Sunday, April 30, 2017

Watch Florida 27 In 2018

This is Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's (R) district and she just announced her retirement which means the seat is going to be open in 2018. 

However, I suspect the primary reason for her retirement was the court ordered redrawing of her district lines. The district used to extend down to the southeastern coast of Miami-Dade county from Hialeah, and Little Havana to Homestead. It also included the exclusive Key Biscayne neighborhood off the port of Miami. With the new lines, the district loses Homestead and it's mostly Republican constituency and pick up some surrounding Democrat neighborhoods in Miami. 

In 2016 they re-elected Ros-Lehtinen by 9 points but the district went for Hillary Clinton by 10 points. 

Cook now Rates the District as D+5 and it should be an easy pickup for the Democrats in 2018. 

If not, then the Democrats will been in real trouble. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Abuse of the FISA Law Is The Real Story

To hear the media narrative, you would think the biggest story of the century is the “sinister” connections between Donald Trump, his associates, and certain Russian officials and private Russian citizens.

However, for all the smoke generated by these stories, according to testimony by FBI director James Comey, there is no evidence of collusion or any illegal or improper actions by Trump or any of his associates. (I would have to say yet as the FBI investigation is on-going, but after eight months of investigation, I would doubt they will find any.)  

Despite this, the media persist in running the “Russian collusion” narrative. However, in their hatred of all things Trump, they are ignoring the more significant part of this story.

A more important and, quite frankly, scary aspect of this story.

The reason we know about this in the first place is that the National Security Agency (NSA) has intercepted communications between these foreign agents and associates of Trump’s business organization and presidential campaign.
FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) gives the NSA broad authority to intercept communications of foreign persons without a warrant. Even if they are within the United States or they are communicating with US citizens.

If they are communicating with US citizens then, by law, the NSA must shield the identity of the US citizens by substituting pseudonyms for their actual names and redacting any text that would reveal their identity.

However, there is a highly-classified index that equates the pseudonym with the actual citizen’s identity.  This allow the citizen name to be “unmasked”. These names can only be unmasked at the order of high-level officials and only for purposes of national security or to pursue a criminal probe. (It is unclear whether a FISA warrant is required to unmasked a name for a criminal investigation, but it should.)

With that in mind, consider these points.

1.       We know conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US and former Nation Security Advisor Michael Flynn was leaked to the New York Times. Not only was classified intercepts leaked but Flynn’s identity was unmasked so the leaker had to be a high-level Obama administration official or a high-level official revealed the information to the eventual leaker. Either way disclosing classified information and the Identity of US citizens in warrantless intercepts is a felony.     

2.       An unusually large number of foreign persons with contacts and previous relationships with Trump and his associates were targeted for surveillance by the Obama administration. There doesn’t seem to be any indication of a national security or criminal interest in these conversations.  

3.       According to sources, Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice ordered the unmasking of all Trump related intercepts. Rice has admitted to the unmasking but denied she leaked the information to anyone. Rice claims the unmasking if US citizen’s identities is not unusual and is legal under the FISA law.  Rice has lied to the American people in the pass so her credibility is somewhat questionable.

Given the lack of any evidence of wrong-doing from the incoming Trump administration it is hard to conclude anything other than Trump, his campaign staff, and business associates were targeted for pollical purposes.

It is obvious that the Obama administration was casual about protecting the privacy of US citizens that were inadvertently swept up in a FISA surveillance.  

And that is the scary part of the story. The Obama administration deliberately used the FISA law in a back-door effort to spy on his political opponents. This is the stuff of banana republics and deserves far more scrutiny than it is receiving today. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Refusing Service is Good for Me But Not for Thee

Guy wearing Trump hat sues bar for refusing to serve him

Bartenders at a West Village hot spot served up discrimination — with a liberal twist — refusing to serve a customer because he was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, according to a lawsuit.

Greg Piatek, 30, an accountant from Philadelphia, claims he was snubbed and eventually 86’d by workers at The Happiest Hour on West 10th Street over his conservative fashion statement, popularized by Donald Trump on the campaign trail, he told The Post.

“Anyone who supports Trump — or believes what you believe — is not welcome here! And you need to leave right now because we won’t serve you!” Piatek claims he was told as he was shown the door by a manager.

Can anyone guess how many liberals that were only too glad to punish Christian couples for following their beliefs will run to defend this bar's 1st Amendment rights.

The over/under is 92 percent.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Will Perceptions Help Trump to a Second Term?

Perceptions are that Trump's policies are working

Perceptions matter. People make decisions, even life-altering decisions, based on what they perceive as likely to happen. To the extent that public policy affects such decisions, the perception of likely policy change can affect behavior even before the change happens — even if it ends up never happening.

Something like that seems to be happening in America — and around the world — in the two months since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. People are making decisions based on perceptions of how he might change the country's direction.

Take the economy. The numbers in the jobs report for February, Trump's first full month in office, showing an increase of 235,000 jobs, are not wildly out of line with some monthly reports in recent years.
In contrast to the years of the Obama stimulus program, when the bulk of new jobs came in the public sector, it appears that the increase here is in the private sector. Moody's Analytics says there were 298,000 new private sector jobs in February, far more than the 189,000 it expected.
Construction jobs were up 58,000, private educational services jobs up 29,000, manufacturing jobs up 28,000. This suggests that lots of employers, small as well as large, are taking the plunge and creating new jobs.

Can I prove that they're doing so because of perceptions that regulations and taxes will be decreased by the Trump administration? No, and I'm not sure any economist's statistical model could either. But that sure looks like what's happening.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Manmade Global Warming? Maybe Not So Much

Arctic ice loss driven by natural swings, not just mankind: study

Natural swings in the Arctic climate have caused up to half the precipitous losses of sea ice around the North Pole in recent decades, with the rest driven by man-made global warming, scientists said on Monday. 
The study indicates that an ice-free Arctic Ocean, often feared to be just years away, in one of the starkest signs of man-made global warming, could be delayed if nature swings back to a cooler mode.
Natural variations in the Arctic climate "may be responsible for about 30–50 percent of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979," the U.S.-based team of scientists wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

See what happens when scientist can do honest science?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day Live Blog

The inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of The United States. 

6:00 Festivities started yesterday with Mr Trump laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Followed by a visit to the concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

The forgotten men and women of our country are forgotten no longer.

Anti-Trump protestors turn volent.

8:45 am Donald and Melania Trump attend pre-inauguration services at St. John's Episcopal Church.

12:01 pm Donald John Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.