Author Archives: DonR

Thoughts on Donald J Trump

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 16: Donald Trump was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 16, 2007 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 16: Donald Trump was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 16, 2007 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

From one Donald J to another.  Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.  He won less by his own virtue than by the lack of virtue ascribed to the political elite by millions of voters.  For many Donald Trump represented a break from the kind of political orthodoxy exemplified by his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.  This blog’s main author finds him “loathsome”.  The political establishment and its chattering class enablers hate Trump.  Trump has been pilloried on blogs from BearingDrift to Blue Virginia.  I am cautiously optimistic regarding “The Donald’s” election.  Anybody who can send the political establishment, on both sides of the aisle, into a mental tailspin deserves some respect.  Lord knows, that establishment needed a comeuppance. Is he crude and crass?  Yes.  So was Lyndon Johnson.  Does he have some deep seated personality flaws?  Yes.  So did John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton.  Will he be a good president?  Well now, that’s the question.

How to start fast.  If I were advising President-elect Trump I’d have one big thought on how he should get started as the leader of the free world … get the money out of American politics.  Trump’s appeal is that of a renegade.  He’s the antithesis of the Clintons, the Bushes and all the other latter day American monarchies.  Over his first two years in office he’ll have the rare opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of our crony capitalist political class.  Donald Trump  should aggressively campaign for a constitutional amendment to drastically limit the amount of money any person or group can spend in the furtherance of their political agenda.  From George Soros to the Koch Brothers – this has to end.

In his own words.  Donald Trump has been surprisingly candid regarding the influence money has on American politics.

  • In reference to Jeb Bush … “He [Bush] raises $100 million, so what does $100 million mean? $100 million means he’s doing favors for so many people, it means lobbyists, it means special interests, it means donors,” Trump said in New Hampshire last month. “Who knows it better than me? I give to everybody. They do whatever I want. It’s true.”
  • In reference to the Koch Brothers (via Twitter) … “I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)”

Dog catches car.  Donald Trump tried to become president in 2012.  His campaign went nowhere.  In 2016 a series of unlikely events has “The Donald” headed to the White House.  Will he view the presidency as the next installment of his reality TV career or will he capitalize on his outsider mystique to build a legacy?  President-elect Trump joins the vast majority of Americans in believing that money plays too big a factor in US politics.  The political elite (from both parties) hate the idea of seeing the money fountain dry up.  There is no practical remedy in legislation based on the Citizens United ruling.  A constitutional amendment is the only way forward.  This would be a rarefied long shot battle against powerful vested interests.  Who better than Trump?

— DJ Rippert

Virginia Sleeps through the Blockchain Revolution

Blockchain - 2A bitcoin for your thoughts? Approximately eight years ago Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper entitled, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”  CoinDesk, a company dedicated to reporting on bitcoin, defines bitcoin thus: “Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems. It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency.” Bitcoin attained some mainstream media infamy when the FBI shut down the website named Silk Road which was accepting it as payment for the sale of illegal drugs. Silk Road and the man who founded Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, had bitcoins worth approximately $100 million at the time of his arrest. Over the next two years the U.S. Marshal’s Services auctioned off the seized bitcoins for about $80 million.  As it turned out Mr. Ulbricht would have no use for those bitcoins since he was convicted on a host of charges and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Today, over 100,000 merchants worldwide accept bitcoin payments.

Ian Drury and the Blockchains. At the heart of the bitcoin system was a brilliant bit of software design called a blockchain. Technically, the blockchain is a form of distributed database. Functionally, it serves as the public ledger of all bitcoin transactions. It’s the blockchain that gives bitcoin owners faith in the value and provenance of their bitcoins. That might have been an interesting footnote to the 15 minutes of fame enjoyed by bitcoin. However, as so often happens in technology, people began to see blockchain as much more than a foundation for a cryptocurrency. Blockchain-based systems are now seen as revolutionary changes to industries from banking to shipping to rental cars. Just as dirty dishes gave rise to penicillin, bitcoin has given rise to blockchain.

The Swiss Army knife of software. Blockchain-based systems are now seen as revolutionizing functions as diverse as stock settlements, diamond insurance, medical records management and government record keeping.

Asleep in River City.  Given the potential magnitude of the blockchain revolution one would think that the business development geniuses in our state government would be awash in blockchain ideas. It could make Virginia ports more competitive, add transparency to government record keeping, reduce the costs of government and the headaches of complying with regulations. Vermont has an active program in place to enable self-service government. Delaware is pioneering the use of blockchain-based smart contracts to help public and private enterprises lower transaction costs.  Virginia?  ** sound of crickets chirping **.

Not dead yet.  While the Virginia General Assembly slumbers through modernity a small group of Virginians hailing from Blacksburg see the future and are acting on it. Follow My Vote is a start-up trying to use blockchain technology to implement “a secure and transparent voting system for the modern age.” Excellent work!  Perhaps, one day, we can use blockchain voting software from Virginia-based Follow My Vote to finally throw the bums out!

— D.J. Rippert

Jim Bacon nominated for Nobel Prize

Boomergeddon CoverStockholm Syndrome – In dramatic news the Nobel Foundation today announced that James A. Bacon has been nominated for the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his groundbreaking economic work – Boomergeddon.  Nobel spokesman Lars E Faire said, “Of course we nominated Bacon – just putting a picture of a detonated atomic bomb on the cover of a cult economics book all but guaranteed a nomination.  Most authors use graphs or currency symbols.  Bacon uses nuclear annihilation”

The Bacon School –  Bacon could not be reached for comment.  His publicist claimed that he was busy getting small somewhere in South Carolina.  Inquiries were referred to Bacon’s spokesman Lawrence Gee.  Gee explained the Bacon school of economic thinking.  “Baconomics is not trickle down.  Rather, it’s drizzle sideways.  City governments which genuflect to private enterprise invariably become techno-modal innovation hubs.  The private enterprise focus of these cities causes them to avoid building roads, bus lines, subways or any other form of transportation infrastructure.  So, people walk.  These are walkable cities,”  Gee said with the conspiratorial nod of a man revealing a deep secret.

“Walkable areas force people into close proximity where good ideas flourish and capital can be raised by passing the hat without any government interference or regulation,” Gee said.  “The cheek to jowl conditions in the walkable city not only lead to effortless capital formation but also attract new entrepreneurs from distant cities which waste their money on roads, police and schools.  They make sure the walkable city is well supplied with essentials like meat pies and craft brewed beer.  This is the drizzle sideways effect.”

Competition beware –  Bacon will face stiff competition for the Nobel prize. Other nominees include Peter Galuszka who recently published a research paper linking all past, present and future economic issues to George W. Bush and Dr. T.M. Taxes who mathematically demonstrated that the Matrix is not only real but being operated by Northern Virginia land developers.

Fairfax County bans Christian immigrants

Fairfax, VA – The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BoS), in a raucous meeting last night,  voted 7 – 1 to ban any more Christian immigrants from entering Fairfax County.  The board cited a “clear and compelling danger” posed by Christians importing deadly rattlesnakes into the county.  The few stunned onlookers who could gather their thoughts enough to speak expressed skepticism over the both the legality and practicality of a county board banning immigration into a county based on religion.  However, seven of the eight board members were adamant that the board had the legal, moral and God-given right to protect the citizens of Fairfax County against the scourge of Christian rattlesnakes.

In a post-vote news conference, Board Chairman Nod Pmurt explained the reasoning behind the ban.  “It has come to our attention that some Christian sects have taken to collecting and handling rattlesnakes as part of their religious observance.  Fairfax County is a rattlesnake-free county and we can’t have Christians collecting rattlesnakes and bringing them into Fairfax County.”  Chairman Pmurt went on to say that he saw an expose on the Christian ritual of collecting and handling rattlesnakes on a 60 Minutes rerun so he knew it must be true.  Researchers at The Radish have located the 60 Minutes piece in question. (See video above.)

Fairfax County has a long standing domestic poisonous snake problem centering around copperheads.  County animal control officials have generally reduced the incidence of copperhead attacks although there have been notable exceptions.  Last year, for example, a copperhead bit a General Assembly member from Fairfax County during an outdoor luncheon meeting.  However, the General Assembly member was so intoxicated it was the copperhead that died.  Some in the county now worry that the good progress made in fighting home grown copperheads will be reversed as Christian refugees from other counties introduce rattlesnakes.

After the press conference Chairman Nod Pmurt stood under the statue of Gerry Connolly in front of the Fairfax County Government Center and said, “My forbearers didn’t come to this county from Pallendromia so their descendants could be eaten by rattlesnakes brought here by Christians.  I know most Christians are law abiding citizens but that’s faint solace to those who find themselves staring into the white cottony mouths of one of those killer reptiles.  And what comes after rattlesnakes?  Cobras?  I can tell you for a fact that the good citizens of Fairfax County will not see their taxes raised to buy a mongoose for every animal control officer in the county.  I think it’s perfectly reasonable to curtail Christian immigration into this county until we get a better handle on the rattlesnake problem.”

— Reporting for The Radish, DJ Rippert

The Virginia Way Rides On

the virgiia way

There you go again. Yesterday, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms was charged with five counts of violating the state’s Conflict of Interest Act. The Virginian-Pilot’s article on the matter can be found here. Mayor Sessoms is accused of casting votes to benefit the borrowers of the bank where he served as president. To state what is hopefully obvious, Mayor Sessoms is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As of now, the mayor has been accused, not convicted.

A rap on the knuckles. One stunning aspect of the accusation is the minimal penalty it carries. Prosecutor Michael Doucette said that the maximum penalty for these misdemeanor offenses would be $500 each. So, Mayor Sessoms faces a “worst case” scenario of paying $2,500 if convicted of abusing his office on five occasions. Less than the cost of a Rolex watch. Given “the Virginia Way,” it is probably needless to say that Mayor Sessoms will not need to step down from elected office even if he is convicted on all five counts. Why should a politician be asked to step down from elected office if all he or she has done is abuse that office for personal gain?  While five charges have been filed, the Virginian-Pilot thinks there is more to this story:

  • “The state’s criminal investigation ended about a year after The Virginian-Pilot first reported that Sessoms, 61, a former TowneBank president, had voted dozens of times on issues that benefited clients of the bank.” 

The song remains the same.  Assuming the charges against Mayor Sessoms are sustained this puts yet another nail in the coffin of Virginia’s political integrity. We now have Phil Hamilton (former member of the Virginia House of Delegates) doing nine and a half years in the big house, John W Forbes II (former Virginia Secretary of Finance) serving ten years in the pokey for embezzling $4M from the tobacco indemnification fund and the former governor and his wife hoping that the US Supreme Court will keep them out of the federal pen. Amazingly, these convictions come from a state that has essentially no ethics laws or regulations against elected politicians lining their pockets while in office. Imagine how lonely the next General Assembly session would be if Virginia actually legislated against political graft!

— D.J. Rippert

Has Virginia’s Economy Officially Tanked?

Virginia tankInto the bit bucket.  Back in August, 2013 I wrote an article for this blog titled, “Is Virginia’s Economy Tanking?”.  The essence of the article was that Virginia’s Gross State Product (GSP) was growing by less than the increase in federal spending in Virginia.  Moreover, that trend had been holding true through the prosperous economic years prior to the so-called Great Recession.  I felt the shrinkage of non-federal GSP was a harbinger of bad things to come.  Everybody expected a slowdown in federal spending – especially defense spending.  That would hurt Virginia.

The fact that non-federal growth was negative during good economic years caused me to question the likelihood of Virginia recovering from the anticipated drop off in federal spending.  A recent report indicates that Virginia’s economic growth percentage in 2014 was exactly the same as Bluto Blutarsky’s grade point average – 0.0.  That put Virginia 48th out of 50 states for economic growth in 2014.  So much for being the “best state for business”.  Unfortunately, my ability to throw my shoulder out of joint patting myself on the back for the accuracy of my prediction was compromised when Jim Bacon had to delete a number of logon id’s in an effort to reduce spam comments.  Mine was one of the deletions (I have since re-registered with a new id).  When WordPress finds a logon deleted it apparently deletes all the posts that were written under that id.

So, is Virginia’s economy tanking?  No.  It has tanked.  In my opinion it will likely tank further in the coming years.  While sequestration has been implemented and the loss of federal jobs in Virginia is slowing, the pace of federal contracting cuts is expected to double in the 2015 fiscal year.  These lost jobs will cause a loss in demand for the goods and services purchased by the former contractors which will cause further job loss.

The Emperor’s clothes.  A prolonged period of no growth, low growth or perhaps shrinkage in Virginia’s economy will have consequences.  Fewer jobs could translate into a lower demand for housing and a fall in real estate taxes.  This would translate into less funding for schools and a decrease in the educational funds transferred from the “urban crescent” to other areas of Virginia.  The substantial tax increase passed during the McDonnell administration may prove unnecessary if traffic congestion ends up being solved by population loss rather than new transportation construction.  The overall political climate in Virginia could turn to the right if generally liberal federal workers and contractors depart for greener grass elsewhere.

Every day is red nose day in Richmond.  Virginia’s over-dependence on federal spending was known for decades.  Yet the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond took no effective action to diversify Virginia’s economy.  Public universities in population centers (like GMU, VCU and ODU) could have followed the University of Maryland’s effort to strengthen STEM programs.  The snarled traffic in Northern Virginia and Tidewater could have been addressed before it became a quality of life killer.  The tobacco funds could have been spent constructively instead of stolen and squandered.  The billions in company and industry specific tax breaks could have been forgone and the funds used to keep higher education affordable instead of being used to reward campaign contributors and political gift givers.  Today, our one term governor oscillates between declaring our economy to be “booming” and scrambling around Europe trying to drum up business.  Meanwhile, the empty suited politicians for life in the General Assembly stand slack jawed and glassy eyed watching the Commonwealth fail.

— D.J. Rippert

Has Virginia's Economy Officially Tanked?

Virginia tankInto the bit bucket.  Back in August, 2013 I wrote an article for this blog titled, “Is Virginia’s Economy Tanking?”.  The essence of the article was that Virginia’s Gross State Product (GSP) was growing by less than the increase in federal spending in Virginia.  Moreover, that trend had been holding true through the prosperous economic years prior to the so-called Great Recession.  I felt the shrinkage of non-federal GSP was a harbinger of bad things to come.  Everybody expected a slowdown in federal spending – especially defense spending.  That would hurt Virginia.

The fact that non-federal growth was negative during good economic years caused me to question the likelihood of Virginia recovering from the anticipated drop off in federal spending.  A recent report indicates that Virginia’s economic growth percentage in 2014 was exactly the same as Bluto Blutarsky’s grade point average – 0.0.  That put Virginia 48th out of 50 states for economic growth in 2014.  So much for being the “best state for business”.  Unfortunately, my ability to throw my shoulder out of joint patting myself on the back for the accuracy of my prediction was compromised when Jim Bacon had to delete a number of logon id’s in an effort to reduce spam comments.  Mine was one of the deletions (I have since re-registered with a new id).  When WordPress finds a logon deleted it apparently deletes all the posts that were written under that id.

So, is Virginia’s economy tanking?  No.  It has tanked.  In my opinion it will likely tank further in the coming years.  While sequestration has been implemented and the loss of federal jobs in Virginia is slowing, the pace of federal contracting cuts is expected to double in the 2015 fiscal year.  These lost jobs will cause a loss in demand for the goods and services purchased by the former contractors which will cause further job loss.

The Emperor’s clothes.  A prolonged period of no growth, low growth or perhaps shrinkage in Virginia’s economy will have consequences.  Fewer jobs could translate into a lower demand for housing and a fall in real estate taxes.  This would translate into less funding for schools and a decrease in the educational funds transferred from the “urban crescent” to other areas of Virginia.  The substantial tax increase passed during the McDonnell administration may prove unnecessary if traffic congestion ends up being solved by population loss rather than new transportation construction.  The overall political climate in Virginia could turn to the right if generally liberal federal workers and contractors depart for greener grass elsewhere.

Every day is red nose day in Richmond.  Virginia’s over-dependence on federal spending was known for decades.  Yet the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond took no effective action to diversify Virginia’s economy.  Public universities in population centers (like GMU, VCU and ODU) could have followed the University of Maryland’s effort to strengthen STEM programs.  The snarled traffic in Northern Virginia and Tidewater could have been addressed before it became a quality of life killer.  The tobacco funds could have been spent constructively instead of stolen and squandered.  The billions in company and industry specific tax breaks could have been forgone and the funds used to keep higher education affordable instead of being used to reward campaign contributors and political gift givers.  Today, our one term governor oscillates between declaring our economy to be “booming” and scrambling around Europe trying to drum up business.  Meanwhile, the empty suited politicians for life in the General Assembly stand slack jawed and glassy eyed watching the Commonwealth fail.

— D.J. Rippert

In memory of Isabelle Seftas

Isabel SeftasRemember the Tigers.  I graduated from Groveton High School in Fairfax County in 1977.  Through all of those years there are a few memories that stayed with me.   One memory was of a teacher I had for both Biology and AP Biology – Mrs. Isabelle Seftas.  Sadly, Mrs Seftas passed “ad astra” just a few weeks ago at the age of 87.  Happily, she led a long life and significantly impacted thousands of Virginians throughout her decades of teaching.  As we write on this blog of presidents, governors and their ilk I think it is appropriate to occasionally think of those “ordinary” Virginians who have had an extra-ordinary impact on the lives of many residents of the Old Dominion.  Mrs. Isabelle Seftas was one of those people.

And the best biology teacher was …  Ms Seftas was born in 1927 and studied at Spotsylvania High School, Mary Washington College and the University of Virginia.  A Virginian to the core Ms Seftas would start her career as a dietitian and move on to be a biology teacher par excellence.  During her tenure as a biology teacher at Groveton High School Ms. Seftas would lecture with the “fill in the blank” method of teaching.   “ATP is created in the cell by ….”. If she was looking your way you’d better say, “the mitochondria”. It’s been 38 years but I still get very confident when I see “Biology” on the top of a column of Jeopardy! questions (well, answers technically).  She was a dynamo and pretty much every student who she taught remembers not only her teaching technique but the material she taught as well.  Her passing brought forth an outpouring of both grief and fond memories from students; many of whom had not seen her in decades.  She made that much of an impression.

Teenage wasteland.  Ms. Seftas was about 4′ 11″ tall.  At least that’s how it seemed at the time.  However, she cast a moral and intellectual shadow more like that of Shaquille O’Neal.  On one memorable day I was playing a typically stupid game with one of my friends who sat across the table from me in biology class.  He’d put his hand in the gap between his table and mine and I’d try to slam the tables together trapping his hand.  He’d do the same and he’d try to crush my hand.  Pretty bright, eh?  As the biology lecture progressed we lost track of the game.  Unfortunately, I absent minded-ly let my hand slip between the tables and wham!  He got me.  I jumped up and went to hit him.  He jumped up and was ready to throw down.  He was the starting tackle on the football team, I was the starting guard.  Ms. Seftas took one look at this and said, “You two clowns sit down.”  That was that.  I would have fought the tackle and he would have fought me but neither of us would confront Mrs Seftas.

The old, gold Dominion.  Mrs. Seftas loved Virginia and Virginia sports, especially basketball. Even the most ardent jocks and sports addicts among us knew to shut up and listen when Mrs. Seftas started talking sports before class began. It was a sight I’ll never forget – a group of hulking 17 and 18 year old high school athletes standing around a very small woman and listening in stone silence as she ticked off the best college basketball players in the country at any moment in time.  Nobody ever argued with her opinions on sports.

Biology in heaven.  I was very sad to hear of Mrs. Seftas’ passing. She made an indelible impression on me during my time at Groveton High School. However, one thing is for sure – the residents of heaven are about to learn a whole lot about the Krebs Cycle and about the history of the turn around jumper.

 – Donald J. Rippert

The problem with the death penalty

death penalty

D.J. Rippert

Virginia’s non-debate.  Politics in Virginia includes a lot of debates.  Trasnportation funding.  Medicaid expansion.  Taxes.  However, one critical aspect of Virginia law has fallen from view – the death penalty.  This lack of debate over the death penalty is not due to a lack of executions.  Since 1976 Virginia has posted the third most executions of any state – far behind Texas but only one execution behind Oklahoma.

The Innocence Project.  The Innocence Project is a non-profit group of lawyers who re-examine the cases of people convicted of serious crimes.  The group often uses new DNA techniques to determine whether a conviction was correct or in error.  To date, the Innocence Project has exonerated 16 Virginians of serious crimes.  Some of those innocent people were on Virginia’s death row when they were exonerated of the crimes that landed them on death row.  One such case was the conviction of Earl Washington.  Convicted of rape and murder Earl Washington was sentenced to death.  Subsequent DNA testing cleared Washington of the rape and murder convictions.  Mr. Washington’s case prompted an independent audit of Virginia’s DNA testing lab.  The results were not encouraging.

  • “This laboratory that touts itself as the best DNA laboratory in the country generated erroneous test results in a capital case, twice, using two different DNA methods,” said Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project. “The audit reveals not only that the laboratory’s most senior DNA analyst, responsible for DNA testing in many of the state’s capital cases, made serious errors, but that the laboratory’s system to catch these errors completely failed. This audit provides compelling evidence that crime labs cannot police themselves, and that only with the statutory requirement that they be subject to independent, expert oversight can we have faith that appropriate controls are in place.”

Enter the feds.  Virginia is not the only political entity with suspect processes in criminal investigations.  Recent evidence suggests that the vaunted FBI may have been responsible for systematic and willful mismanagement of critical evidence.  Of the 2,600 convictions obtained through these flawed processes 45 resulted in the imposition of the death penalty.  More troublesome, the agency did not inform the convicts of the problems after they were discovered and spent years debating the matter rather than promptly following up on the convictions.

Redo.  You can’t undo an execution.  Conservatives in Virginia will rail against abortion as the murder of innocents.  However, reasonable people can honestly debate when life begins.  There can be no debate as to whether a person convicted of a crime is alive or not.  There can only be a discussion of whether state sanctioned murder is an appropriate remedy for the crime.  In too many cases shoddy evidence analysis and law enforcement puts these convictions in doubt.  It is time for Virginia’s politicians to restart the necessary debate as to whether the state should execute living human beings on behalf of its citizens.

 

Elections have consequences

by D.J. Rippert

What a difference two years make. In the run up to the 2012 election Barack Obama and Mitt Romney debated foreign affairs. Obama had recently been caught making an offhand comment over an open mike to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Obama promised the Russian that he (Obama) would have “more flexibility” with Russia after the election. Obama used the subsequent televised debate to ridicule Romney for considering Russia a geopolitical foe.

The liberal reaction. The liberal screech-o-sphere went into overdrive after the debate taking Romney to task for his obvious stupidity in considering Russia a potential problem for the United States.

From Mediaite.com:

  • “I don’t know what decade this guy’s living in,” MSNBC host Chris Matthews said with a sigh on March 28, 2012. “Is he trying to play Ronald Reagan here, or what?”
  • Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein agreed that Romney’s statement was evidence of an “antiquated worldview.” He fretted further about how Romney, should he become president, would enter the office having severely complicated America’s bilateral relations with Moscow given his carelessly provocative statement.
  • I can appreciate why the Romney campaign would try to make Obama’s “hot mic” story interesting, but the problem is the former governor just doesn’t have any real policy chops in this area. He’s out of his depth, and struggles when the subject takes center stage. (Rachael Maddow)
  • Calling Romney’s comments “a throwback to the Cold War,” [Andrea] Mitchell insisted that “we work with Russia all the time.” “Hardly an ally but certainly not an adversary,” she declared.

Crimea river.  Russia, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, has effectively occupied Crimea.  He has armed rebels in Ukraine and those rebels used his arms to shoot down a passenger airliner.  The Russian backed rebels have prevented investigators from seeing the crash site or even recovering all the bodies of those who they murdered.  Today, U.S. and NATO countries are insisting that they will defend NATO countries with military force if confronted by Russia.

The pet theories of liberalism.  The next time some liberal advances one of their pet theories on say … immigration reform, global warming or medicaid expansion replay the clip from the 2012 debate.  Then, replay the MSNBC clips of various liberal media stooges ridiculing Romney for his warnings about Russia.  As my father used to say, “Liberals are often wrong but never in doubt.”