Interesting Bits

01/14/2018 7:49

The Left In Action

Her professors may see that segment, good luck to her,” one of the Fox & Friends’ hosts had said as we ended the interview in what became an ominously prophetic closing.

I had done the interview, not to show support or disagreement with any particular person, but to show the ridiculousness in comparing eight years of Obama’s presidency to the first 100 days of Trump’s term.

While I expected disagreement from many Cornellians for my views, I was mentally and emotionally unprepared for the backlash, name calling, and threats to my physical safety.

Some peers called me “hateful” for being critical of the course, even though I never attacked the professor’s character. Others suggested I was bigoted, even though they had never met me.

One threat I received was over Facebook messenger, where someone said that they wanted to hurt me. Considering that Cornell University’s College Republicans president had been physically assaulted right after Trump was elected — shoved to the ground and called a “racist bitch” — threats around here are no joke.

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01/14/2018 7:31

Trudeau is Canada's Obama so Don't Expect Prosperity

Oil prices are rallying, but instead of reaping the benefits Canadian oil and gas producers are stuck on the sidelines while their American counterparts are riding them with all they’ve got.

Indeed, a tale of two oil and gas sectors is emerging. On the Canadian side, the mood is subdued, budgets for 2018 are flat relative to last year, and job creation has taken a back seat to automation.

The Canadian sector is held back by pipeline bottlenecks that are depressing both oil and gas prices (WTI rose near US$64 a barrel Thursday, while Western Canadian Select was trading just above US$37), governments that are more concerned about transitioning to renewable energy, investors who’ve moved on to better and faster opportunities elsewhere.

On the U.S. side, optimism is strong, thanks to the U.S. industry’s success in producing shale gas and tight oil and in crushing barriers to export the new production globally, plus support from a president whose only concern about fossil fuels is that there should be more.

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01/13/2018 12:26

Rednecks Who Code

A very good essay titled "The Revolt of the Masses."

In a similar vein, the rant by former MSNBC commentator Krystal Ball is worth quoting at length: “They said they were facing an economic apocalypse, we offered “retraining” and complained about their white privilege. Is it any wonder we lost? One after another, the dispatches came back from the provinces. The coal mines are gone, the steel mills are closed, the drugs are rampant, the towns are decimated and everywhere you look depression, despair, fear. In the face of Trump’s willingness to boldly proclaim without facts or evidence that he would bring the good times back, we offered a tepid gallows logic. Well, those jobs are actually gone for good, we knowingly told them. And we offered a fantastical non-solution. We will retrain you for good jobs! Never mind that these “good jobs” didn’t exist in East Kentucky or Cleveland. And as a final insult, we lectured a struggling people watching their kids die of drug overdoses about their white privilege. Can you blame them for calling bullshit? All Trump could offer was white nationalism as protection against competing with black and brown people. It wasn’t a very compelling case, but it was vastly superior to a candidate who enthusiastically backed NAFTA, seems most at ease in a room of Goldman Sachs bankers and was almost certain to do nothing for these towns other than maybe setting up a local chapter of Rednecks Who Code.

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01/13/2018 8:25

Trump Is Rightly Slashing the Fed Payroll

The Environmental Protection Agency is on track to slash 47% of its total staff by the end of President Trump’s first term, according to a report in the Washington Examiner. After just one year, EPA chief Scott Pruitt has reduced his staff to levels unseen since the Reagan administration. If just those federal employees set to retire by 2021 do indeed leave, Pruitt will have cut more than 7,000 bureaucrats.

“We’re proud to report that we’re reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars, and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment,” Pruitt boasted. Meanwhile, other federal agencies have followed suit after President Trump’s January 2017 hiring freeze hit large swaths of the executive branch. Trump’s order stated, “No vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled, and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances,” including those pertaining to national security. Although the freeze technically lifted in the spring, most agencies have continued to abide by its guidelines. The last president to enact a major federal hiring freeze was Ronald Reagan.

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01/13/2018 8:02

Remember This? The Media Has Forgotten

Before President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax reform bill into law last month, reporters and news anchors said the legislation would not result in higher wages for workers.

Many people in the media appeared to be skeptical of the idea that companies would increase wages for their employees if the tax bill passed.

"It feels like you're relying on this tax cut of the corporations and the wealthy to trickle down," MSNBC reporter Katy Tur said.

"So you are creating a huge tax cut and you might not get wage growth," MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle said.

"And anybody who thinks that this corporate tax cut is going to trickle down to lift wages has a staggering ignorance of how public companies function," MSNBC commentator Steve Schmidt declared.

"There are no examples anywhere of companies distributing their tax savings to their workers," MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi said.

"Who says that giving corporations more money will increase wages?" CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked.

But after the tax bill became law, dozens of companies announced bonuses, wage increases, and new investments for their employees.

At least 81 companies have announced that they will invest more in their workers—in the form of bonuses, higher wages, or other benefits—since Trump signed the  tax overhaul into law

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01/12/2018 3:59

Dems Do Know How to Bankrupt a State

This week, Gov. Kate Brown and her Democrat allies in the Oregon legislature introduced their long-anticipated “cap and invest” bill. The legislation calls for sweeping regulations to cap greenhouse gas emissions and charge a tax penalty on the state’s largest contributors of carbon emissions.

While it’s difficult to determine the exact number before a finalized bill is sent to the governor’s desk and enacted, most estimate the penalty will extract around $1.4 billion per biennium from Oregon’s economy — risking the flight of numerous companies, and job losses for people in the state, according to The Oregonian.

 

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01/12/2018 10:16

This Sounds Like Another Win

The U.S. Treasury and the IRS on Thursday put out new guidance and withholding tables for employers that incorporate changes from the new tax law.

Under those new tables, the Treasury estimates that 90% of people who get a paycheck are likely to see more in take-home pay, as soon as February. Employers will have until Feb. 15 to incorporate the changes in their payroll systems.

The major changes affecting individuals include new tax brackets, (mostly) lower income tax rates, a near-doubling of the standard deduction and the elimination of both personal exemptions as well as many itemized deductions.

The new tables are designed not only to best approximate the change in workers’ tax liability under the new law, but to do so in a way that “delivers benefits as soon as possible to as many people as possible with as little disruption as possible,” a senior Treasury official told reporters.

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01/12/2018 8:26

Democrats Operatives With Bylines

The Washington Post has placed national reporter Janell Ross on leave after she was exposed giving a strategy briefing at a secret strategy conference for left-wing donors, politicians and activists in November, according to a new report.

Ross was a featured speaker a conference funded by Democracy Alliance, a network of left-wing donors aligned with billionaire financier George Soros. Ross’s role at the conference, which was closed to reporters, was only revealed when the Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the conference agenda. She did not notify her employers before speaking at the left-wing summit, where she briefed attendees on “getting the economic narrative right” in future elections.

Nearly two months later, Ross has been placed on leave for secretly briefing the left-wing conference, CNN reports. Ross is not expected to return to the paper, according to the CNN report. Ross’ address to the left-wing audience focused on, according to a copy of the conference agenda obtained by the Free Beacon.

(Think of them as Democrats with bylines)

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01/12/2018 7:07

Pew: US media bias ranks worst in the world

More than in any other country, Americans on both sides of the political aisle believe the media does does a poor job covering political issues fairly, according to a blockbuster new survey of media consumption in 38 nations.

What’s more, the Pew Research Center’s study found that supporters of President Trump believe the media is doing a worse job covering politics than the supporters of any of the other international political leaders in countries surveyed.

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01/12/2018 6:55

Obama's Team Iran's Delusions

Team Obama never understood the reality of the Iranian hardliners or their exigent threat to the United States.

Still, we’ve gained a new insight into this philosophy over the past couple of days. It has come in the form a Twitter showdown between New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and former Obama national security council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

It began when Stephens asked Vietor whether, as a Kuwaiti news outlet reported this week, the Obama administration had indeed warned Iran of an impending Israeli strike against Qassem Soleimani three years ago. Suleimani is the 20-year head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ external action unit, the Quds Force.

Vietor’s responses were quite pathetic.

To begin, Vietor implied that any action to take out Soleimani would have been unjustified because the general is an “Iranian political leader.” . . .

Let’s be clear, when it’s Soleimani, you’re dealing with a blood-drenched terrorist mastermind. Not a politician.

In turn, when you offer “Obama sanctioned them” as a representation of effectively countering Soleimani, you are either a complete moron or utterly delusional.

I’m going with the latter here.

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01/12/2018 6:47

"Temporary" Means Temporary

On Monday, the Trump administration announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador who, without that status, will be illegal. The termination will take effect in 2019.

The El Salvadorans in question are those who were living illegally in the U.S. when earthquakes struck their country way back in 2001. The idea, as Mark Krikorian reminds us, was to hold off temporarily on sending them home (and give them work permits) until the effects of the natural disasters in El Salvador subsided.

Thus, contrary to claims by various liberal news outlets (e.g., Newsweek and Vox), this is not a refugee-like program for people fleeing natural disasters or civil strife. It is not, as Sen.Kamala Harris ignorantly stated, for “people who rebuilt their lives in the U.S. after fleeing an earthquake…”

The beneficiaries of the TPS, illegal aliens to begin with, chose to ride their luck, hoping either that the temporary program would endure or that, if it ended, they could resume being illegal immigrants and avoid deportation (as most illegals do). They had no right to assume their TPS-protected status would continue forever.

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01/11/2018 9:57

Winning Again

 

Fiat Chrysler announced Thursday that it will up its investment in the United States and pay some of its employees special bonuses after the recent tax code overhaul.

CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement that these announcements reflect the company's ongoing commitment to manufacturing in the U.S. He also cited the recently signed tax bill as an opportunity to share the savings with Fiat Chrysler employees.

The automaker said it will invest more than $1 billion in a Michigan plant and relocate production of its Ram Heavy Duty truck in 2020. That model is currently being produced in Saltillo, Mexico

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01/11/2018 11:14

Crazy Like a Fox

After spending the last week promoting the theory that he's stupid and crazy, the media look stupid and crazy, as he's clearly in command, speaking coherently, behaving competently, and getting full respect from the members of Congress. This really was a perfect response the barrage of criticism that bounced off Michael Wolff's convenient-but-fake book

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01/11/2018 8:08

Tax Cut Bill Is Paying Off

It's not at all difficult to grasp the reasons for the markedly different economic performance of the Obama years as compared to what we have experienced in just one year of the Trump administration. Obama's best year of his two terms delivered a 2.6% growth rate, and he was the only president in some 88 years (since Herbert Hoover) to have failed to deliver economic growth of 3% in any one year he was in office.

In contrast, in the first two full quarters of the Trump administration, the economy experienced 3.2% growth.

During his eight years, Obama oversaw an output of some 3,069 regulatory rules and nine new taxes that were part of the ObamaCare health law, adding nearly $900 billion in costs to the U.S. economy, and a record 572,000 pages to the Federal Register. In contrast, in his first 11 months, Trump has eliminated some 66 significant rules while adding only three,  which equates to a ratio of 22 to 1  — far exceeding the standards of his Executive Order 13771 requiring 2 old rules to be eliminated for every new one added.

The stock market closed out 2017 with a record increase for the eighth year of economic expansion, largely due to deregulation and anticipation of tax cuts.

No sooner had the ink dried on President Trump's signature on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on December 22, than more than a dozen companies, such as AT&T, Comcast NBC, Boeing, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Kansas City Southern, announced special $1,000 bonuses to more than 300,000 employees, and tens of billions of dollars of spending increase on plant, capacity, facilities and workforce development.

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01/11/2018 6:19

Higher Education Is Drowning in BS

Even worse, the accumulated effects of all the academic BS are contributing to this country’s disastrous political condition and, ultimately, putting at risk the very viability and character of decent civilization. What do I mean by BS?

BS is the university’s loss of capacity to grapple with life’s Big Questions, because of our crisis of faith in truth, reality, reason, evidence, argument, civility, and our common humanity.

BS is the farce of what are actually "fragmentversities" claiming to be universities, of hyperspecialization and academic disciplines unable to talk with each other about obvious shared concerns.

BS is the expectation that a good education can be provided by institutions modeled organizationally on factories, state bureaucracies, and shopping malls — that is, by enormous universities processing hordes of students as if they were livestock, numbers waiting in line, and shopping consumers.

BS is universities hijacked by the relentless pursuit of money and prestige, including chasing rankings that they know are deeply flawed, at the expense of genuine educational excellence (to be distinguished from the vacuous "excellence" peddled by recruitment and "advancement" offices in every run-of-the-mill university).

BS is the ideologically infused jargon deployed by various fields to stake out in-group self-importance and insulate them from accountability to those not fluent in such solipsistic language games.

BS is a tenure system that provides guaranteed lifetime employment to faculty who are lousy teachers and inactive scholars, not because they espouse unpopular viewpoints that need the protection of "academic freedom," but only because years ago they somehow were granted tenure.

(One way to stop it is for students to not attend colleges dominated by progressives who hate whites, debate and the First Amendment)

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01/11/2018 6:04

Sen John Kennedy: We Need Idiot Control, Not Gun Control

The senator maintains the problem of guns making their way into the hands of disqualified people does not derive from deficiencies in the NICS itself but from federal bureaucratic negligence uploading the proper information — which is what the bill he opposes appears to try to rectify.

“One of the problems around this place, I’ve found out after a year on Capitol Hill, is that nobody ever gets fired,” Kennedy said, criticizing government workers who neglect their duties to upload data to NICS.

“They already get an incentive for loading records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; it’s called a paycheck. If that’s not a good enough incentive, then they need to be fired. … We don’t need a law to try to get federal workers to do their jobs. We shouldn’t be asking government workers to ‘pretty please with sugar on top, can you do your job?’”

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01/10/2018 3:14

Benefits of Diversity

The murder of Kate Steinle in California highlighted the fact that we have a serious criminal illegal alien problem in this country. Many of these individuals, after breaking the law to enter the country, go on to commit other crimes — theft, rape, and even murder. David Olen Cross released a December 2017 report based on Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) data, announcing that there are "973 foreign nationals (criminal aliens) incarcerated in the state’s prison system."

Oregon has 14,739 inmates incarcerated in its 14 prisons scattered across the state. "Approximately one in every fifteen prisoners incarcerated by the state was a criminal alien, 6.60 percent of the total prison population," the report said.

According to Cross, all of the 973 illegal aliens currently in the state's prisons were identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Anytime that happens, DOC officials will place an "ICE detainer" on the inmate. "After the inmate completes his/her state sanction, prison officials will transfer custody of the inmate to ICE," he said.

Marion County, home to Salem, the state capital, houses the most illegal alien inmates with 235 — nearly one-fourth of the prison population. Washington County (Hillsboro) and Multnomah County (Portland, a sanctuary city) each have around 200 illegals — around 20 percent of the prison population in those counties.

An astounding 476 — 48.92 percent — of the criminal alien prisoners in Oregon have been convicted of committing crimes of a sexual nature, with 200 cases of sex abuse, 175 cases of rape, and 101 cases of sodomy. In fact, detainees with ICE detainers make up 39.32 percent of the state's incarcerated sex offenders. A total of 136 of the state's criminal alien inmates are in custody because they murdered someone. Drugs, assault, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, theft and driving offenses round out the top ten list of crimes committed.


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01/10/2018 2:36

How the Free Market Punted Seattle

But the people wouldn’t be controlled so easily, and to prove it, the buy-in-bulk mega-store Costco decided to help along a little rebellion.

Costco created signs that showed the original cost of the products Costco typically sold them at, but then it added the tax imposed upon it by the city of Seattle, showing customers that the high prices of their favorite beverage were the result of government meddling.

And as you can see below, customers took notice.

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01/10/2018 7:17

Utilities cutting rates, cite benefits of Trump tax reform

On the heels of companies dishing bonuses of up to $3,000 to over one million workers due to the anticipated benefit of President Trump’s tax reform victory, several major utilities have announced plans to cut rates in a consumer payback related to the lower taxes.

Energy suppliers like Washington’s Pepco, Baltimore Gas and Light, Pacific Power, Rocky Mountain Power and Commonwealth Edison said they plan to give hundreds of thousands of customers a rate cut due to the tax reform.

...In one announcement typical of those from the utilities sharing their tax benefits, Pacific Power said, “The benefit of this tax cut should be passed on to our customers – and we will work with our regulators and stakeholders on the best way to do that.”

(Yet another story that will be ignored by the mainsteam media)

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01/10/2018 7:06

Demo Slush Fund Shut Down

An educational “slush fund” used by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has come under the “strictest review” by acting director Mick Mulvaney amid concerns the Obama-era agency has been doling out cash only to Democratic cronies.

Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief who has been temporarily installed at the agency the president once promised to kill, is reviewing all spending by the troubled consumer watchdog created to protect Americans from big financial companies.

“All of this is under strictest review. While we get our arms around it, the director is personally approving any payment out of these funds to ensure that they are going to actual victims,” an official said. Mulvaney replaced former President Barack Obama’s director, Richard Cordray, who resigned in November.

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