Friday, July 29, 2016

Cruising the Web

I know that I'm supposed to be so excited that a woman has received the nomination of a major party and should be celebrating the barrier that Hillary tells us has fallen and that thus somehow helps everyone, but I just can't feel it. Being a woman wasn't a barrier to her getting the nomination - it was the main reason she got it. If she were not a woman, she would not have been up on that podium. She didn't overcome her gender to succeed in politics; she succeeded because of it. The same was true of Obama and race. Being female and mixed race might have been barriers in the past, but they are political advantages today. So I find all this celebration so meaningless. There are women in our nation's history who had to fight true barriers to achieve anything outside of their assigned sphere. I am deeply grateful for their efforts and honor what they had to overcome. Hillary is not one of them. She didn't even make it on her own in politics, but rode in on her husband's coattails, mostly on a wave of sympathy over Bill's infidelities and humiliation of her. She didn't achieve anything of note in the Senate and did nothing to brag about as Secretary of State. And she's proven over and over that she is a sleazy and dishonest human being. No pretending that all of this is because of some right-wing sliming can hide what she chose to do herself and how she then lied about it. She might think that the American people don't know what to make of her, but actually we kinda do.

And, if she wins the election, it won't be because of her skills or character or qualifications, it will be because she's lucky enough to be running against a guy that over half of whose negatives are just as high as hers. That's why the best part of her speech was attacking him. He's a very big target and anyone should be able to deliver good lines ridiculing him. Couple her great good luck with the mess the Republicans made of their nomination along with the natural advantage that Democrats have in the Electoral College and she will probably slither into the White House. Maybe that will inspire people who prefer symbolism over reality, but it doesn't change who she is and how she got there.

Hillary Clinton tried to use the Democratic convention to "reintroduce" herself to the American people. Well, she's been trying to do it ever since she first appeared on the scene with her husband's political career. Rich Lowry marvels at "Hillary's never-ending reintroductions." As he writes, she's trying to reintroduce herself despite "how utterly, drearily, inescapably familiar Hillary Clinton is."
A Washington Post article last year was titled “The making of Hillary 5.0: Marketing wizards help re-imagine Clinton brand,” and it may have under-counted Hillary’s attempted reboots.

Her handlers are like Leftists insisting that socialism has never failed; it’s just never been tried. They want to believe that people don’t dislike Hillary; they just don’t know her. Even if this is true, not being able to project in public those qualities that make you appealing in private makes you by definition a poor politician. No one ever had to say about Franklin Roosevelt, “You wouldn’t believe how buoyant he is — behind closed doors,” or about Ronald Reagan, “He’s very funny — when the cameras are off.”

Over 25 years, the public surely has attained an accurate-enough picture of Hillary Clinton. They may not know all the details of her advocacy work as a young woman, but they have seen her smash-mouth partisanship, her grating insincerity, her gross money-grubbing, her serial dishonesties, her cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof caution, and her grind-out ambition that has lacked a light touch or any poetry.

Hillary always points out how she is a target for attack, but the two controversies that have dogged her in the past year were entirely of her own doing. No enemy of hers forced her to circumvent the rules to try to keep her official e-mails off the grid, or to take $675,000 from Goldman Sachs for three speeches. She did this to herself — because she thought she could get away with it.

In a 60 Minutes interview, she complained that a different standard applies to her, a strange plaint after the FBI director gave her a pass on her e-mails. This suggests the problem isn’t that people don’t know her so much as that she lacks all self-awareness.

Well, Barack Obama finally endorsed American exceptionalism. His speech on Wednesday night embraced the America-is-great message that he's resisted his entire presidency. Suddenly America is the "Light of freedom and dignity and human rights." He even evoked Reagan's "shining city on a hill." It's a long way from the apology tour that Obama began his presidency with.

I do agree, however,with this statement. I just find it ironic that Barack Obama was the one making it.
America is already great. (Applause.) America is already strong. (Applause.) And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump. (Applause.) In fact, it doesn’t depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election -- the meaning of our democracy.
This is the man who said eight years ago that his nomination meant that "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth." Apparently, his self-regard has taken a back seat to the need to bash Donald Trump.

As Aaron Goldstein points out, Obama spent his speech talking more about himself than Hillary. Well, it is his favorite subject.
Indeed, it took him a good 15 minutes to even mention her name. When he did talk about her, it was as an extension of himself rather than to praise her virtues such as they are. In short, Obama basically preached to the choir. I don’t think he’s changed too many minds.

When Obama talks about protecting coal miners he’s referring to the people Hillary bragged she was going to put out of business. When Obama says Hillary is respect by the world who exactly is he talking about? The Russians? What with that whole reset business? When Obama praises her judgement does he mean the judgement which set up a homebrew server and a private e-mail account to conduct government business including top secret matters?

Obama spent most of his time bragging about himself. Bragging about killing bin Laden when ISIS controls most of Iraq, Syria and Libya and is making its presence felt in this country in attacks on San Bernardino, Orlando and Chattanooga. Bragging about a Iran nuclear deal that is unraveling before our very eyes. Bragging about reforming a health care system where people are paying more and getting less....

While I share some of Obama’s criticisms of Trump, it’s hard to take his accusations of “demagogue” seriously when he surrounds himself with Greek columns and describes himself as one who can calm oceans. With this in mind, I found it odd that he left the stage to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed Delivered I’m Yours”. A great song, but it’s first line begins, “Like a fool I went and stayed too long.”

Ben Shapiro argues that Obama's final revenge on Hillary Clinton is trapping her into running on his record.
Obama trapped her. Early in her campaign, Hillary seemed to want to break with Barack Obama’s presidency. She recognized that while Obama was personally popular, his tenure had largely been seen as a failure by a dissatisfied American republic. She therefore pursued twin goals: tying herself to Obama’s “first black president” legacy and big-government growth, and avoiding the consequences of his rotten decision-making.

By first delaying a decision from Vice President Joe Biden about whether Biden would run, the Obama White House forced Hillary into full-scale obeisance to the Obama era. That’s been disastrous for Hillary. Her convention week has completely ignored the serious problems that keep most Americans up at night. There have been five jihadist attacks in Europe in the last eleven months. On the first day of the convention, 61 speakers mentioned ISIS precisely zero times. That same day, ISIS beheaded an 86-year-old priest in Normandy, France. Over the past few weeks, Americans have mourned over a wave of anti-cop massacres. So Hillary is now trotting out the “Mothers of the Movement” — Black Lives Matter activists including the mother of attempted cop-killer Michael Brown — to promulgate myths about police racism.

Hillary doesn’t take Americans’ concerns seriously. She doesn’t feel their pain.

She feels her own pain....

Now, Hillary believes that she can succeed by labeling Trump arrogant and self-centered. But Americans already know he’s arrogant and self-centered. They think he’s out to help blue-collar Americans, that he’s ready to protect them from the vicissitudes of the global economy and the evils of crime. Americans have no idea why Hillary Clinton is running.

This they do know: She doesn’t share their priorities.

But she’s trapped now. Barack Obama is her greatest asset, but he’s also her greatest liability. When Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention to the plaudits of the media, she painted a rosy picture of America. Hillary’s going to have to do the same in order to defend the Obama program. But that program means nothing without Obama at the head of it, as former majority leader Harry Reid and former House speaker Nancy Pelosi have found out.

In the end, that could be Obama’s final revenge on Hillary: not helping to deny her the nomination, but forcing her to go down fighting for his priorities, even as the American people increasingly come to believe she doesn’t care about theirs.

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The WSJ points
out that it is rather notable that no one at the DNC has mentioned the Clinton Foundation. If they thought that it was the wonderful philanthropic entity the Clintons pretend that it is, they'd have been bragging about it. The WSJ points out that the Foundation has served as a place to stash Clinton operatives and give them a salary while waiting for the return of the Clintons to power.
The funding for this political operation has come from nearly every country and major company in the world. These contributors have the cover of giving to charity, when everybody knows the gifts are political tribute to a woman determined to be President. Donations to a charity aren’t governed by the same caps or restrictions as those that go to a traditional Super Pac. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren somehow overlooked this in their Monday night riffs against money in politics.

Witness the charitably minded donors from Algeria, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Swiss bank UBS gave more than $500,000 to the foundation after Secretary Clinton solved its IRS problem. Canadian mining magnate Ian Telfer used a family charity to donate millions to the foundation at the same time a Cabinet committee on which Mrs. Clinton sat was reviewing (and ultimately greenlighted) a Russian mining deal involving his company. According to the Washington Post, Bill Clinton received $105 million for 542 speeches between January 2001 (when he left the White House) and January 2013 (when Hillary stepped down from State), often from companies and countries with business before State.

The foundation also rewards Clinton friends and political allies. This newspaper reported in May that the Clinton Global Initiative (a foundation program) directed a financial commitment to a company, Energy Pioneer Solutions, part-owned by Clinton friends. In 2010 Canadian tycoon Frank Giustra, a foundation donor, won the right to cut timber in Colombia, not long after the Clintons met with Colombia’s president.
No wonder the IRS is looking into the "pay-to-play" set-up of the Foundation. Not that the IRS will report honestly on the Foundation's finances and they'll be sure not to report on anything suspicious before the election.

And then there is this bit of confusion from the Foundation.
IRS investigators should dig into the millions of dollars of unresolved reporting disparities on exactly how much money Australian government agencies shoveled into the Clinton Foundation, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee tells The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Clinton Foundation listings include contributions from the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian Agency for International Development in a range between totals of $20 million and $50 million. The foundation does not provide the date of the contributions.

Even with the highest number — $50 million — in the range, however, there is a disparity of as much as $39 million with reports from the Australian government. Using the foundation’s lowest number of $20 million, the disparity could be as much as $68 million.

When Hillary bemoans the pernicious effect of big money in politics, she somehow leaves out all the big money behind her campaign.
Who is filling this Democratic war chest? A Tuesday story in Politico reported that billionaire George Soros has given or committed $25 million for Hillary and other Democrats. That includes more than $7 million to Priorities USA Action, a super Pac supporting Mrs. Clinton, and $2 million to American Bridge 21st Century, a super Pac devoted to opposing Republicans.

Finance reports show that billionaire and green activist Tom Steyer has donated $31 million to Democratic causes this year. (That’s far less than the $74 million Mr. Steyer blew in 2014, but the year is young.) The list of Democrats’ superdonors goes on. Entertainment mogul Haim Saban: $11 million. Media baron Fred Eychaner: $11 million. Hedge-fund manager Don Sussman: $13 million. Add in the multimillion-dollar checks from the Pritzker family (of Hyatt hotel fame); James Simons (hedge-fund billionaire); and Herbert Sandler (banking baron).
I don't mind these billionaires putting their money where their ideology is. But then I'm not trumpeting an antipathy to money in politics while benefiting from it at the same time.

Ashe Schow points out a discrepancy in the questions the media asks Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, is constantly asked about her father's treatment of and statements about women. The same cannot be said of Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Ivanka has been grilled by CBS, criticized by the Atlantic and asked by many more outlets to defend her father. On Wednesday, CBS published an article about Chelsea calling on Ivanka to ask her father about equal pay.

Here's an article you won't see from the mainstream media: Chelsea Clinton being asked to defend her father's treatment of women, including accusations against him of rape.

The closest anyone came was Comospolitan, who framed the question to Chelsea as an attack from Donald Trump. "Donald Trump has called your dad an abuser of women, and your mom his enabler. What do you think of his attacks on your parents?"

The phrasing of the question allowed Cosmo to pretend they asked a tough question, while really allowing Chelsea to criticize Donald Trump. And that's exactly what she did.

The obvious reason behind this is that political journalists tend to be extremely liberal. They love Bill Clinton so much, they overlook the serious allegations against him (and his settlement with one of his accusers). So while Chelsea Clinton is allowed to attack Ivanka's father without consequence, she herself is given a pass on her own father's actions.

Bill Clinton simply receives special treatment because he has a "D" next to his name. He continues to enjoy broad support from Democrats and is invited to speak at numerous high-profile events and paid lavish speaking fees. No other man accused of rape and sexual assault would be allowed anywhere near a Democratic event.

Obama is still using the ridiculous claim that no one is "more qualified to serve as President" than Hillary Clinton. Gag. Ramesh Ponnuru publishes a fact-check that a friend sent him of the pre-presidency biographies of all our prior presidents. She might have held more positions than some of them, but please don't insult our intelligence by claiming that she's the most qualified.
1. Father of the Country
2. VP, Minister to the Court of St. James, Minister to the Netherlands, Continental Congress, author of the Declaration
3. VP, SOS, Minister to France, Governor of VA, author of the Declaration
4. SOS, U.S. House, author of the Constitution and Federalist Papers
5. Sec’y of War, SOS, Governor of Virginia, Minister to the UK, Minister to France, Senator
6. SOS, Senator, Minister to the Court of St. James, Minister to Russia, Minister to Prussia, Minister to the Netherlands
7. Military Governor of Florida, Senator, hero of the War of 1812
8. VP, Minister to the UK, SOS, Governor of NY, Senator, AG of NY
9. Minister to Colombia (known to Bolivar), Senator, U.S. House, Governor of Indiana, hero of Tippecanoe
10. [not elected]
11. Governor of Tennessee, Speaker of the House
12. Major General
13. [not elected]
14. Senator, U.S. House
15. Minister to the UK, SOS, Senator, Minister to Russia, US House (Judiciary Chairman)
16. U.S. House
17. [not elected]
18. Commanding General of the Civil War
19. Governor of Ohio, U.S. House
20. Senator Elect, U.S. House (chairman of appropriations, financial services, and military affairs)
21. [not elected]
22. Governor of New York, Mayor of Buffalo
23. Senator, Colonel
24. U.S. President, Governor of New York, Mayor of Buffalo
25. Governor of Ohio, U.S. House (chairman of Ways and Means)
26. President, VP, Governor of NY, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Colonel of Volunteers, NY Assembly, NYC Police Commissioner
27. Secretary of War, Provisional Governor of Cuba, Military Governor of the Philippines, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Solicitor General
28. Governor of New Jersey, President of Princeton, PhD
29. Senate, Lt. Gov. of Ohio
30. President, VP, Governor of Massachusetts, President of the Massachusetts Senate
31. Secretary of Commerce, Director of food relief to Belgium
32. Governor of New York, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, NY Senate
33. President, VP, Senator, local judge
35. Senator, U.S. House, combat officer
36. President, VP, Majority Leader, U.S. House
37. VP, Senator, U.S. House
38. [not elected]
39. Governor of Georgia, Georgia Senate
40. Governor of California, union boss
41. VP, Director of Central Intelligence, RNC Chair, Ambassador to the UN, U.S. House
42. Governor of Arkansas, AG of Arkansas
43. Governor of Texas
44. Senator, Illinois Senator
45. SOS, Senator

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Glenn Reynolds connects the DNC hack to the integrity of our voting system.
As disruptive as the DNC email release has been, there’s room for something much worse: A foreign government could hack voting machines, shut down election computers, or delete or alter voter registration information, turning Election Day into a snarled mess and calling the results into question regardless of who wins.

Worse yet, hackers are already working on this....

The problem is that electronic systems — much less the Internet-based systems that some people are talking about moving to — can’t possibly provide that degree of reliability. They’re too easy to hack, and alterations are too easy to conceal. If the powers-that-be can’t protect confidential emails, or government employees’ security information, then they can’t guarantee the sanctity of voting systems.

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Jonah Goldberg thinks that Trump is benefiting from the media's history of smearing Republicans. The history of the media acting as the sixth man for the Democratic Party goes back a long ways.
Only slowly have the media come around to the realization that Trump is an actual threat, but now it may be too late because they have a serious “cry wolf” problem. Millions of Americans firmly believe that journalists are water carriers for the Democrats and will tune out much of what they have to say about Trump now that he’s the nominee.

You can start the timeline as far back as the World War II era. In 1944, Franklin Roosevelt told the country that if Republicans were returned to power, “even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of fascism here at home.” The press nodded along.

In 1964, CBS News’s Daniel Schorr claimed that Barry Goldwater’s planned post-convention vacation in Europe was really an effort to coordinate with “right-wing Germans” in “Hitler’s one-time stomping ground.”

In recent years, as the distinctions between news and opinion, analysis and advocacy, reporting and click-baiting has blurred, the problem has only gotten worse.

Every election cycle, the GOP nominee is smeared as a racist by the Democrats or the press — or both. Representative John Lewis of Georgia trades in a bit more of his hard-earned moral authority each time he insinuates that the GOP nominee is like George Wallace or wants to bring back Jim Crow, and political columnists relinquish a bit more of their claim to objectivity each time they let his comments pass without condemnation or criticism.

George W. Bush revived for the Left the paranoid style in American politics, and if you google “John McCain, racist, 2008” you’ll see he was lazily demonized too.

In 2012, pundits said Paul Ryan wanted to throw old ladies over cliffs because he wanted to reform Social Security. When Mitt Romney spoke to the NAACP, the response from many in the media was, per usual, “Racist!” (It’s ironic that many of the notable Republicans rebuking Trump this year are the ones pundits were only too happy to paint as racist not long ago.)

I have no doubt many journalists would defend their smears and professional failures, but that doesn’t change the fact that many Americans outside the mainstream media/Democratic bubble find it all indefensible. More important, they find it all ignorable — because the race card and the demagogue card have been played and replayed so often they’re little more than scraps of lint.

Already, editorial boards are preparing their indictments of what they believe to be Donald Trump’s incompetence, bigotry, and authoritarianism. Trump operatives will undoubtedly respond: “That’s what they always say about Republicans.” And they’ll be right.
How ironic that it is former Democrat Donald Trump who is benefiting from the decades of biased media reporting on the Republicans.