Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The proper analogy for Hillary's emails

A lot of analogies have been slung around in the months since it came out that Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, used a private email server stored in her own home to conduct official business. Most of these analogies have been lacking. Here's one that I think captures what she did:

Imagine Hillary instructing her staff that each day they were to take all of the correspondence that landed on her desk, but it in a box and send it to her house. When she finished with it, she threw it in the trash and hoped that no one went through her recycling bin. When it was discovered that Hillary had done this, imagine her excuse was "It was too hard to have correspondence in two places" and "Nothing was marked secret when it landed on my desk. I'm not responsible for what people sent me or how it was classified after I got it."

The point is that this would never have been an issue if her correspondence had stayed at the office where it was supposed to.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Politifact Disgraces Itself

A week ago the fact-checking web site, Politifact, investigated President Obama's statement:

The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules. A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked.
This is outright wrong. While it is possible to order a gun over the Internet, it is not delivered to you. It is delivered to a licensed gun dealer who does the background check that the President insists on. But, rather than give this the Pants-on-fire rating it deserves, they labeled it Mostly-true.

How did they come up with this rating? By using a very fluid definition of buying something over the Internet. As Politifact points out. it is possible to use a web site to find a private individual who has a gun the same as or similar to what you want to buy. But, these web sites do not let you order guns. They let you send a messages back and forth. In order to actually get your hands on a gun, the seller has to transfer it through a gun dealer (with background checks) or you have to arrange to meet the seller in person and buy the gun from him that way. To call this "buying a gun over the Internet" is ridiculous. If I buy something from Amazon, I expect it to be delivered to my house instead of my having to meet someone in a parking lot. It was completely misleading of President Obama to call that buying over the Internet and for Politifact to accept it.

The Washington Post fact-checker agreed with the majority of people and gave the President's statement two Pinocchios

Politifact was founded to be a non-partisan fact-checking site but rulings like these throw all of their other rulings into doubt, especially since many people look at the list of claims and ratings rather than the full reasoning behind the ratings.

I have been following Politifact for a long time and often (but not this time) they do a thorough and even-handed job of researching a question only to have the panel that awards the rating stretch a point in order to give it a left-slant.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Bill Clinton Then and Now

To really understand why the accusations against Bill Clinton you need to understand the history of abortion politics. Abortion was allowed by the Supreme Court in 1973 with the Roe v Wade case. That spawned a strong anti-abortion movement in the 1980s and a pro-abortion response by feminists. This was highly polarizing with feminists aligning with the Democrats and being anti-abortion becoming a litmus test for Democrats. The assumption on the Left was that the Republicans would try to reverse Roe v Wade by appointing a majority of justices who would support reversing it.

Actually, abortion was never as high a priority for Presidents Reagan and Bush (41) as the feminists thought but, because of pressure from feminists, no nominee for Supreme Court who was anti-abortion could hope to be confirmed. This was especially true under Bush. The only way he could get a justice confirmed was by nominating so-called stealth candidates. These were people who were qualified but had not been sitting judges with a history of opinions.

One of these was Clarence Thomas who spent most of his career as an administrator instead of a jurist. He was also difficult to object to because of his biography. He rose from poverty. Feminists were frantic to stop him so the Democrats took an unusual step. Senator Edward Kennedy announced that allegations had been made that disqualified Thomas. This was a serious breech of protocol since the person making the allegations, Anita Hill, had been promised anonymity. In an unprecedented step, Hill gave testimony to the entire Senate (and the televised audience) that Thomas had sexually harassed her by making lewd jokes and describing X-rated movies he had seen. Thomas himself gave counter-testimony, describing the incident as a high-tech lynching. He was confirmed but the entire nation changed its standards on sexual harassment. Democrats and feminists used the incident to mobilize women voters.

Enter Bill Clinton. During his initial campaign it came out that he had had a number of affairs. Things were so bad that when a former Miss America said that she had sex with Clinton, his supporters sighed in relief. At least she was attractive.

Hillary was instrumental in enabling Bill. He had a team of detectives and spin-artists assigned to tamp down "bimbo eruptions". She also went on TV and said that if she was willing to forgive Bill then it was no business of the rest of the country. Hillary's damage control was good enough that rumors that Bill had raped two women never became public knowledge.

Years later, one woman sued Bill, claiming that she had been escorted into his office as governor and he met her with his pants down, obviously expecting oral sex. Depositions from this case led to other women including a young intern named Monica Lewinsky who had an affair with Clinton over several months. In a deposition for the case, Clinton swore that he had not had sex with Monica. This eventually led to his impeachment - not that he'd had sex with an intern but that he lied about it under oath in a sexual harassment case where his sexual history was relevant. Clinton was tried by the Senate which voted against removing him from office.

Along the way, Republicans asked feminists where their outrage was? If telling a female subordinate disqualified someone from the Supreme Court then why didn't they push for the removal of Clinton for doing far worse. The answer was that the flap about Thomas had been faux-outrage for political gain. The feminists saw Clinton as the man who kept abortion legal and they didn't care what he did to women personally. One leader said that she'd get down on her kneJmpes herself and give him a blow-job for keeping abortion legal.

Jump forward a decade and a half and we have a batch of youth voters who had no idea what Bill's history was with women or Hillary's role was in enabling him. At the same time, the current push by feminists has been against "rape culture" in which privileged whites get away with rape. A double standard was possible with Clarance Thomas and Bill Clinton because years separated these incidents but the push against rape and sexual assault is ongoing. It was part of President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address. Charges against Bill Cosby are headline news.

Feminists long ago gt over being grateful to Bill. Now they are deciding who to support and they are not going to spend political capitol on someone who left office in 2001.

Hillary has been trying to run as a woman's champion but much of this rings false. Did she really try to enlist in the Marines right after she moved to Georgia to marry Bill? And if she did, did she tell them that she was a highly-qualified lawyer? Did she really get a letter from NASA in the 1960s saying that they didn't want women (the only such surviving letters have a very different tone). Hillary's own history is one of trampling women who got in her way by sleeping with her husband then admitting it in public. This is at odds with a champion of women's rights.

All of this came up because Hillary attacked Donald Trump. Trump may have cheated on his wives but no one has accused him of rape or sexual imposition. Hillary tolerated both from her husband which gives Trump the perfect defense.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Obama's Puny Legacy

Here's a prediction, in his final State of the Union address next week, President Obama will name these three things as major accomplishments: His treaty with Iran, the Paris Accords on Global Warming and his executive order on gun control. Ironically, none of these represent an actual accomplishment.

In reverse order, the executive orders on gun control mainly muddy the water on who is and who is not a gun dealer in the hope that more casual dealers will get licenses and perform background checks. This is unlikely to stop a single mass shooting since none of the previous shootings would have been stopped by background checks.

The Paris Accords set goals with no enforcement. It was a feel-good conference and will not cause any real changes.

The original goal of the treaty with Iran was to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons. The final treaty does the exact opposite. It allows them to create nuclear weapons and obligates us to do nothing. Iran can leave the treaty at any time and has already threatened to if we take any action on their missile program. Snapping back the sanctions is a myth.

So, President Obama's big accomplishments are all paper triumphs.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why Bernie Shouldn't be President in One Tweet

You have families out there paying 6, 8, 10 percent on student debt but you can refinance your homes at 3 percent. What sense is that?

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 26, 2015

For those who are not familiar with how interest rates work, home mortgages are secured loans meaning that they can take your house if you don't pay. You can't even get a mortgage without showing the bank that you are able to pay (that rule was relaxed during the first part of the 21st century which led to the Great Recession). College loans are unsecured and are given to students in the hope that they will complete their degree and use it to get a job that allows you to repay the loan. People default on college loans far more often than they do on mortgages. That is why mortgage rates are much lower. The higher rate for college loans pays for the people who default.

You would think that a member of the senate and a leading candidate for President would understand how these things work. In fact there is a good chance that Bernie is aware of all of this and rejects it. That's what being a socialist means: You ignore economics and order things the way you think they should work.

If Bernie had his way then the government would lose money on student loans (Obama already decided that it was immoral for banks to profit from student loans and nationalized them). If Bernie wants to subsidize student loans then he should say so instead of making false comparisons.

It doesn't really matter if Bernie doesn't understand basic economics or if he rejects it. Either would be disastrous in the President of the United States.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Mush From the Wimp

In 1980, an editor put a placeholder title on an article about a speech by President Carter. He was not a fan of the President and entitled it, "Mush From the Wimp" He intended to fix it before it went to print but a few copies got out.

I was reminded of that when President Obama made his Oval Office speech last Sunday. Prior to the speech I was afraid that he was about to announce some new presidential directive to limit guns. Instead he gave a short speech in which he proposed nothing new and only seemed animated when warning about the perils of Islamophobia. In the fight against ISIS (or ISIL) he offered the straw man alternative of a 100,000 man invasion which no one has seriously proposed.

He also doubled down on gun control, insisting that there is no reason for a suspected terrorist to be allowed to buy a gun. This argument is ingenuous. Either he has no idea how the terrorist watch list works or he thinks that no one else does.

To listen to the President, you would think that the watch list* provides a full and complete identification of the suspects. In fact, it is nothing but a list of names, some of them partial names. The list is notorious for false hits such as the five times that Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy was stopped because a suspected terrorist used the alias "T Kennedy". The list does not contain such things as birth date or address or even middle initial. The left has been complaining about the list for years. Now, because it is politically convenient to use it to pummel Republicans, it's acceptable.

Of course, false hits may not be a bug when stopping gun purchases, they may be a feature. The purpose of this proposal is to keep people from buying guns. The fact that no dmestic terrorists have been on the list is irrelevant.

Which is a term that describes President Obama these days - irrelevant.

*or lists, he seems to be referring to the terrorist watch list and the no-fly list which are separate but similar

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Posturing About Guns

The left is using the Rahm Emanuel school of crisis control - never let a crisis go to waste. This has led to an embarrassing about of political posturing.

First came the slaughter in Paris. President Obama insisted that the response to this was an international agreement on global warming. While this was rather lame, the rest of the left used the tragedy to bludgeon the right over concerns that the proposed 10,000 Syrian refugees will not be properly screened.

Then came the Planned Parenthood shooting. The perpetrator was a disturbed man with a long history of hating Planned Parenthood. He lived off the grid without even electricity. Accordingly, it is debatable how aware he was of the videos showing some of Planned Parenhood's unsavory practice. Regardless, several of Planned Parenthood's supporters insist that after that shocking incident, all criticism of Planned Parenthood is now banned. There was also a lot of talk about Christian terrorism.

President Obama, following up on his intended push for gun control, stood in Paris and said that shootings like that just don't happen in other developed countries. Obama and the left in general repeated their call for "common sense" solutions to gun control, ignoring the fact that these have already been passed where the shooting happened.

The White House also pushed the idea that anyone on the terror watch list should be banned for buying a gun. Never mind that the left has been objecting to this watch list for years. Never mind that it's so loose and unaccountable that Senator Teddy Kennedy was on it and was unbable to find out why. This idea was still repeated constantly by the left. Even Hillary Clinton repeated this claim. This is just political posturing since no one has named any shooter who would have been prevented from buying his guns.

Then came the terrorist attack in San Bernadina. President Obama had been briefed and must have known that it was likely a terrorist attack when he gave his standard speech about common sense gun control and it not happening in other countries. It was the same gun control speech he gives for any shooting with no indication that this might be something special.

The entire left has taken up this new call to arms (so to speak). Guns are responsible for the tragedy and anyone one who opposes gun control is an accomplice. The idea is to channel outrage at a domestic terrorist attack at Republicans for allowing it to happen.

There are problems with this line of attack. California, where the attacks happened, already passed the full slate of gun control and it failed to stop the killing. The married couple was not on any watch list to say nothing of the no-fly list.

There is a bigger flaw in the gun control argument. Gun control does not stop terrorist attacks. France has tighter controls than anything seriously proposed for the US but it had multiple terrorist attacks this year. These terrorists happened to use guns this time but they had also bee working on building bombs. The Boston bombers only had one pistol between them. They used a home-made bomb. The San Berdina terror couple was working on similar bombs.

Even Columbine was meant to be a bomb attack killing 1,000. If the pair of killers hadn't had access to guns then they might have successfully reset their bomb.

In Israel, terrorists are using kitchen knives and cars to attack people - something the msm is ignoring.

Either the left knows that terrorism will not be stopped by background checks and hopes the rest of the country is too stupid to realize it or they have worked themselves into such a state that they don't stop to think about what they say - possibly both considering President Obama's incoherence on the subject.

Regardless, the left is using tragedies to push an agenda that will do nothing to stop further shootings. This is insulting to Americans.