Free Markets, Free People

Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton’s latest position of political convenience – opposition to the Keystone pipeline

As one might imagine, her opposition comes as somewhat of a surprise:

Her comments made her the last major Democratic presidential candidate to come out against Keystone, a project that has dragged through more than seven years of wrangling and several environmental reviews that appeared to favor the pipeline — most of them produced by the State Department when Clinton was secretary. Obama remains the project’s biggest wildcard: He hasn’t said whether he will grant or deny a permit for the pipeline, or when he’ll decide, even as Republicans lambaste him for repeatedly postponing the issue.

As secretary, Clinton had galvanized a nationwide activist campaign against Keystone with her off-the-cuff remarks in 2010 that the department was “inclined” to approve the $8 billion-plus project. That was her last substantive public statement on the issue until Tuesday.

But then, when poll numbers are sinking and momentum is waning, what better than to flip-flop (when you favor the candidate, it’s called a “pivot”) and throw a bone to a particular core constituency to shore up that vote? Its a move any political opportunist would surely applaud.

Why the Keystone XL pipeline has remained such a political football remains a mystery.  All the past routing problems that first held up the pipeline have been satisfactorily resolved.   And, after all, there are 2.3 million miles of existing oil and natural gas pipelines in the US.  Why has this one remained in the news?

Simple answer?  Politics.  It’s about voting constituencies and keeping them happy.  It certainly isn’t about what is best for the US.

As The Hill points out, it has now officially taken longer for the federal government to review the Keystone XL pipeline’s permit application than it did to build the entire transcontinental railroad 150 years ago.

Amazing and typical.  As for the party that continues to tell us it is for jobs and economic growth, it blatantly turns its back on both with its opposition to the pipeline’s approval:

Consider the economic opportunity this $5.4 billion pipeline presents. The Canadian Economic Research Institute estimates it could add $172 billion in U.S. economic growth over 25 years. Meanwhile, President Obama’s own U.S. State Department estimates construction would support over 42,000 jobs. Nearly 10,000 would be skilled—aka, well-paying—jobs like steel welders, pipefitters, electricians, and heavy equipment operators.

There’s also the potential for gas prices to go even lower than they are today. According to a February 2015 report from IHS, a leading energy research firm, the “vast majority” of Keystone XL’s refined oil will stay right here in the U.S. In other words, it could further add to America’s surging oil supply that has sent gas prices plummeting over the past year.

And yes, as mentioned, that’s the US State Department estimate made while Hillary Clinton was SecState.

Environmentalists live with the fantasy that if the Keystone pipeline is blocked, the oil to be found in the oil sands of Canada and in North Dakota will simply have to be left in the ground.  Of course, that’s nonsense.  Instead is it is shipped by rail, a much less safe and less efficient means of transportation (but one that does amply reward a Democratic donor) than a state of the art pipeline :

This is especially so when you consider pipelines—particularly new, state-of-the-art ones like Keystone XL—are the safest mode of transportation. Ensuring we’re using the safest and most efficient methods possible only makes sense.

Indeed.  So, why is Hillary Clinton opposed to safe transportation of oil and gas, the jobs and income that would come from the construction of the pipeline and economic boost it would give our economy?

Perhaps someone will ask her that at the first Democratic debate.

Yeah, I know, I’m laughing too.


Stray Voltage

I remember when flying was mostly a pleasant and enjoyable experience.  Not so much anymore:

Not too long ago, flying could be a relatively pleasant experience, but executives focused on cutting costs have stripped away everything flyers associated with luxury or even dignity. Food, baggage handling, boarding in a logical manner: Things once taken for granted now must be paid for or done without. Flights are more crowded than they’ve been since World War II, when they were carrying troops.

Competition has winnowed all the perks out of the process (mostly due to the demand for lower fares), security has made the boarding process a nightmare and, frankly, rude and short-tempered people who simply don’t know how to act in public have killed off the rest of the enjoyment.  As they like to say, “you get what you pay for.”

Is anyone else laughing out loud at Hillary Clinton’s latest ironically impaired attempt to relate?

I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault.

Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have a right to be heard. You have a right to be believed. We’re with you.

I hear Juanita Broadrick and Kathleen Willey agree.  But Willey has a few words of her own in response:

She believed what happened for sure,” Willey tells The American Mirror. “She just chose to ignore the plight of all of his victims, thus enabling him to continue to abuse and rape women in the future.”

Willey adds, “She’s a money-hungry hypocritical witch who will do anything for money. 

“She’s a lying pig. I CANNOT believe that she had the gall to make that commercial. How dare she? I hope she rots in hell.

Yup, so do a lot of us.  One place we don’t want her, though, is in the Oval Office.

Bernie Sanders, the darling of the socialist left, has been getting a bit of traction against Hillary Clinton.  In fact, Clinton is losing support so fast that even Joe Biden is considering entering his clown car into the race.

And what does Sanders bring to the table?  Bigger government (much bigger), more spending (18 trillion, in fact) and much higher taxes.  Wow, what a deal (one that has always appealed to the liberal left):

In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.

His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges.

To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.

And the “but the government is paying for my stuff” crowd is going wild over him.  How do you explain to the economically illiterate where this is all headed and what the result at some point in the future MUST be?

Oh, and by the way, they’re not even trying to deny it:

Mr. Gunnels, the Sanders aide, said the campaign hasn’t worked out all details on his plan—for instance, his version might allow each state to run its own single-payer system. But he said the $15 trillion figure was a fair estimate.

So, let’s elect Bernie and double our debt!

What a load:

Monday at North High School in Des Moines, IA, President Barack Obama said the notion that people who illegally come to live in the United States, as they have for generations, are suddenly now “less worthy in the eyes of God,” is “un-American.” Obama said, “This whole anti-immigrant sentiment that is out there in politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you are a native American, your family came from someplace else. And although we are a nation of laws and we want people to follow the law, and I have been pushing Congress to make …” yatta, yatta, yatta.

Who is making the argument that anyone is less worthy because of how they ended up here?  I think the argument is they’re “illegal”!  There is no “anti-immigrant” sentiment.  There is an “anti-illegal immigrant” sentiment since our laws prohibit it.   As for the “native Americans” they were merely the first immigrants as their families “came from someplace else”, namely Siberia.  And this guy, who refuses to enforce the laws about immigration already on the books has the temerity to lecture others about being a “nation of laws”.  Ironic guffaw follows ending with a contemptuous sneer.

Did the Obama administration turn down a Russian offer in 2012 to dump Syria’s Assad?

If true, this was a staggering missed opportunity. The President’s string of misjudgments on the Middle East—on the peace process, Erdogan, withdrawal from Iraq, Libya, ISIS as the “J.V. team”, and Syria—is one of the most striking examples of serial failure in the annals of American foreign policy.

Generally speaking, what the President seems worst at is estimating the direction in which events are flowing. He thought Erdogan was taking Turkey in one direction; Erdogan was going somewhere else. He thought there was a transition to democracy in Egypt; there never was a prospect of that. He has repeatedly been caught flatfooted by events in Syria. And Putin keeps running rings around him.

Understanding the intentions and estimating the capabilities of people who don’t share his worldview are not our President’s strong suits.

And now, who is it again that Russia and Iran are reported to be cozying up too?  Worst president ever.


This is how dumb Hillary thinks you are

What a lame, lame, lame excuse – both as a candidate and as an explanation for why everyone should shrug off her possible criminality in the server issue:

Whether the material in her emails that has been flagged as classified is in fact classified is open to debate, Clinton told reporters in Las Vegas Tuesday. “That is not in any way agreed upon,” she said. “The State Department disagrees. That happens all the time in these efforts to say what can go out and what can’t go out. That is a part of the ordinary process.”

Moreover, Clinton said, investigations like the one currently taking place with her emails are nothing new. “Everybody is acting like this is the first time it’s ever happened,” she said. “It happens all the time. And I can only tell you that the State Department has said over and over again, we disagree [that the material is classified]. So, that’s what they’re sorting out and that’s what happens a lot of the times.”

“What you’re seeing now is a disagreement between agencies saying, you know what? They should have, and the other saying no, they shouldn’t,” Clinton concluded. “That has nothing to do with me.”

Well yes it most certainly does.  Because, you see, if you were following instructions to do business on a secure server within the parameters you are required to operate on, Ms. Clinton, the argument would be moot.  You’d be precisely right.  But because you chose to circumvent those safeguards anput an ad hoc insecure server in place outside the system, it is has everything to do with you!

Anyone who swallows this load of Hillary dung deserves to be laughed at when they try to talk about anything seriously.

Because to swallow it, you have to willingly disengage your brain.


Stray Voltage

As Venezuela slowly starves and the economy has all but shut down, guess who the richest person in the country might be?

The daughter of Hugo Chavez, the former president who once declared ‘being rich is bad,’ may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, according to evidence reportedly in the hands of Venezuelan media outlets.

Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president’s second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion, Diario las Americas reports.

The figure would make Gabriela Chavez wealthier than media mogul Gustavo Cisneros, whom Forbes named the wealthiest Venezuelan earlier this year with $3.6billion in assets.

I know … purely a coincidence.  But it does prove, if true, that socialism does pay … those in charge (I’m sure this wasn’t something he saved up from his army pay).  The rest?  They get stores with nothing on the shelves and hyper-inflation.  Brilliant.

Jazz Shaw is thinking Hillary may shrug off email flap (he’s speaking purely in a political sense, not if someone grows a pair and actually arrests and indicts her):

The bottom line is that there are a significant number of Americans out there – mostly Democrats, but not all – who seem to be telling us, yes, you’ve made your point. Hillary is all those things you said she was. But what the heck. I’ll vote for her. And one of the major reasons for this is that this email server story simply isn’t resonating with people.

Well, to be fair, it’s not resonating with those people.  The reason it isn’t resonating with other people is they really haven’t heard much about it thanks to the media.  But for those that have, they want the allegations investigated.  Look, yellow dog Democrats are going to vote for their particular yellow dog – regardless of the cur’s pedigree, problems or evidence against it.  In this case I think Clinton will find a minion to take the fall, and, in effect, will shrug it off.  But that doesn’t change Shaw’s point … even if she’s in prison orange, those people will vote for her.

Megan McArdle talks about the nonsense that is going on at colleges everywhere.  That is the cosseting of the student body who have become so fearful of ideas that they don’t like that they invoke “safety” as their concern.

Students demanding that campus life be bowdlerized to preserve their peace of mind seem to believe that the best way to deal with trauma is to avoid any mention of it. But Lukianoff and Haidt argue that this is exactly backward; chronic avoidance breeds terror. The current climate on campus is a recipe for producing fearful adults who are going to have difficulty coping in an adult world. It’s as if we were trying to prepare the next generation of American citizens by keeping them in kindergarten until the age of 23.

I’m not sure that anyone should be surprised.  These are the kids who come from the era of everyone gets a trophy and we don’t keep score so the other team won’t feel bad.  Why in the world would any one expect anything else from them.  When they finally gain the halls of ivy, they’re conditioned to eschew competition.  So the idea of competing ideas, especially ideas they’re not comfortable with, is terrifying.

They’ll do great in the real world, won’t they?

Meanwhile, on another planet:

If Vice President Joe Biden makes the leap into the Democratic presidential race, he could promise that he would serve just one term in the White House, journalist and author Carl Bernstein said Friday.

“And one thing that I keep hearing about Biden is that if he were to declare and say, because age is such a problem for him if he does, I want to be a one-term president. I want to serve for four years, unite Washington. I’ve dealt with the Republicans in Congress all my public life,” Bernstein told CNN’s “New Day.”

“I think there’s a conversation going on to that effect among his aides and friends,” he said. “It could light fire to the current political environment.”

It would be a back-fire, if anything.  Anyway, the circus could use one more clown.


How will Hillary wiggle out of this one?

You know you’re asking yourself that question:

The inspector general for the Intelligence Community notified senior members of Congress that two of four classified emails discovered on the server Clinton maintained at her New York home contained material deemed to be in one of the highest security classifications—more sensitive than previously known.

You may or may not remember this, but in March of this year, she stated flatly, “there is no classified material” on the server.  How she expected anyone to believe she could conduct her job as Secretary of State with that being true is left to you to imagine.  And, it seems, no one did:

The untruth revealed, [Mrs.] Clinton changed her story in July to claim that no email was specifically marked as classified. Not that it matters. Clinton wants Americans to ignore the fact that federal rules put the onus on government officials like the secretary of State to protect classified material, even when it’s not marked as such.

You know, “accountability”?

So now, she’s agreed to “voluntarily” turn over the server and the emails.  James Taranto gives us a little insight into that:

In fairness to Mrs. Clinton, it appears her decision to turn over the server and the thumb drive was “voluntary” in the formal—dare one say Clintonian—sense that she yielded to the investigators’ request rather than wait for an order.

Because, you know, for a Presidential candidate, such an order would have been politically damaging.  So the “voluntary” aspect gives the campaign and the Clintons at least a little “good spin” on a very bad event.  You can almost hear the klaxons sounding and the announcement of “battle stations, battle stations” within the campaign.

But back to that accountability thing:

Fournier notes further that “government officials have been convicted of mishandling unmarked classified material.”

Yes.  Yes they have.  But that’s not how the Princess of the Ozarks figures this should go.  So who does she need?

Mr. Obama, of course:

And at least one critic is now speculating that the possibility that she is in legal jeopardy is influencing Mrs. Clinton’s policy pronouncements.

On Monday, as the Los Angeles Times reports from Manchester, N.H., Mrs. Clinton “made her most forceful defense yet of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran on Monday, saying that ‘all bets are off’ if Congress were to reject the deal and warning of the potential impact to America’s standing in the world”:

“The Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, they’re going to say, ‘We stuck with the Americans. We agreed with the Americans. We hammered out this agreement. I guess their president can’t make foreign policy,’ ” Clinton said at a campaign stop in Manchester. “That’s a very bad signal to send in a quickly moving and oftentimes dangerous world.” . . .

“I’ve gone into this detail because you’re going to hear a lot about it in the weeks ahead,” she told an audience of more than 500 at the foot of a ski slope in New Hampshire’s largest city. “So please, educate yourself. . . . We have to pursue diplomacy if we expect to be able to solve difficult problems with the rest of the world supporting us.”That’s odd. Earlier, as we noted last month, Mrs. Clinton refused to take a position on the Trans Pacific Partnership—of which she was a forceful advocate as secretary—because, as she said, “I thought it was important for the Congress to have a full debate without thrusting presidential politics and candidates into it.” She now gives precisely the opposite reason for taking a clear position, if not a particularly well-argued one, on the Iran deal.

Ah, what a surprise.  It is pleasing to be politically malleable, isn’t it?  Principles … well, she left those at the Watergate hearings.  It is raw politics and “I’ll do what ever it takes” to gain power for her.

One has to wonder how ever the cult of true believers can stomach her paranoia and willful disregard for the law.  This is who they want to be President of the US?

Anyway, is Obama the key to how she wiggles free?  Will her attempt to provide him his much desired legacy find this all to be “much ado about nothing?”  Will she actually ever be held accountable for what others have been jailed for?


Government creates a problem and then offers a solution

In a formula as old as government itself, we see a government created problem (it takes over student loans, college costs inflate, college debt burden increases) and now Hillary Clinton, in the guise of future government, offers a solution.  Let’s make college affordable again (or, in other words, shift $350 billion of the cost to taxpayers).

Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce a $350 billion plan Monday to make college affordable and relieve the burden of student debt for millions of Americans, drawing on popular tenets of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. …

At the heart of the plan, dubbed the New College Compact, is an incentive program that would provide money to states that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public universities and community colleges. States that enroll a high number of low- and middle-income students would receive more money, as would those that work with schools to reduce living expenses. Because Pell grants, a form of federal aid for students from families making less than $60,000, are not included in the no-debt calculation, Clinton anticipates lower income students could use that money to cover books, as well as room and board.

This is like Obamacare … just a step toward “free” college.  Obviously, an estimate of $350 billion is likely to be woefully short of the real cost (they always are).  And when the program crashes and burns, well, the next logical step (at least to “progressives” who have no clue about economics)  will be to make college “free”, like many other “progressive” countries.  Because, you know, wish it to be so and it will be so!

C. Ronald Kimberling analyzes the initiative:

Hillary’s plan for higher education violates so many principles of the Constitution, federal law, and economic common sense that it takes the breath away. In a nutshell, she would spend $350 billion a year to support public (i.e., governmental) colleges and universities with the proviso that a two-year associate’s degree would be “free” to students and a four-year degree would cause no one to have to incur student loan costs. In exchange for direct federal subsidies to the public colleges, states would be required to appropriate more funds for such colleges, Pell Grants could be used only for student living expenses, interest rates on existing student loans would be reduced to eliminate federal “profits” on such loans, and for-profit colleges would be subjected to even stronger regulations than at present.

Her plan is significantly more expensive than the ideas put forward by self-described socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Constitutionally, this violates the 10th Amendment, and it also violates the Department of Education Organization Act. It also runs counter to fifty years of bipartisan tradition, stemming from the Higher Education Act of 1965, which settled a 1950s-60s debate about whether federal aid to higher education should focus on direct subsidies of higher education institutions or on portable, voucher-like assistance to students in favor of the latter alternative. It places unfunded mandates on the states, and it enhances a public higher education monopoly of government-run colleges over private non-profits and for-profits, both of which are completely excluded from this federal largesse. All this takes place at a time when technology and disruptive innovation are creating more alternatives to traditional post-secondary education than we ever had before. In short, she takes President Obama’s regulatory approach toward enhancing a public sector monopoly and puts it in warp drive. Even I am flabbergasted by the audacity and scope of this proposal.

Again, looking at Obamacare, we know Constitutional or legal limits are hardly an obstacle.  She might have a bit of difficulty getting through a Republican Congress but that assumes a Republican Congress.  Given their performance these last 2 years, you have to wonder.  And you certainly have to wonder about the Supreme Court, if it ever got to that stage.  They’d likely find a “right” to higher education somewhere in some mythical document (certainly not the Constitution) with John Roberts being the 5th vote for.

Sanders, of course, plans on taxing “Wall Street transactions” to pay for his plan.  Clinton just plans to “close loopholes” – the catch all phrase for tax hikes.  Most likely, they’d end up borrowing it.

Ed Morrissey notes:

One might wonder why, when we borrow 40% of the money the federal government spends, that we’re discussing a $350 billion plan at all for anything except defense. But if the government wants to spend money on education, perhaps a better target would be primary education, and a better plan would be school choice to better prepare students for higher education down the road. Perhaps we can teach them the real definition of affordable somewhere along the way, too.

Oh … and perhaps we can get the government out of the loan business and make it a competitive sphere again?

Yeah, that’s going to happen.


Hillary’s renewable energy plan

As you’ll see it’s as unachievable and utopian as all the other “clean energy” plans we’ve heard.  In fact, IBD calls it a “farce”.  And rightfully so.

Why?  Well here are the basics:

Clinton says she has two big goals that she’ll start working on “day one” to combat climate change. First is to expand solar energy supplies by 700% by installing half a billion solar panels by 2020. Second is to power “every home in America” with renewable energy by 2027.

She describes these as “bold national goals.” The more appropriate label is “expensive pipe dream.”

Again, the latter description is more apt.  Consider the goal of half a billion solar panels by 2020.  That’s 5 years from now, folks.  We all know that solar panels are a) expensive and b) don’t live up to their billing as to making us energy independent (well unless we are willing to carpet every sun touched surface on our house and property with them).  So how will she accomplish this goal?  Well, with your tax dollars (or borrowing) of course.  Subsides, tax credits, outright grants, subsides to solar panel manufacturing and big government projects that install millions of panels in desert areas (Environmental impact? Only pipelines have that.).

My goodness, haven’t we done this before?  And what’s that popular definition of “insanity”?

Also consider that perhaps the cleanest renewable energy, one that has contributed most to the use of renewable energy, is hydroelectric energy (46%).  That source has been in decline due to pressure from environmental groups.  We have less hydroelectric power now than we did in 2000.  And that trend is likely to continue.

Biomass comes in second (9%) and is also in disfavor with environmental groups (greenhouse gasses).

That leaves three “renewable” sources – geothermal, solar and wind.  Between the three, they currently contribute just “6.7% of the nation’s electricity capacity, according to the Energy Department.”  In total, we have about 15% of our energy from all renewable sources.  So you get an idea of how small the contribution of these three really are.

While Clinton didn’t say much about the other two, wind is a favorite of the renewable energy crowd.  The problem with both wind and solar is the usual – powerful environmental groups oppose both.  Especially groups concerned with the negative impact on wildlife they’ve demonstrated.  It is no secret that both wind installations and large solar instillations are abattoirs for wildlife, especially birds.

So how likely is a President Clinton to see this bit of campaign positioning come to fruition?  Well thankfully not very. It’s a slapdash bit of campaign nonsense. It is pure pandering with no hope of realization.  It is the usual political campaign “policy” making that is all talk with no walk.  It has no possibility of being realized and is just thrown out there to feed the base and keep them happy.  It is the underpants gnomes in action.

It doesn’t even stand up to casual scrutiny.  But don’t worry, her base has no reason for even casual scrutiny.  If she said it, they believe it and that ends it.

Meanwhile, upon finishing her delivery of this devilish clever energy plan, she boarded her private jet and smoked off to her next destination.


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