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Monday, November 02, 2015

Cruising the Web

Timothy Carney explains how liberal journalists have put themselves into such an ideological bubble so they don't even recognize their own biases.
Reporters at the major outlets are almost entirely liberal on cultural issues. See the coverage of the gay marriage ruling, where the Supreme Court stretched the language of the Constitution to find that states couldn't limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The country seems to be split evenly on gay marriage, but the major media are nearly unanimous. I don't think this is really a matter of debate. In 2013, the Washington Post's ombudsman basically admitted as much, with even more revealing comments by anonymous Post reporters placing Christian teaching on marriage on the same level as racism.

You see it with abortion, too, where journalists always ask difficult abortion questions of pro-life politicians, and nearly never ask difficult abortion questions of pro-choice politicians.

But it's also true on questions of regulation, government spending and taxation. (I should add the media also has a very strong bias, which is neither liberal nor conservative, towards deficit reduction, which most journalists don't realize is a bias.) I could give a thousand examples, but one good one was from the New York Times reporter, Jonathan Weisman, who spent the most time on the Export-Import Bank at the time, making it clear he was totally unaware about conservatives' and libertarians' economic arguments against export subsidies, while he was well versed in the talking points of industry and the liberals.

I won't belabor the point that the press is biased to the Left, because it seems totally obvious and not really up for debate.

I think the bias stems not from a conspiracy or a desire to tilt the playing field, but from a cloistering effect, and a subsequent unfamiliarity with conservative arguments
Carney points out how few of the questions asked in the debate last week were asked from a conservative perspective even though it was a debate among Republicans for Republican voters.
They could have asked Kasich: "Why did you increase Medicaid under Obamacare in Ohio?" They could have asked Trump, "How can eminent domain for corporate gain be squared with free-enterprise views?" They could have asked Rubio about sugar subsidies, or Cruz if his "defund Obamacare" fight did any good, or Jeb Bush about his support for more immigration. They could have asked Christie about his liberal court appointments.

They instead asked for price controls and regulations, they asked about the social compact in entitlement spendings, they asked why not to support budget-busting deals. Most questions were either non-ideological, and many were from a liberal perspective. When they asked about marijuana legalization it wasn't from an anti-drug perspective or a libertarian perspective, but a "more government revenue" perspective....

And here was a very telling moment: When Carlos Quintanilla tried to ask a question from a conservative perspective, it was embarrassingly clumsy. Quintanilla pointed out that Carson served on the board of Costco which offered benefits to the same-sex partners of gay employees, and then asked "Why would you serve on a company whose policies seem to run counter to your views on homosexuality?"

He just assumed that someone who personally holds to a Christian idea of marriage and opposed the Supreme Court forcing gay marriage on states would distance himself from any business that chooses to acknowledge same-sex couples.

Conservatives are a foreign species to reporters. Some of the reporters treat conservatives with hostility, but usually, they end up just not getting us. As a result, we have a debate where most of the questions range from silly to irrelevant.
That is why it is an attractive idea to have conservative journalists, radio hosts, or pundits to be the ones to ask the questions in a debate. We would hear a very different sort of question and approach to policy. It would be quite refreshing. And the viewers would learn something about conservatives.

The Bush campaign seems poised to make some sort of attack on Marco Rubio. John McCormack looks at what it could be and finds their behavior quite cowardly. Remember that Bush was touting Rubio as a vice presidential pick back in 2012. It's going to be rather difficult to suddenly decided that, now they're running against each other, Rubio is unqualified. There is a Bush powerpoint that has gotten leaked to the media that establishes what Bush could use to attack Rubio. As US News wrote about the powerpoint,
The most cryptic slight is left for last: "Those who have looked into Marco's background in the past have been concerned with what they have found."
A Bush aide says that line refers to concerns Mitt Romney's team unearthed when they vetted Rubio for vice president in 2012.
However, Romney's adviser, Beth Myers, who is supporting Bush, denies that the Romney team had found anything disqualifying about Rubio.
“As the senior Romney advisor who handled VP vetting and had access to all the vetting documents, I can say that Senator Rubio 'passed' our vetting and we found nothing that disqualified him from serving as VP," wrote Myers, who counts herself a Bush supporter. “The Bush aide referred to in this article is simply wrong.”
McCormack writes,
So what does that cryptic line in the Bush campaign document mean? It's not at all clear. But it doesn't appear to refer to Rubio's use of the Florida GOP's credit card to repair his minivan. Nor does it appear to be a reference to Rubio's relationship with Congressman David Rivera or his backer Norman Braman. All of these legitimate but already well-known issues were mentioned under separate bullet points earlier in the Bush campaign document. (In 2012, Steve Hayes took a thorough look at Rubio's relationship with Rivera, and the New York Times published its investigation of Rubio's relationship with Braman earlier this year. The Times revealed that Rubio, as state legislator, secured taxpayer funding "for cancer research at a Miami institute for which Mr. Braman is a major donor.")

Bush aides have not responded to requests to explain their vague attack on Rubio, so we are left wondering what it is supposed to mean. But we do know that during Rubio's 2010 Senate campaign he was vetted by Democrats and by those working for Charlie Crist, the sitting governor of Florida who fled the Republican party to run for Senate as an independent once it became clear Rubio would win the primary election. If there's some devastating information about Rubio's past, it was missed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Charlie Crist campaign, and Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.

As it stands, Jeb Bush and his campaign look quite cowardly for launching a cryptic attack about Rubio's past and then refusing to explain their allegations.
Of course, Jeb is forced to answer for his campaign's memo hinting on how they are going to go after Rubio by denying that he ever saw the memo.

David Graham explains in The Atlantic why attacks about Marco Rubio's past financial woes probably won't make that big a difference to voters.
Questions about finances do seem to strike closer to character and how a candidate might run an administration than, for example, whether or not he’s showing up for largely inconsequential Senate votes. They can reveal either sloppiness or duplicity—traits that many voters feel matter for a president.

But none of this seems to have slowed Rubio’s rise yet. There are a few possible reasons for that. One is that even for a politician with national attention like Rubio, the media vetting for a leading presidential contender is on another level. But so far, stories like a New York Times consideration of his boat have bounced off him harmlessly. A second is that Quick approached the question as many journalists have—asking Rubio whether it was a political liability, a question he’s prepared to shut down, rather than drilling into whether he made any serious mistakes with the money.

But a third is that maybe people just don’t care. Voters haven’t hesitated to elect presidents with financial irregularities in their past before. Rubio is basically following Richard Nixon’s playbook from his famous 1960 “Checkers speech," in which he dispensed with accusations of financial improprieties by appealing to voters as a man of little means: “We lived rather modestly. For four years we lived in an apartment in Parkfairfax, in Alexandria, Virginia. The rent was $80 a month. And we saved for the time that we could buy a house …. This will surprise you, because it is so little, I suppose, as standards generally go, of people in public life.”

Nor did financial irregularities block Bill Clinton’s path to the White House. He and his wife, Hillary Clinton, whom Rubio would be likely to face if he wins the Republican nomination, faced questions about their financial past as well. There were issues about unpaid taxes on a car, returns on commodity investments, and most famously their investment in Whitewater, a failed real-estate development. Despite these various questions, Clinton was elected and re-elected as president. (That isn’t to say they were harmless: After years of investigation and millions in expenses, inquiries into Whitewater failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing—but the investigation ultimately spiraled into Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.)

Nixon and the Clintons were able to convince voters that these irregularities were the result not of dishonesty or intentional wrongdoing, but of honest mistakes by people who didn’t come from money. The president’s job isn’t to be accountant-in-chief, and the most business-astute presidents have tended to be mediocre at best in the White House, while failed haberdasher Harry Truman is well regarded. That means questions about Rubio’s finances are perhaps most useful as a litmus test about his probity. Since voters seem to generally find Rubio trustworthy, that’s a battle he’s in a good position to win in the absence of clear evidence of wrongdoing.

Greg Sargent puts his own liberal twist on why Marco Rubio could be so dangerous for Democrats to run against. But he makes a good point about how Rubio has stolen Bush's playbook for how to run in the primaries to win the general election.
But it’s worth drilling down on one key reason why Rubio is so effective and dangerous — to his GOP opponents, and potentially in a general election as well. It’s this: Rubio knows how to feed the angry preoccupations of many GOP base voters while simultaneously coming across as hopeful and optimistic....

But Rubio is subtly upstaging Bush in another way, as well. Bush’s theory of the 2016 race has been that the way to win the White House is to restore hopefulness and optimism to the conservative vision and thus broaden its appeal. This (Bush believes) requires a break with the sort of politicking that is designed to feed the anger and despair of the GOP’s shrinking core voter groups over demographic change, Obama’s transformation of the country into something no longer recognizably American, and so forth. This is what Bush meant when he said the GOP nominee must be prepared to “lose the primary to win the general.” And last night, Bush again gamely made this point, arguing that Americans crave a “hopeful future,” adding: “They don’t believe in building walls and a pessimistic view of the future.”

A lot of conservative primary voters may well hear such talk and conclude Jeb Bush is talking down to them — that he mostly has contempt for their preoccupations and fears. But Rubio has shown an ability to speak directly to those preoccupations and fears while simultaneously sounding the sort of hopeful, optimistic, forward-looking tone that fits comfortably with Jeb’s theory about the need to broaden the party’s demographic appeal.
Of course, Sargent derides the things that Rubio said that appealed to the conservative base like calling the media the "ultimate Super PAC" for Democrats and listing how Hillary lied at the Benghazi hearing. But he's right that Rubio doesn't come across as angry as some of the other Republican candidates do. Anger is not appealing even though some voters like to hear a candidate express their anger. Perhaps that is part of Trump's appeal. But, in the end, I think the more optimistic sounding candidates like Carson and Rubio will hold more appeal for voters.

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Harry Enten explains why Jeb Bush is doing so poorly. The more people have seen of him, the less they've liked him.
Bush’s net favorability has dropped 28 percentage points since mid-June, while the average candidate’s net favorability declined by just 5 percentage points.

Bush’s falling favorability is, of course, a very bad sign for his candidacy. It suggests that Bush’s fall in the horse-race polls isn’t merely due to other candidates doing better. Instead, Bush seems to be doing worse. Put another way, the more Republican voters get to know Bush, the less they seem to like him. Attacking other candidates, such as when Bush went after Marco Rubio on Wednesday night, is unlikely to solve Bush’s problem.

Right now, Bush’s net favorability, per YouGov, is better than just two other candidates who appeared in the main-stage debate: Chris Christie and Rand Paul. It’s worse than Trump’s, whose net favorability is far below what we’d expect of a future nominee based on his high name recognition.

George Condon reminds us that there was a time when Democrats were horrified at the idea of a president having an "enemies' list." Now their probably presidential nominee brags about it during a debate. And no one seems to care except Republicans and Joe Biden.
Re­pub­lic­an poll­ster Frank Luntz was not at all sur­prised that the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates were quick to list their en­emies, though he ex­pec­ted Clin­ton to be sav­vi­er in her re­sponse. “A good politi­cian would have re­jec­ted the ques­tion and re­fused to an­swer. They would have said the only en­emies we have are out­side our coun­try, that there are none here.”

But the an­swer she gave is sim­il­ar to what he hears all the time now in the fo­cus groups he con­venes around the coun­try. What he hears goes a long way to­ward ex­plain­ing why talk of en­emies in 2015 doesn’t have the im­pact of an en­emies list in 1973. “We are an an­gri­er so­ci­ety today. We are less trust­ing, more cyn­ic­al, and more will­ing to be­lieve that oth­ers are evil,” he said. “It’s a real prob­lem. It’s what I hate most about polit­ics. And it’s get­ting worse.”
And don't expect whoever wins in 2016 to bring us together. Politicians keep promising to do so and keep failing. Barack Obama promised to be the president of everyone and denied that there is a liberal and conservative America. But he certainly hasn't governed as if he wanted to bind up those of disparate ideologies. From the beginning he refused to negotiate with the Republicans on the stimulus, proclaiming arrogantly, "I won." I'm sure he would have echoed Hillary's claim that she's proud of having Republicans as enemies. But I somehow can't imagine either Bush president making that boast.

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Micah Morrison of Judicial Watch writes at the New York Post to explain why it should matter to the media and voters that Hillary Clinton had this back-door relationship with hatchet-man Sidney Blumenthal.  Remember that he was also getting paid by the Clinton Foundation and Media Matters plus by dubious outside groups with a financial interest in decisions made by Hillary at the State Department.
Blumenthal’s unusual work arrangement was a triple play fraught with potential conflicts of interest: He simultaneously advised the secretary of state and possible future president; promoted the interests of her husband as the former president scoured the globe seeking millions of dollars in speech fees and donations to the Clinton Foundation; and provided advice to an organization devoted to destroying their enemies.

Blumenthal cast a wide net as a de facto Clinton ambassador, promoting dubious business deals and political schemes.
There are at least three examples from the emails of his giving advice that would benefit US defense contractor Osprey which had hired him. And there are other examples from other groups that were looking to make money from contracts being given out by the government. They used Blumenthal as their go-between to reach the Secretary of State. So while the media chase after Marco Rubio's minor financial problems, they are ignoring the huge donkey in the room - what the Clintons have done to enrich themselves and their followers just since Hillary became Secretary of State. That's not even rehearsing all the sleaze that they were involved in when Bill was in office.

I'm with Philip Klein on his proposal that it's time to limit number of candidates in the GOP debate. His proposal is to limit participation to those polling in the RCP average at 5% or more.
For instance, if the networks were to place the cut off for qualification in the main debate at 5 percent support, that would leave six candidates (if looking at an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics): Carson, Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina. The ultimate nominee is likely to come from this group, and if these were the only six candidates, there would be more room to get into actual substance and issues that are going to decide the nomination.

Meanwhile, there would be more reason to watch the earlier debate. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul and Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich would join the other lower-tiered candidates.

The candidates booted from the main stage may bark, but there are a number of reasons why they can't legitimately complain. They have already had the opportunity to appear in three debates and have had months to campaign and boost their poll numbers.
Six people is not too few. And it would give them all a chance for lengthier and perhaps more substantive answers.

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Caroline Glick notes that AIPAC has declined to punish Democratic politicians who voted for the Iran deal. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware who prided himself on being a friend of Israel hasn't had to lose AIPAC support despite his vote for the deal.
It was argued at the time that Coons and his ostensibly pro-Israel colleagues like New Jersey senator Cory Booker, could afford to lose AIPAC. The anti-Israel financial backers emblematically represented by financier George Soros and his brainchild J Street, who have become the strongest forces in Obama's Democratic Party, would pick up the slack.

As it works out, Soros won't be needing to ante up. According to a report by Bloomberg reporter Eli Lake, AIPAC has decided to let bygones be bygones.

According to Lake's report, earlier this month AIPAC featured Coons at a luncheon in New York for its members from the real estate industry. As Lake explained, although the event was not a fundraiser, "Luncheons like those Coons attended…are one of the perks for pro-Israel lawmakers. The AIPAC members who attend these affairs have deep pockets and often contribute to both parties."

Sean Coit, a Coons spokesman told Lake, "I think even those who disagree with his decision on the nuclear agreement recognize that he remains a strong friend of Israel and the pro-Israel community."

Well, he's a strong friend of Israel if you consider someone to be a friend of Israel who supports a deal that his pro-Israel friends consider to be an existential threat to Israel.

In other words, he's a friend of Israel if being pro-Israel means being anti-Israel.

Democrats in general are overjoyed with AIPAC's decision to host a politician who openly admits he sold Israel down the river.
If the lobby set up to lobby for Israel can't be bothered to follow through against politicians who vote against Israel, then why should they vote to protect Israel? So much for the much-derided "Jewish lobby."

Tim Marshall has an interesting essay explaining Putin's aggressive moves through geography and Russia's historic fears of invasion added to their desire for a warm-water port. Since I wrote a paper on the effect of geography on Russian history back in college, this is a subject near and dear to my intellectual heart. Of course, Marshall does a much more deeply researched and better researched job than I did as an undergraduate, but I've always been fascinated on the effects of geography on a nation's history.

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Just as Lee Atwater advised, the Republicans have become the big-tent party compared ot the Democrats.
The Republican Party, after all, has a real debate going on about what is the best way forward for America. Now that Jim Webb has dropped out of the Democratic primary after getting ignored and disrespected at the debate, the Democratic candidates now have no major disagreements with each other on any key issue. It is now just a race to the Left to see who can express the most radical version of the same left-wing positions. The Republican Party is the real “big-tent party.”
Not that the media noticed much, but there were real differences among the candidates on their policy prescriptions.
It was a little astonishing to see Trump say at the Republican debate that socialized healthcare works great and then hold the lead afterwards. Then again, the GOP did nominate the man behind Massachusetts-style socialized healthcare the cycle before. It just goes to show how a wide range of positions are welcome in the Republican Party’s assorted ideological and interest groups.

On the debate stage, there have been spirited discussions and arguments about taxes, Social Security, immigration, drug policy, criminal justice, and a wide range of issues. At the CNN debate, they went at it for close to ten minutes in a heavy debate about drug legalization. Paul made the strongest case anyone in either party has made for decriminalization, Jeb Bush admitted to his past marijuana use, and Carly Fiorina raised the personal costs drug addiction has had on families like hers who had to bury a child.

The pot debate eventually transformed into a debate about criminal justice. Here, too, the Republican Party exhibits a diverse scope of opinion. Even Christie, who promised to enforce federal drug laws in Colorado, has taken up criminal justice reform on the stump, bragging about setting up “drug courts” in New Jersey for some non-violent drug offenders. Fiorina expressed support for criminal justice reform in the debate, and Paul has made it a big issue. Lindsey Graham cosponsored the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, which would cut the length of mandatory minimums. Kasich was out in front of the pack, having signed a sentencing reform bill in Ohio in 2011, but it only applied to non-violent offenses.
They have different positions on taxes and entitlements also. Mitchell Blatt continues his argument that the Democrats, after Webb's departure are working hard, at least Hillary is, to make it seem that they have no differences in policy.
When Webb dropped out, the Daily Kos’s Markos Moulitsas wrote that he was “at odds with Democrats on climate change and affirmative action and women’s rights and gay rights and guns and abortion and fossil fuels and MORE.” But he supports abortion rights and voted against bills to defund Planned Parenthood and to ban minors from crossing state lines for an abortion. How radical must the Democratic Party be for Webb to be “at odds” with them on abortion?

He also expressed support for the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, although in October 2014 he said it should be decided at the state level.

On energy, it is more clear-cut that Webb is at odds with the party. Specifically, he supports Americans having access to affordable and plentiful energy. Such a common-sense position isn’t accepted with the Democratic base.

Webb said “we have to respect the tradition” of people using guns for self-defense, while Bernie Sanders bragged about his “D-” rating from the National Rifle Association, and Clinton said even that wasn’t liberal enough. The Democrats didn’t even want to hear that all lives matter.

The radical positions on show in the Democratic primary exclude most of the country. They even exclude a decorated Marine veteran who served as secretary of the Navy and who agrees with the party most of the time, just because he’s a little too moderate on a few of the issues. No wonder individual Democrats are having a hard time differentiating themselves from a socialist.

The Republican Party may have three rings with a clown out in front right now, but at least they’ve got a big-enough tent to fit it all.

The Washington Post fact-checker really has to do some flips and turns to try to demonstrate that Hillary Clinton hadn't indeed, as Rubio said at the debate, lied to the families and American people blaming Benghazi on a video. But that is what the MSM will do to protect their candidate.
Kessler is right in noting there were a lot of contradictory things being said in the first 10 days or so after the attack, but he doesn't make any effort to assess how political motivations played a role in this. If you read the House Intelligence Committee's report, you know that the public accounts of what happened in Benghazi from the CIA and broader intelligence community appear far from reliable. With an election two months away, it would clearly redound to the administration's benefit to stick to talking points denying an al Qaeda terror attack had killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, or at the very least muddy the waters thoroughly before a media narrative can gel. And it continues to benefit Hillary Clinton that Kessler elides over a lot of information to ignore the political motivations. Finally, is no one troubled by the fact that not only was it erroneous to blame the attack on the video, but there were awfully chilling First Amendment implications involved in this explanation and carrying out a threat to arrest filmmaker?
Reading between the lines of his fact check, Kessler does appear to be hedging his bets a bit. And in general, Kessler is right that you should be careful when you call someone a liar. But this is a classic example of why media fact checking worsens political debates, rather than improves our understanding. In light of the evidence, the implication that Rubio's a liar for calling Clinton a liar is unfair to Rubio. There's lots of evidence that suggests she is lying about Benghazi, and just how much benefit of the doubt does she deserve? Given what we know now, would anyone say Hillary Clinton didn't lie about her email server multiple times when that controversy erupted earlier this year? What about the Clintons's historical track record of honesty? And it's especially questionable when Kessler himself reports her campaign is currently telling untruths about how she characterized the Benghazi attack to the victims' families.
Kessler works harder, is fairer, generally does a much better job that than his fact checking peers, and he's always been responsive to criticism. And yet, even the exception proves the rule: It's impossible to imagine a Republican figure with such a checkered reputation for honesty getting this kind of benefit of the doubt from a media "fact checker."

I wonder if Kessler will revisit his awarding of two Pinnochios to Rubio with the news of this email that was just released.
Two days after the 9/11/2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, the United States embassy in Tripoli, Libya, was warning the State Department via email not to conflate the Innocence of Muslims YouTube video with the attacks.

The email, released by the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Saturday, was sent by a Tripoli embassy official to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s staffers in Washington, D.C., at 6:43 a.m. on September 14, 2012.

That is the day Clinton declared at the transfer of remains ceremony, “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”

It was two days before Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows to blame the violence in Benghazi on the video.
But maybe Hillary was too busy covering hers and the administration's rear ends to have read that email.

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When at-home caregivers were given the choice by the Supreme Court as to whether or not they wanted to belong to the SEIU, the results were predictable.

Fresh after embarrassing themselves with their moderators at the GOP debate, one of those CNBC moderators, Carl Quintanilla, has embarrassed himself again - this time by praising China's one-child policy.
"One thing about China's one-child policy: it worked," he said on social media, linking to a Credit Suisse chart showing the sharp decline in the number of children born in China between 1990 and 1999....

As a matter of simple math, Quintanilla is not wrong, as China's forced one-child policy has led to fewer births.

But his say-what-you-want attitude seemed to ignore the broader repercussions of China's coercive approach to population control, which has included forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations and the sex-selective abortion of females, and left many social media users unimpressed.
Twitter had a lot of fun ridiculing his tweet. And, of course, just focusing on the number of births ignores how the policy has harmed China even beyond the human rights abuses.
Absent from Quintanilla's brief analysis of China's decades-old policy are details of how the country's economy has been damaged by its approach to population control.

"As China's population grows older, the country is experiencing a shortage of workers and consumers to keep the economy afloat," one activist website, Victims of Communism, explained. "Despite being originally instituted for economic reasons, it is ironic that through this very policy China has written its own economic death sentence."

As there is an economic incentive to produce male children, females are normally aborted so that couples can try again for a son.

Because of the widespread practice of sex selective abortion, "there are an estimated 37 million Chinese men who will never marry because their future wives were terminated before they were born," the anti-Communism site noted, citing figures from a 2009 British Medical Journal study.

"This gender imbalance is a powerful, driving force behind trafficking in women and sexual slavery, not only in China, but in neighboring nations as well," the report added.

A recent analysis in Current Biology found elsewhere that the Chinese social experiment, which has created a society made up entirely of people without any siblings, has birthed a generation that is, "less altruistic, less trusting, less trustworthy, more risk-averse and less competitive than the generations born before 1979."

Also, as noted by Forbes contributor Alex Berezow, China's one-child policy has created a situation where there are still plenty of elderly people, but not nearly enough young, working-age people to care for or support them.

Lastly, in perhaps the saddest analysis of all, Wang Feng, the director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy in Beijing, suggested in a recent interview that the policy of forced abortion and sterilization wasn't even necessary to lower the birthrate.

"[I]f you look at other countries around Asia — Thailand, South Korea, or even North Korea — fertility has come down in all those places to the level that's very close to China, or not much higher," he said in an interview with Public Radio International.

These countries, the PRI report added, "did that, without coercion, without the 300 million abortions linked to the One-Child policy, without the skewed gender gap, due to a preference for boys and selective abortions of female fetuses, or the 150 million only children now growing up as part of a shrinking workforce supporting an ever-larger elderly population."

"Now, the ratio is 5 workers to every retiree. In 2030, it will be 2 to 1 — a burden for the state, and a drag on economic growth, unless both worker productivity and taxation increase considerably," the report added. (Links in original)
Given that I'm teaching this period this week in my US History class, this was my favorite response.

As criticisms mount of CNBC's moderation of the debate, staffers are coming out of the woodworks to blast the three moderators on stage, particularly John Harwood.
“Everyone in the newsroom knows he’s extremely far left,” a network insider told TheWrap about the prevailing opinion that pervaded the newsroom even before the debate.
Harwood is “not just extremely biased and partisan, but he’s the worst kind who isn’t self-aware that he is,” the insider continued. “Blindness to that is what allowed him on the debate stage.”

Here's an interesting thought. Did the Bush campaign leak its memo in order to get information to its Super PAC about where they need help?
Ihe problem for the PAC is that it can't coordinate legally with Bush on where to spend that fortune. It has to do its own thing, making educated guesses about where and how to advertise or otherwise contact voters.

Unless, that is, there's public information it can act on. Bush's campaign can't call Right to Rise and say, "Hey, we need help in Iowa." It can however, make an internal document public for the world -- and the PAC -- to see. Carpenter's point? That was precisely the plan.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported a message that was directed the other way. "The outside political group supporting Jeb Bush's bid for president with tens of millions of dollars in television advertising is considering placing organizing staff in Iowa and New Hampshire," it reported, "a move that would follow the decision of his formal campaign to refocus its efforts on the two early-voting states."

Monday: The super PAC says it will staff up in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Wednesday: The debate.
Thursday: The campaign "leaks" a document showing precisely where in Iowa it needs help.

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Ed Whelan goes point-by-point to eviscerate Linda Greenhouse's contention that allowing the Little Sisters of the Poor to not have to follow HHS contraceptive mandate "accommodation," we're not going to "plunge into a world where conviction clothed in religious garb, no matter how untethered from reality, can be permitted to impair the rights of non-adherents.”

This is what universities get when they have a Chief Diversity Officer - advice on not wearing Halloween costumes that are guilty of cultural appropriation or racism.

And of course, the Clinton campaign reaches for its gender card to title Marco Rubio as a "Mansplainer."

Andy Puzder, the CFO of CKE, explains how Obamacare continues to go down the tubes.
Supporters credit ObamaCare with helping nine million uninsured Americans find coverage in 2014. But a new paper from the Heritage Foundation, however, suggests that nearly all of the increase came from adding nearly nine million people to the Medicaid rolls.

In other words, ObamaCare expanded coverage in 2014 to the extent that it gave people free or nearly free insurance. That goal could have been accomplished without the Affordable Care Act. To justify its existence, ObamaCare must make affordable private insurance available to a broad cross-section of uninsured Americans who are ineligible for Medicaid.

But with fewer people buying insurance through the exchanges, the economics aren’t holding up. Ten of the 23 innovative health-insurance plans known as co-ops—established with $2.4 billion in ObamaCare loans—will be out of business by the end of 2015 because of weak balance sheets.

And while rates vary widely by state, the cost for private insurance through the exchanges is also increasing dramatically. An analysis by consulting firm Avalere Health released on Friday shows that some of the most popular insurance plans in the ObamaCare exchanges will experience double-digit premium hikes in 2016.

One problem is that nearly half of the 10.5 million uninsured people eligible for ObamaCare are between the ages of 18 and 34—and young people tend to be healthy and unwilling to pay for pricey coverage they don’t need.

But propping up ObamaCare requires this group’s subsidizing the medical costs of the aging and ill. So far, no luck. It makes sense for healthy young people to pay a penalty rather than purchase the insurance. And in 2015 that’s what 6.6 million people did, according to the IRS. Next year the minimum penalty increases to $695 or 2.5% of income above $10,000, whichever is greater. In many cases, that’s still much cheaper than insurance.
He explains how his company offers health insurance to eligible employees, but too many of them have figured out that it isn't worth the cost for them to sign up.
Our employees are smart enough to figure this out. Of our company’s 5,453 eligible employees, only 420 enrolled. Our experience isn’t unique, according to press reports. A March survey by the consulting firm Mercer found “virtually no change between 2014 and 2015” in the average percentage of employees signed up for employer-sponsored health plans. Mercer found a 1.6% increase in the absolute number of enrolled employees, but that happened thanks to a growing workforce, not the law.

How have things changed under ObamaCare? Wealthy Americans continue to have health insurance, albeit at a higher price. But they can afford it. Many middle-class Americans are paying higher premiums they can hardly afford. And then millions more low-income Americans have heavily subsidized insurance or Medicaid coverage.

However, millions of other Americans who enjoyed good individual insurance before ObamaCare have found themselves forced out of affordable plans, with their new premiums rising rapidly. Other middle- and working-class Americans who were uninsured are still uninsured and paying the penalty or claiming an exemption. That isn’t affordable care. In many cases, it isn’t care at all.
This was all predicted by critics of the program, but the administration ignored such warnings.

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Josh Gelernter makes an argument that Republicans need not give up the idea of taking office in big cities. Too many of cities controlled by Democrats for decades have terrible records on education.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, a survey administered by the U.S. Department of Education, has just released its 2015 report on school performance. The school districts of most big cities are awful, but two stand out as utter, pathetic failures: Cleveland and Detroit. In Cleveland, 90 percent of students are unable to read “proficiently”; 91 percent are non-proficient at math. Detroit, remarkably, is even worse: 93 percent of kids fail at reading and 96 percent fail at math. It’s staggering.

Cleveland has had Democratic mayors for the last 25 years. Detroit has had Democratic mayors for the last 63 years. It’s hard to imagine that either city could be run worse — but Republicans barely contest mayoral elections in either. The last mayor’s race in each city featured two candidates who were both Democrats. No Republican thinks he would have a chance in either city. No Republican has the requisite ambition.
Gelernter urges Republicans to make the argument that Democrats are too under the control of the teachers unions to make the necessary reforms for education. He even has a candidate for Detroit in their 2017 mayoral election.
Whom should it be in Detroit? Ben Carson, who, likely having failed to win the Republican presidential nomination, will be looking for new good works to pursue. Dr. Carson was born in Detroit and was raised there, in poverty, by a single mother. He ended up as a pediatric neurosurgeon distinguished even among pediatric neurosurgeons. Who better to espouse the importance of childhood education in Detroit than a Detroit-native, Yale-educated kids’ brain expert? Who better to bridge the gap between the GOP and ethnic-minority voters than an ethnic-minority member of the GOP who is so obviously none of the things traditional leftists imagine Republicans to be? Carson is neither arrogant nor out of touch, and I’m reasonably certain he’s not racist. He’s soft spoken and courteous, and extremely likable even to those of us who don’t plan to vote for him.
That's a worthy challenge for Carson if this whole presidential run doesn't work out for him. If he truly wants to help individuals, trying to start Detroit's turn around would be a good place to focus his talents.

Professor M. D. Aeschliman of Boston University has a good essay on Hamilton and Jefferson. These were two very different men. Jefferson has had an admiring press for a long, long time. It is only in recent years that historians have fleshed out a more complete picture of hypocrisies. And Alexander Hamilton is having his moment now. It is a well-deserved moment. It is a fine thing that the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton, is introducing audiences to what a truly monumental role he played in our nation's history.

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