Tuesday, July 14, 2015

et ceteras

Thanks to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, most of my posts since April have centered around hockey. But I have not been ignoring everything else, so here are a few of what Thomas Sowell might call "random thoughts on the passing scene."

I will start with something uniting and uplifting, since those qualities won't be evident when I write about politics. That something is the unmanned spacecraft New Horizons, which today will fly narrowly past Pluto and its five orbiting moons, then proceed into and beyond the Kuiper belt.

When New Horizons left Earth back on January 19, 2006, its detailed flight coordinates for today were already programmed into it. Because flying it remotely is not possible -- any commands from Earth would take more than four hours to reach it -- today's brush with Pluto is a one-and-done opportunity. Plus, this combination of factors makes it impossible for the spacecraft to orbit Pluto and linger for a while. Therefore, there will be no do-overs if something goes wrong.

During its approach, New Horizons has already sent back stunning photographs of the icy dwarf planet and revealed things we never knew. When it blasts by at a speed of 8.7 miles per second, it will basically start -- not continue -- mankind's gathering of information about the icy dwarf. So little has been learned about Pluto in the 85 years since it was discovered that Alan Stern, the renowned planetary scientist and principal New Horizons investigator, recently remarked that "we're not planning to rewrite any textbooks, we're planning to write them from scratch."

Sitting inside the spacecraft are some of the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the inquisitive astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930 ... As I type this sentence a little after midnight, the spacecraft has been flying for more than 3,462 days and 9 hours, and is scheduled to arrive at its destination in less than 7 hours and 28 minutes ... Before long it will be beyond Pluto, and then beyond the Kuiper belt, and Tombaugh's ashes will become the first human remains to leave the solar system.

Like Charles Krauthammer put it when rhapsodizing about New Horizons last Thursday: "For the wretched race of beings we surely are, we do, on occasion, manage to soar."

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Now, unfortunately, I return to my regularly scheduled programming:

After officially announcing her presidential candidacy, it took Hillary Clinton three months to grant her first interview to the national media. And when that interview finally happened last week, she was incapable of finishing it without telling the kind of whopper that would have ended a Republican's career.

Specifically, Clinton claimed to have "never had a subpoena" regarding her unauthorized use of a private server and private email address to conduct all of her government business while Secretary of State. But it turns out she has actually been served three subpoenas about the matter, and two of them were served before she destroyed evidence by wiping her server clean.

Of course the media has ignored downplayed this story. After all, the media is one-half of the Democrat-Media Complex and it does everything it can to protect the other half. However, it will only take one Republican candidate broaching this story in one presidential debate to make big-time hay of it. There is no reason for Republicans to fear facing her in the general election, and I will not be surprised if she fails to even make it to the general election.

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I should clarify things by saying there is no reason for Republicans to fear Hillary unless my fellow GOP primary voters somehow make Donald Trump our nominee -- for would-be Emperor Donald is every bit as clothesless as would-be Empress Hillary.

Clinton attended Trump's most recent wedding ... Trump has donated to the Clinton Foundation ... As recently as 2008, a year in which Clinton happened to be running for president, Trump said this: "I'm a big fan of Hillary. She's a terrific woman. She's a friend of mine."

Trump has used eminent domain to seize other people's property without paying them for it, and has then turned around and used that property to make money for himself.

There is nothing inherently wrong about filing for bankruptcy, but Trump has done it four times.

He is pro-tariff and anti-free trade.

He practices crony capitalism, which has more in common with socialism than it does with the free market vision of Friedman, Laffer, and Reagan.

Finally, I do believe that a person's personal life is just that and we should not throw stones from our glass houses. However, it's not unreasonable to wonder if the fact that Donald Trump has been divorced more times than the other 44 presidents combined indicates something about his character. Especially once you remember that he once said "if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her." 

Sure, it's cathartic to hear him criticize our governments's ambivalence toward illegal immigration. But when pontificating about illegal immigration less than four years ago, the very same Donald Trump lambasted the GOP for being "mean-spirited" and accused Milquetoast Mitt Romney of being "maniacal." So who knows what he really thinks?

The only way he gets the nomination is if the GOP's primary voters lose their collective marbles upon entering the polling booth.

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Nonetheless, there is no getting around the fact that Trump's recent comments about illegal immigration have gotten the big picture right even when they've erred on facts.

And there is no getting around this: Trump's recent rise in the polls is almost entirely the result of his recent comments about illegal immigration.

Illegal aliens do commit crime at higher rates than legal immigrants ... In general they do not represent Mexico's best, brightest, or even most diligent ... They drive down the wages of legal immigrants and native-born Americans alike ... Sanctuary cities are engaging in illegal defiance of the United States, and by their sanctuary status they have caused law-abiding people to be murdered and raped ... Go here if you want to read some numbers about repeat criminality among illegal aliens that such cities have released, often in spite of the federal government explicitly requesting that they not ... Such cities should be stripped of any and all federal funds they are scheduled to receive, and their elected representatives who voted for sanctuary status should be sitting behind bars waiting for a jury trial in federal court.

The two things I suggested in the previous sentence almost certainly won't happen, but a majority of the American people believes that one or both of them should ... Americans do not want migrants gunned down coming across the border, but they do want the border secured and they do want those who are here illegally to be sent back ... They approve of immigration that is legal and orderly, but they have a right to demand a stop be put to immigration that is illegal, underground, and anarchic ... Their anger is justified, and any politician who wants to win next November had better 1) acknowledge that fact, and 2) not insult the people's intelligence when he talks about the issue.

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If you are one of those who have been fretting since the late 1980's about global warming, you can stop fretting because an ice age will be commencing less than 20 years from now, thanks to a particular oscillation of two of the sun's layers. It's not some superstitious religious types who are saying this -- it's scientists!

So now I'm waiting for the Left to start a campaign to have humanity undertake climate-warming measures to stave off the impending doom. Surely it will tell everyone to drive gas guzzlers. Surely it will demand an increase in coal-produced electricity production, and surely it will recommend that we all set our thermostats to 68 degrees. Right?  

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Finally, I am done for now but will be back soon. Take care.

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