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Friday, August 12, 2016

Cruising the Web

This isn't any surprise to anyone who followed the policy debates over Obamacare. But now we're seeing that all the ill effects of Obamacare that were predicted by critics at the time are now coming true.
Aetna's decision to abandon its ObamaCare expansion plans and rethink its participation altogether came as a surprise to many. It shouldn't have. Everything that's happened now was predicted by the law's critics years ago.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said that this was supposed to be a break-even year for its ObamaCare business. Instead, the company has already lost $200 million, which it expect that to hit $320 million before the year it out. He said the company was abandoning plans to expand into five other states and is reviewing whether to stay in the 15 states where Aetna (AET) current sells ObamaCare plans.

Aetna's announcement follows UnitedHealth Group's (UNH) decision to leave most ObamaCare markets, Humana's (HUM) decision to drop out of some, Blue Cross Blue Shield's announcement that it was quitting the individual market in Minnesota, and the failure of most of the 23 government-created insurance co-ops. And it follows news that insurance companies are putting in for double-digit rate hikes that in some cases top 60%, and news that the Congressional Budget Office has sharply downgraded its long-term enrollment forecast for the exchanges.

Who could have envisioned such problems? Not ObamaCare backers. They were endlessly promising that the law would create vibrant, highly competitive markets that would lower the cost of insurance.

Critics, however, were spot on. They said that, despite the individual mandate, ObamaCare wouldn't attract enough young and healthy people to keep premiums down.

The Heritage Foundation, for example, said that under ObamaCare, "many under age 35 will opt out of buying insurance altogether, choosing to pay the penalty instead." That's just what has happened.

Critics predicted sharp hikes in premiums and big increases in medical claims. That's what's happened.

Critics said people would game the system, waiting until they got sick to buy insurance, then canceling it once the bills were paid, because of the law's "guaranteed issue" mandate. That's happening, too. In fact, administration officials are trying to tighten the rules to mitigate this problem.

Critics said insurers would abandon ObamaCare amid substantial losses. Anyone want to dispute that this is happening?

These dire predictions weren't pulled out of thin air. Several states had already tried ObamaCare-style market reforms in the 1990s, only to see their individual insurance markets collapse. A 2007 report by Milliman Inc. looked at eight states that had adopted the "guaranteed issue" and "community rating" reforms at the heart of ObamaCare.
But the Democrats all thought they knew better and could reverse reality. Sadly, for everyone, we're finding out that Democratic policy experts are not omnipotent. And they continue to ignore the criticisms and recommendations of the people who were correct in the first time. They'd prefer to double down on their failures.

And a President Clinton would expand the problems and damage to our health care system.
Last fall, she released a plan to reduce prescription drug costs that included capping out-of-pocket drug expenses for consumers and requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay larger rebates to Medicare for low-income patients.

In a healthcare proposal on her campaign website, she also calls for requiring insurers to cover more doctors visits even before a patient pays the deductible and providing families with a tax credit to help pay for out-of-pocket health expenses.

And just before last month's Democratic National Convention, Clinton said she wants to create a government-funded "public option" healthcare plan to be sold in the state marketplaces.
This is one more reason why it is so crucial that Republicans maintain control of Congress so they can block such plans.

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Jeremy Lott at the Washington Examiner had the same thought I did when I read the NYT story about how we should understand Hillary's deep drive to make money in any way at any costs by the trauma she had in the late 1970s and early 1980s when she and Bill weren't making enough money to feel secure financially.
In fact, their combined income in 1978, the year Bill was first elected, came to only $51,173, reported the Times. Also mentioned, briefly, is the fact that the governorship came with a free residence and state hired help for the first couple.

Still, the Clintons' income might sound low until we adjust for inflation. $51,173 in 1978 would be $194,906.50 today, according to's inflation calculator.

That's a good living for any couple in America today and it would go further in Arkansas than most states of the country. The cost of living in Arkansas is the 4th lowest in the nation according to MERIC's cost of living index.

Arkansas's low cost of living may be one reason why the current governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson, makes only $87,759 today, according to Ballotpedia. That's less than Bill's first term annual salary adjusted for inflation: $127,666.
It wasn't that they weren't earning enough money to live comfortably; it was that they weren't earning as much as some of the rich people they were associating with.

Jonah Goldberg describes the terrible quandary facing Republican politicians. They have to weigh whether repudiating Trump will hurt them more by angering his supporters or not repudiating him and losing independents. But even if they do repudiate him, they face a second problem.
That brings us to the second Catch-22. Republican candidates at this stage have no excuses to offer if they decide to repudiate Trump other than naked self-interest.

Let’s assume Trump cannot mount a comeback and becomes an albatross for countless Republican candidates across the country. And let’s say they jump ship. Then every Democrat in the country — not to mention almost every pundit — will say, “You guys were fine with Trump as the nominee when he was a racist, but now that he’s hurting the whole GOP’s chances, he’s suddenly unacceptable?”

And there will be some truth to the accusation.

It’s instructive to look at what prompted the flop-sweat panic of recent days. After leaving the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Trump climbed the rhetorical jackass tree and then hurled himself earthward, hitting every branch on the way down.

There’s not enough space here to recount in any serious detail all of the self-destructive statements and bizarre rabbit holes he spelunked into — from attacking the parents of Captain Humayun Kahn, a soldier who died serving our country, to “jokingly” inviting the Russians to muck about in our elections, to reviving past controversies about Senator Ted Cruz’s father’s alleged complicity in the Kennedy assassination.

And yet GOP establishment leaders stuck with their man — just as they’d stuck with their man when he threw NATO under the bus, and ridiculed our treaty obligations with Japan, and attacked American-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel for an alleged conflict of interest between his professional duties and his Mexican heritage. (Sure, House Speaker Paul Ryan and others criticized Trump’s comments, but they did not officially distance themselves from him.)

GOP leaders contemplated pulling the emergency brake on the Trump Train only when the nominee said he wouldn’t endorse Ryan or senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte.

The message was clear: Only his willingness to endanger top Republicans’ reelection was truly unacceptable behavior. Nothing else Trump said or did until then was beyond the pale.

In fact, the message was so clear that even Trump heard it. After an intervention his campaign denies took place, Trump grudgingly fell in line, reading a statement endorsing Ryan, McCain, and Ayotte with all the enthusiasm of an adolescent boy forced to apologize for shoplifting.

There are no good options left for the GOP. However its leaders pivot to boost the party’s chances in November, they risk revealing that winning is their only sacred principle — that is to say, admitting they have no sacred principles at all.
Well, yeah. They're politicians, aren't they? I appreciate being simply a teacher and blogger so I don't have to worry about any Catch 22 and can just say what I think.

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Germans have even more reason to doubt Angela Merkel's policies on immigration as they're finding out about terrorism plans possibly connecting ISIS and immigrants who have recently entered the country in addition to attacks that were claimed by ISIS.
A German special police unit has detained a Syrian asylum-seeker who they said they suspected of plotting a terrorist attack during the opening of the national soccer league season, German officials said Tuesday.

Germany has been on edge after four attacks in a span of six days last month, including two linked to the Islamic State.

Officers from the special unit arrested the 24-year-old suspect on Friday in the city of Mutterstadt, in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, after the authorities in Duisburg received a tip about a possible attack, the Interior Ministry in neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia said. The suspect has been questioned and will remain in detention pending the outcome of the investigation, the ministry said.

Michael Maurer, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said there had been indications that the suspect was plotting an attack directed at the opening of Germany’s top soccer league, the Bundesliga, later this month.

German officials would not confirm reports that the suspect had links to the Islamic State but said that the investigation was continuing.

German security officials are on high alert after the attacks in July. The attackers in the two assaults claimed by the Islamic State, a 17-year-old who said he was from Afghanistan and a 27-year-old Syrian, had both applied for asylum in Germany.

The two attacks, in W├╝rzburg on July 18 and nearby Ansbach six days later, wounded 20 people.

Megan McArdle points
to the disparity between the sexes of the immigrants arriving in Europe.
There’s a lot of interesting data on Europe’s wave of refugees in Pew’s latest report. But here’s a piece of information that is not so much interesting as disturbing: Only 27 percent of those refugees are female. In every age group, from nearly every country of origin, women are greatly outnumbered. And the difference is even more pronounced for immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Gambia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, for example, sent virtually no women at all. Over all, refugee men outnumber refugee women nearly two to one.

There are two scenarios that can unfold from this fact. The first is that destination countries simply end up with an imbalance between the number of men and women in their populations. That would be a problem; even slightly out-of-whack gender demographics can have substantial social impacts. The refugees -- already predisposed to experience isolation, disconnection and disaffection from their host society -- will thus also bear the desperation of men who have little hope of forming a long-term relationship with a woman and starting a family. This is a recipe for disaster.

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Their demands never seem to stop. Now they're worried about what characters do in video games.
The upcoming video game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has seen no end to controversy lately. With release just a few weeks away, the perpetually offended raised issues over the game’s use of the term “mechanical apartheid,” and the horns of outrage have been sounded in light of the game’s supposed appropriation of Black Lives Matter within its themes.

More recently, self-described “pop culture critic” and Feminist Frequency producer Jonathan McIntosh took issue with the amount of freedom the upcoming game offers its players. It should be noted that player choice has long been a staple of the RPG genre, which allows players to decide the outcome of the story through their actions and deeds within the game. This, apparently, is a problematic thing for anyone who insists video games should be pedagogical and instruct players with a certain set of views.

“Devs say it’s up to players to decide if internment camps are good or bad?! No. The question itself is political!” wrote McIntosh. “Game developers like to pretend their narratives, scenarios and mechanics are politically neutral but that’s never really the case.”

By Ian Miles Cheong | 11:17 am, August 10, 2016
The upcoming video game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has seen no end to controversy lately. With release just a few weeks away, the perpetually offended raised issues over the game’s use of the term “mechanical apartheid,” and the horns of outrage have been sounded in light of the game’s supposed appropriation of Black Lives Matter within its themes.

More recently, self-described “pop culture critic” and Feminist Frequency producer Jonathan McIntosh took issue with the amount of freedom the upcoming game offers its players. It should be noted that player choice has long been a staple of the RPG genre, which allows players to decide the outcome of the story through their actions and deeds within the game. This, apparently, is a problematic thing for anyone who insists video games should be pedagogical and instruct players with a certain set of views.

“Devs say it’s up to players to decide if internment camps are good or bad?! No. The question itself is political!” wrote McIntosh. “Game developers like to pretend their narratives, scenarios and mechanics are politically neutral but that’s never really the case.”

McIntosh further argued that players should have their choices restricted by developers and not be forced to make difficult decisions to alter or direct the game’s narrative.

“Sometimes when game designers set up ‘player choices’ the choice itself is immoral because it shouldn’t be up to the player to make it,” he wrote. “The point here is that the ‘player choice’ itself is an artificial construct that carries political messages no matter what players choose.”
So when people give in to such Social Justice Warriors in one context, expect more demands. They are never satisfied. And video games must be fertile grounds for their protests since most games rely on some violence at some point.

Austin Bay describes the Media Privilege that protects Democrats. And this is a bad thing, not just for Republicans, but for our political system. We all suffer when the media lean so heavily on one side of the scale.
Yet Hillary’s hideous falsehoods, boldfaced lies to grieving parents, go unrequited. Instead of ferocious outrage, mainstream media treat Hillary’s vicious misconduct with intense disinterest. Trump’s response to the Khans was stupid and rude, but Hillary went beyond stupid and rude and accused Smith of lying.

Can an astonished American jaw drop, pass through the Hell of Earth’s molten core, and express righteous indignation in China?

Much too frequently, to the point of injuring his presidential prospects, Trump “talks awful,” demonstrating an inability to differentiate between inexcusable rudeness and the New York street moxie that marks his business persona. For this rhetorical misconduct he is fairly chastised.

Hillary, however, actually “does awful.” She commits a dreadful (and at times criminal) action with calculation and an unrestrained presumption of privilege. Her dreadful action is provable, having witnesses (grieving parents), or, in the case of her national security information crime, a feckless Jim Comey discovering evidence verifying her gross negligence.

But wowser.

A month later Hillary lies about Comey’s investigation.

Credit Chris Wallace with confronting her—but Hillary’s reptilian being scarcely blinks. She apparently believes that by October mis- and mal-informed voters will believe Comey exonerated her. Hillary believes Americans are stupid.

Which takes us back to the phrase “an unrestrained presumption of privilege.” After her awful deeds, so-called objective media—self-proclaimed media of record, by golly by damn—try their best to ignore her wrongs, or, that tactic failing, attempt to justify them.

In comparison, Trump faces the Khan tsunami—a genuine restraint. It is guaranteed he will face more tsunamis, throughout this election and, should he win, throughout his presidency.

But—will Hillary’s despicable, inexcusable, self-serving, mendacious and outright cruel treatment of grieving parents who lost sons in a battle with terrorists generate a similarly restraining media tsunami of equivalent intensity and outrage?

Based on the fact pattern: No. At best we’ll get a drip drip drip of sighs followed by a “move on, little to see here…”

Media Privilege. Disgusting isn’t it? You bet. Crooked? Media Privilege permits Crooked Hillary’s survival, so, yeah, it’s crooked. Harmful poison if swallowed by the American body politic? Damned straight it is. There’s a national security angle here lost on mainstream media toffs but not on American war fighters. Let’s frame the question bluntly: “Will major media—so called mainstream media—let a Republican Administration fight and win a war without going Peace Now?”

Ben Shapiro is exactly right
when he describes Trump as someone who speaks conservatism as a second-language, but who truly does not understand its principles. That's why he can speak somewhat reasonably when he has a teleprompter, but otherwise, when he speaks on his own, he just says crazy stuff. Take his remark that, if Hillary got to pick judges there would be nothing anyone could do except maybe "the Second Amendment people."
This is silly stuff even if we assume that Trump knew that the Second Amendment pertains to firearms (always a mildly questionable proposition, given his knowledge of the Twelve Articles of the Constitution). It’s silly because a Supreme Court ruling overturning Heller isn’t going to lead gun owners to storm the White House and take Hillary Clinton hostage. That’s a slur on gun owners. Gun owners would probably take violent action against government agents if those government agents showed up on their doorsteps and entered their homes to confiscate their rightfully held guns. It’s condescending and dumb of Trump to portray “Second Amendment people” as sitting around, oiling their AR-15s, waiting on the edge of their chairs for the moment Justice Obama rules that we have no individual right to keep and bear arms. Violence against the government is the last resort for law-abiding gun owners; Trump treats “Second Amendment people” as vigilantes on the loose.

But that’s the natural result of nominating a man who speaks conservative as a second language.

Pro-life Americans already found this out when Trump was questioned about the legal consequences for abortion by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. The Man Who Combs His Hair With A Shoe™ asked Trump: “Should the woman be punished for having an abortion? . . . If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under law. Should abortion be punished?” Trump answered, because he is wildly unfamiliar with basic pro-life positioning, “Well, people in certain parts of the Republican party and conservative Republicans would say, ‘Yes, they should be punished.’ . . . The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.” Matthews asked, “For the woman?” Trump answered, “Yeah, there has to be some form.”

This is what Trump imagined the “Abortion people” would think, just as he thinks that “Second Amendment people” are ready to load up and go hog-wild. And so conservatives had to spend a week re-explaining the basic pro-life position.

The same holds true with regard to Evangelical Christians. When he’s asked about his own level of religiosity, Trump has repeatedly changed the topic, uttering gobbledygook about his level of popularity among Evangelicals. When he’s forced to answer, he simply babbles about “an eye for an eye” (misinterpreting the text) and says he never wants to repent.

Again, Trump is a stranger in a strange land.

Trump is even ignorant about hawkish foreign policy. He knows that Republicans want somebody tough on security, but he takes that to mean Republicans want to shoot the family members of terrorists in violation of international law. He says he’s for America First, but he also disclaims American exceptionalism. When it comes to border security, Trump parrots Senator Jeff Sessions’s positions on immigration — until he doesn’t. He openly admits that he shouts “build that wall” in order to gin up his base, but he has no intention of actually building the wall — it’s a starting negotiation position.

Donald Trump makes the same assessment of his voters that Barack Obama did: They are bitter clingers who cling to God and guns and xenophobia. He doesn’t know them. And they’re weird and alien. This is why Trump felt the need during the Republican National Convention to congratulate Republicans when they cheered his promise to defend gay citizens: “I must say, as a Republican, it’s so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said.” Could anything demonstrate Trump’s disconnect from his own voters better than this? Conservatives have never stood in favor of terrorists murdering homosexuals — and yet Trump seemed surprised by that revelation.

Because he’s not a conservative. Conservatives are kooky characters with whom he casually associates in order to get where he wants to be. The Second Amendment People are a different tribe — he can appease them with shouts of “NRA” even as he tells them that the government should use the terror watch list to ban gun ownership. The Abortion People are a different tribe, too; so, too, are the Foreign Policy People. This is why Trump falls back on the rhetorical tic of “some people say.” He wouldn’t say, but he knows that someone is saying something, and he wants to pay them homage.

Because conservatism is a foreign land to Trump, he regularly and unintentionally demeans conservative positions and philosophies. He allows the media to caricature conservatism as everything leftists have always believed conservatism to be: nasty, parochial, violent, and stupid. And thus conservatives have to spend more time re-explaining their positions than Trump spends defending them and promoting them to the American people.
Trump continually strikes me as someone who has gotten all his positions and pronouncements from listening to talk radio, particularly Sean Hannity. He might have listened to Limbaugh, but he only would have gained the resentment and not the conservative principles. That's why Hannity is his guy. Trump would probably make a successful talk radio host. He could bluster away saying crazy stuff and getting people riled up. So he can say something like Obama was the founder of ISIS because he's heard that ISIS grew after Obama pulled back from the Middle East. But it isn't enough to make that point, he has to then take it to the bombastic extreme by calling Obama the founder of ISIS.

Jay Nordlinger points to this exchange between Trump and Hugh Hewitt (not a bombastic talk show host like Hannity, but one who believes in conservatism) about Trump's statement. Hewitt tries to get Trump to acknowledge that there was a better way to phrase his point, but Trump is having none of it.
HH: “Last night, you said the president was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”

DJT: “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. …”

HH: “But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.”

DJT: “I don’t care. He was the founder. The way he got out of Iraq was, that was the founding of ISIS, okay?”

HH: “… But by using the term founder … Mistake?”

DJT: “No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. …”

HH: “… I think I would say they [President Obama and Hillary Clinton] lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say.”

DJT: “Well, I disagree.”

HH: “All right, that’s okay.”

DJT: “I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about.”

HH: “That’s …”

DJT: “If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS.”

HH: “That’s true.”

DJT: “Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.”
It's like discussing foreign policy with a five-year old. For Trump, it was enough that his audience liked it and he got media attention. He doesn't do nuance. And he doesn't understand that applause from the crowd at his rallies is not enough to turn a stupid statement into an intelligent argument.

Rich Lowry also sees Trump as the candidate of talk radio. (Though I had had that thought throughout this race and didn't get it from Lowry.)
Donald Trump is running a top-notch campaign to be a conservative media celebrity.

Unfortunately for him, and especially for the Republican Party, this isn’t the same thing as running a good, or even minimally competent, campaign for president.

From the beginning, Trump has been the candidate by and for the Entertainment Right, the talk-radio hosts, cable personalities and authors who recognize in Trump their own combative style and find it irresistible.

Trump’s campaign has hewed closely to the rules for 21st-century media provocateurs: Always be inflammatory and never apologize. Wear the media’s outrage as a badge of honor and attack your critics twice as hard. Repeat as necessary.
Lowry points out that Trump thinks apologizing is a mistake and that he should never apologize because, apparently, he thinks that is why Jimmy the Greek lost his job.
Trump’s refusal ever to apologize takes away one way to defuse controversies, and perhaps demonstrate some humanity and humility in the process. So his only options are to double down or try to evade what he said, forcing his defenders to repeat wholly implausible spin (and Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Co. usually dutifully comply).

Believers in the Trump “pivot” are constantly disappointed for a simple reason. Like a good entertainer, Trump always tries to keep his audiences engaged and amused. He doesn’t want to bore them or himself. His campaign is a kind of performance art in which entertainment value is more important than basic political considerations.

While journalists and political strategists are appalled by the distractions, Trump probably looks at things differently. Whenever one of his controversies generates a tsunami of media coverage, he may chafe at how “unfairly” he’s being treated, but part of him must be delighted as a child on Christmas morning at all the coverage. This is how he is wired.

After the past week, Trump must have trouble resisting the thought, “I’ve been the lead story in The New York Times five out of the last seven days—it can't be that bad, right?"

After his wife’s introduction to the country was spoiled at the Republican convention, Trump tweeted, "Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!” And that has, across four decades in the media capital of the world, always been one of Trump’s profoundest beliefs.

Republicans have been especially susceptible to the phenomenon of people running for president to enhance their media careers. Mike Huckabee had the most success at this, surprising on the upside in 2008 and landing his Fox News show afterward. In 2012, Newt Gingrich existed somewhere on the border between serious candidate and publicist for future book and movie projects. In his shocking victory in South Carolina, fueled by his defiance of the media despite his manifest weakness as a candidate by traditional measures, Gingrich came closest to foreshadowing the Trump phenomenon.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with media skills, a deft sense of political theater or boldness. But Trump is pushing the limits of the media-centric candidacy. His media enablers apparently don’t realize that just because someone rates, that doesn’t make him a good presidential candidate; just because someone has an intense following, doesn’t mean he’s appealing to a majority of people; just because someone is hated by the media, it doesn’t mean he’s a conservative.

Trump’s media fans will invariably give him advice to attack Hillary Clinton more (certainly sound counsel), but they will never tell him to tone it down.

The fact is that Trump isn’t necessarily losing on the issues; he’s losing on demeanor. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, Trump is roughly even with Hillary on handling the economy and terrorism, major issues, yet he trails badly on every presidential attribute.

So it’s not just a matter of Trump being more focused. He needs to be more dignified, more careful, more respectful and more knowledgable—in other words, a presidential candidate, not a media celebrity.
So when he loses to Clinton and sets the conservative cause back for a few election cycles and turns the country over to four more years of failed policies, he won't care. He can return to being a celebrity, maybe get that talk show or some other reality TV venue and he'll be fine. A joke, but fine. The rest of us will have to suffer the consequences of his egoistic time on the political stage.

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Allahpundit has some thoughts
on the story that Reince Priebus told Trump to start turning things around or else the RNC would shift more funding to other races.
Like Jonathan Last says, if you’re considering pulling the plug on Trump at any point, the sooner you do it, the better. That’ll give Trump fans extra time to get over their hard feelings before Election Day and it’ll give Republican candidates time to refashion their message as anti-Clinton and anti-Trump. Conversely, if you’re deathly afraid of alienating Trumpers by pulling the plug, then you’re stuck with Trump to the bitter end this year. Reince thinks he has leverage over Trump but it’s really the opposite: Once the plug is pulled, Trump could spend the rest of the campaign and then the next four years in the media attacking the GOP leadership as corrupt, having effectively “rigged the system” for Hillary by cutting off his financial and organizational support. If I were Trump, I would have called Priebus’s bluff. Take my money away, I would have told him, and I’ll take your voters away in 2018. Or at least enough of them to paint the map blue.

Last has a different theory, though: The RNC is stuck protecting its sunk costs.
If Trump were any other figure, Republicans party elites would be making cold-blooded calculations about pulling the plug.

But because Trump commands a sub-rational cult of personality, Republicans seem committed to sticking with him, no matter the embarrassment, no matter that cost. And the real perversity is that they seem to be doing it not because they like Trump but because they hate him.

It’s almost as if Republicans who caved to Trump now feel compelled to stick with him now as a way to justify their earlier mistake: We’re going to prove to you how not-craven we were, even if it means wrecking the party.

There’s something to that. Every major player in the party who’s bought into Trumpmania, reluctantly or not, will be spinning their reasons for having done so so if/when he loses. For Joe Scarborough, it’ll mean denying that he bought in at all. For Sean Hannity, it’ll mean deflecting blame back at Trump’s right-wing critics for his loss. For the RNC, it’ll be “we had to do what Trump’s voters wanted, no matter how ill-fated that seemed.” The RNC has the strongest case of the three — democracy trumps all, right? — but ironically the RNC is the only one that’s likely to suffer any consequences. Hannity will still have his grassroots fans following him to the next right-wing fad, Scarborough’s show will still be the darling of professional political media, but the RNC will be the lightning rod for millions of angry Republican armchair quarterbacks. Why didn’t they cut Trump loose sooner? Why didn’t they dump him at the convention? Why didn’t they do something during the primaries? You’re going to have people both pro-Trump and anti- quitting the party in disgust over the RNC’s role in a Trump defeat, either because they supposedly didn’t do enough to help him or they did too much. That being so, it’s beyond weird that Priebus thinks he’s in a position to dictate terms to Trump at this point. Which might be the strongest evidence that Trump’s telling the truth and the conversation never happened.

More problematic news from Rio.
There is not enough food and drink for visitors at the 2016 Rio Olympics, even though the Games started just six days ago. Attendees queued for hours at food stalls, only to find that everything had run out when they reached the counter, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. On Saturday, food stalls at the Future Arena—where handball games are played—were forced to shut early because there were no more supplies left.

Of course, the problems in Rio are nothing compared to Venezuela's food crisis.
ou name it, Venezuela is short of it: Meat, fish, fruits, sugar and bread. The government just doesn't have enough money to pay for them.

It's created a staggering humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, where citizens don't have enough food to eat. Looting and riots have rocked the country. The declines in exports of certain food categories are staggering.

...The government seems to have prioritized its debt payments over food shortages. Venezuelans wait in lines outside supermarkets often for hours only to find empty shelves. It's hard to find bread, eggs and other basic items.

The country is also short on basic medicines, leaving some to die in hospitals and many to languish without proper treatment.

It's an especially tragic situation because Venezuela has more oil reserves than any other country in the world. Plus one of its neighbors, Brazil, is among the world's top food exporters.

Venezuela has denied food and humanitarian aid from groups like Amnesty International and the United Nations. Amnesty officials contest that the government doesn't want to accept aid because that would make the government look inadequate.

Despite its focus on debt payments, Venezuela is actually struggling to pay those bills too. With oil prices having plunged in the last two years, Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, is next to broke. In April, Schlumberger, which provides oil-drilling equipment and technology, said it would lower its services to Venezuela due to unpaid bills. With less drilling capability, Venezuela's oil production has fallen to a 13-year low.

Now Venezuela's government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, is trying to revamp the country's agricultural sector, which long lacked significant investment, to address the food shortages, experts say.

Maduro issued a decree in July that would force citizens to work on state-owned farms for up to 60 days and perhaps longer "if circumstances merit." So far, there have been no cases of forced labor, but Amnesty claims the decree amounts to "forced labor."

IBD points out that the newest bunch of emails released after Judicial Watch's FOIA request was granted reveal quite a few more Hillary lies.
First, they show that Clinton was -- and still is -- lying about when she started using her account. In fact, the latest batch of emails prove that her private email address was already in wide circulation long before she claimed she started using it.

In addition to Morgan Stanley's Roach, the list of those who sent emails to Clinton's allegedly inactive email address includes Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution (a large, liberal think tank in Washington); Burns Strider, Hillary's "faith guru" and founding partner of the Eleison Group consulting firm; Dan Utech, who had just been named a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu; Clinton friend Marty Torrey; and Sandy Berger, who was Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser.

Second, these emails where Clinton is conducting State Department business were being sent and received at a time when Clinton's server was completely unprotected.

Shortly after the email story broke in March 2015, Salt Lake City-based security firm Venafi discovered that "for the first three months of Secretary Clinton's term, access to the server was not encrypted or authenticated with a digital certificate."

In other words, from January through March, it was wide open to hackers who might want to steal personal information.

During those months, Clinton had visited countries "known to have active eavesdropping campaigns," Venafi vice president Kevin Bocek told Fortune more than a year ago.

At the time, this finding didn't appear to mean much since Clinton was claiming that she wasn't using this email account. Now we know she was.

It is also worth noting that these emails turned up only after a State Department search of Huma Abedin's computer files. So who knows how many more emails Clinton sent and received during her first three months in office that haven't seen the light of day -- and probably never will.

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mark said...

All predicted "ill effects" of Obamacare have come true?
Nope, not true. Some have, some haven't.

tfhr said...


You can't keep your doctor, you can't keep your policy, and you didn't get $2500. Those are some ill effects, actually lies, but who's counting? Those lies were spoon-fed to gullible morons that were all too happy to become more dependent on the their government for their well-being - that would be Obama voters. He made those lies for you and here you are, like a battered and abused wife, defending your abuser.

I'm starting to get why the left wistfully hopes to be "more like Sweden" (the one they think exists anyway): Stockholm Syndrome.

mark said...

I have correctly pointed out that, contrary to what Betsy and other conservatives are claiming, not all of the "ill effects" predicted about Obamacare have come true.

I realize your ego is a bit bruised from having your lies and insane accusations called out, but use it as a learning opportunity.

tfhr said...


So the remaining promises - built on lies and still resounding in your empty head - is enough for you. Despite the fact that you can actually see where you were horribly wrong, you will ignore the critics that predicted both the failure of the program and much of the harm done by Obamacare to this point. I'll say it again, you can actually see where the program has failed as expected and yet you still cling to the deception despite the damage done. You simply refuse to admit wrong and to accept reality. Talk about a learning opportunity missed (the irony of your last idiotic rant!) but I guess that passes as a success in the warped mind of a Progressive!

When the President of the United State repeats multiple lies to promote a bogus program that would NEVER lower the cost of medical care (and necessarily raise it for many, many families) and would push Americans into a single-payer system that will further increase costs and drive up taxes, you're great with that. You don't care that it was all built on lies. Perhaps if the program were valid, if it had ever been designed to help people (as opposed to a political party), it wouldn't have required lies to promote it.

The thing is you don't even have the integrity to admit that Obama lied to you; it's like you're lying to yourself.

Come on, Aqualung! Admit that Obama lied to you!

mark said...

I have correctly pointed out that, contrary to what Betsy and other conservatives are claiming, not all of the "ill effects" predicted about Obamacare have come true.

tfhr said...


And you've indicated that you approve of programs and policies that are built on lies. What's your point beyond that?

"You can keep your doctor". LIE

"You can keep your plan". LIE

"$2,500 in savings per family". LIE

The whole thing is a lie and you know it. The fact that it is collapsing in chunks - but somehow you desperately believe that because there are a few other lies still left standing, it is a victory for Progressive idiocy and you eat it up like a good, little toady! What a drooling moron you must be!

What I don't get is that if somebody that worked for you lied to your face - you would not tolerate it unless you enjoyed being played for a fool. Think about it. If you hired a lawyer or a financial analyst to help you map your retirement and you found out that they were lying to you, you'd fire them and probably take them to court. Well, the President is not your boss. He's actually employed by you and yet you let him lie to your face!

The guy lies to you over and over. Obamacare is a failure and you are doing whatever you can to excuse it. It's like blocking punches with your stupid, stunned mullet face! What a dumb ass! You're pathetic!

mark said...

Bad night, trumpette?
I was the first one here who pointed out the absurdity of Obama's claim that "if you like your plan, you keep your plan" (which you later turned into a joke about Americans having their heads sliced off by ISIS). Folks here were too busy being "outraged" about about "death panels", just one of several lies pedaled by conservatives.

tfhr said...


And yet you vote for more absurdity. You also claim that you were the first person here to identify that Hillary is a crook and but you will vote for more corruption anyway.

You voted for Obama's lies - twice - and you'll vote for Hillary too but when someone uses a phrase that aptly captures the effects of inevitable healthcare rationing, you feign outrage like a drag queen with the vapors.

mark said...

"You also claim that you were the first person here to identify that Hillary is a crook"

No, that's a lie.

tfhr said...


Learn to discern sarcasm or I'm going to have to do the whole /sarc on / sarc off / thing to guide you past future opportunities to prove how tone deaf you are.

You make a habit of dribbling all over yourself with claims that typically start out with "I was the first....". It would be a funny joke in itself but since you're just about the only one I know that goes to such lengths to take credit for making a bold stand on obvious things like Hillary and Obama's propensity to tell lies, I'm not sure you really get that we all know they're crooked, contemptuous and (correspondingly) your candidates of choice.

mark said...

Pretending your lies and idiocy are sarcasm? You're channeling the Donald himself. Well done!

tfhr said...


Remember when you were the first one here to acknowledge that you would vote for a crook?!

I do.