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Happy 1st Anniversary.

One year in, what are the takeaways for those we affectionately call the Musers?  These are  people who weren’t so much politically motivated as they were curious about the effect of a non-politician on the political class, and you have them to thank (or not) for this blog.

Some were with Trump from the beginning, some came to support him late in the game, and one or two didn’t vote at all.  Only one person had ever seen him in person before he ran for office, and most didn’t know anything about him at all, except for the tabloid gossip.

There is nothing remotely scientific about the following. It is instead a collection of how these people see his first year.  They were asked to ignore the shutdown, and give their general impressions of his effect.  As always, the names are pseudonyms.

They used words like startled, repulsed, appalled, educated, sickened and affirmed, but not about the President.

Andrea said it well:

“I instinctively felt there was something wrong in Washington, but I would have never believed it was this bad. I almost wish I’d stayed ignorant, because now I have to care.”

Joe chimed in. “Middle America has known for a long time that we were being ruled by what I call the political Mafia, but we needed a leader who could win. Fate gave us Trump.”

Out of the original 38 people, 27 were available or willing to comment on the President’s performance.

Polled as a group, 22 said they were more than 75% satisfied with what he has accomplished to date, 3 said 50% satisfied, and 2 said less than 30%.

Asked what disturbed them the most about his handling of the job so far, all 27 said he has been very slow to understand the magnitude of the forces allied against him.

All thought that he was very naïve for the first six months, but all admitted that as political outsiders they would have been just as naïve if they were suddenly dropped in the Washington stewpot.

Asked if they believed he thought he would win, most said he was probably the only person other than his family who thought so, and they blamed that for his fumbling start.

Jeff said: “Look, half the people around him at the beginning were what I’ve come to call political prostitutes.  They thought they would get a lot of fame, and maybe make some money, but they weren’t really there to serve anyone but themselves.”

Asked what they thought was the best thing he has done as President, most said in one way or the other;

Giving us proof that Washington is just as bad as we thought it was, and trying to fix it.

What do they think about his Twitter habit?

All said they think he has to tweet, because the media is so skewed to the left. About half said it was a good thing, the others said he needs to be more strategic and disciplined about using it.

Jamie said, “What’s so fascinating about his tweeting is it’s like someone sitting around and bouncing ideas off the wall or to a group of friends. You can almost literally watch his mind working.”

Will they continue to follow his presidency?

Mark seemed to speak for everyone when he said, “This is like a book that you want to put down but can’t. You just have to keep reading to see how it turns out.”

TGIF – January 19, 2018

How do we safely stop serial border jumpers?

You can read stories every day about this murderer or that rapist, or ten drug dealers who have been deported 3, 5, 7, or 10 times that went on to kill or seriously injure someone.

It’s infuriating. First it’s a waste of the border patrol’s time and our money. Second, innocent people are killed or victimized by them every time they get in.

These are not strawberry pickers or pool boys. They are hardened criminals like Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes, the smirking cop killer whose only regret is that he didn’t kill more cops.

First on the list of course is to harden the borders, but professional criminals know how to get around the walls and fences.

Obviously the best way to keep them out before they can do more harm is to be able to spot them as early as possible, but that seems to be beyond our abilities right now.

That has people asking “Hey, if my insurance company can geo-locate my car, or emergency services can ping my phone or my medical alert button, how can we transfer that technology to criminal illegals the first time we deport them in a way that they can’t remove?”

Suggestions vary from tattooing some sort of code on their faces to freeze branding them to implanting a GPS chip of some sort internally so they could be identified by a hand-held scanner, specialized drone or cell tower that would then send out an alert.

Being able to find these people or even stop them as they cross the border without having to raid a gang headquarters or get into a shootout with them on a public street seems like common sense.

You can already hear the civil rights advocates howling, but it’s a conversation we need to have.

Our million-dollar-plus  Congresspersons.

According to a 2013 article, each person in Congress at that time cost us a minimum of $1.5 MILLION dollars a year in base salary plus staff and office expenses, but not counting perks like health and life insurance. In 2013, that reportedly came to $1,503,265.59 for each of the 535 members of Congress.

Assuming the reporter’s 2013 math and research was correct,  that was then  $804,247,090 a year, total. That’s 80% of a billion dollars.

Rand Paul was on TV yesterday whining about wasteful government spending as a reason not to vote for the spending bill, citing $700,000 stupidly spent trying to find out what Neil Armstrong said on the moon.

We agree that is wasteful, but given the events surrounding the ridiculous DACA and spending bill negotiations,  what kind of ROI are we getting for Senator Paul’s 1.5 million dollar cost?

Hashtag – Putting America last?

America loves creating Twitter headlines, known as hashtags. One that may gain ground if we get to a shutdown is “End the America Last shutdown.”

A lot of favorable things have been said about DACA “kids” but now the issue is starting to attract some negative press.

Many people are wondering why Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democrats seem hell bent to stop funding that keeps our nation running in favor of amnesty for a relatively few illegal aliens and open borders.

Less than one percent of the population falls under the DACA guidelines, even if you take the 3 to 3.5 million person figure that is believed to be a more realistic total.  Does that mean they should be exploited for political ambition?

Democrats have tried to make the budget showdown about the length of another continuing resolution, but if you look past the DACA dog whistle, it’s really about legitimizing open borders and illegal immigration as a whole.

The trouble with using the shutdown as a scare tactic is that we have the comparatively recent 2013 shutdown for context. Everybody can member that other than some high-profile politically motivated shutdowns like the Veteran’s Memorial and national parks, the country survived it quite nicely.

Americans have had a front row seat over the past year to observe how little regard the Democrats have for the country.

An increasing number are beginning to think that shutting down the government would be infinitely preferable to caving in on amnesty and border security.

Seems like kind of a Mexican standoff, doesn’t it?

Is the press distorting our reality?

Well, the President released his Fake News Award list yesterday, as promised.

Only it wasn’t just a list, it was a recap of the top 10 outright wrong stories, stories that even the originating media outlets often had to retract or “correct,” albeit sometimes on page 20.

For some reason, the aptly named Senator Flake and his audience of two seems to think that constitutes an attack on the First Amendment.

The press has a perfect right to report something negative about the President or anyone else, if it is true. Maybe 90-some percent negative is more than a bit unbalanced, but if the stories are grounded in fact, not merely opinion, then that’s the way the ball bounces.

It does not have a right to misrepresent or invent a story simply because the outlets or their corporate owners don’t like President Trump, or white men or a particular political party.

Does anyone seriously believe that the left would have been so sanguine, much less approving, of  90% negative coverage of former President Obama?

It’s important to note that not every single news program or article is scripted to address the political, but enough are to taint the public’s view of the profession in general.

We need to forget about who the stories are about, and focus on what we think of as the proper the role of the news media, which is to impart or report useful information in an unbiased framework.

Sometimes the stories are so colored by the reporter’s personal dislike or the editorial bias of the outlet that they aren’t even presented as fact. They’re just good old fashioned gossip.

Today, a journalism degree doesn’t invoke the same respect it did in the past.

Reporting, once called chronicling, is often considered to be one of the earliest professions, appearing at about the same time we developed language, alongside the usually accepted truly oldest profession, prostitution.

For millennia each generation has relied on the chronicles of the past, first in verbal and then in written form,  to inform them of their historical  past, the better to guide the future.  They relied on the accuracy of the chronicler.

In short, accuracy mattered.  If a chronicle said that water could be found by going to a certain river during the dry season, people’s lives depended on that to be true.

A hundred years from now, what people know about us today will depend on the record we leave behind.

In the recent past the world’s two oldest professions appear to have become too often conflated, and apparently no one cares.

That doesn’t say a lot for accurately preserving our history.

Shutdown or DACA. Should we care?

First a little unfinished business.

If you ever wondered why confidence in the media has slipped, or why people sneer derisively when they say the words “main stream media” you had only to watch the White House press briefing session by the White House physician yesterday to understand why. There was precious little journalism being practiced in that room.

OK, enough said on that subject.

Moving forward, the main topic of conversation today is will they or won’t they pass ANOTHER continuing resolution to keep paying the government’s bills, or will we see another government shutdown over DACA and immigration?

More to the point, does it really matter?

There have been 18 shutdowns since 1990. That’s more than one every two years, although the last one was in 2013. We’ve all survived each one.

Shutdowns say more about the failure of government to function than they do about the issues that precipitate them.

Congress has had since at least June 15, 2012 to deal with DACA. In fact, President Obama correctly noted that his action creating DACA on that date was occasioned solely by the failure of Congress to address the issue.

When President Trump overturned Obama’s executive memorandum, the one that even #44 called illegal, he also added a finite grace period, giving Congress a full six months to codify the Dream Act.

Yet here we are, once again having to deal with the incompetency and ineffectiveness of the people we elected to serve us.

Once again we are treated to the spectacle of political blackmail in action.

DACA has nothing to do with the budget. It is not even allied to overall immigration reform and funding. It is far more closely aligned to sanctuary policy than it is to either of the foregoing.

They should be two separate discussions.

Americans as a whole have compassion for the spot the Dreamers are in, and thus over 70% support legitimizing DACA in law.

Being compassionate should not include being stupid. Even the more outspoken DACA supporters in the general public understand that this has to be a one-time thing. The more reserved supporters also fully understand that it also sends a signal to other countries that if dragging minors over the border worked this time, maybe it will work again.

Technically, every single Dreamer is legally deportable.  The fact that we may choose not to visit the sins of the fathers on the heads of their sons and daughters doesn’t change that.

Heartrending stories of young (and not-so-young) adults having to adjust to being deported to countries they know nothing about makes for sensational press but does nothing to change the law.

It is time to uncouple immigration policy reforms, including DACA, from the budget and spending process. The two are not mutually inclusive.

If your senator or representative fails to make that distinction, why would you vote for that person again?

Avoiding the minefields.

Edit::  4:40 EST Januay 16, 2018

Watch for spin on the President’s physician’s press conference. It should be interesting.

________________________________________

It’s no coincidence that every time the President notches a “win” the left immediately finds something negative to poke him with or about. It’s so predictable by now that the only suspense is who is going to ding him first.

Last week’s scandal du jour was his language. This week it’s whether “he” will force a government shutdown because he won’t accept a DACA bill that doesn’t meet his heretofore clearly stated objectives.

DACA and immigration reform should be in its own universe.  There was no need to conflate it with the budget. The two things are only tenuously attached at the point of funding for border security.

That could have all been handled by allotting a certain amount to accomplish attaining said security, passing the spending bill and then taking up DACA  and immigration on their own merits.

You don’t have to like the President to see that the decisions made by the Obama administration have become minefields for the GOP in general and President Trump in particular.

In the eyes of the left, they had it all figured out pre-2016.  They would elect another socialist-leaning President, and continue reconfiguring the United States to fit their world view.

Take the military for instance. Is it a a coincidence that funding levels for defense were designed to gut the ability of the U.S. to field a strong military?

It’s hard to assign the porosity of the 2008-2016 State Department’s electronic firewalls  to sheer chance, or even to the incompetence of one woman.

It’s now impossible to overlook the bias in the “Justice” Department.

None of that would have been a problem for Democrats, had they been able to elect what you might call a lid-sitter, someone who would make sure that all the smelly stuff didn’t leak out of the pot.

When the nation elected a rank outsider to the presidency, someone was quick to recognize that the lid was no longer secure.

It’s no accident that the moment it looks like President Trump is going to accomplish something outside of the proscribed playbook, he is attacked on every level.

For instance there is the condescending Newsweek piece that once again attacks the man, not his policies, by once again seeking to paint him as an intellectually challenged dolt.

The left may not have consciously sought to leave political IEDs for Trump, at least not at the beginning of the campaign.

It is far more likely they were simply following a roadmap that would result in the kind of America they wanted, given another eight years or so.

We can only imagine what was really behind all  the tears and hysteria when the road took an abrupt turn into uncharted territory.  Still,  it’s no coincidence that some of the more outlandish actions taken by the outgoing army after the election but before the inauguration were a last ditch attempt to design a new battle plan.

You don’t need to be a graduate of West Point or Annapolis to analyze the battle going forward or to recognize the Schumers, Durbins. Pelosis and their cohorts for what they are.

It’s just a shame that it is our civilian population of every color and ethnicity that is caught in the crossfire.

 

Ever heard a pig squeal?

Is your state looking for a few good businesses? You might find them in New York, if you can avoid importing the ones used to getting government perks.

Under the category “you can’t make this stuff up” we now have Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)  thrashing about to find a way to make sure New Yorkers can write off or avoid losing deductions for New York’s high state and local taxes.

Some of the ways being proposed are to cancel New York’s income tax and transfer the revenue to New York employers in the form of  a payroll flat tax, and create charitable programs to fund public services, since charitable deductions were not removed under the new Federal tax plan.

Oh yes, and he’s going to sue the Feds to have the new tax plan declared unconstitutional. Governors of other high tax states are reported to be engaged in similar pursuits. The 9th Circuit is going to be busy.

What’s so deliciously rich about all this is that these same people are the ones squealing about the new TCJA only benefiting the rich.

Of course the real answer is to lower state spending, but then how could they keep the welfare state in place if they did that?

Maybe some more phony charities?

Unfortunately for the governor(s), in order for those charities to write off donations under the Federal statutes, they would have to receive Federal recognition as a specific type of charity. With Lois Lerner gone, that might not be all that easy.

Maybe a GoFundMe page?

At some point, ordinary people are going to have to decide not only whether liberal socialist agendas are worth it to them, but whether they are getting the services they will be paying for in the future.

If they decide that yes, having the government pay for everything is worth it, then they will also have to accept the costs when the rest of us don’t subsidize them. It’s their choice.

Wouldn’t it be funny though, if these high tax states imposed an exit tax on people and businesses leaving the state?

Oh wait.  California and New Jersey have already begun to address that issue, although technically neither state has a true exit tax, instead calling them “nonresident” taxes.

Like we said…you can’t make this stuff up.

Gut check.

Back on August 9, 2017, Musings published a post that painted a reasonably bleak picture of what a nuclear strike would really be like, from the viewpoint of a person who lived under the Cold War’s nuclear cloud.

We heard about it.

One of the tamer replies was that the post was “right-wing fear-mongering.”

Yeah…you might want to talk to a few people in Hawaii about that now.

In fact, you might even want to talk to a few people in North Korea too.

It’s highly likely that the Department of Defense knew within a very few minutes that nothing had been launched toward Hawaii.

But for those few minutes, every piece of ordnance we own was targeted and ready for launch toward Pyongyang.

You can sort of imagine the North Koreans doing their own version of “hands up don’t shoot” in whatever passes for their war room.

This was always a fear during the Cold War; that some dumbass would push the wrong button, not in D.C. but in some remote emergency management office somewhere else.

Today it happened.

In the end no harm (other than a few hundred thousand scared people) was done.

North Korea has up to now seen no reason to talk to the U.S., assuming perhaps that the only person who could precipitate a strike was the President.

But think for a minute.

What if some other dumbass on a firebase or a ship had pushed a button too?

9,999 times out of 10,000 that’s not going to happen, given our military protocols.

Still, it only takes once.

Representative Tulsi Gabbart (D-HI), who was at home in Hawaii at the time,  had a few choice words to say about how it’s all up to us (by which she apparently meant President Trump) to sit down with Kim.

Unfortunately, she left out the part about getting Kim to the table. It’s not like President Trump can just waltz into NoKo and march the man to any table.

Perhaps this little incident will penetrate the thick North Korean skulls.

We can only hope.