Thursday, March 03, 2016

It's Trump

A lot of Trump's positions clash with orthodox GOP policies but most GOP politicans are overlooking that Trump is obviously offering the public what they want.  It may therefore  be the orthodox positions that have to change.  Since most of those positions are designed to fit within the straitjacket of Leftist political correctness, that could be a really good thing.

Trump seems likely to break the grip that Leftist  thinking has on American politics.  The GOP establishment have certainly shown no willingness or ability to break out from the Leftist mental straitjacket  -- which is why Trump has appeal.

Some of Trump's policies seem economically destructive to informed people but they are overlooking that his degree is in  economics.  Whatever he does is therefore likely to be tokenism rather than anything seriously destructive economically. Those of us who have qualifications in economics understand its instructive power.

The Gipper was derided as a fool too and his degree was in economics also.  And he broke out of the straitjacket of conventional thinking in his time.  Rather than appease the Soviets he said:  "I've got another idea:  We win, they lose".  And that was greeted with gasps of incredulity too.  But it came about

Donald Trump, leading a seismic transformation of the modern Republican Party, leapt closer to securing its presidential nomination with a near sweep of Super Tuesday states, scoring strong wins across the conservative Deep South, in liberal parts of New England, and almost everywhere in between.

With states that hold a quarter of the US population voting, Trump won among almost every demographic, robbing his rivals of room to claim victory and putting him into a commanding position that has flabbergasted the party establishment.

Just after the polls closed, Trump was declared the winner in Massachusetts, winning support from working-class voters around the state. He also won Vermont.

“We have expanded the Republican Party,” Trump said from Palm Beach, Fla. “I’m a unifier. I know people are going to find that hard to believe. But I am a unifier.”

Senator Ted Cruz claimed his home state of Texas as well as Oklahoma, allowing Cruz to argue that he is the GOP’s best alternative to Trump. Senator Marco Rubio, despite a flood of establishment endorsements and cash, notched his lone victory in the Minnesota caucus, helping Cruz prevent Trump from making a clean sweep of all 11 states that voted Tuesday.

Anger at Washington and a yearning for a leader to shake things up continued to fuel Trump’s extraordinary popularity. Exit polls showed that Southern Republicans were more likely to say they were “angry” with the government. Voters in nearly all states said they wanted an outsider in the Oval Office.

The Republican Party establishment has been flummoxed by Trump for months — with increasing alarm about his anti-immigrant and divisive rhetoric — but only recently has mobilized against him.

Top Republican congressional leaders Tuesday took a dramatic step to distance themselves from Trump, denouncing some of his comments when he declined over the weekend to immediately denounce the endorsement of David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill. “They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals. This is the party of Lincoln.”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was equally forceful, saying, “Senate Republicans condemn David Duke, the KKK, and his racism.”

“There has been a lot of talk in the last 24 hours about one of our presidential candidates and his seeming ambivalence about David Duke and the KKK, so let me make it perfectly clear,” he said. “That is not the view of Republicans who have been elected to the United States Senate, and I condemn his views in the most forceful way.”

The Republican leader found himself straddling a difficult line between trying to avoid lasting damage from his party but also not dismiss the candidate who is winning overwhelmingly in state after state.

“If I’m going to win all these states tonight,” Trump said, “it’s awfully hard to say this is not the person we want to lead the party.”

Trump said he didn’t know Ryan very well. “I’m sure I’ll get along with him,” he said. “And if I don’t? He’ll have to pay a big price.”

With 595 delegates at stake across 11 states — and record turnouts in many of them — Trump was in a position to take a dominant role in the nomination contest. Although the delegates Tuesday will be awarded proportionally, Trump is likely to win a large share of them.

“Maybe the establishment needs to get out, too,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Tuesday morning. “When you see what’s going on. They’ve lost two elections in a row. Big ones. The last one with Mitt Romney should have been easy.”

Trump also said Rubio should drop out of the race.

“I think he has to get out,” Trump said. “He hasn’t won anything, and Ted Cruz very rightly points out Marco has not won.”

According to CNN exit polls, voters who described themselves as “angry” turned out in Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas, whereas Republicans in Northern states reported being “dissatisfied” with the government but not angry. Voters in nearly all states — with the exception of Texas and Vermont — said they were looking for an outsider candidate.



Inspector General: 4 of 11 Forward Bases at Border ‘Not Operational’

A new report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (IG) shows that 4 of 11 Forward Operating Bases of the Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) along the southwest border are "not operational"; at several other bases the security cameras do not work, the security gates do not meet standards, and providing safe drinking water for the officers is a recurring problem.

The report, Conditions at CBP's Forward Operating Bases Along the Southwest Border, also found other problems, including an access road that is "treacherous" and a "safety concern"; air-conditioning that does not work properly; expired fire extinguishers; irregular inspections; and in nearly all these instances, despite numerous work orders, repairs that have not been made over the course of many years.

The inspector general review states that the IG's office visited the Forward Operating Bases in 2015, and its report was prepared for the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and released on Feb. 8, 2016.

A Forward Operating Base, or FOB, is a permanent station "established in forward or remote locations to sustain Border Patrol operations," reads the report, primarily in areas where there is a high degree of illegal alien crossings and drug running. A FOB is indispensable to Border Patrol intelligence, deterrence, and rapid response.

There are 4 FOBs on the U.S.-Canadian border and 11 FOBs at the U.S. Mexico border. The IG's office looked at the FOBs on the U.S.-Mexico border.

At the time of the IG's review,  3 of the 11 FOBs "on the southwest border were not operational." So the IG visited 7 FOBs in the El Paso, Rio Grande Valley, and Tucson Sectors. Six of the FOBs -- 3 in El Paso Sector, 3 in Tucson sector -- were operational; 1 FOB in the Rio Grande Valley was not operational.

For a FOB, several Border Patrol agents are assigned to work and live there, usually in 7-day stints, an 8-hour shift each day. The FOB is required to have bedrooms, showers and restrooms, a kitchen, a common area with TV, and a fitness room.

At one FOB, the IG found the facility had "experienced recurring issues with the air conditioning," in a region where the temperature sometime measured in the 100s. At least 10 work orders had been submitted between 2012 and 2014 to fix the A/C problems.The IG report discovered "security issues" at all 6 FOBs, as well as inadequate documentation of maintenance and repairs at the stations.

Another FOB did "not have a functioning closed circuit television (CCTV) security camera system," even though it is mandated under CBP rules as defined in the Office of Internal Affairs (IA) handbook.

As the handbook states, "all facilities are to have a functioning CCTV system of cameras, recorders, switches, keyboards, and monitors that record security videos and allow agents on guard duty to monitor the grounds and perimeter of the facility," reads the IG report.

"If agents cannot perform this task," states the report, "the FOB is more vulnerable to a security breach."

The Tucson Sector requested in January 13 that the security camera system be repaired.  Another work order was submitted 19 months later, in August 2014, because the cameras "were still inoperable," said the IG.

The repair was than marked closed in October 2014, but as the IG found, as of its April 2015 visit, "the security cameras had not been fixed."

At a FOB [name redacted], the security cameras stored recordings "on a network video recorder rather than digital video recorder," which is not in compliance CBP standards.For the six FOBs visited by the IG, "four had one or more" security cameras "that were inoperable." All but two of the cameras at one FOB have been "inoperable since August 2014, when they were struck by lightning," said the report.

The IG report noted, "Because of their proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, it is essential that FOBs are equipped with proper, functioning surveillance equipment to maintain awareness and monitor the FOB grounds and perimeter."

The CBP IA handbook requires the FOBs to have an 8-foot high, chain link perimeter fence and an electronic gate. For the FOBs at the southwest border, they have the fences. But only 4 bases have electronic gates, the other 2 are manual gates. During the IG's visit, one of the manual gates was unlocked and open, as was one of the electronic gates.

At one of the FOB's [name redacted] with a manual gate, 10 CBP employees told the IG that "the manual gate is repeatedly left open."

"The practice of leaving the gate open increases the likelihood of someone gaining unauthorized access to the FOB," said the IG. "In 2011, Tucson Sector requested funds from CBP to upgrade the manual gate. To date, the gate had not been upgraded to an electronic access gate."

At another base, the access road is "unsafe and deteriorating," said the IG. "Large portions of the road have washed away completely; other parts are impassable because of craters in the road."

The DHS's Office of Inspector General conducted its inspection of the FOBs in 2015. The IG also visited and conducted interviews at three Border Patrol sector headquarters and six Border Patrol stations.



Moral Hazard in Flint, Michigan

If we bail out Flint, we'll have to bail out everyone else

The city of Flint, Michigan is, in short, a mess. The city is broke, and because of corrosive water from the Flint River, the water supply has become tainted with lead and other toxins. In response to the crisis, Democrats in the Senate are proposing an $850 million rider to an energy bill that would provide aid to Flint and other cities in cleaning up their water supplies.

Let’s be honest, this is a hard thing for a lawmaker to vote against. The optics of voting against cleaning up polluted water can be deadly, especially in an election year. But good optics and good policy are often different, and what the Democrats are proposing is terrible policy for a number of reasons.

There’s a term economists use called “moral hazard.” It describes a situation in which failure is made less costly, with the result that people are more willing to fail. By signaling that the federal government is willing to intervene in local crises to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, mayors, governors, and state legislators have less incentive to make sure their policies are good ones. If something goes wrong, the federal net will be there to catch them. The result of this will be a lot more cities like Flint in the future.

Such a move in Flint would set a poor precedent. If the Senate bails out a single ailing city, they will soon have to beat back an army of cities insisting that their own situations merit a similar bailout. There will be no end to the flood of money that will have to flow from Congress to the states, because failure to comply will be seen as uncompassionate, or worse in the case of cities with high minority populations, racist.

As the national debt continues to soar past $19 trillion with no end in sight, the last thing we need is to start shelling out for every mismanaged city in the country. Problems like the ones experienced in Flint were created at local level, and they ultimately have to be solved at the local level or state level. Otherwise, we might as well abandon all pretense of federalism.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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