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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cruising the Web

While the country is mesmerized by the whole Trump phenomenon, Bernie Sanders keeps on defeating the new Chosen One in state after state. It's not clear how much of the votes for Sanders are for him personally or votes against Hillary. He's benefited from being the only one going against her for most of the primary season with such nonentities as Jim Webb and Martin O'Malley dropping out early. She would have been much luckier if she could have faced a field of seventeen like Trump. But Bernie has been plugging away and serving as a stand-in for voters who wanted to register their dislike of Hillary. His argument was certainly helped by new poll numbers showing Trump holding his own against Hillary in some key states.

So now Democratic leaders are rushing to appease Sanders and his followers because they certainly don't want this to happen:
Some of Sanders’ staffers and volunteers have even drawn up a plan for the Vermont senator to hold an alternate “convention” if he fails to win the nomination, Politico reported Wednesday night. The early draft notes, however, that Sanders’ ultimate goal would be to defeat Trump at all costs.
And Sanders is fed up with reporters taking Hillary's side when they ask him questions.
Meanwhile, Sanders chafed at a question about Clinton facing attacks both from him and Trump.

“Oh, really? . . . In every state that we have won, in 19 states, we have had to take on the entire Democratic establishment. We have had to take on senators and governors and mayors and members of Congress, so please do not moan to me about Hillary Clinton’s problems,” Sanders said in a MSNBC interview.
So they're scrambling to give him a few Hillary crumbs like a floor speech at the convention and some say in the platform if he'll just endorse Hillary when it's all done. He's been an iconoclast all his life. Will a prime-time speech be enough for him now that he's making complaints all the time about how the system was rigged against him? Just imagine what the Democratic race would look like today if there were no superdelegates pumping up Hillary's delegate count. He's only a few hundred behind her in the bound delegates with several key races left to go. It's the superdelegates that are preserving her candidacy. They're fulfilling their role of preventing the party from nominating someone with no chance of winning. However, is Clinton really the stronger candidate against Trump? The polls certainly don't indicate that.

President Obama's administration continues to ignore the Supreme Court's limitation on its regulatory powers as well as Congress's power of the purse.
Whether it’s gun control, health care reform, climate change, or a host of other issues, President Barack Obama does not follow the law if it conflicts with his policy preferences. While Obama is not unique in this regard, he has taken ignoring the oath U.S. presidents take to uphold and faithfully execute the Constitution and the laws of the United States to a whole new level.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court set aside the Obama administration’s far-reaching Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations targeting mercury and other emissions from coal-fired power plants.

When EPA initially drafted the rule early in the Obama’s first term, it considered mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants as a “proxy” for limiting carbon dioxide. After it became clear Congress would not pass cap-and-trade legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions, the White House decided to act administratively to limit greenhouse gases through the backdoor.

The Supreme Court ruled in Michigan v. EPA the agency should have taken into account the cost to utilities, consumers, and others before deciding to implement the regulation. EPA’s failure to conduct a cost-benefit analysis violated the Clean Air Act, the court ruled.

Writing for the majority, the late Justice Antonin Scalia stated, “It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars of economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits. Statutory context supports this reading.”

Essentially giving the Court what amounts to the middle finger, in December 2015 the EPA decided to enforce the rule despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. It made this decision after a perfunctory review was released stating the benefits of the rule exceed the costs, a conclusion it came to by narrowly defining what counts as “costs” — ignoring the loss of human life, job losses, and lost income its own calculations indicate would occur.

More recently, contrary to the law, the U.S. State Department announced it had delivered $500 million to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF), a program intended to bribe the leaders of developing countries not to use fossil fuels.

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were outraged by this announcement, since Congress had not approved funding for GCF.
Hey, why pay attention to the Supreme Court or Congress when there is an environmental agenda to impose? In liberals' eyes, that certainly should triumph over any pesky checks-and-balances nonsense.

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Well, there goes another Trump flip-flop. Now he's saying that one of his signature positions on which he rode to the nomination, banning Muslims from entering the U.S. was "just a suggestion."
“We have a serious problem. It’s a temporary ban. It hasn’t been called for yet. Nobody’s done it. This is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on,” Trump said.

But Trump didn’t mince words in linking Muslims to the proliferation of terrorism around the world.

“We have radical Islamic terrorism all over the world. You can go to Paris, you can go to San Bernardino, all over the world: If they want to deny it, they can deny it. I don’t choose to deny it,” he said.

Trump’s comments came one day after he claimed he would make an “exception” for London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, to enter the U.S.

“There will always be exceptions,” he told The New York Times on Tuesday, while adding he was happy Khan was elected in the city....

Later on Wednesday, Fox News' Greta Van Susteren also asked about Trump's immigration plans, including forming a commission to work on his proposed Muslim ban.

“I’m looking at it very strongly with Rudy Giuliani heading it,” Trump said.

“I’ve spoken to him a little while ago. We’re going to put together a group of five or six people. Very, very highly thought of people, and I think Rudy will head it up, and we’ll look at the Muslim ban."

Allahpundit scoffs
at Donald Trump's proposal to ask Rudy Giuliani to head up a commission on immigration and whether or not to admit Muslims. As Allahpundit points out, Giuliani has taken the sorts of positions on immigration issues that would drive immigration hawks crazy.
Hilarious. Fun fact: Border hawks have long distrusted Giuliani on immigration issues, for very good reason. As mayor, he made New York a sanctuary city and defended benefits for illegals. He shifted to a more hardline stance when he ran for president in 2007 (Rudy was the original centrist authoritarian GOPer from NYC) but Republican voters are usually rightly skeptical of the sincerity of conveniently timed conversions by presidential candidates on this issue....Yet here’s Trump, the immigration warrior-king (who, let’s not forget, attacked Romney’s self-deportation policy in 2012 as “mean-spirited”), ready to put Giuliani in a position of power on his signature issue.
And Giuliani criticized Trump's idea of banning all Muslims and has spoken about how important it was that we didn't turn against Muslims after 9/11. So if you're one of those people who supported Trump because you loved his stance on immigration and banning Muslims, how do you feel about putting someone you probably regard as a squish on the issue in charge of his policy? How do you feel that he now says the proposal to ban Muslims was "just a suggestion"? Or do his supporters just love him because of the cult of personality and not care about what he actually says about anything?

Also, when a politician starts talking about setting up a commission to address a difficult policy issue, I just figure he's outsourcing difficult decisions because he can't get anything done. So setting up a commission is a good way to kick the can down the road while pretending to actually be doing something.

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Trump is now saying that won't release his tax returns until his audit is finished, although experts all say that there is no reason why an audit should prevent anyone from making his tax returns public. John Fund explains why it would be so risky for Republicans to allow him to take the nomination without having released those forms. A friend reportedly asked Trump what he would do his his returns leaked before the election just as the IRS did to Romney in 2012. Trump's response was that he'd just deny that those were his forms. Of course, Trump's first inclination is to lie to the public. So there must be some reason why Trump refuses to release his forms even though he said in his campaign that he would.
The answer could lie in Trump’s 40-year business career, during which he has assembled an empire of great complexity along with a record of serial credibility problems. In other words, he often “makes stuff up.” This is a man who said under oath, in a 2008 deposition in an ultimately failed $5 billion libel suit Trump launched against Timothy O’Brien, a reporter for the New York Times at the time: “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.” Trump also claimed that land in Westchester County, N.Y., had doubled in value over the course of a year. “Do you have any basis for that view other than your own opinion?” he was asked. His response: “I don’t believe so, no.”

As my NRO colleague Jim Geraghty has noted: “Trump’s wealth’s a key part of his public image, his status in the eyes of his fans, and his self-image.” O’Brien believes Trump doesn’t want to release his returns because they would show a far smaller income than he has claimed. The heart of Trump’s lawsuit against O’Brien was this statement from O’Brien’s book TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald (2005):
Three people with direct knowledge of Donald’s finances, people who had worked closely with him for years, told me that they thought his net worth was somewhere between $150 million and $250 million. By anyone’s standards this still qualified Donald as comfortably wealthy, but none of these people thought he was remotely close to being a billionaire.
Trump claimed the disparagement of his net worth damaged his reputation. He spent millions on the libel case, which dragged on for years because, O’Brien said, “he wouldn’t turn over the tax returns, then the tax returns came in almost so completely redacted as to be useless.”

A New Jersey superior-court judge concluded that Trump was an untrustworthy source of financial data on himself. That decision was upheld by a three-judge appeals court, which noted that the “materials that Trump claims to have provided to O’Brien were incomplete and unaudited.” The court then went on to quote a Fortune magazine article detailing numerous examples of Trump’s exaggerating about his wealth.
And there could be other problems.
Tax lawyers tell me that it is “extremely rare” to have been audited for twelve straight years, as Trump claims he was, and that such a position is probably explained by his being very aggressive in his tax stance. Writing in Forbes this month, Robert Wood, a tax lawyer in San Francisco, said that Trump could take a building that is appreciating in real dollar value and “write-off a piece of its value every year as if it were going down in value” (his emphasis). Trump once boasted at a dinner party that, like Warren Buffett, he paid an effective tax rate that was less than what his secretary paid — perfectly legal, but not something that might be explained away after hundreds of 30-second attack ads.

Then there is charity. “It is possible that his tax returns will reveal that he is not generous generally, or not generous specifically with respect to causes — like veterans — that Mr. Trump suggests he supports,” Wood wrote. Trump might also have problems with overseas tax shelters. He has already admitted that much of his clothing line was made overseas and that he exploited a loophole in immigration law to bring in foreign workers for his Mar-a-Largo club in Florida.
Republicans would be taking a big gamble on nominating a candidate with, as Fund writes, such potential landmines out there. Fund recommends that GOP delegates say that they will withhold their vote for him on the first ballot unless he releases those forms.

Just in case anyone thought that Trump's excuse about not releasing his tax returns while being audited was in any way legitimate, remember that he has released those returns, even while he was being audited, when there was money on the line.
Trump has handed over tax returns in the midst of audits before -- to state gambling officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as part of the process of seeking casino licenses in those states.

The returns haven't been publicly accessible, but they were used by the state investigators who reviewed those applications.

In Pennsylvania, Trump's attorneys included tax returns from 2000 through 2004 in a set of documents that the state's Gaming Control Board stamped as "received" on February 9, 2006.

It came as Trump attempted to build a casino in Philadelphia -- a project that state officials ultimately rejected amid fears he'd use it to lure gamblers across state lines to his properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the tax rate is lower.

He was required to turn over tax returns in New Jersey, as well, where state law requires five years' worth of tax returns from casino license applicants. A spokesman for the New Jersey Casino Control Commission confirmed that Trump's tax returns were mandatory, but said they'd only have been made public if they were introduced as evidence in court proceedings over casino licenses -- which didn't happen in Trump's case.
At least some of the federal and state tax returns he gave Pennsylvania were the subject of ongoing audits at the time. Trump in March released a letter from his attorneys saying that every tax return he's filed since 2002 was audited, and the returns for 2009 and every year since are still the subject of ongoing audits.

And if you think that there won't be some leak about his taxes or other private scandals, the Washington Post is on the job to see that this happens.
The Washington Post has built a sizable army of reporters to dig into every facet of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's life, urged on by new owner Jeff Bezos to reveal everything about the potential nominees.

Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward revealed Wednesday that the Post has assigned 20 staffers to Trump. In addition the paper plans a book.

"There's a lot we don't know," he told the National Association of Realtors convention in Washington. "We have 20 people working on Trump, we're going to do a book, we're doing articles about every phase of his life," he added.

Woodward, who has interviewed Trump, said that he has begun looking into Trump's New York real estate deals. "The New York real estate world is more complex than the CIA," he said.

On Wednesday, the Post poured on several Trump stories, including a deep dig into his sex talk on radio host Howard Stern's show.
Notice how they didn't do this earlier when Trump first started doing well in the polls. And I wonder how many reporters they have on the Clintons.

In addition to not releasing his tax returns, Trump has also said that he won't invest in a major data-driven effort to mobilize voters to turn out to vote. He just doesn't see the point in using the sort of data-driven operation to turn out voters as Obama did so successfully in 2008 and 2012. Jim Geraghty is dumbfounded by Trump's rejection of what has proven so successful in the past.
Someone tell me – what’s the downside of having a sophisticated data operation to identify, target, persuade and mobilize voters? The Democrats’ analysis of what went right for them in 2008 concluded that registered voters contacted by the member groups of Catalyst, their primary data analysis company, turned out at a rate of 74.6 percent; the voters who weren’t turned out in proportions roughly equivalent to the national average — about 60.4 percent.

Then in 2012, when the traditional turnout models forecast a Romney win, the Obama campaign went out and did it again. They went out and found unregistered voters who would be likely to vote for them and got them registered and mobilized...

Then throughout the fall campaign they knew exactly where they stood in just about every demographic imaginable...

This isn’t to say a data-driven turnout operation is a magic bullet; it’s a tool. In a close race, it could be decisive, but most years it is just going to be one of many factors. But why would Donald Trump, or any other candidate not want to have this tool? Even if Trump thinks he doesn’t need it, wouldn’t any little turnout nudge be helpful for any down-ticket Republican? (Ah, there’s my mistake. Trump doesn’t care about down-ticket Republicans.)

After 2012, Republicans looked at the Obama campaign’s data-driven turnout operation and said, “we need one of those.” Why are they choosing to un-learn one of the big lessons of the most recent defeat?
Reince Priebus has worked very hard to develop such a system and it could be used for the Trump campaign as well as for other Republican candidates this Fall. So maybe Trump is just trying to save money by figuring he'd piggyback on what the GOP already has. I suspect there is also a large degree of hubris in Trump's decision. (And when is that not true for anything he does?) He probably figures that he did so well in the primaries without such an operation, why would he need one now? However, the electorate in the general election is so different from the primaries that he shouldn't pooh-pooh the value of having an up-to-date turnout system.

Chris Cillizza thinks that Republicans should be very worried about Trump's remarks about not using data to increase voter turnout. What Trump has said about this indicates how clueless he is about how to conduct a general election.
The worst of Trump’s assertions is that data — and the science that analyzes it to produce targeted messaging and get-out-the-vote operations — isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “I’ve always felt it was overrated,” Trump told the AP. “Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me.”

Hmmm. First of all, I am pretty sure the Obama team didn’ use a “data processing machine.” And the fact that Trump calls it that suggests he has no earthly idea what data mining, microtargeting and the thousands of other ways that data can inform campaign decisions actually are or do. (Sidebar: This is a good time to recommend you read Sasha Issenberg’s brilliant “The Victory Lab” on how big data is changing politics.)
I highly recommend the book. It's a fascinating, yet somewhat creepy, look at how marketers and hence political operatives can target voters using publicly available data to pinpoint the concerns that individuals have.
“My best investment is my rallies,” Trump told the AP. “The people go home, they tell their friends they loved it. It’s been good.”

Er. Um. Okay.

Big rallies are a nice thing if you can make them happen. They make for great images on cable TV. But big rallies are not only of relatively limited value as a turnout mechanism but also lose even more of their value in a general election as the electorate expands drastically.

To the first point: If giant rallies were conclusive determinants of outcomes, Bernie Sanders would have locked up the Democratic primary nomination months ago. There is, without question, value in getting people to turn out to an event. But big rallies are simply not directly correlated to winning primaries or caucuses. And, to the extent big rallies do matter, it is as a data collection opportunity. Trump isn’t terribly interested in that piece of the campaign, as we’ve already established.

To the second point: Trump has now won just south of 11 million votes across the 43 states that have voted. In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney won 60.9 million votes. Barack Obama won almost 66 million.

While Trump allies can make the point that California, the most populous state in the country has yet to vote, it’s hard to see him getting to 15 million total votes by the time the seven remaining contests close on June 7. Which means that Trump will have won less than one-quarter the number of votes that Romney got in a convincing loss to Obama in 2012.

Assuming that because large campaign rallies fueled your primary wins they can do the same in a general election is a major mistake. Think of it this way. A kid from a town of 3,000 is the best basketball player in that town. When he moves to a city of 300,000, it is unlikely that, without major upgrades in his game, he will again be the best. What worked for him in the town of 3,000 won’t work in the city 100 times that size. Unless, of course, the kid is LeBron James or some similar once-in-a-generation talent who is not only the best in a town of 3,000 or a city of 300,000 but in a nation of 300 million.

Trump’s bet on crowds as his key to victory is, essentially, a bet that he is the political LeBron James. That he alone among politicians can scale from 13 million votes to 65 million votes using the exact same tactics and strategy. There is, of course, the possibility that he’s right. But he’s probably wrong.

If I were a Republican elected official in a swing state up for reelection this November or a party strategist charged with keeping control of the House or the Senate, Trump’s AP interview would scare the heck out of me. Dismissing data, elevating and over-inflating the importance of big campaign rallies and, more broadly, expressing supreme confidence that the way he won the GOP primary can win him the general election as well are all decidedly dicey propositions.
Remember, this is the guy who didn't know how the delegate process worked at the convention. He didn't know what the term "ground game" meant. If he is so ignorant as to think he can win the general election just repeating his strategy in the nomination fight, he really needs to spend some of the wealth he likes bragging about to buy a clue.

Given how much Trump has flip-flopped already, it's helpful to have a list predicting what issues he'll pull a switcheroo on in the future.
It’s been just over a week since Donald Trump won the Indiana primary, essentially clinching the Republican nomination by forcing his final two Republican rivals out of the race. Since then, the real estate billionaire has already reversed his stance on the minimum wage, self-funding his campaign and lowering federal tax rates for wealthier Americans (though he now claims people simply misunderstood him on that one). (Links in original)
Jamie Weinstein has a list of such issues and predicts that we'll see Trump reverse himself on immigration, taxing the wealthy, abortion, and gay marriage. These are all issues on which he used to hold the opposite view and then switched in order to tickle the fancy of Republican voters in the primaries. So don't be surprised if we see him switching back to the position that he had always held before when he was really a Democrat.

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Angela Epstein, a British woman who is Jewish, explains why the anti-Semitism of Europe leads her to support Brexit.

Kevin Williamson comments on cities like Austin, Texas that have banned Uber.
The anti-Uber forces in Austin claim, predictably, that this isn’t about protecting a politically influential taxi cartel and its generous campaign donations, but about taking a stand against the Ayn Rand–style unregulated capitalism endured by the poor, oppressed people of . . . the Upper West Side, Zurich, and Copenhagen. This is pure poppycock. As our friend Avik Roy points out, the same city council that is demanding criminal background checks on Uber drivers had, only six weeks before, prohibited other companies from asking job applicants about their criminal histories. This isn’t about safety — it’s about the taxi racket and the gentlemen who operate it, an old-fashioned Democratic interest group.
He points to a study that having Uber reduces drunk driving and Austin has a particularly bad problem with drunk driving. But preventing accidents from drunk driving doesn't trump the need to protect higher taxi prices.
Drunk driving is something to think about. But in the end, this isn’t a question of cost-benefit analysis. It’s a matter of transit relations between consenting adults’ being not one damned bit of the Austin city’s council’s business. Uber connects people who need rides with people who need money. It isn’t perfect, but perfection need not be our standard — not if you’ve ever tried to get a taxi in Murray Hill at 5 p.m. Is ride-sharing better than the status quo? How about we let people decide for themselves, like adults?

John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist details how groups united to throw Uber and Lyft out of Austin.
. Just like in most cities, it’s hard to imagine a more corrupt collusion of local government and special interests than the local taxi cab cartel, where three cab companies hold every city permit and a single company, Yellow Cab, owns 68 percent of them.

But anti-corporate rhetoric plays well in Austin, so ridesharing opponents pushed it as far as they could. They claimed that Uber and Lyft “exploit” their drivers because as private contractors they don’t get benefits and don’t have control over rates, which are set by each ridesharing company according to demand. Taxi cab rates, by contrast, are set by the city based on the whim of municipal bureaucrats.

What was lost in the debate over Prop 1 is the degree to which cab drivers are actually exploited. According to a 2010 report on Austin’s taxi industry, the average cabbie in Austin works more than 12 hours a day, 6.5 days a week, makes $2.75 an hour, and takes home $200 a week before taxes. Taxi drivers have no insurance or benefits and no say in city ordinances that regulate the industry. You know who does have a say? The “franchise holders”—cab companies the city has issued permits....

It seems like every time the free market comes up with something really useful that solves problems and that people really want, whether it’s e-cigs or ridesharing, petty bureaucrats come up with an excuse to kill it. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s almost like they don’t care about solving these problems.
I thought that liberals were all about choice. Commercial choices, however, don't seem to be on the agenda for many liberals.

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Historian and Reverend Wilson D. Miscamble, who has written a book on the decision to drop the atomic bomb, The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan, writes about what Obama could learn from Truman.
Mr. Obama should appreciate well that all the viable alternative scenarios to secure American victory—continued conventional bombing of Japanese cities and infrastructure, a choking and lengthy naval blockade, the likely terrible invasions involving massive firepower—would have meant significantly greater casualties on both sides. They would have included thousands of Allied prisoners of war whom the Japanese planned to execute in the event of invasion.

American military estimates at the time were for over half a million U.S. casualties alone. And hard as it may be to accept when one sees the terrible destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese losses would have been far greater without the bombs.

Using these weapons also freed innocent peoples throughout Asia from Japanese oppression. Japan’s murderous rampage from Manchuria to New Guinea killed 17 million to 24 million. Estimates are that for each month of 1945 the war continued, upward of 250,000 innocents died. These facts surely shouldn’t be forgotten when President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lay their wreaths.

Truman’s authorization to use the A-bombs should be seen as his choosing the least awful of the options available. He didn’t turn his back on some obvious and feasible “moral” course of action that would have secured a Japanese surrender. Even in retrospect, far removed from the pressures that Truman faced in 1945, his critics can offer no serious and persuasive alternatives.

Harry Truman of Independence, Mo., tried to live by a moral code grounded in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Yet he also knew that statesmen must make difficult decisions in the fog of war. Perhaps Truman had the A-bomb in mind when he wrote 15 years later that “sometimes you have a choice of evils, in which case you try to take the course that is likely to bring the least harm.”

One suspects that Mr. Obama will have regular recourse to Truman’s defense when responding to the critics who blame him for the costly failure of his policy in the Syrian civil war, in which 400,000 lives have been lost, or his inability to halt the terrible genocide of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

However that may be, when Mr. Obama visits Hiroshima on May 27 he should place no distance between himself and Harry Truman. Rather he should pay tribute to the president whose actions brought a terrible war to an end.
Meanwhile, the WSJ muses on the speech that Obama definitely won't give at Hiroshima about the value of Obama's at-any-cost efforts to create a nuclear-free world.
Unfortunately, as I’ve learned the hard way, a nuclear-free world cannot be achieved merely through summits and the good will of democratically elected leaders. On the contrary, it seems that every time democracies seek to disarm, autocratic regimes accelerate their military designs.

North Korea continues to make strides toward miniaturizing an atomic warhead that can fit atop ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan and the United States. Despite my effort at a diplomatic reset, Russia has tested intermediate-range cruise missiles in violation of its treaty obligations, and it may soon withdraw from the 1996 nuclear test ban to field a new class of weapons. China is in the midst of an extensive nuclear modernization, as is India.

Pakistan has significantly increased its nuclear arsenal, despite that country’s internal volatility. Our deal with Iran has not stopped it from testing long-range missiles whose likeliest military purpose is to deliver a nuclear warhead. Prominent Saudis have discussed acquiring their own nuclear weapons....

Intellectual honesty compels me to admit that arms-control agreements have done little to prevent this. President Clinton believed his 1994 deal offering economic aid for disarmament promises would prevent North Korea from getting a bomb, but it failed. I would like to think my deal with Iran won’t suffer the same fate, but that’s no certainty. Some countries can’t be trusted to keep their word, especially when they pay a negligible price for breaking it.

I also placed too much hope in my belief that, by slashing America’s arsenal and deferring investment in nuclear modernization, other countries would do the same. Instead, the U.S. now has an aging and possibly unreliable stockpile of weapons while adversaries race ahead. My successor will have to make a nuclear upgrade a priority, assuming we intend to maintain a safe and credible deterrent.

But perhaps my biggest mistake was thinking that the central problem of nuclear weapons is the weapons themselves. The real question is the character of those who possess them. Nuclear weapons pose no threat to global security when they are held by mature democracies such as the U.S. and Great Britain. They are dangerous when dangerous regimes get them. I hope I offend nobody in this audience when I say it’s a blessing that in 1945 it was the United States, and not its enemies, that had the bomb. And let’s never forget that my great Democratic predecessor, Harry Truman, used the bomb to end a war we did not start.

People of Hiroshima: We live in a nuclear age, and it would be dishonest to pretend that we will soon return to a time when we didn’t. The responsibility of democratic statesman isn’t to promote dreams about a nuclear-free world, as I once did. It is to ensure that nuclear weapons serve the purposes of deterrence and peace, not terror and war. It took me the better part of my Presidency to learn that lesson, but I hope my successors learn from my experience.
Ah, if only Obama had indeed learned that lesson instead of doubling down on futile efforts to convince the bad guys that nuclear arms aren't in their best interests.

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Ah, the ingenuity and time that students are putting into cheating is quite impressive. Just think what they could do if they put that effort into actually learning the material. I do notice that the examples pictured in the article all seem to be some sort of math formulas. I suspect that it is more difficult to use such cheating methods if the test requires essays as all my exams do. Though I'm not sure how that observation helps the math teachers.


mark said...

Gotta love the irony. Once conservatives decided Romney wasn't so bad after all, they whined about the speculation regarding his taxes.
But for now, it's okay to insinuate that Trump is lying about his worth or is hiding a "bombshell". Even Romney is piling on, insinuating Trump has mafia-ties.
I'm sure once the anti-trump crowed embrace him, they'll go back to feigning outrage that anyone is questioning the his taxes. And then all we be right with the world again.

Jack Sherman said...

And I wonder how many reporters they working for the Clintons.


tfhr said...


Are you sure you're not confusing hypocrisy with irony?

Here's another one: How could somebody be critical of one candidate's rumored tax filings (either Romney or Trump) when the (inevitable) recipient of their 2016 vote will be the candidate currently under investigation for sleazy dealings involving her husband, her State Department tenure, and their corrupt foundation (tax shelter and slush fund)?

Rather than to worry about some sort of "embrace" for Trump by those that don't want to see him in the race, you should stop hugging yourself when it comes to Bill's doormat. You know you're a socialist, shouldn't you come out of the closet and back the guy that has the honesty to admit that he is too. Go feel up the Bern, mark. You know you want to.

mark said...

Oh crumpet,
As I predicted about a year ago, conspiracy-spewing, unprincipled disgraces such as yourself will likely make Hillary the next president.
Glad you're no longer defending the Donald. Had a change of mind about his plan to target women and children? His Muslim ban? Too bad. As the only "military-intelligence expert" who supported those policies, you carved out a nice niche for yourself.

tfhr said...

Oh Aqualung,

Shouldn't you be flipping a coin down at the bus station bathrooms? I hear there are lots of unaccompanied minors headed your way.

I've never supported Trump but I did attack you for going after candidates that actually said they were willing to fight ISIS. You, on the other hand, were happy to ignore the slaughter of innocent children at their hands while Obama ducked responsibility for his foreign policy failures in Iraq, Syria and Libya that lead to the murder and enslavement of hundreds of thousands.

Similarly you take this lame stab at supposed tax problems (specifics?) of one candidate while you turn a blind eye to Bill and Hillary. What cracks me up is that you're not honest enough to admit that you're a socialist after all of the other crap that you do take a "stand" for! I guess that puts perspective to where you know socialism stands in the rank order of things that are just so wrong.

mark said...

oh crumpet,
You certainly did defend Trump's call to ban Muslims and target children (as well as Cruz's call for carpet-bombing. And you did accuse our military leaders (Gates and MacFarland) of lying (playing politics).

No doubt you consider yourself clever with your repeated lies that I have sinister motives towards children. But it's just further evidence that you and every conservative here is an unprincipled coward.

tfhr said...

And you must be the "principled" coward, given your refusal to admit that you are a socialist though you are someone that will cheerfully exploit children or their remains for politics and political fund raising. Some principles you have, Aqualung.

I don't defend or support Trump. Why would I? He is not a conservative. Trump gave money to the Clintons and surprise, they took it! As for your statement about Gates - disagreeing with an idea does not make one a liar. I suppose your inability to grasp that idea is crucial for you to maintain steadfast loyalty to Obama and Clinton. It's certainly a necessity to be a socialist despite the massive failures of previous efforts by your fellow socialists.

I do support the idea of fighting a war to win it. I've noticed that Obama and his leftist ilk will vote to drop bombs and even put troops in harms way but when it becomes politically advantageous to bail, they drop their support, abandon the fight, the troops, and saddest of all, the innocent victims they leave to the hands of savages, JV team or not.

So mark, are you a socialist or not? And why are you sooo interested to import easily exploitable, unaccompanied children?

mark said...

Not sure why you pretend otherwise, crumpet, but you've asked and I've answered already: No, I'm not a socialist.

As far as I know, you've not supported Trump's candidacy, but you absolutely supported his call to target children and ban Muslims, two things roundly condemned by true military experts, of whom you accused of playing politics.

That you continue to take serious, difficult issues such as abortion and the refugee crisis and make insane, perverse accusations about using body parts or sexually-exploiting children says much about you and the other conservatives here who condone such noxious garbage.

tfhr said...


You're not a socialist? I think you are and you're just too deceitful to be up front and admit it, but if that's not the case, then maybe you can tell us the difference between a socialist and a Democrat? Hillary seemed to be stumped when asked. How about you?

tfhr said...


The Democratic Party lines its coffers with the proceeds from abortions performed by Planned Parenthood - then sends tax dollars back to the abortion mills in a nice, tidy business that keeps the cash flowing - just add babies. But you're offended by Trump's remarks! That's rich.

Deliberately targeting children on a battlefield - like a Dem looking to squeeeeze some campaign "contributions" from a poor neighborhood in a roundabout way - is a horror beyond comprehension. Our military would regard campaign hype like Trump's as an unlawful order if something like that were ever directed from the White House. Who among the left tells the abortion mills to stop the harvest? People, and I use that term loosely, like you stand up and shout your approval for the deliberate targeting of children - and for profit, no less.

As for killing children in a war zone - it happens everyday - but only Obama's JV team really wants to know the score. The left could care less.

We've been through this carpet bombing thing but you play dumb, it's a gift you have. Would you like to see a recent video of B-52s using non-precision guided bombs - in mass - against ISIS targets? Will you press for a war crimes trial for Obama? You're too late for FDR, Truman, and Johnson, so now's your chance!

As for blocking the entry in to the United States of unknowable persons - I do support that and if it includes Muslims, so be it. It's better than FDR locking up Americans of Japanese heritage, wouldn't you say? Blocking access of unidentifiable individuals after San Bernardino, after Paris and after Brussels seems pretty rational to me. Let me hear the argument that you would use to tell the surviving family members of those massacred in San Bernardino that they are racist for thinking that Mrs. Terrorist, Tashfeen Malik, should not have been in this country. Let's hear it. I'm sure you're not following that story but there's a pretty solid link to human trafficking in that case though I know you prefer to get the little ones traveling alone.