Sunday, January 31, 2016

Establishment Media Backs Trump; Are Iowa's Evangelists Gullible? Hello One America News Network!

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was heading for front-runner status in the race for the Republican nomination for president back in December, until he referred to Donald Trump's "New York values" in one of the interminable presidential debates, this one hosted by FOX.

Cruz made the point that New Yorkers, which most thinking people understand means residents of New York City, not necessarily the rest of the state, are liberal in their thoughts and actions. Trump parried Cruz's comment not with a defense of his liberal positions on a variety of matters, but by bringing up the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were hit by aircraft that had been hijacked by Muslim extremists and more than 2,000 people died.

Since then it has been rough going for Cruz, not out in the rest of the country, that also lost people and buildings on that day, but with the New York/Washington media cartel, which has spared no effort in painting Cruz as highly disagreeable and inappropriate to be President of the United States. This is remarkable in the sense that until Cruz uttered that phrase – which Cruz has plenty of statements from Trump himself to back him up – the very media that now is savage in its attacks on him, led by the FOX News Channel, had been equally vicious in its attacks on Trump.

Now, however, Trump, who boycotted the last FOX debate for GOP candidates ostensibly because he doesn’t like Megyn Kelly, one of the 'moderators,' (but more likely because he didn't want to lose support that close to caucus voting due to attacks from his rivals,) is solidly a New York/D.C media favorite. Even, or perhaps especially, FOX goes out of its way to paint Cruz in the worst possible light while giving Trump a pass on virtually everything.

We expect this of the Washington Post, New York Times – or any New York newspaper for that matter – and the television networks, not to mention MSNBC and CNN. But FOX claims to be Fair, Balanced and Unafraid. Unfair, definitely Unbalanced, and Job Scared should be its logo. (I should note that the Times endorsed Ohio Governor John Kasich, but frankly, I believe that was just for cover. They can't be serious.)

Take for instance Special Report on Friday night, when anchor Bret Baier did an interview with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, in which Cruz's objection to government subsidies for ethanol arose. Although Baier briefly hit on the fact that Branstad's son is a highly paid lobbyist for ethanol, he allowed the governor to outright lie when he used the term "refineries" when referring to jobs involving the production of ethanol. Then the governor claimed that ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, and that objections to ethanol come from "Big Oil."

I say lie because Branstad knows that ethanol is not a fuel that is refined. It is moonshine corn liquor that is distilled, the same as any other spirits like bourbon, whiskey, sour mash or vodka, and only becomes ethanol when gasoline is mixed with it. And since the US Congress has mandated that "Big Oil" use no less than 32 billion gallons of ethanol domestically by 2020 – meaning a ready-made before-market outlet just in mixing gas with the moonshine – I don’t see how they can possibly have a problem with a government induced and government mandated and supported market.

In fact, the law requires that the moonshine (corn liquor) have gasoline added to it so the people who distill it won't be able to drink it between the distillery and the pump; not that there is any worry of that happening in a state where the Evangelical Christian vote is all powerful and FOX claims that more than half of the evangelicals are voting for Trump.

Then on FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace did an abominable interview with Cruz, repeatedly interrupting him when he was trying to answer Wallace's questions, and baiting him with false employment and job "statistics." Fortunately for journalism, Wallace came out on the short end of that stick.

That was followed by an incredibly fawning interview with Trump in which he was allowed to make several baseless and unchallenged attacks on Cruz. Wallace even let Trump get away with saying he didn't know where his money was going when he donated $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, even though he has only donated $57,000 to veterans' causes prior to his run for president.

I thought Trump was the ultimate businessman. Yet he gives away a quarter-million dollars without knowing where it is going and for what purpose? Sounds like a classic Washington/Manhattan insider to me. Trump even brought up Cruz's citizenship again without mentioning that he is considering a lawsuit against Cruz! Without a peep from Wallace.

Wallace's one-two interview frankly was one of the most unprofessional I have ever seen despite working four decades in the media and related industries. It reminded me of disgraced CBS News anchor Dan Rather's self-promoting attacks on President Richard Nixon back in the 1970's – before Nixon resigned.

But worse, Wallace's 'panel of experts' which supposedly is comprised of media professionals with superior insight into the issues of the day, included none other than Branstad! And again he was allowed to bash Cruz unchecked – although he has lots of nice things to say about Trump – and again portrayed the ethanol industry as a boon to his state while falsely claiming Cruz is against renewable energy – with no challenge from Wallace or the panel.

Wallace, who also "moderated" the most recent debate in which his lack of professionalism was at its height – "This is a debate sir, and we'll set the rules" – knew that Cruz had answered that criticism by noting that he favors all forms of renewable energy but not government subsidies for any of them. Yet Wallace remained silent on Sunday then and again when Branstad referred to ethanol distilleries as "plants" instead of distilleries.

Which brings me to the question, are Iowa's evangelical Christians, as well as other voters, all that gullible? Are they so uninformed on ethanol that they don't know that half of their state's corn crop goes to making moonshine that then is mixed with gasoline to make a dirty, expensive and ineffective "biofuel" that American drivers are forced to buy to support their "industry?"

Do they not know that Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have been mostly silent on their new-found Christianity until they started running last-minute campaign ads hoping to influence the evangelical vote? Do they not know that many of Trump's positions are diametrically opposite of their professed beliefs?

I guess we'll find out Monday night after the caucus vote comes in.

Oh, and I have been a loyal viewer of FOX News and FOX News Sunday in particular since the late Tony Snow was the host. But after seeing the gross lack of professionalism on view this week in Iowa, building on plenty of previous instances, I will now be getting my news elsewhere. And, while one viewer may not matter, you can bet that if a loyal person like me has had it with FOX, plenty of others have too.

Say goodnight FOX; One America News Network seems like a good place to relocate.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Truth About Ethanol, Snow Storms and Ted Cruz

Prior to last week's blizzard I was more than confident that I could dig out without too much trouble, since my relatively new snowblower is in the words of one reviewer "a beast" that makes short work of even really heavy snowfalls.

Not to mention that right after the first heavy frost last fall put an end to lawn mowing, I moved the snowblower from the back of the garage to the front, changed the oil, cleaned the spark plug and started it to make sure it would run when I needed it. But that was in October and we didn't have a real snow storm until Saturday, January 23.

Nonetheless, on Friday afternoon I brought the 'beast' outside to start it just to make sure. But it didn't start. It didn't start when I primed it and pulled the starting cord a bunch of times, it didn’t start no matter how I adjusted the choke, it didn’t start when I used the electric start, and it didn’t start even after I cleaned the spark plug again.

By the time I was finished ruling out all the other factors it was dark and I knew that the issue was the fuel. Why?

Because small engine fuel across the US is the same fuel we put into our cars and it is laced with ETHANOL a corn/carbon based bio-fuel additive that the government requires because it is supposed to give us a cleaner alternative to refined gasoline at no reduction in performance. Which is BULL! Ethanol is dirty, creates pollution while being processed, does nothing for performance, and gums up our engines.[1]

Ethanol, which actually is distilled corn, which actually is moonshine, or 'corn likker' depending on where you live, is not the cure-all that the government and Iowa corn growers and distillers claim. Worse, if left unused too long it requires another additive to "stabilize" the gasoline/ethanol mixture so seasonal appliances such as lawn mowers or snowblowers will start even if they have not been used for several months.

Except, as I found out last weekend, the stabilizer additive breaks down over time too, especially if it is exposed to the heat of summer! This happens to most snowblowers because they aren’t used in most summers.

So Saturday morning I ended up outside on the frozen lawn, taking my snowblower apart as the snow was beginning to really come down on my head, ultimately draining a half-gallon of what had been perfectly good gasoline, and replacing it with gas I purchased that morning. All because since 1978, during the jimmy carter administration, the US government has been paying farmers and distillers – not refiners, distillers – through subsidies and tax breaks, to produce more and more of this crap, to gum up our engines and fuel lines, causing us to spend more to buy additives, all the while we are being taxed for each gallon of modified moonshine. (Distillers are required to mix the end product with gasoline before shipping to discourage people from drinking it.)[2]

The outright subsidies to this colossal rip-off ended in 2011, but Congress was sly enough to eliminate one tax and replace it with a sneakier means of getting our money. In 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which requires the use of renewable motor fuel under a new mandate, the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The next year Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act which requires that by 2022, 36 billion gallons of renewable oil, which basically means ethanol, be added to US gasoline supplies each year.

Even though federal subsidies for ethanol were eliminated in 2011, the Renewable Fuel Standard remains in place, ensuring that each year the amount of ethanol produced increases, meaning that farmers who raise corn for ethanol and distillers who produce the moonshine that becomes ethanol will have a steady market, through government intervention, regardless of the viability of the product. Oh, and foreign ethanol is hit by a tariff the second it reaches US soil, so there is no foreign competition.[3]

Thus, when Ted Cruz says he is not in favor of ethanol subsidies, he is doing all American taxpayers a big favor. That is especially true if he is elected president and follows through by eliminating government support for this unnecessary product, which literally creates another welfare class, this time of corn farmers and ethanol distillers.

In my mind there is only one degree of separation between farmers who put their acreage into corn for ethanol, rather than using it to produce food, and an inner city hoodlum who collects food stamps to trade for drugs and alcohol. And while there may be jobs at the hundreds of distilleries that have sprung up in America's Corn Belt since 1978, those jobs wouldn’t be there if there was a real market for ethanol.

There is a ton of information on the Internet regarding ethanol, including how it creates more pollution to make it than it saves as a gasoline additive. Did you know that a by-product of ethanol production is carbon dioxide, which producers then sell? If there is a market for carbon dioxide why don't they just recover some of what is already in the atmosphere instead of creating more?

In fact, since Donald Trump bashed Cruz for not supporting ethanol subsidies, and since Iowa also is a state where the Christian Evangelical vote is huge, and Trump obviously believes he can squash Cruz both on trade and religion, I guess we have a question to ask the Evangelicals.

Do you believe that creating job revenue by supporting government subsidized production of the Devil's Brew, especially since it in turn is being used to support massive taxes on individual drivers through a false claim that it is beneficial to the environment, is a true testament to your faith?

If you do, then you are a hypocrite and God help you. If not, then you should rise up against those who spout false prophecies and flush that unused ethanol down the drain – if it can be done without polluting the earth. Up with hydrogen!
Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Genius of Trump's Generalizations

Virtually since he announced his candidacy for President of the United States, Donald Trump has been subjected to a stream of demands that he issue specific plans on subjects ranging from national defense to immigration to tax reform.

With the exception of his economic plan, a field in which he has more than a passing acquaintance, Trump generally has avoided getting into "the weeds" as pundits and political operatives refer to the fine print, preferring to work in generalizations.

The media obsession with specifics was obvious on a recent broadcast of the O'Reilly Factor, hosted by FOX News political commentator Bill O'Reilly. Trump was being quizzed on his approach to the quickly unraveling situation in the Middle East where Saudi Arabia, ostensibly our ally, and Iran, definitely not an ally, are becoming increasingly belligerent toward each other.

O'Reilly wanted to know whether Trump would send troops to Saudi Arabia to help in case of war, and Trump would not give O'Reilly a definite yes or no, despite the host's insistence. "The American people want some unpredictability," Trump said several times, to O'Reilly's obvious displeasure.

Trump is taking the smart road in his response to the media and other candidates' incessant demands for specifics which, if he obliged them, would then be torn apart and ridiculed even if they are the best plans ever seen on the political stage. It is obvious that American leaders should not be announcing their plans for military action, as has been the case since the Johnson Administration gave our enemies in Vietnam a near daily security briefing on what we would and would not be doing.
Donald Trump

In fact, being specific on what you will or won't do in certain situations when you don't have access to all the background information, is pretty stupid. Trying to look like the class genius by having all the answers when you can't possibly have all the intelligence needed to make an informed decision actually makes you look like the class clown, or the class know-it-all. And candidates who do get specific on all manner of issues when they don't have the facts, not only look stupid, but they are playing right into the media's hands, as well as that of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

It is no secret that the media, including most commentators on FOX, don't like Trump and would love to see him knocked out of the box. Failing to get Jeb Bush to the top of the heap, the media, through use of phony polls, has attempted to help one or another of the other GOP hopefuls upset Trump, only to see them all fall. The most recent media darling on the GOP side – a grudging replacement for Bush – is Marco Rubio, a 2nd tier selection of the GOP establishment, who is faring no better than those who preceded him.

But so far Trump, and to a lesser degree Ted Cruz, are avoiding the trip wires and pitfalls. By not getting into specifics on what course of action he would take in the Middle East, Trump is leaving all options on the table and leaving our enemy, in this case Iran, which barely missed hitting one of our aircraft carriers in the Strait of Hormuz with a missile last week, unsure of what we will do if they keep jerking our chains under a Trump presidency.

President Obama by contrast, tells our enemies not only what we will or won't do in current situations, but broadcasts his intentions for weeks, months and years into the future; which is why America has become a laughingstock among the nations of the world.

Nonetheless, pundits regularly mock Trump, using his refusal to get specific as proof that he doesn't know what he is talking about. But it is the pundits who are lacking, not Trump.

He is well aware, through a lifetime of successful business dealings that you don't telegraph your punches and you don't show your cards. You don't do it in military situations, you don't do it in diplomatic situations and you don't do it when you are the president of what used to be the most successful country in the world. Period.

The aforementioned polls also are used as evidence that once past the primaries, voters will flock to Hillary Clinton if Trump is the GOP nominee. Aside from the fact that there still are a dozen GOP contenders for the nomination and no poll is immune from loyalties to other candidates swaying the opinions of respondents, the polls themselves are ridiculous in that many of them involve fewer people than the number of sycophants who turn out for a Clinton campaign appearance.

Mike Huckabee made that point on FOX recently, asking why he should care about the results of a poll that has only a couple of hundred respondents, or the opinions of myriad pundits who have been dead wrong about Trump every single time.

Trump is on the right track by keeping to generalities. He will rebuild the military, he will attack illegal immigration, he will rebuild the economy, he will restore greatness to America, and all he needs to convince most voters than he can do it, is a lifetime of doing, not talking.

And frankly, based on the rabid attacks on Trump from the full spectrum of the mainstream media, including FOX, and the massive turnouts at his campaign events, contrasted to the meager showings at Clinton's, I believe that if he is the GOP nominee he will trounce Clinton in the manner of Reagan vs. Mondale. And I believe that most in the media know that too, and are scared to death that it will happen.


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