Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cruising the Web

Barack Obama is a graceless man. He has never disguised his arrogant sense of moral superiority to those with whom he disagrees politically. And now he carries that arrogant gracelessness beyond the grave. First he skipped Justice Scalia's funeral instead opting for a very brief drop-in at the viewing at the Court. And now he's skipping Nancy Reagan's funeral so he can go speak at a music festival. It's as if he not only wants to snub the first lady of another party, but he just doesn't like to be at an event where he is not the star. Even going to Nelson Mandela's funeral became an occasion for a bored Obama to take selfies. As IBD writes,
Obama himself has spoken of the mark the Reagan presidency left on America and even of seeking to achieve the same kind of influence they did. So it would be a seemly gesture for him to go to the funeral anyway, joining first lady Michelle. Not going to happen. An Austin, Texas, tech and music festival called South by Southwest Interactive, or SXSW, is beckoning, and although the event had been already scheduled, there’s no such thing as an event where the U.S. president wouldn’t be welcomed whenever he arrives, perhaps after the funeral.

A lot of good could be done by going to this funeral to pay his last respects to the beloved former first lady. The president could remind the public that the office of presidency is more important than the partisan politics that surrounds it. He could also draw some goodwill from his political opponents among Republicans, given that he’s a lame duck and still seeks to accomplish things in his last year. And he could erase the growing sense that he only goes to funerals where he can reap political hay.

To date, Obama has skipped some very significant funerals, often choosing to play golf or fundraise with political fat-cats instead. He passed on the funeral of America’s top Cold War ally, Lady Margaret Thatcher, in 2013, sending only a low-level delegation ranking below that of the group he sent to the funeral of Venezuela’s anti-American dictator, Hugo Chavez, the same year.

Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, the greatest Asian leader of the post-colonial era, and a lion-hearted U.S. ally, got about the same after he died in 2015, as did South Korea’s former president Kim Young-sam and Georgia’s Eduard Shevardnadze. Even rock-solid ally Israel’s Ariel Sharon, who died in 2014, got only Vice President Joe Biden.

Domestically, Obama also gave the back of his hand to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a giant among his peers, skipping his funeral this year.

Even more painful, he’s failed to show up for the funerals of important military men who lost their lives under his command. Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014, got nothing more than a representative, while American Sniper Chris Kyle got absolutely nothing, not even a mention in the 2013 State of the Union address the same day....

The president is the representative of all the American people as the head of state, not just those who share a political stripe or prove politically useful. No, he didn’t have to attend the funeral of Nancy Reagan. But he should have.

Ah, denial Hillary-style.
Hillary Clinton refused to entertain a question tonight about her email scandal and whether she would drop out of the race if she's indicted.
'Oh for goodness - that is not going to happen. I am not going to even answer that question,' she angrily told Univision's Jorge Ramos during tonight's Democratic debate.
Ramos had to ask her the question twice before she finally acknowledged it, and when she finally did, she was visibly annoyed.
Meanwhile she continues to lie about her server, just as she did in the debate last night.

And, apparently, Univision has now joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy when they copied Fox's practice of hitting candidates with uncomfortable videos in a debate.
After moderator Jorge Ramos brought up her email scandal and the possibility of an indictment, it looked as though Wednesday night’s Democratic debate couldn’t get any more contentious for Hillary Clinton. Oh, but it could, in spectacular fashion.

Despite boos from the audience, Univision hit Clinton with video of Patricia Smith, whose son Sean Smith was killed in Benghazi, calling Clinton a liar for blaming a video for the terrorist attack that killed Sean and three others....

Clinton claimed but showed no sign of remorse, and went so far as to call Smith “absolutely wrong,” dodging by claiming that she and the State Department were working from whatever limited information they had available.

(An email obtained by Judicial Watch appears to show the State Department scrambling on the night of Sept. 11 to link the Benghazi attack to an Internet video, even revealing that the “White House is reaching out to U-Tube [sic] to advise.”)
Who would have expected such tough questioning from Jorge Ramos?
Univision’s Jorge Ramos played a video of Sean Spicer’s mother, Pat Smith, recounting how Susan Rice, Leon Panetta, and Hillary Clinton told her “it was a video when they knew it was not a video” — and Ramos noted Hillary e-mailed Chelsea Clinton the night of the attack, telling her an Al Qaeda affiliate was responsible.

“Did you lie to” these families, he asked.

“She’s wrong, she’s absolutely wrong,” Clinton replied. “I and everybody in the administration, all the people she named, the president, the vice-president, Susan Rice, we were scrambling to get information that was changing literally by the hour. And when we had information, we made it public but then sometimes we had to go back and say we have new information that contradicts it.”

Clinton cited other terrorist attacks — the Marines barracks in Beirut, the embassy bombings in Africa, 9/11 — and lamented that “at no other time were those tragedies politicized.”

Ramos followed up, asking why she told Chelsea a different story. Clinton replied that this proved her point; at the time “a terrorist group had taken credit for the attacks on our facility in Benghazi; within 16, 18 hours, they rescinded taking credit. They did it all on social media, and the video did play a role.”
That is not even coherent. The fact that terrorists claimed responsibility justifies her blaming a video?

That is what she is reduced to - calling the mother of a man killed under her watch wrong for saying what it is absolutely clear Hillary did - blame a video when she knew it was a terrorist attack. Classy.

Aaron Goldstein writes at the American Spectator about Hillary's evoking of other terrorist attacks,
What utter bunk! It was clear from the get go that all three of the aforementioned attacks were acts of terrorism. Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Bush did not try to blame an internet video or otherwise deny terrorism had taken place. The same cannot be said of Benghazi.

But to add insult to injury, HIllary went on to claim that the internet video was partially responsible for the attacks and claimed the sole individual detained for the attacks said as much. Sure let's just take his word at face value.

And this attack just happened to take place on, of all dates, September 11th.

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This is what happens
when bureaucrats let partisanship trump everything else.
A former federal employee union president is wracked with regret because veterans likely died at a time when she knew about gross misconduct within her Department of Veterans Affairs facility but didn’t tell congressional leaders because they were Republicans.

“If I would’ve gone to him two years ago, who knows what kind of lives could’ve been saved,” Germaine Clarno told a radio interviewer Monday, referring to the Republican leader of a VA subcommittee. Clarno, a lifelong Democrat and social worker at the Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital in Hines, Ill., was president of the union representing doctors at the hospital as the deadly wait-time scandal unfolded....

Clarno’s tale of haunting regret is at least the second case of people connected with VA unions admitting they did not speak up about life-and-death issues because the idea of talking to a Republican was too distasteful....

Sen. Mark Kirk was the ranking Republican on the Senate VA Appropriations subcommittee when Clarno finally talked to him in 2013, and wielding the power of the purse, he immediately launched a crusade to expose wrong-doing at Hines.

But in the previous years, Clarno went instead to Democrats who were ill-positioned to do anything, and who indeed, did nothing. Clarno and Lisa Nee, a VA doctor she worked with, described their actions during the interview Monday with Illinois’ WLS-AM radio host John Howell.
HOWELL: Both [Sen. Dick] Durbin and [Rep. Tammy] Duckworth put out a statement last week, as did our junior senator Mark Kirk, who I know has been helpful to you, right doctor?

NEE: Yes. And I didn’t think he would be. He was the last resort.

HOWELL: And usually when a union has to go to Republicans it’s a frosty reception, I suppose.

CLARNO: Exactly. And if I would’ve gone to him two years ago, who knows what kind of lives could’ve been saved.

HOWELL: That’s a really sad aspect of this.

CLARNO: It is.
The women first went to Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat who represented the district that included Hines, but he was not on any committees with VA oversight authority. “Danny Davis was pretty apathetic not because he didn’t know what was going on but because he felt like their was nothing he could do,” Nee said in the interview.

The two women then went to Rep. Tammy Duckworth , a disabled veteran Democrat who also represents the area and was an official at VA before being elected to Congress, but since was a new lawmaker without leadership roles on any committees, she did not help. Clarno and Nee said Duckworth wouldn’t even read a report about the situation at Hines.

“It was really upsetting. This isn’t about, you know, whether you have a D or an R at the end of your name. This is about the VA, this is about protecting the men and women who fought for our country,” Clarno said....

A similar situation unfolded in Wisconsin, the site of VA’s Tomah hospital — known as “Candy Land” because its doctors doped up veterans with dangerous combinations of sedatives rather than treating their underlying conditions.

The Tomah VA employees union didn’t take complaints to Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, even though he is not only from Wisconsin, but is chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee with jurisdiction over management issues in government agencies.

“We didn’t even talk to Republicans then,” Lin Ellinghuysen, union president and past vice president, told the Wisconsin Watchdog.

But there is no remorse in Wisconsin. The union is now running ads against Johnson, faulting him for not acting on information he was never given.
Think of that. Better to let veterans die than tell Republican congressmen what was going on. And the Democrats she did go to didn't think to go talk to the Republicans who headed up the committee? There should be a special place in hell for everyone involved in the VA scandal. And the Democratic politicians who were informed of the problem and didn't work in a bipartisan way to investigate and clean it up should be burning there also.

The Obama administration is constantly surprised that the Iranians are treating them and the agreement they signed with disrespect.
As Iran's tyrants developed their nuclear program, they argued assiduously that it was not intended to intimidate neighboring countries.

To this day, Tehran's English-language diplomatic websites insist the "Iranian nuclear program is completely peaceful and has always been carrying out [sic] under supervision of the [International Atomic Energy Agency]. This program does not pose any threat to any country due to its peaceful nature. As the Great Leader and other high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran have repeatedly announced, WMDs including nuclear weapons do not have any place in Iran's defense doctrine."
What a shocker that the Iranians were lying about their motives! Who might have expected that? Certainly not Obama and John Kerry. And it's just been a few months since Obama signed off on the deal with Iran and Iran is already violating it.
Since Obama struck the deal, Iran has gone out of its way to confirm fears that it's untrustworthy. In October, it tested a ballistic missile that could reach Saudi Arabia and Israel, Iran's principal enemies respectively in the region and in eternity.

This Tuesday, Iran's state media announced that the government had tested a long-range ballistic missile, apparently in violation of United Nations resolutions.

Ballistic missiles do not have peaceful applications. They do not deliver foreign aid. They do not generate electricity. Their payloads are massively lethal. They have only two purposes, which are to make war on other countries and to substantiate threats against them.

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David Harsanyi reminds us that, for all their pearl-clutching at Donald Trump, Democrats have their own authoritarian impulse. They just think their motives are pure so it doesn't matter what methods they use.
We would never have to worry about a fascist presidency if we hadn’t degraded the process. So, needless to say, I had to blink heavily when reading a Christopher Hayes tweet that said:
In all seriousness, functioning democracies rely more on norms than laws and those norms are being degraded with terrifying abandon.
Liberals have spent years decimating norms of discourse. Pushing through a generational reform bill without half the country participating degrades the norms of democracy. When they lost Congress over this abuse, not only did they accuse Republicans of standing against the American people (even though the GOP kept expanding its majority) but said their position comprised nothing more than racism. Conservatives were no longer political opposition, they’re people who hate decency, democracy, the poor, the black, the infirm, America, and the system. As this thinking coagulated on the mainstream Left, Democrats had the moral justification to do what they liked.

Nearly the entire Obama presidency has been an exercise in figuring out ways to work around checks and balances. Unilaterally changing the status of millions of illegal immigrants because you can’t achieve your political goals may strike you as morally sound, but it oversteps any conception of executive power found in the Constitution. If you’re a fan of that executive action, you aren’t nervous about authoritarianism, you’re worried about how Trump would use it.

If you support a candidate like Hillary, who pushed the administration to get involved in the Libyan war without congressional approval, you’ll have little moral standing to be upset when Trump bombs people to “take their oil.” If you believe Obama has the right to assassinate suspected terrorists abroad without a trial, you have less authority to be upset when Trump threatens those associated with terrorists....

The progressive Left, once home of free-speech absolutism, is now home to safe spaces, microaggressions, IRS oversight of speech, and Justice Councils ferreting out thought crimes.

Democrats would be a lot more believable on Trump’s rise if they hadn’t succumbed to the cult of personality in 2008, which was no less creepy. The attacks on dissent, the chilling of speech (remember the White House’s efforts to collect “fishy” comments from dissenters; one could easily imagine Trump setting up the same thing of system), and the accusation of unpatriotic behavior were all unhealthy for a free society. Yes, Americans are increasingly willing to accept extraconstitutional government if it accomplishes the things they desire. That includes Democrats.

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Ah, the irony. Donald Trump loves to brag about his standing in the polls, but there is one set of poll numbers he doesn't mention.
In the lead with 34.9% of the votes cast so far, The Donald is increasingly talking about the general election, claiming he’s “won many polls, as you know, against Hillary Clinton.” That’s not true. In the Real Clear Politics average of national head-to-head matchups, Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Trump by 6.3 percentage points, winning 47.3% to his 41%. In the 49 national polls since the beginning of last May, he led her in five, was tied in two, and lost 42.

Mr. Trump is the only remaining GOP candidate who has never led Mrs. Clinton in the Real Clear average. By comparison, Mr. Kasich is ahead by 7.4 points, 47.7% to 40.3%; Sen. Marco Rubio is up by four points, 48% to 44%; and Sen. Ted Cruz leads by 0.8 points, 46.2% to 45.4%.
What change can we expect if Trump were to wrap up the GOP nomination and prepare to fight Hillary?
Mr. Trump suggests those numbers will improve when he begins attacking Mrs. Clinton in the general election: “I haven’t even started on her yet.” Then again, neither have Democrats started on him.

They will pummel him over his bankruptcies, this summer’s Trump University fraud trial, his crude and misogynistic statements, his nativism while hiring foreign workers, his imperious manner. These things may not matter to Mr. Trump’s die-hard Republican primary supporters; they will matter to swing voters in a general election.
I wish that his fervent supporters would pause for a minute to imagine a country with Hillary Clinton as president and then ponder the risks Republicans would face going into an election with him at the head of the ticket. Not only would we probably lose the White House, but the Senate would also be up for grabs. I can understand the anger about the Republican leaders in the Senate, but do they think it would be one bit better to have Hillary with a Democratic Senate running the show in Washington?

DaTechGuy explodes one of the left's favorite claims - that strict voter ID laws have limited voters from voting. He points out that some of the states with such laws have already voted and there doesn't seem to be any evidence of a dropoff in voting due to those laws.
In Texas one of the states listed as having these laws if we look at turnout in 2008 to 2016 (I use 2008 vs 2012 because of contested primaries in both parties) it’s pretty much a wash. 4,265,431 cast ballots in the primaries this year while in 2008 Dems & GOP drew 4,237,308 a tiny increase but certainly not a drop

Meanwhile in Virginia the number of votes went UP from 1.44 million to 1.79 mil (780K dems 1.019 mil gop) an increase of over 20%.

According to Vox this can’t be. Might it be that the cries of voter disenfranchisement is a bunch of bull?

Or put another way, I’ll believe requiring ID is discrimination when in our litigious society, banks and supermarkets are sued en masse for requiring them.

Closing thought: If this voter ID discrimination was actually legit given the Democrats well known patronage of the poor surely a portion of the hundreds of millions raised by the party and by Hillary could be used to help said poor acquire these free IDs? In fact as such expenditures could be done at the Party or even the super pac level our Democrat friends with the help of the Hollywood elite would easily be able to cover the minor transportation expenses involved and perhaps even a stipend to make up for a day’s lost work, of course as an ID is required to be hired at almost any job to fill out a W2, a person working by definition would already have an ID wouldn’t they?
Indeed. That is a good question.

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Donald Trump suddenly turned into a TV salesman hawking his Trump products at his victory speech on Tuesday night. But don't go trying to buy his products.
Donald Trump's Mini Tuesday victory press conference turned into something of a live infomercial last night when the GOP presidential candidate took the opportunity to pitch a number of his business ventures.

Wines were on display, as were water bottles and piles of raw steaks, with Trump claiming they were all examples of his "successful companies."

But that isn't necessarily the case. The majority of the products the real estate mogul highlighted are no longer being produced, aren't affiliated with him or were never available for sale publicly. Here's a look at some of the ventures Trump touted Tuesday -- and where they stand now:

The real estate mogul appeared to turn into a would-be butcher at last night’s event when he offered to sell Trump Steaks for $50. The catch? They didn’t appear to be Trump Steaks.

Some of the raw meat on display at Trump’s press conference Tuesday night still had the plastic wrappers on them, which appeared to have the name of a different Florida meat company, Bush Brothers.
The list of his failed product launches goes on and on. Perhaps he is hoping to relaunch those products on the heels of his campaign. Why not treat the presidency as just another way to boost his sales?

Michael Warren writes of Donald Trump's litany of lies from Tuesday.
Donald Trump began his post-primary press conference in Jupiter, Florida, Tuesday evening by castigating the “$38 million dollars worth of horrible lies" against him by his political opponents over the last week. But in true Trump form, the GOP frontrunner delivered a litany of lies, falsehoods, and misleading statements of his own. Oh, and that $38 million figure Trump cited? It's made up.

Mitt Romney's speech last week blasting Trump for his underwhelming business record seems to have gotten under the candidate's skin, and so Trump spent much of his Tuesday-night appearance boasting about his successes. Over at Mashable, Jonathan Ellis documents how much of what Trump said was simply wrong.

Trump Steaks? A defunct brand since 2007 that sold poorly in the first place, which explains why the meat being hawked at Trump National Golf Club as the real deal was actually from a local, non-Trump-affiliated butcher. Trump Water? Standard bottled water with the Donald's branding. Trump Magazine? The actual publication closed down years ago, and the magazine Trump waved around at his press conference is actually a "glorified brochure" for Trump's resort properties. Trump Airlines? Trump claims he sold it in a "great deal," but the Wall Street Journal showed his attempt in 1989 to transform Eastern Airlines's shuttle business into a luxury airline failed because it carried a "high debt load" and "eventually defaulted."

Trump Vodka? Trump dismissed Romney's criticism by ignoring it and talking instead about Trump Winery. To be fair, Trump Winery is a real, operating venture, but that's as far as the truth goes. Trump claimed to own the winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, "100 percent", but in fact Trump's son Eric is the actual owner and neither Trump himself nor his organization have no ownership or management role. And the winery isn't next to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, as he claimed Tuesday—that's in Washington, D.C. He was probably thinking of Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, Monticello, on which the memorial was modeled. And none of this addressed Trump Vodka, which is indeed defunct.
His lies just go on and on.
Trump described his Riverside South housing development on Manhattan as "one of the most successful projects in all of real estate." That's hard to believe. A recent New York Times article instead characterized Riverside South as a "low point" in Trump's New York real-estate career. The development, which stretches from 72nd Street to 59th Street along the Hudson River, "encountered ferocious opposition from neighborhood groups and city planners," the Times reported. "Saddled with debt, Mr. Trump in 1994 was forced to bring in outside investors and eventually lost control over the project, though he says he made money on it."
IF he'll lie about things big and small, why should anyone trust anything he says about anything?