Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cruising the Web

Philip Klein lists "17 ways Hillary's big economic speech rehashed Obama."
Hillary Clinton on Monday delivered a much-publicized speech in which she was supposed to lay out her economic agenda. In reality, she just rehashed President Obama's. Her speech ultimately sounded like another Obama State of the Union address, only with much more robotic delivery.

As I've noted before, everything that Clinton does during the 2016 campaign should be viewed through the prism of her desperate need to hang onto the coalition of voters that elected Obama twice. On Monday, Clinton left no doubt that she intended to run for Obama's third term.
The WSJ writes on the same theme.
Hillary Clinton is running for a third term, and it isn’t her husband’s. The economic agenda that the Democratic anointee laid out on Monday in New York City sounded like a bootleg from President Obama’s stereo—with the volume turned up and stuck on repeat.

Mrs. Clinton’s theme is that “we have to build a growth and fairness economy,” which sounds like a tacit admission that the Obama policies of high taxation, heavy regulation and government income redistribution have produced stagnation and unfairness. She was explicit that real incomes aren’t rising, investment is too slow and opportunities are too few, especially for lower-skilled workers and minorities. The economy “still isn’t delivering for most Americans,” she rightly averred.

Yet Mrs. Clinton never explained why, other than to suggest that Republicans or businesses that want to make too much money are somehow to blame. She slid past the agenda that has dominated economic policy since 2007, and thus she wants to continue delivering the same beatings until morale improves. She hopes voters won’t notice the contradiction.

Paychecks stalled, year after year? Mrs. Clinton has an app for that, although it won’t be Uber. She said “the so-called gig economy” is “raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.” So she’ll use some combination of government spending and coercion of businesses to institute paid family leave, a right to child care, a higher minimum wage, mandated overtime and much else....

Mrs. Clinton evoked a return to the tight labor markets and 1990s boom of the Bill Clinton years. The irony is that the modern Democratic Party has moved far to the left of the President who repealed Glass-Steagall and cut capital gains tax rates, and she is now positioning herself as the tribune of this government-centric liberalism.

It follows, then, that Mrs. Clinton embraced ObamaCare, only more so. She said she’d lower out-of-pocket insurance spending and make prescription drug costs more affordable, presumably through price controls. Mrs. Clinton also said she’d “enhance” Social Security, whatever that means, though it won’t be cheap. She also went beyond Mr. Obama’s universal preschool to call for a new program—also undefined—for “children in that zero to four age group.”

This even-more-liberal-than-Obama pitch raises the question of whether this reflects the real Hillary Clinton. She always was more of a true believer than Bill, but those policy instincts went mute after HillaryCare imploded in 1994. Maybe now in the wake of Mr. Obama’s tenure, and with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren prodding her, she feels she can return to her liberal druthers.

Her challenge will be persuading voters that her agenda will somehow work better in the next four years than it has in the last seven. Presidents who elevate fairness over growth usually end up with less of both, and based on Monday’s speech Mrs. Clinton is doubling down.
I think we have a theme as Charles C. W. Cooke notes the same aspect of Hillary's speech.
It is a supreme irony of modern American life that the political movement that terms itself “progressive” is, in the economic realm at least, increasingly passionate about the status quo. Speaking today about the burgeoning “gig economy,” presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could not help herself but to set modernity firmly within aging ideological tram-lines. Developments such as AirBnB, Zaarly, Uber, DogVacay, and RelayRides, Clinton conceded, are not likely to “go away” any time soon. But they are worrying nonetheless. Indeed, the “sharing economy,” she proposed, is “polarizing” and it is disruptive — guilty of no less than “displacing or downgrading blue-collar jobs.” Technological advances, she concluded, must not “determine our destiny.”

And who should “determine our destiny”? Why, Hillary Clinton of course!

In the eyes of us free-marketeers, the teams behind the host of new peer-to-peer services are no less than digital liberators. For us, the arrival of a system such as Uber is salutary, not scary: It is an end to waiting in the rain for a state-approved cab; it is the key to a transportation experience a cut above that which is provided by the cartels; it is the source of golden opportunities for those who wish to construct odd or custom-built work schedules or to make money without answering to a boss. That a few ingenious programmers have found a way around the artificial scarcity, state-union collusion, and high barriers to entry that The Man has seen fit to impose is, in our view, an extremely positive development. More of this, please.

But for Hillary Clinton? It is a death knell. Like Bill DeBlasio before her, Clinton has seen the list of newly available iPhone apps, and she has grasped her own obsolescence.

If he is smart, the eventual Republican nominee will spend 2016 casting Clinton as the spirit animal of a washed-out and intellectually bankrupt generation that belongs nowhere near the levers of power. If they are really smart, the broader party will make this case broadly and perpetually — and long after next year’s election is over. All political movements are guilty of nostalgia, certainly. But few of them refuse to acknowledge their sentimentality in quite the same way as does the wing of the Democratic party to which Clinton is currently attempting to agglutinate herself. From self-described “conservatives,” one expects a Burkean preference for the tried and tested. From “progressives” — and yes, Hillary used the word today – not so much.

Like Bill DeBlasio before her, Clinton has seen the list of newly available iPhone apps, and she has grasped her own obsolescence.
Economically, the Clinton-Sanders-Warren-O’Malley project is stuck squarely in 1938. Theirs is a country in which tax rates can be set without reference to global competition; in which the taxi commission and the trade union are the heroes while the entrepreneurs and the dissenters are a royal pain in the ass; in which families can simply not be trusted to determine which services suit their needs and which do not. It’s a country in which our heinously outdated, grossly illiberal, neo-Prussian educational system is to be set more firmly in place — even as it crumbles and falls. It is a country in which the state must determine which firms are Good and which firms are Bad, and reward or punish them according to its whim. It is a country in which Upton Sinclair is an up-and-coming writer, and in which anybody who doubts the efficacy of federal control is in danger of falling headfirst into a rendering vat.

Most important, perhaps, it is an America in which one’s opportunity to customize one’s life is reserved to the social and sexual spheres. Sure, the freelance writer in Brooklyn and the on-off driver who picks him up might think that they are entering into a mutually beneficial contract. The backpacking student from California and the Chicago apartment owner who hosts him might think that they have been liberated by technology, and the stay-at-home parent who makes knick-knacks and sells them on Etsy might think that he has a sweet deal. But from Hillary Clinton’s intolerably prescriptive perspective, they have failed to think through the consequences of their arrangements. One can tell a great deal about a person’s broader worldview by asking them a simple question: “Should one person who hopes to pay another person to perform a legal service be restricted from doing so by the state?” That Clinton used the words “crack” and “down” when attempting to answer that inquiry should worry you.
Kevin Williamson titles his comments on the speech, "Herself vs. the 21st Century."
Hillary Rodham Clinton does not seem to understand the modern economy; worse, she does not understand her own economic thinking. The most notable example of this in her speech was that she blasted Jeb Bush for suggesting that one way to raise Americans’ incomes was for Americans to work more hours, and then complained that American women aren’t working enough hours relative to women in other developed countries. Or: Americans work too much except when they’re not working enough....

Social engineers of the Obama-Clinton-Bismarck school dislike Uber and the informal economy for the same reason they dislike entrepreneurs: Employees are easier to manage. Employees are, typically, pliant. (F. A. Hayek was right to believe that the move from small proprietorships to a society of corporate salarymen would make centralization and autocracy more socially acceptable.) If the social engineers could figure out a way of getting the corporations and the salarymen without the entrepreneurs, they surely would.

So just who is the candidate running her campaign to the tune of "Yesterday"?

The National Journal takes a long look at Marco Rubio's time as Speaker of the Florida House. The takeaways are that he often had to compromise politically because the governor at the time, Charlie Crist, would not support conservative policies and the state Republicans often followed Crist who had a high approval rating at the time. However, Rubio's management style was to reach out to other legislators, even those with whom he disagreed. Clearly, not a management style that Barack Obama believes in. I like this description of his style.
"I think you can call him a conservative pragmatist," says David Simmons, a Republican who served under Rubio in the House. "There was a need to be principled, but there was a need to be pragmatic about what you can obtain. … Throughout the time he was speaker, I think that the view was we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good in any piece of legislation."
I know that conservative ideologues are quite happy to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. There are many who would rather fail than compromise. I've never supported that approach. In fact, "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" has often been one of my favorite sayings and my advice to my own children and my students in their lives. I would remind discontented conservatives of this quote from Ronald Reagan.
Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future.

I await a similar examination of Hillary Clinton's leadership style and accomplishments as Secretary of State.

I'm sure this is a shock to everyone:
Hillary Clinton's family charity has accepted contributions from donors accused of violating sanctions against Iran.

Her husband has also received a generous payment for a speech hosted by a company with financial interests in Iran.

The ties to Iranian business raise questions about Clinton's cautious support of a nuclear deal that would lift sanctions that prevent companies close to her from making money in Iran.
And then there is this:
Hillary Attacks Bank that Paid Bill Clinton, Donated to Clinton Foundation
And this:
Hillary Attacks High-Frequency Traders but Has Fundraiser Planned With One

Now it's not just Ted Cruz vs. the New York Times, but also Amazon and HarperCollins vs. the New York Times.

Chris Cillizza posts a Meet the Press 113-second clip of Donald Trump's flip flops. I'm sure that MTP will run a similar video for Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's flip flops.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson writes in Politico that "federal cybersecurity needs improvement." Thank you, Captain Obvious. He writes that it is a priority for the President and for himself. They should have communicated that priority to the Office of Personnel Management.
On the OPM website, the agency has seven "top priorities" listed. The first two are "Honoring the Workforce" and "Build a More Diverse and Engaged Workforce". Number four on the list is "IT Improvement" to "streamline and update IT systems" and number five is "Background Investigations" to "lead efforts to strengthen the background investigations program across government." The priorities list does not include any direct references to "security."

And perhaps Mr. Johnson should get right on this.
Healthcare.gov, on the other hand, now collects information on millions of private citizens who apply for ObamaCare coverage at this federal exchange, and operates a data hub that connects a multitude of other government databases.

It, too, appears to suffer from the same indifference to cybersecurity as OPM.

In its rush to get Healthcare.gov launched, the administration ran roughshod over security standards. And while some work has been done since, a Government Accountability Office report last fall warned that "weaknesses remain both in the processes used for managing information security and privacy as well as the technical implementation of IT security controls."

Among the problems cited by the GAO: The federal exchange hasn't "always required or enforced strong password controls, adequately restricted access to the Internet, consistently implemented software patches, and properly configured an administrative network."

Eight months later, the Obama administration still hasn't conducted the risk assessments it recommended, according to Gregory Wilshusen, an information security expert at GAO.

Since liberals like to ask conservatives to apologize for various problems, Dan Bongino lists "7 things the Left should apologize for."

And these are the peace partners that John Kerry and Barack Obama are feverishly working to conclude an agreement with.
Not only was last Friday "Death to Israel Day" in Iran, and a third deadline for Iran nuclear talks that like its predecessors was ignored - ironically it also was the launch date for an Iranian cellphone game that has players in the Islamic state practice raining potentially nuclear-tipped missiles on Israel.

The semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Saturday that the launch of the game - entitled "Missile Strike" - was specifically timed to coincide with "Death to Israel Day," officially known as Quds Day or Jerusalem Day, during which millions of Iranians protested in a call to destroy the Jewish state.

In the game, users launch Iranian missile attacks against the Israeli port city of Haifa, the third largest city in Israel which is home to just under 300,000 people, and which ironically has an extremely large Arab population.

Here is a victory for justice. I'd like to see rulings like this across the land.
A California judge just issued a win to proponents of due process in campus sexual assault hearings.

Judge Joel M. Pressman deemed a University of California-San Diego campus hearing "unfair," ruling that the hearing panel limited the accused student's right to due process.

The accused student, listed as John Doe, had sued the university after being suspended for sexual assault without due process. John claimed that his right to cross-examine his accuser and adverse witnesses was limited, and Pressman agreed.

John was only allowed to submit questions to the hearing panel to be asked of his accuser, named in the lawsuit as Jane Roe. Of the 32 questions submitted by John, only nine were asked, and only after the questions were reviewed by the hearing chair.

"The Court determines that it is unfair to Petitioner that his questions were reviewed by the Panel Chair for her alone to determine whether or not the question would be asked and then answered by the witness," Pressman wrote. "While the Court understands the need to prevent additional trauma to potential victims of sexual abuse, this can be achieved in a less restrictive manner. The limiting of the questions in this case curtailed the right of confrontration [sic] crucial to any definition of a fair hearing."

Pressman noted that seven questions not asked by the panel chair dealt with text messages between John and Jane. The panel chair also paraphrased a question regarding John and Jane's relationship after the alleged sexual assault and allowed Jane to claim that their post-encounter relationship was not relevant. Further, Jane's questions were not given the same prior review as John's.
These kangaroo court hearings on college campuses for allegations of sexual assault sound more and more like something the Queen of Hearts would preside over.

Good for Arby's.

I had just been thinking that our family trip last year to London was shorter and easier than our trip to Albuquerque. And then I read this story.
Climate change protesters, demonstrating against a possible third runway, caused delays Monday at London's Heathrow Airport.

"A group of people is currently staging a protest on the northern runway," Heathrow spokeswoman Rachel Betts said during the demonstration. "We are working closely with the police who are dealing with the incident."

A group calling itself Plane Stupid organized the protest.

Activists chained themselves to gates and displayed banners on the tarmac. One banner said, "No ifs. No buts. No third runway."

In other images posted by protesters, authorities appeared to use bolt cutters to remove the activists from the gates.

"Both runways are open, although there will still be delays and a few cancellations -- we are sorry for the disruption to passengers," Betts said. "Our priority remains to ensure the safe running of the airport."

"El Chapo" Guzman's escape tunnel sounds like something out of The Great Escape, one of my favorite movies.

And yes, there are consequences to raising the minimum wage.