter it.

By overwhelming majorities, Americans would prefer to elect the president by direct popular vote, not filtered through the antiquated mechanism of the Electoral College. They understand, on a gut level, the basic fairness of awarding the nation’s highest office on the same basis as every other elected office — to the person who gets the most votes.

But for now, the presidency is still decided by 538 electors. And on Monday, despite much talk in recent weeks about urging those electors to block Donald Trump from the White House, a majority did as expected and cast their ballots for him — a result Congress will ratify next month.

And so for the second time in 16 years, the candidate who lost the popular vote has won the presidency. Unlike 2000, it wasn’t even close. Hillary Clinton beat Mr. Trump by more than 2.8 million votes, or 2.1 percent of the electorate. That’s a wider margin than 10 winning candidates enjoyed and the biggest deficit for an incoming president since the 19th century.

Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy.
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The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

Today the college, which allocates electors based on each state’s representation in Congress, tips the scales in favor of smaller states; a Wyoming resident’s vote counts 3.6 times as much as a Californian’s. And because almost all states use a winner-take-all system, the election ends up being fought in just a dozen or so “battleground” states, leaving tens of millions of Americans on the sidelines.

There is an elegant solution: The Constitution establishes the existence of electors, but leaves it up to states to tell them how to vote. Eleven states and the District of Columbia, representing 165 electoral votes, have already passed legislation to have their electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement, known as the National Popular Vote interstate compact, would take effect once states representing a majority of electoral votes, currently 270, signed on. This would ensure that the national popular-vote winner would become president.

Conservative opponents of a direct vote say it would give an unfair edge to large, heavily Democratic cities and states. But why should the votes of Americans in California or New York count for less than those in Idaho or Texas? A direct popular vote would treat all Americans equally, no matter where they live — including, by the way, Republicans in San Francisco and Democrats in Corpus Christi, whose votes are currently worthless. The system as it now operates does a terrible job of representing the nation’s demographic and geographic diversity. Almost 138 million Americans went to the polls this year, but Mr. Trump secured his Electoral College victory thanks to fewer than 80,000 votes across three states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

This page opposed the Electoral College in 1936, and in more recent years as well. In 2004, President George W. Bush won the popular vote by more than three million, but he could have lost the Electoral College with a switch of fewer than 60,000 votes in Ohio.

Many Republicans have endorsed doing away with the Electoral College, including Mr. Trump himself, in 2012. Maybe that’s why he keeps claiming falsely that he won the popular vote, or why more than half of Republicans now seem to believe he did. For most reasonable people, it’s hard to understand why the loser of the popular vote should wind up running the country.
107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: DOJ not investigating threats to Trump electors on: December 21, 2016, 09:41:42 AM

I think that will change in about a month.
108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: DOJ not investigating threats to Trump electors on: December 21, 2016, 09:40:46 AM

Because the MSM's job is to hide anything that might hurt dems.
109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: German Police seek Tunisian who was ordered deported months ago on: December 21, 2016, 09:24:37 AM

Luckily, the muslims Obama is bringing here would never do this!
110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dad sends children off to martyr on: December 21, 2016, 09:22:07 AM

The vast majority of peaceful muslims are going to be upset when they find out about this. Still waiting for word of 9/11 to reach them...
111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: December 20, 2016, 08:06:32 PM

112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California on: December 20, 2016, 07:56:25 PM
I'm a Glock 19 and Remington 870 man myself.

I have an AR that self-identifies as a single shot rifle.
113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Priebus flexes muscle in Trump Tower on: December 20, 2016, 07:32:16 PM
"... Priebus’s proximity to Trump has given many Republicans on Capitol Hill and around Washington reassurances as an unpredictable political newcomer prepares to be sworn in as commander in chief."

 "unpredictable political newcomer prepares to be sworn in as commander in chief" **How was Obama described in 2008?

I believe as "Senator."

114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California bans large capacity mags on: December 20, 2016, 07:27:58 PM

Ready to move yet?
115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Surprise! Detroit numbers not adding up. on: December 20, 2016, 07:26:29 PM

Strange. I'm sure an investigation of other democrat dominated cities would show that this is just an isolated incident, and not indicative of a larger trend.

We'd better check, just to be sure.
116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt's really bad idea on: December 20, 2016, 07:22:16 PM

117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fake news! on: December 20, 2016, 09:38:07 AM

Was the truck radicalized?

Glad to see the MSM is working hard to rebuild it's credibility!
118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 20, 2016, 09:00:49 AM
 the racists, the truthers and other conspiracy theorists...

119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 20, 2016, 08:47:29 AM
I'm glad the left is more principled and decent and punishes anti-semetic racebaiters like Al Shapton by giving him a tv show on MSNBC, having him speak at DNC conventions and only allowed to visit the white house less than one hundred times in the last eight years. Haters!

120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Turkey, Georgia, Caucasus, Central Asia on: December 20, 2016, 08:32:25 AM

Russia should be more welcoming to muslims, like we for the Tsarnaev family.

121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: December 19, 2016, 11:39:20 PM
Sorry, but as true as that rejoinder is, it still misses the bigger point.  We are being penetrated. In a new and fundamental way.  What are we going to do about it?

What will we do and what should we do are two separate questions. We should take cyberwar very seriously. But, we won't. Then, when a state or non-state actor toasts the grid, then sh@t will get real.
122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: December 19, 2016, 11:04:46 PM
If you are worried about enemies of the US gaining access to political power in the US, I would refer you to the last 8 years.

All true, but I'd like to suggest that we here need to keep our eye on the elephant in the room. 

It seems likely the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, and maybe the Norks have penetrated our water, electric, transport grids to greater or lesser extents, and to extents unknown have penetrated our government. 

Now the Russkis, using techniques they (including the KGB) have honed for decades, are now cyber-penetrating our domestic conversation and are spreading plausible sounding lies to their purpose.  They are now confident enough to have brought this to bear on our electoral process itself. 

No, it did not change the results THIS time, but it certainly plants the seeds for doubt NEXT time which will be turbocharged by the fact many Americans wonder about how close our new president envisions us working in alliance with them.

This is serious excrement.

123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: December 19, 2016, 10:45:39 PM
That is very witty, and if I may, a touch wide of the mark IMHO. 

When China blows off Int'l Law its blandishments with the other countries on the SCS become much less effective and it runs the risk of motivating others to spend more on military and form alliances. 

Like the Philippines? Anyone seen Australia's Navy lately?
124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Turkey, Georgia, Caucasus, Central Asia on: December 19, 2016, 10:40:07 PM
It is tragic that Russia doesn't hold it's self to the high standard of conduct displayed by the Islamic culture of the Middle East.
125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama springs into action! on: December 19, 2016, 08:55:47 PM

Obama Heads to Golf Course After Receiving Reports on Berlin Attack and Russian Ambassador Death
by Justin Baragona | 4:05 pm, December 19th, 2016

Well, this is what one would call bad political optics.

With the dual breaking news events surrounding potential terrorism and a foreign diplomat being shot to death, White House pool reports showed that President Barack Obama headed to a country club in Hawaii near his rental house, where he is vacationing.

The first email shows that Obama has directed his staff to keep him updated on the situation in Turkey regarding the assassination of the Russian Ambassador.

    From the White House, per Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz:

    “This morning the President was briefed by his National Security Team on the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey in Ankara today. The President directed his team to provide updates as warranted.”

    Meanwhile, at 10:10 a.m. in Kailua, the press van prepares to depart the rental house where we’ve been holding.

In a following email, we are informed that Obama is leaving the rental home to go play golf.

    The President and his motorcade departed the Kailua neighborhood where the First Family rents a vacation home at 10:21 a.m. Spectators on the street threw shakas and recorded photos or video on cell phones as the motorcade made the 10-minute drive to Mid-Pacific Country Club, where the President will be golfing under cloudy skies.

The times listed are local Hawaii time. Obama’s motorcade left his vacation home at 3:21 PM ET.

Currently, the news is dominated by both the assassination in Turkey, which could have large-scale implications on foreign policy and relations, and multiple deaths in Berlin via a truck driving through a market in an incident reminiscent of the Nice terror attack.

Needless to say, there will be a lot of negative attention given to Obama playing golf in the immediate aftermath of these horrific, and potentially history-altering, events.
126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islamaphobia blamed for traffic mishap on: December 19, 2016, 08:41:48 PM

Christmas market carnage: 'Afghan refugee' drove stolen lorry that ploughed into Berlin shoppers at 40mph killing 12 and injuring 48

127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: December 19, 2016, 08:37:21 PM
they will not go away till they are dead which will not be soon enough.
So Clinton's groups of angry feminist, minority, illegal, homosexual ,  union people were all beaten by the deplorables - angry white guys. 
Her 70 negatives and lying conniving crooked self had nothing to do with it:

She will be looking to run in 2020.  Doesn't mean she will get off the diving board but these two will not go away.

I hope she does but I doubt she will be in any condition to run by then.
128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Priebus flexes muscle in Trump Tower on: December 19, 2016, 08:26:00 PM
"... Priebus’s proximity to Trump has given many Republicans on Capitol Hill and around Washington reassurances as an unpredictable political newcomer prepares to be sworn in as commander in chief."

 "unpredictable political newcomer prepares to be sworn in as commander in chief" **How was Obama described in 2008?
129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH: Our Cyber Options with Russia on: December 19, 2016, 08:15:20 PM

“Is there something we can do to them, that they would see, they would realize 98 percent that we did it, but that wouldn’t be so obvious that they would then have to respond for their own honor?” David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Mr. Obama, asked on Friday, at a conference here sponsored by Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

**Perhaps we can wait for Putin to get snared by an extramarital relationship that results in the mishandling of classified materials? If only the Belfer Center invited a subject matter expert on that to this conference...

“Our goal continues to be to send a clear message to Russia or others not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you,” he said. “But it is also important to us to do that in a thoughtful, methodical way. Some of it, we will do publicly. Some of it we will do in a way that they know, but not everybody will.”

130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH: How an Overseas Putin Fan pushed pro-Trump propaganda to Americans on: December 19, 2016, 08:00:41 PM
Yes, it was the Russian's propaganda, not the wikileaks emails confirming the DNC-MSM collusion for all to see and Grannie Corruption McNeuropathology as a candidate that lost the election to Trump. Damn you, Putin!!  rolleyes

Obviously in that this is Pravda on the Hudson, caveat lector

How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to Americans

Dowson, a far-right political activist, ran a constellation of websites out of the United Kingdom. Credit Rex Features, via Associated Press

The Patriot News Agency website popped up in July, soon after it became clear that Donald J. Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination, bearing a logo of a red, white and blue eagle and the motto “Built by patriots, for patriots.”

Tucked away on a corner of the site, next to links for Twitter and YouTube, is a link to another social media platform that most Americans have never heard of: VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. It is a clue that Patriot News, like many sites that appeared out of nowhere and pumped out pro-Trump hoaxes tying his opponent Hillary Clinton to Satanism, pedophilia and other conspiracies, is actually run by foreigners based overseas.

But while most of those others seem be the work of young, apolitical opportunists cashing in on a conservative appetite for viral nonsense, operators of Patriot News had an explicitly partisan motivation: getting Mr. Trump elected.

Patriot News — whose postings were viewed and shared tens of thousands of times in the United States — is among a constellation of websites run out of the United Kingdom that are linked to James Dowson, a far-right political activist who advocated Britain’s exit from the European Union and is a fan of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. A vocal proponent of Christian nationalist, anti-immigrant movements in Europe, Mr. Dowson, 52, has spoken at a conference of far-right leaders in Russia and makes no secret of his hope that Mr. Trump will usher in an era of rapprochement with Mr. Putin.

Recent Comments
Bill Casey 17 hours ago

My mother, who is 72 years old and grew up in a time when you could trust what you read, joined Facebook this year. She was hesitant to vote...
Boston Comments 19 hours ago

Gawd, I can barely grasp at words after reading this superb piece of reportage. I'm old enough to remember the McCarthy era -- and although...
J T 19 hours ago

Why am I not surprised this former "church minister in Northern Ireland," whose religious justifications for his actions are repeatedly...

His dabbling in the American presidential election adds an ideological element that has been largely missing from the still-emerging landscape of websites and Facebook pages that bombarded American voters with misinformation and propaganda. Far from the much-reported Macedonian teenagers running fake news factories solely for profit, Mr. Dowson made it his mission, according to messages posted on one of his sites, to “spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.”
An image from one of Mr. Dowson’s websites. He said his mission was to “spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites.”

“Together, people like us helped change the course of history,” one message said, adding in another: “Every single one of you who forwarded even just one of our posts on social media contributed to the stunning victory for Trump, America and God.”

In a recent email interview from Belgrade, where he has met with Serbian nationalists, Mr. Dowson explained how his decision to establish an American social media presence was similar to the move into European markets by Breitbart News, the conservative provocateur media operation run by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist.

“Simple truth is that after 40 years of the right having no voice because the media was owned by the enemy, we were FORCED to become incredibly good at alternative media in a way the left simply can’t grasp or handle,” Mr. Dowson said. “Bottom line is: BREXIT, TRUMP and much more to follow.”

While it is easy to overstate the influence of fringe elements whose overall numbers remain very small, the explosion of fake news and propaganda sites and their possible impact on the presidential election have ignited alarm across the American political spectrum. A recent study found that most people who read fabricated stories on Facebook — such as a widely circulated hoax about Pope Francis endorsing Mr. Trump — were inclined to believe them.

Then there is the added element of Russian meddling. The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Moscow put its thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump through the release of hacked Democratic emails, which provided fodder for many of the most pernicious false attacks on Mrs. Clinton on social media.

Some of those attacks found a home on Russian websites such as the one for Katehon, a right-wing Christian think tank aligned with Mr. Putin. Katehon recirculated anti-Clinton conspiracies under headlines like “Bloody Hillary: 5 Mysterious Murders Linked to Clinton.”

Another Russian site that urged support for Mr. Trump, called “Just Trump It,” is linked to the International Russian Conservative Forum, an annual gathering of far-right leaders in St. Petersburg that has featured Mr. Dowson, among others, as a speaker. The site, which seems mostly aimed at selling Trump T-shirts, was registered to an individual at a Russian company that trademarked a logo used to certify that merchandise was not made with migrant labor.

Some analysts see danger signs in the nexus of Russian interests and far-right agitators in Europe and the United States. Social media can amplify even the most obscure voices, giving them a stage from which to broadcast a distorted message to credulous audiences.

“These messages seep into the mainstream,” said Alina Polyakova, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan international affairs institute in Washington. “They may have been extreme or fringe at one point in time, but they have been incredibly influential in shaping people’s views about key geopolitical events in a very specific direction.”

Russia is particularly adept at playing this game, Ms. Polyakova said. “Moscow specifically encourages and facilitates” the spreading of propaganda through proxies, she said, as well as through events like the Russian conservative forum, which showcases views and narratives favored by the Putin government.

At the inaugural forum in March 2015, Mr. Dowson praised Mr. Putin as a strong defender of traditional values, while belittling President Obama and the United States itself as “feminized men.” In the email interview, Mr. Dowson said he was not supported by Russia in any way, and he accused critics of trying to tar conservatives as dupes of Moscow.
Mr. Dowson spoke in 2015 at the International Russian Conservative Forum, a gathering of far-right leaders in St. Petersburg. Credit Ruslan Shamukov/TASS, via Newscom

“I look on this rebirth of McCarthy-type anti-Russian hysteria by the LEFT as a hilarious reaction born out of the left’s inability to realize THEY elected Trump, not me, not the Russians, not even the right,” he said via email.

A colorful if somewhat enigmatic figure in Britain — The Times of London recently described him as “the invisible man of Britain’s far right” — Mr. Dowson, at first blush, would not be an obvious mouthpiece for Russia.

Formerly a church minister in Northern Ireland and the father of nine, he became involved in anti-abortion campaigns, joined the British National Party in the mid-2000s and, later, founded Britain First, a stridently anti-immigrant group opposed to what it called a creeping Islamic threat to traditional British values. He publicly split with the group in 2014 after some of its leaders started invading mosques and threatening Muslims, which he criticized as un-Christian and counterproductive.

While involved with Britain First, Mr. Dowson made deft use of social media and websites to promote its work and convey the impression of a mass following. A British watchdog group called Hope Not Hate, which has tracked Mr. Dowson’s online activities, concluded that he has “a rather canny knack for building up protest groups and movements on the basis that it was your Christian duty to follow his work.”

Mr. Dowson claims to have reached millions of Americans across all of his online platforms in the run-up to the November presidential election, a number that could not be verified, in part, because he would not confirm all of his sites. Online visits to Patriot News did not come close to that, although when combined with several other sites that appear to be connected to Mr. Dowson, the total number edges above a million; most viewers were in Britain.
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Whatever the precise numbers, there is little question that postings on the sites and Facebook pages linked to him were viewed and shared hundreds of thousands of times. Many of the postings appear to be lifted from other conspiracy websites, repackaged and launched back into the social media maelstrom. Another site that trafficked heavily in pro-Trump news was run by Knights Templar International, a militant religious group that Mr. Dowson is involved in, which has recently supported anti-immigrant militias patrolling border areas in Bulgaria and Hungary.

For Mr. Dowson, such activities are in keeping with his philosophy that traditional Christian values are under siege because of feckless leadership by America and European powers. The success of Mr. Trump, he said, is the logical result of voters’ rejection of the weakness of global elites.

Mr. Dowson has long been optimistic about the effectiveness of social media. During the 2015 conservative forum in Russia, he spoke presciently about the looming online battle for the attention of American voters.

“We have the ability to take a video from today and put it in half of every single household in the United States of America, where these people can for the first time learn the truth, because their own media tell lies, they tell lies about Russia,” Mr. Dowson said then.

“We have to use popular culture to reach into the living rooms of the youth of America, of Britain, France, Germany, and bring them in,” he said. “Then we can get them the message.”

Follow Mike McIntire on Twitter.
131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Let them go! Time for the national divorce on: December 19, 2016, 07:55:51 PM
Just in time for the Trump-Putin alliance?

You are looking for linear thinking from the left?
132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues on: December 19, 2016, 07:54:16 PM
shocked shocked shocked

I'm shocked, absolutely shocked!

I could have sworn that we were told that these were professional journalists who shouldn't be questioned.
133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China’s Capture of U.S. Underwater Drone Violates Law of the Sea on: December 19, 2016, 07:52:43 PM

Someone should call the Global Police and report this violation of international law!

134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 19, 2016, 07:45:58 PM
Anyone ever heard of Charlie Sykes before this coverage in the New Duranty Times? I have not. Oh look, he's writing a book! What a coincidence!

Over time, we’d the media succeeded in delegitimizing the media altogether — all the normal guideposts were down, the referees discredited. **Fixed it for him
135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Turkey, Georgia, Caucasus, Central Asia on: December 19, 2016, 07:39:58 PM
Apparently the assassin shouted ""Aloha Snack bar" which means he was not a Muslim rolleyes cheesy cheesy

Islam is a religion of peace. If a muslim says or acts otherwise, it is to be ignored and hidden.

MARC:  Accidentally I inserted the following here instead of in my own post-- sorry.

OTOH it should be noted that it seems quite clear that Russia has and is committing terrible war crimes in Syria and off the top of my head I would say that a fair case can be made that the ambassador was a fair target for a fair grievance.
136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Professional journalists at CNN! on: December 19, 2016, 09:48:48 AM

DNC staffers wrote questions for CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer when he interviewed  Trump, new batch of 8,000 WikiLeaks emails reveals

137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Calexit "Embassy" open in Moscow on: December 19, 2016, 09:39:02 AM

 A campaign calling for the independence of California from the United States has opened an “embassy” in Moscow.

The movement, Yes California, is hoping for a “Calexit” break from the US. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Louis Marinelli, leader of the movement, said the embassy will not deal with diplomatic issues, but will act as more of a cultural center that will educate Russians about California's history, boost trade ties and promote tourism.
138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Terrifying Aftermath of Hillary’s Election Victory on: December 19, 2016, 09:33:39 AM
The Terrifying Aftermath of Hillary’s Election Victory
Kurt Schlichter

Posted: Dec 19, 2016 12:01 AM

In the midst of our joyous celebrations, and as we savor the delicious schadenfreude left in the wake of Hillary’s humiliating rejection by normal Americans, it’s easy to forget that there is a much darker timeline where things could have gone very differently . . . (Hat Tip: John L. Pitts; Mickey White)

The first few weeks after President-elect Clinton won the election set the tone for what she expected would be the next eight years, and that tone was neither gracious nor inclusive. She wasted no time in flaunting her 306 electoral votes and the Democrats’ 52 seat Senate majority. “America has decisively rejected the hate embodied by Donald Trump and his deplorable supporters,” Hillary bellowed, as she gripped the podium unsteadily, still woozy from her 80 proof election night “party.”

She went on: “I have a massive mandate to impose fundamental change and usher in a new America! And let me warn those who would seek to stop us – you do so at your peril!”

Her supporters were even less restrained. As Joan Walsh of Salon crowed: “The message to backward, uneducated, angry cis white males in Jesusland is that you’re not needed and you’re not wanted. You don’t even get in the room, much less a seat at the table!”

Complaints by Trump supporters of voting irregularities in places like Detroit were dismissed by Clinton as “ridiculous whining by losers. All these claims of voter fraud, foreign influence and ‘fake news’ are just pathetic excuses by the side the voters rejected.” She called the complaints of a “rigged election,” the pleas to the electors, and the recounts “attacks on our Constitution’s democracy (sic) and the kind of thing only a bitter, rejected failure would engage in. The losing candidate ought to be embarrassed by this pathetic performance.” The media eagerly joined in savaging anyone who did not absolutely and unequivocally accept the legitimacy of the new President-elect.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was delighted with the opportunities presented by Democrats holding all three branches of government. “With her overwhelming mandate, the Republicans need to understand that their obstructionism won’t be tolerated. The Reid Rule was an important reform that allows a President to have his, her, or xer’s nominees confirmed despite a filibuster. We will certainly use it to confirm President Clinton’s Supreme Court nominee, and to pass critical legislation like single payer. The filibuster is outmoded and it should never, ever, under any circumstances, be used to obstruct a new president from making appointments and pushing through key priorities!”

Incoming House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi remarked that, “The House is ready to work with the new President to ensure the values of enlightened places like Washington and San Francisco will no longer be obstructed by the cis-het male troglodytes who refuse to acknowledge their legacy of evil. This is why my first act will be to introduce the National Restroom Equality Act to ensure that backwards people can no longer avoid confronting the reality of gender fluidity when going to the bathroom.”

She added, “And now that Elizabeth Warren is heading to the Supreme Court, the gun nuts are in for a rude awakening. We are no longer going to tolerate the epidemic of mass murders committed by conservative Christian NRA members. I will be introducing legislation to outlaw dangerous weapons like automatic assault shooting rifles and killer pistol guns that fire 100 bullets a second with their 200 bullet clips.” Gun sales hit five million in November 2016 as the New York Times howled that “Gun confiscation is a moral necessity!”

Hillary even had some Republican support. “I just adore Ms. Clinton and she can count on my loyalty and help,” said a smiling Lindsay Graham. “The key to a successful Republican opposition is cooperation and flexibility in our positions. I’m particularly excited about my new comprehensive immigration reform bill to bring these poor, innocent undocumented workers out of the shadows and into the voting booth!”

Bernie Sanders, asked about legislative priorities in the new Senate, explained, “I think I have lost my shoe. It’s a brown shoe and I thought it was on my foot, but it seems to be gone and I think I have lost my shoe. Do you have my shoe?”

Hillary announced an ambitious agenda for her first 100 days. There was the new law designed to circumvent Citizen’s United; Hillary fully expected her 5-4 liberal Supreme Court to uphold the provision imposing a two-year prison sentence on those making movies critical of progressive politicians. Similarly, Hillary was confident that the new high court would find another exception to the First Amendment to uphold the “Stop Hate Speech Act.” In conjunction with her “Fairness Doctrine” executive order, it promised to eliminate the unregulated cacophony of disruptive voices on radio, cable and on the internet in favor of a reasonable, gatekept consensus. It would also prevent people from writing books that spread dissent.

Then there was the fracking and oil drilling ban; the Saudis who had helped fund her campaign were delighted that America would turn its back on its hard-won energy independence. Noting that this would devastate Texas and other red states, John Podesta wrote, “That will show those yokels they best get in the Clinton Caboose next time.” This comment was revealed in an email obtained by a precocious 16 year-old from Idaho who got access to Podesta’s new AOL account by tricking him into hitting a link in a phishing email with the subject line “What Mary Ann From Gilligan’s Island Looks Like Now Will Take Your Breath Away!”

Hillary got busy making other key appointments. The EPA was filled with climate change “realists” who had faithfully updated their dire predictions of doom each year as the previous year’s dire predictions of doom failed to come true. The new IRS commissioner promised to continue to deny tax-exempt status to troublesome dissidents, and to go further and withdraw the tax deductions from churches and synagogues that refused to sanctify gay marriage. Mosques, however, got a pass.

Hillary’s immigration czar, one of the six “trans, questioning and/or genderfreak” individuals she promised to appoint to key Administration jobs, was very concerned about there being far too few Muslims in America. Xe promised to increase immigration from the Middle East ten-fold. Coincidentally, exit polls had showed that Muslims voted 80% Democrat. As for other immigration enforcement, Hillary ordered ICE to “stand down” and stop all deportations: “The idea that this country can deny citizenship-challenged people their right to be here is part of America’s shameful racist legacy!”

Hillary also announced that she had named Bill Clinton ambassador to Papua-New Guinea.

The media was excited too. “This just reaffirms our relevance,” said Brian Stetler of CNN. “And it shows how important it is for the media to reject so-called objectivity and embrace a new truth-telling style of journalism where we explain things to those citizens who do not live in large, coastal cities and are therefore not wise enough to understand the world without our patient guidance.” Thomas Freidman urged that “We need to move beyond the so-called concern for the ‘rights’ of our ignorant, bigoted conservative minority and move forward aggressively with progressive change, like our friends in China would.” A congratulatory call to Hillary by the President of Taiwan was sent to voicemail.

In a New York Times interview headlined “President Clinton’s Grace and Poise Shines a Bright Light of Justice Upon an Ecstatic Nation,” Hillary talked about those Americans who failed the moral test of supporting her: “The sad fact is that many millions of Americans are sexist, racist, homophobic, Islamophobia, transphobic, homophobic, and … wait, did I already say ‘homophobic?’ I did? Okay, then cut out that second ‘homophobic.’” The Times complied.

She continued: “We will reward our friends and punish our enemies – domestically. I will govern for the benefit of the people who make up the future, not the irredeemable people who make up the past. They need to understand that they are at the back of the line now, that they must adapt for the good of the whole and accept their new status. This means changing their notions of religion, giving up their guns, and realizing that their so-called rights are subject to the needs of the many. They lost, we won, and now they must stop talking and start listening.”

But the Other Americans, as the media began calling them, weren’t ready to do that. On the 101st day after her inauguration, Governor Greg Abbot called the White House to request a meeting with the new President about “an important subject.” White House Chief of Staff Huma Abedin directed that no one return his call. “Texas can wait,” she said, provoking a raucous chorus of laughter among the Ivy League grads staffing the West Wing.

However, Texas and the other red states couldn’t wait. And when they announced their intention to #RedExit the United States, Hillary was furious. But with all the guns in the red states, and most of the military being from them as well, there was little she could do other than shriek and hit the Crown Royal harder than usual.

She decided to seize the initiative, telling the nation, “We’re kicking them out!” But that plan went poorly as well. So when she finally left office, the country split apart and the economic crisis deepening as the blue states discovered that climate change karma can’t generate power and that you can’t eat diversity, Hillary wondered if she had been wrong in starting her term with a ruthless attack on nearly half the population. That thought passed quickly. “No, it’s the fault of those racists and sexists. Yeah, that’s it. It was all the racists’ and sexists’ fault. And probably the Russians.”

But, of course, the timeline didn’t go that way, did it?
139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH: A Syrian refugee family in Canada on: December 19, 2016, 09:25:04 AM
140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Clinton Archipelago on: December 18, 2016, 03:37:36 PM

Her appeal became more selective. Now, if we could remove the illegal alien and dead votes from the map...
141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary’s Hipster Army Prepares For The Second Civil War on: December 18, 2016, 03:10:09 PM

Hillary’s Hipster Army Prepares For The Second Civil War

“And to President Clinton,” President Abbot said into the camera, “I ask that you stop your threats of war and allow the Free States of America to separate in peace, and let our two nations remain brothers instead of enemies. Goodnight, and God bless all Americans.”

“Arrrgh!” shrieked Hillary, heaving her tumbler at the Oval Office big screen. The empty glass missed, hitting a bust of Saul Alinsky on the mantle. It smashed into a cloud of shards and ice; She certainly didn’t let any of her Macallan Lalique whisky go to waste.

Her entourage cringed – they hadn’t seen Her so mad since She made a surprise visit to Chappaqua and found a wrinkly Bill eating a Big Mac in the bubbling hot tub with a 19 year-old blonde CW actress, Chelsea’s bustiest bridesmaid, and that chick who carried a mattress around because of patriarchy.

“They think they’re going to secede, huh? Well, call my generals, because this means war!”

Now, the two dozen conservative states that had seceded a week ago had done it quickly, peacefully and reluctantly. After Hillary’s hand-picked Supreme Court majority started upholding her flurry of executive orders – she didn’t bother with legislation anymore – there seemed no other choice. First, it was the newly discovered “right to environmental justice” that required a ban on fracking and the imposition of climate change regulations that threatened to bankrupt middle-America. Next, it announced a right to state-funded abortions at any time until the baby leaves the hospital. Then there was the discovery of exceptions to the First Amendment that allowed Her to ban critiques of Planned Parenthood (“There is no right to advocate anti-woman ideas!”), demands for stricter immigration laws (“There is no right to advocate against anti-undocumented workers!”), and criticism of Hillary Herself (“This dissent is unpatriotic!”).

But the boulder that broke the camel’s back was Hillary’s unilateral ban on the private ownership of guns (“We must protect the children! I mean, ones that have been born. And left the hospital. Those children only. Not others.”). The governors of the primarily Southern and Midwestern states of what would become the Free States secretly met, planned, and acted. The big issue was securing the military installations on seceding soil; there was no siege of Fort Sumter this time. Most of the commanders of those bases, and most of their troops, hailed from the Free States. They joined the new nation’s military, which served under the same Constitution (though interpreted accordingly to its text, not liberal necessity) and under the same flag (though with about half as many stars).

The new Joint Chiefs trembled at the situation room table as Hillary screamed at them. “Why the hell are we spending all this money on you!” she howled. Actually, that was untrue – most military units were classified as “Unfit for Combat Operations” due to the budget cuts necessary to fund Hillary’s entitlement programs.

“Madame President, it’s not that simple,” said the new Army Chief of Staff, who had been appointed because of her courage in becoming the military’s first transgender general officer. Back during the wars, when she was still called “Mike,” she had avoided deployment as head of the Army’s diversity initiative.

“Seems pretty simple to me,” Hillary retorted, pausing to take a hard swig from her “water” bottle. “You gather some Army guys together AND GO GET ME MY COUNTRY BACK!”

The generals left quickly, none of them willing to explain to the President that when half the country went away, 75% of the military went away to go with it. And those who remained were hardly the cream of the crop.

Lieutenant Colonel Myron Putney had been a self-described “Army strategist” who served among the herd of majors on the staffs of various divisions around the Army. He considered his personal liberalism a mark of distinction from the knuckledraggers he worked with and looked down upon; while they were out in the field leading mere soldiers, he was wielding real influence drafting position papers.

Now those Neanderthals were mostly gone, and he was finally in command of an infantry battalion. He had held a company command job once, but that lasted only two months before that unsophisticated ape Colonel Reisman relieved him, saying “I’m only saving your sorry fourth point of contact by pulling you out of command because I don’t want to have to do the paperwork when your troops frag you.”

Lieutenant Colonel Putney – he had been a major with no hope of promotion just the day before – surveyed his new unit, mostly filled with new recruits from northern cities and universities who volunteered after a massive mainstream media propaganda campaign. Many were women who, on average, could do more push-ups than the males.

Because of the “Inclusive Army’s” new regulations, there were a lot of unusual hairstyles and beard choices in the formation. One neckbearded guy, who had been inspired to join the war effort by The Daily Show (again hosted by Jon Stewart, but now showing on NBC in primetime), raised his soft hand.

“Yes, Private?”

“Uh, how long is this training today cuz I have a thing tonight I totally have to go to? It’s this open mic reading where we take the ideas we’ve been journaling and share them, accompanied by a squeezebox and a lute. Mine’s about how being male-identified makes me sad.”

“Uh,” replied the colonel. Another hand went up. “Yes?”

“Yeah, I was at lunch today and there was totally, like, no vegan alternative. Plus nothing seemed artisanal or locally sourced, and I felt my dietary needs were being marginalized.”

“Look, we are going to fight these southern racists, so we need to do some weapons training!” the commander shouted.

Another hand: “I don’t really believe in guns. Plus, this seems like kind of a patriarchal power structure here. I don’t see a lot of hearing of the voices of womyn, or trans and questioning people.”

Throughout the Old America, the military struggled to build combat units for the campaign to retake the Free States. Hillary adamantly refused to impose a draft and the initial wave of volunteers quickly soured on the experience when they found out it was going to be hard.

“Wait, they’re going to shoot at us?” one private asked LTC Putney. “They can’t do that. They shouldn’t be allowed to do that.”

“Right! And we’re the ones who are going to stop them.”

“No, I mean someone should stop them because it’s illegal. Maybe the police or something?”

“No, we’re going to do that. We’re the ones who will stop them. Us.”

“I don’t get it. What?”

A month later, LTC Putney’s battalion (scraped together from the remainders of five battalions) was on the border of Tennessee, preparing to invade the Free States. He was proud of the unit’s progress, especially after that unpleasantness involving a drunk female’s regret over a romantic encounter that led to a five-day pause in tactical training to address the pervasive rape culture within Hillary’s army. And then the general called him and directed him to go under a flag of truce as his representative to meet with the other side.

Putney was stunned to see his counterpart was the very same colonel who had relieved him years before, now chief of staff of a division in the Free States Army. “Sheesh, you?” sneered Colonel Reisman. “I should have known you’d be involved in that clusterfark.”

Puffing himself up to his maximum height, 5’9”, Putney replied: “I’m here to inform you that you are guilty of treason and on behalf of the President of the United States, I demand your surrender!”

“Listen up, Half Step,” replied Colonel Reisman. “I’ve had 19 Delta scouts watching that circus you call an army for the last month. You have no intel, you have no logistics, and you have no artillery that can get rounds to its guns, much less put them on target. You aren’t even a soup sandwich. You’re barely a piss biscuit.”

“I…,” Putney began.

“Stop talking. It’s been fun and games up to now, but this freak show stops here. We’re going to shake hands and everyone is going away happy back to Fort Living Room. See, across this line is our home. I have three heavy brigade combat teams ready to counterattack the second we see hostile intent. I have three supporting brigades of artillery, including MLRS, sited in on your axis of advance. You guys turn around, go back to your dorm rooms and coffee houses, and it’s all good. But you come into our home with guns with intent to do violence and we will teach you and your little task force of whiny little hipsters, femboys, and commies what killing really is. Do you read me? Now get the hell out of my sight.”

And so, the Second Civil War never happened. When a particularly brave reporter later asked a wobbly Hillary Clinton about why she failed to save the Union as Abraham Lincoln had done, she muttered something about “sexist questions” and how “all lives matter” before staggering away from the podium and back into the bowels of the White House.
142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Putin with his Akita on: December 18, 2016, 02:58:55 PM

I forget, what kind of dog does Obama have?  Do we have any pictures or footage of the two of them together?

Looks more like a pitbull to me.

Couldn't find a more recent picture of Obama and his dog for some reason...
143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's weakness, fecklessness and China on: December 18, 2016, 01:36:29 PM

Muted U.S. Response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies

BEIJING — Only a day before a small Chinese boat sidled up to a United States Navy research vessel in waters off the Philippines and audaciously seized an underwater drone from American sailors, the commander of United States military operations in the region told an audience in Australia that America had a winning military formula.

“Capability times resolve times signaling equals deterrence,” Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. told a blue-chip crowd of diplomats and analysts at the prestigious Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, the leading city in America’s closest ally in the region.

**And what is missing in that formula today?**

In the eyes of America’s friends in Asia, the brazen maneuver to launch an operation against an American Navy vessel in international waters in the South China Sea about 50 miles from the Philippines, another close American ally, has raised questions about one of the admiral’s crucial words. It was also seen by some as a taunt to President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has challenged the One China policy on Taiwan and has vowed to deal forcefully with Beijing in trade and other issues.

**It was "seen by some", in the NYT breakroom, as a taunt to Trump, to anyone else, it is seen as China once again grabbing Obama by the p*ssy.**

“The weak link is the resolve, and the Chinese are testing that, as well as baiting Trump,” said Euan Graham, the director of international security at the Lowy Institute. “Capability, yes. Signaling, yes, with sending F-22 fighter jets to Australia. But the very muted response means the equation falls down on resolve.”

**Until Trump is sworn in as President, he has no power to do anything to address China's acts. Can anyone get Obama on the phone from the Golf Course?**

Across Asia, diplomats and analysts said they were perplexed at the inability of the Obama administration to devise a strong response to China’s challenge. It did not even dispatch an American destroyer to the spot near Subic Bay, a former American Navy base that is still frequented by American ships, some noted.

**You know who isn't surprised? The Chinese! Know who else? Anyone paying attention the last eight f*cking years.**

After discussions at the National Security Council on how to deal with the issue, the Obama administration sent a démarche to China demanding the return of the drone. On Saturday, China said it would comply with the request but did not indicate when or how the equipment would be sent back.


The end result, analysts said, is that China will be emboldened by having carried out an act that amounted to hybrid warfare, falling just short of provoking conflict, and suffering few noticeable consequences.

“Allies and observers will find it hard not to conclude this represents another diminishment of American authority in the region,” said Douglas H. Paal, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

**Not an accident.**

Significantly, the Chinese grabbed the drone not only in international waters but outside even the “nine-dash line” that China uses as a marker for its claims in the South China Sea. In so doing, analysts said, Beijing was making the point that the entire sea was its preserve, even though it is entirely legal for the United States to conduct military operations in waters within 200 miles of the Philippines, an area known as an exclusive economic zone.

**Under Obama's watch, China went from "peaceful rise", to the Honey Badger of Asia. Fundamentally transformed!**

In the last dozen years, China has steadily showed off its growing military prowess to the countries around the South China Sea, which carries trillions of dollars of world trade and which China values for its strategic access to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

As China has built up its navy and its submarine fleet in the last decade, it has also emphasized what it calls its “inherent” right to dominate the regional seas, and to challenge the presence of the United States, its allies and partners in Asia.

The drone episode, which occurred on Thursday and was first broadcast by CNN despite efforts by the Obama administration to settle it quietly, was of a different nature and just as disquieting as past confrontations with China that involved bigger ships and more dangerous maneuvers, analysts said.

In 2001, soon after President George W. Bush came to office, an American spy aircraft, an EP-3, was forced to land on Hainan Island after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese stripped the plane of its assets and returned it broken down to its parts and packed in boxes.

In 2009, two months after President Obama took office, Chinese vessels swarmed a United States Navy reconnaissance ship, the Impeccable, in what the Pentagon said were dangerous and unprofessional maneuvers.

This time, China chose a more unconventional method to challenge the United States and hastened the timetable, challenging a president-elect rather than a newly installed president as it has in the past.

**Again, no. If Obama could be bothered with this while on his last multi-million dollar taxpayer funded vacation, I am sure he would pat the author on the head for this tongue-bath.**

The drone itself, known as an unmanned underwater vehicle, was not a particularly important piece of equipment. Such drones are deployed to gather military oceanographic data and are available over the counter for about $150,000, the Pentagon said. Data from the drone would no doubt be used to help track China’s growing submarine fleet, naval experts said.

More important than the equipment was the principle of freedom of navigation in international waters, and whether China was in the process of imposing its own rules in the South China Sea — more than 800 miles away from its coastline, said Alexander Vuving, a specialist on Vietnam at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii.

“This is China showing that it is in the process of setting the rules in the South China Sea, imposing its own view in the South China Sea and saying the South China Sea should be its own backyard,” Mr. Vuving said.

“If China can get away with this incident with impunity,” he added, “this will send a chilling message to countries in the region.”

Some leaders, like President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, will feel validated in a pivot away from the United States toward China, Mr. Vuving said. “Others, like the Vietnamese, will have to seriously rethink their regional outlook.”

Vietnam — always fearful of China, its neighbor to the north, but also careful not to alienate Beijing — has tried in the last few years to draw closer to the United States, while still maintaining a careful distance.

In 2011, as China became more assertive in the South China Sea, Vietnam accused China of instructing three high-speed patrol boats to cut the cables of a Vietnamese oil and gas survey ship.

The authoritarian Vietnamese government was so furious that it allowed anti-Chinese demonstrations in Hanoi.

In 2014, China moved a billion-dollar oil rig to waters close to the Paracel Islands that both Vietnam and China claim, and then blasted a flotilla of Vietnamese ships with water cannon.

Since then, China has hardened its position, sometimes referring to the South China Sea a “core interest” in which there is no room for compromise, though others in the region call it bullying by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Under that vision, China would be in control from the waters of Indonesia to Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and up to Japan.

In the East China Sea, China and Japan are at odds over an uninhabited island chain, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. In June, China sent a warship for the first time into the waters around the islands, further escalating tensions.

Japan has been more outspoken than other Asian countries in its support for the Obama administration’s objections to China’s construction of military facilities on seven artificial islands in the South China Sea.

But in Tokyo, the government was watching the outcome of the drone episode with some anxiety. So far, Washington’s restrained response has not been reassuring.

144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 18, 2016, 12:57:40 PM
The true loss for this country is the law abiding we sent away. For example, my wife knew two Chinese STEM PhDs who upon completing their education, wanted to stay here. Of course not. USCIS would not allow them to stay once their education was completed. Meanwhile, we have Mexican sex offenders who can't even fill out sex offender paperwork in Spanish because they can't read/write in any language. I have seen this firsthand.
145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 18, 2016, 12:45:39 AM
I suspect the Left would choose somewhat more angelic looking examples for their propaganda, , ,  cheesy

They always do, this is how you reply.
146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 17, 2016, 01:47:47 PM

"Kid brought illegally to America when he is two.  His first language (as in "the one he speaks best") is English and his Spanish consists of being able to understand his parents without really speaking Spanish.  His schooling is American.  His culture is American.  His friends are American."

147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 17, 2016, 01:40:14 PM
Hypothetical #1:

Kid brought illegally to America when he is two.  His first language (as in "the one he speaks best") is English and his Spanish consists of being able to understand his parents without really speaking Spanish.  His schooling is American.  His culture is American.  His friends are American.  He is now twelve years old. 

How do you think the politics of deporting him are going to go?

**Want to see sad? Watch a toddler getting pat searched to go visit dad in prison. Should we abandon the rule of law for Feeeelz?

#2:  Same facts except he is now in his mid-twenties, working, paying of his college loans, married with a pregnant American wife.

How do you think the politics of deporting him are going to go?

Note:  Quibbling with over how typical this fact pattern is will not change how it will get played.

**Well, we could fight back instead of endlessly rolling over. We could preserve what's left of the rule of law and this country. How many more waves of illegal aliens should we take in as well? How much more money to you want taken from your family to support them? Ask a LEGAL immigrant, like my wife how they feel about the endless catering to illegal aliens while LEGAL immigrants deal with a very costly and difficult process to live in the US in compliance with it's laws.
148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China War and Thucydides Trap on: December 17, 2016, 12:01:15 PM

It is very interesting and I will comment after digesting it.

China has serious internal stability issues. This fuels China's aggressive behavior in the South China sea. Building China's internal perception of a strong, rising power is what gives the CCP it's legitimacy with the population. Failure to maintain it's legitimacy could be fatal to the current power structure. So, China is motivated to act aggressively, and not back down in a scenario that offers a loss of face for the power structure. Keep in mind that despite all the money China has dumped into upgrading it's military, it spends even more on internal security. The power vacuum of "leading from behind" has further fueled China's aggressiveness. Obama has left Trump a ticking bomb.

149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 10 Reasons China will have trouble fighting a modern war on: December 17, 2016, 03:40:38 AM

Although the article raises many valid points, China is planning on short, sharp wars and intends to use asymmetrical 4th gen warfare. They will not fight in a way that allows us to use our strengths. When the Gulf war resulted in our very lopsided victory, China totally changed it's gameplan and set to modernizing it's military.
150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China seizes US underwater drone in South China Sea on: December 16, 2016, 12:55:01 PM

China has a month to do whatever.
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