Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Another NASA authorization bill this year?

Less than a day after President Trump signed the first NASA authorization bill since 2010, it appears that two major players, one in industry and one in Congress, would like to revisit this bill again this year.

The first story summarizes and quotes from a series of tweets sent out by Elon Musk reacting to the bill, of which the most important noted ““changes almost nothing about what NASA is doing. Existing programs stay in place and there is no added funding for Mars,” and adding, “Perhaps there will be some future bill that makes a difference for Mars, but this is not it.”

The second story describes comments made by Cruz at a Commercial Spaceflight Federation breakfast on March 22, where he noted that in 2017 Cruz hoped to do it all over again, with a different focus: “In this coming Congress, I hope to take up another commercial space launch piece of legislation, and a longer-term NASA authorization.”

I suspect that both want and expect some changes in how NASA has been doing things, and the just-signed authorization did not accomplish that. The bill was written last year, as Cruz also noted in his remarks, and thus could not reflect any policy changes we can expect from Trump. I also suspect that both Musk and Cruz want to influence that policy, which is not yet determined. I am hoping that Capitalism in Space, which their offices have both received, is having some of its own influence here, even if it is tiny.

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Pressure on Trump to shift NASA transistion team towards private space

The competition heats up: Several of Trump’s most listened-to advisers are trying to convince him to put more commercial space advocates on his NASA transition team.

The appointments, which are expected to be announced shortly, partly reflect Mr. Thiel’s influence, the people said. The billionaire investor, who is Mr. Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter, is among more than two dozen people on the executive council overseeing the government-wide transition.

Along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican Congressman Robert Walker—two other champions of commercial space endeavors—Mr. Thiel has argued forcefully inside the transition that the original team sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was skewed toward appointees closely identified with legacy space projects run by Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., the people said.

This is good news. While my previous post, The squealing of pigs, focused on Trump’s environmental policy at NASA and elsewhere, his approach to commercial space remains unclear. These changes will help move his administration away from the pork of SLS and toward the competitive commercial space sector.

Let me add that this story reaffirms my belief that the best way to get Trump to shift to the right is to surround him with conservatives. Interestingly, it appears that Trump himself has chosen to do this. His first instincts might not be conservative, but he apparently is quite willing to take the advice of those who instincts are.

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The squealing of pigs

Back in October 2010, just days before the mid-term elections, I wrote the following:

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that, come Tuesday, the Republicans take both houses, in a stunning landslide not seen in more than a century. Let’s also assume that the changes in Congress are going to point decidedly away from the recent liberal policies of large government (by both parties). Instead, every indication suggests that the new Congress will lean heavily towards a return to the principles of small government, low taxes, and less regulation.

These assumptions are not unreasonable. Not only do the polls indicate that one or both of the houses of Congress will switch from Democratic to Republican control, the numerous and unexpected primary upsets of established incumbents from both parties — as well the many protests over the past year by large numbers of ordinary citizens — make it clear that the public is not interested in half measures. Come January, the tone and direction of Congress is going to undergo a shocking change.

Anyway, based on these assumptions, we should then expect next year’s Congress to propose unprecedented cuts to the federal budget, including the elimination of many hallowed programs. The recent calls to defund NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcastings are only one example.

When Congress attempts this, however, the vested interests that have depended on this funding for decades are not going to take the cuts lightly. Or to put it more bluntly, they are going to squeal like pigs, throwing temper tantrums so loud and insane that they will make the complaints of a typical three-year-old seem truly statesman-like. And they will do so in the hope that they will garner sympathy and support from the general voting public, thereby making the cuts difficult to carry out.

The real question then is not whether the new Congress will propose the cuts required to bring the federal government under control, but whether they, as well as the public, will have the courage to follow through, to defy the howls from these spoiled brats, and do what must be done.

The legislative situation with NASA over the summer and fall might give us a hint about whether the next Congress will have the courage to make the cuts that are necessary. In this case Obama actually proposed doing something close to what conservatives have dreamed of for decades: take NASA (and the government) out of the business of building rockets and spacecraft and pass it over to the private sector.

Moreover, despite the strong dislike the right has for Obama and his leftist policies, many conservative pundits both inside and outside of the space activist community publicly supported the President in this effort.

Nonetheless, these policies were not accepted by Congress. Instead, the legislative body passed an authorization bill that requires NASA to build a new heavy-lift rocket and the manned capsule to go with it. Congress did this partly for national security reasons, but mostly because they wanted to protect the jobs in Houston, Florida, and elsewhere that NASA provides, and thus bring home the bacon to their constituents. And they did this because those constituents had squealed at them about the threatened loss of funding.

In other words, elected officials from both parties had teamed up to authorize this pork-laden program in order to keep the pigs quiet. In other words, NASA’s legislative history this past year does not give us an encouraging view of the future. It appears that Congress will give us the same-old same-old, when asked.

More than six years have passed, and my analysis of the situation in 2010 appears almost perfect. While the Republicans did not win both houses of Congress in 2010, they did in 2014. Despite these victories from voters who clearly wanted them to cut back on the power of government, they did exactly what I expected, based on their actions in connection with NASA and SLS: maintain the pork and chicken out whenever challenged by Obama, the Democrats, the press (I repeat myself), and too many spoiled members of the general public.

After the 2016 elections, things have moved even more to the right. The Republicans not only control both houses of Congress, they have a Republican president (though a very unpredictable one) and the leftwing mainstream press has been discredited and no longer monopolizes the distribution of information. What will happen in the coming years?
» Read more

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More members of Trump’s NASA transition team named

The NASA transition team for the upcoming Trump administration gained six new members today.

They range from people supporting the building of Aeroject Rocketdyne’s very expensive AR-1 engine to replace the Russian engines on the Atlas 5 to academics who have advocated, like me, dumping SLS and encouraging private space.

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Trump picks oil industry ally and global warming skeptic for EPA

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, to run the EPA.

An ally to the fossil fuel industry, Pruitt has aggressively fought against environmental regulations, becoming one of a number of attorneys general to craft a 28-state lawsuit against the Obama administration’s rules to curb carbon emissions. The case is currently awaiting a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which heard oral arguments in September.

Pruitt, who questions the impact of climate change, along with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, penned an op-ed in the Tulsa World earlier this year that called criticism they’ve received “un-American.” “Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time,” states the op-ed. “That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind… Dissent is not a crime.”

Not surprisingly, environmentalists have already begun the campaign to destroy him, based on the quotes at the link.

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Trump picks pro-voucher conservative for Education Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Betsy DeVos, a wealthy pro-voucher Republican activist, to head the Education Department.

Her record puts her dead center within establishment Republican Party circles.

In related news, Trump has chosen Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary. Chao was previously labor secretary in the last Bush administration, and also happens to be the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Once again, someone deeply linked to the establishment Republican Party.

At the same time, both picks have strong links to the very conservative Heritage Foundation.

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The pushback against Trump begins

Articles today in the science journals Science and Nature give us a taste of the upcoming resistance by the science community to any policy changes put forth by the new Trump administration.

Both articles assume that the Paris climate agreement is already the law of the land, despite the basic fact that the Senate has not approved it. In fact, if Trump and Congress decide to cut all American ties with it, they can. Right now it is merely something that Obama has agreed to, and under our Constitution, the legalities binding us to that agreement are weak, at best.

This quote from the Science article outlines how the science community plans to structure its resistance:

With oilmen like Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, and Forrest Lucas, the founder of Lucas Oil, named as potential candidates to lead the Departments of Energy and the Interior, respectively, in a Trump administration, the mostly likely historical analogue for the next few years could be the start of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, when he appointed senior officials who were often hostile to the policies of their own agencies. For example, Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, wanted to sell off public lands and reduce forest protections, and his EPA head, Anne Gorsuch, moved to soften clear air and water rules. Some agency staff fought back, and there were frequent leaks, resignations, and lawsuits. Both Watt and Gorsuch ultimately resigned amidst political chaos, and were replaced by less polarizing appointments. If Trump follows a similar path, “there could be a whole lot of churn,” Victor predicts.

Indeed, Trump may quickly learn the limits of the presidency, Victor adds. “The Oval Office will be a lonely place,” he says, if the White House attempts to make radical changes that agency professional staff fiercely opposes. [emphasis mine]

And then there is this quote from the Nature article:

“Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had,” says Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington DC. “The consequences are going to be very, very severe.”

Calling Trump “the first anti-science president” is the kind of name-calling that is typical of the left and the Democratic Party. Not only is it a silly statement, based merely on the partisan hatred of Republicans by scientists, almost all of whom are Democratic Party loyalists, it has nothing to do with reality. Scientists have no more right to a blank check from the government than anyone else. They need to justify their research, and show that it is worthwhile. Since the 1990s they have not had to do this, which has resulted in blooming budgets and a lot of questionable results. And I say this as a science guy. Unlike these partisans, however, I also recognize that there is a gigantic amount of needless spending in the science budgets of numerous government agencies. Their budgets have grown significantly since 2000, with little to show for it. It is time to bring that spending under some control.

This is only the first shot across the bow. I have no doubt that the science community plans to link up with the partisan mainstream press to create a full-court press against any policy changes or budget cuts that either Trump or Congress may propose. These people do not respect the concept of democracy, and will resist the will of the public in every way they can.

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Anti-Trump protesters vandalize Richmond Republican headquarters

The hate is real: Anti-Trump protesters today vandalized Richmond Republican headquarters while also blocking roads.

I could also add that this is only the beginning. You see, the left doesn’t really believe in democracy, whereby you accept the will of the majority. To them, the only ones who are qualified to rule are themselves, or their leaders, and any other choice by the rest of the population must be destroyed, by any means necessary.

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Clinton supporters issue death threats and riot

The hate is real: In response to Donald Trump’s victory, Clinton supporters in California and Oregon rioted, with others issuing death threats on social media.

I could also list several dozen stories detailing the horror and disbelief of the intellectual community, in Washington, in the major cities, and across academia. They will not accept this election, and are right this second starting to plan their resistance to any policy Trump or the Republicans may put forth.

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The moderate Democrat wins

It appears that Donald Trump has won what I have been calling the November Democratic primary, and will take the office of President of the United States this coming January.

Will this make much difference? I am very guardedly optimistic. Trump remains at heart a moderate Democrat with mixed leanings. His experience during this campaign however has also clearly pushed him rightward, as he suddenly found himself the target of liberal hate. Moreover, the people he has been listing as possible cabinet and administration appointees during his term in office suggest a slightly right-of-center rule.

At the same time, the entrenched and corrupt culture that rules Washington and intellectual society will not accept a Trump administration meekly. They will fight any effort by him or his supporters to change that culture, or to wrest any power from it. This will be the ultimate test of Trump’s beliefs. If he truly has shifted rightward, he will fight back, and “drain the swamp” as he promised during the campaign. If however he allows his past moderate Democrat roots to take over he will back off and do what the Republican leadership has been doing for the past two decades: retreat in the face of the slightest opposition.

What makes me most hopeful that Trump will actually “drain the swamp” is that he will enter office with a solid Republican congress, made up of more true conservatives then we have ever seen. This more than anything will help keep him from wavering from his promises.

One other thought for the moment: The closeness of this election is still disturbing. Trump was not a great candidate, but Clinton was a truly corrupt one. That so many Americans were willing to look the other way even after almost three decades of documented dishonesty and lying and still give her their votes does not speak well of them. Until that basic fact changes, the American system of government remains very fragile and exposed to destruction from within.

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Police arrest man who destroyed Trump’s sidewalk star

Los Angeles police have arrested the man who used a sledgehammer and pickax to destroy Donald Trump’s sidewalk star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It is rare that a leftwing or Democratic protester who breaks the law gets arrested. However, when they do, they usually then get off with a mere slap on the wrist. Expect the same here.

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Vandal destroys Trump’s Hollywood sidewalk star

The hate is real: A man Vandal using a sledgehammer and a pick-ax destroyed Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame sidewalk star.

Understand this above all else: Should Donald Trump win the election the left will not accept his victory, and will make an organized effort to undermine anything he tries to do. And this effort will include a vast majority of government workers, whose campaign contributions favor Hillary Clinton by 18-1.

This is why I found the media uproar last week about Trump’s suggestion that he would not accept the election results to be laughable. Should Clinton lose, the left is going to exhibit far more denial of the election results than anything you can imagine that might come from the right. Their response will be violent, it will be sustained, and it will repeatedly defiant of the law.

Update: I had hardly finishing writing the above when I came upon this story: ‘Angry protesters’ to storm D.C. Trump hotel grand opening. And this will only be a taste.

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Two Trump advisers push for National Space Council

In a somewhat vague op-ed today, two Trump space policy advisers, former Congressman Robert Walker and University of California-Irvine professor Peter Navarro, recommend the re-establishment of the National Space Council to coordinate the U.S.’s civilian space effort.

Despite its importance in our economic and security calculations, space policy is uncoordinated within the federal government. A Trump administration would end the lack of proper coordination by reinstituting a national space policy council headed by the vice president. The mission of this council would be to assure that each space sector is playing its proper role in advancing U.S. interests. Key goals would be to would create lower costs through greater efficiencies. As just one example, a Trump administration will insist that space products developed for one sector, but applicable to another, be fully shared.

Here, it makes little sense for numerous launch vehicles to be developed at taxpayer cost, all with essentially the same technology and payload capacity. Coordinated policy would end such duplication of effort and quickly determine where there are private sector solutions that do not necessarily require government investment. [emphasis mine]

This analysis of the op-ed at SpacePolicyOnline.com gives some history of the National Space Council, as well as range of opinions about its usefulness.

Opinions in the space policy community about the value of such a Council run the gamut. Opponents argue it is just one more White House entity that can say “no” to any idea, but without the clout to say “yes” and make something happen. Supporters insist that a top-level mechanism is needed not only to effectively coordinate government civil and national security space programs, but to bring in the commercial sector and develop a holistic approach to space.

Walker and Navarro clearly share the latter opinion. They say the Council would “end the lack of proper coordination” and “assure that each space sector is playing its proper role in advancing U.S. interests.”

I however want to focus on the highlighted text above from the op-ed. This language appears to suggest that these advisers do not think it efficient for NASA to buy rockets and spacecraft from competing private companies, as it is doing with its cargo and crew ferries to ISS. If so, their advice will mean that a Trump administration will eliminate the competition that has been so successful in the past decade in lowering NASA’S costs and getting so much more done.

Yet, in the very next paragraphs Walker and Navarro say this:
» Read more

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Libertarian VP candidate praises Hillary Clinton

No wonder all those mainstream newspapers are endorsing them: When asked if if Gary Johnson was more qualified to be president than Hillary Clinton, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president, Bill Weld, expressed almost unqualified enthusiasm for Clinton.

When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd if Johnson is more qualified for the presidency than Clinton, Weld responded that he is “not sure” if “anybody is more qualified” than Clinton for the position. Weld made the remark after expressing his displeasure with the idea of Donald Trump assuming the office.

It increasingly seems to me that Johnson and Weld’s sole purpose is to provide an option for those mainstream Republican RINO’s who hate Trump for irrational reasons and don’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton. The Libertarian candidates appear to give them a moderate choice (emphasis on the word moderate) that is also acceptable to the Washington crowd. I mean, really, how could anyone show up at a cocktail party in Silver Spring, Maryland after supporting Trump?

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Trump names climate skeptic to transition team

Trump today named a climate skeptic from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute to lead his EPA transition team .

Myron Ebell, director of energy and environment policy at the conservative think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, is heading Trump’s EPA transition preparation, E&E Daily reported Monday. Ebell is an outspoken, longtime skeptic of the scientific consensus that human activity is dramatically changing the climate. He often refers to warnings about global warming as climate “alarmism” and is a vocal critic of President Obama’s climate change regulations. Ebell has argued that the Clean Power Plan is illegal and that the Paris climate change agreement is unconstitutional.

As those who have been reading Behind the Black know, I have been looking closely at the people Trump is looking at to be part of his administration, should he win the election. His choices will tell us two things: One, the political positions of his appointees will provide an indication of Trump’s own political preferences at this time. Two, his choices will tell us the nature of people that will be advising Trump in the future.

So far, his choices have leaned right, with a few exceptions. This choice for leading the transition at EPA is significantly to the right, and indicates that a Trump administration would work aggressively to dismantle the global warming cartel that presently runs things in the climate field, using government money as their hammer.

Most of you and the media will be glued to your televisions tonight, watching the silly debate show. I am more interested in what Trump might actually do. For example, I was somewhat impressed by the immigration speech Trump gave August 31. Unlike most political speeches by him and every other modern politician, it was not a litany of emotional attack soundbites and cute jokes. Trump outlined in great detail the overall policy plans to deal with the federal government total failure to do its job controlling the border. I did not agree with all of his proposals, but I found the overall thoughtfulness of the speech encouraging.

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The November Democratic primary expands!

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, has now announced his support for a carbon tax, this following earlier positions that rejected religious liberty and endorsed gun control.

Read the story at the link. It is very clear that libertarian principles have little to do with Johnson’s campaign. He is running as a moderate liberal, through and through.

Adding the Green Party candidate Jill Stein we now have four liberal Democrats running for President, with two (Clinton and Stein) occupying the communist wing of the party and two (Trump and Johnson) occupying the moderate liberal wing of the party . O joy!

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Another establishment Republican endorses Clinton

Today a former Romney official, one of many similar establishment Republicans from the Romney campaign as well as the Bush administration, announced in an op-ed that he is voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election.

I haven’t reported on this stream of Clinton endorsements by Republican politicos, as I generally consider most such endorsements to be meaningless. However, I think it important to make one comment. It is perfectly understandable if a conservative decides that he or she cannot support Donald Trump for president. Trump’s past history as a liberal Democrat certainly makes him a poor choice if you happen to be a sincere conservative who believes in the Constitution and small and limited government.

At the same time, if you are a sincere conservative you don’t then announce that you are endorsing Hillary Clinton and will vote for her instead. You either don’t vote for anyone for president, or you pick the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, who has his own problems but at least has a past conservative track record. By throwing their support to Hillary Clinton, these establishment Republicans are finally revealing to the world that they really never had any interest in conservative values and have always been lying when they said so. Instead, they are simply more interested in the power they gain in Washington, and will do whatever it takes to obtain that power, including supporting the most socialist, corrupt, and dishonest Democratic Party candidate presented to us in the past century.

Thus, these endorsements are actually very useful information. They finally tell us who the fake conservatives in the Republican Party are and, should Donald Trump win in November, will allow him to finally purge the party of these liars and backstabbers, so that we might be able to finally make real some progress in gaining some control over our presently very oppressive and destructive federal government.

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Trump’s agriculture advisory panel

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has announced his list of agricultural advisers, drawing mostly from established Republican players.

The New York City real estate mogul’s rural and agriculture advisory committee — comprising 65 people — is a Who’s Who of farm policy, with five members of Congress, including the chairmen of the House and Senate agriculture committees, 10 current and former farm-state governors and two former GOP presidential nomination rivals, former Govs. Rick Perry and Jim Gilmore.

…The list includes some major GOP donors, including Charles Herbster, a Nebraska cattle rancher who’s serving as the council’s chair, and Bruce Rastetter, a wealthy agribusiness leader in Iowa. But it also lists most of the Republican farm policy establishment, including Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Mike Conaway of Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who used to lead the House panel, as well as nearly a dozen state agriculture commissioners.

The advisory committee — which is six times larger than Mitt Romney’s 2012 panel — also includes a number of distinctly Trumpian characters, from Red Steagall, Texas’ official cowboy poet, to Sid Miller, the Texas agriculture commissioner who made national headlines for trying to bring deep fryers and sugary drinks back to schools.

Much of this panel appears to be very much mainstream Republican establishment, which has its positives and negatives. On a positive side, the article notes that in the panel’s first discussions about policy there was talk about eliminating or streamlining federal regulation on agriculture. On the negative side, the panel has some important members who favor the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal worked out by the Obama administration.

This information once again suggests that Trump will govern somewhere in the middle. If Congress is controlled by Republicans than there is also a good chance that its policy will lean rightward, though this panel also suggests that policy will continue to favor the crony businesses that the Republican leadership likes.

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Trump considers John Bolton for Secretary of State

In a radio interview today Donald Trump said that he was seriously considering appointing John Bolton as his secretary of state.

This could simply be pandering by Trump to the conservative audience he was speaking to, or it could be a real trail balloon. Either way, it emphasizes again that the policies of a president is largely determined by the people he surrounds himself with, first by indicating the direction the president is leaning, and second by providing counsel to that president. So far, the majority of Trump’s picks have leaned to the right, with some exceptions. Bolton would emphasize that rightward direction, and this is a very good thing.

By the way, I don’t know if my readers have noticed this, but the stories I have posted here about the presidential election campaign have had nothing to do with the stupid stuff that the mainstream and conservative media have been obsessing about. Instead, my focus, as always, is on trying to find out what these candidates will actually do when they become president, based on what they actually do (not say). Thus, I post about Trump’s potential appointments once in office, and real evidence that Hillary Clinton committed illegal acts as secretary of state. Making believe that Donald Trump is a monster because he made a minor miscue at one point in one speech is not a way to learn anything, other than to demonize the man absurdly and wrongly. I won’t participate in that childishness.

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Clinton put State Department up for sale

New emails reveal that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to pass out favors in exchange for donations to her foundation.

The facts are very welled documented here. Hillary Clinton wasn’t interested in acting as Secretary of State. She was interested in garnering cash donations for herself and Bill Clinton, and used her position of power to hand out favors for those donations.

But don’t worry! Our valiant press is on the ball, screaming about petty miscues by Donald Trump that mean nothing, are taken badly out of context, and are largely irrelevant to the kind of President he might be. That the Democrat running against him is a proven liar, law-breaker, and incredibly corrupt is just not important to them. All that matters is that she is a Democrat, and part of their team!

Which by the way should give us all a bit of a pause to consider how dishonest, illegal, and corrupt the entire elite culture of the U.S. has likely become. As I said, Clinton is part of their team.

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Trump reveals economic policy team

Donald Trump has unveiled his list of economic advisers.

The list is quite varied, with some very conservative individuals (Steven Moore of the Heritage Institute for example), a good number of former Reagan administration officials, a bunch of middle-of-the-road businessmen, and at least one past Hillary Clinton contributor (Steven Mnuchin). Overall, this list once again suggests that a Trump administration will be moderate though lean right, while also favoring business. It also suggests that Trump’s administration will not be as reform-minded as he sometimes claims. Instead, it suggests that while Trump will push through some much needed reforms, his administration will mostly work to try to fix the status quo.

Will that be good for the country? Right now, considering the dire state of the federal government’s budget and the general corruption that increasingly seems to permeate its entire operation, I personally don’t think so. Strong and fearless reform is needed badly, and it looks like the Trump administration won’t really give us that. However, this list of advisers also suggests that a Trump administration will possibly include some positive change, and also be far less harmful than a Clinton administration, which will push to do more of the very things the federal government has been doing so badly during the past two decades.

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“News Media Now Giving Trump the ‘Full Palin.’”

Working for the Democratic Party: The expected full-media assault on the Republican Party candidate has begun. As the author at the link notes,

There have been few conservatives who have been more critical of Trump since the start of this insane campaign than me, and he deserves every bit of condemnation he has gotten for needlessly mishandling the Khan situation. However, there is also no doubt that the media became obsessed with the story because they want Trump to lose, got a bit freaked out about his very temporary convention bounce, and smelled blood.

Hillary, while she is less likely to be stupid enough to so publicly take on the parents of a fallen war hero, would also never have been lured by the media into the conflict to the extent Trump was. If she had somehow stepped in it, the news media would have let it go far sooner than they did for Trump (for instance, how many voters are even aware of the controversy over her basically calling some family members of Benghazi victims liars?).

This story has seemed to open the floodgates now on Trump in much the same way that the infamous Katie Couric interview did with regards to Sarah Palin in 2008. Now, everything Trump says seems to be instant fodder for the media’s intensified “gaffe watch.”

It is very important to recognize one more additional fact: Any Republican candidate would have been treated this way by the now openly partisan and decidedly bankrupt mainstream media. The question now is whether the low-information public has finally become aware of this game.

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Making a choice in November

Two articles today provide some interesting and worthwhile information and perspective on at least two of the candidates running for President in November.

The first, Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice, makes its argument from a Christian and religious perspective. I know there is at least one regularly reader of Behind the Black who will agree with this author’s arguments wholeheartedly, and I will say that the essay at the link provides some very compelling arguments in favor of voting for Donald Trump. While he makes many very effective arguments, especially on the issue of the the Supreme Court, I think for me his most effective point comes when he asks “How can we know that Trump won’t change his mind?”:
» Read more

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Two different kinds of boos

The American election process can be messy and entertaining, frightening and exhilarating, confusing and educational. In the past week we have had one great example of this during the nominating conventions of our two main political parties. In both cases, the convention-going party attendees have broken out in loud boos, loudly attacking people on the podium for their positions. Such behavior is not what you would expect from the modern conventions, which for several decades have been nothing more than staged propaganda events designed to sell their candidates to the American public. One doesn’t usually boo during such staged events.

First we had at the Republican convention the response to Ted Cruz’s speech, where when he refused to endorse Donald Trump he was almost literally driven from the stage by boos from the audience.

Then, yesterday we had Bernie Sanders supporters overwhelm the Democratic convention with boos, first during an appearance of former Democratic chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and then during the convention’s opening prayer.

It is important to understand the difference between these boos, as they are a strong marker of what will happen in November. In the case of the Republicans, the booing was in support of the Republican candidate, hostile to the implied opposition to Donald Trump by Ted Cruz. In the case of the Democrats, the booing was in opposition to the Democrat candidate, hostile to Hillary Clinton’s nomination and the perception that the Democratic Party stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders.

I have always believed that Hillary Clinton was the worst presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime. It seems to me that this difference illustrates this fact once again. Sadly for me, the Republicans have wasted this opportunity and picked a liberal Democrat as their candidate, losing the best opportunity since 1980 to put an honest and principled conservative into office.

All I can do now is hope that Donald Trump will surprise me and be far more conservative than I expect, when he becomes President in January.

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More speculations about Trump’s cabinet

This article gives a nice overview of the people who it appears are being considered for positions in a Trump presidency, should he win.

Unfortunately, it does not give a lot of background about the people mentioned. Many, like Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich, are well known. Others, like businessman Donald McGahn, are unknown. Some, like Senator Bob Corker, suggested as potential Secretary of State, would be a disaster, based on his past history of getting the Iran deal approved.
Some. like Harold Hamm and Steve Mnuchin, have been described here at BtB at the links behind their names, Hamm positively and Mnuchin negatively..

There is more at the link. Read it all. This list is a start. It will require vetting to get a sense of what we can expect from a Trump administration.

Note that there is a reason I am so focused on Trump and not Clinton. Trump remains an unknown, who might be worth voting for if it appears his plans as President are reasonable, something that might still be possible, despite all the negative reports I’ve given him. Moreover, there is a chance that Trump can be positively influenced. Learning as much about him as possible increases that possibility.

Clinton however is not an unknown. She is corrupt, a liar, and an avowed socialist who believes strongly in increasing the size and power of the federal government, as does the entire political party that supports her. To deny any of this is to live with your head in the sand. She thus needs no vetting.

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Trump considers funding super-PACs to defeat Cruz and Kasich in later elections

Update on the November Democratic primary: Donald Trump is considering creating two super-pacs expressly focused at destroying the political careers of Ohio Governor John Kasich and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

During an event in Cleveland on Friday, Trump hinted at the prospect of funding an outside group against Cruz in the future.“Maybe I’ll set up a super-PAC if he decides to run,” Trump said of Cruz. Turning to his running mate Mike Pence he asked rhetorically, “Are you allowed to set up a super-PAC…if you are the president, to fight someone?”

The source close to Trump’s thinking indicated that Trump would consider forming the super-PAC whether or not he wins the presidential election in November.

This sure doesn’t sound like the actions of a Republican and conservative looking for allies within his party. Instead, it sounds like a Democrat who, having gotten the Republican nomination for President, can now stop pretending and begin the process of using his position to destroy the conservative movement in the United States in order to make it easier to impose liberal policies.

Trump’s supporters keep screaming that Cruz should have endorsed Trump for party unity. Well, the same applies to Trump — to bring the party together — only more so, since he has the nomination for president and as such is the de facto leader of the party. Moreover, while Cruz’s speech could have been more carefully worded, it nonetheless laid out the arguments for voting against Hillary Clinton and supporting all Republicans nationwide, even Trump (though unstated). Trump however is clearly doing the exact opposite, considering the investment of millions of his own money to actively work to defeat two of the party’s more conservative Republicans.

But hey, Trump can win! Who cares what he stands for!

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Cruz’s speech at the convention

My first reaction to Ted Cruz’s exhortation that Republican’s vote their conscience in his speech at the Republican Convention last night was distress, as I expected the response to be mostly hostile (which it was) and unnecessary, as to my mind he could have gone there and simply said that “When Donald Trump becomes the next president I will be ready and waiting in the Senate to work with him to make sure the Constitution is defended and the federal government is brought under control.” Worded in this way, Cruz would not have been endorsing Trump, but he also would have not made himself an enemy of a significant percentage of the Republican voting bloc.

However, these two articles have changed my mind:

Cruz did the right thing. As noted at the first link,

If you’re voting for Donald Trump because you think he’s the lesser of two evils; because you think Hillary is clearly worse; because you reject leftism and know Hillary will foist leftism on us and only suspect Trump might . . . then you and I are cool. I respect that position. It’s not my position — but if it’s yours, I respect it, and I respect you.

But if you’re going to knock Ted Cruz for standing up against a man who bullied his family, I don’t respect you. I don’t want you here. Feel free to leave. It may make this place smaller, but it will make it better.

The second link also noted the unhealthy nature of today’s politics, where somehow one is not allowed to take a stand on conscience because of politics. Well to hell with that. There are things worth dying for, and one’s family is surely one of them.

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Trump considers fracking businessman for Energy Secretary

Good news if true: Reuters today reported that presidential candidate Donald Trump is considering nominating Oklahoma businessman Harold Hamm as energy secretary if he wins the election.

In addition to considering Hamm, who has also functioned as Trump’s informal energy adviser in recent months, the article also noted this:

Trump, who has yet to make any announcements about his prospective cabinet, has already surrounded himself with strong advocates of traditional energy sources like oil, gas, and coal and has promised to gut environmental regulations to boost drilling and mining if elected. He tapped U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, a climate skeptic and drilling advocate, to help draw up his campaign energy platform, and picked Indiana Governor Mike Pence, also a climate skeptic, as his running mate.

Both moves cheered the energy industry but alarmed environmental activists who say a Trump presidency would set back years of progress on issues like pollution and climate change. “Given that Hamm’s as close as we’ve got to a fracker-in-chief in this country, it would be an apropos pick for a president who thinks global warming is a hoax manufactured by the Chinese,” said leading environmental activist Bill McKibben.

I keep saying it: Should Trump win, the best way we can guarantee that he favors conservative values is if he is surrounded by conservatives. These moves suggest that that Trump is agreeable to this, though there is also possibly a bit of some crony capitalism going on here as well. While these guys will likely advocate for less environmental regulations, I also doubt that they will work to eliminate the gobs of corporate welfare the federal government presently hands out.

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Astronaut touts space at Republican convention

American astronaut Eileen Collins spoke last night at the Republican convention, calling for a renewal of the American space effort.

Her remarks were very short, essentially calling for an end to the American reliance on the Russians to get our astronauts into space. Her speech also differed from her prepared remarks in that she left out the part where she specifically endorsed Donald Trump.

According to a transcript of her prepared remarks provided by the GOP Convention to Syracuse University (her alma mater) and posted on the university’s website, however, the ending was supposed to be “We need leadership that will make America first again. That leader is Donald Trump. Thank you and God bless the United States of America.” Thus, although she did not read the line endorsing Trump, she did use his slogan “make America great again” instead of “make America first again” as in the prepared remarks.

The press will make a big deal about this, but I suspect that when it came time to say the words, Collins’ decades of training at NASA, where astronauts as government workers are specifically forbidden by the Hatch Act from lobbying for specific political candidates, took over. She clearly was supporting Trump. Habits just made it hard for her to become political, even though she is now retired from NASA.

What is important is that both she and Ted Cruz in their convention remarks both invoked the need for a vibrant American space effort, but both were vague about how to do it. Combining that with Trump’s already noted position, that we need a space effort but we also have to find ways to do this efficiently because the government has bigger priorities, suggests to me once again that, should Trump win, SLS and Orion will die quickly while commercial space will get a boost.

On a personal note, I am hoping that my policy paper, Exploring Space in the 21st Century, due out in about a month and focused very much on this precise issue, will land on these politicians’ desks at exactly the right moment, and help convince them to make what I think are the right decisions.

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