Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Cruising the Web

Donald Trump seems to think that the same bombastic idiocies that didn't stop him from wrapping up the GOP nomination are fine to use in the general election. He doesn't seem to understand that he has to win over people in the middle and that the best way to do that is to focus like a laser on the economy and security. But he keeps allowing himself to dive down rabbit holes. Yesterday it was to launch attacks on Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte because they're not paying sufficient obeisance to the Donald. His sole criterion seems to be to check whether or not someone is loyal to him. If a person praises him, he's fine with that person even if that person is Vladimir Putin. Oh, and then he lies about Paul Ryan asking for his endorsement which Ryan's team strongly denies. Hmmm. Who has the stronger reputation for honesty? I know whom I believe.

And when Trump wasn't attacking Republicans, he was still going after the Khans in the most inept way possible. The guy just doesn't learn. Just what we need in the White House - someone who can't learn from his mistakes and who makes so very many of them.

And if the attacks on the Khans and other Republicans weren't enough, he and his son had to go make idiotic statements about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Donald Trump and his son Eric have stirred new controversy over the Republican presidential nominee’s views on women, with both men asserting that Ivanka Trump is too strong to allow herself to be a victim of workplace sexual harassment.

The remarks prompted another round of sharp criticism on social media against the candidate, who has made incendiary remarks about women in the past and is having trouble attracting female voters.

In recent weeks, Donald Trump has defended longtime friend Roger Ailes, who was ousted as the chief executive of Fox News after being accused of sexually harassing at least two dozen women. Trump has also questioned the motives of some of the women. In an interview with USA Today, Trump was asked what would happen if his daughter Ivanka were subjected to workplace harassment.

“I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case,” Trump said Monday evening.

Eric Trump, when asked about his father’s remarks, said sexual harassment in the workplace is an “absolute no-go” and “should be addressed and addressed strongly.” He said workplace harassment should be reported.

He then suggested that women who are strong, including his sister, would not allow themselves to be sexually harassed in the office.

“Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman. She wouldn’t allow herself to be, you know, subjected to it ,” Eric Trump said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.” His sister, as a “strong person,” would bring up the matter with her company’s human resources department, he said.

“At the same time, I don’t think she would allow herself to be subjected to that,” he said.
Oh, geez. So now they're implying that women who are victims of sexual harassment at work are weak. Basically, it's their fault that they're not as strong as Ivanka who works for her family. Maybe that helps protect her from sexual harassment. It's too bad that Trump can't take some of his wealth and go buy a clue.

I guess Trump has given up on the women's vote. Hillary couldn't have programmed Trump to be more helpful to her candidacy.

Well, the campaign is letting Trump be Trump and this is the result. As Mark Antonio Wright concludes, the GOP convention was a failure.
Gallup’s numbers are truly stunning. American political conventions have been a guaranteed boost to candidates’ public image. Gallup has measured an increased willingness to vote for a party’s candidate ranging from Mitt Romney’s modest two-point bump in 2012 to Bill Clinton’s massive 45-point rocket in 1992. No candidate has ever come out of a convention with the public less likely to vote for him. Until now....

Trump came out of the GOP convention with the public 15 points less likely to vote for him.

Wasn’t Donald Trump was supposed to be some sort of show-biz genius? Weren’t we told for two months that if the GOP would only hand the keys to Trump, the party’s convention would cease to be so boring; that millions and millions would tune in to see the prime-time spectacle; that the Trump Show would rally a huge grassroots populist rebellion against the status quo; that Trump would unite the Republican party, bring in disaffected conservatives, and lead the charge toward a big win in November.

And then: Melania’s plagiarism. Shoutey Michael Flynn. Too-long and too-late speeches lasting well past 11 p.m. on the East Coast. Conservative rebels thuggishly crushed by Trump goons on the convention floor. Empty seats. Ploddingly unoriginal programming.

It was slapstick. It was amateur hour. And all that even before Donald Trump stepped to the podium on a Thursday night to give an hour-plus stem-winder that changed no one’s mind — but only reinforced the public’s already ingrained perception of the Manhattan real-estate mogul.

How did the public view Trump’s speech? They hated it.

THe Clintons are probably crossing their fingers that Trump will continue to be Trump. It's the best thing going for them.

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William McGurn doesn't buy the Democrats' sudden affection for past GOP presidential candidates in order to draw the contrast to Trump.
Hmmm. Anyone remember election year 2000, when the NAACP ran an ad implying George W. Bush was OK with lynching? It exploited the brutal murder of an African-American in Texas who had been beaten, chained to the back of a pickup truck, and then dragged through the streets. In a voice-over, the murdered man’s daughter says, “So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crimes legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.”

Where were the keepers of public respectability then, warning that anyone who didn’t immediately renounce the NAACP for this smear would be forever tainted?

And while we’re on the subject of smears directed at Sen. McCain, in the 2008 campaign Georgia Rep. John Lewis said the tone of the McCain/Palin campaign reminded him of “another destructive period in American history.” Just to underscore his point, Mr. Lewis noted that while “ George Wallace never threw a bomb” or “fired a gun,” he created the “atmosphere of hate” that led to the murder of those innocent girls.

Again, hard to recall an ongoing chorus of disapproval, much less the suggestion that Mr. Lewis and his followers had forever fouled themselves.

Likewise the attacks on Mitt Romney. In 2012 Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid falsely accused Mr. Romney of failing to pay his taxes; the deputy manager of the Obama campaign suggested he was a felon; and a pro-Obama super PAC ran an ad blaming Mr. Romney for the cancer death of a woman whose husband’s steel plant had been shut down in a Bain Capital restructuring years earlier.

The truth is that Mr. Trump’s offense is in good part a creature of the campaigns Democrats have run against Republicans for decades. Sooner or later it was inevitable that voters, tired of both political correctness and playing defense, would opt for a Republican nominee who would give as ugly as he got.
Remember these examples when you hear Democrats decry the end of civility in politics.

Joel Kotkin, a lifetime Democrat and columnist, bemoans what has happened to his party - the Democratic Party.
For virtually all of my adult life, I have been a registered Democrat. But as the party has abandoned critical commitments to color-blind racial equality, upward mobility and economic growth, I have moved on to become a registered independent. This makes me part of the fastest-growing “party” in America – the politically homeless....

Increasingly, liberals, or progressives, are at best ambivalent about economic growth, particularly in such blue-collar fields as fossil fuel energy, manufacturing, agribusiness and suburban homebuilding. Bill Galston, a former close advisor to Bill Clinton, notes that party platform “is truly remarkable – for example, its near-silence on economic growth.” In 2012, for example, Democrats touted the environmental and economic benefits of natural gas. This year’s party platform endorses ever-stricter regulation of the industry, while Sen. Bernie Sanders’ faction demands a quickly decarbonized economy.

Ironically, such steps will hurt precisely the blue-collar workers Sanders and his minions allegedly care most about. But the Vermont socialist’s base is not blue-collar production workers, but rather millennials, low-paid service workers and academics with few ties to tangible industries. Suspicious of broad-based economic growth’s impact on the environment, they logically favor redistribution of wealth over seriously growing the pie – in effect, contradicting nearly a half-century of mainstream Democratic thinking. The Bernie Bros and Gals think that higher taxes and more generous welfare benefits can turn America into a kind of mega-Scandinavia. They ignore the fact that, as author Nima Sanandaji has pointed out, the Nordic welfare state drew from generations of rapid growth built on small government, free markets and cultural factors, and that, in more recent years, countries such as Sweden have embraced a stronger free-market stance in order to pay for their generous welfare systems.

The Sanders campaign has been right about one thing: the nature of the Clinton coalition. Due in part to the awful candidacy of Donald Trump, Hillary is likely to be the most Big Business-backed candidate in American history – five of the world’s 10 richest people favor Clinton. Long the belle of Wall Street, she has secured overwhelming support from increasingly powerful tech, entertainment and media oligarchies. These may acquiesce to the Left on social and environmental issues, but the new oligarchs will be happy to see the back of Bernie’s “soak the rich” platform. They can feel confident that Hillary will not threaten the tax and regulatory regime favorable to them, and some cronies, like Elon Musk or Google, can expect another flood of energy-related subsidies to enhance their already massive wealth.
He can become an independent, but that is just giving a name to his partisan homelessness. Voters like him might have been picked up by the GOP if they had had a different sort of candidate. I imagine that a Paul Ryan would be able to win Kotkin's vote. Maybe Marco Rubio or Ben Sasse or even Rand Paul. Alas, not this year. My only hope is that four years of Hillary Clinton's reign will open Republican voters' eyes to a true conservative who could win over Democrats like Kotkin who will be so disgusted with rule by the Clintons.

David French refutes the idea
that Hillary has made any sacrifices in her career. Sure, Donald Trump's attempt to define his business career as a sacrifice was laughable, but Hillary hasn't sacrificed either.
First, let’s dispense with the notion that there is anything at all sacrificial about her career. Walk into any elite law school and lay out her career path — work for fashionable left-wing causes, teach law school, make partner in a state’s premiere law firm, move into the White House, and then run for a gift-wrapped Senate seat — and you’ll watch students knife one another in the back for the opportunity to have half her chances. Every one of her jobs has been “cool.” Each of her jobs helped build her résumé. Not one of her jobs involved any serious sacrifice for her country.

Most progressive students don’t want to start or end their careers in big corporate law firms. Indeed, they often choose that life only because they feel boxed-in by student loans and try to escape the big firm the instant they’re financially able. It’s not a “sacrifice” to choose to escape the 70-hour work weeks. It’s not a “sacrifice” to avoid endless hours of thankless document review and mindless discovery. It’s a dream.

Second, it’s simply false that activists, politicians, or bureaucrats are — by definition — “public servants.” Instead, they’re often wannabe rulers, seeking their own good at the expense of the public. Activists and politicians have pulled off a neat trick. Unlike other professionals, they’ve figured out a way to cast their naked ambition as selfless and righteous. If public office is such a sacrifice, why do senators and representatives hold on to their offices with a vise grip? Many of them love the perks. Most of them love the power. Some of them love the public.
Of course, the one sacrifice that Hillary has made has been to stick with a philandering husband for the sake of power and then to have their private lives become the butt of public humor and prurient curiosity. But that isn't a sacrifice that she or her supporters are going to name and it's a choice she made in order to keep her position. It's not a sacrifice if you give up something in order to keep money and power.

Very few of us, particularly politicians, truly sacrifice in our lives. That would require giving up something of true value for someone or some cause. Those who join the military or who have loved ones in the military have sacrificed. There are people who work in low-paying or dangerous jobs to help others who sacrifice. Some teachers dedicate themselves to helping special needs or at-risk students. Some people work long hours to help the sick and needy. I'm a teacher who works long hours, but I haven't sacrificed. I have wonderful students and colleagues and I love my job. I haven't given up anything so I can understand French's point.

Few politicians have such backgrounds. And someone who has earned the tens of millions of dollars and all the perks of power that have accrued to the Clintons over the years have sacrificed little. So let's get away from this idea that there should be some sort of sacrificial contest between Trump and Clinton.

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Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund expose
the specious reasoning used by federal courts in throwing out voter-ID laws in three states.
The three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that threw out North Carolina’s election reforms last week engaged in the same type of “perniciously irresponsible racial name-calling” that is not supported by the evidence or common sense. The almost 500-page opinion in April by the district court from which the case was appealed contained detailed factual findings that refute the appeals court’s charges of racial discrimination.

The basic charge is that these state laws were intended to, or would have the effect of, preventing voters, particularly minority voters, from casting ballots. Yet as Judge Jones said, “despite extraordinary efforts to find voters ‘disenfranchised’ by [the Texas law], the DOJ could not uncover any, and no representative of the plaintiff organizations found any of their members unable to vote” because of the law.

The same is true in North Carolina. The Justice Department was contesting that state’s voter-ID law, the elimination of same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting, and the state’s limiting early voting to “only” 10 days. The plaintiffs, in addition to failing to produce witnesses unable to vote because of these changes, produced no voter-turnout information to support their false claims. The actual turnout data show that voters were not kept out of the polls by any of these requirements.

The Justice Department’s so-called experts claimed that turnout would be depressed because—in a patronizingly racist claim that the Fourth Circuit believed—black voters are “less sophisticated” and can’t figure out how to register and vote. But as the district court had already discovered, black voters in North Carolina actually “fared better in terms of registration and turnout rates in 2014, after the new law was implemented, than in 2010, when the old provisions were in place.”

African-American turnout “not only increased, but did so at a greater rate than that of other groups (including whites).” Yet the Fourth Circuit discounted this evidence. The plaintiffs in the Texas case also ignored voter-turnout data for the simple reason that there was no evidence that the law—which was in effect for several elections—affected turnout at all.

This is certainly true in other states, like Georgia and Indiana, where voter- ID laws have been in place for years. None of the bad effects predicted by opponents has occurred. Turnout has not declined. But this actual evidence is ignored in favor of ill-informed speculation and, as Judge Jones said, “unsupportable charges of racist motivation.”

Especially pernicious are the North Carolina and Wisconsin rulings holding that eliminating same-day registration or reducing early voting violates federal law. Early voting didn’t even exist until Texas first adopted it in 1988. The idea that it is discriminatory to have only 10 days of early voting—instead of 20 or 30—is absurd. Under that view, the more than a dozen states that have never implemented early voting are all breaking federal law.

Only about a dozen states offer same-day registration. Everywhere else, you have to register to vote before an election. Yet in the Fourth Circuit’s view, the majority of states that have never implemented same-day registration must also be discriminating in violation of federal law. Also absurd is the court’s opinion that not allowing out-of-precinct voting is discriminatory. Most states have never allowed such voting.
Appeals courts are supposed to rely on the facts found at the lower courts. They are not supposed to make up facts themselves, particularly when the facts they're making up are contradicted by the evidence. But why should that stop activist judges who have a theory and are ruling to implement it regardless of evidence.

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Have a good day. I'm off to get a colonoscopy - rather like examining politics today.