Trump foreign policy – in cartoon form.

There was a lot of speculation as to what our new president’s foreign policy would be. It appears he has learned that “the world is a mess.” I call that an accurate assessment. The Democrat Party, with its usual aplomb, is bouncing off the walls.

President Obama’s first UN Secretary was none other than the infamous Susan Rice. Her job was to implement the “concepts” of the Obama apology tour, the pivot to Islam, the reset with Russia, the reasons not to enforce red lines, etc. President Trump’s first UN secretary is Nikki Haley – a slightly different approach.

Who currently leads the list of dangerous idiots? This guy just threatened to nuke the west coast! The Obama administration’s policy toward this rogue nation was incomprehensible (footnote 1). I have finally learned what “unites” the “United Nations.” A desire to do absolutely nothing while talking a lot and spending OUR money. Apparently President Trump is listening to his Secretary of Defense (footnote 2).

Hopefully the cartoon below forecasts the future of the “the crazy fat kid.”

Roy Filly

Footnote 1: [From: U.S. Policy toward North Korea, by Scott A. Snyder]

At the start of the Obama administration’s first term in 2009, there were many expectations that the United States might pursue direct talks with North Korea in order to break a two decade-long standoff over its nuclear program. President Obama promised in his inaugural address that he would offer an outstretched hand to those who will unclench their fists, making a public offer to dictatorial states of willingness to abandon adversarial relations. However, North Korea responded to this offer with a multi-stage rocket launch and a nuclear test in April and May of 2009. These actions meant that President Obama’s first North Korea-related policy decisions would be defined by the need to uphold the international non-proliferation regime against North Korea’s challenge and would involve winning international support for sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council. The resulting UNSC Resolution 1874 condemned North Korea’s nuclear and multi-stage rocket tests…  Secretary of State Clinton described subsequent Obama strategy as “strategic patience in close consultations with our six party allies.”

What the hell is “strategic patience?” My interpretation is that the Obama “plan” was to do absolutely nothing with “our six party allies” and the “United Nations.”

Footnote 2:

Adm. Harry Harris, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, has directed the Carl Vinson Strike Group to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean – i.e., North Korea’s back yard!

Carl Vinson Strike Group, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain. The cruisers and destroyers carry the Aegis combat system — the world’s most sophisticated air defense system. The carrier group also has nuclear-powered attack submarines. The United States hasn’t lost a carrier since the USS Hornet was sunk by Japanese dive bombers in 1942.

 

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Illegal immigration.

There is something to be said for removing the welcome mat! Illegal immigration across the southwest border is down more than 60 percent under President Trump even before the first new agent is hired or the first mile of his promised border wall is constructed.

For probably the one hundredth time I will state that I am not opposed to immigration. I am opposed to ILLEGAL immigration. However, there is far more to “illegal immigration” than meets the eye at first glance.

The “open borders” activists like Hillary Clinton (footnote 1) want us to believe that illegal immigrants are desperately poor Central and South Americans who are fleeing miserable conditions. They see these people as succeeding in the USA despite the fact that Americans opposed to illegal immigration are both simultaneously exploiting and harassing them and plan to deport them by the millions. (Of course, that there are “millions” of them doesn’t seem to enter their calculus.)

[Sources: The Labyrinth of Illegal Immigration, by Victor Davis Hanson; Illegal immigration plummets after Trump inauguration, by Stephen Dinan]

Let’s check a few “motivations” for “welcoming” illegal immigrants:

  • Employers have long sought to undercut the wages of the American underclass by preference for still cheaper imported labor.
  • The upper-middle classes see themselves as “aristocratic” because they can hire inexpensive “help” to relieve them of domestic chores.
  • The Mexican government is able to keep taxes low on its “elite” by exporting, rather than helping, its own poor.
  • The Mexican government likes the $25 billion in remittances sent from Mexican citizens working in America – money they do not need to supply.
  • Mexico’s central bank reported that these “remittances” overtook oil revenues as a source of foreign income.
  • Where does much of the $25 billion come from? It is often subsidized by you through generous U.S. social services.
  • The Mexican president and ambassador do not want to pay for The Wall, but have you heard them explain why their own programs cause their citizens flee exploitation?
  • Have you heard them defend their own draconian approach to immigration enforcement along Mexico’s southern border?
  • Mexico has long had an ethnocentric approach to all immigration (not wanting to impair “the equilibrium of national demographics”) that is institutionalized in Mexico’s constitution.
  • The Democrat Party investment in illegal immigration is patently obvious. After 8 years of elections that have seen the Democrat Party decimated they are worried that its current agendas cannot win in the Electoral College without new constituents who appreciate liberal support for open borders and generous social services.
  • Legal immigration would end up balancing the ethnicity of Americans – and the Democrat Party would NOT LIKE THAT!
  • Groups like La Raza understand that influxes of undocumented immigrants fuel their membership.
  • An increasingly large contingent of “illegals” are neither “poor” nor from “impoverished” countries, but instead overstay their legally obtained visas (footnote 2).
  • Let me ask you what you would expect to happen if:
    • You were caught stealing someone else’s identity
    • The IRS caught you falsifying a government document – even though you were “poor” and lived in “miserable” conditions
    • You were caught driving without a valid license
    • You were receiving welfare benefits illegally
    • Do you think your public defender could successfully argue that these were not “real” crimes – and, by the by, guess who is paying for the public defender.

The reason I am a laissez faire capitalist is that, as such, I can depend on the the most basic human trait; one that is shared by all. What is that, ask you? Self interest, answer I. If you don’t believe me, just look at the list of “altruistic motivations” of the open border crowd.

Roy Filly

Footnote 1:

In a May 2013 paid speech to the Brazilian bank Banco Itau (revealed by WikiLeaks), Hillary Clinton  said, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders…

Footnote 2: (There are counter arguments to the magnitude of the problem stated below, but no one argues that “it’s not a problem.”)

The Center for Migration Studies issued a research document co-authored by Robert Warren, prior head of statistics for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now ICE). They found that the share of overstays among new illegal aliens has been rising steadily since the 1980s and surpassed border infiltrators in 2008. The paper’s most recent estimate is for 2012, when nearly 60 percent of new illegal immigrants are believed to have entered legally on some sort of visa and then just stayed on after their time expired.

 

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Trump’s challenge.

It isn’t just that companies moved production abroad that cost the US jobs. New machines have clearly done their part. These machines are impressive. Lots of lost jobs visible in the video below.

And thanks to MB for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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Graph day.

Numbers like these below are relatively meaningless. There were over a million Iraqis under arms, out of a population of 16 million at the time of the “Gulf War.” The Gulf War lasted from January 12, 1991 through March 6, 1991 – just 53 days. Coalition forces began a five-week bombardment of Iraqi command and control targets from air and sea. A ground invasion did not begin until February. Coalition forces swiftly drove Iraq from Kuwait, advancing into Iraq, and reaching a cease-fire within 100 hours. While coalition casualties were in the hundreds, Iraqi losses numbered in the tens of thousands. The million man army was smashed.

Here is some detailed information on the balance of military “strength” on the Korean peninsula. These numbers again are somewhat misleading (e.g., no Abrams battle tank has ever been taken completely out of commission in a battle). And the F-22 Raptor is one scary jet fighter (footnote – you’ll like reading this account).

FYI. Unless you plan to no longer be a “private citizen,” watch your back!

I do not know what to say about the graph below, except thanks to PK for sending it to me. The range is 3 – 98%. That’s amazing!

Is it any wonder why Medicaid “recipients” have trouble getting an appointment with a doctor? And this is a relative comparison to Medicare. Medicare reimbursement is no great shakes. Think of it this way. You own a Mercedes dealership. A customer comes in and wants to purchase a Mercedes with a sticker price of $80.000, but he informs you that he has MEDICAID so he will only pay $49,000 – and you must agree and GIVE HIM THE CAR!

So what’s up with this? Maybe they counted Rosy O’Donnell multiple times! Alternatively, they didn’t want all of the other liberals fleeing Trump in their country.

Does this make sense to anyone? They lost $800 million and became the “largest” car company in terms of market cap. I mean they are nice cars, but this is nuts!

Roy Filly

Footnote:

A pair of Iranian Sukhoi Su-25 attack planes had attempted unsuccessfully to shoot down a patrolling Predator drone. After that, the Pentagon decided subsequent drone patrols would be escorted by F-22s. On this day, Lt. Col. Kevin “Showtime” Sutterfield was the escort, heading toward the drone in case of trouble. “Showtime” was in a Raptor.

At the annual conference of the Air Force Association later that year, USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh would tell the crowd what happened next: As the Predator flew its pre-planned route, two Iranian F-4 Phantoms approached and acquired the drone on their radars. One of the Phantoms got to within 16 miles of the MQ-1. On another heading, Col. Sutterfield closed in on the F-4.

Welsh said. “He flew under their [Phantoms] to check out their weapons load without them knowing that he was there. And then he pulled up on their left wing and then called them and said, ‘You really ought to go home.'”

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Don’t know who wrote it, but had to post it!

Unfortunately, I do not know who wrote this to give the individual appropriate attribution. But I had to post this. And thanks to DW for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

The Americans With No Abilities Act (ANAA)

The Democratic Senate is considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many more Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills and ambition.

“Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,” said California Sen. Barbara Boxer. “We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability (POI) to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing.”

In a Capitol Hill press conference Nancy Pelosi pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons with No Ability (63 percent).

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million mid-level positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability (POI) into middle-management positions, and give a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the Americans With No Abilities Act contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the non-able, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, “Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?”

“As a non-able person, I can’t be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,” said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Mich., due to her inability to remember “righty tighty, lefty loosey”. “This new law should be real good for people like me. I’ll finally have job security.” With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Sen. Dick Durbin: “As a senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so.”

Needless to say, this message was approved by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer & Nancy Pelosi.

 

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Obamacare replacement: What the heck is a “high risk pool?”

I am pleased that the House is still working to repeal and replace Obamacare. Here was one of the sticking points. As with any form of insurance those at higher risk to file a claim need to pay more. We complain when an accident raises our automobile insurance, but we still pay the increase.

In the world of medical care certain groups are often referenced using shorthand terminology. One that is a bone of contention among Republican congressmen is the so-called “high-risk pool.” Do you really know what they are talking about? I’m a physician and I’m not sure that I do. Perhaps this will help.

[Source: Understanding High-Risk Pools as Part of Obamacare Replacement, by Edmund Haislmaier]

[From the Haislmaier article] Traditionally, the term “high-risk pool” refers to a separate arrangement under which insurance companies operating in a given market collectively subsidize (that is, pool) the extra costs for providing coverage to individuals who, because they are poor risks, have been refused coverage under standard policies. In this construct, those individuals are given coverage that is separate and different from that obtained by other people in the general market.

However, the term “high-risk pool” has also been sometimes used as shorthand for two other related, but different, concepts. One concept can be more accurately described as a “risk transfer pool.” Under this design, for a given market, each insurer’s claims experience is compared to the collective (that is, pooled) experience of the whole market. Then, based upon an agreed formula, a portion of premium revenues are transferred from the insurers whose experience was significantly better than the norm to the insurers whose experience was significantly worse than the norm. The idea is to adjust for potential selection effects so that an insurer is compensated if it attracts a larger than normal share of costly enrollees.

Thus, as with a traditional high-risk pool, under a risk transfer pool the cost of expensive enrollees is spread across all insurers in the market. However, unlike in a traditional high-risk pool arrangement, costly individuals aren’t given separate coverage. In sum, the difference is that the latter concept involves moving money, but without also moving people into different coverage.

Finally, the third concept basically consists of relabeling publicly funded “reinsurance” and calling it “high-risk pool funding.” Unlike private reinsurance, for which claims must be funded entirely of the premiums charged to purchasers (just like other forms of insurance), a public reinsurance program provides a government subsidy to offset insurer losses on expensive individuals.

That difference also distinguishes a public reinsurance program from both the traditional high-risk pool design and the risk transfer pool design. These latter two designs consist of pooling and reallocating premium dollars within the market, whereas a public reinsurance program adds additional money from taxpayers.

These may appear to be arcane differences, but one can readily see that the Freedom Caucus might object to one and not another. Yet when we read about the dissention in the ranks the true source of the disagreement may not be apparent. What each of these differing methods of dealing with “high risk pools” does is reduce insurer uncertainty over the mix of risks that their plans are likely to attract. Insurance actuaries are then able to price plans with less need to build a “cushion” into their premiums to cover those uncertainties—and can, thus, result in premium reductions for the remainder of the population. 

These differences need to be considered in the broad context of the entire legislative action proposed. Clearly, there are differing methods of addressing this thorny issue. Do you believe that individuals with expensive medical conditions should be able to purchase insurance without damaging the marketplace for everyone else? As you are currently reading the Rugged Individualist, I suspect you do.

Hopefully this helped a bit.

Roy Filly

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Susan Rice and the missing truth.

Ms. Rice was the Obama and Clinton administration “right hand woman.” She appears to have a different notion of truth-telling than most of the rest of us. But lying isn’t her only failing. Incredibly bad judgement is right up there – and then there’s the “grammar issue.”

[Sources: In January, Susan Rice Assured NPR the Obama Admin Removed Chemical Weapons From Syria, by Mark Hemingway; The half-baked lies of Susan Rice, by David Keene]

She first publicly demonstrated her bad judgment as far back as 1996 when as the Clinton National Security Council’s senior director for African affairs, she successfully urged the Clinton White House to refuse a Sudanese offer to turn al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden over to the United States. Now that must be right up there in the top 10 of BAD ADVICE GIVEN TO A PRESIDENT.

As virtually every one of my readers already knows, she was selected by the White House communications team after the terrorist attack in Benghazi to falsely blame a hapless filmmaker for the debacle. (You will recall that our former president had been telling Americans that he “had the terrorists on the run.”) She literally lied through her teeth on five Sunday news programs that this attack was somehow a “spontaneous reaction” (it appears she believed that the terrorists just happened to be carrying rocket launchers and mortars in their pockets) to a “hateful and offensive video” on YouTube. When she was caught in her lie she had the audacity to declare on “Meet the Press” that “What I said to you that morning… was to share the best information that we had at the time.” So her incompetence not her prevarication was the problem? Well… like the old Chinese restaurant menu: choose one from Column A and one from Column B.

As we continue our stroll down memory lane, who could forget Rice’s claim that Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl was a hero. She spun the yarn that he was captured by the enemy on the “battlefield” rather than a deserter. Her boss had just released five Taliban commanders in exchange for Bergdahl. In his own hapless attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to “close Guantanamo,” he really needed to get rid of these homicidal maniacs without Congressional over sight. Let’s just say they were “not nice guys.” This particular lie caused Rice to withdraw her nomination as Hillary’s replacement for Secretary of State (unfortunately, John Kerry stepped in and was confirmed – Reid’s “nuclear option”).

In another “Ouch-something-just-bit-me-on-the-ass!” lie we have last week’s horrific sarin gas attack in Syria. As Reuters put its tongue in its cheek and reported, “U.S. intelligence agencies suspect Assad did not turn over all chemical weapons stockpile.”

Here is what our paragon of truth had to say before the attack. Just 2 months ago Rice was interviewed on National Public Radio and said, “We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished. (Of course, she was covering for one of the monumental “wimp outs” of all time by a US President – the Great Red Line Fiasco.) Our aim in contemplating the use of force following the use of chemical weapons in August of 2013 was not to intervene in the civil war, not to become involved in the combat between Assad and the opposition, but to deal with the threat of chemical weapons by virtue of the diplomacy that we did with Russia and with the Security Council. We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.

Hmm! “Verifiably” – good word, but UNTRUE!

One would have hoped that her mischief was over now that she is jobless. Ah, but no. It turns out she has a few more lies left in her. It now appears she is the “operative” behind the “unmasking” of US citizens’ names from the Trump campaign. She first denied it.

On the PBS NewsHour on March 22, anchor Judy Woodruff introduced the interview by telling viewers she asked Rice about whether Trump and his transition officials “may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration” – that’s PBS-speak for “someone was spying on the Trump campaign.” Rice protested “I know nothing about this,” adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”

We then learned that White House lawyers discovered that she requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

When she was caught in the lie she… well, let’s just say that she “back-tracked a bit.” She admitted that “There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to, name not provided, just a U.S. person, and sometimes in that context in order to understand the importance of that report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out or request the information as to who that U.S. official was… It was not uncommon, it was necessary at times to make those requests. I don’t have a particular recollection of doing that more frequently after the election.” Wow! If you are looking for a great example of “circumlocution” you have found it!

Then she also stated that she “was not aware of any orders given to disseminate that information.” However, once unmasked, the names were widely disseminated through the intelligence community – and to some in the Obama White House.

Then she said, “I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would.” Someone should teach her about “double negatives” – personally I believe she is quite familiar with “double negatives” and their use in prevarication. But if I wanted information to leak out without doing it myself – it’s highly illegal – I would “widely disseminate it through the intelligence community.” That virtually guarantees a “leak.”

Plan on having the same issue of veracity pop up when the first Iranian nuclear weapon test occurs!

Roy Filly

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Politics in cartoon form.

The Democrat Party keeps making one blunder after another. I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time shedding a tear.

The serial prevaricator strikes again!Love it!

As of 4/7/2017 there are 126 vacancies in the Federal Judiciary. Total Nominees Pending:2. Better get crackin’ Mr. President.

Ahh! The old “up yours” President Assad!

Roy Fily

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Retiring “broke!”

Generally speaking I do not favor it when the federal government uses tax incentives to try to “induce” changes in the behavior of American citizens. However, I do consider 401k, 403b, and IRA accounts to be beneficial. And, I must admit, they “induced” me to squirrel away some retirement funds.

The reason that I consider this a “good idea” – so few from Washington – is that Social Security is going “broke.” During the third and final presidential debate, Chris Wallace observed that, “Social Security is going to run out of money in the 2030s, and at that time, recipients are going to take huge cuts in their benefits.” (After 2019, Treasury will need to start spending down the Social Security Trust Fund – those imaginary dollars already spent for other federal outlays. Its reserves are estimated to be depleted by 2035. At that point, there will only be enough income coming into the program through payroll taxes to pay 79% of the benefits owed. That doesn’t sound too good.)

How did Trump and Clinton respond?

Trump claimed that in order to avoid disaster, he would cut taxes and repeal Obamacare. By contrast, Clinton reasserted that under her plan, she would put more money in the Social Security Trust Fund by increasing taxes on the wealthy. Wow! Quelle surprise from both!

One would have thought that the advent of these tax-advantaged accounts and the rather tenuous future of Social Security would cause Americans to save for retirement. Oops!

[Source: Angst in America, Part 3: Retiring Broke, by John Mauldin]

The following table puts the stark reality of Boomer retirement in perspective. There is a massive gap between what people expect to have during retirement and what they will actually have and be able to spend.

The table above, as dismal as it already appears, assumes that Baby Boomers actually have saved either $100K or $250K in a retirement account (also further assumes these funds will grow at 6.6% per annum). Many have not. Indeed, only 26% have put that amount into their retirement accounts. More Americans HAVE NOTHING IN THEIR ACCOUNTS.

Yet the “lack of retirement savings” is a couple big steps from the top of their list of worries. (And can someone tell me why “health care expenses” leads the list after our “Great Savior” and “Progressive Par Excellence,” Barack Hussein Obama, “solved” all of our health cost problems with Obamacare?

The future of “retirement joy” for American seniors does not appears rosy. Hopefully, Mr Trump can help – and, hopefully, Mr. Trump will not be replaced by a Democrat who campaigns on the “right of every American to have a happy and fulfilling retirement” on someones else’s dime!

Roy Filly

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The lame-stream media praised the “nuclear option” when Reid did it.

[Quoted from: Media praised the ‘nuclear option’ when Democrats did it, by Bradford Richardson]

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow assured her viewers at the time that “judges can be blocked on an up-or-down vote, a majority vote, like always. But they cannot be blocked anymore by just a minority of votes… Republicans cannot force that anymore.”

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes similarly hailed the Democrat party move as “an affirmative win for democracy.”

Al Sharpton said “Democrats took the bold step of changing Senate rules, scaling back the filibuster that Republicans have unfairly used…”

CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill said Republicans should have taken the Senate back if the party wanted to preserve the filibuster. “That’s what happens when Republicans lose elections, but they’re not accepting the consequences.”

And again, the liberal media speaks from both sides of their mouths.

Roy Filly

 

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