Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cruising the Web

So Bernie is fully behind Clinton. That doesn't seem to fit his campaign that he repeatedly said wasn't about him, but about his followers. Now, he's imploring his supporters to do what he wants and support Clinton. It really seems contrary to his entire message.
Bernie Sanders promised his supporters they could change the world if they just tried hard enough and worked hard enough. “Temper your expectations, be reasonable, compromise and settle” was the opposite of Sanders’ rallying cry for the past year, and yet that’s pretty much what he’s asking of his supporters now.

Perhaps that is why Sanders is weaseling when asked if he trusts Hillary.
Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton, but that doesn’t mean he trusts her.

Speaking at a Bloomberg Politics forum Tuesday, Sanders was asked if Clinton could be trusted to enact the left-leaning Democratic platform.

“Sorry, I’m not going to get into the trusted or not. Hillary Clinton, you know, as I just said a moment ago, (you asked me to) characterize somebody in a way I’m not going to. Hillary Clinton is a very, very intelligent person … I’ve known her for 25 years.”
Gee, if he thought she were honest, he could easily have said so; it's pretty clear that he doesn't want to go there.

The Democrats are pretending that they're the positive ones compared to the negative, nasty tone coming from the Republicans. Jim Geraghty reminds us of this 2012 Obama ad attacking Romney for on all sorts of grounds with this slogan: "Mitt Romney: Not One of Us." Just imagine if Republicans used that slogan against Barack Obama. The hysteria would be deafening.

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Another tidbit from the DNC leaks.
Leaked emails show the Democratic National Committee scrambled this spring to conceal the details of a joint fundraising arrangement with Hillary Clinton that funneled money through state Democratic parties.

But during the three-month period when the DNC was working to spin the situation, state parties kept less than one half of one percent of the $82 million raised through the arrangement — validating concerns raised by campaign finance watchdogs, state party allies and Bernie Sanders supporters.

The arrangement, called the Hillary Victory Fund, allowed the Clinton campaign to seek contributions of hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend extravagant fundraisers including a dinner at George Clooney’s house and a concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring Katy Perry and Elton John. That’s resulted in criticism for Clinton, who has made opposition to big money in politics a key plank in her campaign platform.

Clinton’s allies have responded publicly by arguing that the fund is raising big money to boost down-ballot Democratic candidates by helping the 40 state parties that are now participating in the fund.

But privately, officials at the DNC and on Clinton’s campaign worked to parry questions raised by reporters, as well as Sanders’ since-aborted campaign, about the distribution of the money, according to a cache of hacked emails made public late last week by WikiLeaks.
Gee, you mean Hillary was being hypocritical about big money in politics as well as screwing over the state parties while lying about it? Shocking. Of course, perhaps the state parties remember how they were hurt politically during her husband's and now during Obama's presidencies.

President Obama must be asking himself why Americans are so gloomy. After all, he accomplished almost everything that he campaigned on. And he did it without Republican help. He should be running victory lap after victory lap. But it hasn't worked out that way.
Even opponents of Mr. Obama’s agenda have to admit that he has achieved most of what he campaigned on. With a Democratic supermajority in 2009-2010, he passed the largest stimulus spending bill in decades, pushed through ObamaCare, nationalized the student-loan industry, and turned the banks into public utilities answerable first to government.

Democrats resisted him on cap and trade and union card check, but he has since achieved by executive fiat most of what he wanted on climate change and labor organizing. As the Bush tax rates expired in 2013, he insisted on and won a huge tax increase. His one major unfulfilled ambition is immigration reform, but that hangs on who nominates the next Supreme Court Justice.

On foreign policy, he has also largely fulfilled his goal of reducing America’s global commitments. He has struck deals with adversaries and distanced the U.S. from allies. Perhaps most important, by refusing to reform entitlements he has narrowed the budget room for future military spending. He has put defense spending on a path to 3% of GDP, and falling, down from 4.6% when he took office. He has Europeanized the U.S. defense budget.

Democrats will cheer all of this, yet they might stop to ask themselves why, amid so much progressive success, the country is so frustrated and miserable. When Reagan left office the U.S. mood was buoyant and Americans celebrated immigration as a point of national pride. The political turmoil of the 1970s had vanished.

As Mr. Obama leaves office, the national mood is more sour than at anytime since the 1960s. The polls say some two-thirds of the voters think the country is on the “wrong track,” and a majority say they expect their children to do less well financially than they did. This reflects the historically slow economic recovery and incomes that have only recently begun to return to where they were when the recession ended.

Mr. Obama will claim he inherited a recession (he did) and saved the U.S. from depression (doubtful), but his policies have been in place for eight years. His appointees run the Federal Reserve. He is the one who chose to block tax reform and pile regulatory costs on nearly every part of the U.S. economy.

The resulting economic anxiety that sometimes becomes anger is bipartisan. Sanders and Trump voters represent the mirror image of frustration with slow growth and stagnant incomes, even if they prefer different villains. The Sanders crowd blames inequality, big business and foreign trade. The Trumpians blame big government and business, immigration and foreign trade. Neither vindicates the results of Obamanomics.
The Democrats are trying to pretend that the GOP convention was absurdly dark, but the mood of the country is pretty dismal. Bernie and Hillary both campaigned that they would be the ones to fix this depressing state of affairs. So it's rather late to pretend that it's unpatriotic to criticize how the country is doing now.

Perhaps this is the sort of fact that has put the brakes on Obama's victory laps.
Since Obamacare’s rollout in the fall of 2013, 16 co-ops that launched with money from the federal government have collapsed.

The co-ops, or consumer operated and oriented plans, were started under the Affordable Care Act as a way to boost competition among insurers and expand the number of health insurance companies available to consumers living in rural areas.

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Hillary Clinton has certainly changed her position on immigration since 2008 when she was against illegal immigrants to get drivers' licenses.
In 2016, the debate over drivers’ licenses seems trivial. This year, the Democratic platform calls for the federal government to provide health-care to all residents of the United States, “regardless of immigration status,” and expresses support for Obama’s executive orders granting amnesty to children and parents. Last night, the convention’s progressive slate of speakers repeatedly emphasized these actions; nary a word was spoken about border security.

In eight years, Hillary Clinton’s views on immigration have come a long way. Whether the American people have shifted with her will be apparent soon enough.
There's a whole list of policies that she's flip-flopped on such as free trade and gay marriage. Remember when Romney was excoriated for similar flip-flops? With Hillary, it's just a sign of her nobility. It all depends on which way one flips.

As William McGurn writes, Hillary's campaign is a repudiation of her husband's presidency.
Start with the platform. Now, it’s true that platforms are not binding, but they give a good sense of how parties and candidates see themselves. Notwithstanding the “lock her up” chants from Bernie supporters here in Philly, Mr. Sanders says of the prevailing draft that “we now have the most-progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

It’s hard to recall these days, but Bill Clinton’s 1992 platform and presidency were once thought to deliver the Democratic Party from precisely this kind of thinking. Back then, Mr. Clinton was the face of the “New Democrat” who aimed to persuade the American people Democrats had changed from the McGovern days and could be trusted on values, the economy and national security.

In 1992, the party of Bill Clinton called business a “noble endeavor.” Its platform sounded downright Paul Ryanish, listing its “first priority” as “broad-based, non-inflationary economic growth and the opportunity that flows from it.” And it declared its opposition to “the adoption of new programs and new spending without new thinking.”

In his administration, Mr. Clinton would work with Republicans to pass welfare reform and repeal the Glass-Steagall provisions forbidding affiliations between banks and securities firms. He would sign the North American Free Trade Agreement. And in his 1996 State of the Union address, Mr. Clinton would declare that “the era of big government is over.”

In 2016, the party of Hillary Clinton has chucked all this overboard, embracing a plethora of new programs and spending. It has come out for “free” college education and a government health-care option. Mrs. Clinton opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the biggest trade deal since Nafta. For this Clinton, the era of big government is back.

Apparently, Michelle Obama's blue dress on Monday night was sending a powerful message.
Cobalt blue silk crepe, with cap sleeves, a flared skirt and a neat waist, it was by the designer Christian Siriano, and it pretty much matched the backdrop, playing down Mrs. Obama’s appearance and playing to the patriotic theme, especially when contrasted with the bright red jacket that Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wore during her speech.

But the simplicity and the color were just the beginning. See, Mr. Siriano is a former reality TV star — the only designer to really have emerged from the television show “Project Runway” (he won the fourth season competition) and carved out a place on the New York Fashion Week scene.

But unlike another reality TV star, Mr. Siriano has built his career on being inclusive: on catering to women regardless of size or age.

Most recently, he was, for example, the designer who stepped forward (via Instagram) when Leslie Jones, the late-40-something six-foot-tall star of the movie remake “Ghostbusters,” complained that no designer wanted to dress her, making a custom off-the-shoulder red gown for her premiere that became something of an internet moment. He also has a collaboration with the plus-size store Lane Bryant, for which he held a runway show at the United Nations this year, and has dressed other celebrities, including Kate Hudson and Zendaya.
I guess it was a different message from Hillary's clothes.
Hillary Clinton’s New York primary victory speech in April focused on topics including income inequality, job creation and helping people secure their retirement. It was a clear attempt to position herself as an everywoman.

But an everywoman she is not — she gave the speech in a $12,495 Giorgio Armani tweed jacket.

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Cheers to Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks. In an interview on The Undefeated, he expresses his opinion of the BLM movement and he's not afraid to say the forbidden words, "All lives matter."
We hear a lot about Black Lives Matter. But I think race was created. I think everybody is a human being first and then the color of their skin wouldn’t matter if nobody told you it mattered, if that makes any sense....

What is your opinion of the Black Lives Matter movement?

It’s hard to formulate an opinion and generalize because they have several different messages. Some of them are peaceful and understandable and some of them are very radical and hard to support. Any time you see people who are saying, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and then saying it’s time to kill police, then it is difficult to stand behind that logic. They are generalizing police just like they are asking police not to generalize us. It is very hypocritical. So, in that respect, I find it difficult to fully support that movement.

I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are human beings. And speaking to police, I want African-Americans and everybody else treated decently. I want them treated like human beings. And I also want the police treated like human beings. I don’t want police officers just getting knocked off in the street who haven’t done anything wrong.

Those are innocent lives....

If a coalition of athletes was to form, what should they do?

I think we target the inner city and the black community and a lot of the places that have high gang violence and beg for them to stop the senseless violence within our own community. Because once we stop that, once we unite as a people, once we come together and stop looking at each other as enemies, then we can move forward in a very powerful way. And combat issues in a different way than it has ever been done before. But until we do that, we are fighting on two fronts.

What do you say to people who say that violence in the black community is a result of institutional racism? Their communities are devoid of opportunity and that creates a circumstance that breeds crime and violence.

I’d say, to some degree, that’s true. There is low funding for education and very few jobs to go around. But there are also people who work hard to take care of their families. My parents did a great job, same inner city, Watts, South Central, [California]. They worked hard, didn’t make the most money, but took care of the kids in the neighborhood, took care of us, made ends meet, kept us out of gangs and all the nonsense. But I think there is also a mentality that we want to blame someone else for black fathers not being there for all these people having all these kids and nobody raising them. We want to say that’s systematic, but when do we stop saying it’s systematic and move forward and make a difference?

Jazz Shaw goes behind the scenes
to report on the DNC and how they're channeling even more people to the women's restrooms. Just what women need at any mass event.

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Really? They're remaking Ben-Hur? I guess that today's generation isn't up for watching a classic film on Netflix and needs to just watch a new version instead. Every year, I refer to Ben Hur when I'm discussing religion in the Gilded Age as an example of the movement for Muscular Christianity. And fewer and fewer kids have even heard of the movie, much less the book.