Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cruising the Web

Remember how liberals exploded when Ari Fleischer said that "Americans need to watch what they say" in response to a question about an idiotic comment by a Republican congressman about how he'd react to a man who "wore a diaper on his head" and Bill Maher's calling members of the military cowards. Liberal writers responded as if Fleischer were getting ready to lock critics of President Bush up in internment camps. Well, I bet we won't see any similar response to Hillary Clinton's words today accusing Trump of inspiring ISIS.
After multiple terrorist attacks launched across the U.S over the weekend, Hillary Clinton placed blame at the feet of the man she says is responsible for recruiting ISIS terrorists across the globe: Donald Trump. Then she accused him of treason, a capital crime that carries the penalty of death under federal law.

“Donald Trump is being used as a recruiting sergeant for ISIS,” Clinton said on Monday morning. “The kind of language and rhetoric Trump has used is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries.”

Clinton’s accusation that Trump is “giving aid and comfort” to America’s enemies is a specific reference to the definition of treason in federal law (18 U.S.C. 2381)
Basically, she is implying that Trump's rhetoric make him guilty of treason. Of course, Democrats have blamed Republicans for terrorism before.
During a trip to the Philippines last November, Obama said Republicans were serving as ISIS recruiters by trying to limit immigration to the U.S. In June, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted that Senate Republicans were literally handing weapons to SIS fighters.

For all those who have faith in the federal government to accomplish great things should note this story.
The U.S. government has mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from countries of concern to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud who had pending deportation orders, according to an internal Homeland Security audit released Monday.

The Homeland Security Department's inspector general found that the immigrants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and such discrepancies weren't caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases.
Yeah, that will give everyone confidence in how they can screen future immigrants. Jonah Goldberg links to something Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase wrote about unlimited government and why government programs so often don't work.
An important reason may be that government at the present time is so large that it has reached the stage of negative marginal productivity, which means that any additional function it takes on will probably result in more harm than good.… If a federal program were established to give financial assistance to Boy Scouts to enable them to help old ladies cross busy intersections, we could be sure that not all the money would go to Boy Scouts, that some of those they helped would be neither old nor ladies, that part of the program would be devoted to preventing old ladies from crossing busy intersections, and that many of them would be killed because they would now cross at places where, unsupervised, they were at least permitted to cross.

Isn't this just typical of this administration?
The White House press secretary said Monday the United States is in a "narrative fight, a narrative battle" with the Islamic State terrorist group. Josh Earnest, speaking with CNN host Chris Cuomo about the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey as well as the stabbing attack in Minnesota over the weekend, said the Obama administration has "made progress in debunking" the "mythology" that ISIS represents Islam in a fight against the West.

"When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight, a narrative fight, with them, a narrative battle," said Earnest "And what ISIL wants to do is they want to project that they are an organization that is representing Islam in a fight, in a war against the West, in a war against the United States. That is a bankrupt, false narrative. It's a mythology. And we have made progress in debunking that mythology."
I guess it's false narratives at 30 paces.

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Jeff Jacoby writes on a statistic I hadn't heard before. We are getting more immigrants from China and Asia than we are from Mexico.
Yet the country that sends the most immigrants to the United States each year isn’t Mexico. It’s China.

In 2013, according to the Census Bureau, China was the country of origin for 147,000 US immigrants, compared to just 125,000 who came from Mexico. Over the previous 10 years, immigration from China and other Asian countries had been rising, while immigration from Mexico decreased. Since at least 2009, reported demographer Eric Jensen, more immigrants to America have been Asian than Hispanic. By 2013, the disparity was unmistakable: Asians accounted for 40.2 percent of the total immigration flow. Hispanics made up only 25.5 percent.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal crunched even more recent numbers. “In 2014, there were 31 states where more immigrants arrived from China than from Mexico. . . . Even in California, a top destination for Latinos, Chinese immigrants outnumbered Mexican immigrants.” (The data include all immigrants, legal and illegal.)
There goes a lot of arguments about how we're being overrun by Mexicans. Jacoby reminds us of the ugly rhetoric that led to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The more things change....

Alcee Hastings is as charming as ever.
He's fed up with how the Clinton campaign spending money on ads instead of giving it to him for get-out-the-vote efforts. And he's fed up with the campaign's efforts to reach young people.
“What’s wrong with us people?” Hastings said. “We got that big old beach over there. And all you have to do is get some liquor and some punk rockers and some rappers and you’ll have all the kids you ever needed. But our old fogy behinds, we continue to not do the things that are necessary. Most of you in here don’t even know what Pandora is. That’s where kids can be found. They hunker down on weekends on social media. They don’t look at MSNBC and Fox and ABC. They don’t get their news that way. What does it take to get that across to all of these candidates and campaigns?

Meanwhile, Byron York looks at the vast disparity in the money Hillary has spent on TV advertising compared to Trump and notices that all that spending doesn't seem to have done much good.
Hillary Clinton has spent several times what Donald Trump has spent to air television ads in key states. That will likely continue; in a new count by Advertising Age, the Clinton campaign and its allied SuperPACs have booked $145.3 million in ad time between now and election day, to $4.4 million for Trump and his groups.

The disparity has terrified some Republican strategists who fear Trump is being drowned in a tidal wave of Clinton ads. But what if it doesn't really matter?

Take Ohio. Clinton and her allies have been pummeling Trump on TV there, spending many millions more than he has. Yet Trump has climbed in the polls while she has fallen; two recent surveys had Trump ahead by three and five points, respectively.
York visits a Frank Luntz focus group to see how undecided voters respond to negative advertising. The ads didn't seem to make much of an impact on the group. I found that surprising since she has been running some devastating ads using some of the more inflammatory things that Trump has said. I just saw her ad using his quotes on preferring those who don't get captured as he derided McCain's time as a POW or compared his efforts to make money to those sacrifices that those in the military and their families made and I thought it was very powerful. But then I'm already disgusted with Trump. The Luntz group didn't seem so affected.
"Almost all of the ads bombed because they weren't authentic," Luntz said afterward. "You cannot take clips out of context and expect voters to believe them any more because they've seen it again and again and again."

Luntz also played a set of soundbites from Clinton and Trump talking about Social Security. (The session was sponsored by AARP.) The dials went down time after time. After one Clinton soundbite, Luntz asked why.

"Everything she said there, she's so full of s—t," said one man....

Luntz said to the group, "You guys are dialing them both down." What was going on?

"They're lying — they're speaking words but they don't mean anything," said one.

"They both do a great job of making you not want to pick either one of them," said another.

"It sounds like just so much bulls—t, over and over and over," said yet another.

As the session neared its end, one woman noted that Trump already has his base behind him but seems to be doing nothing to reach beyond the base to appeal to people like her. "I don't see any movement by him to try to change to create a different image for people who are uncertain," she said.

"He is not talking to you?" Luntz asked.

"He is not talking to me," the woman said.

"Is Hillary talking to you?" Luntz followed.

"I'm not really listening to her."

Jonah Goldberg has a lot of fun with the excuse put forth by the Clinton campaign that the reason Hillary got dehydrated was because they just can't get her to drink water.
(When I was a very little kid, I occasionally needed to blow my nose or tie my shoes. Seriously, it’s true. My dad would tell me to blow my nose or tie my shoes and I’d say, “I will, I will. I’m just too busy.” My Dad would laugh and say, “Jonah, the busiest man in the world can still find time to blow his nose. I don’t think your schedule is that full.”)

I just love the image of Hillary Clinton sitting at her desk reading a position paper on daycare in Sweden or the fine print on her credit-card agreement, and Huma Abedin interrupting her to say, “Madame Clinton. You must drink water. You must. The work can wait.”

“Oh Huma, stop,” Her Royal Toothache responds. “I must get through this section on the APR on my Discover Card.”

Two hours later, Robbie Mook enters the room. “Effendi, please. Just a sip. Water is life-sustaining. Think of the children.”

Hillary refuses to even look up from the raw data of water-quality tests for UNICEF-installed wells in Northern Burundi: “I am thinking of the children! Are you saying I deserve clean water more than the children of Burundi? Away with you now!”

The aides all go back out to the hallway like the hangers-on in one of the Downfall videos, muttering and whispering their concerns. “This can’t go on,” John Podesta sighs. Sid Blumenthal, still in his mysteriously blood-spattered smock, waves his arm-length black-gloved hand and says, “You can lead water to a goddess, but you can’t make her drink.”

For Obama, it's always about him.
With Democratic leaders increasingly worried about a lack of passion for Hillary Clinton among young black voters, President Obama is rolling out a new and more personal campaign message: “It’s about me.”

The president told African-Americans this weekend he would consider it a “personal insult” if they did not vote for Mrs. Clinton
Well, maybe making it all about him will do better than making the election all about Hillary or Trump.

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Get ready for the Obamacare sticker shock. David Catron examines how Obamacare is featuring in several key states.
Trump has pledged to repeal the unpopular “reform” law while Clinton still defends it. This distinction will become particularly poignant to swing state voters whose double-digit premium hikes hit just as they are deciding for whom to cast their November ballots.

In Ohio, for example, Obama easily won in 2012 but Trump has led Clinton in 4 of the last 5 surveys of likely voters listed by RealClearPolitics. It’s probably not a coincidence that Ohio is one of the battleground states in which Obamacare has driven up out-of-pocket health care expenses. The Columbus Dispatch reports, “Ohioans insured through the Affordable Care Act will have fewer providers to choose from next year and will pay more for coverage.” Buckeye State voters aren’t likely to switch to Clinton while she continues defend the law that is causing this catastrophe.
A similar result is showing up in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, and Colorado.

And Medicaid is also being doomed by Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act has expanded Medicaid and has added to its unsustainable spending trajectory, according to a report from the Mercatus Center.

“Before the Affordable Care Act, the federal government provided states with an open-ended reimbursement of at least half of each state’s Medicaid expenditures,” the report states. “Because of the federal reimbursement, both state Medicaid spending and federal spending (through the reimbursement) have increased significantly since the program’s inception.”

According to the report, experts did not account for how states would respond to the reimbursement rate and underestimated the number of enrollees and their related costs.

In 2015, a newly eligible Medicaid enrollee cost 49 percent more than they did in 2014, costing an average of $6,366. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Medicaid spending is projected to grow by $232 billion between 2016 and 2024. Additionally, the budget office finds that more people are enrolling in Medicaid and is projecting that estimates are 50 percent higher than they were before the expansion took effect in 2014.

“The ACA’s Medicaid expansion is exacerbating the already unsustainable spending trajectory of the program that has led to a significant crowd-out of other priorities—such as education and infrastructure—at the state level,” the report states.

What is it with political leaders in democracies and their admiration for Vladimir Putin? First Donald Trump beclowns himself with his praise of Putin's strength and poll numbers. Now the new leader of Ukip, Diane James, says that she finds Putin heroic.
Ms James, who was elected as party leader on Friday, listed the Russian president, Margaret Thatcher and Sir Winston Churchill when asked about the political figures she most admires.

She had previously said that she admires the Russian leader, saying he was a “a strong leader” in an interview last year.
That's some pantheon of heroes.

Noah Pollak observes John Kerry's testy response to a question about the breakdown of the supposed cease-fire that he thought he'd negotiated with Syria and Russia. Kerry was annoyed that the media would dare to ask him about this failure.
So, to summarize: John Kerry negotiated a fake cease-fire with people who have an unblemished record of undermining American interests and lying to him personally. Now they’ve pulled the rug out in the most conspicuous and humiliating way possible, and Kerry thinks Assad simply goofed on media etiquette and wants to iron out the details of the cease fire in a new round of negotiations — and it’d all be possible if the media would stop claiming that he has failed.

Vain, dense, and self-deluded, John Kerry is such an enormous embarrassment to the United States and such a profound cretin as a human being that it almost makes his humiliation enjoyable to watch. Except that there are civilians in Syria whose lives depend on the aid Kerry so cruelly keeps promising, and which he should know will never be delivered.
But remember, we're winning the battle of narratives.

I can't even. Apparently, the Washington Post fashion editor, Robin Givhan, thinks that Hillary Clinton is a fashion icon. Has she seen what Hillary wears? Mollie Hemingway is dumbfounded with how idiotic this is.
The boxy, double-breasted, bumble-bee-in-fall-foliage, horizontal striped jacket isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It’s not trendsetting so much as safe and fashion-present. It’s very Ann Taylor-meets-more-expensive-version-of-Ann Taylor-for-older-ladies. No big deal.

It’s no big deal until you start telling me that this is the height of fashion and that this is inspiration for countless designers. Nearly every mainstream reporter in America is loudly telling us that Hillary Clinton is wearing the finest clothing spun by the most magical weavers and only the stupid can’t see it.

It’s bad enough when the other reporters are trying to sell this crap sandwich and getting angry when people aren’t buying it. But for Robin Givhan to try it on actual fashion is even worse. Funnier, but worse.

You gotta love it when thieves help thwart a deadly terrorist attack.
Leave the bomb, take the bag.

In two separate cases, thieves snatching bags from city streets and train stations inadvertently helped law enforcement get the upper hand in an ongoing bomb spree that's hurt dozens of people and spans both sides of the Hudson River, sources said.
Sadly, we can't count on all would-be terrorists to be this incompetent or for some sharp-eyed thieves to be on hand the next time or for a witness to put together what she had seen and call the police.

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The real worry is that terrorists have now done what a lot of people were worried about since 2001 - they've turned to softer targets like shopping malls and restaurants where the security forces aren't as in force as they might be at airports.
French criminologist Alain Bauer, an advisor to several French government officials as well as to police forces in the United States, borrows an old Marxist term to describe this soft-target trend: “It’s lumpen terror, the lowest level of terror,” Bauer told The Daily Beast. “But thanks to the media even if it fails, it works. Terror is about violence and communication, and this is effective."
Why did it take so long for al Qaeda or ISIS to start random soft-target attacks in the United States?

“Because it was not good enough,” said Bauer. “It was not rewarding enough for them. You did the World Trade Center, or you attacked police or soldiers, targets you could ‘proud’ of.”

But ISIS has “changed their marketing strategy,” said Bauer. This low level terror is like “the worm that attacks the lion,” he said in a colorful metaphor. “The worm will not kill the lion, but it will make it crazy with little bites here and there.”
“These attacks create a climate of terror,” said Bauer. “That exists even when nothing happens. And the public, which doesn’t believe the threat at first, then believes everything, the mood goes from one extreme to another."

Bret Stephens reminisces about his days living in Israel and how they responded to terrorist threats, he warns us of how we will have to learn to live with a daily awareness of the possibility of attacks.
What’s the lesson here for Americans? This past weekend’s terrorist attacks hold at least two. One is that there is a benefit for a society that allows competent and responsible adults to carry guns, like the off-duty police officer who shot the knife-wielding jihadist in St. Cloud, Minn. Another is that there is an equal benefit in the surveillance methods that allowed police in New York and New Jersey to swiftly identify and arrest Mr. Rahimi before his bombing spree took any lives.

These are lessons the political left in this country doesn’t want to hear, lest they unsettle established convictions that weapons can only cause violence, not stop it, and that security is the antithesis of, not a precondition to, civil liberty.

But hear them they will. The eclipse of al Qaeda by Islamic State means the terrorist threat is evolving from elaborately planned spectaculars such as 9/11 or the 2004 Madrid train bombings to hastily improvised and executed blood orgies of the sort we saw this year in Nice and Orlando. As attacks become more frequent and closer to everyday life, public tolerance for liberal pieties will wane. Not least among the casualties of the Palestinian intifada was the Israeli left.

Living in Israel in those crowded years taught me that free people aren’t so easily cowed by terror, and that jihadists are no match for a determined democracy. But it also taught me that democracies rarely muster their full reserves of determination until they’ve been bloodied one time too many.

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Here's your opportunity to buy the manuscript of a romantic novella by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Clisson et Eugénie is unabashedly autobiographical. Penned in the autumn of 1795, while Napoleon was still rising in the ranks of the French army, the novel centers around an officer named Clisson, “a man of fervent imagination, with his blazing heart, his uncompromising intellect and his cool head”. The war-weary Clisson decides to quit his position and enjoy the spa baths of central France. There he meets two young women, Amélie and Eugénie, and falls desperately (and tragically) in love with Eugénie. While tender, this romance is also quite tame. The closest the author comes to sex may be: “Their hearts fused … the most exquisite voluptuousness flooded the hearts of the two enraptured lovers.”

Apparently, American movie-goers would rather see a movie about a real hero rather than about a traitor.
Snowden was comfortably beaten by Sully, Clint Eastwood’s movie starring Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, the pilot whose emergency landing on the Hudson River in 2009 saved 155 passengers. Sully has now taken $70 million from 10 days, and over the weekend grossed almost triple Snowden‘s $8 million from 2,443 theaters.