May 11, 2019

If you’re the kind of person who relies on the likes of CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, NPR, and The New York Times you’re probably either too absorbed in marking down the days on your calendar until Donald Trump’s impeachment, cheering the fact that surveillance on a political campaign isn’t really spying, or starving your loved one of sex to protest the increasing threat to women’s reproductive rights (whatever that is) to recognize that this week was the most important week of Donald Trump’s presidency.

And that it had nothing to do with Russian “collusion”, obstruction of justice, or the 2020 political campaign.

Oh, that’s not to say that it wasn’t an important week in that regard – the almost daily revelations of how and when the kind of surveillance Comey talked began remains a drip, drip, drip that will in due time turn into a true, full-blown political scandal of epic proportions (I’m guessing right around the same time as the 2020 primary season kicks into full gear), the Democrats’ increasing hysteria over the use of subpoenas as a political weapon – something that has both wings of the Party’s political apparatus rightly concerned, and (if you’re ignoring the polls which mean nothing this far out) a growing unease within Democratic Party circles that gaffe-prone Joe Biden’s already old and tired-looking campaign is looking increasingly like Hillary II (or is it III?) were interesting enough in their own right, but hardly the stuff of true, lasting impact on the global political and socio-economic front.

No, I’m talking about what went down with the China trade negotiations this week. And it’s not as much important as it is cataclysmic in terms of our economic and political relationship with the Panda. Because, for the first time in American history, an American president has refused to kow-tow to China’s negotiating games and head fakes and not just walked away from a trade agreement, but do so by slapping a 25% tariff on various goods and services imported from China not currently subject to tarriff. Of course, this has all the usual globalists that serve as talking heads on the cable networks and their “China First, America Second”, cheap-labor-above-all-else compadres on Wall Street, the Business Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce talking economic Armageddon and wagging their fingers in disdain.

Me, I was in full agreement with Steve Bannon on this when he predicted the President and his savvy team of negotiators wouldn’t hesitate to walk away in the face of China back-tracking on positions that had been negotiated over the past year and a half:

“I happen to think that today [Monday] was the most important day of Donald Trump’s presidency,” Bannon told Dobbs. “He’s president of the United States because of the rejection of working-class people and middle-class people, about the managed decline of our country at the hands of people like Hillary Clinton. The Clinton global initiative, the whole Clinton apparatus. These globalists and elitists were very comfortable with the managed decline, particularly vis-a-vis the rise of China. And Donald Trump confronted that, particularly in the upper Midwest. This is the reason he won states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio. People understand […] the factories went to China, the jobs went to China, and the opioids came in. So I think that Trump understands that tariffs are more than taxes. They’re more about self-empowerment of the working class.”

…What’s more, Bannon said, these moves by Trump aren’t aimed at the Chinese people, but at their authoritarian rulers, who use their power and influence to enrich themselves, their family and their friends, while the average Chinese citizen continues to struggle (and is forced to keep his mouth shut about political issues — or else).

In other words, American lobbyists and Wall Street investors — who are putting pressure on Trump — are actually helping an enemy of the American and of the Chinese people, namely the Chinese Communist Party.

It’s pretty obvious (at least to me) that, as Michael Pillsbury states in this Fox Business interview with Lou Dobbs, that China seriously underestimated both the President’s long-held and widely known, and his negotiating team’s grim determination, to once and for all recalibrate the economic relationship between China and the U.S. As Sundance writes at The Conservative Treehouse:

President Trump has begun a process for less dependence on foreign companies for cheap goods, (the cornerstone of a service economy) and a return to a more balanced U.S. larger economic model where the manufacturing and production base can be re-established and competitive based on American entrepreneurship and innovation.

No other economy in the world innovates like the U.S.A, President Trump sees this as a key advantage across all industry – including manufacturing.

The benefit of cheap overseas labor, which is considered a global market disadvantage for the U.S., is offset by utilizing innovation and energy independence.

The third highest variable cost of goods beyond raw materials first, labor second, is energy. President Trump unleashed the U.S. energy sector and slashed regulations; as a consequence the U.S. manufacturing price of any given product now allows for global trade competition even with higher U.S. wage prices.

In addition the U.S. has a key strategic advantage with raw manufacturing materials such as: iron ore, coal, steel, precious metals and vast mineral assets which are needed in most new modern era manufacturing. Trump proposed we stop selling these valuable national assets to countries we compete against – they belong to the American people, they should be used for the benefit of American citizens. Period.

…As the wage rate increases (it is), and as the economy expands (it is), the governmental dependency model is reshaped and simultaneously receipts to the U.S. treasury improve. More money into the U.S Treasury and less dependence on welfare programs have a combined exponential impact. You gain a dollar, and have no need to spend a dollar. That is how the SSI and safety net programs are saved under President Trump.

When you elevate your economic thinking you begin to see that all of the “entitlements” or expenditures become more affordable with an economy that is fully functional.

As the GDP of the U.S. expands, so too does our ability to meet the growing need of the retiring U.S. worker. We stop thinking about how to best divide a limited economic pie, and begin thinking about how many more economic pies we can create.

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out, but it’s obviously clear that President Trump’s commitment to the American worker and confidence in American ingenuity and being the charters of our own destiny is light years from Barack Obama’s self-defeating and self-depressing concept of America’s economic future. The same holds true with the Democrats’ embrace of European socialism as a way to level the playing field for all concerned. By walking away from China and letting them stew for a few weeks until they inevitably return to the negotiating table, Donald Trump is placing all his chips on unbridled American capitalism as a way to expand economic opportunity to everyone through jobs, increased wages, and an expanding economy that will inevitably fill the federal government’s coffers with increased revenues that can ultimately be used to pay down our national debt and save programs like Medicare and Social Security. It’s not going to happen overnight, obviously, but, compared to the direction we’ve been headed since Ronald Reagan was president, it’s well worth trying.

Donald Trump is placing his bets on the American people, American know-how, and capitalism as a force for lifting all boats on a rising tide of unbridled economic opportunity. Those who seek to get in his way for purely partisan political purposes (the four “Ps”!) do so at their own peril.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 10:30 | Comments (0)
May 7, 2019

This is a long article, but well worth reading, even if you’re not a supporter of President Trump. If there’s one thing to be taken from the article it’s long past time for Congress to investigate just how and why our nation’s intelligence organizations – the FBI and the CIA were weaponized by the Obama administration and their activities sanctioned by the Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Regardless of what the major news networks and the so-called talking head “experts” at the cable news networks have told you, what culminated in an all-out intelligence-gathering (i.e., spying) against the Trump campaign actually started with a foundational change in new limitations placed upon any inspectors general to see how intelligence was allowed to be gathered towards the end of Barack Obama’s first administration. This change created a “backdrop of minimal oversight” that allowed highly-placed players in the FBI and CIA to allow their own political leanings to cloud their judgment as to how these intelligence-gathering organizations could wield their power.

It’s an interesting and must-read.

It’s a sad thing that the major cable networks have allowed their irrational and all-consuming hatred of Donald Trump cloud their own judgment, because in the end it will be a watershed moment in American political history – one that will make Watergate look like a candy store theft. The fact is, this country’s intelligence community became a weapon, not just to be employed against Donald Trump, but to not be employed against Hillary Clinton and her obvious obstruction of justice involving potentially criminal “pay for play” activities as Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation. It doesn’t really matter, in the end, which will be deemed to be worse; the fact is, there are, and have been, two different kinds of justice being served: one for the non-elected Washington elites wielding immense power to spy and employ illegal actions out of political consideration, the other for the rest of us.

Some undoubtedly will say something to the effect that, “well, they all do it to one extent or another”, but in this case I doubt it – not to this extent and level. My sense is that Barack Obama and his administration, whether actively, passively, or (I’m guessing, both) sought to use the power of the Executive branch to further Obama’s radical progressive agenda to remake this country through the weaponization of departments like the IRS, the EPA, and Justice and ensure that the Obama agenda would be continued by way of a Hillary Clinton presidency. What Obama and his progressive stormtroopers didn’t realize was just how much Hillary Clinton was disliked by the American electorate and just how inept a campaigner she would be.

The story is just now slowly but surely coming out, and when this country learns the extent to which an opponent’s political campaign was spied on throughout an election campaign and, following his inauguration, continued for the sole purpose of sabotaging his duly-elected administration, people are going to be shocked. The Democrats know this and will try anything to keep the focus on the Mueller investigation fallout. And the mainstream media who will be revealed as complicit in this effort will attempt to do the same. But the Mueller investigation will, in the end, look like a drop in the bucket compared to breadth and width of the illegal, and, in some cases, criminal activities that actually took place starting with, and with the full knowledge of, the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the highest levels of the Obama administration. And when all is revealed in the end, I can guarantee you it won’t be pretty.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:53 | Comments (0)
May 5, 2019

As you might imagine, Cinco de Mayo is YUUUUGE here in the Valley of the Sun. You won’t be able to get near a Mexican restaurant, and you can bet Scottsdale will be full of drunk rich dehydrated millennials and hipsters puking their guts out after being served their eighth Silver Patron margarita under a blazing sun.

Me, I think I’ll just make margaritas here for Tracey while I finish putting up the rest of my palm tree and flamingo patio lights. I don’t do margaritas much anymore, but we’ll probably order some Mexican takeout and simply enjoy a quiet day at the Richard hacienda.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:01 | Comments (0)
May 4, 2019

Target Handicap: 20.0
MyScorecard.com Handicap: 27.2 / Change: (+0.2)
Location: Trilogy Golf at Power Ranch
Score: 53 + 50 = 103

Another enjoyable round of golf played with complete strangers (including, BTW, my first interaction with a true PXG devotee, a Marine who came wearing black-and-silver clothes to match his black-and-silver golf clubs and black-and-silver golf bag – these guys are truly the Oakland Raiders / rebels /pirates of the golf world!), another disappointing round that will be looked back on as “one that got away”, and in a big way.

I’d like to think that I’m not that much of a would/coulda/shoulda guy when it comes to my play, but Lawdy Miss Clawdy, there were opportunities galore out there that I just frittered away. I actually went into the round feeling pretty confident about where my game was headed: I was really enjoying the new devil-may-care attitude with my driver (I knew it was still a work in progress and there would be some shaky holes out there – which there were), but I had been hitting my irons really well of late with my 3/4 take-away. I hadn’t been doing a whole lot of work on my short game, but I figure that’s always the last thing that comes around because you just can’t simulate game conditions around some dopey practice green. Besides, while I hadn’t exactly lit up Superstition Springs with my short game two weeks ago, it wasn’t that bad, especially considering how the Springs uses lots of faux mogels and around its greens.

Boy, what a stupid I turned out to be! On the front nine I can’t recall the last time (and I’m talking years here) that I’ve hit my irons so poorly. And it didn’t matter where it was – off the fairway, around the green, or off the tees. I can’t explain it, except to say that I was so out of sync I just couldn’t function. Johnny Miller would be saying that I was choking every time I would try and hit an iron, and I’d have a hard time arguing with him there – it was that bad. How bad was it? Try being +7 on the three par 3s on the front. +7! I don’t normally count strokes as lost because, by and large, things usually even out with good bounces and shots that one might normally make, but, reviewing the first nine holes I counted thirteen shots that were completely tossed away. I’m not counting, say, putts I think I should have made (although that 8-inch miss for bogey on the par 5 #7 hurt), and I’m not talking about chips that, say, ended up above the hole when they should have been left below the hole. I’m talking about true wasted shots: taking two or sometimes three chips just to put it on the green. I’m talking about sand wedges from, say 20-30 yards that I couldn’t get near the green in one try. Take away half of those and you’re looking at a fairly respectable mid-40s nine and I’m a most happy fella.

It was on the par 4 #12 that I finally hit a decent iron, nailing a 9-iron from 114 yards out to twelve feet left of the pin to raucous applause from my playing partners. And while I three-putted for the double bogey, I then went par (5-iron from 166 yards), bogey (6-iron from 151), bogey (8-iron from 132) that steadied the nerves a bit before I duffed yet another sand wedge (shit!) leading to a double-bogey on the par 5 #17 and chunking a pitching wedge into the pond on #18 that was followed by yet another duffed sand wedge (the fifth of the day) leading to a triple-bogey seven.

To say that I’m perplexed by this would be an understatement. I can’t remember such a poor performance (and I’ve got an elephant’s memory when it comes to these kinds of things). While there were a couple of years somewhere like 6-7 years ago that my short game rocked (when most every other aspect of my game sucked), I’ll admit my short game has always its ebbs and flows, but nothing even close to today.

…which is too bad, because I hit my driver with abandon all day and enjoyed doing so. I only “officially” hit four fairways, but there were plenty of times I wasn’t off by much. As the round went on I became less enchanted with an increasingly-high fade traj that began costing me precious yardage, but I couldn’t fix it. So there’s clearly work to do there, but it was sure fun not being afraid of where my drives would go.

Hopefully today was just an aberration. I’m not sure what else to do except get out there and try and play as much as I reasonably can. Keep working on my driver, keep working on those 3/4 takeaways with my irons, and let the damned chips fall where they may. But that doesn’t mean what happened on the front nine today isn’t going to haunt my psyche for at least a little while.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 20:00 | Comments (0)

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