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Trump’s Current SecDef Pick Would Require Congressional Waiver to Serve the Civilian Position

32 Governors Are Now Opposing or Refusing to Allow Syrian Refugees Into Their States

Green Party Drops Bid for Pennsylvania Recount

The decision came two days before a court hearing was scheduled in the case. Saturday’s court filing to withdraw the case said the -backed voters who filed the case “are regular citizens of ordinary means” and cannot afford the $1 million bond ordered by the court by 5 p.m. Monday. However, Green Party-backed efforts to force recounts and analyze election software in scattered precincts were continuing.

Also:

The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, a Democrat, has said there was no evidence of any sort of cyberattacks or irregularities in the election. Any recount would change few votes, Cortes predicted.

Where is ‘s cash?

Pic of formal recount discontinuation.

WI GOP Rep. Sean Duffy Says Dems Stalling Wisconsin Recount to Prevent State Electoral Vote Certification

Jill Stein Recount Recap

President-Elect Donald Trump supporters move in all three States — Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — to prevent or halt recounts.

Currently only Wisconsin is being recounted. Pro-Trump groups Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC along with voter Ronald R. Johnson went to federal court late Thursday to stop the recount. They claim Wisconsin is violating Bush v. Gore because (1) the alleged lack of uniform standards can’t determine legitimate votes and (2) may violate due process rights if recount doesn’t allow the State’s electoral vote to be represented in DC.

Michigan was deadlocked over a Trump objection of a recount and how it would be done, meaning the recount would commence Tuesday or Wednesday. The State’s GOP attorney general is appealing to the State’s Court of Appeals and State Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania will hear Jill Stein’s recount push on Monday. Republican lawyers objecting because, among other things, a recount could jeopardize the State’s electoral vote representation. Updated vote totals in the State now show Trump over Clinton by 49,000 instead of 71,000, or a lead of 0.81%, still over the automatic recount threshold of 0.5%.

Jill Stein continues to argue irregularities with no evidence of such.

 

Video: More Trump Cabinet Picks To Be Announced Next Week

Wisconsin Recount First Day: Hillary +1 Vote

Sources: Obama Considering Launching His Own Media Company, Post-Presidency

This after some claimed Donald Trump would do the same if he lost the 2016 election.

The White House denies, instead claiming he’s “interested in changing the ways people consume info.”

FBI: More Guns Were Sold in 2016 Than Any Year in History

Presidential Elector Speaks Out Against Voting for Donald Trump

Yet, both Electors speaking in this op-ed are from the blue States of Colorado and Washington, respectively. That means their respective States won’t be submitting a Republican Certificate of Ascertainment to DC.

Video: Trump: “We Are Nominating ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis for Secretary of Defense”

Reuters: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Ohio State University Attack by Somali Student

Nielsen: ESPN Loses Another 555,000 Subscribers

Trump To Discuss Leaving His Company At December 15 Press Conference

Judge Blocks Jill Stein Recount in 78 of Over 9,000 Pennsylvania Precincts; No Reason Given

Where Jill Stein Says Any Additional Recount Money Will Go

Trump Campaign Objects to Michigan Recount

Stein could owe up to $900,000 for the recount. On Thursday, the Trump Campaign filed their objection:

Now that Trump’s team has filed an objection to the recount, the Board of Canvassers will hold a public meeting for Trump’s team to state its case, and will rule on whether to continue or stop the recount after that point. (If the board’s six members are deadlocked on the issue, the recount would begin two business days later, Thomas said, according to the Detroit News.)

Jill Stein Pays Fee to Start Wisconsin Recount

DirecTV Will Raise Prices in January, 2017

The Reality of Political Correctness

If you control the language, you control the argument
If you control the argument, you control information
If you control information, you control history
If you control history, you control the past
He who controls the past controls the future.” – Big Brother, 1984

I had been looking for a way to address this very prescient, profound and fundamental topic, and it just so turns out that the eleven-year-old “news” that “broke” yesterday regarding speaking on a hot mic have provided the perfect opportunity to do so. If you haven’t seen the actual video, I’d highly recommend clicking on the referenced link. While it is PG-13 rated (in my view), it’s important that you know, as a concerned citizen, what he actually said and the context in which he said it.

(Continued)

Faith/Virtue Should Inform Politics/Issues (In Response to @EWErickson)

“If Virtue and Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslav’d. This will be their great Security” — Samuel Adams, Chief Massachusetts Leader of the American Revolution

Keep this quote in mind as we traverse Erick Erickson’s “Erick Drops the Mic on Trump and Christians,” in that not only does this series of tweets best represent what a chief “Never Trump” adherent believes, but also provides a fantastic opportunity to follow up on why the same group may be barking up the wrong tree (read my last posting regarding the secular side of this issue).

(Continued)

#NeverTrump Selective Outrage — and Circumvention

“Donald J Trump may not be the most subtle, but he may just be like Andrew Jackson, the kind of person we need to break through and actually get the system to work again. And this, I would argue, is a much better gamble for the future than continuing with the current system, the current policies, and the current mess in Washington.” — Newt Gingrich, Munk Debate on U.S. Election

Last Friday, Munk Debates held what I thought was an exceptionally well-presented debate between Republicans Newt Gingrich and Laura Ingraham and Democrats Robert Reich and Jennifer Granholm. The above quote was just one part of what Newt and Laura so eloquently represented in front of an otherwise peaceful but adversarial Canadian audience.

I’d like to make a few points regarding their “resolution,” which — from a debate perspective — is so classical in style: “Be it resolved: Donald Trump can make America great again…”, yes or no.

First of all, this debate format (and I greatly encourage anyone to take the time to view the entire linked video) turned out to be fantastic. My recommendation to our own Commission on Presidential Debates would be to take this same format, perhaps including at least one session that includes both the presidential and vice presidential candidates on the same stage.

Secondly — and more to the point of this posting’s title — I thought that Newt and Laura continued to make a more fundamental, strategic point regarding the current American political landscape: a sufficient majority of voters are completely fed up with how things are running in Washington, D.C., and even if Donald Trump were not the GOP presidential nominee, these “fed up” trends would still be demanding to be dealt with.

While Newt specifically dealt with three general areas along these lines, I wanted to tie the trends back to the “Never Trump” phenomenon. I actually get the frame of reference from which “Never Trump” originates — the GOP has a nominee that they believe is not trustworthy, has many unknowns regarding what he’d actually do if he were to become President, has taken many stances on various issues over the years, does not have the most pristine personal life, and appears to have come to the Republican party more out of utilitarian convenience than overtly obvious conservatism — the same conservatism that’s been battling DC politics for several years.

I think my questions back to the “Never Trump” folks (however many there may be) include: where were you over the years? Why are you moving the proverbial goal posts now? Did you support the Presidents Bush? How about President Clinton? Why is it just now that — in the clearly imperfect candidate of Donald Trump — you insist that a candidate essentially be purely conservative or pure as the wind-driven snow on various issues, versus the alleged “compassionate conservatism” of W.?

As the Munk Debate clearly demonstrated, there is an obvious, palpable and measurable (by different metrics than pollsters use) aggravation within the American electorate, as just mentioned; it would be there whether Donald Trump were the candidate or not. And this aggravation has been produced by the elitism that is currently inherently presented by the overall leadership of both Republicans and Democrats. Part of it is organic, where some will follow leadership no matter the issue, and part of it is based on feeding off of what’s good for the rich and well-connected, not so much for the often looked-over middle class.

I would wager (not sure what) that Trump supporters are not locked into Donald Trump based on who he is, but quite similarly to Obama supporters, I believe his staunchest supporters project onto Trump that he will similarly bring staggering change to Washington. And the beauty of such salesmanship is the fact that, if after four years said candidate does not fulfill on some semblance of their campaign promises, they can be voted out at that point for failure to perform.

So here’s where I see some serious illogic and disjointedness on the part of a “Never Trump” believer. It’s as if they’ve saved up their passion for the ideal conservative all of this time, and since Donald Trump does not fit this bill, he must be absolutely jettisoned because, in being less than ideal, he cannot be trusted at all. I’d further wager that, should such a perspective be taken to its logical extreme in any other domain, one would either wax into wholly unsupported conspiracy theory and/or end up having an inoperable life!

I think the biggest challenge that someone such as a “Never Trump” believer has with the man is his sheer and utter uniqueness and unknown political attributes that he brings to the table. In other words, nobody really and actually knows what he would do in getting into office. Yet, at a time when the electorate says they want someone completely different in the Oval Office, essentially demanding a political unknown that you’d otherwise be randomly picking from a phone book, is he not this, exactly?

The truth is we don’t know exactly what Donald Trump would do should he become President. Yes, he has a portfolio of policy stances on his web site, and he clearly has spent the majority of his adult life working large-scale business projects throughout the world. But in all fairness, this doesn’t guarantee any future results.

He also scares many associated with the political establishment because he is a Jacksonian American and, to some, brutally so, especially in relation to foreign policy, where a Trump administration essentially promises to be a one hundred and eighty-degree change from our current posture in the world. In other words, once again, we’re so used to the current perspective of globalism on display — something that Brexit has already addressed — that we don’t recall what true nationalism would bring to America (as Newt aptly opined, it’s been well over a generation since we’ve seen pre-globalism).

Allow me to be equally brutal in push-back: A “Never Trump” individual no longer has the courage to face a reality in which American interests are paramount to our foreign posture.

America is going to change after November of 2016, and my gut says it’s not going to go the direction of the 1990s. My gut also says that the polls are not picking up the pulse of those Americans who may never even have voted before. And those who are voting inherently know that a vote for those who represent a government of the last three or four decades is a vote for the problem.

Et Tu, @TedCruz?

Last night, it was former Republican presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz’ turn to take the stage at the Republican National Convention and give his speech. While that speech was nearly as much of a barn-burner as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Monday-night speech, it may ultimately have resulted in something negative against the Senator in what it did not do.

Sen. Cruz did not end up fully endorsing Donald Trump as the GOP candidate.

In this case, however, it wasn’t so much the fact that Sen. Cruz didn’t endorse Donald Trump that could have negative repercussions here; instead, and as with most situations like this, it has to do with why he did not endorse.

Today, the political section of the AJC ran a great story generally covering the drama that occurred last night on the convention floor. Lots of machinations were going on behind the scenes (including how the Trump campaign handled Sen. Cruz’ speech delivery while having had a copy of it well beforehand — this is Donald Trump’s convention, after all), but what really got my attention was the following:

[Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul] Manafort also expounded on the issue of the pledge GOP candidates signed onto last year during a debate in this same arena:

“He was the only speech in the convention that was poorly received by the body in the hall. That was Senator Cruz’ decision. Mr. Trump invited him because he wanted him to have the opportunity to speak.

“As to their obligations, they all signed pledges. Everybody knew about the pledges. They knew what that meant, what obligation that put on them. Senator Cruz, a strict constitutionalist, chose not to accept the strict terms of the pledge that he signed. As far as the contract was concerned, he was the one in violation, not anybody else.”

Back in September, 2015, CNN reported that all candidates at that time signed a pledge to support whomever the eventual GOP candidate would be (the news outlet included an embedded video of Mr. Trump’s presser at the time).

In spite of this, here was Sen. Cruz’ response (also reported by Fox News):

…Cruz, amid some contentious exchanges with delegates, suggested endorsing Trump would have been the easy option.

But he said, “Whether you want me to or not, I’m not going to lie to you, and what I said last night is what I believe.”

And he made clear that part of the reason was personal, referencing campaign swipes at his family in explaining why he broke a primary campaign pledge to back the eventual nominee.

“I’ll tell you the day that pledge was abrogated was the day this became personal — I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” he said.

One delegate said, “Get over it. This is politics.”

Cruz responded, “No, it is not. It’s about right and wrong.”

In fact, instead of outright endorsing the duly-nominated candidate as he promised, Sen. Cruz — in his “vote your conscience” admonition — quite ironically gave former Secretary of State and presumed Democrat nominee for president Hillary Clinton her own campaign fodder:

So, on the one hand, Sen. Ted Cruz goes on the record with signing a pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee, continues to promulgate the idea that he’s a defender of the American Constitution, but on the other, once things get tough, he backs down from what he says he’s going to do.

Why do I think he did what he did in his non-endorsement? I think he’s among those who believe that Hillary Clinton will be winning in a landslide in November, and Sen. Cruz thinks that he’ll be simply waiting in the proverbial wings (come 2020) to pick up the pieces of the party, where everyone that he sees as behind a flawed candidate will then flock to him to be the next GOP nominee.

Unfortunately for the Senator, the presidential primary statistics simply don’t match up with this alleged theory. In fact, the increase in numbers of GOP primary voters versus the decrease for the Democrats is so lopsided as to be hilariously different (overall, I believe the GOP was up over 60% versus the Democrats being down something like %30). Further, this doesn’t take into account the fact that Donald Trump garnered more primary votes than any other GOP candidate in the history of the Republican Party.

I’m simply not seeing the factual case to be made for an alleged Hillary Clinton landslide.

Regardless even of this point, I take serious issue with a man who backs out of a signed pledge simply due to the fact (as he himself put it) that rhetorical attacks were levied against him during the primary campaign. Given this rationale, the Senator has stepped beyond a principled disagreement with Donald Trump or even the Republican Party; if that were the issue, I’d be completely for his stance.

But he went further.

A presidential primary campaign is absolutely going to be full of all sorts of rhetorical jabs, innuendo, insinuations, and outright half-baked claims — levied both by the complainer as well as others (and they were).

What are you going to do in a presidential general election campaign when the other side ratchets up the rhetoric by at least five times what you’re used to?

What else would you be backing away from at that point?

Don’t claim to keep commitments to the voters but yet refuse to keep a commitment you made back when you had a chance to be the nominee. That’s just a tad hypocritical. If you’re backing from your word in the “small things,” you’ll do the same in the “big things.”

Ergo, what makes you, Sen. Ted Cruz, any different from those you claim to despise, who go against their word and don’t represent constituencies — much less conservatism — properly?

Et tu, Ted Cruz?

What Is The News And How Do You Know? (a.k.a. Thinking For Yourself)

Today I ran across a repost from freelance investigative reporter Jon Rappoport entitled, “Mind control achieved through the ‘information flicker effect.’” While this linking isn’t meant as a full endorsement of Mr. Rappoport (I don’t know about him any more than what’s posted in his “About” page), and even though I think the phrase, “mind control” is a bit strong, I wanted to post on why I think he absolutely nails what the American media engages in for every major news story.

I’ll speak from experience.

For many years, I had been an avowed “info junkie,” sometimes incurring the relative wrath of my wife, in that I was watching news almost non-stop during those times that I had a chance to watch TV. While I spent a lot of time watching the Fox News Channel, I eventually drifted over to the Fox Business channel, because I began to get tired of the “surface treatment” that I thought the Fox News Channel was providing the news.

However, even as I made these kinds of changes — often shifting over to CNN or other news channels — something still didn’t sit quite right with me. It was as if stories weren’t being completely fleshed out, and where cursory searches on reputable web sites would still provide better, more fully researched data on the news than what the news channels were producing.

And, for me, there had always been psychologically what I term a bit of a “dull roar” from the constant input of what would be about 25 – 30% news and 70 – 75% “talking heads” — alleged (and some real) experts on what was actually news-worthy.

Then, I decided to turn the TV off — at least from 24/7 news. After about 48 hours, it was as if real silence returned, like I could think on my own without being told what to essentially think. It was like when I once tried a particular 7-day diet and it never occurred to me how much high-fructose corn syrup I was really putting in my diet (such a thing was a big deal for me at the time, a kind of understanding why I (and others) seemed to be so “hooked” to eating out or otherwise not eating healthy). The same thing had just happened from a media consumption standpoint.

It turns out I was unhooking myself from The Matrix (I’m using the venerable movie’s name in a tongue-and-cheek sort of way, but it gets the point across).

The real question, for me, was: how is the news getting folks “hooked” to the goods being sold? On the food side, it was relatively easy for me to see how I was being “hooked;” on the media side, not so much, though I did at least have the clue that there was very little actual facts being reported, and more of a story being told.

Mr. Rappoport’s posting filled in the gaps.

While he calls the methodology the “information flicker effect,” Mr. Rappoport does a great job of explaining that it’s actually the news anchor weaving a story through the repeated use of bringing up incomplete facts, one after the other, then “dropping” them (or brushing aside to be picked up at some point in the future), such that the story-teller (the anchor) ultimately has another agenda in mind (not so much simply stating facts). Such drop/adding occurs as a frequent enough clip that the audience never has time to seriously think through all of the open leads being produced as the story is “unfolding,” where the media show is more interested in an ultimate story to tell than stating facts (which is what news ought to be — the what, when, where, why, how and to what extent of a given subject or event).

Now, since it is true that you can never fool all of your audience all of the time, then when a media story is ultimately about, say, gun control, because such a topic is so charged (certainly in America), when this topic is brought up, enough of the audience does say, “enough,” and begins to engage in critical thinking once more.

That is why I believe Mr. Rappoport’s use of the phrase, “mind control,” is a bit strong. “Mind influencing” is probably a better turn-of-phrase, but I digress.

There were some excellent questions that Mr. Rappoport brought up, to wit:

Why is it that every major network anchor is reporting every major story from the same perspective?

Would it not be reasonable to expect that a legitimately-questioning journalist would be getting more facts on the table to at least present a different point of view?

Why is it that every major network also reports the same perspective on every major story?

Why is it that younger reporters just starting their career aren’t being used to proverbially “pound the pavement” themselves to gather facts? Why are only the authorities involved being trusted to relay facts to reporters who are then telling some story for which someone else (a producer or higher up the chain) has already provided a template?

The simplest (and perhaps complete) answer to the above is that those “in power” (and by “in power” I’m transcending political parties here) like to have a mechanism in place in order to persuade (I think “control” is too heavy a word) enough people that they ought to believe a certain way so as to promote such power. After all, what does anyone who has power want? To both garner more power and consolidate it the best they can.

To me, the good news is there’s a very simple antidote to the above — unplug! If you’re an “info junkie,” spend a couple of days shut off from whatever source you’re using to stay “up-to-date” on news stories and see if you gain a bit of intellectual peace (and perhaps sanity). If that works, then you’re being persuaded to not use your brain. Also, try watching news stories for the facts that are presented; once the “talking heads” are paraded in front of your face, that’s a clue to turn the news off.

You don’t need to be told by anyone what to think. Getting an education should be possessing a tool that helps you to logically deduce and infer facts and evidence from the world around you — not to simply memorize a list of things that someone else put together.

Having the ability to independently think on your own means being able to operate as a full-fledged citizen in society.

And our society definitely needs more such citizens.

-Phil

My First Foray Into Ruby on Rails, Thanks To A Web Bootcamp

My first “prototype” Ruby on Rails site, Dev Match, is currently live.

What’s this all about? I’ll explain.

For the majority of my IT career, I have either been in a Linux/OpenVMS-based shop (in telecommunications) or I have been in a Microsoft-based shop (in hospitality). Now, at my current company, we are a Java/AWS/Git-based shop (in cybersecurity). This is also to say that, in the 21st century, many startups use open-source-based (and similar) technology stacks to save money and quickly get a concept to market.

Therefore, during my off hours, I’ve been wanting to explore other aspects of open-source programming. Enter certain web development bootcamps, one of which I got started late last year and was able to catch at a severely discounted rate. And now I’m halfway through!

The “Dev Match” site is the culmination of several weeks’ worth of online instruction introducing students to the basics of Ruby on Rails, git version control, the Bootstrap UI, Stripe e-commerce, PostgreSQL as the DB schema, and many other concepts (such as various “gems,” the name for the vast portfolio of add-ons for the Ruby framework). It is the first of a number of projects I am working on as I progress through the more advanced portion of the boot camp.

Why Ruby? Because of its impressive collection of sites and development community.

Why not something like continued pushes into WordPress (the software this blog is based upon)? Because a CMS (Content Management System) will only take you so far, and if you’re serious about realizing concepts, you have to get your hands into code at some point.

What do I expect to accomplish out of all of this? I have a handful of ideas that I’ll eventually be putting to code, and we’ll see how it all goes.

The moral of this story is this: if you’re interested in getting going with web development, the hardest thing to do is to keep at it. That “barrier to entry” is the only thing that keeps people back from accomplishing things.

Best,

-Phil

P.S.: Since my “Dev Match” site is currently hosted on a freebie dyno at Heroku, it may take several seconds to first come up; that is intentional.