Thursday, October 20, 2016

3rd World Dictatorship?

The big headline after the 3rd presidential debate was that Trump refuses to accept the results of the election. Pundits are up in arms, claiming that Trump is putting our republic at risk and acting like a 3rd World strongman. What's the truth of the matter?

First and most important, Trump didn't refuse to accept the results. He said "We'll see". There's a huge difference.

As for the 3rd World accusations, let's look at it the other way. Trump's challenger, Hillary Clinton, is there mainly because she was married to a former president. Yes, she was a Senator and Secretary of State but everyone knew at the time that those posts were given to her to pad her resume. She accomplished very little in those roles which is why she's still talking about accomplishments (real and imagined) from her days as First Lady.

Hillary was the first First Lady to be deposed under oath (for her part in the Travelgate scandal). She's probably the first candidate to have earned the nomination while under a criminal investigation by the FBI for mishandling confidential data. Numerous media outlets have reported that rank and file FBI and many federal prosecutors are upset that no charges were filed. The persistent rumor is that the decision not to prosecute came from the White House.

Trump has complained that the system is rigged. The Left is in horror about that but they just smiled and nodded when Bernie Sanders said the same thing last Spring. And yes, as it turned out, the Democratic party was cooperating with the Clinton campaign to end Sander's candidacy as fast as possible.

But that was all within the Democratic Party. What about the national election?

It's come out that there was collusion between the press and the Clinton campaign. Questions were sent out in advance for approval. Participants in town halls were plants (at least one was an actress and daughter of a Democratic operative reading from a script and given a red bow to wear so the moderator could find her).

In 2004 CBS 60 Minutes aired a poorly vetted report that President Bush had evaded service while in the Texas national Iar Guard. The Kerry campaign had advance warnign of this and would have used this as a major campaign issue if the story hadn't fallen apart. In 2008 there was an email list called the JouroList. It let the Obama campaign coordinate their message with the press. Does anyone seriously believe that such a list does not exist in 2016?

Leaked emails show that Trump is the candidate that the Clinton campaign wanted since polls showed her losing to every other Republican. The Clinton campaign urged the press to keep treating Trump as a front-runner.

The IRS is still slow-walking conservative organizations' applications for tax-free status.

So, we have the wife of a former president who should have been charged but wasn't being helped by a sympathetic press.

Finally we have the electorate.

Studies have shown that the voter registration lists are in terrible shape. 1 in 8 voters is registered in the wrong place, has died, or otherwise is listed inaccurately. States are forbidden by the government from performing mandatory purges. 47 states make no effort to check that people who are registered while getting a driver's license are actually citizens. There are legal challenges to two of the three states that do check.

Unless you are homeless and living on handouts, it is impossible to function in this country without an ID but efforts to ensure that the person showing up at the polls is who he says he is are constantly denounced as racists voter intimidation.

Studies that show a significant number of non-citizens voting are dismissed with a wave of the hand.

Recently a Democrat in Virginia was caught registering dead people. As with all cases like this, the Left dismisses this pointing out that no one actually voted. That begs the question of why Democrats keep trying to register non-existent people if they won't use those registrations to vote?

There's a lot of uncertainty in modern elections, most of it caused by Democrats.

Ironically, the same people insisting that Trump should accept the election results (three weeks before the election) complained of irregularities in the 2004 election. It was reported that it was statistically impossible for some counties to have voted for Bush (except the same counties had voted Republican for years). There were wide-spread worries of voting machine tampering. No one at the time complained that this would bring an end to the republic.

As with the entire Clinton campaign, the fuss over Trump's charges of a fixed election are manufactured outrage. The real outrage should be how Clinton is being forced on the electorate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Trump and the Sliding Scale

Picture a scale from 1-10 and below it one from 10-1. The top scale measures outrage. The bottom scale measures usefulness to causes the Left is pushing. This scale explains the reaction to Trump scandals.

25 years ago the Left declared Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas unfit for the court because he had allegedly made some off-color jokes to a woman who worked for him. In fact this was so important that Democratic Senators broke the rules and released information that was supposed to be kept private.

While he was President, Bill Clinton had sex with an intern multiple times. He lied about it in sworn testimony. It also came out that he had probably abused several women while governor and possibly had affairs with others while president. The outrage was notably muted.

When asked about it, several feminists admitted that Clinton was too important to their cause and that they were mainly angry that he had endangered the cause, not that he had abused women.

Now we have Trump who has been recorded talking about touching women. Not using his position of power to have sex with them, simply groping them. So why is he unfit for office when Bill wasn't? Because he's on the wrong point of the sliding scale, of course.

Granted some of the outrage reflects different standards but most of the current standards date to Clarence Thomas's confirmation.

This is a long-standing tactic from the left and no matter who that Republican nominee was, Team Clinton would find something to be outraged about. Four years ago we heard about Romney's binders full of women, his car elevator and his magic underwear. We were told that he was so rich that he could never relate to ordinary people. And years ago he fastened the dog's carrier to the top of his car.

No matter who the Republican candidate turned out to be now, we'd be seeing the same story. Team Clinton's opposition research on conjunction with mainstream media would discover some damaging October surprise and that's all we'd be hearing about.

Look at the 2004 election. 60 Minutes aired a report questioning George W. Bush's service in the Texas National Air Guard. The Kerry campaign knew this was coming and had ads all set to run capitalizing on the 60 Minutes report. They only failed because they got too eager and based the story on some flimsy documentation with no provenance.

So take all of the stories about Trump's behavior decades ago with a grain of salt. Is it more important than his proposals for the economy? Or Hillary's illegalities?

Monday, October 10, 2016


Images such as this have been all over social media after the October 9th debate between Trump and Hillary.

This and similar images show "Trump lurking in the background". But what is really going on here?

I watched the debate and I remember this part. Trump stood at his stool while Hillary walked in front of him, closer to the audience. He was not "lurking". It was a trick of the cameras and her placement that made him appear over her shoulder.

Clearly the news media chose pictures such as this to make Trump look scary. The only question is if Hillary deliberately positioned herself for these shots?

Hillary had clearly been coached heavily. Every time Trump landed a rhetorical blow, she gave a knowing grin, often shaking her head in a "There he goes again" gesture. As the debate continued, her grin looked more and more forced, turning into a grimace.

Of course, no one commented on that. They were too busy disapproving of Trump's position behind Hillary.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Tax deductions and the future

Let me get this straight - around the same time that Trump was taking legal tax deductions for a well-publicized business loss (remember when Trump's bankruptcies came up in the Republican debate?) Hillary was claiming deductions for donating Bill's used underwear to charity. Most charities don't even accept used underwear and those that do sell them for less than Hillary claimed in deductions. And Hillary has the nerve to complain about Trump's taxes as if he was the one who did something wrong?

If we're going to dig 20+ years back into Trump's taxes and his dealings with beauty queens then let's go back a bit further and look at her commodity trading. Or the White House Travel Office firings. Or Whitewater (the original scandal when Bill may have used his power as Governor to try to save a bank that he had a personal stake in).

But none of this tells us what the candidate will do for the economy how how they will solve the crisis in Syria.

How about if the next debate limits the candidates to talking about the future instead of each other's past?

Why I'm Voting Against Hillary

Trump was not my first choice. In fact, out of around 13 candidates, he ran 10th or 11th. Watching the Republican National Convention I felt like the party had left me and I seriously considered voting for Hillary Clinton. But then I watched the Democratic National Convention. I might have been able to stomach the Bill Clinton-era Democrats but the current party has moved so far to the left that they disowned all of his accomplishments. Bernie ran on an anti-Bill platform, against NAFTA, Welfare Reform, and Clinton's crime bill. Eight years ago, Hillary ran on a platform of bringing back the Clinton Years. Now she's running on a platform that says President Obama didn't go far enough.

As an ex-senator and Secretary of State (and First Lady), Hillary Clinton is as establishment as you can get. The Democratic Party has played up the Wall Street/Main Street division and Hillary is firmly entrenched with Wall Street. She was paid huge sums for short speeches and her son-in-law is a hedge fund manager (but one who loses his clients' money while making money himself). Most of Hillary's money comes from wealthy Wall Street donors and other millionaires and billionaires. This is not someone with the interests of everyday workers in mind.

Hillary has no new ideas. You can see this from her ads. She's run one ad outlining her economic plans. They boil down to tax, spend and regulate. She discarded that ad fairly quickly in favor of one showing that she's been giving the same speech for 40 years.

With no new ideas, her campaign has been all about personal destruction. That's what she's always done. In 2008 her campaign invented or at least circulated rumors that Obama was a secret Muslim and not really "American". Most pundits were sure that the rumor Obama was born in Africa started in the Clinton Campaign staff. Before that she and her staff made personal attacks on the many women Bill slept with, trying to destroy their credibility. And let us not forget the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Or the Basket of Horribles.

This time she's trying to destroy Trump. While she's got two positive ads, most of her campaign spending has been on attack ads, all following the same formula. All of them feature quotes from Trump. Some of these quotes are ancient, up to 20 years old. And we've heard them innumerable times. It hasn't occureed to the Clinton Campaign that these ads have lost their punch through constant repetition.

Hillary is insisting that we should vote for her because of things her opponent 20 years ago about a beauty contestant.

The left constantly insists that Hillary may be a bad choice but Trump is much, much worse. Some have admitted that they exaggerated in previous elections, casting fine men such as Romney as racists but this time the candidate really is a racist. Also Hitler. We can't forget that Trump is Hitler. And if we do forget then someone will remind us. Again and again.

Every time I read a column about how electing Trump will bring an end to American democracy, I have to wonder: What in Hillary's record makes anyone think that she's better?

I already mentioned her need to destroy opponents. The most extreme example of that came when she suggested using a drone to kill Julian Assage.

Hillary has spent her career bending rules to her benefit. She is much more likely than Trump to continue Obama's precedent of bypassing Congress and the Constitution through executive orders and regulatory decree.

Clinton brandishes her resume but her biggest achievement was probably convincing Obama to help overthrow the Libyan government, replacing a cooperative government with chaos that has no sign of ending. This was as disastrous to the people of Libya as Bush's overthrow of Iraq with even less planning for the aftermath.

Then there's Hillary's email server. That's multiple scandals all wrapped together. She most likely used a private server in order to escape FOIA requests. She used her Blackberries to send unencrypted emails in areas where hostile powers could easily intercept them. The emails that the FBI recovered show that the firewall between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation didn't exist. The Clinton Foundation was selling access to the Secretary of State. Clinton and her staff were careless about handling classified emails. And they destroyed documents under subpoena.

Any other official would have been charged for one or more of these actions but Hillary is Obama's chosen successor and his Justice Department will not touch her.

Finally there is Hillary's over-use of the woman-card. She constantly complains about how hard it is to be a woman and how she's been discriminated against all her life. Many of these claims keep the fact-checkers busy disproving. If shes caught concealing pneumonia then it's sexism. The reason that such a flawed candidate isn't way ahead in the polls must be sexism. After eight years of opposition to Obama's policies being dismissed as racism, we don't need another 4-8 years of principled opposition being dismissed as sexism.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Questions for the Candidates

In case anyone's listening, here are some serious questions I'd like to see asked of the candidates. All are related to security and foreign relations.

Clinton: You've said that we will never have boots on the ground in the Middle East again. Since we already have a large number of Special Forces training and aiding our allies, are you saying that you would withdraw them?

Follow-up: Doesn't this mean that you are ceding the Middle East to Iran and Russia?

Trump: The past couple of years have shown that air power by itself is not enough to defeat ISIS. How will you handle the need for American boots on the ground?

Clinton: The Iran treaty was negotiated in secret while members of the Obama administration lied to Congress about sanctions and the intentions of Iran. It was never formally presented to the Senate to ratify, it is in force by executive order. Among the conditions for the treaty to continue, the US has to refrain from interfering with Syria's Bashir who has repeatedly used poison gas on his populous. Will you abide by the terms of the treaty? If not, how will you change it?

Trump: Same question.

Clinton: Your anti-terrorism plan basically consists of increased spying on Americans. Is there anything else to your plan?

Trump: You have also called for increased spying but more targeted at Muslims. Given your reluctance to engage Islamic extremists overseas, how will you stop self-radicalization?

Clinton: President Obama scaled back on American pro-democracy efforts across the globe. Will you continue his policies or return them to the levels they were under President Bush or even your husband?

Follow-up: Obama opened relations with Cuba without any human rights concessions. Will you follow his lead in dealing with the Castro brothers or will you apply pressure on them to improve human rights?

Trump: You have talked about withdrawing from NATO and closing overseas bases. American protection is more than a matter of defense. It is also a huge bargaining chip in trade negotiations and international crises. It would also give Russia and China a great deal more international influence. Given these factors, don't the benefits of overseas bases balance out the costs.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Birtherism, the notion that Barack Obama was born outside the US, has become a hot topic recently. Trump, a birther since 2011, finally agreed that President Obama was born in Hawaii, as claimed.

There are a few interesting things about the media coverage. The first is the blanket denial that Hillary Clinton's campaign was responsible for birtherism in the first place. Politifact gave it a false ruling. While I used to have a lot of respect for this site, they've been getting more and more partisan over the years. While it is true that there is no record of Hillary Clinton ever questioning Obama's birthplace, there is no question that this was part of a general campaign against Obama when the two were competing for the 2008 nomination. The Clinton campaign's surrogates quietly suggested that Obama was a secret Muslim. When asked to deny it, Hillary always said things like "Obama's a Christian... as far as I know."

Two reporters have come forward saying that Clinton campaign operative Sidney Blumenthal pushed stories about Obama's birthplace and his religion.

Remember, this was early 2008. The Republicans were still a long way from settling the nomination and Obama was still the underdog. No one but the Clinton campaign had any reason for spreading doubt about Obama's qualifications to be president. Even if the Clinton campaign didn't start the rumor they were the reason it spread.

Politifact's ruling rests on the construction that there is no evidence that Clinton's supporters invented the claim while admitting that they spread it. They also accept Hillary's statement that this was unauthorized. The statement they were fact checking said, "Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy." Even Politifact admits that people in the Clinton campaign were involved in spreading birtherism. It takes no stretch of the imagination to picture Hillary approving this. It's in keeping with her treatment of the women Bill had affairs with.

Everyone in the news media in 2008 knows this. Hillary covered her tracks (on a private email server?) but there were no other suspects.

So the news media is covering for Hillary.

Even worse, they are insisting that birtherism is racist and that Trump should apologize for it. This is my second point. The media knows full well that birtherism began with Hillary but rather than admitting it and calling her a racist, they are throwing that insult at birther-come-laty, Trump.

For the record - birtherism was always a dumb idea. It required foreknowledge that the newborn Barack would need to claim American citizenship at a time that a black president seemed inconceivable. Regardless of where he was born, Obama's mother was an American citizen, just as McCain's and Cruze's so he'd be a citizen regardless.

One thing that makes me leery of Trump is that he revived this silly idea after it died out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Did Hillary Just Lose the Election?

Very few people are actually planning on voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. They will be voting against the worst candidate. Over the past weekend, Hillary made her case for being the worst.

First it came out that she's been saying that half of Trump's supporters are a "basket of deplorables". She later had to back off from that, saying that she had over-generalized. This did not stop her supporters from doubling down and insisting that she'd lowballed the figure when she said that 1/2 of Trump's supporters (and 1/4 of the nation) are irredeemable racists.

Given the low bar that the left has for labeling people as racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and islamiphobes, a lot of possible voters are going to assume that Hillary included them. Not the proper action for a close election that needs to attract voters from the other side.

A phrase like Basket of Deplorables isn't going to mobilize the Left but the Right won't forget it.

But that's minor compared to September 11 when Hillary left a 9/11 commemoration early and was seen collapsing while waiting for her van. After weeks of denying that Hillary had any health problems, the campaign was caught in a lie - again.

Actually, the campaign was caught issuing a series of excuses. First they said that Hillary was dehydrated. Then they said that she had pneumonia. But they kept falling back on the dehydration excuse, too.

There is a familiarity to this. Hillary went through a long list of excuses and prevarications about her private email server. For now, most people are accepting the pneumonia excuse but there are flaws in it. The official story is that she had only had a cough for a week but people were talking about it long before that. Then there's her detour to her daughter's apartment instead of a hospital. Someone with pneumonia collapses and doesn't go to the hospital?

Given Hillary's problems with the truth, flaws in her story look like possible lies. Hillary never tells a truth that will hurt her. She lies, she prevaricates, she misdirects, she stonewalls, but she never comes out and tells the truth. It's a major character flaw and it hurt her greatly over the weekend. There's a good chance that voters will be skeptical of pat explanations about her health and any other statements she says about major topics. That could cost her the election.