Free Markets, Free People

Elections

The GOP’s plan to have a brokered convention

Or, let’s pretend we follow the rules when it is to our advantage, but let the people believe they’re a part of the process otherwise:

Political parties, not voters, choose their presidential nominees, a Republican convention rules member told CNBC, a day after GOP front-runner Donald Trump rolled up more big primary victories.

“The media has created the perception that the voters choose the nomination. That’s the conflict here,” Curly Haugland, an unbound GOP delegate from North Dakota, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday. He even questioned why primaries and caucuses are held.

Haugland is one of 112 Republican delegates who are not required to cast their support for any one candidate because their states and territories don’t hold primaries or caucuses.

Even with Trump‘s huge projected delegate haul in four state primaries Tuesday, the odds are increasing the billionaire businessman may not ultimately get the 1,237 delegates needed to claim the GOP nomination before the convention.

That last line, of course, is the out.  No 1,237 delegates, no automatic nomination, regardless of what the majority of the electorate want.  Of course, that electorate is largely ignorant of “the rules”.  As for the 112 “at large” delegates, also known as the “fudge factor”, anyone want to guess who names those delegates and to whom they’re beholding?  Clue: it isn’t a candidate the establishment doesn’t want.

So:

This could lead to a brokered convention, in which unbound delegates, like Haugland, could play a significant swing role on the first ballot to choose a nominee.

Ya think!

And this is where the smugness creeps in (like this fellow really wanted the rules “to keep up”):

“The rules haven’t kept up,” Haugland said. “The rules are still designed to have a political party choose its nominee at a convention. That’s just the way it is. I can’t help it. Don’t hate me because I love the rules.”

Of course, if Trump hits the delegate total before the convention, it’s all moot.  But, the Republican version of the Democrat’s Super Delegates build in a fudge factor that could be the difference between a Trump nomination and a brokered convention.  And once the convention gets past the first ballot, it is anyone’s ballgame … well, except Trump.  The establishment, would again, rule. The people?  Well, get over your frustration, your betters will decide what’s best for you … by the rules!

So?  So anyone who thinks that the parties would really leave the choosing to “the people”, get a clue.  Both sides have “rules” that help the process deliver an acceptable candidate to the established party.

Because, well, you’re not to be trusted with such a decision.

~McQ

 

Dilemma

Thomas Sowell observes:

The “Super Tuesday” primaries may be a turning point for America — and quite possibly a turn for the worse. After seven long years of domestic disasters and increasing international dangers, the next President of the United States will need extraordinary wisdom, maturity, depth of knowledge and personal character to rescue America.

Instead, if the polls are an indication, what we may get is someone with the opposite of all these things, a glib egomaniac with a checkered record in business and no track record at all in government — Donald Trump.

If so, the downward trajectory of America over the past seven years may well continue on into the future, to the point of no return.

Donald Trump is the wrong guy at the right time (much like Obama in 2008) and that, at least to me, is what is so dangerous about this manifestation of anger that is suddenly sweeping the country, at least on the right.  We get another 4 years, at least, of incoherence and dangerous ineptness.  About the only hilarity would be the Republicans initiating impeachment proceedings on a “Republican” president … and I could actually see that happening.  So watch who Trump names as VP if he’s the nominee. By the way, I’m fine with the anger and like the movement, just not happy with the choice of “candidate” to represent it.

Not that the alternative is any better.  If you want a high level grifter in the White House,  Clinton fills the bill.  In Clinton’s case it’s influence peddling among many other things:

In June 2009, Clinton emailed Neera Tanden, a former Clinton campaign operative, then a top aide to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and now the president of the Center for American Progress.

Clinton wanted Tanden to arrange a meeting between three doctors and Nancy Ann DeParle, the White House official leading its health care reform efforts.

“I can arrange it, no worries,” Tanden assured her. “I know Dean Ornish from the Obama campaign,” Tanden said, referring to one of the trio.

Ornish is a high-dollar Democratic donor. According to federal campaign finance records, he’s given more than $700,000 to Democratic campaigns, party organs, and outside groups since the 1990s.

His organization, the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, previously received $3.5 million in earmarks courtesy of then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), one of the recipients of his political contributions.

Ornish has donated to both of Clinton’s presidential campaigns, and co-hosted a fundraiser for the campaign in 2007. He is also a high-dollar donor to the Clinton Foundation, having given between $100,000 and $250,000, according to the Foundation’s website.

Tanden apparently arranged the meeting between Ornish and DeParle. “Thanks for following thru,” Clinton wrote five days later.

We’ll be back to selling the Lincoln bedroom, and why not?  They got away with it the last time.

What’s interesting is not that the two probable choices are so awful and are likely to do irreparable harm, but that on the right, there’s an open revolution going on and on the left it is the blessing and intrenchment of machine politics designed to “win” at any cost and certainly ignoring any moral problems with their candidate.  The right is so mad they’ll take anyone who spits in the establishment’s face and the left is committed to fixing the establishment even more firmly in Washington DC.

~McQ

Summing up the state of America

Zero Hedge sums up both the “Super Tuesday” results and the broader political and policy situation in the US very well:

Negative interest rates. The war on cash. More quantitative easing. Monetary policy described as a “helicopter drop”. An avowed socialist running for President – and competing well. Another candidate under investigation by the FBI for mishandling classified information. A debate that featured a candidate begging for someone to attack him so he could get some air time. One candidate accusing another of stealing from the party and calling another a liar. The closed captioning for most of the debate reading “unintelligible yelling”. An accomplished, serious-minded governor getting drowned out by three buffoons competing to see who can get the biggest guffaws from a crowd that makes the audience at a professional wrestling match look reserved and intellectual.

It’s getting weird and the market is having a tough time figuring out what to take seriously, what to ignore, what to laugh nervously about and what to just laugh at. Are we really about to put up our very own American version of Silvio Berlusconi as the Presidential candidate of a formerly serious political party? Is the other party really having a competitive race with one candidate running on an overtly socialist agenda that is barely distinguishable from his opponent’s? Who doesn’t claim to be a socialist? Are central banks actually considering pushing interest rates more negative after getting basically no positive response from the initial push below the previously sacrosanct zero bound? Has the Federal Reserve actually told banks to prepare for negative interest rates here in the US right after raising rates for the first time in years? Are serious economists actually have a debate about whether it is a good idea to just print up cash and pass it out? Is that really monetary policy? Are governments really talking about banning actual currency, the very money created by that government? Money that depends, oh by the way, solely on people’s trust that the government will stand behind the money they are about to outlaw? Has everyone lost their freaking minds?

My sentiments to a tee.  This is probably the most awful domestic political climate I’ve seen in my lifetime.  I’ve can’t remember having such a horrible “choice” before.  And for me, there really isn’t a choice given who is likely to win on either side.

Yes, there’s anger out there on both sides toward the political establishment.  They took a great country and have run it into the ditch.  Got it and agree with the anger.  But what this is boiling down to is the white version of Obama and a crook that makes Nixon look like an altar boy in comparison.  The voting public obviously wants some sort of political change but it also seems to be demanding change that will make a bad situation worse.

The pregnant question is “how did we get here?”  The Republican party obviously got here by a fairly conventional route – promise them anything to get elected and then, basically, ignore them.  The “them” being the GOP faithful.  So how did Trump become the answer, unless you’re a low information voter who is content to let a more unstable version of the current resident of the White House call the shots? How can anyone spend anytime researching the guy and come away with a positive feeling about what he’d do if he were in the Oval Office?  I’m sorry, but this bombastic political chameleon, who has duped and used people his whole life, will be as large if not a larger disaster than Obama has been.

And as for the crook on the other side, if anyone wants to firmly establish corruption at the highest levels of the country just to say we have a “woman president”, then you deserve to be horsewhipped.  Machine politics will survive and become even more pervasive and controlling.  Is this what everyone wants?   The Democrats are sliding hard left.  Sanders is popular because he too has a vast support group that is willfully (or not) ignorant and wants “free” stuff.

For goodness sake this is about what is best for the country, not some ideological check mark.  Certainly a woman should be our chief executive at some time.  But Clinton?  As a whole, those who voted for Obama willfully ignored the glaring and obvious reasons not to elect him to make sure the race check mark was made.  And what did it give us?  The worst president in my lifetime.  Now, it seems, the voting public is going to double down and make him the second worst president in my lifetime regardless of who wins in November.

 

“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.” – Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

That’s where we’re headed.  Those that want to see it “all burn down” may be in the middle of seeing just that.

~McQ

Stray Voltage

Professor Melissa Click, recently the face of the ugly left during the recent University of Missouri protests, has been notified by the Board of Curators that they’re terminating her employment there.  Click, you may remember, was charged with assault when she confronted a student reporter and grabbed his camera while calling for “some muscle” to help her force him to leave.  Interestingly, the Board of Curators also cited her actions at the Homecoming Parade a month before as grounds for dismissal as well.  You can read the whole investigation here.  So much for her tenure hearing … ain’t gonna happen.  You can read the whole investigation and the letter for the Board here.  I did last night.  Very interesting.  I can’t say she didn’t deserve what she got, and, frankly, it’s good to see bad actions ending up having consequences.  Apparently she thought and admission and apology were sufficient.  The Board did not.

Speaking of the SJWs, those at Brown University simply can’t get over the fact that they’re being required by professors to turn in class assignments on time after their activism has totally exhausted and drained them emotionally:

Liliana Sampedro, one of the students who compiled the diversity ultimatum, argued that refusal to grant such accommodations “has systemic effects on students of color,” who she said may sometimes feel obligated to prioritize their activist work over their studies.

“I remember emailing the professor and begging her to put things off another week … I hadn’t eaten. I hadn’t slept. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally,” Sampedro recalled. The professor nonetheless insisted that she submit a previously-assigned research presentation on time, which she claims forced her to stay up late to finish the project after having already spent hours working on the list of demands.

Because that’s why they went to Brown – to “prioritize their activism work over their studies”.  I know a bunch of folks at my college who “prioritized their partying over their studies” and they got no break from professors.  All kidding aside – this is our special snowflakes getting just a inkling of what is in store for them when they finally leave the protection and “safe space” that is Brown.

Some leftists/SJWs are figuring it out:

Speaking of Fascism, there is also a disturbing trend on the left nowadays that involves rejecting free speech/freedom of expression as a core value, because that speech could possibly be hurtful to someone, somewhere. This is not only dangerous but it also works against us, because as leftists we are often labelled as threats by the state and at the very least, we are unpopular by society in general. Does this not mean that freedom of thought and expression are crucial to our struggles?

Of course, at this point, not enough of them are doing so and there’s no indication that this is really a trend, however, it’s hopeful.  Read the whole thing.

Camile Paglia is a Bernie supporter, for one reason, because he is offering “free” college.  But she is not a Hillary supporter in the least.  And before she heads off on a riff about “free” college, she blasts the “establishment” Democrats in general and Hillary Clinton specifically (also taking a shot at the establishment media):

Democrats face a stark choice this year.  A vote for the scandal-plagued Hillary is a resounding ratification of business as usual–the corrupt marriage of big money and machine politics, practiced by the Clintons with the zest of Boss Tweed, the gluttonous czar of New York’s ruthless Tammany Hall in the 1870s.  What you also get with Hillary is a confused hawkish interventionism that has already dangerously destabilized North Africa and the Mideast.  This is someone who declared her candidacy on April 12, 2015 via an email and slick video and then dragged her feet on making a formal statement of her presidential policies and goals until her pollsters had slapped together a crib list of what would push the right buttons.  This isn’t leadership; it’s pandering.

Thanks to several years of the Democratic party establishment strong-arming younger candidates off the field for Hillary, the only agent for fundamental change remains Bernie Sanders, an honest and vanity-free man who has been faithful to his core progressive principles for his entire career.  It is absolutely phenomenal that Sanders has made such progress nationally against his near total blackout over the past year by the major media, including the New York Times.  That he has inspired the hope and enthusiasm of an immense number of millennial women is very encouraging.  Feminists who support Hillary for provincial gender reasons are guilty of a reactionary, reflex sexism, betraying that larger vision required for the ballot so hard-won by the suffrage movement.

While I usually don’t agree on a lot of what she says, I love the way she says it.  In this case, I’m with her about Clinton.

Speaking of “free college”,  in case you missed it, Louisiana tried that.  And, guess what?  It worked about as well as “free health care”:

A person receiving “free” tuition may not see it (or even care), but subsides actually raise the total cost of an education. The core problem is that they remove the paying customer—in this case the student—from the equation.

Without the subsidy, the paying customer receives the direct benefit for the service and bears the direct cost. If that person doesn’t think the cost is worth it, they don’t pay.

Louisiana’s program replaces this paying customer with groups of government officials. These officials neither receive the direct benefit nor endure the direct cost of obtaining an education. These groups do, however, benefit a great deal from obtaining more of your tax dollars.

And they rarely bear any direct cost from either increasing your taxes or delivering a substandard education product. (The incumbency rate is fairly high for politicians.)

Works great for government (bigger, more government jobs, more taxes) but not so hot for the taxpayer – as usual.

Socialism?  Heck yeah.  Why look at how well Venezuela is doing:

And now, the announcement of the “nutritional emergency” makes it official. Venezuela is out of food, and it’s only a matter of time before Venezuelans are quite literally starving due to a long series of terrible decisions by their leaders.

That’s right, it’s no longer about not having diapers and toilet paper.  Nope, the socialist government has run the country out of food as well.  Feel the Bern!

Peggy Noonan approaches the popularity of Trump, and for that matter, Sanders in the presidential race with a little different take.  Instead of talking about the elite, I think she makes a differentiation that better explains why those two have any political viability at all:

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.

One issue obviously roiling the U.S. and western Europe is immigration. It is THE issue of the moment, a real and concrete one but also a symbolic one: It stands for all the distance between governments and their citizens.

I think it gets us closer to the discontent felt by much of the country.  It has become clear that the “protected” are feathering their nests at the expense of the unprotected and, as Noonan says, will never suffer the effects of their policies because they’ve protected themselves from such an occurrence – or at least tried to.  Yes, it’s a bit oversimplified.  There’s much more going on, but it helps explain what no one has satisfactorily explained to this point.

On the other hand, I can’t help feeling I’m living in Weimar Germany.

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Hope everyone has a great weekend!

~McQ

New Hampshire

While the polls may not have been exact as concerns the numbers for each winner, they certainly did predict the winners for each party … or losers if you prefer.

Found a few things interesting.  This for instance:

Senator Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton among nearly every demographic group in the Democratic New Hampshire primary, according to exit polls.

He carried majorities of both men and women. He won among those with and without college degrees. He won among gun owners and non-gun owners. He beat Mrs. Clinton among previous primary voters and those participating for the first time. And he ran ahead among both moderates and liberals.

Even so, there were a few silver linings for Mrs. Clinton. While Mr. Sanders bested her among all age groups younger than 45, the two candidates polled evenly among voters aged 45 to 64. And Mrs. Clinton won the support of voters 65 and older. And, though Mrs. Clinton lost nearly every income group, she did carry voters in families earning over $200,000 per year.

So what’s Clinton’s answer?  A staff shakeup.  And remember, it’s not the candidate, it’s that they’re just not doing a good enough job getting their message out there.  Oh, and not enough pandering.  So that’s about to change:

Staffing and strategy will be reassessed. The message, which so spectacularly failed in New Hampshire, where she was trailing by 21 points when she appeared before her supporters to concede to Bernie Sanders, is also going to be reworked – with race at the center of it.

Clinton is set to campaign with the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, unarmed African-Americans who died in incidents involving law enforcement officers and a neighborhood watch representative, respectively. And the campaign, sources said, is expected to push a new focus on systematic racism, criminal justice reform, voting rights and gun violence that will mitigate concerns about her lack of an inspirational message.

“The gun message went silent in New Hampshire,” remarked one ally close to the campaign. “Guns will come back in a strong way.” She is expected to highlight the problem of gun violence as the leading cause of death among African-American men as she campaigns in South Carolina on Friday.

Heh … so when in trouble, revert to racism and sexism.  Why now?  Two words “South Carolina” where 60 percent of Democratic voters are African American?

And guns!  Evil, nasty, terrible guns. Don’t forget guns. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

By the way, a quick read of Salon tends to solidify why the Queen is having problems among her own constituency (besides being a terrible candidate that is):

Only Bernie Sanders has harnessed the full power of an electorate disgusted with politicians yet to disclose the transcripts of million dollar speeches. Nothing defines establishment politics better than a Democrat who takes money from the same interest that harm core constituencies of the Democratic Party.

Hillary Clinton has accepted campaign contributions from two major prison lobbyists, Wall Street, and the oil and gas industry, yet promises progressive stances against all these interests.

They’re not quite as stupid as Madam Clinton would like to believe.  And by that I mean they’re not buying the Clinton assertion that she’s not establishment and she is going to go after Wall Street.  Actions/words.  Guess which are highlighting the truth in the matter?  Just wait till Sanders names Elizabeth Warren as his running mate.

On the GOP side, the only surprise to me was Kasich.  As Real Clear Politics noted, it may have been his “back to the ’60s” message that resonated in New Hampshire:

In one sense, Kasich’s emergence from the pack was New Hampshire’s most interesting development. Objectively speaking, he may be the most qualified candidate on the Republican side. He’s in his second term as governor of Ohio, perhaps the GOP’s most crucial state, and is a former congressman who helped balance the federal books in Washington when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee.

At times, Kasich sounded like he was running for office as a 1960s Democrat — a Jack Kennedy Democrat — and he even quipped that maybe he should be running in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary. But his message resonates with a significant slice of working-class Republicans and crossover independents. He also talks about the obligation of his party to the poor and working class, using arguments that are both practical and faith-based.

“If you think about the American home, which is the family, we know the family is only strong when the foundation is strong,” he said. “That’s why we will wake up every single day to make sure that every American has a job in the United States of America to help their families and their neighbors.”

Or it could be that those who voted for Kasich weren’t very enamored with Cruz, Rubio, Bush and Trump.  We’ll see if this 2nd place finish has any legs in SC.

And how out of touch is the Republican establishment?  This out of touch:

In late January, the New Hampshire Republican Party held a gathering that attracted GOP officials, volunteers, activists, and various other members of the party elite from across the state. At the time, Donald Trump led the Republican presidential race in New Hampshire by nearly 20 points, and had been on top of the polls since July.

What was extraordinary about the gathering was that I talked to a lot of people there, politically active Republicans, and most of them told me they personally didn’t know anyone who supported Trump. Asked about the Trump lead, one very well-connected New Hampshire Republican told me, “I don’t see it. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it, and I spend part of every day with Republican voters.”

Yes, friends, they’re still in the denial stage.  What is it they don’t seem to realize?

This:

“But this phenomena is the result of 25+ years of failed promises and lackluster leadership over multiple administrations from both parties. People have had it, and those in power don’t want to accept the reality they can no longer maintain the status quo.”

Chickens.  Home.  Roost.

As for the rest of the field?  Well, many of them are in the denial stage as well.  Time for them to shuffle off the stage.  Of course they can remain in the denial stage for as long as their money holds out, but then reality gives them a good slap and they’re gone.  I expect to see Christie, Carson, Fiorina, and yes, Jeb Bush, finally fold their tents in the next week or so.

There is a sort of political revolution in motion right now on both sides.  That’s because party politics in the last few decades has taken priority over the good of the country.  The two parties still haven’t figured that out.  So the voters are very pointedly making it clear they’re completely dissatisfied with the status quo even if they have to elect someone so bad that they may do worse harm to the country than one of the establishment candidates.  Apparently the voting public is tired of the bait and switch game the establishment has been playing for years.

Time to pay the piper I guess.

~McQ

Stray Voltage

Socialist Venezuela is dying:

The year 2015 was an annus horribilis in Venezuela with a 10 per cent decline in gross domestic product, following a 4 per cent fall in 2014. Inflation reached over 200 per cent. The fiscal deficit ballooned to 20 per cent of GDP, funded mainly by the printing press.

In the free market, the bolivar has lost 92 per cent of its value in the past 24 months, with the dollar costing 150 times the official rate: the largest exchange rate differential ever registered. Shortages and long queues in the shops have made daily life very difficult.

[…]

As bad as these numbers are, 2016 looks dramatically worse. Imports, which had already been compressed by 20 per cent in 2015 to $37bn, would have to fall by over 40 per cent, even if the country stopped servicing its debt.

Add to that the murder rate in Venezuela being the highest in the world (even with strict gun control) and you have a real “worker’s paradise” don’t you? I wonder if the Bernie bots are capable of learning anything from this? Yeah, no chance.

Speaking of Bernie and socialism, how about that red hot debate last night?  Laughed my keister off with this Hillary quote:

Hillary Clinton compensated for her complete lack of likability by falling back on playing the victim. She accused Bernie Sanders of ignoring feminism, black people and gay rights. She sputtered that, “Senator Sanders is the only one who would describe me, a woman running to be president, as exemplifying the establishment.” Somehow a fabulously wealthy woman who is backed by the entire Democratic political establishment isn’t the “establishment” because of her gender.

She had a tough time explaining her ties to Wall Street too, which I found hilarious.  If ever anyone defined “establishment” it would be Clinton.  And the irony of this supposedly “tough woman” playing the victim card shouldn’t be lost on anyone either.

Loved David Corn’s tweet.  He said his 14 year old daughter was watching the Democratic debate and remarked “it’s like watching my grandparents fight”.

Interesting:

Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.

It’s interesting because  I think it identifies a trend and a level of dissatisfaction with the current occupant of the White House.  And if true, I think it spells big trouble for the Democrats in a presidential election year.  And if the unlikable Hillary Clinton gets the nod for the Dems (a woman who has never polled over 45%), unless Trump GOP pick, the GOP wins.  If it ends up being Trump, then the GOP will again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Speaking of polls, is this indicative of reality or an outlier?

The Democratic race has dramatically tightened, according to a new Quinnipiac University national poll out Friday that shows Hillary Clinton with a razor-thin lead over Bernie Sanders.

Clinton leads Sanders 44 percent to 42 percent, well within the margin of error of the poll, which was conducted after the Iowa caucuses.

[…]

The picture of a neck-and-neck race is a huge change from Quinnipiac’s last national poll conducted Dec. 16-20 that showed Clinton with a massive lead over Sanders, 61 percent to 30 percent. It’s not clear yet whether other post-Iowa polls will also show Sanders surging ahead and catching up to Clinton.

Couple this with the fact that Bernie raised more campaign dough than Clinton in January and it should be setting off alarm bells in Clinton campaign headquarters.  And, in fact, it may explain a more combative Clinton last night.

On the special snowflake/SJW front, you know, those who unilaterally believe they get to decide what is or isn’t okay in today’s culture, it is now racist to wear a toe ring or bangle bracelet:

According to a piece in the totally logical social-justice blog “Everyday Feminism”, it is racist and offensive to wear toe rings or bangle bracelets in almost any situation.

Yep. According to the article’s author, Aarti Olivia, wearing these kinds of jewelry amounts to an appropriation of South Asian culture.  Olivia explains that in her culture, “it has been traditionally expected that married women wear bangles,” and that although that tradition is no longer “imposed upon women,” they do “wear them for religious or festive occasions.”

“In pop culture, you have probably seen the likes of Iggy Azalea and Selena Gomez wear them for music videos and performances,” Olivia writes. And that, she continues, is not okay.

I wonder if she knows that today’s music is mostly played on instruments invented by dead white guys from Western Europe.  So, using her logic, if she plays an instrument (violin, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, piano, etc.) is it “cultural appropriation”?  And if so, shouldn’t she stop right now and apologize?

Or does this nonsense only cut one way?

QOTD:

“If NASCAR embraced electric cars it could change the world…We could convert all of our racecars to electricity — right now — and show the public exactly what electrons can do,”

Yup, and the NASCAR track would be … a strangely quiet place during a race.  Kind of like Bill Nye’s brain.

Have a great weekend.

~McQ

 

 

 

 

You can’t make this stuff up

Guess who said this?

At the end of a get out the vote campaign event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, […] was asked about […] plans for protecting cyber security.

“It is one of the most important challenges the next president is going to face,” […] said.

[…] said that the technology offenses conducted by hostile states have become more advanced. […] named Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea as countries that are just going to accelerate their attacks on the cyber infrastructure of the United States.

“We first have to figure how to create what would be an understanding with these nations that we will not tolerate their cyber theft and their cyber evasiveness, and we certainly would never ever sit still for a cyber attack,” […] said.

No.  Instead we’ll  just put secret material on a private server located in a bathroom somewhere and you can just help yourself.

And yes, it was Hillary Clinton, the irony impaired candidate.

The AP reported that during Clinton’s time at the State Department that it was one of the worst agencies in the federal government at protecting its computer networks. The deteriorating situation continued well into when John Kerry took over.

Incredible.

~McQ

Iowa

Some impressions.

While Hillary declared herself the winner in Iowa, her “victory” came down to winning 6 out of 6 coin tosses (@WikiLeaks Hillary Wins ‪#‎Iowa‬ over Sanders by ‘winning’ six coin tosses in a row. Odds this can happen randomly is 1 in 64.)  And even doing that, her “win” was a statistical tie (49.8%, Mr. Sanders’s at 49.6%). Or said another way, had Sanders won a couple of the coin flips, he’d be the “winner”.  And don’t forget, Hillary enjoyed a 50 point lead in June.

Hillary’s campaign staff apparently did what they were supposed to do with their ground game.  So why the almost “miss” in Iowa?  Maybe it’s Hillary.

On the GOP side, what can you say?  Pandemonium and hilarity.  Polls out to lunch and missed the final finish by miles.  I loved John Bambeck’s dig: “So all @realDonaldTrump does is win, but runs for President of the US and loses first caucus to a Canadian. ‪#‎SeemsLegit‬

Heh.  But in reality, Iowa essentially sets up a 3 person GOP race – Cruz, Trump and Rubio.  If anything it was a test of candidate viability.  And the down ticket for the GOP has been shown to be about as viable as  … Martin O’Malley.

Trump’s second place finish (barely) leaves a lot of questions to be answered.  Why were the polls so wrong?  Was it smart for him to skip the last debate or did it end up hurting him?  And what about Sarah Palin?

First Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump at a time she had negative 11% favorables with the GOP. Then she missed the first event of the day following her endorsement. Then she blamed her son being involved in a domestic incident on Barack Obama’s treatment of veterans, turning off a lot of veterans in the process by suggesting those who came back from overseas were no longer able to control themselves and were not culpable for their actions.

Hmmm.  If Trump thought getting her endorsement was a coup, what does that tell you about his political acumen?

As for Cruz and Rubio, Cruz won with a record turnout.  That was supposed to be a Trump trump.  So now the chattering class is wondering, “is Trump over”?  Well, we’ll see, but my guess is not and I’d also guess we’ll see a Trump that is toned down a bit and a little more careful about what he does or says during the campaign season.  Not that it really matters.  He is what he is and he’ll likely revert to that at some point

As for Cruz, obviously it surprised the establishment GOP.  If Donald Trump weren’t the bête noire of the establishment GOP, Ted Cruz would be.  And Cruz set much lower expectations for himself (as did Marco Rubio) in Iowa.  For Cruz to win it again sends a loud and clear signal to the establishment GOP.  But it must be like a dog whistle to humans, because they never seem to hear it.

Oh, and Jeb Bush?  Pack it in buddy.  You’re done.  And yes, you too are a part of that loud and clear signal.

Finally, what does Iowa mean for the GOP in terms of any significance?  Well, other than narrowing the field to three, not much.  A reminder:

1976- Gerald Ford (lost election)
1980- Bush (lost nomination)
1984- Reagan (unopossed)
1988- Dole (lost nomination)
1992- Bush (unopossed)
1996- Dole (lost election)
2000- Bush
2004- Bush (unopossed)
2008- Huckabee (lost nomination)
2012- Santorum (lost nomination)

So the circus moves on to New Hampshire, where it is likely that Bernie Sanders will bury Hillary Clinton.  To bad it won’t be for good.  And, we’ll see if the GOP has the same outcome as in Iowa.  If so then you can really begin to question Trump’s viability and how deep his appeal reaches.

~McQ

 

That ever changing Clinton email defense may be running out of excuses

Anyone who has ever worked in or around classified material understands how draconian the rules concerning their use are.  If revealed to unfriendly eyes, it could mean lives.  Namely the lives of sources or their handlers.  And, not only that, it would likely give those who oppose us a look at the means and methods by which we gather intelligence.

Hillary Clinton threw that all out the window when she made a decision, at the beginning of her term as Secretary of State, to use a private server located in a bathroom somewhere outside the government’s secure nets.  There was no gradual migration to that server for “convenience” (something she first tried to claim), but instead a very deliberate act and decision to circumvent the restrictions she’d face within such a government net.  Oh, and to be able to dodge accountability.

So then she dropped back to another excuse.  No classified material was ever sent to that server.  When that one blew up, the next excuse was that no material “marked” classified was ever sent.

Here’s the thing, however.  Unless you’re a complete idiot, you know what does or doesn’t fall within the realm of classified … especially if you’re the Secretary of State.  And its not like this was all new to her.  She’d served as a US Senator and been privy to classified material before and was certainly briefed on how to handle it.  One can’t imagine, given the stringent rules surrounding the handling of classified material, that she didn’t receive additional briefings when she took State.

She chose to ignore them all.

And her latest excuse?  Well, Chris Cillizza pretty much declares it dead:

That defense hit a major snag on Friday when the State Department announced that it, too, had found “top secret” information on Clinton’s server — 22 emails across seven separate emails chains. The information, the State Department said, was so secret that those emails would never be released to the public.

The Clintonian response?  Well, it’s classic, you have to say that:

The Clinton team quickly pivoted. “After a process that has been dominated by bureaucratic infighting that has too often played out in public view, the loudest and leakiest participants in this interagency dispute have now prevailed in blocking any release of these emails,” said campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.

Calling for the release of the allegedly top secret emails is a smart gambit by the Clinton folks since it makes them look as if they have nothing to hide while being protected by the near-certainty that the State Department won’t simply change its mind on the release because the Clinton team asked them to.

That’s right, ask for the emails to be released and when they’re not, for obvious reasons, claim someone (VRWC) is trying to smear you.

But what were in those emails? John Schindler says it’s pretty volatile stuff … something anyone would know, markings or not, was very highly classified:

Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s “unclassified” emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officers serving overseas under cover. Worse, some of those exposed are serving under non-official cover. NOCs (see this for an explanation of their important role in espionage) are the pointy end of the CIA spear and they are always at risk of exposure – which is what Ms. Clinton’s emails have done.

Not only have these spies had their lives put in serious risk by this, it’s a clear violation of Federal law. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, enacted due to the murder of the CIA’s station chief in Athens after his cover was blown by the left-wing media, makes it a Federal crime to divulge the true identity of any covert operative serving U.S. intelligence if that person has not previous been publicly acknowledged to be working for our spy agencies.

You probably recall  Valerie Plame was a NOC and the stink her supposed exposure brought.   The media was all over that … but this?  Yeah, they’ve mostly been forced to report on it, but not very enthusiastically.

If this is the case, Ms. Clinton has committed a very serious breach of security that is and should be punishable by conviction and jail time.

The problem, as has been stated recently, is she’s a powerful politician … not one of the little people.  And we’re becoming more and more acquainted with how the “law” works now for the powerful among us, aren’t we?

Interesting times.

~McQ

Stray Voltage

Explaining the Trump phenomenon – I think this is pretty close:

“American presidential elections usually amount to a series of overcorrections: Clinton begat Bush, who produced Obama, whose lax border policies fueled the rise of Trump. In the case of Trump, though, the GOP shares the blame, and not just because his fellow Republicans misdirected their ad buys or waited so long to criticize him. Trump is in part a reaction to the intellectual corruption of the Republican Party. That ought to be obvious to his critics, yet somehow it isn’t.”

The GOP more than shares the blame, they are the direct reason a person like Trump has traction.  Gutless, spineless and afraid to do what they were elected to do election after election has finally turned on them.  They’ve been warned for a while.  The rise of the Teaparty should have given them a clue, but it was business as usual for establishment GOP types.   This last Congressional election and their ineffectiveness while in the majority appears to have been the last straw.  Trump is their creation, and they still don’t understand why.

Speaking of Bernie and why his socialism is attractive to so many, I think this is pretty close as well:

“In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge. It is the initial illusion of success that gives government intervention its pernicious, seductive appeal. In the long run, socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery.”

We’ve actually seen “the long run” in the late and unlamented Soviet Union.  We have examples with us today via North Korea where famine and poverty stalk the population constantly, Cuba, where they live in the ’50s and work for $20 a month and Venezuela, where it failed utterly and the population is now trying to dig out from under the ruin.   But Bernie supporters, apparently, think his version will work.

In the “thank the good Lord” department, this:

President Obama is not interested in sitting on the Supreme Court once he leaves office, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.

If you think he’s been a disaster as a president, imagine the damage he could do on the Supreme Court.

Interesting.  When given a choice:

The number of dues-paying workers within the state’s labor groups has fallen steadily since GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed his signature legislation, 2011’s Act 10, which repealed most collective bargaining for most public workers. But new federal statistics show that trend intensified in 2015 after Walker and GOP lawmakers followed up on Act 10 by approving so-called right-to-work legislation last spring….

In 2015, 8.3% of Wisconsin workers, or 223,000 in all, were members of unions. That was down sharply from the 306,000 people, or 11.7% of the state’s workforce, who belonged to unions in 2014….

Labor unions are another thing the left isn’t “pro-choice” about.

ICYMI, Al Gore’s apocalyptic predictions expired recently.  Yup, Manhattan isn’t submerged in water (unless you want to count the latest footage in frozen precipitation) as he had predicted 10 years ago.  David French does a riff on the doomsayers:

Gore’s prediction fits right in with the rest of his comrades in the wild-eyed environmentalist movement. There’s a veritable online cottage industry cataloguing hysterical, failed predictions of environmentalist catastrophe. Over at the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Perry keeps his list of “18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions” made around the original Earth Day in 1970. Robert Tracinski at The Federalist has a nice list of “Seven big failed environmentalist predictions.” The Daily Caller’s “25 years of predicting the global warming ‘tipping point’” makes for amusing reading, including one declaration that we had mere “hours to act” to “avert a slow-motion tsunami.”

Indeed.  But the fact of the epic failure of their predictions, they will simply reinvent themselves as they always have.  Here’s French’s chaser:

Can we ignore them yet? Apparently not. Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry. Simply change the cataclysm — Overpopulation! No, global cooling! No, global warming! No, climate change! — push the apocalypse back just a few more years, and you’re in business, big business.

Dead on.  Anyone remember who was one of the first investors in the carbon trading scam?

It appears that deploying other Clintons just isn’t quite working out as Hillary hoped.  Bill has been playing to small rooms and Chelsea, well, let’s just say she hasn’t much drawing power, or so it appears:

Chelsea Clinton hosted her highly-hyped Soul Cycle fundraiser for her mother in New York City on Wednesday afternoon.

The $2,700-a-head event, which offered just 60 seats at the popular cycling studio’s Tribeca location and promised guests a photo with Chelsea, was expected to sell out quick while raising some easy money for the Hillary Clinton campaign but was ultimately a flop.

Apparently they fire sold some of the seats at $50 each at the end to fill more and ended up with less than half the bikes filled.  This should have been a slam dunk in NYC if Hillary has the pull most think she does in the city.  Or else it’s Chelsea.  Or both …

The Trumpless debate?  Apparently about the same viewership as the previous debate with Trump included.   Make what you will of that, but regardless, Trump gave his opponents an open field last night and, at least as I view it, came off as a petty, spoiled brat throwing a tantrum.  Like I said, my view.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ