Author Archives: R.D. Walker

SCOTUS mostly reinstates Trump’s travel ban…

The only exception is that it allows travel by those who have a bona fide relationship within the United States.

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s administration to implement part of its temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and said Monday it would review lower-court rulings that found the executive actions likely unlawful.

The Supreme Court’s action is a reversal of fortune for Mr. Trump, who had been on the losing end of several lower-court decisions that blocked his March 6 executive order that sought to impose a 90-day ban on U.S. entry for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The executive order, a revised version of one issued in late January, also sought to temporarily suspend the U.S. program for admitting refugees.

The justices, in an unsigned 13-page opinion, narrowed the scope of the ban for now, ruling the president couldn’t enforce it against travelers “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with someone or some organization in the U.S. The court imposed a similar narrowing of the ban on refugees.

I am on record as predicting that the SCOTUS will overturn the lower court blocking of Trump’s ban and will do so unanimously. This does nothing to make me doubt that.

More at the WSJ.


Trump says he didn’t make tapes and doesn’t have any…

Trump says he doesn’t have any recordings of Comey discussions but doesn’t rule out the possibility of their existence.

Does this seem a little Clintonian to you? Sort of a non-denial denial? Or maybe he is just trolling. He seems to love to troll.


The Greatest Military Device of All Time

The youngest member of Team Walker is heading off to camp next week for seven days of archery, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, campfires and general camp goodness. He goes to the same camp I went to as a kid and darned if it doesn’t look pretty much the same. I love the nostalgia.

This year, he asked me to take along one of my most prized possessions – the greatest piece of military equipment ever devised by man: The poncho liner.

This is a device that carried me through many deployments and many tough times. It was warmth at night, shade during the day and camouflage for gear. It is lightweight and compresses into a tiny package. Basically, it is a grunt security blanket. In fact, I learned from my older son that it is called a “woobie” nowadays by the hardened commandos of the First Ranger Battalion… and every other grunt for that matter.

The poncho liner is magic. It keeps you at the perfect temperature through some kind of infantry witchcraft. I have used mine in Alaska and in Panama. It added warmth at Camp Ripley, Minnesota in January and covered me during day-sleeping in a hooch on Cato Bay in Grenada.

If it is hot, it shades you from the sun. If it is cold, it fends off the freeze. When it gets wet, it dries quickly. The thing is so versatile I am told it can even be used to line a pancho! How does it do all of this? Magic.

The boy will soon experience the joys of the woobie at camp and I am sure I will need to pry it from his hands when he returns.

Reflecting on the joys of the poncho liner just inspired me to go purchase a poncho liner related piece of equipment that is nearly as awesome as the woobie: The Ranger Smoking Jacket. I can’t wait to get it.


14 of 15 charges dropped against pro-life activists

This is wonderful news!

In a huge victory, a California court today dismissed almost all of the criminal charges abortion activists filed against the pro-life advocates who recorded undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood selling the body parts from aborted babies.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against both David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Becerra is a longtime abortion advocate with financial connections to the Planned Parenthood abortion company that the two pro-life Advocates exposed in the videos for selling body parts such as fetal brains and livers.

At the time, pro-life advocates said Becerra’s 15 felony charges were bogus charges meant to belittle the expose’ campaign and to cast aspersions on Daleiden and the organization behind the videos. They said the attempt was about drawing attention away from Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby parts.

They are confident that justice will prevail against the final charge.

“We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall,” said Staver.

These charges represented an appalling abuse of power. This is good news not just for these honorable pro-life activists, but for freedom of the press.

More at Lifenews.


Putting solar panels on the wall? It’s official.

It was mentioned earlier on the Revo. It is official.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he wanted to install solar panels on his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, telling a crowd at a campaign-style rally that the proposal would save money.

Mr. Trump has privately discussed putting solar panels on the barrier, but the rally was the first time he mentioned the idea in public.

“Think of it—the higher it goes, the more valuable it is,” Mr. Trump said to several thousand people in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, of the solar-paneled wall. “Pretty good imagination, right?”

Mr. Trump has insisted that the wall, a core promise of his presidential campaign, will be built to prevent illegal immigration and drug smuggling, and that Mexico will pay for it. After Mexican leaders pushed back against the idea, the president-elect backtracked in January, suggesting the U.S. would pay upfront for the wall and Mexico would return the money later.

Why would any company want to put solar panels on an exposed, linear wall far from where electricity is needed when it would be far more effective to simply create a properly engineered solar facility? I don’t think any power company would. They would opt to create proper solar farms in the desert close to where the power is consumed. There is no reason why any power company would bid to put solar panels on the wall.

Or is the government going to get into the business of selling electricity? That raises questions about government funded competition with the private sector.

Of course the competition would be pretty poor. Electricity produced on distant, exposed, difficult to maintain wall panels will be far more expensive than that produced in more efficient, secure, densely engineered that are close to population centers. Wall sites panels will, therefore, require a significant taxpayer subsidy.

So that’s the plan? Build government funded solar panels in an inefficient, exposed, difficult to maintain manner that, naturally, increases the cost of production? Then, in order to sell electricity into the grid at market rates, create a permanent taxpayer appropriation to maintain the wall panels?

I guess.

More at the WSJ.


Big Orange in Cedar Rapids

Last time he was here

He will be appearing two blocks from my office today. I will be out of town on business.

President Trump supporters have been lined up outside since Tuesday night eagerly awaiting the president’s arrival for Wednesday’s 7:00 p.m. rally.

A large protest against the rally is also planned along 1st Avenue around 5:00 p.m.

Cedar Rapids Police say unless you’re going to the rally or going to protest, you should do everything you can to avoid 1st Avenue.

That’s means there will also be increased police presence in downtown Cedar Rapids on Wednesday.

Police in Cedar Rapids are getting ready for the crowds expected to head downtown.

They say law enforcement from all across eastern Iowa will be on site.

More here.


SCOTUS: Free speech means free speech!

There is no exception for offensive speech. Period. Unanimous.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a federal trademark law banning offensive names is unconstitutional, siding with a rock band whose name had been deemed racially disparaging by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In an 8-0 ruling, the court determined the law’s so-called “disparagement clause” violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

The case centered on Oregon-based, Asian-American band The Slants, which was denied a trademark because its name was considered offensive. The band countered that the 70-year-old law at issue violates free-speech rights — and Justice Samuel Alito, in the court’s opinion, agreed.

That should reverse the ridiculous ruling from the Patent and Trademark Office regarding the Washington Redskins.

More here.


Russia to target Coalition aircraft

Well, that’s new.

Russia escalated tensions with the U.S. on Monday, promising to track U.S. and coalition aircraft over Syria with its air defense systems and warplanes, the defense ministry said.

In a statement released Monday, the Russian military said it would treat U.S. and coalition aircraft operating west of the Euphrates Rivers as “aerial targets,” but stopped short of threatening to shoot them down.

“In regions where the Russian Air Force is carrying out operations in the skies above Syria, any flying objects—including airplanes and drones of the international coalition—discovered west of the Euphrates River will be treated as aerial targets for tracking by land and air defense systems,” the statement said.

U.S. defense officials said they were staying in touch with the Russian military to see what the practical impact of the statement might be on air operations in Syria.

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Libertarians don’t exist.

So says New York Magazine.

Well, obviously, they exist — just not in any remotely large enough numbers to form a constituency. It’s not just hardcore libertarians who are absent. Even vaguely libertarian-ish voters are functionally nonexistent.

The study breaks down voters into four quadrants, defined by both social and economic liberalism. But virtually everybody falls into three quadrants: socially liberal/economically liberal; socially conservative/economically conservative; and socially conservative/economically liberal. The fourth quadrant, socially liberal/economically conservative, is empty:

The libertarian movement has a lot of money and hardcore activist and intellectual support, which allows it to punch way above its weight. Libertarian organs like Reason regularly churn out polemics and studies designed to show that libertarianism is a huge new trend and the wave of the future. Sometimes, mainstream news organizations buy what they’re selling. But the truth is that the underrepresented cohort in American politics is the opposite of libertarians: people with right-wing social views who support big government on the economy.

I think what that table mostly shows is that economic conservatives don’t exist. The rarest form of economic conservative, however, are those who are also socially liberal. Libertarians might exist, but they are rare. We have been dropping our bucket down a dry well. At least I have been.


Michelle Carter found guilty of involuntary manslaughter

Here are the details.

Michelle Carter has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend Conrad Roy, ending a trial which captured national attention and raised profound questions about mental health, suicide and freedom of speech.

Judge Lawrence Moniz issued the verdict Friday morning, ruling that verbally pressuring someone into suicide can be considered manslaughter in Massachusetts. Carter had waived her right to a jury trial and faces up to 20 years in prison.

This girl is a contemptible human being. When her boyfriend was pumping carbon monoxide into his pickup to kill himself, he got sick and scared and got out. Via text, she commanded him to get back in and die. He did. She didn’t try to stop him. She didn’t call for help. She didn’t inform his family. She ordered him to die.

That is sick beyond words but was it manslaughter? I say no. I say the boyfriend was ultimately responsible for his own death. I say that telling someone to kill himself is not a form of homicide and doesn’t become homicide if he follows through. Is is bullying or harassment? Sure. Is it incitement to commit a crime? Probably. It isn’t, however, homicide.

The boy ultimately killed himself. He did it by his hand. He made the decision. He is fully responsible. He should not be absolved of responsibility by charging an evil, rotten girl with a form of homicide.

There are several crimes she could have been charged with other than manslaughter. What she did was vile and inhuman, but it wasn’t homicide.



‘Dreamers’ to Stay

Trump decides to extend Obama’s order providing amnesty to illegal immigrants brought to the US as childen.

President Trump has officially reversed his campaign pledge to deport the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children.

The Department of Homeland Security announced late Thursday night that it would continue the Obama-era program intended to protect those immigrants from deportation and provide them work permits so they can find legal employment.

A fact sheet posted on the department’s website says immigrants enrolled in the 2012 program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “will continue to be eligible” to renew every two years and notes that “no work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

Immigration rights activists, who have fiercely battled Mr. Trump’s travel ban and increased enforcement of other immigration laws, hailed the decision.

Frankly, I don’t think he had much choice. Deporting these people would have been difficult for his administration. As I said many times in the past, the Dreamers would never be deported.

More at the NYT.


Dennis Rodman in North Korea…

…presents a Nork official with a copy of Trump’s Art of the Deal.

More in this same vein below the fold…

More below the fold…


Special counsel moves to obstruction investigation

The investigation rolls on…

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

If Bill Clinton read those Tweets he is probably thinking about how a lawsuit filed by Paula Jones resulted in the discovery of Monica Lewinsky which resulted his parsing the word ‘is’ which led to an accusation of perjury which led to his impeachment and disbarment.

I am guessing that if Richard Nixon were alive he would be thinking about how a ameteur burglary with which he had nothing to do resulted in a cover up and an obstruction charge that resulted in his resignation.

Yep. Once the hounds are released, they never give up.


Is libertarianism DOA?

Populism does not mix with libertarianism. Progressivism doesn’t mix with libertarianism either.

Sure, lots of folks claim to be ‘fiscally conservative and socially liberal’ but is that really the case?

Populists aren’t fiscally conservative, at least not in the classical liberal sense. As a populist if XYZ Corp should be free to move retroenacabulator production to Guadalatacobell or if the government should prevent it and they will choose the latter every time. Ask them if the government should stop Americans from being able to access foreign goods in the global market and, as often as not, they will support the government self-emplacing trade embargos. Don’t even mention cutting Social Security to a populist. They aren’t fiscal conservatives.

What about progressives? Surely they are social liberals, right? Nope. At least not if the word ‘liberal’ has any relationship to the word ‘liberty’. Progressives demand that the power of the state be used in as heavy handed a means as necessary to enforce the progressive agenda. They most certainly aren’t liberal enough to allow a Christian baker the liberty to choose for whom he will and won’t bake a cake. You can test the liberal sensitivities of a progressive by asking them if local governments should be allowed to make their own public toilet policies. The response you will get will have nothing to do with liberty.

Basically, libertarians offer something for everyone to hate. Progressives are openly hostile to the fiscal conservatism of libertarians but are secretly hostile to its socially liberal policies. Populists, on the other hand, are openly hostile to the socially libertine policies of libertarianism but secretly hate its fiscal conservatism.

I used to think that if libertarians could just get the word out to these ‘fiscally conservative and socially liberal’ folks they would see its appeal. I now believe that I was deluded. There are no libertarians among the populists and progressives that now make up the American political environ.


Congress moves to block Trump on Russia

Senate votes overwhelmingly to require POTUS to get authorization on changes to Russia sanctions.

The Senate voted Wednesday, 97-2, to pass a measure that would toughen sanctions on Russia and, in Republicans’ first significant blow to President Donald Trump’s agenda, prevent the White House from unilaterally easing or removing the sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama in 2014 and 2016.

The bipartisan measure would require the president to inform Congress before taking any action that could alter US foreign policy “with regard to the Russian federation,” including changes to the sanctions regime imposed by Obama in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

It still needs to pass the House to become law although. The Senate vote, by the way, is veto proof.

More here.

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When “winning” means “losing”… bigly

There is absolutely, positively no upside to the US sugar policy unless you are a member of the favored sugar cartels. They have managed to use the power of the state to legally steal from you and enrich themselves. Trump is just upping the ante.

The Trump Administration last week announced a new agreement with Mexico to guarantee that sugar prices in both countries will remain well above the world market price. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross framed the deal as a big win—and it is, for the few sugar producers on both sides of the border. The losers are millions of consumers.

No industry has enjoyed as much protection under the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) as sugar producers and refiners. Mexico raised its sugar import tariffs from third countries in 1994 to match U.S. protection levels and thereby form a customs union. While most of the U.S. economy had to adapt to competition from Canada and Mexico starting in 1994, the U.S. market remained heavily protected from Mexican sugar until 2008.

Even when the market opened, U.S. sugar interests refused to adapt and filed antidumping and countervailing duty suits against Mexican exports. In 2014 the Commerce Department ruled in their favor. Mexico could have fought that ruling at a Nafta arbitration panel but its sugar lobby also likes high prices. So instead it agreed to comply with a U.S.-stipulated minimum price and quota, and to restrict the amount of refined sugar it ships. In other words, both sides conspired to run a sugar cartel.

If you think that “America First” means using the power of a crypto-socialist, administrative state to enrich powerful business cartels at your expense, then you should be happy with Trump’s trade policy.

More at the WSJ.

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Breaking: Congressman and others shot near DC

At 7:15, a gunman with a rifle began firing at GOP baseball practice…


A quote to ponder this Flag Day

This from the indispensible H.L. Mencken:

“The freedom of nations is of little human value. It is only the liberty of the individual that counts.”

Related question for discussion: Does “good citizenship” simply mean allegiance to the state?


Is Trump considering firing Robert Mueller?

Is Trump buddy Ruddy dropping the idea down the well to see if there is a splash?

Donald Trump is considering dismissing the special counsel assigned to the Russia investigation, a confidant said on Monday.

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy told PBS Newshour that Trump is “considering perhaps terminating” Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who was appointed to run the investigation into Russian influence on the campaign by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 17.

Asked later if Trump is really considering firing Mueller, Ruddy said: “Yes.”

A White House official told me that “Chris was speaking for himself and did not speak to the president.”

If Trump is going to do it, he should do it on Saturday Night. Everyone loves historical continuity.

More here.


Do Christians need to be delivered by Trump?

I found this when I was searching for an image of Cyrus the Great to add to a Miley Cyrus quote for the Spurious Quote Spoof.

A big theme among Walsh’s pro-Trump followers is that God can use ungodly men to serve God’s purposes, and that they believe that God has raised up Donald Trump for such a time as this. They believe that Trump has been anointed by God — that he is a modern-day Cyrus the Great of Persia.

Cyrus is remembered, and praised, in many places in the Hebrew Scriptures because he was the foreign king who restored the people of Israel from the exile. (See, for example, Isaiah 45, or the opening chapters of the book about that Trump-like rat-bastard Ezra.)

And that is what these white Christians are looking for — for some all-powerful figure to end their exile. Because they imagine they are in exile — that they have been taken out of their land and had their nation taken away from them.

Maybe Christians are losing their privileged spot in society for a reason. Maybe we are being returned to our natural state as outsiders. Maybe, we are being returned to the way things were during ante-Nicene Christianity.

Early Christians lived under anti-Christian policies in the Roman Empire. They lived among pagan populations. They were made to pay for their faith for their refusal to honour the pagan gods.

It’s easy to be a Christian when being a Christian means automatic social inclusion, standing and privileges. Faith is put to the test when there is a price to pay.

That seems more realistic than Donald Trump is going to lead Christians to the Rapture.

Just a thought.


Dem sponsors COVFEFE Act

He wants to make Trump Tweets official presidential records.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) introduced legislation Monday to classify presidential social media posts — including President Trump’s much-discussed tweets — as presidential records.

The Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act, which has the same acronym as an infamous Trump Twitter typo last month, would amend the Presidential Records Act to include “social media.”

Presidential records must be preserved, according to the Presidential Records Act, which would make it potentially illegal for the president to delete tweets.

“President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented. If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference. Tweets are powerful, and the President must be held accountable for every post,” said Quigley in a statement.

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No Revoista would ever fall for this…


DC and Maryland to Sue POTUS

They claim that he is in violation of the part of the Constitution known as the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. The Constitution prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

Attorneys general for the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland say they will sue President Trump on Monday, alleging that he has violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since moving into the White House.

The lawsuit, the first of its kind brought by government entities, centers on the fact that Trump chose to retain ownership of his company when he became president. Trump said in January that he was shifting his business assets into a trust managed by his sons to eliminate potential conflicts of interests.

But D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) say Trump has broken many promises to keep separate his public duties and private business interests. For one, his son Eric Trump has said the president would continue to receive regular updates about his company’s financial health.

Obama received over a million dollars from Norway when he won the Nobel Prize. Of course he donated it to charity, Still, I don’t know that it matters that he did. Presidents in the past have divested of business interests. Other politicians have entered into blind trusts. Trump is the first to keep his holdings and stay involved. There can be no doubt that he is benefiting from them.

In any case, I have no idea if the lawsuits are viable.

More here.


Amnesties up over Obama’s final quarter in office

Here is the Conservative Review.

While much of the conservative media is consumed with Comey and Russia, they are missing the irony of defending an administration without even securing some key policy outcomes. The latest betrayal to the Right is the confirmation that Trump’s DHS has issued almost 125,000 “DACA” cards (per Obama’s unlawful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order) to illegal aliens through the second quarter of this fiscal year (January through March).

According to newly published data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Trump administration has issued 17,275 initial amnesty cards and over 107,500 renewals of existing status.

This surpasses the 122,000 level of amnesty cards issued during the final quarter of Obama’s presidency (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2016), which means the Trump administration is not even slowing down the pace! And although the first 20 days of this quarter were still under Obama’s tenure, the Trump amnesty is likely close to 200,000 by now, when extrapolating in the number of presumed cards issued during April and May.

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Convair B-36 Peacemaker

It is almost hard to believe it ever existed. Here is a great scene including the bomber in the 1955 movie, Strategic Air Command starring Jimmy Stewart. Watch the scene then watch the whole movie on Amazon Prime. It is pretty good.