The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, September 30, 2016


I have been highly critical of the main stream media throughout the Obama years. They decided in 2007 that Barack Obama was uniquely qualified for the presidency and began to create a halo around the man. They refused, outright refused, to look at his blemishes, some serious. They rejected claims that he had no executive experience, few real accomplishments, and an ideology that, although it dovetailed nicely with their own, was considerably removed from those of average Americans. They championed him to a victory and then ... they worked very, very hard to protect him as the predictable domestic and foreign policy failures began. They shielded him from scandal after scandal, and culled the news to present his presidency in the best possible light. When a legitimate challenger to Obama appeared in 2012, they worked very hard to demonize the challenger—a good and decent man—to protect their candidate. They succeeded because they had considerable influence over the perceptions of voters, many of whom spend little time looking at the details. That has set the tone for Hillary Clinton candidacy.

Peggy Noonan comments on some of this when she writes about the "shallowness" of many modern journalists:
There is another aspect of this year’s media environment, and it would be wrong not to speak it. It is that the mainstream media appear to have decided Donald Trump is so uniquely a threat to democracy, so appalling as a political figure, such a break with wholesome political tradition, that they are justified in showing, day by day, not only opposition but utter antagonism toward him. That surely has some impact on what Kellyanne Conway calls “undercover Trump voters.” They know what polite people think of them; they know their support carries a social stigma. Last week I saw a CNN daytime anchor fairly levitate with anger as she reported on Mr. Trump; I thought she was going to have an out-of-body experience and start floating over the shiny glass desk. She surely knew she’d pay no price for her shown disdain, and might gain Twitter followers.

Guys, this isn’t helping. Tell the story, ask the questions, trust the people, give it to them straight, report both sides. It’s the most constructive thing you could do right now, when any constructive act comes as a real relief.

In a country whose institutions are in such fragile shape, mainstream media very much among them, it does no good for its members to damage further their own reputations for fairness, probity, judgment. Books will be written about this, though I’m not sure they’ll read them.
Slowly, inexorably, the main stream media is destroying itself. It's doing that by embracing its obvious bias and doing so with some amount of glee. Obviously, if you're a leftist ideologue, you'll rejoice in their bias because it reflects your own positions. But here's something to think about: The vast majority of the country is not composed of leftist ideologues. The vast majority thinks that political correctness, although appropriate in some contexts, has now crossed a line that borders insanity. They're sick of the obvious and arrogant government lies that go unquestioned by the media. They're concerned that so much news that might reflect poorly on the party in power (when that party is the Democrats) goes under- or unreported. And therefore, unconsciously, they listen to the media through a filter.

As government grows ever bigger, ever more corrupt, rapacious, and therefore, dangerous, we need a vibrant, objective media that just might act as a counterbalance. We've lost that and as a consequence, the power elites, exemplified by a Hillary Clinton quietly celebrate.


There's also a profound shallowness in the coverage of important national issues. John Hinderaker comments:

Donald Trump raced to the front of the GOP pack by focusing on illegal immigration. For months, liberals inside and outside of the press denounced Trump’s immigration views, accusing him of being a bigot, etc. But immigration has now disappeared from the news. In the first Clinton-Trump debate, moderator Leslie Holt never mentioned the subject. Why? Democrats understand that most voters side with Trump.

Likewise with trade. Here, in my opinion, Trump is vulnerable, but the issue is still too risky for the Left. Therefore, the less said the better.

How about our declining military, the Iran deal, Hillary Clinton’s criminal mishandling of classified information, the weakest recovery since WWII, stagnant wages, the war on cops and a suddenly rising crime rate, the Libya fiasco, and Obamacare, a failure by any accounting? Where have all the issues gone? Off the front pages, every one, and so far, out of the debates.

The issues that voters care most about appear to be off the table until the election is safely over. Instead, editors and reporters are feeding us a steady diet of Trump’s tax returns, a reprise of birtherism, and Alicia Machado, a person, evidently, of great significance. You could say she is the Quemoy and Matsu of this election, but that understates the case.

It is obvious what is going on here.
Yes. It is. The Democrats and Hillary are on the wrong side of every one of these issues. They know it and so do their trained hamsters in the media. Best solution? Remove them from any consideration by the voters.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Hillary Clinton gives new meaning to the word chutzpa when she and her campaign call Donald Trump a liar. In the first debate, she bragged about a page on her web site that recounts all of Trump's "lies." That page was a reprise of a campaign press release that listed the Trump "lies" and was turned immediately into lead stories by her trained media hamsters at the NYT, WaPo, the LAT, and Politico. The main stream media has a visceral dislike for Donald Trump, has jettisoned any objectivity about the man, and has now all but admitted that it will both shield Clinton from legitimate investigation into her dishonesty and corruption and shill for her regularly.

Since the debate, Trump has been castigated based on a 20 year-old charge that he called a beauty contestant "fat." Oh—the humanity! (BTW, it looks like this innocent beauty contestant might have a rather lurid past). Hillary said far worse (think; accusations by surrogates of "trailer park trash") about the many women who claim to have been sexually abused by her husband, but the NYT, WaPo, the LAT, and Politico would never introduce that inconvenient truth to counterbalance Hillary's charge. Recall that Hillary, who would like her base to believe she's an uber-feminist, has stated that the accusations of the accuser (a woman) are to be given significant weight when compared to the defense offered by the accused (a man). The media reaction to her double standard? Crickets (almost*).

Hillary suggests that Trump stiffed more than a few small contractors as he conducted his businesses. I'm sure that's true, but does it measure up to Hillary's corrupt activities as a high government official granting favors via the Clinton Foundation and enriching herself at the same time? Of course it doesn't, at least for the NYT, WaPo, the LAT, and Politico.

Hillary accuses Trump of supporting the war in Iraq, using three words, "I guess so" uttered in a 2002 radio interview, rather than literally hundreds of recorded instances from 2003 to 2016 where Trump said he opposed the war. Do three words measure up to the fact that Hillary is on record supporting the conflict, until she decided not to -- years after Trump expressed his concern? Even more important, do three words compare to the irrefutable fact that she and Barack Obama scuttled the surge and a titular victory and turned Iraq into a nightmare (and incubator for ISIS) by precipitously withdrawing troops? Only Trump's three words to Howard Stern in 2002 matter, at at least for the NYT, WaPo, the LAT, and Politico.

Hillary states that Donald Trump's promise to reduce taxes to spur economic growth beyond the pathetic 1.2% per year under the democrats will cost us $3.5 trillion (or whatever) and then gives the impression that "respected economists" agree in that assessment. Does no one mention that those same economists are loyal Democrats and that there are an equal number who refute their claims? Nope, only Hillary's claims are taken as fact, at least for the NYT, WaPo, the LAT, and Politico.

Hillary suggests that Donald Trump does not have the "temperament" to be president. It might be worth considering the "temperament' of a woman who can stare a gold star mother in the face and lie about the death of her son in Benghazi as the casket is being unloaded from the plane, and then suggest that the same mother was "confused" in her recollection of the conversation. Does the media investigate the many reports of Hillary's questionable temperament while first lady, Senator and Secretary of State. Nope, no point in doing that, at least for the NYT, WaPo, the LAT, and Politico.

Clinton (and the Democrats) greatest weapon is a compliant media. Clinton's lies and/or incompetence associated with Benghazi? No story there. Clinton's lies about her private email server? Old news. A string of Clinton aides granted immunity from prosecution or talking a fifth amendment stand? It's just politics. A clear pattern of lies and corruption that begins in 1993 (with travelgate) and ends in 2016 (with the email scandal)? What pattern? The manner in which Clinton went from "broke" to a $100 million net worth in 15 years with no job other than government, no business to generate revenue (except the Clinton Foundation, ahem), and giving speeches to fat cats? Not worth a second look. Clinton's utter incompetence as Secretary of State in numerous instances (think: the thoughtless withdrawal from Iraq)? Not her fault. Clinton's lack of any meaningful legislative accomplishments as senator? She was very busy saving the world's children. Foreign donations to The Clinton Foundation (from unsavory locales and people) tied to State Department decisions benefiting the "charitable" giver?" Sheer coincidence. It goes on and on and on, but why bother.

Hillary lies, and about half of the electorate knows it. The media lies and obfuscates, misleads and protects one candidate from thorough scrutiny, and far more than half of the population cringes with distaste.

Michael Goodwin writes:
The [public] anger [against the media] has grown more pronounced since Trump, the ultimate outsider, crashed the party to win the nomination. With media bias blatant on a daily basis, it is far more than a sideshow ...

A recent Gallup survey found a new low in public trust of the media, with only 32 percent of Americans saying they have a great deal or some trust in newspapers, TV and radio “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.” Trust fell eight points in one year alone and is only 14 percent among Republicans.

In a change election where both candidates have historically high negative ratings, many voters could make their choice for secondary reasons.

Voting against the other candidate is the most likely option, while voting against the media as a proxy for voting against the establishment is emerging as another.

In that case, the news media could be more than part of the story. They could be the story.
The blatant bias of media sources like the NYT, WaPo, the LAT, and Politico (to name only a few) might actually work to Trump's advantage. If that comes to pass, the irony would be delicious.

The harsh truth is that Hillary Clinton is (in the words of the military) a "target rich environment." Donald Trump does not have the quickness of mind or the depth of thought to exploit that reality, but that in no way changes Clinton's long history of dishonesty and corruption. The main stream media does not treat Hillary Clinton as a target (as it does Trump) but rather as an asset to be protected. Therein lies a problem for our democracy.

* In what can only be called a shocking display of actual journalism, the WaPo addressed this issue in today's edition. However, the overall tone of the piece is protective (of Hillary) arguing that she was just "standing by her man." Not surprising.


Kathryn Blackhurst comments:
The media jumped on the opportunity to bash Trump for something he said [about beauty contestant, Alicia Machado] decades earlier and help paint Clinton as a feminist defender.

But what about Juanita Broaddrick? Or Paula Jones? Or Kathleen Willey? Or Gennifer Flowers? You won’t see Anderson Cooper bring these women on and ask how they felt when they were humiliated and maligned by Hillary Clinton or assaulted by her husband...

"Hillary likes to call Donald out for shaming women, calling them names, repeating the names he's called them. But let's remember one thing: Hillary Clinton has called me a bimbo for the last 19 years," Willey said Wednesday on "The Laura Ingraham Show." "It started years ago in Arkansas. So she doesn't have a whole lot of room to talk about who's calling women names."

Willey, a former White House volunteer, claimed that former President Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her in a private study in the Oval Office in 1993. As the author of the 2007 book, "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton," Willey represents one of the so-called "bimbo eruptions" that the Clintons and their surrogates tried to suppress and discredit.

"They all called us bimbos. They called us sluts. They called us whores," Willey said. "If you ask somebody a word comparison, you put our names up there and you ask somebody a word to describe us, it's probably going to be, unfortunately, 'bimbos' — instead of we're victims of Bill Clinton's. And [Hillary Clinton's] OK with that. She just hasn't called off her dogs when it comes to that."
The media, of course, seems to have forgotten about Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky and the way the Clinton treated them. I have to believe that most women would prefer to be characterized as "fat" or even "Ms. Piggy" as opposed to being called a "bimbo" a "slut" or a "whore." But the Clintons are protected, so their hypocrisy goes unmentioned and unpunished.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Systemic Racism

Heather McDonald is a serious journalist who has spent years studying, researching, and writing about crime, policing, and the impact of race. She discusses Hillary Clinton's claim that "systemic racism" determines how people are treated by our criminal justice system. Clinton, who never told a lie she didn't like (and she tells many), would have us believe that African American men are more likely than whites to be incarcerated for identical crimes. The media loves the narrative and reports her claims without serious evaluation, taking them as the truth. Hillary's lie works well for her base who tend to allow emotion and belief to supercede hard facts. Her lie also helps her cement the support of the African American community, who under the Democrats, have become increasingly prone to perceive themselves as victims.

Unfortunately, hard facts, years of research, and everyday reality indicate that Hillary Clinton is either woefully misinformed or downright dishonest. Heather McDonald writes:
Criminologists have tried for decades to prove that the overrepresentation of blacks in prison is due to criminal-justice racism. They have always come up short. They have been forced to the same conclusion as Michael Tonry in his book, Malign Neglect: “Racial differences in patterns of offending, not racial bias by police and other officials, are the principal reason that such greater proportions of blacks than whites are arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned,” Tonry wrote. In 1997, criminologists Robert Sampson and Janet Lauritsen reviewed the massive literature on charging and sentencing. They found overwhelming evidence establishing that “large racial differences in criminal offending,” not racism, explained why more blacks were in prison proportionately than whites and for longer terms.

To say, as Clinton did last night [at the first Presdiential debate] , that blacks are more likely to be incarcerated for doing the same thing as whites ignores the relevance of a defendant’s criminal history in determining his sentence, among other crucial sentencing factors. Just last week, an analysis of Delaware’s prison population presented to the Delaware Access to Justice Commission’s Committee on Fairness in the Criminal Justice System revealed that when juvenile and adult criminal records are taken into account, along with arrest charges and age, racial disparities in sentencing decisions are negligible to nonexistent.

Clinton also complained that “too many young African-American and Latino men end . . . up in jail for non-violent offenses.” In fact, the majority of prisoners in the U.S. are serving time for violent felonies. The enforcement of low-level public order offenses in New York City during the mayoralties of Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg actually lowered New York State’s prison population by intervening in criminal behavior early, before it ripened into a serious felony.
As the Democrats continue the drumbeat of "systemic racism," arguing that stop and frisk and similar measures are "unconstitutional" (they are not), police have begun to back off in their policing of the inner city. This "has already produced the largest one-year surge in homicides in urban areas in nearly a half-century."

Clinton's empty solution is "bias training" for police officers. Again McDonald comments:
Clinton reiterated her call for “implicit-bias” training for officers. The premise of such training is that police officers are shooting black males out of such bias. Yet, four studies have come out this year alone that demolish this charge. They show that if there is bias among police officers in their shooting decisions, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. “Implicit-bias” training, based on a lie, is a grotesque waste of resources at a time when officers are desperate for more hands-on tactical training that will help them make those crucial shoot/don’t shoot decisions in the field, or avoid being put into such an excruciating situation in the first place.
Hillary and her supporters worship at the alter of political correctness—facts be damned, results ignored, and reality jettisioned to feed a dishonest narrative. The problem is this: Hillary, when elected, will use her false narrative to develop policy that will be celebrated by her Stepford wives supporters and the media. Only one thing—It won't solve any real problem and will likely make matters much, much worse for the same African Americans who will give her 90+ percent of their vote.

UPDATE (9/29/16):

During the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton suggested that because of "systemic racism" and "implicit bias" all police officers required "retraining." Damn, that sounds a lot like Moa Tse Tung's communist China in the middle of the 20th century.

David French comments:
...that’s the magic of “implicit bias” and “unconscious racism.” Skepticism of its existence is proof of its existence, and you can just “know” that Crutcher or Philando Castile or Michael Brown or Keith Scott [vicims of police shootings] would be alive today if they had been white. In other words, the very existence of the incident proves the racism. The denials of racism prove the racism. And everyone who’s “keeping score” or “gets it” knows the real truth.

Indeed, it is this politicized metaphysical certainty that breeds premature calls for “justice” and for “retraining.” If you don’t believe what the radicals think you should believe, you must be taught to believe something different — on the government’s dime, of course. Hillary wants to fund the retraining, and the NAACP wants to make it mandatory — complete with sanctions if your perceived biases don’t disappear. How will the thought police know the actual police are biased?

If they don’t believe the “right” things. Spend any time on campus, in diversity training, or on progressive websites, and you’ll see that disagreement with leftist cultural critiques is all the proof anyone needs of racism and other forms of bigotry. Evidence, experience, and probabilities are completely irrelevant when it comes time to cleanse the mind of “bias.” There are those on the Left who simply refuse to look at a case on the facts. They insist that they have knowledge about the inner lives and motivations of the relevant parties that is unknown even to the parties themselves. They use this alleged knowledge to stoke unrest and violate civil liberties. And they have an ally in Hillary Clinton. She’ll fund all the re-education we need.
Increasingly, the Democrats, now ruled by leftist thought, work hard to divide and balkanize the country. This works well for them as a political strategy, but it's enormously irresponsible as a cultural/sociological phenomenon. Then again, Hillary Clinton traffics in lies, so her lie about "systemic racism" doesn't bother her a bit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Plan

In an essay in The New York Times, entitled "I’m Black. Does America Have a Plan for My Life?", Chris LeBron provides a window into the minds of those who use racism as an excuse for the problems that are far more complex and often rooted in the failure of their own communities. He writes:
First, to plan for a life one must be able to see an open path to basic resources necessary to make good on a plan, such as education, housing and health care. Second, one must be able to rely on some degree of balance between the effort expended on realizing that life plan and the rewards received for that work. Finally, one must be able to depend on the absence of arbitrary interference or oppression, by either fellow citizens or the state.

Of course, things happen. We lose loved ones, jobs or faith, or we find them; we explore new skills; health conditions make us re-evaluate our priorities or goals. But these are normal contingencies of life. What I am referring to is something very different and has to do especially with the last condition of noninterference.
The "open path to basic resources" is available to us all, but it is not America's job to provide a plan for your life. A desire to achieve a basic education, hard work, supportive family structure, and attitude have far more to do with achieving an "open path" than government policy or programs. Despite the cries of victimization that abound among those who believe that racism is systemic, that police leave their stations in the morning looking for young black men to shoot, that the deck is stacked against minorities, there are millions of black and brown people who have found the "open path." How have they done this? What secret do they know that seems to elude others?

Ask yourself this: How does one come into contact with the police? One way is to request help. Another is to commit a crime. Still another is to live in neighborhood that experiences significant crime and violence, meaning that police patrol those neighborhoods in much greater numbers in order to stop crime and violence and protect the law-abiding, but besieged residents who live there. The greater the frequency of contact, the greater the frequency of something going wrong, of things getting out of control, of violence perpetrated by either side.

LeBron cites the tiny percentage of cases of unjustified police shootings and extrapolates those to suggest that all African American men are at mortal risk. He writes:
Here is another idea that matters for us: rationality. This is the idea, at least in economic and theoretical circles, that one’s future expectations generally are formulated in line with reasonable observations about the present. If one is black in America, what could rationality possibly look like? One would have to always live with one foot on the terrain of hope, and the other on the ground of fear; one would have to act in such a way that one might flourish if one is allowed, but be prepared that one not be allowed to flourish. The ability, then, for black Americans to be rational citizens is really upside down and inside out, yet we are perpetually counseled to patience and understanding, and in some ways that seems the least rational thing to do.

You might now be thinking that this is really something — for somebody like me to say all this, sitting in the ivory tower in the Ivy League. I seem to have disproved my own point, because as I write this, I have been allowed to pursue, and in large part achieve, my plan of life.

It is absolutely true that I have managed to carve a space for myself, but that space may not be what you think it is. My professional social circle, because of the lack of diversity in the academy, is composed in such a way that the chances of my being harassed outside my home are diminished, not because of who I am, but on account of who I am with. And, yes, money helps — I earn a salary adequate to buy me surface level credibility in the eyes of American society. But these achievements and small securities come with the cost of not knowing how far they will carry me or how long they will protect me. In planning my life, I’ve come to accept this...

So maybe this is how black Americans ought to plan for a life in America — holding out the hope to meet basic goals or striving to achieve larger ambitions knowing all the while that the present-day effects of America’s racial history can fatally disrupt enjoying, celebrating, commemorating the results of achievements small or large. Let me be honest with you — that is neither rational, nor is it fair. And there’s still the small matter of the luck that runs out.

I wish I knew America’s plan for me.
All of us face challenges in "planning" our lives. It is NOT America's job to provide guarantees or for that matter a "plan." It's your job to rationally assess the terrain you must navigate, to react to the realities of our journey, to grasp every opportunity to learn and grow, to avoid situations that might put you at risk, to accept the inherent unfairness that things beyond your control might bring, and to soldier on—day after day, month after month, year after year. Yes, racism still exists—fight it, work to eradicate it, but do not use it as an excuse that you cannot plan, cannot achieve, cannot make your way.

America doesn't have a "plan" for you or for anyone else. You create your own plan as time passes and do the things necessary to achieve it. Sometimes the plan works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it ends in tragedy, other times is triumph. But to suggest that there is some malevolent, uniquely American force that can disrupt that plan is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bad and Crazy Places

Today, about 100 million people will watch the political theater that we call the "presidential debate." In actuality, it's not an real debate and in this bizarre election, it's unlikely to change many voting decisions, unless Clinton or Trump really screws up. Rather than commenting on the upcoming "debate," I'd like to consider the milieu that got us here.

Over the past eight years, the public has watched as the economy stagnated, racial strife increased in intensity, divisiveness was not only encouraged but cultivated, islamic terror attacks increased in frequency both at home and abroad, political correctness went from mildly irritating to insanely intrusive, government grew but its effectiveness cratered, government agencies became increasingly corrupt, foreign policy crashed and burned, allies were spurned and enemies embraced. And that's the short list.

The elites struggled to hold on, telling us that all is well, but at the same time, it became apparent what those elites think about those (the "deplorables") who don't agree with their world view, their governance, or their arrogant certainty that only they can lead us to a better future. It's hard not to feel combination of fury over moral preening that is grounded in generally baseless accusations of racism or bigotry or Islamophobia, anger at their repeated failures on the world stage, disgust at their insider dealings and essential corruption on the domestic front, and concern over their extreme, unbounded efforts to stay in power.

Richard Fernandez addresses how the 'non-elites' are reacting when he writes:
The publics of the world are now subconsciously aware that peril is near to them and are reacting by attempting to partially dismantle the globalized world as manifested by the Brexit and Trumpism. They are doing this because the ordinary person realizes far more astutely than the purblind political class that the current arrangements are much more fragile than described and are retreating to older forms in an attempt to survive. They know, even if their rulers do not, that the storm is not over; far from it. They are battening down the hatches against the gale which must come.
The gale is presaging by a lack of trust in government (exemplified by the corruption and political weaponization of agencies ranging from the IRS to the DoJ to the EPA to the VA to the FBI). As the gale winds begin to blow, the first damage will be wrought by bad actors who now think (possibly correctly) that America has lost its will; that our leaders no longer do anything but talk; that action has been replaced by empty "negotiation" and that the result is never win-win and never in our favor. The storm will hit shore when one of those actors decides that it can injure us grievously with an action that is as horrific as it is predictable. And then ... what?

Under a president Hillary Clinton (the most likely scenario) we'll get a predictable reaction to the gale—the elites will get the politically correct counsel of the same people from the same Ivy league universities who have failed so miserably over the past 15 years. They'll struggle to limit damage to the global network of those in power; proportionality will be the watch word; calm meaningless words (what they refer to as "temperament") will replace any meaningful action, and nothing will change. It's possible that the bad actors (people and events) might recede for a time, allowing the gale to strengthen off-shore.

Under a president Donald Trump, things would be far less predictable—and that alone might give the bad actors pause. In fact, that Trump is viewed by many as unhinged is like the high altitude winds that break up even the most powerful storm by shearing its strength. The gale just might be weakened by uncertainty about how the United States would react to a threat. I'm not sure that a good result would occur under Trump—in fact, I worry that no good result can occur until after the gale has destroyed much and created universal pain.

Holman Jenkins, no fan of Donald Trump, provides interesting insight:
At bottom, it’s this rottenness of American political culture that allows Mr. Trump, for all his flaws as a candidate and human being, to find traction with so many voters. Not because he’s a uniquely attractive individual, but because he’s uniquely willing to violate the political taboos and challenge the status quo. Indeed, his most insidious offense may be his suggestion that some problems aren’t intractable.
For all his flaws (and they are many), Trump does identify problems clearly, is not cowed by politically correct boundaries, and at least suggests that solutions are possible. His politically incorrect suggestion, for example, that we limit immigration from countries with significant support for Islamists stands in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton's advocacy for increased immigration from those places. That contrast was magnified over the past week with Islamic terror attacks in the New York metro area and a likely terror event in Washington State over the weekend.

Peggy Noonan, a keen observer of our country and its people suggests that many 'undecided' voters are asking this question: "Shall we go to the bad place or the crazy place?"

Under Hillary Clinton we'll go directly to a "bad place," and we'll get there quickly. In the bad place, gross governmental dishonesty will become the norm. We'll have no idea whatsoever what a Clinton administration is doing and what the ramifications are. We won't know whether decisions are being made to enrich Clinton supporters or the Clintons themselves or whether they're being made in the interest of the American people. Worse, we'll have a media that protects Clinton no matter what she does, and a Democratic party that seems unable to call her out for the dishonesty and corruption that is an ingrained part of her character. We won't know whether our enemies are using hacked information (from her infamous private server) to blackmail her, or whether they are not. We'll institutionalize corruption far beyond what it is now. As I've noted in an earlier post, corruption is the rot that brings down great countries.

Under Donald Trump we'll wind up in a "crazy place." We'll have a president with a refreshingly clear-eyed view of the domestic and foreign problems we face. But Trump has a mouth that has trouble properly enunciating solutions in an effective way and a brain that thinks bravado replaces both common sense and action. In the crazy place, we'll also have a media that returns to its job—that will aggressively act as a check and a balance against too much "crazy." We'll have a Congress that will also return to its job with both Dems and many in the GOP acting as brakes on too much crazy.

It's a difficult decision—a "bad place or a crazy place." I'm beginning to think that crazy just might be a better option.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

In Memoriam

This week, my mother passed away at the age of 94. She was a Holocaust Survivor—among the last of her generation to pass.

Her life began in normalcy, turned into chaos, morphed into survival, and ended in triumph. Let me explain.

My mother was born in Warsaw, Poland and lived a comfortable, but modest urban life until the adherents of a truly evil ideology invaded her country in 1939. The West did nothing, hoping that the evil ideology would burn itself out. The ideology, Nazism, was virulently anti-Semitic, and within months, Jews were herded into the Warsaw Ghetto. Normalcy devolved into chaos.

My mother, a young girl of 17, blond, blue-eyed and athletic was assigned the role of scavenger. At night, she snuck out of the ghetto through the sewers and traded valuables for food, sneaking back in before dawn. One night the Nazis bricked up the sewers. She was locked out of the Ghetto. It was the last time she would see her mother and three sisters alive. We think her family died in Auschwitz. Chaos morphed into survival.

On the run, she traveled through war-torn Poland and Germany, her light skin and hair color allowing her to pass as Christian. She was homeless at times, a factory slave-laborer at others, lived through the kindness of strangers, had many near captures and escapes, and ran from an ideology that wanted her dead. She survived the horror of World War II through what I believe was a sheer force of will.

After the war, she met my father, a GI. They married and moved to the United States. She learned English, and they started a family of three children. She kept us very close, fearing I think, the idea of losing another family. Today, she is survived by her three children, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Her family was her triumph.

She will be missed.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Terrorism Tax

In what is becoming a recurring event, multiple Islamic terror attacks occurred over the weekend. In what is becoming a recurring reaction, democratic leaders in the location of the terror attack twist themselves into pretzels to avoid labeling the attack as terror and outright refuse to associate it with radical Islam. Uber-progressive Mayor Bill DiBlasio of New York City hung on the phrase "intentional violence" until he became a laughing stock and finally admitted the obvious.

Barack Obama (who has so far remained silent on the weekend's attacks)and his probable successor, Hillary Clinton, take the same position on Islamic terrorism, beginning with their refusal to call it that. With the arrogant certainty of politicians who have been wrong on virtually every aspect of foreign policy on their watch, they tell us that "you're more likely to be killed by lightning than in an terror attack" and "radical extremism" (their term for Islamic terror) does not represent "an existential threat." Both statements are half-truths (the most dangerous kind) and represent a willful attempt to misrepresent the threat we face.

In a fascinating post, John Robb discusses a "terrorism tax" that is imposed on countries and/or cities that absorb a number of small, but deadly terror attacks (e.g., France in recent months). He writes:
Although Europe has suffered terrorism before, this time it's different. Instead of big and relatively infrequent terrorist attacks, these new attacks are small, numerous and geographically dispersed. This change is a big deal, because it makes it possible for terrorists to turn attacks into "a tax" that depresses economic activity by imposing new costs and changing economic behavior. Here's some of the theory from my 2004 article on it:

A terrorism tax is an accumulation of excess costs inflicted on a city's stakeholders by acts of terrorism. These include direct costs inflicted on the city by terrorists (systems sabotage) and indirect costs due to the security/insurance/policy/etc. changes needed to protect against attacks. A terrorism tax above a certain level will force the city to transition to a lower market equilibrium (aka shrink). So, what is that level? Here's what they concluded:
  • Singular terrorist events (black swans), like 9/11, do not impact city viability. The costs of a singular event dissipate quickly. In contrast, frequent attacks (even small ones) on a specific city can create a terrorism tax of a level necessary to shift equilibriums.
  • In the labor pooling model of city formation, a terrorism tax of 7% will cause a city to collapse to a lower equilibrium. Labor pooling equilibrium reflects the benefits of aggregating workers in a single location. Workers get higher wages and more choices. Firms get stable wages (no one firm can deplete the market) and more candidates.
In the core-periphery model of city formation, a terrorism tax of 6.3% will push a city to a lower equilibrium. The core-periphery model is based on transportation costs. Firms generate transportation savings by concentrating in a single location next to suppliers and customers. Customers and workers glean the benefit of lower transportation costs by locating near jobs and goods.
At the local level, the tax manifests with decreased tourism, increased local costs for policing, and the inherent economic damage that results during and after an attack. In the United States, localities have experienced these things, but the impact, so far, has been relatively minor.

At a federal level the tax is different. We spend billions of dollars on the Department of Homeland Security, a federal bureaucracy whose effectiveness is open to question. We waste hundreds of millions of person hours standing in security lines at airports and at major events.

So when Obama or Clinton talk about lightning or existential existence, they might have the decency to be honest with the public and mention a terrorism tax that is corrosive on our culture as well as our finances. Since Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have never seen a tax they didn't like, you'd thing they'd be honest about this one.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Why Should They?

Clinton supporters—meaning just about every talking head in the main stream media, most editorial writers, and most Democrats—are wondering aloud why Hillary's polls are dropping, why the public doesn't like her, why she seems beset with scandals, manufactured, of course, by those who hate her. They suggest that it's a lack of charisma and partisan politics. Charisma may have something to do with it, but how on earth could partisan politics manufacture such a long string of scandals dating back to 1993?

Way back then, Hillary and Bill moved into the Whitehouse after an impressive election victory. Within months, the entire White House travel office staff—competent civil servants who served many presidents—were fired. Peggy Noonan revisits the the events that followed and provides with a ground-hog day look at Hillary Rodham Clinton:
Under criticism [for the firings] the White House changed its story. They said that they were just trying to cut unneeded staff and save money. Then they said they were trying to impose a competitive bidding process. They tried a new explanation—the travel office shake-up was connected to Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review. (Almost immediately Mr. Gore said that was not true.) The White House then said it was connected to a campaign pledge to cut the White House staff by 25%. Finally they claimed the workers hadn’t been fired at all but placed on indefinite “administrative leave.”

Why so many stories? Because the real one wasn’t pretty.

It emerged in contemporaneous notes of a high White House staffer that the travel-office workers were removed because Mrs. Clinton wanted to give their jobs—their “slots,” as she put it, according to the notes of director of administration David Watkins—to political operatives who’d worked for Mr. Clinton’s campaign. And she wanted to give the travel office business itself to loyalists. There was a travel company based in Arkansas with long ties to the Clintons. There was a charter travel company founded by Harry Thomason, a longtime friend and fundraiser, which had provided services in the 1992 campaign. If the travel office were privatized and put to bid, he could get the business. On top of that, a staffer named Catherine Cornelius, said to be the new president’s cousin, also wanted to run the travel office. In his book “Blood Sport,” the reporter James B. Stewart described her as “dazzled by her proximity to power, full of a sense of her own importance.” Soon rumors from her office, and others, were floating through the White House: The travel office staff were disloyal crooks.

The White House pressed the FBI to investigate, FBI agents balked—on what evidence?—but ultimately there was an investigation, and an audit.

All along Mrs. Clinton publicly insisted she had no knowledge of the firings. Then it became barely any knowledge, then barely any involvement. When the story blew up she said under oath that she had “no role in the decision to terminate the employees.” She did not “direct that any action be taken by anyone.” In a deposition she denied having had a role in the firings, and said she was unable to remember conversations with various staffers with any specificity.
The Hillary Clinton's approach to wrong-doing and the scandal that followed has a familiar ring to it. Lie, Deflect. Obfuscate. Apportion blame elsewhere. Finally, accuse the victim of wrongdoing.

With relatively small variations, this is the approach that Hillary has used in more recent years—for Benghazi, for her broad-based e-mail scandal, for the Clinton Foundation, for her health questions. In the end, it always works because Democrats refuse to police their own and thereby give her political cover (spend a little time listening to Elijah Cummings and you'll get the picture). But an unethical stench follows Clinton. Her dishonesty isn't an opinion. It is a fact that can be demonstrated by events that began in 1993 and continue to this day. That's why 'no one likes her.' Why should they?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Deplorables-Part II

The more I think about Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment and now the attempts by her supporters and their trained hamsters in the media to defend it, the more I have to smile. The elites have decided that Donald Trump is the leader of the "deplorables" because his comments are sometimes crude, his demeanor is sometimes brutish, his political knowledge is sometimes weak, and (half) his followers, well ... in Hillary's words, they're "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic." Five words that tell use far more about Clinton and her followers that they tell us about the people who are their target.

The overriding image for all of this is fascinating. Hillary Clinton stands before a group of glittering elites at a high-priced New York fundraiser sponsored by none other than Barbra Streisand. In a prepared speech (the prepared part is especially telling), she goes beyond demonizing Trump to demonize tens of millions of her fellow citizens. As she says "basket of deplorables," laughter can be heard in the audience, not a little—a lot. The glitterati enjoy Hillary's comments, laughing at the middle and lower class people because those people want a change from the oppressive, ineffective, and outright damaging policies that the Democrats have fostered over the past eight years.

The deplorables seek a new and different path; they don't agree with much of the politically correct nonsense that now permeates the media, the government, and even private sector entities. They look at Muslims who want to immigrate to the USA with suspicion, not out of "Islamophobia" but because scattered in the midst of those immigrants there assuredly are people who want to kill them. Sure, some of the deplorables are hard-core right-wing, but some of Hillary's followers are hard-core left wing. Both hardcore elements offer highly distorted views of the world, and one is no better than the other.

The elites, including Hillary Clinton, are so far removed from the world of the deplorables, so far removed from those who work in factories, drive trucks, mow lawns, provide electrical and plumbing services, that they view them as an odd species. Hillary no more understands the world of the deplorables than she understands the Navier-Stokes equations—both are a mystery to her and to many of her followers.

Daniel Henninger summarizes the use of the five words nicely:
Those are all potent words. Or once were. The racism of the Jim Crow era was ugly, physically cruel and murderous. Today, progressives output these words as reflexively as a burp. What’s more, the left enjoys calling people Islamophobic or homophobic. It’s bullying without personal risk.

Donald Trump’s appeal, in part, is that he cracks back at progressive cultural condescension in utterly crude terms. Nativists exist, and the sky is still blue. But the overwhelming majority of these people aren’t phobic about a modernizing America. They’re fed up with the relentless, moral superciliousness of Hillary, the Obamas, progressive pundits and 19-year-old campus activists.

Evangelicals at last week’s Values Voter Summit said they’d look past Mr. Trump’s personal résumé. This is the reason. It’s not about him.

The moral clarity that drove the original civil-rights movement or the women’s movement has degenerated into a confused moral narcissism. One wonders if even some of the people in Mrs. Clinton’s Streisandian audience didn’t feel discomfort at the ease with which the presidential candidate slapped isms and phobias on so many people.
The most telling aspect of this whole affair is that Trump's followers find it oddly amusing. Some have adopted the moniker "deplorables" as a badge of honor. For the Dems, that's a really bad sign.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Full Disclosure

As a member of Hillary Clinton's age group, I sympathize with her health problems. At Clinton's age (and mine) we are moving targets—age, heredity, life style choices, and blind luck often dictate how healthy or unhealthy we are. Hillary Clinton's health history is not good (e.g., repeated feinting and falls, a concussion, serious coughing, now, pneumonia), and many have suggested that a full disclosure of that history is an important element of any decision to elect her president. Those who have made this suggestion have been branded as everything from "conspiracy theorists" to "misogynists" by Clinton's cohort of rabid supports and her trained media hamsters.

Michael Goodwin comments:
The Washington Post, CNN and others added their voices to the Clinton chorus, demonizing any who mentioned her coughing fits as cranks, nut jobs and conspiracy theorists. No news here, they thundered.

In fact, the deniers were suckers. They were buying into the Clinton scam that the world is out to get her. They are her useful idiots.

Guilty of malpractice, they participated in a shameful episode fueled by the media’s determination to defeat Donald Trump. They don’t love Clinton, but their hate for Trump blinds them to their duty.

Because they believe they should pick the president, they didn’t want to know the extent of Clinton’s health problems, and didn’t want anybody else to know, either.

Then, within four days of the NBC story, Clinton’s doctor checked her because of the persistent cough, and diagnosed her with pneumonia. Again, we know that only because the video forced the campaign’s hand.

Of course, it would be foolish to believe we know the full truth now. Allergies don’t usually cause pneumonia, and pneumonia doesn’t usually cause otherwise-healthy people to collapse on the street. There’s probably much more to the story.

But neither should we be foolish enough to believe The Washington Post, The New York Times and others will report the full story in straightforward fashion. They soon will suffer their own amnesia about how Clinton humiliated them and jump back into the tank for her.

That process already has started, and the protective circle around her will draw closer as the election does. As she goes, they go.

But remember the little video — it is a hinge of hope. It shows the power of simple facts and the value of the democratization of media.

In this case, it lifted the veil of dishonesty and informed the electorate. In doing so, it reminded millions of Americans why they don’t trust the mainstream media any more than they trust the Clintons.

Smart people, deplorables and all.
Here's the problem. Hillary Clinton and her entire campaign are reflexively dishonest. It has gotten so bad that anything they state is open to question and outside verification. If the Clinton campaign releases medical information that has been under their control, produced by physicians that they control, it is now reasonable to question its veracity.

The candidates (both Clinton and Trump) should check into a major New York medical center for a day. They should undergo a through medical exam and a corresponding review of all health records. The medical center should then release a report that would indicate any serious health concerns. That would help put this issue to bed once and for all. If Clinton (and Trump) are as healthy as they claim, there is no reason to resist full disclosure.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Sometimes there's a delicious irony to politics. In 2012, the Democrats with the enthusiastic help of their trained hamsters in the media succeeded in demonizing Mitt Romney for his suggestion that "47 percent" of the public (those who pay no income taxes and are dependent on government in significant ways) were beyond his reach as a politician. In his private remarks, secretly recorded by a Democratic operative, he never denigrated the 47 percent by casting aspersions on their character, except to directly imply that they lived lives of dependency. The media went nuts, and it's entirely possible that his "47 percent" remark sunk Romney's presidential campaign.

Yesterday morning we got this from ABC News:
Hillary Clinton didn’t mince words [in public remarks] during a star-studded fundraiser in New York City Friday night, describing some Donald Trump supporters as “deplorables” who are hateful and bigoted.

“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables.’ Right?” she told donors at the LGBT For Hillary Gala, at which Barbra Streisand and Rufus Wainwright performed. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”

The Democratic presidential nominee added, “Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable. But they are not America.”
Hmmm. I'd say Clinton's comments are at least as explosive as Romney's, but I'll betcha the entire episode will be erased from the news rather quickly. After all, from their high moral perch above the country, prominent Democrats are allowed to denigrate vast numbers of people who don't agree with them.

Conservative blogger, Ed Morrissey, sums up nicely:
Nothing says woman of the people like a political candidate who got filthy rich while serving in the Senate and State Department insulting millions of voters while surrounded by celebrities, right? Hillary Clinton shifted her attack from Donald Trump to his supporters at a fundraiser in New York City, putting “half” of them into “a basket of deplorables.” That’s a memorable turn of phrase, but will Hillary want to forget it?

... This sneering, condescending, and insulting stereotyping of millions of voters perfectly encapsulates the Clintonian quarter-century, especially with their above-the-law antics since leaving the White House. And that’s why most candidates stick to insulting each other, and not voters.
Of course, Clinton is now walking back the comment, providing a heartfelt 'apology' to the millions she insulted. Romney did the same thing. But here's the difference—the media will be all too happy to accept Clinton's 'apology,' and quickly move on. They didn't do that with Mitt Romney.

Morrissey comments on the fallout or lack thereof:
Should it get the “47 percent” treatment? Yes, perhaps even more deservedly than Romney; his (misguided) remarks were about specific tax and safety-net policies, not accusing tens of millions of Americans of bigotry simply for not supporting him. Will it? No, and for one unassailable reason — the media will never start that same kind of feeding frenzy around Hillary. They’ll cover it initially, perhaps even noting what a foolish misstep it was as Don Lemon did in the CNN clip, but very quickly the media narrative will turn to whether Republicans are “pouncing” and “overplaying their hand.” Don’t be surprised if that shift occurs as soon as tomorrow morning’s news shows.
I think Morrissey's assessment is right on target. This will be gone in 72 hours.

UPDATE (9/12/16):

It appears that every Democrat spokesperson is emphasizing the following narrative as they scramble to protect Hillary from her outrageous and insulting "deplorables" comment. To wit: "She's apologized and regrets having said it." Yeah, right. The Wall Street Journal comments:
The remarks echo Mitt Romney’s comment in 2012 about the 47% on the government dole. The media played up the Romney comments as emblematic of an out-of-touch rich guy, and they probably contributed to his defeat. Mrs. Clinton’s comments were arguably worse, attributing hateful motives to tens of millions of Americans, but the media reaction has treated it like a mere foot fault.

Mrs. Clinton apologized, sort of, on Saturday by saying in a statement that, “Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’—that was wrong.” But she went on to say she was otherwise right because some of Mr. Trump’s supporters are the likes of David Duke.

Yet the rest of what she said was almost as insulting. She said Mr. Trump’s other supporters are “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

So she thinks half of Mr. Trump’s voters are loathsome bigots and the other half are losers and dupes who deserve Democratic pity. It’s no accident that Mrs. Clinton said this at a fundraiser headlined by Barbra Streisand, the friendliest of crowds, because this really is what today’s elite progressives believe about America’s great unwashed.
What's most amusing about this entire episode is to consider what would have happened had Donald Trump uttered the same words as Clinton in front of a crowd of fat-cats—and the fat cat laughed gleefully (as the glitterati crowd did as Hillary made her statement. The trained hamsters in the media would have gone bezerk.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Smoking Gun

I listen to MSNBC each morning as I drive in to work. For the past six months, it's been wall-to-wall Donald Trump. Listeners are told just how "disastrous," "dangerous," and/or "Hitlerian" his presidency would be. His every word is dissected, criticized, and roundly condemned. Of late, there's a slight whiff of desperation in the words of MSNBC's talking heads as Hillary's poll numbers keep dropping.

And Hillary? She's almost invisible at MSNBC—at least in the early morning time slot. But when her name comes up, a supporter (that means virtually everyone at the network and almost every talking head that appears on air) goes into full defense mode: "HRC is unduly criticized, the email scandal is a GOP witch hunt; there is no evidence of wrong doing, no lies, there is no smoking gun."

These arguments (actually they are specious assertions) are remarkable in their own right—they truly are an example of the three monkeys—hear, speak and see no evil (when it comes to Hillary Clinton and the Democrat cause).

Most maddening is the the Democrats' assertion that because there is "no smoking gun," Hillary should get a pass. Jonah Goldberg comments:
... it’s interesting to hear the Clinton campaign respond to every single new email-related revelation: “There is no smoking gun here.”

Now, I’ve been banging my spoon on my highchair for over a year that Clinton’s stealth server is the smoking gun. It’s just sitting out in the open smoldering like an abandoned-tire fire. The server’s mere existence proves she did something wrong, which even she has admitted albeit in a Nixonian way. Mistakes were made, as Tricky Dick used to say.

It’s worth revisiting the smoking gun of the Nixon White House. What did the tape prove? It didn’t prove that Nixon ordered the break-in at the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. It proved that he had been in on the coverup far longer than he had claimed, and that he wanted aides to monkey-wrench the FBI’s investigation.


On Aug. 8, 2015, Clinton submitted to a federal judge a signed declaration in which she swore "under penalty of perjury" that she had directed all emails that "were or potentially were federal records" to be handed over to the State Department. In October, she swore to Congress that “I provided the department, which has been providing you, with all of my work-related emails — all that I had.”

These were lies. In May, the State Department inspector general confirmed that numerous relevant emails weren’t handed over. Then in July, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the FBI found thousands of emails Clinton had never turned over. Also, a new report from the FBI confirms that the Clinton organization started deleting emails after it was ordered not to by Congress.

This barely scratches the surface of the falsehoods and coverups Clinton is guilty of. Nearly every single factual assertion she made to the public in her initial news conference has proved to be a lie. When The New York Times reported on the existence of her server, Clinton campaign officials screamed bloody murder about how inaccurate and unfair it was. They also started deleting emails and smashing BlackBerrys in a hurry, even as Clinton was publicly bragging about her dedication to transparency.
In the through-the-looking-glass world of the Democrats, all of the evidence that Goldberg delineates has been disregarded because in their view, there is no smoking gun. Except ... there is. 

Just as many national figures within the GOP properly criticize Trump for the things he says, you'd think that many prominent Democrats would properly criticize Hillary Clinton for what she does. Except ... they don't. And that might be the most profound indication of just where the heart and soul of the Democratic party really is.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Blind Spot

In a thoughtful article in The Daily Beast, Michael Tracy dissects the media's treatment of Donald Trump and those who support him. He contends that the near-hysterical condemnation of every Trump statement, along with suggestions by the media that his supporters are low-intelligence and low moral character creates an inverse affect in which the general public simply discounts the media's hyperventilation. Tracy writes:
The total paucity of avowed Trump supporters in elite spheres—including prestige media outlets, think tanks and academic institutions—has created an unprecedented imbalance in our electoral politics. During any given week this summer, commentators might have charged Trump with committing treason (a crime punishable by death), seeking to carry out mass genocide, being clinically insane, or chomping at the bit to instigate civilization-destroying nuclear war—not to mention secretly working to undermine the entire American system of government at the behest of Russia’s dastardly leader. Such extreme besmirchments have become so common now that they seldom even raise an eyebrow.

Of course, given his penchant for inflammatory blather, Trump himself bears plenty of responsibility for provoking some histrionic name-calling. But even so, when a presidential candidate nominated by one of the two major parties can be called a literal traitor and virtually nobody within the domains that traditionally regulate mainstream public discourse feels compelled to come out and object—something’s off.

Something intrinsic to the fundamental order of the polity is fraying, and it threatens the continued existence of a functioning, governable nation state.
Trump can be a vile jerk, no doubt, but the level of overt animosity evinced by the "prestige media" is both shocking and telling. Trump's every word is taken hyper-literally, even when he's obviously joking, making an attempt at irony, or being hyperbolic in the way of all politicians. Even more telling, the media suggests that his pronouncements, taken literally, may lead to chaos and nuclear war. Tracy suggests that all of this creates a media "blind spot," in which their continuous condemnation becomes background noise or worse, that it will cause some voters to react positively to Trump so that they can punish the media for its obvious and blatant bias.

Again from Tracy:
But far from acknowledging the blind spot and trying to compensate for it, every day brings a new wave of mindless Trump hysterics. Nobody would argue that the candidate’s statements should go unscrutinized—that’s a red herring. But to hang on his every trifling word as if the fate of humanity depends on it is going way, way overboard. It generates such a tiresome cacophony of noise that many voters, especially casual news consumers largely indifferent to politics, simply tune out.

I can’t tell you how many ordinary folks I’ve spoken with who don’t trust that the rolling Trump outrage machine otherwise known as current mainstream media is giving them the real story. This includes people who generally dislike Trump. One representative example was a restaurant worker in Philadelphia during the Democratic Convention in July who told me that she assumes anything Trump says or does will instantly be blown out of proportion, so has decided to just ignore the coverage. For her, it’s a rational reaction to such disproportionate, all-consuming furor: She says she cannot process it all and also retain her sanity. So even if a controversy arises that is legitimately worth getting up-in-arms about, she will no longer know it.
Tracy suggests that all of these attacks emanating from the prestige media have become "trite and boring." He's right, but they are also indicative of a media that has lost its way. The same prestige media has given Barack Obama a pass throughout his presidency and has only recently been forced, kicking and screaming, to cover Hillary Clinton's mendacity and corruption (and only then, as lightly as possible).

We've lost one of our most important checks again government power and corruption, as long as Democrats maintain the oval office.

Were Trump to win, all of that would change, of course. The media would aggressively and relentlessly pursue every aspect of a Trump administration. The slightest whiff of foul play, influence peddling, or scandal would be put under a metaphorical electron microscope. Investigative reports would become a daily occurrence and good reporting might actually return. In an odd way, Trump, were he to be elected, might actually save the prestige media from self-destruction.

An Aside: Part-1:

When the "prestige media" isn't excoriating Donald Trump, they try to make excuses for Hillary Clinton's pathetic polling numbers when it comes to honesty and trustworthiness and her less than impressive lead over a man who they think is the devil.

In a typical example of warped progressive thought, Peter Beinart in the left-leaning Atlantic argues that most, if not all, of the public (not media) concern focused on Clinton is due to misogyny. Combining psychobabble studies about women and outright disingenuous thinking, he writes:
Except for her gender, Hillary Clinton is a highly conventional presidential candidate. She’s been in public life for decades. Her rhetoric is carefully calibrated. She tailors her views to reflect the mainstream within her party.

The reaction to her candidacy, however, has been unconventional. The percentage of Americans who hold a “strongly unfavorable” view of her substantially exceeds the percentage for any other Democratic nominee since 1980, when pollsters began asking the question. Antipathy to her among white men is even more unprecedented. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 52 percent of white men hold a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton. That’s a whopping 20 points higher than the percentage who viewed Barack Obama very unfavorably in 2012, 32 points higher than the percentage who viewed Obama very unfavorably in 2008, and 28 points higher than the percentage who viewed John Kerry very unfavorably in 2004.

At the Republican National Convention, this fervent hostility was hard to miss. Inside the hall, delegates repeatedly broke into chants of “Lock her up.”
HRC is a "highly conventional" president candidate? Really? Only Peter Beinart and many other Clinton supporters, blinded by their own lideology, could think this.

Hillary Clinton is anything but "conventional." What other candidate in modern history has been under FBI investigation during a presidential campaign? What other candidate in modern history has been accused of major ethical violations, not to mention criminal wrongdoing, with respect to the operation of the Clinton Foundation? What other candidate in modern history has lied so often, so blatantly and so ineffectively? what other candidate has admitted to destroying evidence after a subpoena for that evidence was issued by a congressional committee? What other candidate in modern history has presided over foreign policy that has resulted in failure after failure?

But no. According to Beinart and many others on the left, distrust, criticism, and overall dislike of Hillary Clinton occurs because she is a woman. It's an useful fantasy if you have to convince yourself that Hillary Clinton is the kind of person you'd want as president.

An Aside: Part 2:

In the aftermath of the Matt Lauer interview of both candidates, the members of the prestige media are again getting hysterical (e.g., here). By most accounts, Trump held his own and the prestige media can't abide that, so Lauer (a left-leaning TV personality who is likely a Clinton voter) gets the blame. He didn't ask tough enough questions on Trump; he was "boorish" when questioning Clinton.

This from Jonathan Chait of The New York Times:
The average undecided voter is getting snippets of news from television personalities like Lauer, who are failing to convey the fact that the election pits a normal politician with normal political failings against an ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest authoritarian.
Hmmm. It looks like the current prestige media narrative is that Hillary is an example of a "conventional politician" who has "normal political failings." This is becoming amusing. Let me repeat: Is it "normal" to be under FBI investigation during a presidential campaign? Is it is "normal" to be accused of major ethical violations, not to mention criminal wrongdoing, with respect to the operation of the Clinton Foundation? Is it "normal" to lie so often, so blatantly and so ineffectively? Is it "normal" to admit to destroying evidence after a subpoena for that evidence was issued by a congressional committee? Is it "normal" to preside over foreign policy that has resulted in failure after failure?

Gosh, you'd think the grand poobahs of the prestige media, many of whom haven't done an honest day of reporting and research in at least eight years, were biased -- wouldn't you?

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Remove 8 Zeros

The lame duck congress is back in session, grinding their teeth and bemoaning cuts to the federal budget mandated by the "sequester." We're told that children will starve, the infrastructure will crumble, our troops will use pea-shooters instead of more potent weapons, and heaven forbid, the government will grow at an infinitesimally slower rate.

In actuality, the Democrats have never seen a cut they liked, except when it's applied to the military. The GOP, although they talk a good show, don't have the courage or the ability to reign in spending. The result is that the Washington elites love to spend, and as a consequence, grow the budget and the debt ever bigger.

I rarely repeat a viral email, but there's one going around whose numbers seem about right. It drives home the point that all the concern about sequestration is laughably idiotic. Here goes:
  • U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
  • National debt: $19,271,000,000,000
  • Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:
  • Annual family income: $21,700
  • Money the family spent: $38,200
  • New debt on the credit card: $16,500
  • Outstanding balance on the credit card: $192,710
  • Total budget cuts so far: $385
Got It ?????
The reality is that no one—not Dem or GOP—has the courage to act responsibly and reduce spending by a meaningful amount. Eventually, we'll hit a wall—and the results will not be pretty.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016


Donald Trump is a guy who is difficult to defend, and I won't try to do it. He can be a coarse, bombastic demagogue who has little grasp of policy details, who makes promises that reality tells us will be very hard to keep, who has difficulty expressing himself in ways that are clear and concise, and who is a narcissist and a bully—all rolled into one. But as the trained hamsters in the media follow their chosen candidate's narrative and characterize Donald Trump as "a danger to the country," it might be worth stepping back just a bit and considering how a continuation of the current administration's policies isn't a considerably more predictable danger.

Hillary Clinton has committed to continue Barack Obama's approach to both domestic and foreign policy—essentially to become Obama 3.0. On the domestic front, she poses a real and present danger to our democracy. Why? Because, (as I noted in my last post) dishonesty and more importantly, corruption, is a "rot" that can destroy our confidence in government and those who lead us. On the foreign policy front, a continuation of Barack Obama's approach to the world would be catastrophic. Richard Fernandez provides a brief review when he writes:
The Era of Hope and Change has been one prolonged act of suicide. If anyone had said that Obama would manage to alienate Israel and the Philippines, lose Turkey, pay Iran a hundred billion dollars, preside over the loss of a won war in Afghanistan, lose billions of dollars in military equipment to ISIS, watch a consulate burn [and then lie about it], restart the Cold War with Russia [when he stated in the 2012 debates that Russia wasn't a concern], cause Japan to re-arm and go the knife's edge with China, would you have believed it? If someone had told you in 2008 millions of refugees would be heading for Europe and that the UK would leave the EU after Obama went there to campaign for them to remain would you not have laughed?

He promised "smart diplomacy" and the restoration of American prestige in the world. How did it come to this?
In her ubiquitous TV ads (I live in a battleground state), Clinton uses the hundreds of millions of dollars she's raised from the media and business elites to characterize Trump as a "danger" who is unfit to lead. The funny thing is, she might be right. But what she leaves out (they're her ads, after all) is the very real danger she poses. Hillary is a congenital liar. She is irretrievably corrupt. And just as bad, she will be Obama 3.0. That's at least as dangerous as the blowhard who is running against her.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016


I live in Florida—a hot and humid subtropical climate for six months a year. It's the kind of climate that reeks havoc on houses. Dampness, heavy rains and heat lead to wood rot wherever and whenever water can penetrate a building. Most Florida residents recognize that this phenomenon occurs. In fact, if one were to look closely at wood near the foundation of a house the rot is often visually evident. And yet, because people are people, it's always easier to disregard evidence of rot (hoping it won't spread or get worse) than it is to remedy the problem.

Corruption is the "wood rot" of government. It often starts small with scant evidence it exists, but after a time the rot is undeniable. And yet, because people are people, it's easier to disregard or deny the evidence it exists.

During the past eight years corruption within major government agencies has become frighteningly obvious. Those agencies have worked as hard as they can to cover up the rot, to deny it exists, to stonewall any attempt to uncover and expose it. But like wood rot in Florida houses, it won't go away, remedy itself, or slow down.

William McGurn comments on two major scandals that involve the State Department and the IRS:
Mrs. Clinton says officials at State never told her what she was doing wasn’t allowed. That isn’t quite true. It’s more accurate to say she never asked the people who would have the answers to these questions. The IG report confirms it was made clear to State staffers that she did not want the questions asked.

It gets worse. Even today her former department is still resisting efforts to make public the emails she tried to hide. Groups such as Judicial Watch have done yeoman’s work in forcing the emails into the sunlight—but they have also had to get court orders to pry them out of an obstructionist State Department.

It’s a disturbing pattern, and unfortunately it’s not limited to State. There have been similar questions about the integrity and professionalism of the IRS ever since the American people learned in 2013 that it was unfairly targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Three years, many congressional hearings and disappearing hard drives later, there is still no evidence the IRS has ended the practice. Just last month, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals described the IRS approach to its targets this way: “You’re alright for now, but there may be another shoe falling.” This follows on a March ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which blasted the IRS for refusing to produce a list of those it had targeted—as well as for its bad faith in defending itself by invoking a rule meant to “protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers.”

Originally the speculation was that the IRS effort had been orchestrated by the Obama administration. As the Journal’s James Taranto noted at the time, the IRS scandal is worse if it was not directed by the White House. “If it ‘went rogue’ against the Constitution and in support of the party in power,” he wrote, “then we are dealing with a cancer on the federal government.”
Of course, the Democrats are like the Florida homeowner who is in denial about the rot he sees. "It's really just discoloration of the wood", says the homeowner sagely, "it's nothing to worry about."

But it's neither of those things. The rot will spread; it will get more destructive and damaging. It will affect Democrats and the GOP alike—especially with a new president—Hillary Clinton—that not only won't act to remediate the rot, but will actively work to encourage its spread.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

About the Children

Hillary Clinton's supporters have created a fantasy view of their candidate that I described in the my last post. In addition, they'll tell you that Hillary really cares about the middle class, that she really, really cares about inner city residents, that she really, really really cares about Latinos and their struggles as they make a new home in this country.

But over the past few weeks, Hillary has been nowhere to be seen in meeting with the middle class, inner city, or Latino communities. In fact, she's all but disappeared—no media interviews, no speeches of any substance, no nothing. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is meeting with Latinos and other working people throughout the country, with officials in Mexico, with African Americans in Detroit. Hillary's supporters hiss that these meetings are a cynical and brazen attempt by a "racist" to "pander" to minority communities. Maybe so, but at least he's out there, talking to people who really, really matter.

None other than Hillary's most ardent media supporter—The New York Times—had this to say this morning:
Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s noticeably scant schedule of campaign events this summer to suggest she has been hiding from the public. But Mrs. Clinton has been more than accessible to those who reside in some of the country’s most moneyed enclaves and are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to see her. In the last two weeks of August, Mrs. Clinton raked in roughly $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging around $150,000 an hour, according to a New York Times tally.

And while Mrs. Clinton has faced criticism for her failure to hold a news conference for months [actually, it's been about 9 months, but this is the NYT, afterall], she has fielded hundreds of questions from the ultrarich in places like the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Beverly Hills and Silicon Valley.

“It’s the old adage, you go to where the money is,” said Jay S. Jacobs, a prominent New York Democrat.

Mrs. Clinton raised about $143 million in August, the campaign’s best month yet. At a single event on Tuesday in Sagaponack, N.Y., 10 people paid at least $250,000 to meet her, raising $2.5 million.

If Mr. Trump appears to be waging his campaign in rallies and network interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s second presidential bid seems to amount to a series of high-dollar fund-raisers with public appearances added to the schedule when they can be fit in. Last week, for example, she diverged just once from her packed fund-raising schedule to deliver a speech.
Every politician has to raise money, but Hillary seems obsessed with picking the pockets of the media, artistic and corporate elites. Because she is the definition of mendacity, what she tells us about her concern for the "struggling and the "striving" is belied by the time she spends with the gitterati—a place where, according to her allies at the NYT, she seems comfortable and at ease.

Maybe the 'little people' whom Hillary Clinton cares so much about are the children of the megarich, who, according to the NYT would be allowed to ask Hillary a question after a $2700 donation from their parents. Yeah, after all, Hillary really, really cares about the children.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Drip. Drip. Drip.

For just a moment, let's be like all 'good' Democrats and argue that Hillary Clinton's serial lies over the past few years are just misunderstandings; that her irresponsible treatment of government secrets is much ado about nothing; that destruction of emails that clearly did have a bearing on her activities as Secretary of State were within her rights; that the allegations of corruption and possibly criminality based on the relationship between The Clinton Foundation and her pay-to-play schemes at the State Department are simply a "witch hunt" sponsored by the GOP; that her refusal to hold a press conference in almost 280 days while running for president is just another indication that she has nothing to hide (I know, that's illogical but so what ...).

Why not? After all, fantasy is a strong suit among many Hillary supporters.

Here's the problem with Hillary, even if we assume she's the most honest and ethical politician in a generation (ahem!). Hillary has already indicated that she intends to continue most, if not all, of Barack Obama's policies. As Obama 3.0, Hillary Clinton will continue to pile up debt, continue to tax and spend, continue to grow an inefficient, incompetent, and increasingly corrupt government, accept the notion that one-point-something-percent GDP growth is the new normal, argue that Obamacare needs to be tweaked, but not replaced, and if it is replaced, the only option is a fiscally ruinous single payer health plan.

On the foreign policy front, Hillary will be forced to defend the atrocious Iran deal that Obama authored and somehow defend the Libya intervention that led to a failed state. She'll refuse to name radical Islam as our enemy and adamantly refuse to confront all of Islam with the need to excise the cancer in their midst. She's already noted that she won't put troops on the ground in Syria or elsewhere (talk about telegraphing your intentions to an enemy). She'll likely continue Obama's policy of "invisible" intervention—where drone strikes are used in place of a clear strategy, all to mollify the growing pacifist wing of the Democratic party.

Richard Fernandez comments on Obama's (and therefore, Hillary's) foreign policy when he writes:
... you can't pin down a president who commits himself to nothing but staying uncommitted. Obama's like a man who, faced with a slow drip faucet -- which you can take as a metaphor for longstanding problems -- has opted to tighten the handle ever harder rather than replace the washer.

Hand me that extension bar. There, fixed.

Even if forcing the handle completely wrecks the washer seat he doesn't care, because that will soon be the next tenant's problem. Whether the subject is Obamacare or the Baltics, North Korea or China, Venezuela or Cuba he will soon be quit of it.
Obama has only six months left in office. He will continue to tighten the faucet rather than fixing the problem, leaving a lot that's broken for his predecessor. Since Hillary will likely be that person, the wreckage, both domestically and overseas, will continue to grow—until the whole house must be torn down. Not a pleasant thought.

Fernandez further notes that "The president's failures ... are invisible because his actions form no discernible pattern."

The real question is what "pattern" will Obama 3.0 (Clinton) bring to the presidency? Jettisoning our fantasy that she's "the most honest and ethical politician in a generation" I can only suggest that one pattern will be serial lying and another will be outright, in-your-face corruption. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

An Economic Plan

Florida is a battleground state, so TV ads from Hillary Clinton are ubiquitous. In one of the most common ads (that doesn't attack Donald Trump), Hillary touts an "economic plan" that is nothing more than Democrat orthodoxy.

"The rich don't pay their 'fair share'," she says. Therefore, Clinton will tax the rich at even higher rates, as well as tax "the corporations" at the same high rate that forces many off-shore. The tax dollars raised, she claims, will be used to "create millions of high paying jobs."

Steven Moore comments:
This economic mumbo jumbo defies basic common sense and helps explain why we still have more than 40 million Americans on food stamps — evidently, the more that get free food, the more prosperous we become. This is the crux of the continuing curse of Keynesian economics, which says that the more the government spends, the more the economy grows. A dollar of government spending leads to as much as two dollars of additional economic output, according to Professor [Nancy] Pelosi.

Hillary Clinton is apparently one of Mrs. Pelosi’s A students. The entire Clinton recovery agenda is to spend $1 trillion more on government public works programs, free day care and college education, and expanded entitlements. She would raise investment and personal income tax rates (paid by many small businesses) to finance all of this.

Hillary has been parading around a study by economist Mark Zandi of Moodys, which claims that this fairy dust will mean happy days are here again. He claims millions of new jobs and billions in added output. But Mr. Zandi has been one of the wrongest economists in America for the past decade. It was Mr. Zandi who claimed massive job gains and GDP growth from the Obama stimulus plan with food stamps and other giveaways.

Oops. Instead we got what The Wall Street Journal recently disparaged as “the weakest recovery since the 1940s” with stagnant wages.
It is likely that Hillary Clinton will be elected president. That means we'll continue the economic policies of Barack Obama. The problem is an Obama 3.0 economy will be no different or better that 1.0 or 2.0. Higher taxes to fund an expanding Big Intrusive Government, and as a consequence, more wage stagnation, more dependency, more poor economic performance, more government debt, and fewer jobs. That's one hell of an "economic plan."