Friday, July 01, 2016

Cruising the Web

This interview by Christiane Amanpour with Daniel Hassan, a conservative Member of the European Parliament and a supporter of Brexit is a nine-minute encapsulation of how the biased media work. Amanpour has her idée fixe about how the vote to leave the EU was a racist campaign and that the pro-Leave leaders are already backtracking on their promises. She refuses to let Hannan actually answer her questions. Her proof that the whole campaign was about racism and immigration is to run a clip of three man-on-the-street interviews. Because that's clearly more scientific than actually quoting what Hannan has argued. She doesn't have anything to back up her accusations against him, just her little clip. She is not asking questions; she is arguing. Hannan does a very good job at refuting her accusations, but she just grins at the camera as if to say, "Can you believe this racist jerk dares to argue with me? Why, I'm Christiane Amanpour! That's all the evidence I need."

It's a perfect example of how members of the MSM choose to frame a story and then refuse to accept any other take on the reality that they have declared to be so. And, as Sarah Rumpf writes,
Besides the fact that Amanpour’s argument is profoundly unfair, it meant that she missed the opportunity to get answers about what Britain should expect from Brexit, from one of the core Leave campaigners, someone with a unique expertise from his years actually working in the European Parliament. The entire free world has been transfixed by this vote and the process, and she botched the chance at a truly historic discussion.
Why care about getting any information, when Amanpour is convinced that she knows everything already?

It wasn't enough that President Obama traveled to Britain to tell the Brits how they should vote on Brexit, but now our Secretary of State is sticking his nose into the delicate situation now in Britain as they prepare to exit from the EU.
The US secretary of state has raised doubts about whether Brexit will ever happen, suggesting most leave campaigners do not truly believe in Britain’s divorce from the EU and do not know how to achieve it.

Claiming there were a number of ways in which Thursday’s vote could be “walked back”, John Kerry, who visited Downing Street on Monday, said David Cameron was loth [sic] to invoke article 50, the EU exit procedure.

He said the British prime minister felt powerless to “start negotiating a thing that he doesn’t believe in” and “has no idea how he would do it”.
How helpful to have an American cabinet official give his meddling comments on internal British politics. Since Cameron was against exiting the EU, it is perfectly reasonable for him to hand off the job to his replacement. But who is Kerry to start wondering aloud whether Brexit would ever actually happen? When will politicians learn that publicly interfering in another nation's politics is never a good idea.

We've been enjoying Veep and all the back-stabbing that went on behind the scenes as Congress met to vote on who would be president. It sounds a bit like what has been going on to pick the new leader of the Conservative Party and next Prime Minister. It sounds like back-stabbing has become the story of the day. And no one knows who will come out on top. One day this will be a TV mini-series.

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You got to love liberals. They think that government can run so much of our economy and society, but it just can't fulfill FOIA requests that might make a Democrat look bad. And it's the one federal program for which they weren't ask for more funding.
State Department officials asked a judge Wednesday to push back by more than two years a deadline to produce emails from four of Hillary Clinton's top aides, a move that would delay the release of those records until just before the 2018 midterm elections.

But the request was not the first time the State Department attempted to stall the release of Clinton emails amid growing scrutiny of the presumptive Democratic nominee's tenure at the agency.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the International Business Times, the State Department moved earlier this month to avoid handing over Clinton's correspondence about the Trans-Pacific Partnership until after the election by requesting a deadline extension to Nov. 31—a day that, incidentally, does not exist.

The State Department told the Republican National Committee that it would have to wait 75 years to obtain the emails of just three of Clinton's top aides in another FOIA lawsuit. An agency spokesman later defended the seven-decade delay, denying that it was "outlandish."
How amazing that it should take the "most transparent administration in history" so long to publicize documents that might make Hillary Clinton look bad. This must be one of the few times when Democrats admit that there is something an all-powerful federal government can accomplish.

Just not the way security should be handled.
A Daily Mail Online investigation has found that a second firm - hired to store a back-up of Clinton’s secret server - was so lax in its security employees failed to change passwords frequently and left computers logged in, unattended for extended periods and its own clients stumbled upon other clients data.

Datto Inc, the company in question, was hired to store Hilary’s emails by Platte River, the mom-and-pop company contracted to maintain her 'homebrew' email system.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Mail Online on condition of anonymity, one former employee at Datto, said the company was woefully exposed to being hacked.

'If you're talking about high-level data security, at the political, presidential level, the security level of data [at Datto] hired by Platte River, was nowhere near something that could have been protected from a good hacker that knows how to spread out their points at which to infiltrate,' he said.
But that's the way Hillary rolls.

I get that it was extremely fishy that Loretta Lynch was meeting with Bill Clinton, but Republicans are making a mistake in demanding an independent prosecutor to investigate Hillary's special server. That would be just fine for Hillary since it would push back any report on Hillary's email scandal past the election. Even if a report came out exposing that Hillary broke the law after the election it wouldn't matter. If Hillary won, it would be a scandal for about a week and then it would be buried as old news and nothing would come of it. The only hope of the server story having an actual impact is if a report is allowed to come out before the election. I have no expectation that this administration would ever indict the Democratic nominee for president, but just the public report would at least give Republicans a line for attack to keep the story before the voters. An independent prosecutor would be just what Hillary needs to keep the story buried. And that's what the Clintons do best for any alleged malfeasance.

I love Peter Ingemi's response to the news that Lynch met with Bill Clinton.It's just corruption all the way down.

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Victor Davis Hanson exposes the projection that Obama was exhibiting as he ranted about politicians who label "us versus them." Since he ran for president in 2008, Obama has been pitting "us versus them" but he only seems to notice it when he's talking about Republicans.
I think it was Obama, however, who introduced into the 2008 campaign’s discourse the disparagement of the “clingers” of Pennsylvania, the stereotyping of his own grandmother as a “typical white person” and the police as typical racial profilers, and who urged his supporters to bring a gun to a knife fight and get in the “faces” of his opponents, and then later urged Latinos to punish “our enemies” at the polls — as well as other “take it to the other guy” rhetoric about Christians and their “high horse” morality and businessmen who deluded themselves into thinking that they built their own businesses.

And it was Obama who equated expectations that existing federal immigration laws should be enforced (as on over 20 pre-reelection occasions he himself lamented they had to be) with nativism and xenophobia. Those who opposed the sidestepping of congressional ratification of treaties and the Iran nuclear deal were written variously off by Obama as “armchair nuclear scientists” and promoting “the drumbeat of war,” while Iran’s fanatical theocratic hardliners were compared by the president to the Republican caucus. In short, what worries Obama is that he is the creator of Trump, that “Hope and Change” begat “Make America Great Again,” and that others wish to follow his own cue to bring their own guns to his vision of a knife fight and likewise to “get in their faces.” He fears faux-Greek columns and vero possumus will be trumped in Cleveland.
Jay Nordlinger adds in another example.
Let me add one. In the last presidential campaign, Obama ran an ad that said, “Mitt Romney. Not one of us.”

Yup, that is true — if by the ad you meant that Romney is very, very different from Obama. He is an excellent man who would make an excellent president.

James Sherk point
s to a story in the WSJ about how unions are using government pension investments as political weapons. Teacher union leaders are using pension funds to punish hedge fund operators who support charter schools.
retirement cutbacks; a billboard over Times Square
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, sees some proposals by hedge-fund managers to overhaul public schools as an attack on teachers.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, sees some proposals by hedge-fund managers to overhaul public schools as an attack on teachers. PHOTO: JESSE NEMEROFSKY/ZUMA PRESS
Updated June 28, 2016 11:28 a.m. ET
Daniel Loeb, Paul Singer and dozens of other hedge-fund managers have poured millions of dollars into promoting charter schools in New York City and into groups that want to revamp pension plans for government workers, including teachers.

The leader of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, sees some of the proposals, in particular the pension issue, as an attack on teachers. She also has influence over more than $1 trillion in public-teacher pension plans, many of which traditionally invest in hedge funds.

It is a recipe for a battle for the ages.

Ms. Weingarten started by targeting hedge-fund managers she deemed a threat to teachers and urged unions to yank money from their funds. Then she moved to Wall Street as a whole....

Some pension funds have withdrawn money from hedge-fund managers criticized by the teachers union. And some hedge-fund managers stopped making donations to advocacy groups targeted by Ms. Weingarten.

Hedge funds, reluctant to buckle to the pressure, say Ms. Weingarten is doing a disservice to the teachers she represents, because funds should aim solely to earn the highest possible return on their assets. The personal beliefs or donations of hedge-fund managers, they argue, shouldn’t be a factor in that decision. At least one manager, Mr. Loeb of Third Point LLC, has increased his donations to a charter-school group, citing Ms. Weingarten.
Sherk explain why this is so egregious.
These hardball tactics endanger teachers’ retirements. Investing for political reasons reduces investment returns. ATF now shuns high-performing investments if they dislike the managers’ politics. This adds to the chronic underfunding facing government-employee pensions. ATF undoubtedly expects taxpayers to make up any funding shortfall. However, union pensions cannot count on a taxpayer bailout—as Detroit demonstrated. ATF’s political gamesmanship may permanently shrink their members’ retirement checks.

States should stop these abuses. State legislatures can pass their own version of ERISA for government pensions. Union pension managers should have to act as fiduciaries. They shouldn’t get to risk others retirements to advance their political agenda.

Rich Lowry attacks Trump's efforts to "make protectionism great again."
Of course, Trump is more robustly nationalistic than his left-wing counterparts. In his speech, he wrapped his case in the great nationalist cause of the hour, Brexit. But now that it has won the referendum to exit the European Union, the Brexit leadership is seeking exactly what Trump inveighs against — free and open trade wherever it can be had.

Trump never says he opposes free trade as such. Few protectionists will ever avow, “Yes, dammit, I’m a protectionist — come and get me, copper.” They couch their protectionism in opposition to existing free-trade agreements and in the promise of somehow reaching wondrously different and better agreements — once all the existing ones are ripped up.

This is the Trump tack. He argues that every trade deal is deeply flawed, but not because there’s an inherent problem with free trade, nor because any negotiation always involves trade-offs, but because in roughly 70 years we have never once produced a competent negotiating team. What are the odds?

The Trump/Sanders story is that the middle class has been devastated by these trade deals, especially in the manufacturing sector. To make this case requires ignoring much of the evidence, in favor of a stilted morality tale.

The truth is, if the metric is employment, U.S. manufacturing was sliding before anyone thought of the North American Free Trade Agreement or the WTO. As the indispensable Scott Lincicome of the Cato Institute points out, manufacturing began to decline as a share of the U.S. workforce in the 1940s, and the absolute number of manufacturing workers has been dropping since 1979.

The main cause is technology-driven productivity gains that make it possible to do more with fewer workers. The American manufacturing sector is more productive than ever. If Trump really wants to relieve the glory days of the old American factory, he’ll have to make America less technologically proficient again.

There is no doubt that trade has downsides, and harms specific sectors and geographic areas. But Trump won’t acknowledge the significant benefits; he seems to regard imports as about as welcome as the Spanish flu. Cheap goods are a boon to consumers. Domestic manufacturers use imports as inputs in their own products. And, as the U.S. loses less sophisticated

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Now you too can dress like Hillary. Shapeless, "power" jackets are the new It garment according to pro-Hillary fashionistas.

Courtney Kirchoff goes off on an epic rant about how "The World Has Officially Gone Mad." She's right.