Thursday, October 19, 2017

On the Meaning of Robin Hood to US

Ted Cruz schools Bernie Sanders about the meaning of Robin Hood

During a debate sponsored by CNN between Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) and Conservative Senator Ted Cruz, the junior Senator from Texas demolished the Democrat conceit that progressives take from the rich to give to the poor. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nikki Haley on Trump De-certifying the Iran Nuke Deal

Trump UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on the De-Certification of the Iran Nuke Deal

The Taste of DC -- A Recipe for Fun

~ by Gail Broeckel

The Taste of DC is a wonderful annual festival for foodies.  Whether you enjoy upscale restaurants, the convenience of a food truck or grabbing a sample from a vendor, Taste of DC is “one stop shopping” for all of these experiences.   It is wonderful living in a city that is so rich in history, culture and adventures.  I look forward to Taste of DC each year.  I learn about a new restaurant or dish.  I sample beverages, desserts or creations that chefs hand out after demonstrating a recipe.  I enjoy finding out about new vendors in the area. 

Taste of DC CEO, Steuart “Stu” Martens said, “Having all of these restaurants all in one place makes “Taste of DC” unique.  We have three music stages and the ABW Culinary Stage.   We’ve taken a parking lot and transformed it into a venue.”  There were 65 restaurants, dozens of vendors and several food trucks at RFK Stadium this year. 

The location was a departure from Pennsylvania Avenue and it worked.  There was a glitch with the software loading credits to wristbands.  Some of the guests had an inconvenient wait and shared their disappointment on social media.  I guess I am a “the glass is half full” type of person. And there were plenty of vendors to fill it!  The team worked hard to fix the issue and it is worth returning next year!

Here are reasons to attend Taste of DC:

The food, the food, the food!

Chicken grilling at Teak Wood's booth.
The grills were sizzling and restaurants from all over the city where serving incredible dishes.  Chef Zeb Markham said that he wants Maggiano’s to be known for “more than a pasta house.”  But, let’s face it. The pasta is popular.  The ravioli was incredible.  McCormick’s & Schmicks were serving seafood items. Teak Wood had chicken sizzling on the grill.  I enjoyed their Lo mein.  If you weren’t sure about a food item, you could purchase a smaller “bite” to taste.  I was sure about District Doughnut amazing rounds of sweetness. Colorful food trucks lined the stadium grounds.  It was hard to decide which to pick.  The Oyster Truck had one of the longest lines. Uncle Dave’s Kettle Korn was available by the tub, bag or taste.  Food is a special thing.  The aroma can trigger memories.  Taste of DC Ceo, Stu says that his last meal on earth would be his mom’s Tamali pie. 

There were lots of bites and food items for sale and a ton of samples. Zico Coconut Water ?poured four samples.  The chocolate was my favorite.  NakedJuice had several tastes of their fruit and vegetable flavored items.  Coca Cola had sips included diet, zero and low calorie cokes.  They didn’t mind repeat visits! Giant food handed out healthy snacks and nutritionists were available to share tips.

The variety was convenient.  It didn’t matter if you were vegetarian or vegan or had special restrictions.  There was something for all foodies.  The large variety of food choices included: lamb, seafood, grilled items,  fries, salads, sandwiches, sweets and so much more.   As if the food choices weren’t enough, the beverages were varied too.  There were wine samples, frozen daiquiris, craft beers, brewed sodas and teas.

You can watch chefs prepare dishes as they share their secrets.
Colada's Chef Mario Monte, Chef Matt Finarelli, Rebellion's Chef Travis Weiss

Chef Matt Finarelli must have sampled some of the energy drinks.  He cooked several dishes on the ABW Cooking Stage (including risotto and crabcakes), MC’d Southwest Airlines Snackoff competition AND had time to judge the ABW Chili cook off!  Some of Chef Finarelli’s tips for success included: squeezing the water out of the meat before making crab cakes, using fresh black pepper for any dish and squeeze your own lemons.  Southwest Airlines sponsored it’s annual “Snackdown” cooking competition.   Coloda Chef Mario Monte served Peanut  Rum Cake and Rebellion’s Chef Travis Weiss served Potbelly Pork with peanut butter and jelly.  Chef Mario won the “savory vs: sweet “ competition.  The chili cookoff was sponsored by ABW Appliances.  Each chef cooked on equipment that could be purchased in one of ABW’s showrooms.  This year’s winner was Anna Maria Angelakis from Angeli Gourmet.   Her spicy Greek chili was delicious.

There are music samples too!

DC Band Cue The Deer
Musicians shared a variety of tunes on three separate  stages.  One moment you could hear opera, jazz, rock, a choir or salsa. LBF (Latin, Blues and Funk) was a highlight for me.  It was also nice seeing the return of Batala DC.  This colorful women’s group play drums with joy.  Taste After Dark continued the musical feast with additional acts.  It was nice having so many local bands showcasing their talents.

My recipe for a successful Taste of DC:
  • Charge your phone. 
  • Wear sun block.
  • Bring baby wipes or hand gel. 
  • Bring a cinch sack or rolled up grocery bag for samples and swag.
Read the web site before you come to familiarize yourself with the sponsors or cooking demo you might want to see. 

Wear comfortable shoes - you will do a lot of walking.
Pace yourself.

Andrew Napolitano on DC Swamp Culture

Judge Andrew Napolitano Exposes DC Swamp Culture regarding Clinton Lynch Tarmac Meeting

In reaction to revelations that the FBI withheld 30 documents about the July 2016 tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch (when Hillary Clinton was still under investigation for the Hillary Email security violations), Judge Andrew Napolitano revealed an ugly truth about Beltway ethics. 

Napolitano's exhortation for government officials to follow the rule of law and not protect other "members of the club", explains why Values Voters Summit participants repeatedly rallied at allusions to "Drain the Swamp".

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

John McCain on Spurious Half Baked Nationalism

Senator John McCain refutes Steve Bannon's Half Baked Spurious Nationalism

Senator McCain's remarks as he received the National Constitution Center's Liberty award seems to be aimed at the populist politics championed by erstwhile Trump Senior Advisor Stephen Bannon. 

Mitch McConnell Verbally Battles Bannon Fodder

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Verbally Battles Bannon Fodder

At the Value Voters Summit, ex Trump Administration strategist Stephen Bannon declared war against the Republican Establishment who will not support President Trump's agenda.  Bannon specifically targeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). According to Bannon, he will not raise funds for any candidates who would vote for McConnell as the GOP Leader in the 116th Congress. 

After a working lunch between President Trump and the Senate Majority Leader, the two Republican leaders had a Rose Garden press conference which sought to mollify Bannon's calls for internecine revolt. President Trump claimed to understand why Bannon was agitated but suggested that not everyone in the Senate should be thrown out, as some members are good for the Trump agenda.

Majority Leader McConnell battled the Bannon fodder by suggesting that the way to win in Washington is to choose the right candidates, rather than achieve legislative accomplishments for a President in the same party.  McConnell called to mind the Tea Party boomlet in 2010, in which insurgents like Sharron Angle (R-NV) and Christine O'Donnell (R-DE), who upset GOP establishment candidates but who lost in the end.  Of course, these Tea Party insurgents did not get strong assistance from the national Republican Party and faced hostility from prospective colleagues like Senator John McCain.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Stephen Bannon Declares War Against Republican Establishment

Ex Trump White House Advisor Stephen Bannon Declares War on Republican Establishment

Although he opened his 2017 Value Voters Summit speech by echoing Ecclesiastes about the time of the season, former Trump Senior Adviser Stephen K. Bannon kept true to his street fighting instincts by declaring political war in a bombastic address to Evangelical voters in Washington DC.

Bannon voiced frustration that many Republicans in the Senate were either Janus faced or openly hostile to their President Donald Trump.  Bannon particularly took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Foreign Policy Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN).

To wit, Bannon declared war on the GOP Establishment.  As Bannon is no longer shackled as a White House West Wing advisor, Bannon is free to support the Trump nationalist populist agenda from the outside.  Bannon intimated that he is working hard to primary many RINOs who do not support the Trump agenda.

Bannon claimed that there is time for Establishment sinners to repent, but otherwise he insisted that Deplorables will come after those not supporting Trump during the 2018 primaries.  

FRC President Tony Perkins at VVS17
This message was well received by the Values Voters Summit crowd.  A constant theme during the three day conference of politically active Evangelicals was "Drain to Swamp."  To underline that sentiment, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins honored his Louisiana roots and jocularly dressed in muck wear to open the Value Voters Summit. 

Sebastian Gorka on Donald Trump

Sebastian Gorka says Donald Trump is Kryptonite to political correctness

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trump Gunning to Increase America's Nuclear Stockpile

NBC News is reporting about a July 20th meeting between President Trump and Pentagon officials in which he  expressed an interest in greatly increasing America's nuclear stockpile.  This exhortation was prompted by a slide which showed that America's nuclear arsenal was at its peak in the late 1960s, which Mr. Trump approved.  

Rather than interpret this approval as a desire for a ten fold increase from today's nuclear levels, military officials appreciated it as the Commander-in-Chief wanting to increase America's military strength. This is consistent with Mr. Trump's pre-inaugural predilection to increase and expand America's nuclear capabilities. 

But the episode revived questions about President Trump's familiarity with America's nuclear triad

At one of the early Republican primary debates in late 2015, Hugh Hewitt questioned Mr. Trump's knowledge about the nuclear triad. Candidate Trump fumbled through the answer but insisted that while it is key to be careful about nukes, he would be well informed once in office and would concentrate on American strength not climate change and global warming.

This impetus to increase America's nuclear arsenal comes in the midst of a prospective conflict with a nascent rogue nuclear North Korea as well as the prospect of finding Iran being declared out of compliance with the Obama Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Several concerns come from this National Security leak.  Allegedly, after this July meeting, Secretary of State Tillerson was heard to call President Trump a "moron".  Aside from the insult, this episode illustrates how far Rex Tillerson is out of step with the West Wing.  It is reasonable to believe that once the crisis with North Korea cools down, Tillerson will no longer be at Foggy Bottom. There has been serious talk of a Trump Cabinet shuffle which CIA Director Mike Pompeo would move over to the State Department

Some arms control experts vex that increasing America's nuclear stockpile would spur an arms race with the Russia Federation as well as the Peoples' Republic of China.   Moreover, increases would challenge America's international treaty obligations.

As news about President Trump gunning to increase America's nuclear stockpile leaked out, Trump National Security Adviser Lt. General H.R.  McMaster stated: 

"But in recent years, in particular, the problem with leaks has become a real challenge to national security and so I think what is very important is that everyone who is involved in these sort of policy discussions understand the sacred trust that is placed in them, and they realize that speaking to the media about government deliberations is treasonous when it involves national security." 

Those are bold words, meant to quell an alluvia of embarrassing leaks meant to damage the Trump Administration. But Lt. Gen. McMaster upped the ante by intimating treason.  The question is whether the Trump Justice Department will be all talk and no action.  Attorney General Sessions has allegedly demurred from seeking prosecutions of Democrats concerning  Hillary Clinton's repeated mishandling of classified emails. Treason is a much more serious charge and more challenging to prosecute. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Appraising the Impact of Tillerson at Foggy Bottom

Rex Tillerson on Being Trump's Secretary of State
Over the weekend, Trump Administration Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was accused of saying that the President, his boss, was a "f***ing moron". This exasperated expletive was alleged uttered after President Trump's rousing remarks before the 2017 Boy Scouts Jamboree. When these comments came to public light, Tillerson held a news conference which denied that Vice President Pence needed to convince him to stay at Foggy Bottom because he never considered resigning.  It is notable, however, that Tillerson did not back away from the original insulting allegation. This has led pundits to ponder how long Tillerson will remain as Secretary of State.

In the Politico Magazine, Rich Lowry wondered if anyone would notice whether anyone would notice if Tillerson left his position at Foggy Bottom.  In the Trump Administration, foreign policy leads seem more driven from the Oval Office (or perhaps Twitter postings) than from Cabinet officials. Secretary of State Tillerson has voiced policy positions, particularly on Climate Change and Qatar, which seem at odds with President Trump.  Moreover, @POTUS Trump has posted Twitter thoughts which undermine Tillerson attempts to achieve diplomatic solutions with North Korea.

During his nomination hearings, Tillerson was vilified for his role at Exxon and connections to Big Oil. But through these petrochemical connections, Tillerson was said to have cultivated good relations with the Russian Federation.  It does not seem that Tillerson has neither been effective in lessening tensions with Moscow nor distancing the Trump Administration from accusations of Russian collusion.

One of Tillerson's virtues was that he had more of a business background than a political resume, thus his organizational skills might be different at Foggy Bottom.  Perhaps this may be true on paper, but Secretary of State Tillerson seemed reluctant to clean house at the State Department. In April 2017, well after his confirmation, Tillerson indicated that he was in no rush to fill nearly 200 State Department posts.  In August 2017, Tillerson announced that there would be fewer promotions at State. These may have been an attempt at pruning an overstaffed State Department, but it also gave the opportunity for Obama Administration holdovers to exert undue influence in Foggy Bottom.

One of the major motivations for many loyal Trump voters is to "Clean the Swamp". In other words, to divest power from progressive elites who have burrowed their way into the bureaucracy.  This is especially true in the State Department. But this is impossible to achieve if the chief acts like a short termer.  In late July 2017, Tillerson confided with friends that he did not expect to last a year on the job.  Notwithstanding his recent denial of resigning over the moron kerfuffle, Tillerson is not taking the broad measures to clean house. The Iran Deal is an example in which the State Department has been enthusiastic in promoting and preserving, yet it is in conflict with Mr. Trump's campaign promises as well as inklings from the West Wing.  A cabinet official who is deemed a short termer will have little sway with the bureaucracy in aligning with the President's foreign policy predilections.

Secretaries of State can take different tacks to their job.  Henry Kissinger, who was Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford, took a leading role in formulating the realpolitik and detente foreign policies.  George Schultz, President Reagan's long serving Secretary of State, did not seek the limelight and was able to earn the loyalty of State Department officers by staffing for professionalism rather than political concerns.  Hillary Clinton, President Obama's First Secretary of State, did her bosses bidding by racking up frequent flier miles in visiting diplomatic outposts rather than take the lead on foreign policy.

Aside from trying to shrink the size of the State Department by attrition and to stop relying on special envoys, it is unclear how Secretary of State Tillerson is making a difference at his job.  Moreover, the friction between Tillerson and Trump on personal and policy fronts, makes his position tenuous.

At a time in which Americans have been distracted by ephemeral issues like the NFL Taking the Knee during the National Anthem and dealing with disasters, such as hurricanes and the Las Vegas shooting, there are serious foreign policy concerns brewing.  North Korea continues to be belligerent.  The world will no longer buy the peace through bribes for worthless promises of non-aggression or denuclearization.  While the United Nations has applied additional sanctions, this does not seem to be achieving the objective of de-escalation of tension or DPRK regime change.

Rich Lowry on Trump Secretary of State Charles Sprugeon

Considering a prospective conflict with North Korea, it would be unwise to have Secretary Tillerson leave his Secretary of State post at this time.  However, presuming this situation with the Kim Jung Un regime comes to a head in the near future, it would be prudent to have a Secretary of State who is more in tune with the Commander-in-Chief's expectations for Foggy Bottom and who more accurately reflects (at least in public) the President's foreign policy positions. 

Immanuel Kant on Wisdom

Immanuel Kant on Wisdom

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Las Vegas Massacre Prompts Faith

The Las Vegas Massacre inspires faith in God by shooting victim

The Las Vegas Massacre  at the Country Music festival near the Mandolay Bay hotel exposed evil in humanity as well as goodness of people.  In the heat of the shooting and the aftermath, in which 58 people were killed and over 500 people injured, strangers helped one another to safety.  There were many stories in which off duty law enforcement officers and former military selflessly sprang into action to help others and possibly lay down their lives for the safety of others.

When CNN was interviewing victims of the shooting, one of the attendees professed that the horrible experience jolted him from agnosticism to faith in God. 

The humanity of how many responded to the terrible travesty and the faith which the adversity inspired is another instance  of how God writes straight with crooked lines

Stephen Hawking on Adversity

Stephen Hawking on Adversity

Monday, October 2, 2017

R.I.P. Tom Petty

Tom Petty on Life

Rock legend Tom Petty died today after being found unconscious after suffering a massive heart attack at his home in Malibu, California.  The 66 year old rock iconoclast was taken to the hospital and put on life support.  However, since Petty showed no brain activity, it was decided to pull the plug.

Petty had been around the entertainment world for four decades.  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty was also a successful solo artist as well as a member of the 1980s supergroup "The Traveling Wilburys".  Petty also hosted a music channel on Sirius XM.

President Trump on the Las Vegas Shooting

President Trump on the Las Vegas Shooting

NFL Players Pissed Off at Trump

Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver predicted on MSNBC that NFL players will continue to Take the Knee throughout the regular season.  Oliver opined the protest is about President Trump, while others have pushed a Black Lives Matter motivation or even an anti-American animus.

Former President Clinton spokesman Joel Lockhart, reportedly advised the NFL to shift the symbolic protest to locking arms to show unity during the National Anthem.  Unfortunately, not all players adhered to this crisis management suggestion.  In addition, the lock step pose still did not allay the ire of many patriotic NFL fans. 

It is unclear what sort of behavior that League officials will tolerate.  In the past, the NFL has threatened New York team players  from donning decals  to show solidarity with 9/11 victims.  More recently, the NFL denied the Dallas Cowboys  permission to wear a "5" on their helmets  to remember the fallen law enforcement officers from a shooting.  Yet antics like Odell Beckham Jr. seems to be tolerated.

A better question is what NFL fans will tolerate.  Television ratings are markedly down. Long time fans are publicly burning licensed merchandise and even tickets. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"Rev." Jesse Jackson's Cotton Picking Advice on Taking A Knee

Jessie Jackson on the NFL Taking The Knee to Protest Donald Trump

Perhaps Jesse Jackson should remember that the First Amendment refers to the government making laws against the free exercise of speech. Private entities, such as a professional football team, can restrict or fine speech and behavior by their employees. Hence, the NFL's Take The Knee moment does not apply, notwithstanding President Trump's blue collar blurtation about "Sons of Bitches" who do not respect the flag or the National Anthem. 

Despite "Rev." Jackson's assertion that the Take The Knee protest is not about race, he uses a Cotton Picking analogy, which would be a micro-aggression if it was uttered by someone else.

Jackson's suggestion again demonstrates that he is more inclined to organize political factions than organizing a church much less evangelizing the Gospel.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ellen De Generes on Donald Trump

Ellen De Generes tells Megyn Kelly that she would not have President Donald Trump on The Ellen Show

One can understand why a partisan might be chary about giving a political foe a platform. However, De Generes cited dangers which she feels as a homosexually oriented woman. It might have been educational for her to chat with Mr. Trump, as he has been the most friendly national Republican ever to the LGBTQQ? community, so her feelings of being in danger may well be chimeras. 

Steven Wright on Nature

Steven Wright on Nature

Monday, September 18, 2017

GAB Faces Big Fat Dilemma Balancing Free Speech and Censorship

Milo Yiannopoulos on the cyber censorship of GAB by internet overlords

Of late, there has been a growing realization that our internet overlords are controlling the public square.  In 2016, Facebook faced some consternation when the social media giant's curation of news in the sidebar consistently slighted conservative news stories.  Twitter took to banning some who defied the politically correct weltenanschauung that our cyber elites favor in their posts.  Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for posting  alt-right opinions while similar sort of liberal content continued unabated.  It is not uncommon for conservative sites to experience shadow-blocking, which covertly thwarts wider dissemination of posts through censoring algorithms. Platforms can summarily block access based on anonymous, spurious complaints, and due to the Star Chamber handling of such charges, it is almost impossible to protest much less redress any alleged issues.

To counter efforts of cyber-censorship, Andrew Torba et ali. created GAB during the summer of 2016.  As a social media platform, GAB exhorted users to #SpeakFreely and vowed not to censor posts unless it advocated violence or child pornography which was against laws.

As a start up, GAB not only faced typical challenges of funding and creating a market, but faced difficulties from a politically correct driven cyber community. GAB encountered tremendous difficulties from Apple to have a i-phone mobile app approved because of the Speak Freely philosophy.  Even after GAB successfully developed and started distributing an Android mobile app, there are concerns that the GAB appl will be removed from the Play Store because users might post objectionable contention on GAB's platform.

Alas, it is not only technology giants who are exerting their power as internet overlords.  The latest controversy involves a fat meme posted from a neo nazi (who has been banned from other sites and platforms).  Torba politely responded to the post that it was a violation of the Terms of Service and asked that it be taken down.  This uncharacteristic action roiled users who wrapped themselves around the mantra of #SpeakFreely.

Torba later clarified that Asia Registry, demanded that the post be banned or else GAB's registry would be revoked. The GAB leadership is currently scrambling to address the issue.

It is ironic that a fat joke would be used as the linchpin to destroy GAB, however that is the cause celebre which is being exploited by small time internet player Asia Registry, but they have the power.  Yet is mirrors the other tech giants efforts to obstruct alternatives to their virtual monopolies by using politically correct Trojan Horses.

In an age in which alleged micro-agressions, such as a Hobby Lobby customer is triggered by the "racist" notion of using cotton flowers in a vase, that the left countenances bilious blurtations when it tracks the progressive agenda of the moment. Such in loco parentis progressive sensibilities prompted a Zerohedge pundit to wonder if Internet behemoths are acting as colonial powers.

UPDATE: September 19, 2017

GAB was successful in finding other registrar for the domain which would not play games with them.