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Tattletales and virgin ears.

Did he or didn’t he? That’s the only question being debated today.

Chances are he did say something that wasn’t very genteel.  Whether it was as bad as what the tattlers say it was we will never know for sure, given that there were people from both red and blue states in that room that hate the man.

Quite frankly, the man isn’t wearing vestments, he wasn’t speaking in front of a Sunday school class, and he was undoubtedly ticked off by the sorry excuse for a DACA  bill that they brought him.

As far as what is being reported that he said goes, he isn’t the first President to have a nasty mouth. When tapes were played of John and Bobby Kennedy talking in private long after their deaths, everyone was shocked that they cussed like dockhands. So much for Camelot.

Lyndon Johnson was notoriously profane when not in front of the cameras.

In fact, if we could hear any of the Presidents except maybe Jimmy Carter, speaking when they were in what they thought was a private setting, we’d probably find out all of them could mouth off pretty well too.

What’s really irritating is that he is just now figuring out that he can’t trust anyone with a “D” behind their name, and he sure as blazes can’t trust Jeff Flake.

C’mon Mr. President, wise up. These people aren’t your friends. Why give them a figurative gun, a box of ammo and then load the gun for them?

Meanwhile, not much is being said at all about Nancy Pelosi’s on-camera racial slur. The burger and fries company is called Five Guys Burgers and Fries, not Five White Guys.

Whatever. She is at least as racist and gender-biased as she accuses others of being, but apparently that’s OK since her targets are white males.

Lost under all this righteousness and language policing is the real problem.

The Dream Act bill the five guys brought to the not-so-private meeting was a pile of…manure, being essentially just a reworked version of an older amnesty bill they dusted off to avoid actually doing any real work.

Supposedly that was to forestall legal challenges to whatever they do come up with, but since the 9th Circuit had already extended the March 5 deadline by ruling the President’s initial executive order ending DACA (but not President Obama’s original one creating it) unlawful, that seems a pretty thin excuse.

It’s more likely that DACA amnesty is the only thing the President will get Democrat support for, meaning no DACA or immigration fix will happen at all.

And so goes the never-ending playacting we are forced to accept as government.

Maybe everyone else could join the 40 or so Democrats and Republicans who have either resigned, been kicked out or are not running again and let us start from scratch?

Defeating Demented Democrats.

Madge, 68, works three days a week in the produce department at a Walmart store. She is one of the people who makes sure that the lettuce you buy doesn’t have brown stems and leaves when you pick it up.

She also drives 44 miles round trip on icy roads to do that, on tires that are so bald they look like racing slicks.

She doesn’t think that Walmart’s bonus and increased minimum wage is “pathetic.” She thinks it means she can get four new tires.

Nancy Pelosi’s idiotic comments are symptomatic of how out of touch the Democrats are with real people, especially white people.

It’s hard to capture how disgusted people are with the Nancy Pelosi’s of the world in print without resorting to X-rated language.

Suffice it to say that when told of Ms. Pelosi’s comments Madge’s retort was X-rated, and normally Madge doesn’t swear.

Maybe Ms. Pelosi, 77,  is suffering from ordinary dementia, but it’s more likely she is suffering from Democrat dementia.

That’s a disease that is affecting every American today.

There is a cure for it. Vote people like her out of office.

It’s tempting to delve further into the muck that is politics today, but quite frankly, it’s all about money and power.

Democrats are  quite literally fighting to hide their real motives. They don’t give a tinker’s damn about people of color other than that they comprise a voting bloc.

Nancy Pelosi is reported by Roll Call to have a net worth of over 29 million dollars, and is in the top 20 richest members of Congress, ranked at number 15.

No wonder $1,000 is simply pathetic to her.

Inside the sausage grinder.

By now you are probably hearing and reading reaction from all sides to the unique 50-55 minute televised meeting yesterday between President Trump and members of both parties and houses of Congress relative to DACA and immigration.

It’s likely that no one even with a long, long memory can remember a time when a President invited the media to stay and film for more than five minutes after a major policy meeting was already underway, so the word “unique” fits.

It’s a good thing opinions are free, because everybody gets to have one, Musings included, so here goes.

It’s really a shame that the entire country couldn’t have watched the thing live. Hopefully someone recorded it and will put it up unedited on YouTube.  If so, and you care about knowing a little more about how these things work, you’ll watch.

It’s going to be pretty damn hard for both the participants and the media to disavow or spin what we saw and heard.

For those of us who have had to sit through a number of board meetings, you can bet that once the cameras left the room, Steny Hoyer, Lindsay Graham, Henry Cuellar and a few others got a lot more colorful about their positions and subsequent reports confirm that to be so.

Tough.

Everyone present is now on internet video, which  as we all know, is the closest thing to immortality that any of us will ever achieve.

The President made his priorities clear. Codify DACA, stop chain migration, do away with the visa lottery system and fund the wall, which he calls Phase 1.  Phase 2, which he did not provide any details for except that it be merit-based, is “comprehensive” immigration.

He said it at least four times, and he made it clear he expects anything to hit his desk to include those things. It was the mechanisms that he left up to Congress.

It was notable that he called on various members to voice their concerns and views even when they  might have simply preferred to sit with pursed mouths and furrowed brows and wait for the cameras to leave.

The four hyper-partisan leaders, Ryan, Pelosi, McConnell and Schumer were not present, and that was no accident.

The general tone was that the President expects Congress to solve the budget, the DACA problem and border security funding, i.e. the wall,  by January 19, not March 5.

One thing that is sure to get some media play was the President’s suggestion that bringing back earmarks, albeit with better controls, is a good idea.

He’s right, simply because the way it is now, there is no bargaining material on the table. As he put it, the whole system we have now fosters hate and divisiveness because there are no incentives, also known as carrots,  with which to broker deals. All that’s available now is the stick.

For those that caught it, there were times when he had to rein some members who were of a mind to do some political grandstanding, such as when he cut Steny Hoyer off in mid-campaign speech by telling him that playing politics was the problem, and then just talked over him until he shut up.

He dismissed Lindsay Graham’s whine about all the heat he was going to take by voting for DACA by simply telling him “I’ll take the heat” leaving it clear that Senator Graham’s personal political problems weren’t germane to the discussion.

It was interesting that Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) actually provided the best reason so far FOR the border wall (although he obviously doesn’t realize that he did it) when he correctly pointed out that drugs come into the country by means and routes other than just the border.

If we didn’t have to spend so much time and manpower on apprehending border jumpers, we’d have the resources to better tackle the boats, airports and ports of entry.

It didn’t take long for both the far left and far right to go into complete meltdown. Luckily most of us are not members of the fringe.

There are a certain number of people who loathe the President, and a number of them are on both Fox News and mainstream media outlets.  Nothing he says or does will keep them from ascribing evil motives to this rare glimpse into the back rooms of government.

Those folks scoffed at his insistence that funding for the wall be non-negotiable, called him heartless and cruel for proposing an end to chain migration, and labeled his merit-based immigration system “racism in its purest form”  Some even hinted that the whole thing was a pre-rehearsed attempt to “make him look less mentally incompetent.”

The very far right on the other hand think he’s sold out to the dark side.

“How could he!”  “He’s proposing amnesty for 11 million people!” “He gave up on the wall!”  “He sold out his base!” “W-a-a-a-a-a-ah!”

That was just on last night’s cable and broadcast news. Today is still young.

All in all, from this chair it was fun to watch an experienced CEO doing what he does best.

The truth is no one is going to get everything they want, even if the President does lock the doors until they get him something he can sign.

Judge for yourself. Watch the video with an open mind. So far this is the most comprehensive one I could find (ignore the attempt at phonic transcription on screen), but you are welcome to search for yourself. Remember the televised portion ran for 50-55 minutes. Anything substantially shorter has been too heavily edited to be of much use.

More not-about-Trump news.

Believe it or not, there are stories in the news that aren’t directly about President Trump. Here’s a potpourri of the other news that is news.

President Winfrey?

It seems Oprah Winfrey made a speech at the Golden Globe awards that got people talking.

First a confession.  I don’t ever watch Hollywood award shows, so I missed the “barnburner” Oprah Winfrey speech live and had to find the possibly edited excerpts online. I much prefer to hear any speeches by politicians, would-be or otherwise, live. It just seems more fair.

Still, since Musings commented on both Donald Trump and Mark Cuban when they stuck their toes into the political waters it seems only fair to do the same for Ms. Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey is a smart, ambitious devotee of success, and is perhaps one of the best examples of why sitting on your arse is not preferable to working it off instead.

She has brains, connections, a well-enunciated world view,  plenty of money and a made-to-order base.

She also has Meryl Streep to remind her that she ‘has” to run for President now, in view of “the speech.”

Ms. Streep’s opinion aside, it’s doubtful that at this point in her life, Ms. Winfrey has to do anything she doesn’t want to do.

She also has the benefit of seeing what happens when you throw your entire private life into the political stewpot.

She is probably smart enough to recognize that given the unprecedented attacks on President Trump, it is unlikely that her gender or race will protect her from the same treatment should she run or even win.

There is also the question of her business interests. Is she willing to put them all in someone else’s hands?

So, will she run? At this juncture it’s probably 55-45. She is a social and racial activist. It just comes down to how much she’s prepared to sacrifice for the cause, because sacrifice she will.

The Bundy verdict.

The Feds got caught with the Buick out of the barn in the Cliven Bundy case.

In another case of the Federal government not playing by the rules, District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the Bundy case with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be refiled under the same charges.

At issue here was the FBI doing the same thing they charged Mike Flynn for doing…lying to cover up their own actions.

The Bundy family had always contended that they called for armed help from their neighbors only because the Feds had kept them under armed surveillance for months and then confiscated the family’s cattle. They contended that they felt that their lives were under threat from the Feds and chose to level the playing field with armed personnel of their own.

That was true, but the prosecution tried to hide that extenuating circumstance from the court and got caught, according to an article by Maxine Bernstein published yesterday on the oregonlive.com website.

Whether or not the Bundy family’s original premise concerning the Federal government’s right to collect grazing fees has merit or not is another story and it’s by no means sure that the family won’t precipitate another confrontation by returning their cattle to grazing on Federal lands sans payment.

The judge’s decision also doesn’t absolve the other Bundy members awaiting trial, and it’s likely the government will be more forthcoming in that trial.

That isn’t the question right now.  What is a question is whether anyone can trust the Feds to deliver justice in today’s world.

So far the answer doesn’t look very favorable for Lady Justice.

The dangerous tech world.

Recently some of the initial investors and developers of the modern tech world have finally had an epiphany about the internet’s drawbacks, as reported in this piece by Kate Jackson of Britain’s The Sun on December 13, 2017.

For smart guys, they were awfully slow to recognize what every parent and cyber bullied teenager has known for years.

Most recently, mega-investor Roger McNamee  has warned against the addictive properties of smartphones and social networking.

Insofar as the smartphone goes, Mr. McNamee is correct in his assessment that the devices are addictive to adults and kids alike.

When it comes to kids, it is often another instance of parents trying to be friends instead of parents.

First of all, if your kid needs a phone at all (and there are some  legitimate reasons why they might) why does it need internet capability? Disable the internet or buy a phone that is (shock!) just a phone. After all, the world got along without instant messaging and Snapchat for hundreds of generations, so blocking apps shouldn’t create lifelong wounds to your child.

Second, make it clear that they are not to open a Facebook or Twitter or any other account without permission, and insist that you have their passwords for any account you do allow them to open. Monitor how the accounts are being used.

Also of value…a way for parents to set time and connection frequency limits.

But it’s about more than just the devices. It’s about motives.

Obviously, taking away a phone isn’t going to solve the inherent problems with the content on the internet. Even little kids know how to set or change a password, and even if they don’t have internet access, their friends probably do.

Chamath Palihapitiya, of AOL and later Facebook fame candidly admits that some of these apps and platforms like Google and Facebook are programming us, although he maintains that “…”it wasn’t intentional.”

This is the guy who invented the “like” button, so it’s hard to believe he didn’t see the dangers until recently, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. At least he’s speaking out now.

Given the decidedly liberal bent of a majority of the techie community,  giving them the means and ability to invade every corner of our lives was like placing a straight razor in the hands of an angry monkey.

Like guns or hard liquor, the safety and usefulness of the internet is largely dependent on the user’s good judgment.

Unfortunately that’s probably not quite enough to mitigate the dangers. If it was, we wouldn’t have people shooting themselves or others and we wouldn’t need Alcoholics Anonymous.

Like artificial intelligence, the internet is far more like a vial of nitroglycerin than a glass of orange juice.

It’s high time we found a safe way to use it.

Where’s the wiggle room?

Now that both the Senate and House are finally back to work, what’s next on the legislative front?

First of course is paying the nation’s bills, but somehow, that’s gotten tangled up with immigration.

These two should be two separate things, but of course in the fantasyland that is Washington D.C. that isn’t going to happen.

Instead, the financial policy of the U.S.is now dependent on the fate of 800,000 people.

Which leaves us wondering who is the most likely to play hardball on the issues.

The President has made his position clear, and frankly this is where he has to stand and deliver if he wants to keep his base intact.

If news reports are to be believed, the Democrats are in the same position. Unless they refuse to fund the wall, secure outright citizenship and retain chain migration for the DACA group, their base will be ticked off.

Looking in the cloudy crystal ball, it would seem that the best either side can do is negotiate on the degree to which their respective goals are met.

For instance, Congress could approve enough wall funding to start the wall, say 50% of the projected 18 billion dollars the whole border security issue is said to require.

Chances for compromise on the President’s side are less clear. For his part, he could settle for placing strict provisions on issuing semi-permanent green cards.

Provisions such as requiring recipients to be gainfully employed, in post secondary schools or serving in the military within one year of receiving legal status and free of any violations of the law  would put the onus of responsibility on the DACA population itself.

On ending chain migration and the lottery system, there is less flexibility. He could permit only DACA parents to be considered for preferential but not automatic immigration review, but even that is likely to be a bridge too far in light of his stance over the past year.

Given the continuing mindless opposition to anything Trump by the Democrats it will take a few of their members looking at their own re-election chances and career paths going forward  to pull off something that moves the nation forward.

If news reports are accurate, Chuck and Nancy are already whipping their members to resist anything the President wants.

What does that means for the rest of us?

Well, if your paycheck comes from Uncle Sam, you might want to hang on to your extra money for the next little while.

Congress has just 11 calendar days to solve something that has proven unsolvable for at least 20 years.

This is where the “us against them” class and race warfare tactics of the far left are likely to blow up in their faces.

If the left chooses to stay on that track they need to know the rest of us are wise to them, and we are no happier with Congress now than we were a year ago.

After all, it is an election year.

Overkill.

That’s the quick and dirty read on the Michael Wolff book ( and thanks to a friend who bought it for her daughter and gave me a chance to skim it).

Perhaps this book might have worked better if released on April 5, 2017 instead of January 5, 2018.

With a year of observation of the President added to what everyone saw and heard during the campaign, “Fire and Fury”  comes across as a typical hit piece.

The entire premise of the book is that candidate Trump didn’t want to win. Indeed, according to the author the whole thing was done just to make Mr. Trump a more viable TV star and he was “surprised and dismayed” when he did win.

Given the pre-election hype, not to mention the ridiculous and histrionic meltdowns of the Hillary sycophants when he won, the Trump people were certainly not the ones surprised at the outcome, assuming they even were surprised.

There is a way to run to lose. Just don’t campaign. Don’t go to the states vital to winning the electoral college. Just sit at home instead of engaging with voters. Insult the people who should be your base.

We know that’s a good way to lose, because we saw someone do it.

It’s just that the person who did that wasn’t Donald Trump.

There are probably some scraps of truth.  It is probably fair to say that the inner circle wasn’t prepared enough to win to have laid the groundwork for an actual administration. In fact, given their collective ignorance of the fetid inner sanctum of the political world, they may not have known who to pick  to form a Cabinet.

However, it’s also true that given the people available to choose from, perhaps not using the same career politicians he had sworn to uproot didn’t leave the President many choices.

It is also crystal clear that the writer and many of the notable quotables in the book (the ones still alive anyway) were and are nonplussed to have someone in the chief executive’s office who doesn’t have to rely on currying favor with the media and the political machine to get his message out. That makes him not “normal.”

In fact, if all the power players held him in the contempt with which they are portrayed in the book, it’s truly a wonder he ever got a Cabinet together at all. But the charge that his own family thought he was ready for a rubber room doesn’t square with everything we’ve seen and heard for two and a half years.

That’s the most evident flaw in this tome. Mr. Wolff seems to have forgotten that we were all there at the time.

By now, most everyone who cares to has been able to see the President’s flaws. He does pop off on impulse on Twitter when maybe he shouldn’t, he is too easily provoked when he or his family is attacked personally, and some of his use of language is not patrician, to say the least.

It’s also true that just dismissing the whole political scene as irrelevant, is both naïve and dangerous to his presidency.

On the other hand, few people can utilize the extra 140 characters on Twitter to better advantage when he thinks through what he wants to say.

As noted on Thursday, the one real question is why in the name of all that is holy did anyone allow Bannon and his crew to give Wolff access to the White House in the first place?

Maybe it was just because they were kind of busy at the time, but it’s more likely that they underestimated or didn’t recognize their enemies.

The book sells for between $15 and $35, or you can read the long excerpt in New York Magazine if you just want to get a taste of it without wasting any cash.

One thing in the book is true.  With Donald Trump you do get what you get. What you make of that is up to you, but using “Fire and Fury” to define the man might not prove fruitful.

It is however, extremely useful to illustrate the character of the people he has had both around him and against him since he’s been elected.

TGIF – January 5, 2018

Mitt to rise again?

With Orrin Hatch out next year, many people are of the opinion that electing twice-defeated 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney to fill his seat would essentially have the same effect as electing a Democrat.

Assuredly, there was no love lost between Romney and Trump, although the President reportedly seriously considered Romney for the Secretary of State position following the election.

Whether the outcome of that would affect Romney’s decision to run for Hatch’s seat is unclear. It seems likely that Hatch made his decision not to run after at least speaking with Mr. Romney.

Given former Governor  Romney’s experience with crafting Romney-care in Massachusetts, he would come in with at least one issue on which he could offer expertise, assuming that the healthcare battle trickles off into 2019.

Following a Federal court ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban in 2013 , Utah has become a magnet of sorts for a small but growing contingent of liberal-aligned social reformers.

While no one could say that Utah is in any danger of becoming the California of the Intermountain West, there will probably some effort to mount a Democratic challenge if Romney should choose not to run. Steve Bannon has already committed to opposing Romney, which that might be the best endorsement Romney could get.

If Romney runs there is every likelihood he will win. He offers a known quantity, won Utah in 2012 by almost 50 points, and doesn’t carry the same baggage that Roy Moore did.

Is California dreaming?

Speaking of California, expect some sort of confrontation over states rights and sanctuary policy between the Federal and state government, if not this year, then surely in 2019.

Governor Brown seems to be banking on the assumption that the state has a right to make rules for state and local law enforcement within its own boundaries, and ordinarily he might be right.

However, immigration policy and enforcement is one of the areas specifically reserved by the Constitution to the Federal government.

Acting ICE director Homan suggested that state and local officials should be charged with obstructing Federal officers in the performance of their duty.

If ICE and the DOJ pick the right test case to prosecute, i.e. one where there is a is a lawful detainer already in effect when California officials  choose to release an illegal immigrant instead notifying ICE or they actually block an ICE agent from arresting the person, this is sure to go to the Supreme Court where the question rightfully belongs.

There is already some evidence that California is treading on thin ice in its near-constant contempt for Federal law.

Evidence of that is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reported declaration of  the proposed enforcement of Federal drug laws regarding recreational marijuana sales and possession.

No matter your personal point of view on immigration and pot, it is high time to decide if we still have a national government.

This contempt for Federal authority is the epitome of the slippery slope, but it could work against as well as for liberals. .

For instance, perhaps a state decides that being part of the LGBTQ community bars one from associating with children.

The first thing that would happen in that instance would be for the community to challenge the law by pointing to Federal anti-discrimination laws.  However, if Federal laws can legally be ignored under the principle of states’ rights then that defense would be invalidated.

Like it or not, you can’t choose which laws you will obey, and which ones you won’t.

That’s a lesson that needs to be taught, and California seems to be a good place to start.

Your device has sprung a leak.

Finally, if you are one of those users who doesn’t use Windows automatic updates or even blocks them, and you work in the cloud a lot, you might want to reconsider that policy right now.

This article by Brandon Russell published yesterday on The Verge website explains it far more succinctly than Musings can. For another slant, The Verge also offers this one by Tom Warren.

Suffice it to say, the cloud is not a secure storage space, if it ever was.

The patch is available now for Win 10 users and will be downloaded next Tuesday for the Win 7 and 8 OS.

Of course it isn’t just Windows that is affected, as Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services and the popular browsers immediately issued a patch for one of the two processor vulnerabilities.

All of which points up the need to develop a dedicated and independently funded cybersecurity defense department at a much faster rate than we are doing at present.

Maybe that’s one of those areas in which both parties could develop some bipartisan cooperation?