Our street and the dog walks I do.

March 8th, 2017

The new house in Tucson is located in a pretty spot in the Catalina foothills.

I walk the dog most evenings especially as it is now starting to warm up.

house-view-west

The west view from our house shows how much of the area here is open space.

Our street and Juliet,

The sunsets are spectacular, even from street level.

Ocotillo sunset

We have huge Ocotillo cactuses on the property which are just starting to leaf out and bloom.

our street

The view to the east shows the mountains.

The attempted coup d’etat going on now.

March 4th, 2017

The fact that Obama has set up an opposition movement in the District of Columbia is a worrisome bit of news.

Obama’s goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.
And Obama is being aided in his political crusade by his longtime consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, who has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion with the former president and Michelle Obama, long time best friends.
Jarrett played a vital – if at times low-key – role in the Obama presidency. She lived in the White House, dined with the Obamas, and help shape his domestic and foreign policies.

She was also born in Iran and speaks Farsi.

Now, we find more bad news.

Obama used the US intelligence apparatus to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign.

June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.

October 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.

Why would the FISA court approve such a thing ? Why would the Obama people continue when no evidence was found ?

The evidence of Democrat intrigue is sickening.

The New York Times continues to be obsessed with the Russian story. Do Democrats want war with Russia to try to take out Donald Trump ?

In a Washington atmosphere supercharged by the finding of the intelligence agencies that Mr. Putin tried to steer the election to Mr. Trump, as well as continuing F.B.I. and congressional investigations, a growing list of Russian contacts with Mr. Trump’s associates is getting intense and skeptical scrutiny.

Of course it is “scrutiny.” They are desperate to create another Watergate story, the last time they were able, with the help of their media wing, to force a sitting president out of office.

The Deep State will not go easily.

February 15th, 2017

Several years ago, I posted an account of what is called ‘The Deep State.”

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

That article was one of several around that time (2014) about the Deep State.

History suggests that this low-intensity conflict within the ruling Elite is generally a healthy characteristic of leadership in good times. As times grow more troubled, however, the unity of the ruling Elite fractures into irreconcilable political disunity, which becomes a proximate cause of the dissolution of the Empire if it continues.
I recently proposed the idea that Wall Street now poses a strategic threat to national security and thus to the Deep State itself: Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus in the Next Financial Crisis? (March 3, 2014)

That didn’t happen but the Deep State is in the news again as an enemy of Trump.

It stands to reason that “the Swamp” he talked about draining is coterminous with “The Deep State.”

With the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in the face of a howling media mob, the knives are now out not only for other administration officials, but for President Trump himself. Make no mistake about what’s happening here: this is a rolling coup attempt, organized by elements of the intelligence community, particularly CIA and NSA, abetted by Obama-era holdovers in the understaffed Justice Department (Sally Yates, take a bow) and the lickspittles of the leftist media, all of whom have signed on with the “Resistance” in order to overturn the results of the November election.

Mike Flynn, a good man who saw the enemy clearly, and had the courage to name it, saw Russia not as an enemy but a geopolitical adversary with whom we could make common cause against Islam — and who also vowed to shake up a complacent and malfeasant IC — was its first scalp, and an object lesson to new CIA Director Mike Pompeo should he have any reformist notions. As for the media, having previously failed to take down Trump aides Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, Flynn was the next best thing; their joy today is unbounded.

One seeming priority for the bureaucracy and the Deep State is protection of Obama’s Iran Deal.

Why is this so important ? I certainly don’t know.

Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, who bragged about creating an “echo chamber” in the media to help sell the Iran deal to the public, was reportedly among those leading the effort to publicly discredit Flynn.

The purpose of the anti-Flynn campaign, according to the Free Beacon, was “to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.” Flynn was reportedly gearing up to publicize details of the Iran deal that the Obama administration had kept secret from the public.

Why is this so important ? Iran has threatened “consequences” if the deal is revealed.

What are they ?

it would be a clear breach of the nuclear agreement and will cause us to react very harshly and severely.”

What does that mean ? I suspect they don’t know either.

In the meantime, the successful coup against Flynn will not satisfy the left. It will just encourage them to try the next assassination.

And you’re either gonna keep giving them scalps or you’re gonna put your foot down and move on and tell ’em to go pound sand. I mean, this man had worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was a patriot. He’d worked for both administrations, a pro-life Democrat. His only sin was that he was in the Trump administration. And I’ll tell you what this is. You know what this is really all about? I’ll tell you what this is. This is what the Democrats are so irritated, and this is why I know that Obama’s post-presidential sabotage program is here.
What is this about? This is about Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, calling the Russians to talk about sanctions. Well, what sanctions? Well, it just so happens these are the sanctions that Obama slapped on the Russians for their supposed hacking of our election. I’m sorry, folks, but that’s a bogus premise to begin with. The Russians had nothing to do with whoever won our election. That, they could not have done. Did they try? Who knows? Do they always try? Probably.

This is part of the script.

Beneath the script is a serious campaign to overthrow the Trump government. The bureaucracy thinks it can run the government without the political offices. The French bureaucracy ran France for years while governments came and went.

Then the Germans came.

Trump has to choose a strategy.

February 12th, 2017

There has been a huge uproar over President Trump’s Executive order to limit immigration from seven Middle East countries that are in turmoil. A Seattle federal district judge issued a restraining order to block the immigration “pause.”

The result is widely hailed by Democrats and the usual open borders advocates.

Still, there is some trepidation about the Democrats’ vulnerability on this issue.

Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments. The party has relied on opposing Trump’s more outrageously exaggerated claims about the criminality and all-around character flaws of immigrants. That’s fine, as far as it goes — but as November showed, it doesn’t go far enough.

The core problem is that Democrats didn’t really make an affirmative argument for an overhaul to U.S. immigration policy that might appeal to voters. Instead, they talked a lot about what great people immigrants are, and how much they benefit from migration. Unfortunately, the clearest group of beneficiaries from this policy — people who want to migrate, but haven’t yet gotten a green card — can’t vote.

Most of this is, like the British Labour Party, an attempt the replace one voting group with another.

However, aside from the implications for employment for American citizens, there is the question of terrorism.

We are conducting a war with radical Islam in the Middle East.

How do we fight that war ?

One of the problems facing the Trump administration is the lack of an overall strategy to defeat radical Islamism. The one left over from the Obama administration consists of a schizophrenic blend of attempting to solve “root causes” incongruously combined with a program of targeted assassination. “The U.S. dropped an average of three bombs an hour in 2016 — a total of 26,171 explosive devices dropped in seven countries in the past year” according to a report published at the close of President Barack Obama’s second term, not counting thousands of air strikes which went unreported according to the Military Times. This vast campaign of targeted aerial assassination was accompanied by what the Nation called “the secret nation-building boom of the Obama years”. By 2014 Obama had doubled “nation-building spending from $24.3 billion to $51.3 billion”.

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Grand kids

January 29th, 2017

For Christmas last year, I gave my son and his wife a lovely painting of their children.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Laguna Beach

It was done by a Laguna Beach artist whose work I like very much.

I hope they will enjoy it especially when the children are grown and gone on with their lives.

Judith Curry resigns from Georgia Tech

January 5th, 2017

The world of Climate research lost a great academic figure as Judith Curry resigns her tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

She has figured largely in the climate debate as a skeptic in global warming.

I have retired from Georgia Tech, and I have no intention of seeking another academic or administrative position in a university or government agency. However, I most certainly am not retiring from professional life.

Why did I resign my tenured faculty position?

I’m ‘cashing out’ with 186 published journal articles and two books. The superficial reason is that I want to do other things, and no longer need my university salary. This opens up an opportunity for Georgia Tech to make a new hire (see advert).

The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

She has endured considerable abuse from the alarmist side. She is called a “heretic” in the alarmist circles.

over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black¬board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points

So, she might have a point. However:

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Is Trump going to be a target for hate and hoaxes for four years?

December 23rd, 2016

Donald Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes. Outside of New York and California, he won the popular vote. Hillary got about 2 million fewer total votes than her total in California. Thus, she lost the popular vote in the rest of the country. Gary Johnson allowed her to win New Hampshire and Nevada. CNN made much about her winning the popular vote total, but her margin in California was over 4.8 million votes, but her national total was about 2 million less so she lost the rest of the country.

clinton_archipelago

The fact that she polled more popular votes has led to a rather hysterical reaction by her supporters.

First, leftist newspapers alleged that the Russians aided Trump with the Hillary scandal leaks.

Then the next theory was that the FBI and Director Comey were responsible for her loss.

In her most extensive remarks since she conceded the race to Donald J. Trump early Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.

Do the Clinton’s ever accept responsibility for their troubles ?

The latest excuse for losing is the electoral college is racist.

This is a twisted version of the Connecticut Compromise in the Constitutional Convention.

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

In fact, the 3/5 compromise was a matter of the representation in the House of Representatives, the more important branch in early US government days, as Senators were chosen by legislatures. The numbers in each state determined the number of Representatives allowed. It had nothing to do with the Electoral College. The Southern, slave, states wanted the number of slaves to add to the total for determining representation in the House. The northern states wanted slave to count as zero since they were not eligible to vote. The compromise allowed the Constitution to be ratified by all.

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William and the AR 15

December 22nd, 2016

william-ar15

Here is William with the AR 15 at the shooting range. It’s mine but he gets to shoot it.
william-ppk

He was also pretty good with the Walther PPK. The .45 1911 is a bit big for his hands now.

B 17 nose and Joe

Here’s his father with a birthday present, a ride on a B 17.

Special gifts.

The New House in Tucson

December 1st, 2016

Today we went through the new house to plan work to be done once it is ours.

UPDATE: Escrow has now closed and we are the owners. The work on the ceilings had begun. I was there yesterday and the contractor did some demo work to convert the little laundry room so it faces the garage. The wall between is thin and has a header existing so the wall can be opened. The water lines look old and he will replace the valves. There is no gas access so he will tap off the gas to the A/C and water heater which are across a small hallway. We have a gas dryer and like it. The A/C unit is old but, hopefully, has some life left in it.

house-front

Here is Jill walking out of the front door. The view shows the west side. The slope down to the street is our property. We will have some of the trees trimmed and clean up the slope a little but it has many interesting plants and we will keep it pretty wild.

house-view-west

This shows the view to the west. The hill down to the street is our property. Most of it is not useful except for privacy,

pool view

The pool will have to be drained and replastered. We will get a quote on adding a little water feature like a waterfall for the return. There is no heater but most pools here are warm enough by midsummer. If we were to add a spa we would add a heater. Not for a while.

Patio view

The patio is nice with a grass yard, rare in Tucson, for Juliet. The far wall has cracks and needs repair but we will probably move it to make the yard larger. The grass will stay the same but we may add another palo verde tree.

wall cracks.

This wall needs repair and I will get a quote for moving and rebuilding it. This area can be incorporated into the yard with a palo verde tree and some cactus. The grass area will stay the same. That may be a project for next year.

house-kitchen

The Kitchen has formica counter tops that are in good shape and we will leave them alone. Some day, we will replace them. We will bring our own refrigerator and washer and dryer from California. The garage is large and has two recesses where we can put the washer and dryer. It will require some replumbing. The present washer and dryer are front loading and stacked in a small nook that can be converted to a closet. See above. The washer and dryer are now gone and the closet space they were in is larger than I remembered. The appliance we are moving will fit easily and there will be minor replumbing. A new gas line will be run from the A/C source and there run will be only a few feet. I don’t know if there is a gas outlet for the range. The electric range is staying and we can use it until we decide to get a gas range. The kitchen has no pantry and I think we will convert a closet adjacent to the kitchen to a pantry.

The two bathrooms are 1970s era cabinets but that can wait until we have done the other work. There are popcorn ceilings which will be stripped and painted before we move in in January.

Bedroom

This is one bedroom and has the adobe wall painted. The entire house will be painted an off white instead of the colored walls.

Bedroom 2

The other bedroom has a sliding door going outside. That bathroom, Jill is already planning some remodeling. It has a nice walk-in closet and she wants to remodel a closet opposite. I should add there is a third bedroom currently used by the seller as a workshop. He is a clockmaker. All three bedrooms are nice size. The workshop bedroom is the smallest.

I am very pleased with the location and view.

We are on the foothills with Oro Valley just to the west.

January can’t come fast enough. It’s here and we are packing like mad. The seller has moved. WE let him stay until the new year. Now the work begins and will take most of the next two weeks.

Trump and Conflicts of Interest.

November 19th, 2016

Trump is organizing his administration but he is facing another crisis.

The Wall Street Journal is giving him painful and unwelcome but good advice.

He must liquidate the family business.

One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example. Mr. Trump has so far indicated that he will keep his business empire but turn over management to his children, and therein lies political danger.

Mr. Trump has for decades run the Trump Organization and during the campaign said if he won the Presidency he’d turn over the keys to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom are now serving on the Trump transition. A company spokesperson says the family business is “in the process of vetting various structures” and that the ultimate arrangement “will comply with all applicable rules and regulations.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the plan a “blind trust,” which past Presidents have used to protect their assets from the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. But that set-up typically involves liquid assets like bonds and stocks, not buildings or a branding empire. Mr. Trump will know how any given decision will affect, say, the old post office property in Washington, D.C. that he’s leasing from the federal government (another conflict). By law blind trusts are overseen by an independent manager, not family members.

The Journal is correct. I don;t know how Trump is going to do this but he has to.

Dick Cheney divested himself of millions of dollars in assets but was still vilified by the left.

Halliburton’s business with the military has grown substantially since Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney took office. The company rose to seventh-largest military contractor in 2003 from 22nd-largest in 2000.

The contracts did not prove to be as profitable as executives had hoped, however, and accusations of political favoritism led to a public relations nightmare. On Thursday, Halliburton said it was considering selling its subsidiary that holds the contracts in Iraq.

Mr. Cheney’s financial disclosure statements from 2001, 2002 and 2003 show that since becoming vice president-elect, he has received $1,997,525 from the company: $1,451,398 in a bonus deferred from 1999, the rest in deferred salary. He also holds options to buy Halliburton stock.

Mr. Cheney’s critics concede that there is no concrete evidence that he has pulled any strings on Halliburton’s behalf. But he has refused to answer a request from Democrats in Congress that he provide an accounting of any communications he and his staff have had with Halliburton or actions they have taken on Halliburton contracts.

Trump will face this squared.

He needs to face the reality of Democrat dishonesty and do the prudent thing.

I have no idea how he will accomplish this.

Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, is already calling for hearings about all of this. Trump and his party don’t need to worry much about that given how favorable the 2018 map is, but as we just found out last week, anything can happen in politics. If a nasty recession hits next year and Democrats end up winning back the House or Senate, all of these conflicts will be explored at length in congressional inquiries in 2019.

Cummings is despicable but those are the people who will harass Trump and try to destroy his presidency. He must anticipate this.

Mr. Trump’s best option is to liquidate his stake in the company. Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and President Obama, respectively, have laid out a plan, which involves a leveraged buyout or an initial public offering.

Mr. Trump could put the cash proceeds in a true blind trust. The Trump children can keep the assets in their name, and he can transfer more to them as long as he pays a hefty gift tax. Finally, Mr. Trump should stipulate that he and his children will have no communication about family business matters.

He needs to have someone working on this.