Saturday, January 30, 2016

At this point

Official: Some Clinton emails 'too damaging' to release
The intelligence community has deemed some of Hillary Clinton’s emails “too damaging" to national security to release under any circumstances, according to a U.S. government official close to the ongoing review. A second source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, backed up the finding.
I find it hard to believe that emails intelligence experts declare "“too damaging" to national security to release under any circumstances" can possibly be evidence of mere internecine bureaucratic catfights.

Mrs. Bill says I'm mistaken: Hillary Campaign: Withholding of Emails Just 'Over-Classification Run Amok'
Hillary Clinton's campaign insisted today that the former secretary of State wants the release of more than 20 emails determined to have contained top-secret information, calling the withholding "over-classification run amok."
Indeed: What difference, at this point, does it make? Any interested foreign intelligence services already read them.

It's a vast intelligence agency conspiracy.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Debate

Watched both debates last night.

I know. I know. Still, here's my report.

Florina. Best of the pack.
She replaces Trump's faux outsider mythology with a true disdain for DC Dealing. Replaces Trump's bluster with intelligence, articulateness, specificity and credibility. Would destroy Hillary or Bernie (or Bloomberg, Biden or Warren). Electable. Few care.

Christie-Cruz-Rubio. Tie for second.
Focus group apparently thought Rubio was awesome. I didn’t see that, but 75% of them switched their allegiance to Marco.

Many focus group people really didn't like Trump skipping the debate. It's possible they desperately want an alternative to Trump, and Cruz didn't do well enough - thus Rubio. If the sample applies generally, Monday will be quite surprising.

Carson. Surgeon General.

Paul. The conscience of the debate. Should be on stage no matter his poll numbers.

Kasich. Should be on the Democrat undercard by himself. Or somewhere by himself.

Bush. His best performance. The bar is set below sea level, of course.

Gilmore. Who?

Huckabee-Santorum. Scurried over to carry Trump’s coat (as Gilmore said) after their typical performances.

Trump. Best debate performance yet.

Two other notes.

1- Having watched some old video of Trump, I wonder what happened to the far more articulate (relatively speaking) and polite guy in them.

He’s assumed his Apprentice persona. Or maybe I should say it has assumed him. We can be thankful he stayed away from the Honey Boo Boo show, I guess.

The election has morphed completely into a 'reality' show.

Next: Real Housewives of Chappaqua and Authentic Old Socialists of Somewhere that should be in Sweden.

2- Anybody starting to react to the sound of Trump's voice they way they do to Hillary's or Obama's? I'm probably much more susceptible to Trump fatigue than most, but you gotta wonder how long even his acolytes can tolerate Trump 24/7. TV shows do get cancelled on short notice, and I'm disinclined to attribute persistent attention spans to the politically suddenly interested.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

PbH2O

Liberals Still Say Austerity Poisoned the Water in Flint, Damn the Evidence -Reason Magazine.
An excerpt:
... Far from impugning limited government principles, the Flint water crisis is a quintessential example of the failures of government planning and Keynesian economic stimulus...

But Flint’s principal problem—one that pre-dates the water crisis by decades—is that its economically-underprivileged taxpayers can’t afford to pay the pensions of retired city workers. Excess government spending landed Flint in its current, sorry state, not austerity. Likewise, the disastrous decision to go with a more expensive water option was not austerity, but government-sponsored stimulus gone (predictably) wrong.
But, RTWT.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dear Mr. Speaker,

Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House

Just received your “Personal Request” asking for my contribution to the NRCC. You say, “We must have every conservative step up…”

Since 2000, what did conservative voters get from “our conservative candidates?” Let me make a partial list.

Another huge, ineffective alphabet bureaucracy - DHS. A near quadrupling of the national debt. John Roberts. No Child Left Behind. Mortgages for the credit-challenged, leading to the financial collapse of the Western world in 2008.

The largest entitlement expansion since 1965. Hundreds of thousands of earmarks.

The nomination for president of John McCain, the ideal bipartisan statist. The self-styled Maverick who enjoys sticking it to conservatives.

McCain-Feingold. TARP. Cash for Clunkers. Sarbanes-Oxley.

Barack Obama. Obamacare.

In 2010, tea party conservatives gave Republicans control of the House and +7 seats in the Senate. Did the tea party get a thank you? No, they got blamed for not taking the Senate after the Republican Party abandoned Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and John Raese.

Mitt Romney. Barack Obama.

Common Core. A weaponized EPA.

Skipping ahead to 2014… You’re welcome.

What do I get next? - Your promises: “fixing a broken tax code, replacing Obamacare, strengthening our military, reducing our soaring debt. However, NONE of that is possible without your support.” Ha. None of it’s apparently possible with my support, either. (Oh, and you misspelled "repealing.")

So last year, on your watch, we pass an Omnibus budget bill giving the Democrats everything they want. Right now, Majority Leader McConnell is preparing a perpetual AUMF, unrestricted by geography, our Constitution-busting president didn’t think to ask for.

Iowa Gov. Terry Bran­stad is demanding to be allowed to continue looting for ethanol. Bob Dole says he’ll forget to vote if the conservative who enjoys sticking it to self-styled Mavericks is nominated. Orrin Hatch predicts “we’ll” lose if Cruz is the nominee, "For us to win, we have to appeal to the moderates and independents.” Who’s us? What’s win? You keep using those words. It’s being amply demonstrated they don’t mean what you think they mean.

We have “conservatives” threatening to vote Clinton/Sanders if Cruz is nominated. Who’s us? What’s win?

These same fine conservatives are stepping up to support a crony capitalist friend of Nancy Pelosi. A Progressive until the last 2 years, who never uses the words “liberty” or “freedom” in a speech, but does tell us what he’s going to force a lot of other people/countries/businesses to do. With him, “conservatives” can “deal.”

Just how stupid do you have to be to think conservatism matters to the Republican party? Pretty stupid. I’ll bet that’s why the word “Republican” appears nowhere in your letter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Put a shiny gold TRUMP sign on it

From Field & Stream magazine:
Q&A: Donald Trump on Guns, Hunting, and Conservation
Anthony Licata: I’d like to talk about public land. Seventy percent of hunters in the West hunt on public lands managed by the federal government. Right now, there’s a lot of discussion about the federal government transferring those lands to states and the divesting of that land. Is that something you would support as President?

Donald Trump: I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do. I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold. We have to be great stewards of this land. This is magnificent land. And we have to be great stewards of this land. And the hunters do such a great job—I mean, the hunters and the fishermen and all of the different people that use that land. So I’ve been hearing more and more about that. And it’s just like the erosion of the Second Amendment. I mean, every day you hear Hillary Clinton wants to essentially wipe out the Second Amendment. We have to protect the Second Amendment, and we have to protect our lands.
Substitute "K-12 education" for "the land." Substitute "health care" for "the land." It's like essentially wiping out the 9th and 10th Amendments.


The question I'm raising isn't about the merits or historical arguments for vast Federal Land ownership, the question is how Mr. Trump would govern.

His vague policies are not clarified by his simple repetitions of "great," "very," "huge" and "really, really." When pressed as to how he would actually accomplish his promises, he falls back on his great management skills, another phrase for command-and-control. Combine command-and-control governance with Mr. Trump's belief the 2nd Amendment is just as important as Federal land ownership, and you may have a problem.

When he makes outrageous guarantees for his ability to apply executive fiat, he is not often challenged. Can anyone explain how he will force Mexico to pay for the wall he wants to build? Does anyone think it would be a lawful order if, as he has said he would, he orders our military to kill the families of terrorists? Can you describe Trump's logistics for deporting 11 million people in a matter of months?

Those who support Trump and believe they can predict what he will do, are confident he will be able to do what he says he will do, and who trust him and want to give him power, should mull it over one more time.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Trump: Obnoxious blowhards using the First Amendment just cause trouble

Donald Trump spoke with Neil Cavuto in May 2015, just after the Muslim terrorist attack on Pam Geller's "Draw Mohammed" contest in Garland, Texas, and on the eve of a Charlie Hebdo Memorial ceremony.

Trump on Geller: “[T]he last thing we need is an obnoxious blowhard like Geller to go out and start trouble, when there's no reason for it... This has nothing do with free speech. This is taunting. And all it does is cause trouble...

Cavuto asked how Trump felt about the memorial for Charlie Hebdo: “Now, I have had satirical magazines over the years go after me. And what they do is use satire in order to not to tell the truth. They make it satirical. And this way, they can say anything they want about you. So, they were taunting, and they really taunted, and guess where they are right now?,” Trump continued, taunting the Charlie Hebdo dead.

His mother was a self-satirizing hamster and his father smelt of elderberries.

Anti-Cassandra

“[U]nless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return” and “a true planetary emergency.”
-Al Gore, January 25, 2006

Al? That tipping point? It's today.

The emergency is New York and D.C. digging out.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Eight No Trump

A large and growing portion of American voters are eager to shake the foundations of the electoral process in order to dramatically alter how we are governed. They are fed up with establishment politics, government waste and endemic bureaucratic corruption. Five candidates clearly agree.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump believe further empowering government is the solution.

Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul believe government already has too much power, and want to aggressively shrink it.

At one time, this difference in preference for government intervention would have defined Progressivism vs. Conservativism. Not any more.

Donald Trump is allowed to reverse any of his positions when they become inconvenient:


  • Trump was for invading Libya when Clinton, Powers and Rice talked the beta-male in the White House into it. He's against it in retrospect.
  • He supported single payer health care. Now he doesn’t.
  • He approved of partial birth abortion. Not any more.
  • He disliked the Tea Party and loved Barack Obama. He’s changed on both those ideas.
  • He’s flip-flopped on gay marriage and funding Planned Parenthood.
  • Sometimes he’ll move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Sometimes he won’t.
  • Sometimes he wants the Russians to fight ISIS for us, other times he’s not so sure that works.
  • In November he said we couldn’t afford to raise the minimum wage. By December he said American wages were too low.
  • In his book The America We Deserve, Trump wrote that he supported a ban on “assault weapons.” Not until last year did he apparently reverse his position.
  • He says he’s for free trade in the same sentence where he suggests a massive tariff on Chinese manufacture.
  • He says he's going to force Mexico to pay to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the U. S., and that he will quickly deport 11 million already here. In 2012 he said Mitt Romney’s mildly restrictive immigration proposals were “crazy”, and that the GOP lost the election because they didn’t “take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country.”
  • He brags about his financial independence and bribing politicians in the same breath. That's just peachy on K-Street.
To be fair, Trump has been consistent on one thing – promoting big government corporatism. He loves abusing the laws covering eminent domain for his own benefit. He thinks TARP was a “great idea.” He supported Obama’s ‘stimulus’ program. He wants to expand ethanol subsidies. He told Sean Hannity, as recently as 2015, that a wealth tax is a “very conservative thing.”

None of those are remotely “conservative things,” but the point isn't whether he's a conservative. Of course he's not. The point is that he'll say anything to close the deal. And his supporters don't care. They just want somebody's ass kicked. They don’t see in the policy chaos of a Trump Administration that there’s a very good, and random, chance it’ll turn out to be their asses.

So called “Conservatives” have consistently betrayed them, so why worry about Trump's principles? It didn’t matter that the vast majority of GOP Senators and Congressmen whom conservative voters gave majorities weren’t the principled conservatives they claimed to be, why should it matter if Trump isn’t?

Nonetheless, National Review feels compelled to tell us why Donald Trump is not a conservative. Since many people who support Trump still believe they are conservative, debating the definition of this word is not just futile, it is capitulation. The Trump supporters who don’t identify as conservatives are glad to hear he isn’t. The question isn't conservatism.

The question both cohorts (should) care about is: Whose positions are consistent with the reform you want, rather than electoral expedients on the way to the next Imperial Presidency?

Fundamentally transform the GOP, or have the GOP modify its activities to fit the rules set forth in The Art of the Deal? Trump is big business, his policies demand even bigger government and he is a creature created by big media. Think that means reform?

I'm arguing here that a choice between Sanders/Clinton and Trump is no choice at all. In each case we get big government and big spending and paternalistic federal intervention characterized by crony capitalism and tribal zealotry.

There is a one party system sharing the spoils of corruption, but the implication that Trump will fix it is ludicrous. Establishment Republicans prefer him over Cruz because they know Trump can be co-opted.

Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Republicans Argue Over Who Is Greater Threat
Arguably, based on the fears of the GOP establishment, voters disaffected by politics as usual and looking for a shake up in the Republican party are better served by a Cruz presidency than a Trump presidency. See also.

GOPe preference for Trump over Cruz indicates, if forced, they’d rather have the party gently stirred than soundly shaken. Trump has no brief against the unholy dynamics among big government, big business, and big media, he lives there and revels in it.

The creative destruction of the Republican Party now seems possible through Cruz, Fiorina or Paul. This a necessary first step to restoring choice. If you want to temporarily remake GOP participation in DC corruption in the vision of The Art of the Deal - on the way to its total destruction - Trump's your man.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Ten United States Navy sailors are abducted by Iran and then released. The Obama Administration claims the Iranians were helping our boats in distress. That doesn't explain why our sailors were forced to surrender on their knees, blindfolded and given sparse accommodation; why no actual distress call was received by the Navy; or how two boats with dual engines simultaneously lost power. Did someone put sugar in the gas?

Nonetheless, our gratitude is heartfelt:
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed "gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation ‎in swiftly resolving this matter," in a statement Wednesday…

[A]dding later, "That this issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong…”
If not a testament to the right of passage in international waters.

The Secretary might have mentioned that the swiftest way to resolve this matter would have been not to seize our military personnel in the first place and not to even think about it again or we'll keep our $150 billion, but that would have been politically incorrect undiplomatic.
There is nothing to indicate the capture was a hostile act on the part of Iran, a senior Obama administration official said.
That statement is an admission by our government that our sailors were in Iranian waters, even though the US Navy is still investigating. That's the only explanation for the abduction not having been a hostile act.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Obliviot

The WSJ reports on the attempted murder of a police officer in Philadelphia:

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. commented on the attempted murder of Officer Jesse Hartnett by Edward Archer. Archer told police he had shot Officer Hartnett in the name of Islam, because he (Archer) believes that “the police defend laws that are contrary to Islam.”

He’s right. In the United States, they do. So far.

Capt. James Clark, homicide unit commander, reported that Archer repeatedly said, “[T]he reason I did what I did,” is that he (Archer) had pledged fealty to the Islamic State and is a follower of Allah.

In the same press conference Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) took guidance (though he didn’t go so far as to blame Officer Harnett) from the Mayor of Cologne, and the Stockholm police. Mayor Kenney said, “In no way, shape or form does anybody in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam” had anything to do with the attack. Apparently, Commissioner Ross, homicide unit commander Clark - and everyone else - had moved to a different room, and Edward Archer wasn't there either.

Maybe the Mayor was telling a Clinton-truth: The attack hadn’t anything to do with the teaching of Islam, it had to do with the learning of Islam. Or maybe the study of Facebook.

Mayor Kenny claims to better know the perp's mind than the perp himself: Archer may have said over and over that he did it because of Islam, but he’s wrong.

Now, if the perp had claimed he was upset because of Planned Parenthood, that would be different.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The vast Clinton co-conspiracy

On January 7th, 1999, the United States Senate began the impeachment trial of President William J. Clinton. The President had been impeached by the House for lying under oath and obstructing justice.

His semantic gymnastics over the meaning of the word "is," and his contention that while performing cunnilingus might have constituted "having sex," being fellated by a twenty-something intern in the Oval Office didn't, secured his acquittal by the Senate. But his troubles with women weren't over.

In April 1999, President Clinton was held in contempt of court by Judge Susan Webber Wright for “intentionally false” testimony in (Paula) Jones v. Clinton. He was fined $90,000 for giving false testimony. Jones' suit was eventually settled and included an $850,000 payment from Clinton.

In April 2000, the Arkansas Supreme Court suspended his law license. In order to avoid disbarment, he agreed to a five-year suspension and a $25,000 fine (January, 2001). In October 2001, Clinton’s U.S. Supreme Court law license was suspended.

Bill Clinton's lies weren't about sex, they were about what he'd done to women. This couldn't possibly have been news to Mrs. Bill, since it had been going on since at least his 1974 Arkansas Congressional campaign.

A discussion of Bill Clinton's behavior from a February, 2012 PBS documentary, Clinton:
Narrator: To make matters worse, Hillary had to deal with Bill's constant womanizing.

Paul Fray, [1974 Arkansas Congressional] Campaign Manager: I mean you got to understand at one time there was at least 25 women per day coming through there trying to find him, and I'd tell them he's out on the road, you know and they'd get out the door, but lord it was bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Marla Crider, [who claims to have had an affair with Clinton] Campaign Aide: He draws women in and they are literally mesmerized by this man. It was absolutely like fly to honey. And he needed that. He needed that kind of adoration. I don't think there's any question that Hillary was hurt, whether it was me or anyone else.

Narrator: Despite Bill's infidelities, Hillary decided to stay in Arkansas and dedicate herself to their mutual goals.
Emphasis mine.

Any later sympathy for Hillary would seem misplaced, since Bill Clinton's predations didn't end there, and she enabled them:
Narrator: In 1987, during his fourth term as Arkansas governor, Bill Clinton was finally ready to leap onto the national stage with a long-shot run for the presidency. In July, he summoned the national media to Little Rock for the big announcement.

Then, abruptly, he sent them home with hardly an explanation.

Bill Clinton (archival): I need some family time, I need some personal time.

Narrator: Behind the scenes, an old weakness had come back to haunt him.

Gail Sheehy, Writer: Just the day before the press conference when he was going to announce that he was going to run, Betsey Wright, his ferociously protective campaign manager, sat him down with a list of names of women and went through one after the other: how many times, where did you meet her, how likely is she to talk?

Nigel Hamilton, Writer: For each name he said, 'Oh, she'll never say anything.' And Betsey Wright said, 'But you don't know that. You don't understand on a national scale, people will investigate -- your opponents will investigate it. The media will investigate it. And the problem is, we're not just talking about you. We're talking about your wife, Hillary; we're talking about your child, Chelsea.' She said, 'I don't think you can run.'

Betsey Wright, Chief of Staff: I mean, it just became clear that night it was not the time for him to do it. It just was not the time. He felt for quite a while that, that probably was the last real chance he would ever have to run for president. That was it, it was over. You know, where would he go now that he wasn't gonna run for president? What could he do in the future? I think that over the next few months that became a tough time for them.
Mrs. Bill was Mr. Bill's co-vilifier of women and co-conspirator. The difference is, she wasn't under oath when she lied.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

#GiveBacktheNight

Mayor Henriette Reker (Cologne, Germany) tells women to behave.
The Mayor of Cologne said today that women should adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent future assault at a crisis meeting following the sexual attack of women by 1000 men on New Year’s eve...

The suggested code of conduct includes maintaining an arm’s length distance from strangers, to stick within your own group, to ask bystanders for help or to intervene as a witness, or to inform the police if you are the victim of such an assault...

The attackers were described as North African and Arab appearance by the police. The Mayor has said that not all of the attackers were newly-arrived refugees and had already been known to the police.
Basically, then, don't do anything to inflame the potential perps.

Whatever you do, don't carry a mattress around. Also missing from the list are not taking candy from strangers, staying out of dark alleys, avoiding drinking, and dressing modestly - burqas optional for now.

Cologne's code of female conduct is a message to women that they aren't safe, and can't expect State protection: The cultural values of misogynist thugs count more than their own. Mayor Reker's bottom line is women are "asking for it" if they don't conform to the preferences of a rape culture, because the thugs can't be made to follow a code of civilized conduct.

I look forward to comments from Take Back the Night supporters and SlutWalk participants.

"Similar incidents as the ones in Cologne took place in Stuttgart and Hamburg". Fortunately, Chancellor Angela Merkel is on it:
Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attacks, but said that refugees should not be judged for the events.

“It’s completely improper… to link a group that appeared to come from North Africa with the refugees,” Merkel said Tuesday.

A police spokesman told DW that “the recent hints go significantly toward police known offenders, refugees have nothing to do with it.”
I'm sure the women who were attacked are comforted to know the Government that covered this up for two days says it's likely their assailants weren't refugees, but what do the refugees and the "known offenders" have in common?

Monday, January 04, 2016

Obama's definition of "local" depends on something other than geography

The administration position on the Oregon occupation:
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said President Obama is aware of the occupation at the refuge, but avoided speaking at length about it, calling it “a local law enforcement matter.”
So was Trayvon Martin's death, but apparently no one who looks like he could be Obama's son lives in the Harney Basin.

So was Professor Henry Gates' arrest, but no "beer summit" for the Hammonds.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Trump and Oregon and property rights

I'm waiting with interest for what Donald Trump has to say about the Federal attempt to force ranchers in Oregon off their land. See: The Full Story about what's going on in Oregon.

To summarize: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have harassed ranchers in Oregon's Harney Basin since the 1970s, changing grazing rules, denying legal water rights and trying to buy up ranches to add to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Two of those ranchers, Dwight Hammond, Jr., and his son, Steven Hammond, have been targets of this harassment. They were arrested in 2006 for lighting fires to burn grassland. The "Harney County District Attorney reviewed the accusation, evidence and charges, and determined that the accusations against Dwight & Steven Hammond did not warrant prosecution and dropped all the charges."

There were also accusations of attempting to cover up poaching with the fires, but they were neither charged nor convicted of this.

In 2011 the Feds charged them as terrorists. Yes, terrorists. In 2012 they were convicted of setting the fires in Federal Court, but with that came a conviction for terrorism. They served 3 and 12 month sentences, respectively.

Unsatisfied, in 2014 the Feds appealed the sentences as not meeting a minumum sentencing requirement of 5 years. The Judge at the original trial had overruled the minimum terrorist sentence, commenting that if the full five years were required it would be a violation of the 8th amendment. The Fed's appeal succeeded.

The Hammonds have said they will report tomorrow to begin serving the increased sentences. The father will be 79 when he finishes his new sentence, the son 54. They have already paid $200,000 to the BLM, and another $200,000 was to have been paid before the end of 2015. They will be forced to sell to the BLM if the fine has not been paid.

On Saturday there was a peaceful protest of these sentences in Burns, Oregon, composed of about 300.

Since then, 100-150 people associated the Cliven Bundy family have peacefully occupied a Federal building in the refuge. Some are armed. The left is going nuts. The Hammond's have disassociated themselves from this group.

Now, to Trump.

I see no difference in principle here from what Donald Trump tried to do to Vera Coking, a old woman who owned a house near one of his Casinos where he wanted to build a parking lot.

Trump’s case could be considered worse. The government wasn’t taking Vera Coking's land for itself, it was taking it in order to give it to Trump, a man who said he supported the abominable SCOTUS Kelo decision 100%.

What's going on in Oregon?

This is a must read: Full Story on What’s Going on In Oregon.

Take your blood pressure medication first.

What's being done to the Hammonds demonstrates what happens when property rights are disregarded.

It's worth pointing out that presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would both approve of this at-gun-point expropriation.


The Other Club noted the foundational nature of property rights just the other day: Property, morality and religion.