The Latest News Roundup

Republicans have almost accomplished something—almost because the House and the Senate still have to iron out differences—but it looks like a tax cut bill is ready to become reality.

Democrats criticized the Senate version as being cobbled together at the last moment, thereby not giving enough time to study it. Does that concern jog anyone else’s memory?

Yes, they didn’t exhibit this type of concern back in the Obamacare days.

One feature of the bill is something Ted Cruz added to it. I’ll let him explain:

The Senate also voted to adopt my amendment to expand 529 College Savings Plans to include K-12 elementary and secondary school tuition for public, private, and religious schools, including K-12 educational expenses for homeschool students.

I appreciate Cruz’s concern for families, and that it extends to Christian schools and those who choose homeschooling. The Democrats’ reaction to the Republican bill is perhaps best expressed by their Senate leader, Chuck Schumer:

What else has been happening? How about the wheels of justice in a place like San Francisco, where the illegal immigrant who was deported five times and then shot and killed Kate Steinle was acquitted by a jury of San Francisco citizens?

I think most of America has a different verdict to offer to the denizens of that Far Left enclave:

Also, the Mueller probe continues, in which former Trump advisor Michael Flynn has now accepted a guilty plea for lying to the FBI. I don’t condone Flynn’s actions nor his sometimes shady activities, but the glee on the Left reached new heights when ABC reporter (?) Brian Ross, citing a single anonymous source, declared that Flynn was prepared to testify that Donald Trump, as a candidate for president, told him to contact Russians.

The glee turned gloomy when the report turned out to be false. Ross has now been suspended for four weeks and has been informed that he will not be allowed to cover Trump news.

Lest you think everything has been rosy for the president, don’t forget that he tweets. He’s now claiming that the voice on that infamous NBC tape in which he boasted about how he could do pretty much anything he wanted with women due to his celebrity—you know, the tape that almost brought down his candidacy—is not really his voice at all.

Really.

We’re supposed to ignore the fact that he acknowledged back then that it was indeed his voice and that he offered somewhat of an apology for those words. I say “somewhat” because apology is not part of his vocabulary.

Even when things go right for Donald Trump, he is capable of ruining good news.

I shouldn’t neglect to mention that North Korea keeps firing missiles. It appears that rogue nation now has the ability to send one directly into the heart of America. What’s the next step for us in response to this threat?

I really hope we come up with something better than that.

North Korea: A Genuine Threat?

Ever since the Korean War ended in a ceasefire, and not a real peace agreement, North Korea has continued to have designs on the whole peninsula. American troops are still stationed at the border between North and South; at times, they’ve discovered tunnels from the North large enough for tanks and other armored vehicles to travel through for invasion of the South. They routinely blow them up.

North Korea has been governed—if that’s the appropriate term—by one family ever since that 1950s war. Just when you think the supreme leader can’t be any ditzier, the successor proves you wrong. Kim Jong-un, the stout 30-year-old grand poobah of the North Korean prison camp nation, seems to want to prove his mettle, whether to his military commanders, his people, or himself—or all three. Consequently, he has embarked on a dangerous journey of threats of the nuclear variety. He’s probably more dangerous than either his father or grandfather, if no other reason than that he’s too young to have any experience in life-altering decisions.

Perhaps his father never told him that it’s hazardous to play with . . . well, you know:

He doesn’t come across as someone with whom you might have a rational conversation:

Of course, if he tries anything, he could get a rude awakening:

Are these empty threats, or are they serious? Will this administration have the wisdom to deal effectively with the little man? We keep sending foreign aid to North Korea, thinking that will make them more reasonable, but any country that cares nothing for its own people cannot be counted on to be rational.

I conclude that he could set the Korean peninsula ablaze once more; he may be able to do more damage than we think. We had better treat this as a potential disaster-in-the-making. If only we had grownups in charge right now.

An Exercise in Bracketing

It’s the time of year for everyone to fill out their brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament. I used to follow this closely; now, hardly at all. I freely admit I don’t even know which are the best teams anymore. I even more freely admit that I don’t really care all that much. Now, I know in some circles that may sound heretical—I mean, I’m even from Indiana, the basketball center of gravity.

But I don’t begrudge people wasting devoting time to it, if they really think it has some eternal value, although for the life of me I’m not sure what that might be. Goodness, I’m beginning to sound like a crotchety old man. Let me redeem myself. In the spirit of the bracket frenzy, I offer some possibilities from the political arena. How about if we begin with the Reid Budget brackets?

Well, now, that was exciting. He seems to draw a blank every year. What next? Something in the international realm?

Surely there’s a lot of truth in that bracket. Very useful. Let’s come back to presidential politics. The primary season is “only” three years away; it’s never too early to consider the options.

Are we really so certain of the right side of this bracket? Chills running down the spine. Not the happy kind.

What about the overall picture for the nation?

Looks a little overwhelming, doesn’t it? Yet it does bring clarity to the current situation.

I hope this little exercise in bracketing has mollified anyone offended by my earlier comments. I trust I’ve redeemed myself.

Hugo Chavez: Not Resting in Peace

I’m still playing catch-up after my week away. When I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a week ago Tuesday, I heard the news that Hugo Chavez, self-anointed dictator of Venezuela, had finally succumbed to the cancer he had been fighting for some time. He had availed himself of the Cuban healthcare system for treatment, putting his future in the hands of ideological soulmates, believing to the end, I suppose, that the socialist paradise would be his temporal salvation. He was wrong.

Chavez sought to do for Venezuela what Castro did for Cuba, what the family of looney leaders have concocted for North Korea, and what other assorted socialist-communist visionaries have attempted in various parts of the world. He hated the United States, particularly when George Bush was president, calling Bush at one point “the devil.” I think he was a little confused about the identity of the devil; that confusion probably has lifted now:

This motif occurred to more than one cartoonist:

Chavez was also one of the darlings of the radical Occupy Movement. This has certainly been a downer for them:

The cult of personality Chavez promoted in Venezuela was no different than that of Mao’s in China or Castro’s in Cuba. And like both of them, he did his best to bully his opposition by shutting down all media outlets that wouldn’t bow down to his socialist policies. Freedom was becoming a rare commodity in that nation.

While I can feel sorrow for a lost soul, I cannot be unhappy that his reign of terror and error has come to an abrupt end. Perhaps for the people of Venezuela who still understand the principles of liberty, there is hope now for their future.

The Occupiers’ Supporters

“Occupying” seems to have become a fulltime occupation for some. Hey, it beats working, right? At least that’s the impression some of the occupiers give. Have you seen the list of organizations and individuals that are supporters of this movement? They include a variety of communist organizations, as well as the official Communist Party. And don’t forget the Nazi Party; they’re on board, too. Throw in the Black Panthers, Louis Farrakhan,B and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and you have quite an assembly. Foreign “dignitaries”  and groups who have provided verbal support include Hugo Chavez, Iran’s Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei, the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, Hezbollah, the nation of North Korea, and the Communist Party of China.

Greetings, comrades and jihadists!

Everyone’s anti-capitalist to some extent. Corporations are evil, you see. Inherently so. Don’t make any distinctions between those who provide valuable products and services, and who give massive sums to charity and those who are operated by selfish thugs. Just declare them all to be—in the words of a bygone era—Robber Barons.

Such righteousness on the part of the occupiers. Are you aware that some of the leaders have now applied for a trademark for the name “Occupy Wall Street”? How very capitalist of them.

One cartoonist created a fable of sorts to illustrate the mindset of the occupiers:

Oh, you mean there’s a political aspect to this? Is that why President Obama has made supportive statements with respect to this “movement”? Are these really the people with whom he wants to be associated?

Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to win him many votes.