Wednesday, January 03, 2018

New York Times Notices Trump Era Economic Optimism

The New York Times has a mostly favorable piece about the business community's reaction to the rollback of stifling regulations on the economy. I know, I'm pleasantly surprised, too, that the paper would run such an article, but it's a new year. I'll chalk it up to a fresh start and be happy for some honesty in the press. 


A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.
Sounds good, right? More infrastructure, job creation and rising wages were all promised by President Trump when he was candidate Trump. The return of optimism was predictable, too, with the exit of President Barack Obama. His focus was on taking over 1/6 of the economy with Obamacare, the definition of abusive regulations and mandates. 

But in the administration and across the business community, there is a perception that years of increased environmental, financial and other regulatory oversight by the Obama administration dampened investment and job creation — and that Mr. Trump’s more hands-off approach has unleashed the “animal spirits” of companies that had hoarded cash after the recession of 2008. 
After eight years of business crushing actions and governmental overreach by the Obama administration, the indicators of a strengthening in financial markets and optimistic growth remain strong. The DOW has reached all-time highs since Trump's inauguration. A record number of consecutive days with record closing numbers occurred in 2017. Companies are committing to bringing operations back from overseas, giving workers year-end bonuses and paycheck raises and hiring more people. 


The Business Roundtable, a corporate lobbying group in Washington, reported last month that “regulatory costs” were no longer the top concern of American executives, for the first time in six years. Mr. Zandi said that regulation was still the top concern in Moody’s survey of business confidence, but that it was rapidly losing ground to concerns about the availability of labor.
The National Association of Manufacturers’ fourth-quarter member survey found that fewer than half of manufacturers cited an “unfavorable business climate” — including regulations and taxes — as a challenge to their business, down from nearly three-quarters a year ago.
2018 is off to a good start.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A Glance Back at 2017 and Trump's Successes



Happy New Year! 

I have a confession to make. I am quite pleased with the results of President Trump's first year in office. While we were all told that the world would end if Donald Trump became President of the United States, it turns out 2017 was a good year. In fact, 2017 was the best year conservatives have had in many years. 

Conservative writer Matt Lewis summed the year up best: 

"GOP can say they (a) passed tax reform, (b) repealed individual mandate, (c) confirmed Gorsuch AND a ton of fed judges, & (d) got rid of job-killing regulations.
12 circuit court judges confirmed in one year- more than any president."

 If you are a conservative voter, you probably held your breath and voted for Trump. Hoping for the best, most Republican voters and lots of conservative Independents and Democrats were willing to give him a chance because the thought of Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office was a bridge too far. For many, the Supreme Court and judicial nominations were at the top of the list of reasons to vote Republican. Economic issues and a strong national defense were all factors, too. After eight years of overreaching regulations and several world apology tours, it's good to hear the full-throated support of America and her people, especially when Trump travels overseas. 

2017 was a wild ride, that's for sure. Standard, traditional thought in politics and governing were tossed out and a new approach to old problems began. That's not all bad. We are reaping the benefits of a businessman at the helm, though, and not a typical politician. Do any of us honestly think that if another Republican candidate had been the victor in 2016 (it's doubtful that any of them would have been able to beat Hillary) the economic markers would have moved into such positive territory? 

It is fascinating to see how the #NeverTrump holdouts navigate in today's reality. Some are so bitter that acknowledging any successes for conservative governing is impossible. This is why the holdouts are rendered not relevant. The old political class of consultants and advisers - those who made lots of money off Republicans in the past - no longer hold court in D.C. Attention to flyover America is finally taken. The swells on both coasts scrambling to be taken seriously while most people now just scroll past their tweets and Facebook remarks. Is there anything more pathetic than tweets from Matt Dowd or consultants who used to get gigs on cable television? How about John Kasich or Evan McMullin? Political writers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot claim conservative purity forces them to continue their temper tantrums - Boot even proudly boasted he'd vote for Hillary Clinton. There was absolutely nothing pure and conservative about giving Hillary Clinton a vote. These two, among others, will never be taken seriously by conservatives again and that is fine by me.

Overseas, Trump and America are doing much better than I expected. Trump has been instrumental in the release of Americans held by brutal dictators. Even stupid college basketball players acknowledged his help in their release after stealing high-end sunglasses from a store. Former President Obama refuses to leave the stage and spouts off overseas when traditionally that is not done. America's relationship with Israel is strong now. There may be a reason to be hopeful for the people of Iran who now are rising up against their corrupt theocracy. The successes of Nikki Haley at the U.N. are unprecedented. 

I'll continue to be thankful for the successes. It's a good start.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Democrat Candidate in CD-36,Houston Resistance and Bad Night Twitter


Texas CD-36

It is not at all unusual for me to be scrolling through social media in the middle of the night. What can I say? Here's the thing, though. Night Twitter is different than Day Twitter. Something I noticed over the weekend was that local lefty fundraising efforts were aggressively over-the-top. It is common for political campaigns to use social media for fundraising efforts - I would argue it is mandatory - but Night Twitter brings out a strong whiff of desperation. 

The tax reform bill vote really got the political left - and their willing cohorts in the #NeverTrump universe - all wee-weed up. The phony outrage machine aptly illustrated the very basic difference in party philosophies - the left thinks your money is the government's, not yours. The left thinks the government will spend your hard-earned dollars better than you will spend them. 

You'll notice a common thread in all this: a real dependence on outside money and influence in Harris County politics for Democrats seeking to score victories in 2018.

Two efforts, in particular, caught my attention. The first was by the leftists in the Indivisible Houston crew. Twitter followers of this account were told of a rally to be held at City Hall as "The People Rally Against Robbery." The tweet included a re-tweet of a picture from a rally in Pennsylvania Sunday night. That rally was organized by MoveOn and the tweet came from the Soros-run operations in Washington, D.C. That's right - returning a very unremarkable amount of your own money in the form of a tax break back to your wallet is "robbery".

Along the way, Indivisible Houston mocked religious conservatives and also claimed a "chill in the air" as Senator Cruz promoted his filing for re-election in Houston (though it was only a photo op, as he has to file in Austin). All of the local Democrats and the local media (sorry for repeating myself there) were invited to the rally using their Twitter handles. Several tweets were put up simply using Twitter handles and that looks particularly lazy. Also, spelling isn't a strong suit, either. For instance, when calling out local area Republicans specifically over voting for the reform, Rep. McCaul is "McCall".

Then there is Dayna Steele, running in CD-36 hoping to take out Rep. Bruce Babin. She claims she's the one to "flip Texas blue". She is a former radio personality and what strikes me in her Twitter pleas is the number of tweets aimed at specific musical/entertainment celebrities who don't even live in Texas.
She wants her slice of the outsider money pie. She even throws her nephew under the bus - a Republican lobbyist, according to her claim - by tweeting that "even he" realizes the need for change. Such disdain for a young man of another political party and a relative, too! Imagine the holiday dinners in her family. David Crosby, Melissa Etheridge, Bette Midler, Sheryl Crow all make an appearance on her timeline. She loves her some Dan Rather and Matthew Dowd, too. Can her caricature of self-important leftist get any stronger? Yeah, probably. There is time. She did, after all, re-tweet someone labeling Trump as "America's version of Bin-Laden." I don't know - do the good people of CD-36 want a representative that doesn't know the difference between a murdering Islamic terrorist and a duly elected U.S. President?

Night Twitter would be really solid entertainment if it weren't so sad and desperate. And, in the end, I suspect really ineffective.



Friday, November 10, 2017

Houston Veterans Day Parade Cancelled. Shame on You, City Hall



The City of Houston has cancelled the Veterans Day parade. Instead, the city will host Travis Manion Foundation's 9/11 Heroes Run. The worst part, after the whole disrespecting veterans thing - the city didn't even bother to announce the decision. How many people will wake up Saturday morning thinking they are going to attend the annual parade? 

So, the city took down the relevant page on their website and eliminated it from their Facebook page, according to this article. How's that for cowardice? I checked out the website accounting of this year's activities and it only made me angry.

This is what is now on the city website:


Houston is a cornerstone of Veterans Day celebrations in the United States.  As a city, Houston is proud to pay tribute to our men and women in the military by providing an annual “Houston Salutes American Heroes Veterans Day Celebration”.  This civic celebration honors and celebrates the brave men, women, and families who pay the ultimate sacrifice for liberty and freedom.
The celebration this year will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday November 11, 2017 with the 9/11 Heroes Run which was cancelled on 9/11 this year due to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
All proceeds from registration (excluding cost of shirts/fulfillment) will be donated to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
The salute continues with the AARP Veterans Job & Resource Fair complete with Symbols of Freedom - military displays and activities surrounding the reflection pool in Hermann Square at City Hall.
The traditional Veterans Day Ceremony presented by H-E-B will begin at 10:00 a.m. on the steps of City Hall ending with a moment of silence in memory of the signing of the WWI Armistice.
The entire event will take place from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, November 11.


Are city officials telling Houstonians that there is no way the nation's 4th largest city can possibly schedule '9/11 Heroes Run' at better time than Veterans Day weekend? It's not like Veterans Day wasn't already on the calendar when the Run was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey. Why was this parade bumped? 

I have nothing against the 9/11 Heroes Run. The proceeds are going to Hurricane Harvey relief. What? Seems to me, if this is the substitute for the annual parade, the least that could be done as a gesture of goodwill would be for the proceeds to go to a charity for veterans. Is that too much to ask?

It is worthy to honor the fallen and it is worthy to honor heroes. However, veterans deserve their own day and separate recognition. Veterans Day honors all veterans, not just the fallen. It is the very least we can do as grateful Americans.

Shame on you, Houston leadership. How unfortunate that this bad decision now tarnishes the goodness felt about a city pulling together in a really tough year. This is disgraceful.

After local television and radio coverage began of this story, some well-known Houstonians have stepped up and, in an impromptu move, have organized a parade. That's what leadership is. That's #HoustonStrong.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Texans Take a Knee and I Take a Pass

Sometimes I read something so stupid that I have a hard believing that someone in America really believes what he is saying. Case in point - the outrage over Texans owner Bob McNair's comment on a conference call with other NFL team owners. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. 

McNair is a well-known Houston zillionaire and philanthropist. He owns the Houston Texans football team. He is an older white man and for that he must be punished. This is where we are in today's world. McNair used an expression that each and every one of us has heard come out of the mouths of our parents or grandparents. He said, of the mess that the NFL finds itself in over players taking a knee instead of standing for the National Anthem, "We can't have the inmates running the prison." First, some of the Texans threatened to walk out of practice, then McNair apologized. Twice.

"McNair released a second statement Saturday afternoon and insisted he wasn't referring to the players with his "very regretful comment." Instead he says he was "referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years."
He then apologized to NFL players saying: "I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which could not be further from the truth. Our focus going forward, personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community."
As you may imagine, apologies are not good enough any more. The 79 year old owner is presumed racist and that will not be easy to overcome in our hyper-sensitive environment. I've heard reasoning that because a large percentage of players are African-American, this comment must be directed at those players - that McNair isn't sensitive to the life experiences of black men. I get it. There are a lot of black men and women in prison. There are also a lot of other demographics, too, including white Americans. 

So, then I read Sunday that the Texans were going to do a big protest against McNair before the game in Seattle. Left tackle Duane Brown led a call for the protest and successfully encouraged all but four players to take a knee before the game. I find it interesting that it happened at an away game, not in Houston. I have to think the response from the ticket holders would have been a bit different at home. I watched just enough of the broadcast to see that happen and listen to the announcers give me their hot takes on it and then I changed the channel. Yes, I only watched because I am writing this

Here's the thing - I say, the more protests, the better. I'm a political person and I like discourse. I encourage all people to get involved and make use of their God-given rights, within our Constitution. What better way is there to honor the sacrifices of those who came before us? I have lots of veterans in my family, both living and deceased, who fought for my right to speak up.

Here's the flip side of that - I utilize my right to protest with my feet and my pocketbook. Or, in this case, my remote control. I no longer support the NFL. When President Trump tweeted that players should be fired for not standing for the National Anthem and then the gesture escalated as the players reacted to that tweet, then I said, "I'm out." A handful of players taking a knee doesn't sway me one way or the other. This all began last season with a now unemployed social justice warrior disguised as a football player. Barack Obama was the president, if you remember. A couple of his teammates did the same and that was that. Now it's just all about being anti-Trump or, now, anti-McNair. 

I love politics. I love football. I hate politics taking over football. I watch sports to escape the current events of the day. I love competition. It's a game, it's not rocket science and it will not cure disease. It is grown men making lots of money playing a game for a living. Taking advantage of that high profile life to divide and not unite - the current cry from those doing the exact opposite - is wrong. I have stopped watching professional football and it makes me sad.

Thank God for the Houston Astros. I am a "bandwagon" fan as I watch the World Series. I was once a baseball fan, back in the day, but lost interest as the greats of my day retired. With this current Astros team, though, I have found renewed zest in watching them play. What a joyful team! These guys are young and talented and eager to win. It has been heartwarming to see the Astros and their opponents stand and sing the National Anthem, as is the custom. It is particularly wonderful to see all the players who are immigrants to America participate. 

Go Astros. And, thank you.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Congresswoman Wilson's Disgraceful History on Voting Against the Veterans


Four Green Berets, the story goes, were ambushed and killed in Niger after a meeting with local leaders. Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed. Sgt. La David Johnson was the only African American soldier in this foursome. President Trump called all four families to extend his condolences yet only one call is making headlines. Now, why would that be?

Make no mistake about it. In the minds and hate-filled political agenda of the political left in America, this is Trump's America and it is a racist place led by a white supremacist. Florida Representative Fredrica Wilson took advantage of her friendship with the aunt who raised Sgt. Johnson and went to the press with her interpretation of a phone call placed to the aunt from President Trump.

In order to boost her own political profile with the public, Wilson not only vilified Four Star General Kelly after he told his own Gold Star Dad story to the White House Press Corps Thursday in response to Wilson's hideous interpretation of President Trump's phone call but she made it into a racial accusation. The ugly political left and their willing cohorts in the media were only too happy to take this accusation and run with it. Here are two examples, from Twitter, one from a Hillary Clinton mouthpiece and one from MSNBC: 



“Kelly isnt just an enabler of Trump. He's a believer in him. That makes him as odious as the rest. Dont be distracted by the uniform,” Hillary Clinton’s former spokesman and CNN contributor Brian Fallon tweeted.
“I am stunned by John Kelley's lies about a black woman who he called an 'empty barrel,'” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted.

These are the only two examples I'll leave here. The others from celebrities, leftists and the #NeverTrump (an ever shrinking) brigade are all over social media and are brutally nasty. Mind you, the general was relaying his own story and taking the press through the process of how the fallen are taken from the battlefield through their return to America. The left, never known for supporting the military, showed their true colors once again. Believe them all when they tell you who they are.

The congresswoman has a poor record voting in support of military veterans and on funding the military.
The measures that Wilson opposed included a bill that could have ensured that families of four soldiers slain in Afghanistan in 2013 received death and burial benefits. […]Despite Wilson's claim to be “committed to honoring our service members, not only with words but with deeds,” she has voted against most bills ensuring continued funding for veteran benefits, including payments to widows of fallen soldiers, the vote-tracking site shows.She has also opposed measures designed to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs.In March 2013, Wilson opposed the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act,” which prevented a government shutdown and provided funds for the U.S. military and the VA.The bill, which passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law by the Obama administration, provided funding to the military and the VA until the next government shutdown showdown. […]Later in the year, Wilson again voted against a resolution aimed at ensuring benefits paid to the veterans and their families would not be affected by the government shutdown in October that year. […]The congresswoman also opposed numerous bills aimed at improving VA services provided the veterans and their families. (FoxNews.com)

The congresswoman claimed that General Kelly's use of the term "empty barrel" was a racist slur. Truth is, that phrase goes all the way back to Plato. 

For the left, it is all about identity and grievance politics, always. When the congresswoman first came to the U.S. House of Representatives, she was informed she would not be allowed to wear her hats on the floor. She called this a sexist rule, though it was put into place for men not to wear hats on the floor. Duh. It dates back to September 14, 1837. 

So, for the Florida congresswoman, it's all about the "isms". Perhaps a refresher history course is in order. Or, maybe just a few tips on simply using Google before lodging absurd, self-serving criticisms. 

President Trump called all four of the families. I wonder why this one phone call caused such a stir, don't you? Just kidding. We know.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Barack Obama Didn't Call General Kelly After Son Was Killed In Action


Thursday I watched the White House press  briefing and I saw an American hero emotionally walk the press corps through the process of transferring a fallen soldier from the battlefield to the delivery of the news to his or her family. His emotion was in check, to be sure, but he did tear up a bit as he spoke. I teared up as he spoke. He is a Gold Star Dad and the whole episode has caused him much pain. 




I now have Taking Chance on my to-watch list. 

What strikes me is the fact that General Kelly's Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, didn't make a phone call to him or his family to express his condolences in the loss of their son in Afghanistan. There are not so many four star generals and even less who become Gold Star Dads so I find it disturbing that so little personal attention was given to the loss. If we are to believe the narrative promoted from the political left that Obama respected the military so much and Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden were so attentive to the needs of military families, surely a phone call from Obama to General Kelly would be a normal action. But, it wasn't and it didn't happen. Apparently General Kelly did sit at Michelle Obama's table at a breakfast one time. 


"A White House official said Obama did not call Kelly after his son’s death but did not say whether the former president reached out in some other fashion. White House visitor records show Kelly attended a breakfast Obama hosted for Gold Star families six months after his son died. A person familiar with the breakfast — speaking on condition of anonymity because the event was private — said the Kelly family sat at Michelle Obama’s table.