Monday, March 9, 2020

Warren Buffet on Fear and Investing



The  New York Stock Exchange dropped 7% at the start of trading over continued fears over coronovirus, combined with investors reacting to a glut of crude oil causing benchmark prices to tank.

At the District of Calamity, there is more confidence in political prognostication rather than inklings on investments or immunology. However, with some cognitive (rather than social) distancing, this is not the bubonic plague and America's health system is not medieval medicine.  Moreover, media seems to be pushing a crisis, presumably for ratings and as another avenue to imperil the current Administration.

Thus it is prudent to take into account the wisdom of Warren Buffet, the Wizard of Omaha, on fear and investing.


Friday, February 14, 2020

Frederick Douglas on Politics

Frederick Douglass


If only contemporary audiences could really hear the wisdom of "Liberty's Champion":

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Abraham Lincoln on Freedom


Sifting Through the Rubble from the Granite State Primary



Pundits expected the Democrat New Hampshire primary to be an easy win for Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT). After all, Sanders had name recognition being a Senator from a neighboring state as well as his resounding victory in the 2016 Presidential primaries.  


Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) after New Hampshire primary
So Sanders triumph in the 2020 New Hampshire primary was not a great surprise. What was remarkable, however, was the narrow margin of victory and muted percentage of support. When Sanders ran essentially against First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY), he racked up 60% support and beat her by 22%. While there was a more crowded field in Election 2020, Sanders only won 25.9% compared to ex Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend) 25.4%.  This flips the placement in the closely contested (and thoroughly botched) 2020 Iowa Caucuses.  

What seems significant is the degradation of support for Sanders in New Hampshire, despite his inherent advantages.  For the moment, Buttigeig is the principle competition for Sanders.  But the campaign is shifting to the Nevada Caucus on February 22, which “Mayor Pete” may not have the organization to capitalize. For the South Carolina Primary on February 29, Buttigieg seems to have difficulty attracting support from African American voters, which comprise two thirds of Palmetto State Democrat voters.

Sanders is an avowed Socialist, which is anathematic to admit for Establishment Democrats who want to win in November. Considering the malarkey (sic) in the Iowa Caucus tabulation as well as manipulating the debate rules, there seems to be a behind the scenes effort to mute “The Bern”’s momentum to allow for an alternative who the Establishment deems more electable.  

Ordinarily, the second place finisher would be the designated competition, but Mayor Pete seems weak in other early primaries. In this cycle, billionaire ex Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-I-D-NYC) opted to skip the February primaries to vigorously compete in the twelve primaries on Super Tuesday March 3. Thus, “Mitey Mike” (sic) might play the white knight and steal an easy nomination from Bernie Sanders.

Another interesting nugget from the Granite State Primary was the third place finish by Senator Amy Klobachar (D-MN) with 19.8%.  Klobachar garnered more than double Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) support, which was surprising as Warren was a neighboring state pol and she expended considerable resources in New Hampshire.   Warren is on the far left of the Democrat political spectrum, but it does not appear that Warren voters did not gravitate to her ideological comrade Sanders.

Klobachar seems to have been aided by a stand out debate performance in the New Hampshire debate.  Moreover Klobachar won some attention the prior week when she was the first to declare victory (despite placing 5th) in the Iowa Caucuses.  Perhaps Klobachar won some support from voters concluding that she is the viable female candidate. It is a safe assumption that Klobachar prospered with the collapse of the Warren and ex Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) campaigns. 

Andrew Yang dropped out after earning 3.3% support in New Hampshire, as well as Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO) with 0.3% of the vote. Ex Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) is expected to drop out after a 0.4% performance.

Joe Biden left New Hampshire early to kick off his South Carolina campaign, as he sensed the impending doom. In the end, former frontrunner Joe Biden placed fifth in New Hampshire with 8.4%.  Paired with his fourth place finish in Iowa, it is almost certain that Biden is the walking dead in the primary process, as it will be difficult to raise more funds with such pathetic early showings. It is dubious if Quid Pro Quo Joe could beat Mickey Mouse.

News coverage of the primary process loves to focus on who won the horse race and not the delegate count. Granted, the delegate stakes are paltry in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the process matters.  As long as there is a competitive three person race, the more likely it is for there to be a brokered Democrat convention, as no candidate has a clear majority. If it seems as if Sanders is cheated out of the nomination (again), James O’Keefe's exposes with Project Veritas exposed the violent sentiments of Bernie bros working on the campaign, it could be a hot time in Milwaukee in July.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Friday, February 7, 2020

Mayor Pete on Backyard Bullying



Preying on Fake Prayer



At the 2020 National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald Trump railed against politicians who hide behind false piety in proffering their politics. 


Pelosi's purportedly prayful approach to impeachment has not conveyed a sense of sincerely, as evidenced by a skit from Saturday Night Live.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

No Malarkey from Joe Biden?


Apparently, former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) is not totally detached from reality as he offered a no malarkey assessment of his campaign's performance in the 2020 Iowa Caucuses.  With less than 70% of the vote tallied after two days, Biden is running in 4th place with 15.9% support.  On the bright side, Biden (barely) qualifies for delegates.  But on the dark side, he might place fifth behind Senator Amy Klobachar (D-MN).

Iowa is not about delegates, as only 41 were available from the Iowa Caucuses.  It is about gaining momentum at the start of the Presidential Primary campaign.  Conventional wisdom is that there are three tickets out of Iowa, and it looks like Lunch Bucket Joe got a gut punch rather than his ticket punched.  Granted,  Biden did not pour all of his resources into organizing in the Hawkeye State, like Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, IN) or Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).  But a former Vice President, who the media kept touting as the national front runner,  being an also ran is devasting.

Some have suspected that the Democrat Establishment have been obliquely seeking to help Biden, because the prospect of nominating socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) scares the bejesus out of them.  Thus, the delayed submission of the Articles of Impeachment curiously required that sitting Senators (Sanders, Warren, Klobachar, Bennett) could not be out on the Hawkeye hustings when the Senate was trying President Trump.   Moreover, the prolonged odd delay in reporting results from the Iowa Caucuses (which has been attributed to software output issues) both steals the thunder from winning candidates like Buttigieg and Sanders, thus taking away momentum from Iowa and it obscures the gut punch of a fourth place finish for Biden. 

Political junkies know that Biden planned on having a South Carolina strategy, as he expects to garner giant support from the largely black electorate who would give fealty to Barack Obama's number two.   The problem is that he has to make it to the end of February.  When a candidate, like Biden, is competing as a front runner, it burns cash. If Biden has another disappointing result in New Hampshire, the money dries up and the staff starts to bolt. 

The Establishment's chosen candidate has been floored by a Hawkeye gut punch and they feel they need to slow the Sanders juggernaut lest he becomes the inevitable nominee.  So they need someone to last until the March 3rd Super Tuesday primaries, when ex Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R, I, D) can buy them some time and victories before the Milwaukee convention in July.

And THAT'S no malarkey.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Talking Trash About DC's Green Police


For Super Bowl XLIV, Audi made a splash with its advertisement during the Super Bowl “The Green Police” which spoof’s Cheap Trick’s 1979 hit song “Dream Police” by fusing it lyrics and images of  overzealous Eco-Cops.




After the defeat of “Cap and Trade” legislation in the United States Senate and the revelations about scientists skewing global warming data in Climate-gate, the public could chuckle at this green cacotopia while considering the virtues of clean diesel cars.

Unfortunately, Audi did not prepare a parody but a prognostication. In the District of Columbia, a Dupont Circle resident is being barraged with fines from DC’s Department of Public Works for not recycling. It seems that Patricia White shreds her junk mail and newspapers to use as cat litter. In fact, she is being quite green since colored print matter is considered not recyclable.

 But much like the “Green Police” Audi ad, the DPW inspector admitted to digging through her trash cans to fine these violations. The city and the courts have enforced fines totalling $2,000.  Perhaps she should put these soiled papers into recycling and let the city sort it out.





At home I am nicknamed a “Recycling Nazi” for trying to get all the cans and bottles into the recycling bins. But I recognize the relative futility of the exercise. Washington mandates that all offices in the city have recycling bins for paper.  I have worked late at many offices and seen these blue bins dumped into the rest of the “basura” (trash), even though they are clearly labeled-even in Spanish.   I have also been to the city dump where I have seen the recycling trucks deposit their collections with the rest of the refuse.

The DC government used the plastic bag ban as a tool to expand its power and financial base while clothing it in environmentalism.  The 5-cent a disposable plastic bag fee was supposed to stem the tide of trash in the Anacostia River.  But then Mayor Adrian Fenty quickly diverted the proceeds from these mandatory fees assessed by business on consumers to non-environmental concerns.  After the first year of operation, the DC government realized the program for people bringing their own bags had been so successful that the DC Council looked to impose other taxes to supplement this shortfall. This was not a job for Captain Planet.

Improvements in the city are stifled by the city government concocting suspect environmental excuses to slow progress.  Philanthropists are seeking to convert an abandoned school into housing for homeless veterans. The charity was able to raise enough funds but their efforts are waylaid by city officials citing sustainable growth citing that there would not be enough parking spaces for these homeless vets.

These episode about municipal obsession about recycling illustrates several points.  The DPW inspector seems like an obsessive go-getter who is vying for promotion.  Allowing governments to expand by raising taxes funds such nonsense. In the end, seeing how recycling is more honored in the breach than the observance makes the recycling law more like feel good nanny-state law.  

No wonder this place earns the nickname “The District of Calamity”


[This piece originally ran on DCBarroco]

Monday, February 3, 2020

Tulsi Gabbard on the DNC


As Democrat voters begin the 2020 Election Cycle, it seems that establishment Democrats are putting their thumbs on the scale to try to shape the outcome.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is outraged that the DNC and CNN are not allowing her on stage for the New Hampshire debate, despite garnering 8% support, while they are letting former Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) onstage as he only has 2% support.




The DNC seems worried that Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist- NH) may well sweep the first few primaries, which would make him the odds on favorite to win the Presidential nomination.  So the DNC changed the rules for qualifying for future debates, ignoring the grass roots element of qualifications.  

That rules change allows billionaire candidate ex NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to participate.  That becomes crucial as Bloomberg is banking on a strong Super Tuesday showing on Tuesday March 3rd and the fact that he can self finance his campaign.  

Mazie Hirono on Due Process and Impeachment


Friday, January 31, 2020

Lisa Murkowski on Impeachment


During the Impeachment Trial, House Managers have vociferously argued for the need of more witnesses to try to convict President Trump.  Democrats had hoped to gain the support of four maverick liberal Republican Senators to take control of the Impeachment process to continue to search for the silver bullet that would compel removal of the President.

With that dynamic in mind, it is curious how Democrats have conducted themselves during the Impeachment Trial.  On the opening day, when deliberations went past 2 a.m., House Managers asserted that their rushed Impeachment put the Senate on trial along with the President.  Perhaps they should have consulted Dale Carnagie on "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

As House Managers closed their arguments, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th) implied that President Trump told wavering Republicans that if they voted incorrectly then their heads would be put on pikes.  That charge was so outrageous that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who was one of the supposed persuadable Republicans, exclaimed: "That's not true."

During the Question Time, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is currently running for President, submits a query which drew Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts into the political fray, wondering if this contributes to the public's lack of confidence in the system.  



Aside from Chief Justice Roberts death stare, one wonders what the Democrats were thinking?

 Maybe Warren gets her name in the news for a "tough question" before the crucial Iowa Caucuses.  However, this veiled attack further politicizes the process.  And it was aimed at Chief Justice Roberts, who had twice helped Democrats out by not allowing Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) incisive question about the so called "Whistle Blower".

Further fallout from attacking Senator Lisa Murkowski's vote on witnesses.  The question was going to be a close vote.  But Murkowski was so offended by this tactic of sullying the Chief Justice that they lost her support, dooming the call for witnesses. 

While conservative commentators are wont to think that Democrats had weak Articles Impeachment which were rushed through the House, the way Democrats comported themselves during the trial, they seemed like they just wanted political wedge issues rather than trying to remove the Chief Executive. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"President Bolton" Gets a Nasty Gram Via Social Media



Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton has been the focus of question day at the Impeachment Trial. Democrats have claimed that Bolton must testify, but they never bothered to subpoena his testimony before the House voted to impeach the 45th President.

After the first day of the Trump Defense team presenting their case before the Senate, there was a convenient 11th hour leak from Bolton's political kiss and tell memoirs, which were being vetted by the NSC ethic office for classified clearance.  The leak of the salient snippets from Bolton coincidentally broke on the first day of pre-sales for Bolton's book, which is due to be released in March.

John Bolton had earned a sobriquet of "President Bolton" due to his penchant for autonomy, did nothing to quell the controversy, particularly since it shed favorable light from an establishment who often railed against him.  Moreover, the calls for him to testify probably boosted book sales.

President Trump, who is renowned for punching back and using social media to express his animus, seems to have gotten fed up with his former advisor and sent him a nasty gram via Twitter. 





On the Boons and Banes of Choreographed News

Some political junkies who sought answers during the Impeachment Trial question time got frustrated on social media because the first day of question time seemed so choreographed, particularly by Democrats.  Impeachment Manager Jerry Nadler (D-NY 10th) clearly was reading note cards when answering the supposedly spontaneous questions.  There were many instances in which Impeachment Managers had graphic readily available to buttress their arguments.

This situation is a reminder to savvy civic observers that many political events are choreographed.  

Astute impeachment observers have noted how the lessons of the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation appear to be echoed by those seeking to remove President Donald Trump from office.  For a controversial hearing, anonymous allegations are made during the process, there is a call for additional witnesses without much vetting and organized protests on Capitol Hill.  Coverage by the mainstream media is skewed that one party is hiding something and won't allow the truth to come out.  

One presumes this is intended to create a groundswell to quash the target.  People who don't prioritize following the news can be led down a primrose path to progressive conclusions.

This might lead one to believe that choreographed news is always objectionable.  Populist supporters of President Trump might deride it as "Fake News". However, there are instances when it can be quite satisfying and iconic.




On January 31, 2020, The United Kingdom will finally be leaving the European Union, (a.k.a Brexit) upholding the wishes of British voters as expressed in a referendum in 2016.  Nigel Farange is a Member of the European Parliament who was the vanguard of Brexit.  Mr. Farange gave his final remarks speech before the European Parliament, in which he gave a barn burner speech reveling in Brexit and shaking off membership in the European Union.




As part of his schtick, Farange led the British contingent to wave the Union Jack flag and walk out of the chamber in Brussels.   This not so fond farewell was certainly pre-planned and coordinated.  Farange's views were not novel, but his choreographed send off was iconic. 

  

Friday, January 10, 2020

Pelosi's Procedural Ploys on Impeachment



The Democrat led House of Representatives broke light speed records in order to vote to impeach President Donald Trump before Christmas.  Yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12th) has refused to name impeachment managers and send the Impeachment Resolution to the Senate. Inquiring minds seek to know why.

As the final impeachment vote was taken on December 18th, 2019, perhaps Pelosi hoped that it would dominate holiday conversations while the House was adjourned. This tactic did not achieve the tsunami of support for removing President Trump.  In fact, polling show that Mr. Trump increased his favorability ratings.  After the vote was taken, it was difficult for the mainstream media to keep up the clamor about impeachment, especially as it is procedurally stalled. 

Officially, Pelosi has proffered the rationale that she was withholding the Articles of Impeachment from a Senate to ensure a fair trial.  This is laughable considering how the Democrat majority ignored its own precedents on impeachment, ditched due process and achieved passage on a partisan nearly party line vote, with Democrat Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbord (D-HI 2nd) voting present and three House Democrats voting “nay”, including Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ 2nd) who switched parties after the vote.



Pelosi reportedly got the idea to stall sending the Impeachment Resolution to the Senate based upon a suggestion from Nixon White House counsel and MSNBC contributor John Dean. This may be a ruse to allow the leftist firebrands of the party to claim victory for getting Mr. Trump impeached without going through the formality of a trial which is destined to fail as it can not achieve 67 votes.  Or it may have been a delay tactic to try to tack on more articles of impeachment to accompany the rather weak tea “Obstruction of Congress” and “Abuse of Power” allegations.  However, the taking down of Iranian terror leader Solemani did not lead to an undeclared war, so that charge was for naught.


Surely the Speaker’s staff knows that having an outsider dictate how the Senate will take up an impeachment trial is unconstitutional. Article I Section 3 Clause 6 of the Constitution stipulates that:  “The Senate has to sole Power to try all Impeachments”.  

Of course, constitutional considerations might not prevent some grandstanding in a power play over the Christmas holidays.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had pencilled in a light legislative schedule for January 2020 in anticipation of an impeachment trial.  With Speaker Pelosi’s incalcitrance on sending the Senate the Articles of Impeachment, Leader McConnell proposed that the Senate might well take up the Impeachment even if the House fails to name Impeachment Managers, which would effectively dismiss the charges.  This move prompted Ms. Pelosi to indicate that she may take steps to move the resolution forward next week.

The reasons for holding the Articles of Impeachment from the Senate might been more political.  Former South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy suggested on Fox News that holding the Impeachment into the primary season might have caused tough votes for vulnerable Republican freshman Senators Martha Mc Sally (R-AZ) Corey Gardiner (R-CO) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).  That may be true but the politics may well have been more intermural. 

Democrats are engaged in an uncertain Presidential primary process with no clear leader before the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary.  Several leading candidates (and a few also rans still in the race) are still in the Senate.  Impeachment trial rules require all Senate participants to attend all of the trial in order to vote, which effectively would take Senators Sanders (Socialist/Democrat-VT), Warren (D-MA), Klobachar (D-MN) and Booker (D-NJ) off of the campaign trial or reveal them as slackers of the current elective office.  Had the Articles of Impeachment been immediately been sent to the Senate in December, it is likely that it would have impeded the January 14th debate, which is the last debate before the Iowa Caucuses. 

Democrat Impeachment backers have argued for an expanded trial, which would include public witnesses which go beyond the nearly non-existent fact witnesses during the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th) Show and House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY 10th) proceedings.  But if the witness list is opened up to President Trump’s defense, former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-DE) and his controversial son Hunter Biden may be compelled to testify, which could be messy and take a favorite of establishment Washington Democrats off the hustings and into the fire of tough invigilation.

Presuming that Pelosi is being procedurally political and tipping the scale to favor the only establishment candidate who consistently has a chance to beat President Trump,  it would be prudent for the Speaker to prompt a floor vote on Thursday January 16th and then adjourn for the Martin Luther King Holiday (oh, that’s right, District Work Sessions) and it would not be picked up until January 28th.  Even if House Judiciary Chair Nadler worked expeditiously in sending things to the Senate, it might not be received until the eve of the Iowa Caucus.  

That sort of scheduling would require Senators to be present in Washington and not canvass in the final days of the New Hampshire primary, which would give Joe Biden and South Bend “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg a leg up on the competition during opening arguments which may last about a week.    The next week is the South Carolina primary where (if polling is accurate), Biden has a commanding lead and Mayor Pete is quite weak.  That might give Biden the mojo to become the front runner. 



While it is highly unlikely that the Senate will muster the 2/3rds Super-majority to remove President Trump, the case may not be dismissed in a summary judgment like vote after opening argument.  In the even that Biden is requested to testify by the Senate, he may be able to stall until after Super Tuesday March 3rd, when he would either be the odds on favorite or an oddball also ran.

So Pelosi’s slow roll of advancing the Articles of Impeachment presumably are political but may well be partisan in inter-Democrat politics along with trying to take the Senate back into Democrat hands in the 117th Congress.