Thursday, November 05, 2015

Cruising the Web

Does Michelle Obama have no sense of perspective? Or even irony? She went to a conference in Qatar to talk about the importance of education for girls and complained about how some teachers treated her when she was in school.
"[B]ack when I was a girl, even though I was bright and curious and I had plenty of opinions of my own, people were often more interested in hearing what my brother had to say. And my parents didn’t have much money; neither of them had a university degree. So when I got to school, I sometimes encountered teachers who assumed that a girl like me wouldn’t be a good student. I was even told that I would never be admitted to a prestigious university, so I shouldn’t even bother to apply," Obama said at the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha.

"Like so many girls across the globe, I got the message that I shouldn’t take up too much space in this world. That I should speak softly and rarely. That I should have modest ambitions for my future. That I should do what I was told and not ask too many questions. But I was lucky, because I had parents who believed in me, who had big dreams for me. They told me, don’t ever listen to those who doubt you. They said, just work harder to prove them wrong.
She does admit that attitudes have improved in the United States though it seems that the worst she encountered was some teachers who didn't encourage her all that much. She's giving a speech in the Middle East where the treatment of females is often such a scandal and girls can be denied an education. Young girls can be forced into marriages or can be stoned for being raped and Michelle Obama chooses to denigrate her own country's treatment of girls in order to demonstrate that America has its own sins in the treatment of females. Granted she did talk about girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram and the attack on Malala Yousafzai for going to school. But is the only way that the Obamas think that they can talk about problems in other countries is by denigrating their own country, particularly by talking about what they experienced in their youth here? There is no comparison between the lack of encouragement that Michelle Obama might have experienced and the outright threats to their safety that girls experience in that part of the world. Why even bring it up?

Mitchell Blatt argues at The Federalist that Marco Rubio is indeed a "Republican Obama" and it's about time the Republicans had such a candidate.
I’m not saying, in the best possible world, that presidential campaigns should be popularity contests. But in the world we live in, there is an element of that in politics. Nor will a young, pop culture-savvy Republican win the youth vote just because he is with it. But, all things being equal, it does give such a Republican better chances than similarly situated competitors.

When TMZ caught Rubio at the airport, they seemed to be surprised about his knowledge of hip hop. “Wow. Can I just say, ‘His stock has just gone’ [draws an arrow pointing up],” TMZ founder Harvey Levin said regarding Rubio’s ode to Tupac. “I… I totally agree,” said another employee.

Fusion’s Brett LoGiurato wrote that Rubio “might actually have a chance with young voters” because he was outperforming other GOP candidates in that respect in a spring Quinnipiac poll. A majority of 18-34-year-olds who have made up their minds view Rubio favorably. However, those numbers are far from solid, as 44 percent didn’t have an opinion of him.
I can testify that my students are interested in him. He's the one Republican they're attracted to. I well remember when I was teaching in 2010. I assigned the students to work in small groups to follow six key senatorial campaigns for a couple of months just as this year they're following presidential campaigns. A group of 12th grade girls picked Florida's race out of the hat and they were disappointed because they hadn't heard of either of the candidates. So I pulled up pictures of Rubio and Crist to show them whom they'd be following. When they saw Rubio's pictures, they all cheered up and got excited about following him along with a few remarks about how he was the best-looking politician they'd seen. Were these my brightest students? No, but they finished the project as big fans of Rubio. And his youth and looks had a lot to do with that. Plus Charlie Crist was creepy and they could figure that out. I don't want people making decisions based on coolness and looks, but a lot of people do that. Is that enough to make me support a candidate? Of course not. I don't want to be like the campaign of George H.W. Bush who assumed that they could win the women's vote because women would find Dan Quayle cute. But I have hung out enough with teenagers in my longer than a quarter-century of teaching and I know that their political leanings are very impressionistic. They were thrilled in 2008 by Obama simply because he seemed cool and was a good speaker. They had no interest whatsoever in his political proposals. So I can guess that, in a race between Rubio and Hillary Clinton, he would have the coolness race won running away.

But what about experience? Well, people don't seem that much impressed with experience this year. I agree that the problem with Obama wasn't his lack of experience, but what he wanted to do as president.
Having argued that Rubio would make a competitive presidential candidate, the next question is whether President Rubio’s inexperience would hurt him. In fact, it shouldn’t prevent him from advancing a conservative agenda. President Obama’s problem is not his inexperience, it is his ideology.

Obama’s lack of accomplishment in Senate didn’t prevent him from getting Obamacare passed and a host of other liberal legislation. While he hasn’t worked well with the Republican Congress, that is more because of his personal reluctance to compromise or schmooze lawmakers.

Nor have his perceived failings on foreign policy been the result of lack of experience as much as they have been due to his views. That Obama has sometimes been reluctant to advance American interests authoritatively with overseas military actions, as his critics maintain, is because he takes a more constrained view of America’s role in the world than other presidents before him.

Rubio isn’t lacking foreign policy experience compared to his opponents. He has more experience dealing with foreign affairs as a national-level politician than does all but one of the senators running. Serving on the Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio has made foreign policy a focus. Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, analyzed an essay by Rubio on Russian policy and concluded, “It suggests that he not only knows something about foreign policy, but he’s also savvy to the politics of foreign policy.” He also noted that Rubio is more comfortable talking about foreign policy than the rest of the GOP field is.

A Republican Obama is just what the Grand Old Party needs to face a changing electorate. Just like how basketball teams tried for years to foster “the next Jordan,” a superstar politician in a GOP jersey could be a big help to the team. However, most of “the next Jordans” ended up underperforming such sky-high expectations. If there is one thing the next Obama must lack, it is Obama’s narcissism. One must have a good deal of humility to keep grounded in the face of so much praise.

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This is how the VA tried to improve their record on treating veterans.
It has been a frustrating semester for veterans trying to get their education benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Still waiting on checks from August, September, October and now November,” one man wrote in a comment on the VA’s Facebook page for beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. “What do you expect people to do? How do you expect people to survive?”

That complaint has been festering for months, even as the VA struggled to resolve another problem: the disability-claims backlog that emerged as a national scandal last year. As it happens, the two issues are related. As the longstanding deadline for resolving the disability-claims backlog approached, Veterans Benefits Administration officials shifted manpower from the education claims to the disability crisis — thereby making progress on one logjam by creating another.
But I guess it's just an overblown problem that Republicans are ginning up for partisan purposes.


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The devastation of the Democratic Party under Barack Obama is quite amazing.
With Matt Bevin's win in Kentucky on Tuesday night, Republicans now hold 32 of the nation's governorships — 64 percent of all the governors mansions in the country. (One race, in Louisiana, won't be decided until next month. Democrats believe they have a good chance of winning that race against now-Sen. David Vitter.)

* Democrats' failure to take over the Virginia state Senate means that Republicans still hold total control of 30 of the country's 50 state legislatures (60 percent) and have total or split control of 38 of the 50 (76 percent.)

....That dominance — and what it means to the policy and political calculations and prospects for both parties at the national level — is the single most overlooked and underappreciated story line of President Obama's time in office. Since 2009, Republicans have made massive and unprecedented gains at the state level, gains that played a central role in, among other things, handing control of the U.S. House back to the GOP in the 2010 election.
Keep an eye on the states because GOP legislatures will be enacting conservative policies and we'll be able to observe the impact of those policies in the state laboratories of democracy.
It's hard to overstate how important those GOP gains — and the consolidation of them we've seen in the last few years — are to the relative fates of the two parties. While the story at the national level suggests a Republican Party that is growing increasingly white, old and out of step with the country on social issues, the narrative at the local level is very different. Republicans are prospering at the state level in ways that suggest that the party's messaging is far from broken.

There are other, more pragmatic effects of the GOP dominance in governor's races and state legislatures, too. Aside from giving the party a major leg up in the decennial redrawing of congressional lines, which has led to a Republican House majority not only today but likely through at least 2020, the GOP's dominance gives the party fertile ground to incubate policy that makes its way to the national level and to cultivate the future stars of the national party from the ground up.

With rumors that the Russian airdraft was brought down by an ISIS bomb, this is not encouraging.
The Transport Security Administration claims it has improved security following an undercover probe at eight airports found that 95 per cent of fake bombs and weapons were not intercepted.

The investigation found major flaws in systems at the eight airports, which were intended as a random sample. Entire levels of security 'were simply missing'.

Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth addressed a congressional hearing into the scandal.

The findings in an internal report by the DHS inspector general were disclosed earlier this year by news media, prompting criticism that the TSA was emphasising speed over security.

At an earlier hearing, it was revealed that the TSA is 'plagued with very low morale and extremely high turnover'.

Freudian slip?
It’s funny because it could come true.

Speaking at an NAACP event in Charleston, S.C. on Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slipped up while discussing her proposal to allow convicted felons to avoid disclosing their criminal histories on applications for federal jobs.

“Earlier today, I announced that as president, I will take steps to ban the box, so former presidents won’t have to declare their criminal history at the very start of the hiring process,” Clinton says in video of the speech, first reported by Slate. “That way, they’ll have a chance to be seen as more than just someone who’s done time.”

While Clinton undoubtedly meant to say “prisoners” instead of “presidents,” banning the box could come in handy for the Democratic front-runner given that the FBI is investigating her private email server over the classified emails found on it.

A. B. Stoddard writes at The Hill that Hillary Clinton might have won over Democratic voters, but that is only a small part of the challenge before her. The list of her lies is growing quite lengthy.
But while she may be the nominee-to-be, the road from the Democratic convention to the White House won’t be as smooth.

In the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, even though Clinton beats most GOP candidates, Sanders performs better against them, and she loses independents in every match-up. Her numbers on honesty and trustworthiness, according to Qiunnipiac, are 36 percent to 60 percent — worse than for any candidate in either party.

With an FBI investigation into her email server still ongoing, and her credibility in the tank, Clinton still makes some party operatives quite nervous.

“Hillary has gone through a rapid and remarkable rehabilitation with Democrats,” said one Democratic strategist, “but significant challenges remain with the broader electorate. This is likely to be a very competitive election, regardless of who the Republicans choose.”

Democrats noticed the rare pushback from FBI agents last month when President Obama said of Clinton’s email server, “I don’t think it posed a national security problem,” as if he’d already decided what the probe would conclude. The president said something similar in public in 2012 when Gen. David Petraeus was being investigated for mishandling classified information. And though the Justice Department ultimately overruled the FBI, Director James Comey, who is currently overseeing the Clinton probe, had recommended felony charges and a potential prison sentence for Petraeus.

Democrats say they must brace themselves for more leaked emails and a pattern of Clinton statements that turn out later to be false.

Clinton said she was transparent, yet her emails were under congressional subpoena for years while she kept her private server a secret.

Clinton said she used one device at State for convenience, but she in fact used several.

She said her email server was destroyed, but it was not.

She said she handed over all work emails to the State Department, but then congressional investigators turned up others.

She said she responded to a routine records request from the State Department and turned over her emails when several other secretaries of State did, but State officials were asking for her emails in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and congressional investigations months before that.

Clinton said the State Department affirmed that 90 percent of her work email was captured on the State.gov accounts of other employees — a statistic department officials conceded, after she repeated it under oath in her Benghazi Committee testimony, they know nothing about.

Clinton claimed in March “there is no classified material,” yet indeed there was.

Clinton has repeated numerous times that the arrangement was “allowed,” though no one in the administration has ever said they approved her server. So Democrats — like Republicans — assume she is making a misleading statement about her own unorthodox decision to do something no Cabinet secretary had ever before done.

When asked on NBC’s “Meet The Press” whether she deleted any emails to hide information from future investigations, Clinton said the idea “never crossed my mind.” The idea will be crossing the minds of voters next year, should Clinton prevail and win her party’s nomination.

Republicans will make sure of it.

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With all the pressure on NBC from Hispanics about Trump hosting SNL, it will be interesting to see if they continue having him host on Saturday. What is so funny is how NBC was quick to cut their ties with Trump because of what he had said about Mexican immigrants.
Trump’s surprisingly successful presidential campaign was barely a month old before NBC announced that it was effectively firing him as host of The Celebrity Apprentice, his spin-off from the earlier show, which was forced to add similarly boisterous personalities like Piers Morgan and Joan Rivers once the original reality show’s ratings began to decline precipitously.

NBC attributed the decision, which also included giving up the broadcast rights to the Trump-owned Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, to the candidate’s “derogatory” comments about Mexican immigrants during his campaign announcement speech. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems,” he infamously proclaimed. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people.”

The notoriously litigious Trump, as is his wont, threatened to sue NBC, and subsequently did file a $500 million lawsuit against Univision for dropping the pageants.
NBC's moral indignation only lasted as long as they saw the sort of ratings they could get by having Trump on SNL. I know that some of my students are looking forward to watching him. That's the first time in years I've heard any students talk about the show. It's funny that Donald Trump would be the one to spark their interest in the show.

Timothy D. Easley writes at 538 about another failure of polling as happened last night in Kentucky when they predicted the Democrat winning a close race for governor when instead the Republican Matt Bevin won 53 to 44%.
It’s not yet clear whether pollsters simply projected that more Democratic voters would show up than actually did or whether undecided voters broke overwhelmingly for the Republican candidates. The former suggests an electorate modeling problem that could be a big problem during the presidential primaries, when turnout is low. On the other hand, trouble modeling the electorate would be less of an issue in the 2016 general election, when turnout is at its highest.
Easley tries to comfort pollsters and those addicted to them that this might be an anomaly because of low turnout. As if turnout would be so different in this governor's election than any other election in Kentucky.

I would be more inclined to say that pollsters have absolutely no idea of what the actual electorate will look like on election day. All they can do is estimate and hope that their guesses will be close to reality. But their traditional screens for predicting the electorate may well be totally off.

Here is another interesting article at 538. David Wasserman reports on how the way that the GOP allocates delegates to the convention gives a disproportionate value to candidates' winning blue states.
There are plenty of reasons to be cautious of national polls that show Trump and Carson leading. They may fail to screen out casual voters, for instance, and leaders at this point in past years have eventually tanked. But perhaps the biggest reason to ditch stock in these polls is that they’re simulating a national vote that will never take place.

In reality, the GOP nominating contest will be decided by an intricate, state-by-state slog for the 2,472 delegates at stake between February and June. And thanks to the Republican National Committee’s allocation rules, the votes of “Blue Zone” Republicans — the more moderate GOP primary voters who live in Democratic-leaning states and congressional districts — could weigh more than those of more conservative voters who live in deeply red zones. Put another way: The Republican voters who will have little to no sway in the general election could have some of the most sway in the primary.
This may well give more moderate candidates more impact.
The key to this pattern: “Blue-state Republicans are less religious, more moderate and less rural than their red-state counterparts,” Cohn concluded after crunching Pew Research survey data. By Cohn’s math, Republicans in states that Obama won in 2012 were 15 percentage points likelier to support Romney in the 2012 primary and 9 points likelier to support McCain in 2008 than their red-state compatriots. Romney and McCain’s advantage in blue states made it “all but impossible for their more conservative challengers to win the nomination,” Cohn wrote.
There are also several in-the-weeds reasons about how delegates are allocated that also give disproportionately more delegates to blue states. And these rules might hurt a more conservative candidate like Ted Cruz and help a more establishment-blessed candidate like Marco Rubio.
The average blue district awards one convention delegate per 28,912 Romney voters, while the average red district awards one delegate per every 56,714 Romney voters. Thanks to this disparity, if a hard-right candidate like Cruz dominates deeply red Southern districts in the SEC primary, a more electable candidate like Rubio could quickly erase that deficit by quietly piling up smaller raw-vote wins in more liberal urban and coastal districts.

The RNC partially compensates for this imbalance in the way it awards delegates on a statewide basis. Republicans award “bonus” delegates to states with lots of GOP officeholders and states with the best GOP performance in the last election. For example, despite both states having nine congressional districts, Tennessee will send 58 delegates to the Cleveland convention while Massachusetts will send 42.

But the bigger boon to Rubio, Bush and other moderates is that the opinions of GOP voters in places like Massachusetts count at all in this process — in an era when the Bay State sends zero Republicans to Congress. It’s a huge factor that many pundits tend to overlook, and it’s why the temperament and qualities that the broader party looks for in a nominee differ so much from those of the loudest and most ideological Freedom Caucus types in Washington.

It’s not that national polls are skewed in favor of conservative, red-meat Republicans. It’s that the Republican Party’s delegate geography rewards their moderate rivals.
If the delegate race is close at the end and a more moderate candidate pulls out a victory due to these arcane rules

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Kentucky just elected their first black state official. But she's a black woman, so I'm sure that doesn't matter.
Hampton’s path certainly represents triumph over adversity. Born in Detroit, the 57-year-old Hampton and her three sisters were raised by a single mom who lacked a high school education and couldn’t afford a television or a car. But Hampton was determined to better herself. She graduated with a degree in industrial engineering and worked for five years in the automobile industry to pay off her college loans. She then joined the Air Force, retiring as a Captain. She earned an MBA from the University of Rochester, moved to Kentucky and became a plant manager in a corrugated packaging plant. Then she lost her job in 2012.

She used her free time to start a career in politics and becoming active in the Tea Party. She ran a losing race for state representative in 2014 but won an early endorsement from Senator Rand Paul. She was tapped by Bevin to be his running-mate earlier this year.

“I’m aware of the historical significance. People point it out … Really, I just never think about it,” she says.“We’re different races, different sexes, he grew up in the country, I grew up in the city. We represent a broad range of the Kentucky demographic.”

Bevin and Hampton were able to hold Democrat Jack Conway to only 58 percent of the vote in Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city and home to one out of five of the state’s voters. Ads featuring the Bevin-Hampton ticket and its support for school choice apparently enabled it to improve on the city’s normal Republican showing.

Donald Trump likes to slam some people and groups that criticize him by saying that they used to beg him for money. Well, now the shoe is on the other foot.
Donald Trump has spent much of his presidential campaign bashing his GOP rivals as beholden to major donors, and, in recent weeks, he’s expanded his attacks to include three major donors in particular ― Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer and the Koch brothers.
But POLITICO has learned that Trump or his surrogates have sought to build relationships ― if not support ― from all three, calling into question the billionaire real estate showman’s repeated assertions that, because of his wealth, he has no use for major donors.

Ah, a War and Peace metaphor for politics from Jonah Goldberg. As a former Russian major, I like that.
Watching Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio emerge from the pack after last week’s CNBC debate, I was reminded of my favorite character from Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

“The strongest of all warriors,” Field Marshal Kutuzov explains, “are these two: Time and Patience.”

With Napoleon’s army advancing, Kutuzov wisely wanted to wait for reinforcements before engaging in battle. When Russian generals demanded that Kutuzov attack Napoleon at his strongest, the field marshal replied, “Dans le doute, abstiens-toi.” (“When in doubt, do nothing.”)

Strategic patience is a difficult and valuable quality in an era of ever-shrinking news cycles and 24/7 social-media carping. The temptation to react instantly to every controversy is hard to resist. So far, Cruz and Rubio have been the Kutuzovs of the race, while Jeb Bush and Donald Trump look an awful lot like the Napoleons.

Consider some of the candidates who’ve already dropped out. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker was undone because he was ill prepared to be the front-runner. Texas governor Rick Perry, whose impatience led to self-immolation in 2012, was well equipped on the issues this time, but he fatally attacked Trump when the Napoleonic mogul was at his strongest.

Meanwhile, Cruz hung back, refusing to criticize Trump even though Trump was siphoning off many of the senator’s supporters and stealing Cruz’s populist thunder. A brilliant, classically trained debater, Cruz barely registered in the first two debates. That was a choice. He was biding his time.

Then there’s Rubio. He also refused to take Trump’s bait, but of more strategic importance was his decision to draft behind Bush, the anointed candidate of the so-called establishment. Rubio understood that he couldn’t defeat Jeb. He had to wait for his former mentor to defeat himself.

Both Cruz and Rubio seized their moment in the CNBC debate. Cruz’s perfectly pitched attack on the moderators and Rubio’s surgical jointing of Bush demonstrated that they both have what the Germans call fingerspitzengef├╝hl, a real-time mastery of battlefield conditions “at the fingertips.”
Goldberg predicts that the battle will come down to a battle between Rubio and Cruz and that the winner will pick the loser for a running mate. He may well be right about the ultimate two candidates to be left standing, but I can't see either of them picking the other one. I think whoever wins would want someone who could balance the ticket out with more experience, particularly executive experience. If they want an all Hispanic ticket, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico would be a better choice.

Now the media seem very interested in Marco Rubio's financial struggles. Their interest in a candidate's finances seems to be based on which party he is in.
In 2011 and 2012, the media rarely went more than a day without talking about Mitt Romney’s houses, and whether a man who owned more than one could relate to the average American. This, by the way, was a familiar complaint of theirs about McCain in 2008 as well.

Now, Marco Rubio is being scrutinized for financially struggling at times.

The press bias towards Democrats is never more obvious than in the way it treats the wealth of candidates from the two major parties during an election cycle. John McCain’s marriage to a wealthy woman was fair game in 2008 but John Kerry’s habit of finding wealthy women to marry wasn’t really discussed in 2004.

Hillary Clinton practically bathes in cash and hasn’t had a conversation with a member of the American middle class in thirty years, but she gets to pretend to be an “aw shucks” champion of the working folk.

We hear a lot about Donald Trump’s inherited wealth, but whenever one of the endless Kennedy trust fund spawn runs for office all we hear about is whatever charity work he or she did to distract the public from the raging cocaine habit.

The Democrats are wealthy. Really wealthy. If the media can’t be honest about this, every Republican they single out regarding money should make a loud point about their neglect of the other party’s candidates.
Rubio still has to answer for his use of the party charge card when he was in Florida politics. He says that he's going to release those records. That would be a good thing. And I learned one thing - that there is a difference between a charge card and a credit card. I had always used the terms interchangeably and the Rubio critics are doing the same. Just so you know, the difference is that a charge card's balance must be paid off every month while a person can use a credit card to build up a balance and carry from one year to the next. Rubio must have known that this question would come up and he would have done better to get the story out there pre-emptively instead of waiting for his critics to latch onto the story. This is his explanation. We'll see if the records back him up.
Rubio said bills were sent to his home and he determined what was personal and what wasn't.

"If there was a personal expense, I paid it. If it was a party expense, the party paid it," Rubio said. "Now, I recognize in hindsight, I would do it different to avoid all this confusion. But the Republican Party never paid a single expense of mine -- personal expense."

According to the Tampa Bay Times story, Rubio has failed to release information about two years of using the card, and two years of records that were analyzed by the Times during his Senate campaign found that he "routinely" charged personal expenses on the card, sending about $16,000 to American Express to cover charges.

Rubio said Wednesday his campaign will release records "soon."

He called the story "not accurate" and said all the records are out there, even if they're not under his name.

"Every expense on that card is detailed in the Republican Party accounts that they file every month," Rubio said. "It doesn't say who they belong to, but every expense is on there, and as we've said, we'll release those soon."
Let's see if Donald Trump will release his financial records. Or Hillary Clinton.

Here are some Clinton records that they tried to keep private. I think there is a whole lot more sleaze here than in anything Marco Rubio might have done.
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation's flagship health project changed its mind again on Wednesday on the matter of its erroneous tax returns, saying it would refile them with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service after all.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) said the decision to refile its 2012 and 2013 returns was in response to "recent media interest."

Its brief statement made no mention of Republican criticism earlier in the week, when CHAI said it had decided against refiling the returns, known as form 990s. That, in turn, was a switch from the spring, when it said it would refile them after Reuters discovered it had misreported funding sources by millions of dollars.

"As previously stated, the minor errors on the 2012 and 2013 CHAI 990s are immaterial and do not require refiling, yet in response to recent media interest in the forms, CHAI has decided to refile the returns in order to be fully transparent," CHAI spokeswoman Maura Daley said in the statement.

With Hillary Clinton viewed as the favorite to become the Democratic nominee in the November, 2016, presidential election, Republicans have attacked her family's globe-straddling charities.

The charities have received millions of dollars of funding from foreign governments for their work on health and environmental projects. Republicans and other critics say this is an insoluble conflict of interest for a would-be U.S. president. CHAI is best known for helping reduce the cost of HIV drugs in the developing world.

Clinton has said her family's charities do worthy work and disclose more information about the donors than the law requires, mitigating that concern.

But she has not addressed the charities' admission to Reuters earlier this year that they did not comply with an ethics agreement Clinton signed with Barack Obama's incoming presidential administration in 2008 in order for her to become secretary of state. That agreement required the names of every donor be published annually, with the State Department ethicists screening new funding from foreign governments. The charities did not do this or did so incompletely, citing "oversights".

It's funny how the Democrats came up with their preemptive excuse-making for their failure to retake the state senate in Virginia.
In a somewhat unusual move, the state Democratic Party circulated a memo well before the polls closed that said the election had always been an “uphill climb” and the fact that Democrats were heading into Election Day competitively was an indication of the ground they have gained.

The memo also cited “fatigue” from the seventh year of a Democratic presidency in a state where there are five statewide elected Democrats, gerrymandering, and outside spending by groups such as the National Rifle Association and Americans for Prosperity.
I thought he was The One. Do they think that the nation will be any less fatigued next year?

And apparently, the memo hasn't gotten out that the Democrats' losses last night were to be blamed on Obama fatigue. Here is Donna Brazile Demsplaining things for us.
Debra Heine at PJ Tatler summarizes the news from last night.
– The transgender “bathroom ordinance” was flushed by voters in liberal Houston, 61 percent to 39 percent, thus “staining the city’s reputation” for tolerance, according to the mayor.

– Anti-ObamaCare and Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin easily defeated Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) to become governor. Bevin is only the state’s second Republican governor in more than 40 years. The race was expected to be close, but Bevin triumphed by nearly nine points.

– In Virginia, where Democrats fought hard to turn some districts blue, the Republican Party retained control of the state Senate. With both of the state’s chambers still controlled by Republicans, Governor Terry McAuliffe will struggle to enact his left-wing agenda, which includes a push for more gun control laws, before his term is up in 2017.

– In Pennsylvania, the GOP will have a 31-19 edge in the Senate. This is the largest majority since 1954.

– Voters in heavily liberal Portland, Maine, struck down a measure to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The vote was not close, at 58% to 42%.

– In Coos County, Oregon, voters authorized the sheriff to ignore federal and state gun laws that he deems unconstitutional. The Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance passed big, with 61 percent of the vote.

– In leftist capital San Francisco, the “sanctuary city”-supporting sheriff who defended the release of Kate Steinle’s killer was booted from office.

– In Ohio, voters just said no to a marijuana-legalization bill.

– The only big win for Democrats came in Pennsylvania, where they now have a majority on the state Supreme Court.

Cathy Young has a lot of fun ridiculing the newest propaganda effort to convince us that consent is "as simple as tea" by telling people that, just because you've made someone a cup of tea, you can't force them to drink it.
‘If you say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?”, and they’re like, “Uh, you know, I’m not really sure”, then you can make them a cup of tea, or not, but be aware that that they might not drink it. And if they don’t drink it, then – and this is the important bit – don’t make them drink it. Just because you made it doesn’t mean you’re entitled to watch them drink it. And if they say, “No, thank you”, then don’t make them tea. At all.’ Also, just because she said she wanted tea last week, that doesn’t mean she wants it now. And no tea if she’s unconscious.
Just like sex, you see. Young takes the same approach and uses cake as her example.
So, to recap:

If someone offers you cake and you say, ‘Oh, I’d love some!’, that’s consent.

If someone offers you cake and you don’t really feel like eating it but say, ‘Sure, I’d love some!’, because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, that’s also consent.

If you say, ‘Thanks, but I don’t think so’, and they convince you to change your mind, that’s also consent. It doesn’t matter how many times you said no. It doesn’t matter if your friend was being an obnoxious, guilt-tripping, sulky, passive-aggressive pest. (Well, it matters. It may be a reason to reconsider your friendship. But it’s certainly not a reason to go to the cops.) As long as you were free to refuse the cake without risking some tangible harm, it’s up to you to grow a spine.

If you’re drunk (but sufficiently in control of your faculties to eat cake…), that’s also consent. If you weren’t thinking straight and ate so much cake you were sick the next day, chalk it up as a valuable learning experience.

Now, somebody make the above a public service announcement. I even have a title for the campaign: ‘Consent: it’s a piece of cake.’
Meanwhile, Katherine Timpf has a lot of fun ridiculing a feminist journalist who wants to have us get "affirmative consent" for every interaction we have. Here is what Suzannah Weiss recommends for us.
When we hear the word “consent,” we usually think of sexual consent. But there’s actually a whole host of things outside the bedroom that people all too often do without consent – and our culture needs to acknowledge that they’re harmful as well.

Most of us have probably at some point done something without another person’s consent because we simply didn’t think to ask for it. That’s why we all sometimes need a reminder that, when in doubt, only a “yes” is a “yes” – to anything.

We should never assume anyone is okay with anything, whether that’s a sexual act, a group activity, a topic of conversation, or a financial decision that affects them.
Oh, geez. Women are getting raped by ISIS soldiers and forcibly converted in the Middle East. Can't feminists find something more urgent to complain about? Here is Timpf's satire.
Whoa! Sounds super fun and normal right? I’d just love to live in a world where waiters ask me if they can ask me how my food is before asking me how my food is, cab drivers ask me if they can ask me for my destination before asking me for my destination, and coworkers ask me if they can ask me if I want to go out to lunch before asking me to go out to lunch — and then repeatedly ask permission before bringing up any conversation topic during the entire meal.

To be fair, Weiss does explain that it’s actually okay to “invite someone to a pre-planned party” (Whoa! How chill of her!) — as long as you make sure to “get their input on anything you expect them to participate in.”

I can only imagine how that would go. “Okay – there are going to be people there. Are you okay with talking to other people? Don’t worry, I require all of my guests to ask for permission to discuss a topic before discussing it!”

Ross Kaminsky discusses the comedic stylings of Barack Obama. Monday night he made fun of the GOP candidates' complaints about the CNBC moderators.
“If they can’t handle those guys,” Obama added helpfully, “then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

Project much, Mister President?

The lame message was good for a laugh and, to give credit where it’s due, Obama's delivery as a comedian is better than his once-vaunted communication skills as president — although he spends too much time laughing at his own jokes, which may explain why so few narcissists become stand-up comics.

As with most of Obama’s political pronouncements, it was a lie; not just a lie but one so obvious as to unintentionally highlight the very failings that Obama was trying to deny in himself.

Just how did the Republican candidates not “handle” the CNBC moderators?

Not only did they publicly shame the CNBC trio in a way that did real harm to the network’s reputation, such as it is, for journalistic integrity, but they also caused the Republican National Committee to “suspend” NBC News’ participation in a later debate. If that’s not enough, the candidates are demanding — and likely receiving — changes in the structure of future debates such as guaranteeing the inclusion of time for opening and closing statements....

But the idea that the Republican candidates on stage in Boulder did not “handle” the partisan and unprepared CNBC moderators is laughably false. Short of walking up to them and slapping them in the face, it’s hard to imagine their having been handled any more effectively than they were.

Indeed, the three candidates perceived as the biggest winners that memorable Wednesday evening were Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie, roughly in that order, which roughly matches the order of the intensity of their chastising of the moderators and, more broadly, of the “mainstream media” that CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and especially John Harwood so sadly typified.

It is a remarkable statement about the ongoing triumph of Barack Obama’s ego over his judgment that, through a malicious laugh, he launched an attack on Republicans that effectively magnified the difference between himself and a potential real leader, such as any of the current Republican candidates, regarding effective negotiation with competitors or enemies.

What has Barack Obama done to slow the expansionist mania of Vladimir Putin? Indeed, starting with walking back from his own Syrian red line and continuing with allowing the unhindered annexation of the Crimea, what has this president done other than encourage Putin?

This was long in the making: Recall Obama’s open-mic assurances to Putin puppet and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that “after my [re]election, I’ll have more flexibility.” It may not have been treason, but it was a step down that path and, at minimum, an invitation to global Russian aggression — an invitation that Vladimir Putin gladly accepted.

It’s not simply that Barack Obama has not inspired peace; he has inspired war. We can only hope that a now-more-likely war with Iran does not result in a now-more-likely mushroom cloud.

It is no wonder that — and I doubt you’ve heard this from the “mainstream media” — the former head of the committee that awards the Nobel Prize for Peace regrets their decision to give the honor to Obama, saying in a new book that the committee “thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn't have this effect.”

You don’t say.

Yet this very same Barack Obama now derides Republican presidential candidates as unlikely to be stronger against Putin (and others) than he’s been?

To any rational person, the president’s snide comments reflect badly on him, which is to say they reflect, as a mirror should, his true self.

2 comments:

mark said...

Betsy,
I think you're underestimating the intelligence and judgment of young people. Certainly there are those who like Rubio for his looks and charm, but I hear a lot more buzz regarding Bernie Sanders. I assume it's not for his good looks and style.
Most young people (even conservatives)believe in marriage-equality. Many are worried about climate-change and want something done about it. And many realize they're getting screwed over by both parties.

Betsy Newmark said...

Oh, I agree with you, Mark, on both points. I hear a lot about Bernie Sanders from a certain percentage of my students though a lot of other students find his candidacy almost as amusing as Trump's. And certainly, as I've said over and over, young people are much more concerned about gay rights and climate change than economic or foreign issues. However, in a race between Rubio and Hillary, I think he'd have a lot of appeal for younger voters. That is why she would have to really go after him on those issues. He'll be challenged to thread the needle so that he doesn't lose conservatives while still maintaining his appeal to younger voters.