Friday, December 23, 2016

If Only...

Hillary supporters have been slow to accept that they simply had a bad candidate who ran a bad campaign. They prewfr to blame outside influences, usually the Russians and the FBI. Let's examine those.

Many are acting as if Russian involvement in the election was a complete surprise. Actually, the White House was sating that the release of DNC emails came from the Russians well before the election. The White House knew about it in July and Congress was briefed in September. No one made a fuss, probably because we've been hacking their emails, too. We've also been influencing elections for decades. Just last Summer, President Obama warned the British to vote against the Brexit.

What are the Russians accused of doing? Making private emails public. They didn't change vote tallies or remove voter registrations. They let us know what the Clinton campaign said in private. What did we learn? Mainly that the Democratic party and the MSM were biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. We also found out that highly-placed people in the Clinton campaign have a low opinion of Catholics and Evangelicals. These groups were already supporting Trump (which is why the low opinion) so that did little damage.

I have a challenge to Hillary supporters: show me which email or set of emails you think did the damage. I want actual proof meaning a drop in the polls after those documents were released or later polling naming the contents of those emails. Without that, then the talk of President-elect Trump being a Russian puppet and the election being a bloodless coup is just silly (I'm looking at you, Keith Olberman).

Remember, the RNC was not hacked. Apparently the Russians didn't try as hard. That may be because they wanted Trump to win but it might also be that they, like the rest of the world, assumed that Hillary would win and wanted to hurt her. Even if they had hacked the RNC, they kept the Trump campaign at arm's length. The Republican establishment was against Trump. Any emails from the RNC servers would probably have helped Trump by showing that the establishment was against him.

As for the FBI, let's remember that the FBI probe didn't happen in a vacuum. We already knew that Hillary had used a private server which was poorly-secured and contained classified information. The FBI investigation was to see if any laws had been broken. It was Hillary's decision to use a private server and to delete 35,000+ emails from it before turning the rest over to the State Department. This tainted her candidacy from the start. If the FBI hadn't gotten involved then Congress would have pressed for a Special Prosecutor and that would have looked worse.

A lot of information leaked about the investigation. The rumor was that agents who worked on it felt that Hillary should have been charged. The private meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch just days before the results were given gave the impression that the fix was in. That was Bill's mistake and a majority of the country was unsatisfied with the FBI's ruling that Hillary should not be charged.

Reportedly there was an open revolt in the FBI when more emails came to light. It may have hurt Hillary when the case was reopened but it would have hurt her even more if it got out that there was a trove of letters and they hadn't taken due diligence. The way it played out was probably the least damaging.

Let's face it, Hillary's use of a private server was a terrible lapse in judgement and there was no way it wasn't going to hurt her. If it hadn't been the FBI then it would have been leaks that evidence was suppressed. The only way to stop it would have involved a huge conspiracy including threats of retaliation to whistle-blowers. And wouldn't that be a great way to win the election.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bubble Bubble

After being told that they live in a bubble, the left's response has been, "Oh yeah? So do you and ours is bigger!" One of the more prominent versions of that comes from WaPo columnist, Richard Cohen. The argument is that the left is more inclusive and multi-cultural compared to the mainly white Christians who voted for Trump.

As with most things about the election, this shows the Left's ability for self-delusion. The bubble analogy fits them far better than it fits the right for two reason.

If you look at a map showing which counties were carried by Hillary Clinton then you see small blue patches surrounded by a sea of red.

It looks like bubbles doesn't in. It's really hard to say that all of that red in-between is a bubble. But that's only part of the reality.

When we say that the left lives in a bubble, we mean a mono-culture. Think of the movie about the boy in a bubble who was shielded from contact with the outside world because of a weak immune system. That's how the Left lives. They cluster in cities and, as shown by their reaction to Trump victory in the election, they want to be protected from the outside world. There are stories of women having their hair cut or the color changed because of the election and of people in an organic food store being distressed at hearing Sweet Home Alabama.

And it's easy for them to avoid contact with the other half. They control most media. Their control of campuses is so strict that pro-Trump statements were ruled hate crimes.

The Right can't isolate itself like that. They are constantly exposed to the Left. All they have to do is turn on any mainstream news broadcast, read a major newspaper, or watch late-night TV and they are bombarded by Trump-haters. The Left even leaves its cities and drives an hour or more in order to find people who don't match their values to hold up for ridicule. (1)

Until the people of the Left recognize how much they isolate themselves they will continue to live in a bubble, happy in their ignorance.

(1) I'm thinking of the time a reporter drove 50 miles and asked a pizza restaurant if they would cater a gay wedding. The owners said that they were happy to serve gays but would not cater a gay wedding because of religious beliefs. This was quickly spread nation-wide earning them death threats. What was not mentioned was that they had never catered any weddings so the chances of it coming up were zero.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Democrats in the Age of Trump

Currently the Republicans are at a historic high point and the Democrats are at a low point. The Republican dominance isn't guaranteed. Sixteen years ago Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. They managed to lose this in wave elections in 2006 and 2008, ending talk of a permanent Republican majority. With Barack Obama's election, the Democrats controlled government and the began to dream of a permanent Democratic majority. There was talk that demographics and a national swing to the left doomed the Republicans to being nothing but a regional rump party. 2010 and 2014 turned into Republican wave elections. The predicted 2016 Democratic wave never materialized. There are different ways of looking at this.

One is that American politics regularly swing back and forth. The White House certainly does. Since FDR, the White house has changed parties every eight years. The only exception to that was Ronald Reagan who defeated a sitting president and whose vice-president succeeded him with a convincing majority.

The party that controls the White House often looses support in Congress during the mid-terms so the Democrats may be one election away from starting to recover. If we assume that the national spirit is sort of a pendulum then it is likely that the Democrats will retake Congress during the Trump administration and will take the White House in 2024.

There is another possibility. Democratic control during the Obama administration may be an aberration caused by anger at the Iraq war in 2006 and the financial melt-down in 2008. In fact, a strong case can be made for this.

In theory the House of Republicans is the most sensitive to public mood. Every member stands for election every two years. In practice, change is slow. The Democrats controlled the House for decades from 195l to 1994. The Republicans began making gains under Reagan and finally took Congress in a wave election in the wave election during Bill Clinton's first mid-term. They held both houses of congress until George W. Bush's second mid-term in 2006. They started making gains again, taking the House in 2010 and retook the Senate in 2016. Looked at this way, the long-term swing has been Republican.

How does this work?

The country has become increasingly polarized. The coasts and cities are strongly liberal and the rest of the country is conservative. America is developing two cultures with little in common with each other. Regardless of demographics that are supposed to favor Democrats, it hurts them to be so tightly clustered. For all the talk about gerrymandering, it's very difficult to draw competitive districts when part of the population is widely spread out and part is tightly clustered.

It's been a truism among the Democrats for more than a decade that the Republicans have moved so far to the right that President Reagan would no longer be welcome. The truth is that both parties have changed over the years but it's instructive how they changed.

Reagan set the tone for the modern Republican party - a mixture of social conservatism and libertarianism with strong national defense. It's widely believed that President George H W. Bush's tax increase cost him reelection so Republicans have been anti-tax ever since. George W. Bush introduced "compassionate conservatism" meaning support for a strong safety net. He was influenced by no-conservatives who were socially moderate and strong on defense. Under Bush, the Republicans abandoned fiscal prudence and spent heavily. The TARP and President Obama's spending shocked the Republicans out of that, giving rise to the Tea Party movement. This was largely a return to the principals that Reagan ran on in 1980 with a heavy dose of social conservatism thrown in. Yes, the Tea Party was unforgiving of the sorts of compromises that President Reagan made but they would have welcomed candidate Reagan. The Tea Party eventually merged with the party in general only to run into Domald Trump's populism. What the results of this will be on the party have yet to be seen.

In contrast to the Republicans zig-zags, the Democrats have had a pretty straight trajectory. Bill Clinton was part of a moderate movement but since his election the Democratic party has moved further to the left than at any point in its history since FDR traded tips with Mussolini. They no longer even call themselves liberals. They are now progressives. This is an important distinction.

During the early 2000s, the Democrats made an effort to recruit moderates. This paid off in the wave election in 2006. But after that they lost the moderates. Some were purged and the rest lost their seats to Republicans. By the 2016 election, the party had moved to far to the left that a socialist was seen as a viable candidate. Hillary Clinton was actually running against Bill Clinton's biggest achievements. The party has moved so suddenly and so sharply to the left that candidate Barack Obama would be unacceptable. In 2008, Obama claimed to be against gay marriage and neutral on guns. Those positions have no place in today's Democratic party. He even made fun of Hillary Clinton for suggesting a manditor health care system comparable to Obamacare.

Today's Democratic Party places environmentalism and identity politics ahead of anything else. It has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement which regularly calls for killing cops. It is willing to put thousands out of work in the name of global warming, even if it's only a symbolic gesture. The hip city-dwellers are contempuous of blue collar workers and their values. They seem to attack every part of American life. Even the concept of gender is being eliminated with 32 or more genders recognized.

The Democrats have embraced identity politics. Individuals no longer matter, all that matters is the group they are part of. The assumption is that they can cobble together a winning coalition by appealing to various ethnic groups, particularly women, blacks and Hispanics. Even after their defeat in 2016, they believe that demographics are the key to their future political domination. This is quite a gamble and may not work. The groups they are counting on came together for Obama but not Clinton. It may well be that the first black president whose father was a foreign national was a once-in-a-lifetime uniter and that his coalition won't be duplicated.

The Democrats have one final problem. They have been too successful. They have a national health care. Obamacare may be replaced but it will not be removed. They also have gay marriage and a number of other achievements. Naturally, they have new goals but those have little support. Free college and an end to gender will not take back Congress. Even gun control has lost its edge since some states like California have enacted strict new gun laws that will blunt the desire for national action.

It is a given that the Democrats will oppose everything that Trump does but it's questionable if the country will follow them or if they will be willing to moderate some of their more extreme positions. Considering that Ralph Ellison, one of the furthest left members of Congress, is the next likely leader of the party, they seem set to follow the English Labor Party's march to the left and irrelevance.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Big Problem With Calling on the Electoral College to Elect Hlllary Clinton

Daily I see people urging the Electoral College to ignore the results of the election and select Hillary Clinton as President. The reasoning is that she won the popular vote by over two million votes so she represents the will of the people.

There is one huge flaw with this argument: while it's true that Hillary did get more votes than Donald Trump, she failed to get 50% of the votes. Think about that. We're supposed to throw the Constitution and the Electoral Collage out the window over someone who failed to capture a majority of the popular vote. She only won a plurality.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Electoral College and the States

There is a lot of frustration right now because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump won the Electoral College. There are also complaints that every state gets to elect two Senators regardless of size and that even members of the House of Representatives represent different numbers of voters.

This is not a bug, it is a feature and it is working exactly as intended when the Constitution was written. In fact, this disparity in representation is more vital not than ever.

Disparity of population goes back all the way to the convention when the Constitution was first written. Small states wanted an equal voice in the federation. Large states demanded more power. The eventual compromise was two houses of Congress, one that gave proportional representation to the states and the other that gave equal voice to them. At the same time, the Electoral Collage was created with states getting electors for each member of Congress. This gave the small states a slightly larger voice in selecting the president.

The fear was that a few large states would trample the smaller states by constantly choosing a chief executive who only represented their interests. The small states were given a slight advantage in order to be sure that their concerns were also addressed.

Because of the rise of highly dense cities, the original concern is even more relevant. There are more than 3,000 counties (and equivalents) in the US but half of the population resides in just 15. This correlates to votes for Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump as shown in the graphic below.

If the election was based solely on popular vote then most of the nation could safely be ignored. That translates into actual policies. Trump won among people who feel that governmental policies are already against them. The elimination of coal mining and the off-shoring of manufacturing were both caused, at least partially, by environmental concerns of city dwellers who are unaffected by these policies. Similarly, a huge hike in the minimum wage an be absorbed much easier in large cities where the cost of living (and therefore the median wage) is already higher than in outlying areas where such an increase would cause major unemployment.

So the outlying areas are given slightly more say in selecting the President than the high density areas because otherwise they would end up with no say at all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Donald

Donald Trump was not my first pick for President. I shuddered a bit when he announced. After all, the man was a Democrat during the Bush administration.

I expected Trump to fade like the other outsider candidates. Failing that, I expected him to reach his ceiling and be passed be a more viable candidate when the crowded field narrowed down. None of that happened.

Going into the conventions, I was totally conflicted. Lots of columnists and pundits gave varying advice. Some supported Hillary because she was a known quantity. Others supported Trump for the same reason. The best description of this was that voting for Trump was like playing Russian Roulette but voting for Hillary was like playing it with a semi-automatic.

I watched the Republican convention and felt left out. This was not my party. I resigned myself to voting for Hillary, knowing that she'd likely be a disaster and defeated in a Republican wave in 2020.

Then came the Democratic convention. If Trump's Republicans seemed like strangers, Hillary's Democrats were people I knew all too well. There was no way I could vote for this crowd. So I resigned myself to voting for Trump or a 3rd party candidate.

In late August there were rumors about Hillary's health. Her campaign denied them until she collapsed during a 9/11 ceremony. At first her campaign insisted that she was just dehydrated. Then they admitted that she had pneumonia. So Hillary was caught in yet another lie. What's more, she blamed it on society. Women aren't' allowed to be sick and have to "power through" illness.

Imagining 4-8 years of Hillary lying when she didn't need to and playing the woman card made me warm to Trump a lot.

The debates helped, too. In the first debate, Trump spent his first question laying out an economic plan. Hillary spent the debate giving facile answers and trying to bait Trump.

In the second debate she left her seat and walked in front of Trump, positioning herself between him and a camera. The next day her campaign sent out a picture of it with a comment about hostile men looming over successful women's shoulders. That sort of staging irritated me.

Hillary's entire campaign irritated me. She never gave me a reason to vote for her. She dredged up a dozen Trump quotes, some of them real some of them taken out of context and some taken from decades ago and ran them constantly. She ran a few ads for herself but they were general feel-good ones.

Let's look at the shocking tapes of Trump's locker room talk. Several double standards were being applied there. Trump apologized but that didn't slow anyone down. No one even mentions his apology. But at the same time, Hillary apologized for her private email server and expected us to drop the matter. These tapes were 22 years old. Trump is being held to current standards but at the time that he bragged that women allowed him to touch them, Bill Clinton was sticking a cigar into an intern's vagina. When it came out, no one said that disqualified him for the presidency. Instead they insisted that oral sex isn't really sex.

I'm no fool. When someone is attacked unfairly, I feel the need to defend him. Too many of the attacks on Trump have no basis. He's been called a racist but you have to go back to 1980 when his father was still running the family business to find any anti-black actions. His statements about illegal immigrants are often given but he made it clear that he was only talking about illegal immigrants and they are not a race. Islam is not a race, either, it is a religion. Accusations that Trump is anti-semetic are just dumb and quickly disproved.

Between the weakness of the attacks on Trump and the attacks on Romney four years ago, I have to conclude that any Republican candidate would have been demonized. It's what the Clinton campaign does. Hillary is an uninspiring candidate so she tries to drag her opponents down. Even her debate coaching was on how to bait Trump instead of how to appeal to the voters. So I discount a lot of the anti-Trump animosity. It's fake outrage. If Trump was still a Democrat then the people who protest him now would be defending him.

So, by election day I was willing to vote for Trump and cheer when he won unexpectedly. But I wasn't a real Trump supporter until after the election.

There are daily protests. Some of them turn into riots. People are working themselves into a frenzy insisting that Trump's election is causing a wave of violence. This is repeated by the MSM without question. It was national news that incidents of Islamophobia are up. There were 257 incidents in 2015 (with the implication that Trump caused the increase instead of multiple terrorist attacks). Keep in mind that this includes a number of mild incidents that would never make the local paper to say nothing national news if it wasn't for the religious aspect. To put this in context, Chicago has had 487 homicides as of August. By the end of the year Chicago will have had twice as many homicides as nationwide non-fatal incidents involving Muslims. But the MSM never puts this in context.

Two things really made me think I voted the right way. The first was the whole safety pin thing. The idea that random people are going to be attacked and need someone safe to turn to. That's pretty offensive - the idea that half the country is about to attack anyone who's not a cis gendered, straight, white. The insistence that Trump supporters are all alt-Right white supremacists is also offensive.

The other was the protests. There was one close enough that I could see it from my front porch. While this one was peaceful, I could hear them chanting Black Lives Matter. That's a movement that regularly calls for killing cops. What would the marchers have done if they knew I was a Trump voter? Would they respect the individual right to choose who to vote for or would they react violently. A protest march downtown started peacefully but turned violent. I'd be surprised if there weren't marchers in common from the two events.

Regardless of how well Trump does, I can't associate with Hillary's supporters. They are too quick to shout down opposing opinions and demonize anyone they disagree with. They suppress speech and act like infants when they don't get their way. They are even trying to overthrow the election results by threatening the members of the Electoral College. This is the real threat to America and freedom and the real road to a totalitarian government. Each time I hear about the left acting out it makes me support Trump a bit more. He may not be much but he's our only defense against the crazies.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Stop the Hate

Stop all the hate. Now.

No, I don't mean Trump voters. I mean the people marching in the streets and the ones wearing safety pins. I know that you're telling yourselves that you're accomplishing something but all you're doing is dividing the country.

There was a march in my neighborhood tonight. They assembled a couple of blocks from my house. I could see them marching by, 1/4 block away. That one was fairly peaceful but I really wonder if I'd have been roughed up if I'd gotten closer and let people know I voted for Trump?

And while this one was peaceful, other rallies weren't. Some involve throwing rocks or calling for dead police. The one I saw was chanting "Black Lives Matter". Several police deaths have been attributed to that movement. This is peace?

By the way, Trump spent some time campaigning in black inner cities, promising to help blacks.

Some marchers have called for raping Melonia Trump. A major newspaper printed nude pictures of her and people have been sharing them on Facebook. There is no excuse for this. It's as bad as anything Donald Trump has been accused of doing. The only reason for doing anything like this is spite because your side didn't win.

As for those safety pins, I know they are supposed to show that you are a "safe", tolerant person. That's what you were told. That's not the point of wearing them, those. They are really just virtue signalling. They're a way of announcing to the world that you are a good person and everyone else is evil. It's "othering" people who don't wear them and divisive. It's a visual way of dividing the world into us and them - so that you know who to hate.

There were a lot of reasons to vote for Trump or to vote against Hillary but your side assumes the worst. You haven't bothered learning anything about Trump's positions besides the wall. You've convinced yourselves that he's Hitler reincarnated but you probably don't know much about Hitler's rise to power either. Note - he was a socialist.

Unless your name is Hillary Clinton, this was not the most important election in history. Despite President Obama stretching presidential powers, we still have countless checks and balances in place. America was designed to resist dictators and strongmen. You'd know that if they still taught civics in high school.

I realize that the election result came as a shock but it's no excuse. You are whipping yourselves into a frenzy, telling yourselves that you are the epitome of virtue and everyone else is evil. Then you tell yourselves that you have to act.

Of course there's nothing you can do yet. Trump won't take office for more than two more months. He and his staff are still figuring out which campaign promises to keep and how to do it. Protesting now accomplishes nothing except making you feel good.

But as you sooth your tender sensibilities, you are alienating the rest of the country. How can you persuade anyone to take your side after protesting against them.

So it's time to act like rational adults. Put away the coloring books and PayDough and safety pins and start judging Trump's actual proposals as he makes them. Remind yourself that Trump is the most liberal Republican elected in decades and he is surrounded by his party's most centrist members. Take the time to look things over carefully and decide for yourself instead of following whatever meme is popular on Facebook today.

One final thought - how would you feel if people were rioting because Hillary won? What if people were marching in the street calling for her arrest? How threatened would that make you feel? That's what you're doing to us.

Stop it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Take a Deep Breath and Calm Down

Trump is not Hitler. He's not even Musolini. Even if Trump was a dictator-elect, our system is set up to stop anyone from taking over. The power is too spread out.

Trump is not Hitler. Hitler joined and eventually led a movement by national socialists dedicated to overthrowing the German government. Trump is part of a mainstream party that's been around for 150 years and is full of people who believe in limited government.

Hillary Clinton, her campaign and her sympathizers spent months pushing a caricature of the real Trump, taking statements made over decades out of context and stringing them together to convince voters that Trump was worse than Hillary. Don't be fooled by election propaganda.

Trump is supposed to be ineligible because of the way he talked about women and because he did some inappropriate touching. So far, no one has suggested that Bill Clinton, who was accused of raping multiple women should have resigned.

Trump is supposed to be too unstable to be trusted with nuclear launch codes but he only engages in late-night tweets. Bill Clinton engaged in purple-faced rages, regularly. Hillary throws lamps and vases. The Secret Service had plans for how to respond  if they needed to save Bill from Hillary.

Trump engages in course talk. So did LBJ who once pulled his penis out of his pants to answer a reporter.

Trump was asked if he would accept the results of the election and criticized when he said, "We'll see." Hillary's supporters are rioting in the streets rather than accept that she lost.

The most insightful analysis I saw said that the press takes Trump literally but not seriously while his supporters take him seriously but not literally. He's even admitted that to editorial boards. Now, with his election, the anti-Trumpers are taking him seriously and literally.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself that the president has limited powers and Trump, despite all the protests, is the most liberal Republican president since Teddy Roosevelt.


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Trump's Victory

When Republicans named Donald Trump their candidate, the Democrats rubbed their hands with glee. They predicted that not only would Hillary Clinton win the presidency but Trump's election would also trigger a wave election that would give them control of both houses of Congress. It didn't happen. None of it did. Trump won and the Republicans kept control of both houses.

Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton shouldn't have been a surprise. History was against Hillary Clinton. It's unusual for the same party to win three Presidential elections in a row. It's only happened once since FDR/Truman.

It's also uncommon for a candidate to win the general election after having trouble in the primary. Hillary's weakness as a candidate was obvious when she had problems against an aging socialist. Trump, by contrast, wrapped the primaries up months before Hillary did.

Most of the polls showed Hillary leading. She may yet win the popular vote although Trump has a 1% lead as of this writing. His margin of victory was razor-thin in multiple states. At least four states that had been predicted for Hillary flipped for Trump.

What happened?

The traditional wisdom is for a candidate to move to the right or left (depending on the party) in the primary and move to the center for the general election. Neither candidate did this. Trump mainly went with positive campaign ads while Hillary relied on a series of Trump quotes repackaged multiple ways. This probably cost her the election. She started these ads before the Republican primary when she was still running against Bernie Sanders. And punch they had wore off months ago. Finding a 22 year old tape of Trump discussing women added a couple of new quotes to the mix but Hillary never made a case for herself. Her strategy seemed to begin and end with making Trump the greater of two evils.

Narrative is everything in a presidential campaign. In 1992, her husband, Bill, was "the man from Hope" who felt people's pain. George W. Bush was a compassionate Republican. Obama made himself into a mythical creature. Trump promised to make America great again.

And Hillary? In her first campaign launch, she released a video of a bunch of women starting new projects. At the end she appeared announcing that she was a grandmother and she was going to run for president. It was so inspiring that she had to relaunch her campaign multiple times. She never did come up with a message. In a leaked email she complained that her staff had never created a message for her.

I'm sure that the Democrats will blame the FBI for Hillary's loss but that ignores the fact that it was her decision to have a private server in the first place. Was she hiding pay for play deals from FOIA requests or just keeping emails about yoga classes private? We may never know but without that decision, there would never have been anything for the FBI to investigate.

That was just one more piece of baggage dragging her down, along with Bill's treatment of women.

So, Hillary was a weak candidate with history against her and lots of baggage. That doesn't explain why the polls were wrong.

The pollsters made a lot of mistakes. Polls are based on models of expected voters. The models that most pollsters used were wrong. They overestimated the pro-Hillary turnout and underestimated the pro-Trump turnout. They also assumed that Hispanics would be solidly against Trump. While his numbers with Hispanics were worse than Bush's, they were better than McCain's or Romney's (or to put it differently, Obama did better with Hispanics than Hillary did).

It's also possible that Trump had closet supporters. Everyone on the Left from Hillary on down referred to Trump supporters as racist, sexist, xenophobes. Who's going to admit to that when a pollster calls?

I'm sure that the Democrats will also blame sexism - people being unwilling to vote for a woman. I'm sure that some people voted that way but Hillary got a boost from being a woman. Eight years in the Senate and four as Secretary of State does not make you the best qualified candidate ever. Hillary was only taken seriously because she was married to a former president - which does not qualify you for the office, either. (Note - George H. W. Bush was probably the best qualified candidate of my lifetime having been in the House, Chairman of the Republican Party, Ambassador to the UN, Envoy to China and Director of the CIA before becoming Vice-President.)

Money played an interesting role in the election. Hillary had a lot more money and was much better organized. But it wasn't enough to buy her an election. Most of Hillary's money came from the wealthy, too. Trump spent a fraction of what Hillary spent and a much higher percentage of his contributions came from small donors. This is ironic since Hillary included campaign finance reform in her platform.

One last thought - in winning the election, Trump defeated the two major political dynasties of the generation: the Bushes and the Clintons. In the 9 elections starting with 1980, only one didn't have a Bush or Clinton running for national office, either Vice-President or President. He dispatched Jeb Bush early on before running against Hillary.

Trump shouldn't be underestimated.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Day

As of this writing, Hillary Clinton is expected to win the presidency but it's not a sure thing. The polls are consistent in showing her ahead but they also show the two within the margin or error and there's a huge disincentive for Trump voters to refuse to be identified. Assuming that Trump loses, the natural reaction will be to blame Trump himself. Early polling showed that nearly every other potential candidate could have done better. This overlooks how Democrats and the media destroys Republican candidates.

It doesn't matter what a candidate is really like, if he's a Republican he will be painted as a regressive who wants to repeal the last 50 years of civil rights accomplishments and who peppers his speeches with dog whistle code words that most people will miss but deplorable supporters will catch.

The most recent charges against Trump are antisemitism. Several days ago one of his supporters was heard chanting "jew-S-A, jew-S-A" as a rally. More recently, the Washington Posts' Dana Milbank wrote:

On Friday, [Trump] released a closing ad for his campaign repeating offending lines from that speech, this time illustrated with images of prominent Jews: financier George Soros (accompanying the words "those who control the levers of power"), Fed Chair Janet Yellen (with the words "global special interests") and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (following the "global power structure" quote). The ad shows Hillary Clinton and says she partners "with these people who don't have your good in mind.

To Milbank, this is overt antisemitism.

The reality is quite different. The person crying "Jew-S-A" was hispanic and saying "U-S-A" with an accent.

The campaign ad that Milbank complained about spends 4 seconds in a 2 minute ad showing these three jew and only identifies two of them.

Many, many charges have been leveled against Trump during this election cycle but antisemitism is a hard one to make stick. Trump has a Jewish son-in-law (as does Hillary) and Trump's daughter is a converted Jew.

This happened in 2012 with Mitt Romney. One of Romney's grandchildren is adopted and black but Romney, being a Republican and a Mormon, just has to be a racist. MSNBC actually mocked a picture of the Romney family for including the black grandchild.

So, if Trump hadn't been the candidate, someone else would be tarred as the next Hitler in his place. And if Hillary wins, then in 4 years the Left will be admitting that Trump was the most liberal Republican candidate since Nixon and be wishing they had him on the ballot again instead of whatever monster the Republicans nominate that cycle.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

A Deplorable Campaign

At the beginning of her second debate with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton claimed to be taking the high road compared with her opponent. This was a missed opportunity for Trump. He could have deflated her campaign by asking if she'd actually seen the ads that she authorizes.

While Hillary has run a few ads selling herself in general, glowing terms, the majority of her ad budget are all variations of one ad - Trump quotes, some of them decades old and some taken out of context designed to disgust Trump voters. That's it. No comparison of policies or experience. Just trump quotes repackaged multiple ways.

But if Hillary's campaign is taking the low road, that's nothing compared to various media outlets. The mainstream media has given up all pretense of non-partisanship. The excuse is that Trump is so much worse than other candidates that they cannot stand aside and do nothing.

It's important to remember that, regardless of Trump's qualifications, some things are always true for the Republican candidate. He's always going to be a racist and a sexist who wants to turn the clock back decades. Some pundits even admitted that they'd called wolf before but this time it was real.

We keep hearing that Trump is a racist because he said that illegal immigrants have a high percentage of criminals. He has said that he wants to encourage legal immigrants. He also wanted a freeze on accepting Muslim refugees until we have a better system of vetting them. Keep in mind that the flood of refugees is straining Europe and German police just arrested a second refugee who was plotting a terrorist attack.

It's true that Trump's business was cited for discrimination nearly 40 years ago but barely anyone has heard of that. All of the racism charges come from his insistence on getting control of the border. Somehow illegal immigrants have become a race.

It says a lot about Hillary and the left that wanting to close the border is unthinkable. The flood of illegal aliens depresses wages for people without college degrees and stresses social safety nets.

The same is true about their refusal to heed warnings about ISIS fighters merging in with refugees. Americans are afraid of attacks by Islamic militants. The attacks in France and Belgium have been horrifying. But Hillary wants to increase the number of refugees and decrease the time spent on vetting them.

Instead of a rational debate on these positions we hear that Trump is Hitler, Mussolini, a strong-man, but really, he's Hitler.

Months ago Putin called Trump "colorful" but the original translation came out more complimentary. Trump accepted the compliment. Later he called on Russia to release any letters they had from Hillary's email server. Because of the first, Hillary and company insist that Trump is Putin's puppet. She even suggested that in a debate. The second was a tripple-edged joke, reminding us that Hillary had a private server, it was poorly protected and that she'd deleted 30,000+ emails from it. The left insisted on interpreting it as a call for a foreign power to hack into Hillary's server. This was obviously impossible since the server had been decommissioned and was in FBI custody and the deleted emails were already deleted. Regardless, I still see this accusation.

A common complaint is that Trump will rule as a strong-man, turning our country into a fascist dictatorship. The reasoning that, as bad and corrupt as Hillary is, she at least understands the division of power and the checks and balances built into the system. Anyone who has paid attention to Hillary's record will know that she's the last person to trust in restraining presidential power. Early in her husband's presidency, she had the White House Travel Office staff fired so that she could reward friends in Little Rock. As soon as she stared as Secretary of State, she ordered a private server, presumably so that she could hide emails from FOIA requests. She and Bill have a long history of bending the law.

And she has a major support network already in place for bending the law and expanding presidential authority. President Obama has stretched presidential and regulatory authority far beyond any presidents since the Supreme Court reined in FDR. The Democratic Party has been cheering this on.

President Trump, on the other hand, has luck-warm support from the Republicans. There's no group set to cheer him expanding presidential power and several institutions that will oppose it.

Hillary has invented a "Trump effect" and run against it. Supposedly Trump inspires intolerance. An unusual attack ad on Trump features the mother of Matthew Sheppard, a collage student who was murdered, possibly because he was gay. The mother warns that a Trump presidency will inspire more such acts.

This is an outrageous claim. The Trump Effect only exists as anecdotal evidence from biased observers. Further, Trump has been the most supportive Republican candidate for gay rights ever. He had the first openly gay speaker during the Republican convention (during prime time, too) and he pledged to support LBGTQ rights. The idea that a candidate wo supports gays somehow inspires anti-gay bullying is a huge stretch.

The final low attack on Trump has been on his supporters. Hillary dismissed half of them as a basket of Deplorables. Other sources describe Trump's support as white supremacists and crypto-nazis. The idea here is to shame voters away from Trump. Yes, there are white supremacists supporting Trump but no one looks at Hillary's supporters. The undesirable element of Trump's supporters is much smaller than Hillary's 1/2. What percentage of Hillary's supporters believe in "toxic whiteness" or "toxic masculinity". These attitudes are acceptable among the left but millions of Americans would be horrified to know that the left considers them deplorable just because of their gender or race. Currently the Justice Department is full of social justice warriors who look down on average Americans.

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. 

Monday, September 05, 2016

Trump and Racism

It's a ritual - once the Republican candidate is chosen, the left talks about how racist he is or must be because he's a Republican. In some cases they delight in making fun of any dark-skinned grandchildren that the candidate has. The unusual thing about this election is that they've admitted that they did it in previous elections. The current message is, "Yes, we said that every candidate since Nixon is a racist but they weren't really and we regret saying it because Trump really, really is a racist and you won't believe us now."

There's a problem with this approach, it's hard to find actual racism from Trump. The usual examples are from Trump's statements on illegal immigrants. He's claimed that Mexico sends its worst over here. These are generalizations based on anecdotal stories and are exaggerated by Trump. They are certainly hurtful to law-abiding illegal immigrants (although they did break a law coming here). BUT, illegal immigrants are not a race. They are people who have come here illegally.

Then there is Trump's Muslim ban. He hasn't said that he will ban Muslims. He said that he will put a hold on accepting Muslim refugees until we have a better screening process. This seems like common sense to many people, especially after the spate of terrorist attacks in Orlando and Europe this Summer. Granted these were by long-time residents but people feel unsafe because of these and need assurance that new terrorists aren't being brought in.

Consider the stress that accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees has put on Europe. Accepting unlimited refugees is causing the rise of nationalist, anti-Europe parties. The Left is being foolish to emulate policies that are so unpopular in Europe.

Again, refugees are not a race. Neither is Islam - it's a religion.

Then comes the biggest problem with Trump being a racist - trying to find examples of racism against blacks. If it existed then it would be all over the airwaves. That's a problem when claiming that Trump is Hitler.

And here's another huge problem with claiming that Trump is a racist - he used to be a Democrat. Didn't anyone on the Left notice this back when he was one of them? President and Secretary Clinton were guests at his last wedding. Were they really willing to attend the wedding of the next Mussolini? Or were they willing to look the other way as long as he kept writing checks?

Given the Left's history of crying wolf (or "Hitler"), it's hard to believe that this time they are finally correct.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Sun Queen

During the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, the most desired post in the court was for the man who helped the King put his shirt on in the morning. The reason for this has modern implications.

If you were a wealthy person in 17th century France and you wanted to make an appeal to the King you could go through official channels but it was unlikely that it would reach the king and if it did it was likely to be lost among similar appeals. Plus every step of the bureaucracy expected a bribe to expedite your request.

But there was a short-cut. The person who helped Louis dress was also the first person he spoke with each day. Louis made sure to choose someone he liked and trusted. So, that person was ideally placed to put a word in the King's ear. And he did. His fees for doing this were high but it was a way to bypass the bureaucracy. He couldn't guarantee how the King would act, only that your message would reach the King's ear.

That's how the Clinton Foundation acted during Hillary's term as Secretary of State. You could try going through normal channels but there was a short-cut for Clinton Foundation donors. The head of the Foundation had a direct line to Hillary's chief assistants. That didn't mean that Hillary would act on your request. Sometimes it was outside the control of her office. It also meant that you had a good chance at arranging a a personal meeting with the Secretary of State. Who knows what happened then?

Hillary has said that this issue is all "smoke but no fire" but she has a long and complicated relationship with the truth. The important thing is that donors to the Clinton Foundation didn't have to play by the same rules as the rest of us.

Confidence in the Vote

The Left is upset by Trump's suggestion that the polls and elections are rigged against him. While this is a serious charge, it is hardly as unusual as the Left pretends.

First there was the 2000 election. Bush won and Gore conceded to him then called back to un-conced. Gore spent the next few weeks insisting that the election-night count was flawed and that he would win once "every vote was counted". Things got out of hand and the Supreme Court finally called an end to the recount when it was obvious that different standards were being used in different counties. Gore was an ungraceful looser and many of his supporters believed that he actually won the election. That was reinforced when Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 showed an article claiming that Gore won. This was, in fact, a letter to the editor that Moore typeset to look like an article.

For years the Left referred to Bush as the Resident in Chief, or the Current Occupant of the White House instead of the president.

Admittedly, the fact that Bush won an Electoral victory but lost the popular vote also hurt and there calls that he shold have stepped down in favor of Gore because of that.

Things only got worse in 2004. At a fund-raiser, a Bush supporter said that they would do "whatever it takes" to see Bush reelected. He meant fund-raising but he was also highly-placed in the leading producer of voting machines and many on the Left were convinced that he meant tampering with election results.

After Bush won reelection, the Left went crazy looking for evidence that the vote had been rigged. MSNBC anchor Keith Olberman took the lead on that, pouncing on any report. When someone claimed that it was "statistically impossible" for Bush to have carried sections of northern Florida, Olberman was there (a later analysis showed that Bush's victory was in keeping with voting patterns going back decades). One major embarrassment for the Left during this period was that the cases of suspected fraud never turned out to have the newer voting machines that they suspected.

In the 2006 mid-term election Democratic operatives were still insisting that Republicans were influencing the vote but that this could be neutralized by a large enough turnout of Democrats. After the Democrats swept Congress in 2006 and took the White House in 2008, they stopped claiming that the election was fixed.

But Trump, who was a Democrat during the Bush years, remembers all that talk about fixed elections.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Burkini and the Problem with Headscarves

Violence broke out recently in France after several seaside towns banned the burkini - a swimming suit for Muslim women that covers the entire body except for the face, hands and feet. I've seen various columns and memes on the subject. They tend to deal in false equivalences.

A recent Facebook meme shows a woman in a burkini and a woman in a wet suit pointing out that only one is banned. This is a false equivalence for many reasons. The wet suit is used to protect a swimmer from cold water. It is not normally worn in a swimming pool or on a beach (unless the wearer is surfing in cold water). Men wear wetsuits at the same time, for the same reason as women. There is no cultural reason to wear one.

The burkini, in contrast, is worn instead of a western-style swimming suit. It has no utilitarian purpose. It is only worn by women and only because Muslim culture requires it.

Columnist Kathleen Parker wrote a column comparing the fight for Muslim women to cover themselves with the fight 100 years ago for Western women to bare themselves on the beach. This is another false equivalent since men were also fighting to show more skin 100 years ago. While concentrating on a patriarchal society telling women to uncover themselves, the burkini only exists because a patriarchal society demands that women hide themselves.

I'll make a few other points to put all of this in context. The burkini is a very recent invention. It is part of a general trend among Muslims to control women. While wearing headscarfs is the norm in Muslim countries today and enforced by law in many of them, that was not the case a couple of generations ago. Women in Muslim countries in the 1960s and 70s generally didn't cover their hair. That was something their grandmothers did (the great-great grandmothers of today's generation).

Similarly, when women from Muslim countries immigrated, they also assimilated and dressed like their Western neighbors.

All of that changed with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Even in Western countries, there is pressure on women to follow "traditional" dress.

In theory this is an individual choice but every time I see a woman in a headscarf (normally several times a day), I wonder about what other traditions the woman is being pressured to follow?

Is she allowed to drive a car or even go out by herself? Is she allowed to handle the family money or does her husband own everything and keep her on a small allowance? Did she choose her husband for love or was he chosen for her? Is she at risk for female genital mutilation? These are not idle questions. I live two miles from a radical mosque (two of it's members have gone to fight with Isis). Female genital mutilation is becoming more common in the US. Estimates are that it's been done to thousands of women living here. Arraigned marriages are also fairly common with the groom traveling to his homeland to meet his bride for the first time just before the wedding.

All of this should be troubling to anyone actually concerned about women's rights. Typically, though, concerns are dismissed as Islamiphobia by feminists as part of the theory of Intersectionality.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Return of the Spin Room

Back in 1992, voters were introduced to the concept of the spin artist and the spin room. Spin artists are political operatives who work with sympathetic media to put the best possible face on political events - or the worst for the candidate's opponent. The Clintons were masters at this.

Guess what? They're back.

Hints of the Clinton spin machine were seen during the Republican National Convention with the universal adjective for Trump's speech being "dark". It was far more obvious during the Democratic National Convention when Michelle Obama's speech was described as "a speech for the ages". This phrase is unusual enough and used so often that it has to have been fed to the press, possibly before she ever opened her mouth.

But all of that is nothing. The Democrats in general and Hillary in particular had a big problem: the release of thousands of emails and voice mails showing, among other things, that the supposedly neutral party was against Bernie Sanders. The Clinton spin artists attacked this problem in two stages. The first was to suggest that the emails had been obtained by the Russian government for the express purpose of helping Donald Trump. It was quickly floated that Trump would be Putin's puppet ruler.

While it is true that Trump and some of his staff have had dealings with Russian companies and Trump himself has been skeptical of NATO, it is also true that the Clintons also have deep ties to Russian businesses. Further, Hillary is a known quantity to them and they know how to deal with her.

The second phase started with a comment that Trump made. Trump called on the Russians, or anyone else who had hacked Clinton's private email server, to release the 30,000 emails she had deleted. Trump's jab was a stroke of genius because it reminded people that Hillary used a private email server that was so insecure that the FBI said that there was no way to tell if it had been hacked. It also reminded people of the thousands of "private" emails deleted from Hillary's server.

The spin machine quickly jumped into action insisting that Trump was calling on the Russians to hack Hillary's server. A storm of faux-outrage followed with some media outlets suggesting that Trump had crossed a line by inviting a foreign power to interfere in an American election. A few even called him a traitor.

This may backfire on the Clinton machine. Anyone who sees what Trump actually said knows that it was a lighthearted suggestion that assumed the Russians hacked Hillary's emails years ago. It makes no sense to suggest that Trump wants them to hack the servers now. They have been decommissioned and are in the possession of the FBI.

A good deal of the press is actively working against Trump and are willing to help the spin machine.

This particular spin might backfire, though. Any ordinary candidate would be sputtering and backtracking by now. Trump on the other hand said, "It was a joke" and moved on. Outrageous statements are nothing new from Trump.

The other problem is that the Clintons should want Trump's joke buried instead of given more attention. No matter how much it hurts him, it also reminds people of Hillary's own email mess. The Clinton spin machine shold be working to bury any mentions and put it behind them. Instead, they are being mentioned on the national news again and stealing time from the convention.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Michelle and the White House

On a few occasions including her address to the Democratic national Convention, Michelle Obama has talked about waking up every day in a house built by slaves. While various fact-checkers have rated this true, there are some facts they keep ignoring.

Research showed that the workforce that build the Capitol building was part-slave therefore the same proportions must hold for the White House. This is a bit of a stretch since the White House was quite a bit smaller and built as a house rather than a capitol.

Claims that slaves quarried the stone for the White House seem to be the strongest. Possibly slaves also worked under the direction of master stone carvers in building the structure.

What it usually skipped is that the current building is *not* the original White House. It has been rebuilt twice. The first time was after the British burned it during the War of 1812. It was reduced to a mere shell. None of the fact-checks I've seen talk about that rebuild.

More important is the rebuild that happened under President Truman. The original building had deteriorated by then and was in danger of collapse. Truman had the entire building gutted. The facade was saved but everything else was replaced with a modern steel-girder building. The White House was also enlarged significantly with wings and underground offices.

It would be much more accurate for Michelle to say that every day she wakes up in a house that has a facade built by slaves. But that doesn't have much ring to it.

Something she never mentions and might never have occurred to her - when she wakes up in a house built by slaves, she's sharing a bed with the descendant of slave-owners. Barack's white mother's family owned slaves. This came out in 2008 but was quickly forgotten after Oprah said that she'd be honored if Obama's ancestors had owned her ancestors.

The President's dark skin comes from his father who was from Africa where slavery is still practiced.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Obama supporters - now you know how we felt

Eight years ago Obama was treated a the savior of America. There were calls for him to suspend Congress and "just fix things". Over the last 7 1/2 years Obama has expanded the use of executive orders to unprecedented levels. Each time, he was applauded.

Enter Trump and the left is going crazy insisting that this is how fascism comes to America and that his acceptance speech was that of a strongman.

The truth is that the American system of government with its checks and balances and multiple levels resists a strong leader who tries to take personal power.

Also, as it turned out, Obama lacks the energy to try to subvert the American government.

Trump shows signs of having even less energy. By all indications, his campaign is still a vanity project and he has little interest in actually running the country. He's the salesman who loses interest in the deal after he makes the sale.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Black Lies Matter

Last week five police officers were killed and eight other people shot by a black man who wanted to kill white people, especially cops.

After that shocking incident, I hoped that the Black Lives Matter organizers would back off and reevaluate. I was disappointed but not really surprised instead they doubled down on their protests. There is no hint that their rhetoric incited the police shooting and others before this one.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is built on lies and violence.

The movement got its start with the death of Travon Martin. The original story was that Martin was targeted by a large, white guy because he was wearing a hoodie. The white guy, George Zimmerman, could easily have overpowered Martin but instead shot him then got off by using the Stand Your Ground defense. The main pictures we saw of Martin was of him as a skinny 14 year old. NBC even edited the 911 tapes to make Zimmerman seem racist.

Instead, it turned out that Zimmerman was a short, pudgy Hispanic and Martin was a hair under six feet. Martin was out in the first place on a drug run - he got two cigars to make bunts (cigars stuffed with pot) and watermellon drink and skittles to mix with cough syrup to make "purple thang". It appears that Martin realized that he was being followed and decided to teach Zimmerman a lesson by beating his head against the ground. In fear for his life, Zimmerman shot Martin. Zimmerman was described by people who knew him as someone who didn't care about race.

The original prosecutor determined that it was self-defense and had to be replaced before charges were filed. Zimmerman was found not guilty and a Justice Department probe found that Zimmerman had not violated Martin's civil rights. Despite all this the BLM protestors maintain that Martin was murdered because of his race and the picture of him at 14 is still the most common one shown on news shows.

Then there is Erin Garner who died while struggling with the police. While it is true that one officer had Garner in a choke hold at the time, Garner died from a heart attack.

The big one is Michael Brown. The original story was that Brown was a gentle, college-bound giant who was hassled by the police for jay-walking and was shot in the back while he had his hands up, trying to surrender. "Hands up, don't shoot" became a battle cry, even being done on the floor of Congress by members of the House of Representatives.

This was a huge lie. Brown was stopped by a policeman because he had just robbed a cigar store. Brown attacked the cop, trying to get his gun. Failing that, Brown started to run then changed his mind and charged the cop who shot him. He never had his hands up and never tried to surrender and he was shot in the chest.

No one apologized for the Hand Up theatrics. BLM protestors still talk about Brown as being murdered.

BLM members have claimed that police are the biggest threat to black men. Actually, the biggest threat to black men is other black men. While it is true that a disproportionate number of black men are killed by police, it is also true that a disproportionate number of black men are invoivled in violent crime and in the same proportion.

While Black Lives Matters hasn't made outright calls for violence, neither has it made an effort to distance itself from these calls. Some marches have included such calls as: "What do we want? More dead cops. When do we want it? Now."

While I place direct blame on BLM for the Dallas shootings, 3rd wave feminists get a share, too. They believe in identity politics where your gender and race is more important than who you are individually. Therefore, all whites are responsible for the actions of white police officers and all police officers are equally guilty.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016


When FBI director James Comey announced that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Hillary Clinton for egregious use of a private server for official business, he truncated his statement. We can only guess what the rest was going to be. Here are my contributions:

No reasonable prosecutor would file charges because:

  • It would mean a Trump presidency.
  • It would upset the highly partisan Obama administration.
  • It would incur the wrath of the Clintons, a family known for personal destruction.
  • It would start a nation-wide shit-storm.
  • It would be the end of that prosecutor's career.
  • All of the above.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Trump's Problems

A few weeks ago I wrote about the problems that Hillary Clinton faces in trying to win the presidency. Against nearly any other Republican, the election would be an uphill fight for Clinton. Donald Trump however has his own, unique problems.

First of all, he's an of-again, on-again Republican. He supported Carter and Mondale over Reagan. He was very vocal about not supporting George W. Bush, preferring Gore, Kerry and Obama. There's every reason to believe that he'd be supporting Hillary over the Republican nominee if it wasn't Trump himself.

He's not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. Republicans have been against trade barriers since they caused the Great Depression. Trump is for them. On some issues, especially trade, Trump is to Hillary's left. The same is true for national defense. Trump is an isolationist, at odds with conservatives who are normally push for a strong national defense. As a Reagan Republican, it's galling to me that Hillary Clinton comes closer to the things that Reagan stood for than Trump.

Trump has no relevant experience. We suffered through 8 years of Obama thinking that he could substitute bumming around the world as a youth for actual world policy experience. We're likely to have a repeat of that with Trump.

Trump isn't really that good a businessman. Yes, he's made a lot of money - for himself. He's left a lot of wreckage in his wake. In investment after investment, Trump is the only person to come out ahead. We need a president who is looking out for the American people, not himself.

Trump has made a lot of promises he can't keep. The Wall is a big one. It won't be built. He's even said that it's just an applause line. So, where does that leave us if Trump doesn't mean his most famous promise?

Trump's vulgarity repulses a lot of voters. He seems shocked and offended by normal bodily functions of women. He stereotypes Mexicans and Muslims. He makes fun of people of the handicapped. All of this adds up and gives him the highest negatives of any candidate, ever.

Trump spent the primary alienating the Republican establishment but he needs them to be elected. So far there is little to suggest that he has made up with them.

Trump doesn't act like he's running to win. This is a big one. He ran his primary campaign on the cheap, relying on public polls instead of hiring his own pollster, and skipping many other standard expenses. He ran like a dilettante who was running a vanity campaign and didn't expect to get very far. Now that he is the presumptive nominee, he needs a national organization with joint fundraising with the Republican party. He hasn't even begun to assemble that. Pro-Hillary groups have been airing anti-Trump and pro-Hillary ads in swing states like Ohio for weeks. Trump has yet to make a significant media buy - or raise enough money to make one.

It is still possible that Trump could tap into a well-spring of resentment against the status quo or that Hillary could be indicted. Both of those are outside Trump's control.

Of the things he can control - fundraising, message, making up with former rivals and converting them into surrogates - Trump is way behind. He appears to be going through the motions reinforcing the impression that it's a vanity candidacy for him and he has no real desire to be president.

That's no way to win an election.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tragedy and Politics in Orlando

The first news reports from Orlando called the mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando called it the worst terrorist attack on America since 9/11. By the time President Obama made his remarks, the story had changed to the biggest mass shooting in American history. Despite calling 9-1-1 twice to profess his allegiance to ISIS and other Islamic organizations, that aspect of the massacre has been almost totally lost, buried under various agendas. This highlights one of the most shameful aspects of politics in America.

The two most commonly heard demands are that AR-15 style guns should be outlawed and that people on the terrorist watch list should be prohibited from buying guns. In short order the AR-15 was proclaimed the weapon of choice of terrorists, based on four shootings. This ignores the fact that the Sandy Hook shooter didn't choose his gun, he stole the gun his mother used for target shooting. The Aurora shooter had a tactical shotgun and a Glock as well as an AR-15-style rifle.

Keep in mind that Omar Mateen, the shooter, also carried a Glock handgun and no figures have been released about how many people were shot with which weapon, how many shots were fired, how many times he reloaded or other relevant data. He also carried something that may have been a bomb.

There is an important message by all of the attention devoted to so-called Assault Weapons*. These weapons were tools used by someone bent on murdering multiple people. If he had been unable to obtain an "assault weapon" then he would have used some other type of gun. That might have reduced the number of dead and injured but it certainly would not have stopped him. By focusing on "assault weapons" the message is that stopping this type of assault isn't really important. It's enough to reduce the number of dead and injured by an unknown amount. This is nothing but political posturing.

The reality is that rifles are seldom used in crimes. More people are killed by knives than all types of rifles combined. There are 20-30 million AR-15s alone. Target shooters love them because of the low recoil and because they are easily customized. Most crimes are done with handguns, not rifles. This is common sense. It's much harder to conceal a rifle. This is also true of mass shootings. By some measures, there have been hundreds of mass shootings since Sandy Hook but only four were mentioned when "proving" that this is the weapon of choice.

The watch list is even more posturing. It's true that Mateen was on the FBI list at one point but he was investigated and removed. He was not on the list at the time he bought his guns. As far as we know (the list is secret so we can't be sure) no mass murderer to date has been on a watch list when he bought his weapon. Congress should be investigating that rather than pushing meaningless legislation. they should be exploring ways to identify self-radicalized people.

The tragedy is being used other ways to advance various agendas. Many people have used it to condemn the Right for being anti-gay as if being against gay marriage is equivalent to wanting gays dead. A lawyer for the ALCU with a Muslim family insisted that right-wing Christians are to blame.

The left has been overly delicate about Islam. Islamic countries have no toleration for gays. Several Muslim countries will imprison or execute gays but any criticism is dismissed as hate speech. That is part of why the left is so quick to bury mentions of Mateen's religious motivations. That includes President Obama who has problems reconciling the Islam he remembers from his childhood with today's savage killers. That's part of Trump's appeal and refusing to acknowledge Islam's part in the tragedy only helps him.

* There is no official definition, the term generally describes semi-automatic guns that resemble military ones.