Friday, June 10, 2016

Cruising the Web

Oh, please. Obama, to the surprise of no one, has endorsed Hillary Clinton and now he's trying to convince us that there's never "been someone so qualified to hold" the office of president. She was a First Lady whose major policy responsibility ended up in a fiasco not even brought up to a vote by a Democrat-controlled Congress. On the strength of sympathy for her as the scorned wife she was elected senator against weak opposition. She served for eight years in the Senate without having done anything there that anyone can remember. Then she served four years as Secretary of State and still has no accomplishments from that job that she can brag about. And this makes her the most qualified candidate ever? I know that Obama doesn't know much history, but this is just silly.

Think of what some of early presidents had accomplished. Washington kept an army together in very difficult circumstances throughout the war and was the most admired man in the country. John Adams' efforts during the Revolution helped to finance the war and he wrote the constitution of Massachusetts, a constitution still in effect today. Madison helped write the Constitution and then shepherded its ratification in Virginia while helping to write the Federalist Papers, the clearest statement of the meaning of the Constitution. He also served eight years as Secretary of State. John Quincy Adams was arguably the most successful Secretary of State in history. Although, he was never elected president, Henry Clay was one of the most important and consequential senators in our nation's history, crafting compromises time and again to hold the union together. In the 20th century, Herbert Hoover was credited with saving the lives of millions of people during and after World War One. Eisenhower led the efforts to win World War Two in Europe while maintaining smooth relations among allies and then served to lead NATO in its early years. George H.W. Bush had probably the best resume of any person in the modern age to run for president. Perhaps Barack Obama doesn't know what it means to be qualified to be president since he had one of the slimmest resumes when he won the presidency himself. But stop insulting our intelligence by pretending that being married to a former president somehow makes Hillary so very qualified.

Actually, looking back on this list, it doesn't seem as if there is much correlation between greatness in a president and the list of qualifications that he had before becoming president. On my list above, probably only Washington had a presidency whose greatness was matched by his leadership experience before the presidency. The presidencies of so many of these men didn't live up to the expectations people probably had for them based on their life experiences before the presidency.

And the man whom I regard as the greatest president by far - Abraham Lincoln - had one of the sparsest resumes of anyone to win the office.

It's almost as if people have to resort to hyperbole to talk about Hillary's supposed qualifications for the presidency because she has so few accomplishments which they could refer to.

Jim Geraghty explains
how Hillary Clinton throughout her career has made our politics worse.
The fact that Hillary Clinton is the first female to win a major party’s presidential nomination should not obscure the harm she’s done to our politics in her decades-long career. Arrogance, secrecy, mendacity, and implausible claims of victimhood will be her ultimate legacy.
He revisits the extraordinary ineptitude with which she conducted her leadership of Hillarycare.
The then–first lady legendarily dismissed businesses’ concerns about the costs her plan would impose. “I can’t be expected to go out and save every undercapitalized business in America,” she snorted.

Clinton blew off warnings from Democratic senators such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Bill Bradley that her proposal was headed for disaster. When Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala told her the same thing privately, she told Shalala she “was just jealous that [she] wasn’t in charge and that was why [she] was complaining,” according to Shalala’s assistant secretary.
Ah, there is the sort of interaction that qualified her to be the nation's top diplomat.
This us-against-the-world mentality was to be a hallmark of Clinton’s career in politics. Early in her husband’s administration, she determined that those who disagreed with her were her enemies, unworthy of cooperation or the truth, and she hasn’t changed her mind since.

In 1993, she chewed out Rahm Emanuel for inviting George H. W. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker, to the White House for a meeting to discuss the promotion of NAFTA. “What are you doing inviting these people in my home?” she asked, according to people familiar with the episode. “These people are our enemies. They are trying to destroy us.”

In the years since, she has spent a lot of time touting her ability to reach across the aisle, but the old fury slips out every now and then. In an October Democratic debate, asked for the enemy she’s proudest to have, she answered, “Probably the Republicans.”

....If you think of yourself as a victim, unjustly opposed by irredeemably evil foes, almost any act of retaliation — any lie, any violation of the law, any unsavory exercise of power — can be justified. That is as true now as it was in 1992, and given all we know of the Clintons now that we didn’t know then, there is no excuse for letting them anywhere near the White House ever again.

Having ridden into politics as a political spouse, I've never been all that impressed with Hillary's status as the first woman to win a major party's nomination. As the WSJ writes,
Even her claim as a political pioneer is half phony because she rose to power as a spouse. Many other women— Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel—have succeeded on their own account. A woman will become U.S. President, sooner rather than later, which may be why younger women are less motivated by the “first woman” narrative. The question they ask, more wisely than the Baby Boomers, is whether this woman should be President.
I can remember when students at Wellesley College protested when Barbara Bush was invited to be the commencement speaker in 1990. Their argument was that being married to a politician didn't make her worthy of being their speaker.
The 150 students, in a petition presented to Dr. Keohane last month, said: "Wellesley teaches that we will be rewarded on the basis of our own merit, not on that of a spouse. To honor Barbara Bush as a commencement speaker is to honor a woman who has gained recognition through the achievements of her husband, which contravenes what we have been taught over the last four years at Wellesley."
And now serving as First Lady helps make her the most qualified candidate ever. Amazing how that works.

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Guy Benson writes that the Democrats have the candidate that they deserve just as the Democrats say that the Republicans have gotten the candidate that they deserve.
This week, the same formulation applies to the Democrats. They've chosen the corrupt, opaque, power hungry, self-serving, aloof, greedy, politically soulless, congenital liar they so richly deserve.

In case it wasn't sufficiently beaten into your psyche with a rhetorical two-by-four last night, Hillary Clinton has made history. Indeed. She has become the first presidential candidate of either gender to clinch a major party's nomination while under active FBI investigation. That criminal probe -- not a "security review" as she and her campaign have wrongly claimed -- continues to produce serious new developments. Based on her deliberate, national security-endangering conduct, as well as a string of clues and actions by federal investigators, it is entirely possible that a recommendation for criminal prosecution will be handed down in the coming weeks. As America's top diplomat, Mrs. Clinton ordered the implementation of an improper email scheme that predictably culminated in the compromising of thousands of classified documents, including top secret and 'beyond top secret' material. She ignored specific, personal warnings from State Department security officials about her reckless arrangement in 2009 and 2011, using her shockingly unsecure system throughout her four-year tenure as a means of thwarting public records requests and wielding total control over her correspondence. When the existence of her private server was revealed, Clinton and her attorneys unilaterally deleted tens of thousands of messages, falsely stating that none of them were work-related. She has verifiably and flagrantly lied about virtually every aspect of this scandal from the very beginning....

She and her husband have also pocketed well over $100,000,000.00 in speaking fees since leaving the White House in 2001. The former president raked in record levels of honoraria while his wife was running the country's foreign policy, and his wife later made a killing from groups that opened their wallets wide to bankroll her addresses as they coincidentally sought to secure government contracts and grants. (links in original)
The problems with Hillary go on and on. I may be severely dismayed and saddened at my party's nominee, but I bet there are many, many Democrats who feel the same about their party's choice.

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Jonathan Turley looks at another university fraud scandal swirling around a presidential candidate. But this time, it's the Clintons at the center of the scandal.
However, the national media has been accused of again sidestepping a scandal involving the Clintons that involves the same type of fraud allegations. The scandal involves a dubious Laureate Education for-profit online college (Walden) and entails many of the common elements with other Clinton scandals: huge sums given to the Clintons and questions of conflicts with Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State. There are distinctions to draw between the two stories, but the virtual radio silence on the Clinton/Laureate story is surprising.
Really? I don't find it so surprising that the media focus on an admittedly sleazy operation that Trump ran and has kept in the headlines by his own behavior and ignore sleazy behavior by the Clintons. That is a pattern that we've seen for years with the Clintons. Sure, scandals get reported, but then they get dropped. Here are some more details.
Laureate Education was sued over its Walden University Online offering, which some alleged worked like a scam designed to bilk students of tens of thousands of dollars for degrees. Students alleged that they were repeatedly delayed and given added costs as they tried to secure degrees, leaving them deeply in debt. Laureate itself has been criticized for “turbocharging” admissions while allowing standards to fall and shortchanging education.

The respected Inside Higher Education reported that Laureate Education paid Bill Clinton an obscene $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014 to serve as an honorary chancellor for Laureate International Universities. Various news outlets said that neither Clinton nor Laureate were forthcoming on how much he was paid for the controversial association.

Bill Clinton worked as the “honorary chancellor” which sounds a bit like the group’s pitchman. He gave speeches in various countries and was heavily touted by the for-profit company to attract students. The size of this payment (which has been widely reported) raises obvious concerns as to what the company was seeking to achieve and whether Laureate received any benefit from the association with the State Department given its massive international operations.

Various sites have reported that the State Department funneled $55 million in grants during Hillary Clinton’s tenure to groups associated with Laureate’s founder. That would seem a pretty major story but virtually no mainstream media outlet has reported it while running hundreds of stories on the Trump University scandal.
What the heck is an "honorary chancellor"? Nice work if you can get it. Bloomberg reported on the connections between Hillary's State Department and Laureate University.
A Bloomberg examination of IYF’s public filings show that in 2009, the year before Bill Clinton joined Laureate, the nonprofit received 11 grants worth $9 million from the State Department or the affiliated USAID. In 2010, the group received 14 grants worth $15.1 million. In 2011, 13 grants added up to $14.6 million. The following year, those numbers jumped: IYF received 21 grants worth $25.5 million, including a direct grant from the State Department.
I'm sure that the timing is just a coincidence. The Clintons would, of course, never cash in on political office to make money from someone or some organization of questionable probity, would they?

Ah, diplomacy Obama-style.
One of the unexpected results of President Barack Obama's new opening to Iran is that U.S. taxpayers are now funding both sides of the Middle East's arms race. The U.S. is deliberately subsidizing defense spending for allies like Egypt and Israel. Now the U.S. is inadvertently paying for some of Iran's military expenditures as well.

It all starts with $1.7 billion the U.S. Treasury wired to Iran's Central Bank in January, during a delicate prisoner swap and the implementation of last summer's nuclear deal to resolve a long-standing dispute about the Iran's arms purchases before the revolution of 1979.

For months it was unclear what Iran's government would do with this money. But last month the mystery was solved when Iran's Guardian Council approved the government's 2017 budget that instructed Iran's Central Bank to transfer the $1.7 billion to the military.

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The Democrats' favorite big investment bank has some bad news about Obamacare.
Obamacare is forcing hundreds of thousands of people into part-time work, according to a new analysis from the bank Goldman Sachs.

In a research note sent out Wednesday, bank economist Alec Phillips concluded that "the evidence suggests that the [Affordable Care Act] has at least modestly elevated involuntary part-time employment." He wrote that a "few hundred thousand" workers may have had their hours cut or been forced to take part-time jobs because of the law.
Of course. Democrats might think that people don't respond to financial disincentives, but if employers have to provide health insurance if they have more than 50 full-time workers, some employers that employ close to those numbers will decide to shift some employees to part-time in order to not have to provide insurance.

More Obama policies that have led to fraud:
The federal subsidy known as the "Obamaphone" or "Obamanet" program could be losing nearly $500 million to fraud annually, according to a top Republican on the Federal Communications Commission.

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James O'Keefe has gone undercover again, this time with officials of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers. The leaders of the teachers union were filmed giving advice on how someone they were told had hit a student could hang onto the job.
Unaware they’re being filmed, Puleo and her deputy Paul Diamond look utterly unconcerned about harm to the student as they focus on helping the “teacher” keep his job.

Not once in the 17-minute video does Puleo or Diamond talk of notifying authorities about the child abuse. They, instead, pretend to discuss a theoretical situation — plainly, to protect themselves from officially learning damning details — and suggest scenarios where the “teacher” can come out OK.

But there’s nothing theoretical in their reflexive response to protect a teacher at the expense of a student. Puleo even suggests concocting a story about the teacher’s relatives being kidnapped by Mexican drug dealers — so he can file a (false) family- leave request to cover his absence.

Never even mentioned is the idea that a teacher who crossed the line might . . . report the truth and take his lumps.
If this undercover video is like other ones that O'Keefe has done, expect for more such videos to come out with other teachers union officials behaving similarly without any concern about the quality of the teachers.

Does this report surprise anyone?
Migrants in Germany committed or tried to commit some 69,000 crimes in the first quarter of 2016, according to a police report that could raise unease, especially among anti-immigrant groups, about Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal migrant policy.

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More and more bad news is coming out about Trump's business history. USA Today is reporting on all the ordinary people that Trump didn't pay for doing work for him.
Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will "protect your job." But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans, like the Friels, who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.

At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages.
How ironic that the guy who sells himself as out to help the little man has so often screwed over the little guy.