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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cruising the Web

One of the more revealing question in the Democratic debate is when the candidates were asked to talk about the enemies they'd made in their careers. Hillary Clinton listed some groups such as the NRA, health insurance companies, and the Republican Party. Jonah Goldberg ponders what it really says about Hillary and the Democratic Party. Democratic ideologues would agree that Republicans are the enemy.
1. This should properly be considered a Kinsley gaffe in that she accidentally told the truth. For much of the night, she stuck to her focus-grouped talking points, boasting about how she knows how to build consensus and work the system in Washington “to get things done.” And then, in a spontaneous slip, she revealed that she considers Republicans — altogether — not only her enemy, but the enemy she is most proud of. It wouDeals in Sports and Fitness

It would have been nice if Anderson Cooper, Jim Webb or one of the pushovers on stage had seized that point and asked, “How can you talk about building consensus when you’ve just boasted that you consider all Republicans your enemy?” Clinton is much more of a Manichean than she usually lets on. That’s one reason she keeps Sid Blumenthal on retainer as a Wormtongue. He says the things about Republican conspirators she wants to hear and believe.

2. Even though it was gaffe, it won’t get treated as one by the media because it doesn’t sound like one to their ears (for all the obvious reasons). But you can be sure that if Ted Cruz had said that the Democrats are the enemy he is most proud of (instead of, say, the “Washington cartel”), the usual suspects on Morning Joe would be horrified. The concern trolling columns by Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne virtually write themselves.

3. It wasn’t necessarily bad politics — in the primaries. The Democratic base largely shares her Manicheanism when it comes to the Republican party these days. That’s one reason why Sanders wasn’t as foolish as some think for his “gift” on the email scandal. Many Democrats now reflexively take the view that if Republicans or Fox News think something is bad, then it must be an illegitimate issue. Lending even rhetorical aid and comfort to the enemy is counted as “unprogressive” even on issues that progressives should be horrified by. The Clinton Foundation’s incestuous cronyism should horrify the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party. But saying so would be seen as using “rightwing talking points” so they stay mum on the issue. The same people who freaked out over the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity should properly want Clinton indicted for what she did with her email. But if the Republicans think so too, it must not be so.
As Charles C. W. Cooke thinks that this was a mistake.
But the other majority political party in the country? The party for which almost half of voters pull the lever? That’s not smart.

Why not? Well, because it opens you up to an obvious attack. When Clinton said it, I could just hear Marco Rubio saying this in a presidential debate:
Secretary Clinton, you said during the primaries that your biggest enemy was “Republicans.” I think that your comment provides the voters with a perfect example of how we differ. I’m a Republican, and, on some of the issues at least, I have some disagreements with the Democratic party. But it is not my enemy. Those who vote for it aren’t my enemies. They’re my neighbors, my colleagues, my friends, the men and women who teach my children, the people I see every day all around my state. On November 8th of this year, I will be asking all Americans for their votes — Democrats, Republicans, independents, everybody. For far too long now we’ve had a political class that refuses to work together; that draws lines around itself based upon its party affiliation; that forgets why it was sent to serve. I want to end that. I want to lead this country into the future as the president of everybody — even those who aren’t sure about me. If you believe that half of the country is your enemy — if you believe that a majority of the people you’ll have to work with are your enemy — you won’t be able to do that. I will.
Is that largely saccharine nonsense? Probably, yes. But don’t underestimate just how well it connects (see: Obama, Barack).

To watch how quickly debate viewers turn off when candidates start attacking one another is to understand how keenly most voters think of themselves as being above the fray. Sure, the line may have endeared Hillary to the crowd last night. But if she’s going to run as an out and out partisan who regards the other side as a nuisance that needs destroying, she’s opening herself up to profitable attack.

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Jim Webb revealed once again why he didn't belong in today's Democratic Party when he answered about the enemy soldier in Vietnam who threw a grenade and injured him and whom Webb had killed. As David Harsanyi writes, the response among liberals to Webb reveals a lot about where the Democratic Party is today.
Many liberals on social media found this revelation sorta creepy. Yet there was probably a time when liberal voters would have been impressed by someone who had served his country so valiantly. They might have seen promise in a candidate whose populist sensibilities could speak convincingly to the working class and to Southerners, and whose appeal was propelled by both idealism and realism. Webb might have been formidable Democrat presidential candidate 15 years ago. Twenty-five years ago he might have been a star. Today? He’s a man completely out of touch with the philosophical temperament of his party.

Webb may have fought in a war against collectivist authoritarians, but today he’s debating one—a less threatening socialist who regularly lectures thousands of excitable sycophants about the need for more coercion and redistribution. This would have been anathema even for Barack Obama even in 2008. Bernie Sanders is not stigmatized by his ideology. Today there’s almost no genuine philosophical daylight between Sanders’ ideas and the professed positions of front-runner Hillary Clinton. Their disagreement is over what’s achievable. Yet Beltway wisdom tells us only one party has been radicalized in America. Democrats are the adults.

So there was Webb, listening to the former Baltimore mayor lecturing America about how to stop gun violence. There was the former secretary of State, a product of nepotism, big money, and cynical identity politics, who’s flipped on nearly every issue for expediency at some point in her public life, lecturing America about her experience. Lincoln Chafee is not the sort of guy who’s going to be ready on day one. And there was the Democratic Socialist, who plans to spend trillions of dollars on redistributive policies that have created misery and poverty around the world, lecturing us about economics.

“I’ve got a great deal of admiration and affection for Sen. Sanders,” Webb retorted after one of the Vermont senator’s diatribes about toppling the oligarchy. “But, Bernie, I don’t think the revolution’s going to come, and I don’t think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff.”

Maybe that’s where Webb is wrong. The revolutionary candidate (even when you include Joe Biden) is polling at 24 percent.

So while the revolutionary candidate blames the wealthy, Webb refused to engage in ugly pandering. He insisted that all lives matter when asked the loaded “Black lives or all lives” question by a Facebook user. He refuses to offer soundbites that will please anyone on foreign policy. He’s the only candidate to talk about abuses against privacy from the last administration and point out that this president is guilty of abuses of executive power. He was the only candidate on the stage in Las Vegas who did not selectively embrace the Constitution to make a point about some pet political issue.

Webb detests politics just like the rest of us. You can see it in his eyes. He hates campaigning. He doesn’t like raising money. Last night, Webb exhibited contempt for the bunkum that poured from mouths of people who can claim that climate change is the most pressing problem mankind faces. And I have little doubt he would have been similarly unimpressed by most of the platitudinous answers Republicans offered in their debates.

Now, Webb would be far more conservative than the GOP frontrunner, but his moderate positions on tax policy, immigration, and foreign affairs would make him just disagreeable to most conservatives as he is to most liberals. He isn’t exactly right for either party—not because of some triangulation or convenient moderation, but because he’s not an ideologue. He’s also not a coward, as he’s unwilling to say whatever his party demands in the pursuit of power.

In theory, these are all commendable traits. These, in fact, are the sort of things voters are always pretending to look for in a candidate. In reality, this authenticity gets you to around 0.7 percent in the polls. Americans claim not to like the partisanship of Washington. What they mean is they dislike the other guy’s partisanship. What it means for candidates like Jim Webb, serious people who deserve to be heard, is obscurity.
I certainly find myself liking Webb than many on the GOP stage. And Harsanyi is quite right. Webb is the type of candidate whom the public says they want. But they don't really mean it.

Heather Wilhelm contemplates how the Democrats competed to promise all sorts of free things.
And so on Tuesday night, we watched people cheer for free college, perhaps funded by the elusive Gender Studies Phantom who dwells in the basement of the National Endowment for the Arts. We watched candidates call for free college for illegal immigrants, too, because hey, why not? We watched repeated implications that climate change is going to annihilate us all, likely by next year, unless we vote correctly. We saw people gathered in an air-conditioned auditorium in Las Vegas—Las Vegas, that strange and mysterious capitalist beast, a place where a million glitzy desert lights shine, and to which many in the audience had flown into on a gas-guzzling, cocktail-addled, bargain-basement flight—cheer at the thought of giving up fossil fuels.

We also saw Bernie Sanders commit a form of ritual self-sacrifice, shouting that “the American people are sick and tired” of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s emails. For one brief, shining moment, I thought he might follow up with a verbal dagger: “So be gone, scandal-plagued Hillary, you Machiavellian mess, and take your emails with you!”

Alas, Bernie is not a political animal; sadly, that did not happen. Multiple lies, the potential hacking of state secrets, and embarrassing incompetence from a potential commander-in-chief apparently matter not. Bernie moved on, unsurprisingly, to more socialism. The audience—and the press gallery—erupted in cheers.

Here’s what poor Bernie Sanders might not realize: He’s only as popular as he is because Hillary Clinton is a terrifying facsimile of a normal person, and an even worse candidate. Here’s what we, the awed audience to this spectacle, should also digest: The people who attend a Democratic Party debate at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas are not your average American bear. First of all, they must have an extraordinarily high tolerance for pain. Second of all, unless they were paid to be there, they have seriously messed-up priorities. Instead of listening to ideas that would bankrupt the country, they could be down the hall people-watching and playing $5 roulette in exchange for free drinks.

In “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” Tom Wolfe takes readers on a marvelous trip with Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, '60s-era hippies who live outside the boundaries of “normal” American life and roll around on a psychedelic bus. The Pranksters don’t buy into any societal rules; they’re not constrained, or at least they claim, to the narrow narrative life hands them. “Everybody, everybody everywhere, has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad,” Wolfe writes, “only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.”

The script on Tuesday night was clear, at least for Bernie and Hillary: All socialism, all the time. How ironic to see two '60s retreads—people who see themselves as progressive, open-minded, forward-looking, and advanced—so terribly confined by a tired, failed narrative. Let’s hope they’re also sorely mistaken as to what the rest of America’s preferred script might be.

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Donald Trump's approach to foreign policy is quite idiosyncratic. Now he is giving Russia a pass on their missile being used to shoot down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.
Trump was asked on MSNBC Wednesday about a new report from Dutch investigators that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a Russian-made rocket and warhead -- and asked what he would do as president to hold Russia accountable.

"They say it wasn't them," he replied. "It may have been their weapon, but they didn't use it, they didn't fire it, they even said the other side fired it to blame them. I mean to be honest with you, you'll probably never know for sure."

Trump later said the culprit was "probably" Russia and pro-Russian fighters, but he said the U.S. needs to focus on its own problems right now and not "get involved" in overseas conflicts, even one as "horrible" as this.

"I think it is horrible," Trump said of the incident. "But they're saying it wasn't them. The other side says it is them. And we're going to go through that arguing for probably for 50 years and nobody is ever going to know. Probably was Russia."
Putin is probably thinking that Trump would be a good guy to have in the White House after Obama. What a gift for Russia to have presidents that just don't care what they do. A willingness to believe Russian lies is just the sort of naivete on the political stage that has made Obama such a stooge for Putin. Trump is revealing that, despite all his bluster, he would go along with such an approach.

Perhaps this is why Ed Rogers thinks that "Hillary Clinton would eat Donald Trump alive in a debate."

They can both speak in meaningless platitudes. They can both tell a whopper and not blink. But the difference is that Clinton can talk about the issues, and Trump can’t. Having a command of the details suggests credibility, and Trump just isn’t credible. The fact is, Clinton has a pretty good rap about why she would like to be president and how she would handle the issues. Trump isn’t even close to having anything similar.

Clinton actually possesses a rare gift among politicians: She knows what she thinks, and she can recite it by heart. Also, as I have always said, in politics, gall pays off. Clinton’s flip-flops don’t make her blush or bring her down. She isn’t the slightest bit chastened by her own vivid greed. And she doesn’t reconcile her grandiose assertions with political reality. Perhaps Clinton and Trump are a lot alike — but Clinton is just a lot smarter and more balanced.

Last night was a good reminder for Republicans. The GOP thinking about Clinton has gone from fearing she was invincible to being afraid she wouldn’t be the Democratic nominee. Well, Hillary Clinton isn’t invincible, but if she isn’t convicted, she will be formidable in November 2016.
Trump hasn't done all that well in the GOP debates when he's had to share the stage with nine other people. He was shown up in the last debate by Fiorina and Rubio specifically because they could talk on foreign policy beyond the bragging that Trump does about how he'll make such deals that will blow us away.

Josh Kraushaar finds parallels between Ben Carson's campaign and Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign. I hadn't really thought of these similarities before.
It can be pre­sump­tu­ous to com­pare elec­tions, but the polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment of 1976 is about as close to a re­cent par­al­lel as you can find to the one shap­ing today’s volat­ile cam­paign. Four dec­ades ago, in the wake of the Wa­ter­gate scan­dal, voters lost trust in Wash­ing­ton, and viewed those with polit­ic­al ex­per­i­ence skep­tic­ally. The crowded Demo­crat­ic field was filled with sen­at­ors and con­gress­men (Mo Ud­all, Scoop Jack­son, and Birch Bayh among them), none of whom con­nec­ted with the pub­lic. In­fla­tion was drag­ging down the eco­nomy, which had been stag­nant for years. Ter­ror­ism was emer­ging as a pop­u­lar tac­tic in­ter­na­tion­ally. The in­cum­bent party was tain­ted by scan­dal, and Pres­id­ent Ford was dam­aged by as­so­ci­ation after par­don­ing Richard Nix­on—while fa­cing an in­sur­gent chal­lenge from Ron­ald Re­agan. The coun­try was clearly headed down the wrong track, in the minds of voters, and that mani­fes­ted it­self in that year’s elec­tion res­ults.

Enter Carter, who was as un­con­ven­tion­al of a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate as it got back then. He was as much as an out­sider with­in the Demo­crat­ic party then as Car­son is now. He won his lone cam­paign for gov­ernor of Geor­gia in 1970 by court­ing con­ser­vat­ives in a ra­cially-charged cam­paign that at­tacked his Demo­crat­ic op­pon­ent as an urb­an lib­er­al. Carter’s pres­id­en­tial cam­paign showed sur­pris­ing grass­roots strength by fo­cus­ing his ef­forts on the then-in­sig­ni­fic­ant Iowa caucuses, fin­ish­ing ahead of all the oth­er can­did­ates in the race.

He was a quirky pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate: Dur­ing the race, Carter pledged to re­lease every piece of gov­ern­ment in­form­a­tion about UFOs avail­able to sci­ent­ists—after fil­ing a UFO re­port him­self as gov­ernor. He sat down for an in­ter­view with Play­boy, ac­know­ledging that he “com­mit­ted adul­tery in [his] heart many times.” That didn’t stop him from win­ning the pres­id­ency at a time when the pub­lic was em­bra­cing out­siders, scram­bling the elect­or­al map in sur­pris­ing ways for a party that nom­in­ated George McGov­ern four years earli­er. (That year, Carter nearly swept the South and car­ried Mis­sis­sippi, Alabama and Texas—the last Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee to win those deeply con­ser­vat­ive states.)
Kraushaar points out how Carson is doing better than Trump in national match-up polls against Clinton.
What’s fas­cin­at­ing is that many of the same people tak­ing Trump ser­i­ously as a pos­sible pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee have trouble un­der­stand­ing Car­son’s ap­peal. MS­N­BC’s Joe Scar­bor­ough, in an epic Morn­ing Joe rant last week, ac­know­ledged that he had a “blind spot” when it came to Car­son, claim­ing not to un­der­stand his level of sup­port. Lib­er­al Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist Eu­gene Robin­son wrote that the “cra­zi­est” thing about the Re­pub­lic­an field was Car­son’s re­cent mo­mentum.

But Car­son’s polit­ic­al tra­ject­ory is fa­mil­i­ar to any­one who has fol­lowed Re­pub­lic­an con­gres­sion­al primar­ies in re­cent years. Tea-party-ori­ented can­did­ates, tout­ing their dis­tance from Wash­ing­ton, moun­ted ser­i­ous threats to some of the most en­trenched sen­at­ors in of­fice. Just last year, Sen. Lamar Al­ex­an­der won just 49 per­cent of the vote in Ten­ness­ee against a state le­gis­lat­or who hardly got any at­ten­tion for his cam­paign. It took Demo­crat­ic voters in Mis­sis­sippi for Sen. Thad Co­chran to nar­rowly pre­vail in a nasty run­off against an op­pon­ent with a his­tory of ra­cist re­marks. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kan­sas couldn’t even win a ma­jor­ity of the Re­pub­lic­an vote against a phys­i­cian who pos­ted macabre im­ages of gun­shot fatal­it­ies to his Face­book. By com­par­is­on, Car­son’s re­sume is Her­culean com­pared to the roster of not-ready-for-prime-time out­siders who threatened es­tab­lish­ment icons.

Do I think Car­son will be the next Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee? No. Even Carter served one term as gov­ernor, and as a state sen­at­or be­fore that. To put it mildly, Carter was more flu­ent speak­ing about pub­lic policy than Car­son (even if Car­son’s over­all pro­fes­sion­al re­sume is more im­press­ive). Car­son’s re­cord will get fur­ther scru­tiny if he con­tin­ues to lead in the polls.

But he’s much bet­ter po­si­tioned to win caucuses and primar­ies than Trump—and carry the out­sider mantle for the con­ser­vat­ives down the stretch. Car­son is rais­ing money from thou­sands of small donors, while Trump isn’t do­ing any fun­drais­ing for his cam­paign. Polls show that Trump’s base of sup­port is from dis­af­fected sec­u­lar voters, while Car­son’s base of sup­port is from evan­gel­ic­als, who are much more likely to show up to vote at the Iowa caucuses. If Pat Robertson could fin­ish second in the 1988 Iowa caucuses, surely Car­son has a shot at win­ning in such a crowded field.

In 1976, a humble out­sider came out of nowhere to win his party’s nom­in­a­tion and shake up the polit­ic­al map. That was only pos­sible be­cause of the de­gree and in­tens­ity of voter an­ger at Wash­ing­ton and its polit­ic­al es­tab­lish­ment. With a stag­nant eco­nomy, rising chaos abroad, an up­tick in vi­ol­ent crime, and con­tinu­ous grid­lock on Cap­it­ol Hill, the pub­lic mood is not all that dif­fer­ent from four dec­ades ago. Among Re­pub­lic­ans, the an­ger at the party’s es­tab­lish­ment has hit a fever pitch. All that is con­trib­ut­ing to an en­vir­on­ment where an ac­com­plished neurosur­geon with no polit­ic­al ex­per­i­ence and lim­ited know­ledge of pub­lic policy can have a shot at the highest of­fice in the land.

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Ian Tuttle refutes the claim that environmentalists constantly make that 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real and man-made. The studies that first this statistic were quite flawed. Other studies that didn't arbitrarily limit the sample studied found quite different results.
A 2012 poll of American Meteorological Society members also reported a diversity of opinion. Of the 1,862 members who responded (a quarter of the organization), 59 percent stated that human activity was the primary cause of global warming, and 11 percent attributed the phenomenon to human activity and natural causes in about equal measure, while just under a quarter (23 percent) said enough is not yet known to make any determination. Seventy-six percent said that warming over the next century would be “very” or “somewhat” harmful, but of those, only 22 percent thought that “all” or a “large” amount of the harm could be prevented “through mitigation and adaptation measures.”

And according to a study of 1,868 scientists working in climate-related fields, conducted just this year by the PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency, three in ten respondents said that less than half of global warming since 1951 could be attributed to human activity, or that they did not know.

Given the politics of modern academia and the scientific community, it’s not unlikely that most scientists involved in climate-related studies believe in anthropogenic global warming, and likely believe, too, that it presents a problem. However, there is no consensus approaching 97 percent. A vigorous, vocal minority exists. The science is far from settled.
It demonstrates a lack of scientific seriousness to tinker with the data and refuse to consider contrary claims. I just finished covering the Scientific Revolution in my AP European History class. Francis Bacon would have been appalled.

A Manhattan Institute report explains why President Obama's main focus on a global climate change agreement won't happen.
It finds that any lasting agreement is impossible because developing countries are not willing to agree to anything that would undermine their economic growth, making strict emission cuts a political non-starter.

The goal of the negotiations cannot be achieved, the study says. One outcome, based on "collective action," foresees all parties pledging "to take costly action" to reduce emissions. The report says that is not likely, which leads to the second option for reaching an agreement: "compensation."

Compensation essentially means paying off developing nations "to secure their agreement to the necessary action" to reduce emissions and the effects of climate change. That has been a main sticking point in reaching an agreement on the road to Paris, where a $10 billion-a-year fund to help developing nations cope with climate change could bring the deal to a screeching halt, say several U.N. officials....

Compensation is a nonstarter, the report says, because no amount of money being transferred from the developed world to developing nations will likely be enough.

"Fundamental economic and political challenges suggest that there is no plausible path to an agreement premised on collective action or compensation: developing nations that must bear the brunt of emissions reductions in any successful scenario cannot achieve those reductions while pursuing rapid economic growth," the study says.

It adds that "developed nations cannot sufficiently compensate developing ones for foregoing such growth." It says the "evidence from recent negotiations, as well as preparations for the next round of talks, reinforces this conclusion."

The third option, "coercion," has not been given enough thought, the report finds. Coercion entails the developing countries taking punitive steps against developing countries if they do not take actions to reduce their emissions. The report says such a deal would be comparable to the nuclear deal with Iran. Such a deal would have to include an elaborate array of threatened sanctions as a means of complying.

"This tactic also secures surrenders at the end of wars. Proponents of the recent Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran's nuclear program argue that economic sanctions helped produce Iran's concessions," the report reads.

A similar situation arose in the 1980s when developed nations took steps against apartheid in South Africa by instituting sanctions until the country's policy of racial segregation was changed, according to the report.

"No group of nations appears prepared to employ the [coercion] approach and risk subsequent conflict," even though the report says the coercion approach is the only one that has a chance of working.

George Will writes about how the problems facing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today are a result of 84 years of Democratic rule.
During the past 84 years, the growth of the public sector has been mostly driven by the alliance between elected politicians and public-sector unions. This has made Chicago emblematic of the coast-to-coast crisis of what Walter Russell Mead has labeled the “blue model” of municipal and state governance.

It is not Emanuel’s fault that Chicago’s three largest employers, after the federal government, are the public school system, the city government and Cook County’s government. Although Emanuel is a product of the Chicago politics that made Barack Obama, the crisis brought on by such politics now requires Emanuel to take many measures to make Chicago an exception to the nation’s economic lethargy under Obama.
Emanuel would like to bring more charter schools to Chicago, but the teachers unions won't have it. There is no money in the budget because of all that has been promised in their state pension payouts to public employees.
Emanuel and the city’s school system, the nation’s third-largest, want aid from the state. This is, as the Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore says, like Puerto Rico begging from Greece. Although state pension payments have grown from $60 million to more than $650 million since 2006, Illinois still ranks 50th among states in percentage of funded pension obligations (47.1). After 13 downgrades in six years, Illinois, which is not paying many of its vendors or even winners of the state lottery, is 50th among the states in credit rating.

After Illinois’s Supreme Court strictly construed the state constitution’s provision that public pensions “shall not be diminished or impaired,” Moody’s downgraded the city, raising the cost of borrowing. Because diminishment is not possible, some increased revenue is not optional.

The vast swath of Chicago known as the “bungalow belt” reflects the city’s tradition of homeownership. However, more than 20 percent of Chicago homeowners owe more than their houses are worth. In the Great Recession, Illinois had the nation’s third-highest foreclosure rate. Nevertheless, pensions will now be funded in part by a huge property-tax increase. The levy, of more than half a billion dollars, will be made progressive by exempting property below the median ($250,000) value. And approximately 25 percent of the tax will be paid from the thriving downtown business district. Although Cook County has until recently been losing more affluent residents than it has been attracting, Emanuel is working to reverse this wealth subtraction.

The world is indeed wonderfully out of joint when Emanuel, the embodiment of pugnacious progressivism, is proud, and properly so, of the booming market for downtown residences. This is evidence of increasing numbers of affluent people, including many young workers, who are weary of ever-longer commutes on ever-more-congested freeways. Traditionally, the only things true-blue progressives dislike more than suburbs are suburbanites who, not knowing their place, become gentrifying urbanites. But the price of government workers’ pensions must be paid.

Although Emanuel may not know this, he is trying to reverse what has been called (in a 2002 essay by Harvard economists Edward Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer) “the Curley effect.” James Michael Curley was Boston’s four-term mayor intermittently from 1914 to 1950, and apart from his five months in prison. He built his power base by taxation and redistribution policies that drove away the affluent, making the city’s low-income population a larger percentage of the electorate and increasingly dependent on government.

In Chicago, the crisis of the blue model is being addressed by policies designed to produce an influx of corporate headquarters (36 in the past four years) and suburbanites. For the fun of irritating his fellow progressives, let’s call this the Emanuel effect.

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R. Emmett Tyrrell who has followed the Clintons for a very long time, the mendacity of Hillary Clinton comes as no surprise.
For those of us with unflagging memories and abundant experience, it goes back decades. I would date the first official charges of Hillary’s crookedness and reckless disregard for the law to Watergate in 1974 when she improbably served on the Watergate impeachment staff. Her boss then was the general counsel and chief of staff for the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Zeifman, a Democrat. In a personal evaluation of Hillary’s performance he wrote, “I decided that I could not recommend her for any future position of public or private trust.” Why? Mr. Zeifman had learned that in this historic undertaking “she had lied” to him and to others repeatedly. Had Americans been attentive then, or at least had Democrats been attentive, America might have been spared Hillary’s decades-long cavalcade of mendacity and intrigue.

Looking back on her bouts with Republicans, the media and what are generally referred to as the authorities, not much has changed. To some of us Clinton-watchers her scrapes with the law have been endlessly amusing but, in truth, we have seen it all before. I suppose her negligence about security at Benghazi is new, but before 2009 she had never been responsible for security anywhere. Had she been responsible for the lives of ambassadors and others earlier we would doubtless have been witnesses to the cover-up, the stonewalling, and such melodrama as her congressional lament, “What does it matter?” Aside from her career at State, there is nothing new on her record.

Back in Little Rock in the late 1970s and 1980s, she and Bill were always entoiled with shady fundraising schemes concluded just before Bill’s elections, to say nothing of such scams as her cattle future transactions and Whitewater (for which Bill boasts today that no one was convicted. I count 15 convictions). In fact, back in 1993 The New York Times reported in exhaustive detail about the Clintons’ many dubious loans, often from rural Arkansas banks. Then the Times seemed to suffer amnesia when the Clintons engaged in such fundraising in Washington with foreign donors, disreputable tycoons and sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom. Now, of course, we see that Secretary of State Clinton waived or ignored department restrictions on foreigners and foreign governments that contributed to the Clinton Foundation and to Bill’s speaking engagements. Again, there is nothing new here. It all began in Arkansas at some hayseed bank.

One can trace Hillary’s missing email caper back at least to her White House days when she or her aides secreted Vince Foster’s documents and the Rose Law Firm billing records for nearly two years from government subpoenas. They finally popped up in the White House family quarters, but by then, investigators had moved on to more pressing business. Back in the 1990s, The American Spectator even had an employee of the Rose Law Firm on the record as destroying documents at the firm at night lest they fall into the hands of Ken Starr, but again, the nation’s attention span wavered.

Even using the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Library as a kind of halfway house for the Clintons’ cronies has its precursor. Back in the White House, the Clintons fired the professional staff in the White House travel office in favor of a cousin of Bill’s and various other Arkansas cronies. In fact, there was talk when the Clintons moved in of bringing their trusted Arkansas troopers with them to replace the Secret Service.

I could go on, but you get my drift. There is a long record of blatant corruption up to the very present, and though the American taxpayer might not remember, other markedly unsavory figures have taken note. When Hillary arrived at State greedy fellows in, for instance, Moscow, Kazakhstan and Nigeria made their plans. They saw Bill traveling the world with his hand out and the Clinton Foundation open for business. Peter Schweizer in his latest book, “Clinton Cash,” has recorded how they got the business. Now the question is after all these years, will the American elector

Here's a small example of how she lies. She claimed in the debate that she hadn't known the details of TPP when she was endorsing it as the "gold standard." That was just aspirational.
"I did say when I was secretary of state three years ago that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week and in looking at it did not meet my standards.”

Wednesday at the White House press briefing, when asked if it was possible she actually looked at the agreement because it had not yet been released, press secretary Josh Earnest said, “Yeah I noticed that too,” adding because “the details matter” they “look forward to, as soon as possible, being able to put forward the text of the agreement so that everybody can review it and make their own judgment.”
Her announcement was totally political. She knows it. We know it. Anyone who has followed this at all knows it. But she stands up there and blatantly lied and we're all supposed to treat what she said as the truth.

Bernie Sanders might have expressed what Democrats all believe that they're sick and tired of hearing about her emails. Democrats might see it all as a partisan obsession among Republicans. Clinton might wish that everyone would stop talking about it. But when the FBI is investigating this, it is clear that there is something there beyond partisan attacks. And it won't go away.

As Ron Fournier writes, Hillary Clinton's dishonest performance won't always be enough.
Pro­fes­sion­al Demo­crats and the party’s strongest voters are cer­tainly tired of hear­ing about the email scan­dal, but it’s not go­ing to go away—not with the FBI in­vest­ig­at­ing wheth­er con­fid­en­tial in­form­a­tion was mis­handled un­der Clin­ton’s sys­tem and not with in­de­pend­ent voters los­ing faith in Clin­ton’s word.

Char­ac­ter and judg­ment are gate­way polit­ic­al is­sues. An un­trust­worthy can­did­ate might check all your policy boxes, might tickle your ideo­lo­gic­al but­tons, and might even grind away long enough to get your vote—but you’re not go­ing to like it.

That is Clin­ton’s prob­lem. Like it was in 2008, her char­ac­ter is the is­sue that threatens to con­sume all oth­ers.
The email scan­dal re­calls ques­tions about Clin­ton’s in­teg­rity that go back to the Rose Law Firm/White­wa­ter and the White House Travel Of­fice. Flip-flop­ping on the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship and the Key­stone XL pipeline add weight to the ar­gu­ment made by Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans alike that Clin­ton is a mal­le­able op­por­tun­ist.

Debra Saunders writes about how far the Democrats have moved since 2008.
In the 2008 primary, Democrats disagreed about whether undocumented immigrants should be able to obtain driver's licenses. Obama supported the notion. Then-Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut did not; a driver's license, he said, is not a right but "a privilege." At one point, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York said she supported a proposal to issue licenses to New York's undocumented, but she later withdrew her support. Her campaign sent out a statement that read, "As president, I will not support driver's licenses for undocumented people."

During a one-on-one debate with Obama, Clinton asserted that illegal immigration drives down wages and creates job losses. "And I think we should be honest about that," she said. There was little such honesty at this week's Democratic debate.

There was a sliver of that old thinking. At one point Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont likened a 2007 comprehensive immigration bill's guest-worker provision to "semi-slavery." Then he quickly rejoined the pack in supporting a path to citizenship. He's not going to fight that old immigration war.

Ditto Clinton, whose position has evolved again; she now supports states issuing driver's licenses to undocumented residents. Clinton also is big on states' right to award undocumented college students subsidized in-state tuition. Likewise, she supports states offering Obamacare subsidies to undocumented immigrants.

Eight years ago, there was no Obamacare. If a Democrat wins the White House next year, expect the next president to eliminate the Affordable Care Act's exclusion of immigrants who are here illegally. When a party controls the White House, that party controls the debate. For the left, Congress' refusal to pass a big immigration bill is irrelevant.

Near the end of the debate, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia said he has a great deal of admiration for Sanders -- a self-described progressive, socialist and democratic socialist -- but also said: "Bernie, I don't think the revolution's going to come. And I don't think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff." Wrong. The revolution has come. And Congress won't pay for it. Taxpayers will.

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2 comments:

ronk said...

in short Hilliary is a pathological liar

Roy Lofquist said...

For the life of me I cannot conceive of a reason that the billing records had not been destroyed long before they were found.