Maxine Waters For President

As part of Bill O’Reilly’s penance for his sexual harassment, he should volunteer to run Maxine Waters 2020 Presidential campaign. Since he compared her hair to a “James Brown wig” this would be an opportunity for him to fix multiple sexual harassment grievances. Following that line of thought, he could invite Kirsten Powers to help out with the campaign. If he can do that without thanking her for being blonde, that would be great, too. Let bygones be bygones. I love it when a plan comes together. Helping a “strong black woman” run for President is a sure sign that you have truly repented. There will be a few problems. Here is a clip from the Daily Caller.

2016 Concealed Carry Growth In Ohio

Late last year I noticed that Buckeye Firearms Association was publishing concealed carry statistics for Ohio. As an example here is a recent post about the 2016 statistics, Annual Attorney General Summary on Concealed Carry: 2016 marks busiest year on record. Although my calculations of the total number of valid licenses did not match up as closely as I would like, I will gladly defer to their report. There are a lot of people with concealed carry licenses. My favorite quote from their report is:

For the person without a CHL, what this means is that anytime they look around and see 14 other people, odds are that one of them has a CHL. Concealed carry is mainstream, common sense and is close to most people on a daily basis. It works so well that most people are blissfully unaware that anyone else is carrying a gun.

The US Bombing Attack Of A Syrian Airfield Reminds Me Of The Grenada Invasion

When I first heard of the US bombing attack it immediately reminded me of the Grenada Invasion early in the Reagan administration. After a botched rescue attempt during the last days of the Carter administration, there was a lot of concern in the first days of the Reagan administration whether the US could maintain its control of the Caribbean and its stature as the preeminent world military power. The American swagger was gone. The Grenada Invasion demonstrated to the world that cowboy diplomacy was back. Despite the craziness of invading a small Caribbean island with no strategic interest, the world was happy. America was back. Probably the same feeling you got when you heard John Wick say:

The Democratic Party’s Continuing Problem With Trustworthiness

A reoccurring theme over the last eight years is that Democratic party leaders were desperately seeking adult supervision. As an example, where was the adult in the room when:

  1. Ms. Rice decided to go on five national TV shows claiming the Benghazi attack was because of an obscure video.
  2. Ms. Clinton decided that all of the Secretary of State’s email should go through her private, unsecured email server.
  3. Ms. Brazile decided to pass one of the debate questions to the Clinton campaign before the debate.

These women maintain that they did nothing wrong but the country begs to differ. The country views this as a problem with honesty and trustworthiness. As an example here are two poll numbers about Ms. Clinton’s trustworthiness before the Democratic convention.

1) 68 percent say Clinton isn’t honest and trustworthy

That’s according to the CNN poll, and it’s her worst number on-record. It’s also up from 65 percent earlier this month and 59 percent in May. The 30 percent who see Clinton as honest and trustworthy is now well shy of the number who say the same of Trump: 43 percent.

You heard that right: Trump — he of the many, many Pinocchios — now has a large lead on Clinton when it comes to honesty and trustworthiness.

The CBS poll, for what it’s worth, has a similar number saying Clinton is dishonest: 67 percent.

Recognizing that the Democratic Party is suffering from a deficit of trust you would think that under no circumstances should Susan Rice undertake anything that would call into question her honesty and trustworthiness. In a totally unnecessary maneuver, she unmasked Trump campaign operatives and tainted the Obama legacy. Director Comey unmasking U. S. civilians as part of a criminal investigation might be understandable. The right-hand woman for President Obama unmasking Trump campaign operatives is the wrong person doing it for the wrong reasons.  She politicized the intelligence gathering operation. All of the worst fears with Patriot Act reauthorization have been fulfilled.  The intelligence gathering operation is being used to punish domestic political candidates. The Democratic party’s struggle with trustworthiness is worse than ever.

#SusanRice Is Now The Face Of The #Obamagate Scandal

Jail CellThe question whether #Obamagate is a real scandal is officially settled. With multiple sources confirming that Susan Rice was the person who unmasked multiple people, it became an order of magnitude easier to link this scandal with its logical predecessor, Watergate. The surveillance of the Trump campaign and the subsequent leaks sounds vaguely familiar to the “dirty tricks” practiced by the Nixon administration. Wikipedia gives us this description:

Those activities included such “dirty tricks” as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Ms. Farkas made it pretty clear the Trump team was being surveiled and recommended that the information should be leaked. Since an indictment or impeachment did not occur we have to assume the primary motive of Ms. Farkas and her friends was to discredit the Trump administration. That sure sounds like “dirty tricks” that Nixon would approve of. Ms. Rice did her part and unmasked people from the Trump campaign. Although this may not have been illegal per se it was instrumental for the person who committed a felony by leaking the unmasked Flynn information to the press. The Obama legacy is now being written by congressional investigators using Watergate as their model.

Bring Back The Classic Filibuster!

Recently I made a comment on an Instapundit article, “Abolish The Filibuster Entirely, Then Ram All The New Bills Through“, that we should adopt filibuster approach we had before 1970. This is the same opinion I voiced on this subject back in February in the post, Reforming The Filibuster. Peter Hanely in a subsequent comment referred to this filibuster approach as the “classic filibuster” which I have since adopted.  Now both George Will and Steven Hayward have adopted the same idea. Here is a quote from Mr. Hayward’s article, Bring Back The Filibuster.

George Will beat me to my idea for today’s Thought of the Morning with a column about the Senate filibuster based on a recent talk by Rep. Tom McClintock, who argued in Hillsdale’s Imprimis that what we should do is go back to the old way of doing filibusters. With all of the talk of ending the filibuster, at least for Supreme Court nominees, maybe we should instead talk of imposing the burden of a real filibuster on Democrats. Make the Democrats take and hold the Senate floor for weeks to block Gorsuch.

I really like that this approach preserves the good parts of the filibuster while placing a significant burden on the bad parts of the filibuster, partisanship without accountability.

Looking Back At The 2008 Financial Crisis

Financial Crisis Inquiry ReportLast weekend my son said he was binge watching movies about the 2008 financial crisis such as The Big Short. Despite this movie watching, he seemed to be struggling with the government’s proposed fixes for the crisis.  I think he wants to believe that the government was trying to do the right thing but his gut is telling him something else.  It has been eight years and our gut says we still have “too big to fail” banks and a derivative market with unknown financial risks. It looks like we did not fix anything but chose to kick the can down the road. The traditional approach to a financial crisis is to separate the good assets into a good bank and the bad assets into a bad bank. The good bank is smaller and less risky. The shareholders take the financial hit under this approach. Instead of this approach, our government chose policies very similar to those that led to Japan’s Lost Decade.

Like most economic problems, Japan’s lost decade was largely caused by speculation during its boom cycle. Record low interest rates fueled stock market and real estate speculation that sent valuations soaring throughout the 1980s. In fact, property and public company valuations more than tripled to the point where a small area in Tokyo was worth more than the entire State of California.

When the Finance Ministry realized that the bubble was unsustainable, it raised interest rates to try and stem the speculation. The moved quickly led to a stock market crash and debt crisis, as many debts fueled by the rampant speculation turned out bad. Finally, the issues manifested themselves in a banking crisis that led to consolidation and several government bailouts.

Sensing my son’s struggles I offered three resources that should provide him with additional insight into the crisis.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report

Unlike the typical explanation that corporate greed caused the crisis, the majority opinion said:

In our inquiry, we found dramatic breakdowns of corporate governance, profound lapses in regulatory oversight, and near fatal flaws in our financial system.

There were two dissenting opinions.

  • The first dissenting opinion focused on a worldwide credit and housing bubble that was largely composed of nontraditional mortgages and supported by questionable credit ratings.
  • The second dissenting opinion focused on government housing policy and is best summarized with this statement.

As a result of these policies, by the middle of 2007, there were approximately 27 million subprime and Alt-A mortgages in the U.S. financial system —half of all mortgages outstanding— with an aggregate value of over $4.5 trillion.

Senator Warren’s Letter About the Unindicted

In 2016 a part of the Financial Crisis Inquiry report was declassified that indicated that nine people were referred to the Judicial Department for possible indictment. According to Senator Warren these people were “former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd, former Fannie Mae CFO Stephen Swad, former Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince, former Citigroup Board of Directors Executive Committee Chair Robert Rubin, former Citigroup CFO Gary Crittenden, former AIG CEO Martin Sullivan, AIG CFO Stephen Bensinger, former Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal, and former Merrill Lynch CFO Jeffrey Edwards-may have violated securities or other laws. Mr. Prince and Mr. Rubin were each cited in two referrals.” If President Obama was correct in describing the 2008 financial crisis as “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression” then someone should have been indicted. By comparison, the 1980s S&L crisis resulted in 839 convictions.

Full Measure Video About The Immaculate Corruption

In the video, Immaculate Corruption, Richard Bowen discusses the testimony he gave to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Until recently much of his testimony was suppressed from the public.

When You Lose Something You Don’t Want, Is that Really a Loss?

I posted this comment to David Henderson’s article When You Lose Something You Don’t Want, Is that Really a Loss?

Last December we decided to drop our health insurance. Our reasoning was pretty simple. Which would make us feel more financially secure, health insurance or an extra $7,500 per year in a savings account?

We did think it through. My wife and I have not filed an insurance claim in over twenty years. We are the perfect health insurance customers so why not take advantage of our good health?

1. Since 2011 our health insurance has increased 13% annually. Medical cost inflation was around 5% annually over the same time period. It sure looks like the health insurance companies were raising rates because they thought they could get away with it.

2. The lowest cost bronze plan for my wife and I exceeds 8.13% of our income. It also was considerably more expensive than our grandfathered health insurance plan which also failed the affordability test. Even though the lack of affordable health insurance makes us exempt from the individual mandate, we are reminded that the ACA failed at its most important mission, affordable health care. When will the ACA or the AHCA start working on this problem?

3. For most of my life, I thought that health insurance was a no-brainer. The ACA completely reversed my position. I no longer believe that giving more money to the healthcare industry is beneficial or compassionate. Although some people maintain that health insurance is the same thing as healthcare, this insularity to healthcare costs bothers me. The politics of the situation has made it easier for the healthcare industry to ignore better-valued healthcare options. As an example when I asked my insurance company for a lower price, they said, “we do not do that”. They could not seem to grasp that healthy people do not want health insurance the same way unhealthy people do. Healthy people tolerate the cost of health insurance up to a point and then they start looking at alternatives in the same way they might change auto insurance. Healthy people are different and the health insurance exchanges are not sustainable without them.

4. How do we send a message to the healthcare industry? Our choice has been to hit them in the pocketbook. We are not trying to be heroes. Their loss is our gain. Every month my wife and I get by without a major medical expense, we win and they lose. It takes only a few months of savings to cover the AHCA pre-existing illness penalty. After a year or so we are in pretty good shape to cover most major medical expenses outside of cancer. At some point, the insurance companies will realize that chasing away their best customers is bad for business.

The #Obamagate Motive

Jail CellI was watching Louise Mensch explain what she said and did not say about the FISA warrant when it struck me. Why did someone leak this information to her? What was the plan? My first thought was that if she had published her article a little earlier it could have rescued the floundering Clinton campaign.  Oops!

The Primary Objective Of The FISA Warrant Was To Discredit The Trump Campaign

Over the last couple of days, I heard Mr. Comey and Mr. Clapper deny that the government spied on the Trump campaign. If we take them at their word then why did they allow the FISA warrant to go forward for “possible financial and banking offenses”? Mr. McCarthy found it extremely odd that they would use a FISA warrant for criminal activities. The simplest most straight forward answer is that the FISA warrant request was never expected to collect any useful information. The plan was to leak the FISA warrant request. If it was leaked in the last week of the campaign, it just might be enough to turn the tide for the Clinton campaign. It was a political hail mary pass for the floundering Clinton presidential campaign. Best of all President Obama, Mr. Comey, and Mr. Clapper had plausible deniability. It would have been the perfect plan if Louise had published a little bit earlier.