Thursday, March 31, 2016

Four Foreign Policies

If you are a regular COTTonLINE reader, you very probably have a more-than-passing interest in foreign policy. Writing for The Washington Post, Dr. Charles Krauthammer describes for you the likely foreign policies of the two leading Republicans (Trump, Cruz) and two leading Democrats (Clinton, Sanders).

Dr. K compares Sanders to George McGovern, Clinton to her husband, Cruz to Reagan, and Trump to King Philip II of Spain (1556-1598). BTW, Spain was mercantilist, the goal of its foreign policy was gaining riches.

If you want a fuller description, he's written a good column. I find little to argue with therein.

Border Patrol Union Endorses Trump

I'd like to share with you excerpts from a news release of the National Border Patrol Council, the union which represents Border Patrol agents.
The National Border Patrol Council is the official organization representing our nation’s Border Patrol Agents. We represent 16,500 agents who selflessly serve this country in an environment where our own political leaders try to keep us from doing our jobs.

The NBPC has had a longstanding practice of not endorsing presidential candidates in the primaries. We will not, however, shy away from voicing our opinions as it pertains to border security and the men and women of the United States Border Patrol. As such, we are breaking with our past practice and giving our first-ever endorsement in a presidential primary. We think it is that important: if we do not secure our borders, American communities will continue to suffer at the hands of gangs, cartels and violent criminals preying on the innocent. The lives and security of the American people are at stake, and the National Border Patrol Council will not sit on the sidelines.

There is no greater physical or economic threat to Americans today than our open border. And there is no greater political threat than the control of Washington by special interests. In view of these threats, the National Border Patrol Council endorses Donald J. Trump for President – and asks the American people to support Mr. Trump in his mission to finally secure the border of the United States of America, before it is too late.
Who knows the threat better than they?

A Milestone

Congratulations readers, COTTonLINE just surpassed 200,000 page views. It has taken 9 years and 4 months to reach that level. Matt Drudge probably gets that many before lunch most days.

During that period we've posted some 7500 items. We don't do badly for a one person site with no discernible budget, advertising or revenue.

My cost, thousands of hours of labor. My reward, it is fun to do. The moral of the story: do a job you love and the week holds seven good days. Even so, the diligent blogger deserves the occasional vacay.

During April we will mostly be doing travel blogging as the DrsC are again hitting the road (actually the waves). Beginning around May 1 we'll be back to our usual routine.

Show Me the Money, Honey

Writing at The Arts Mechanical, J.C.Carlton asks the question, "What can a billionaire buy that most people can't?" Carlton's answer: influence, for which s/he cites examples like Soros, Steyer, and the Koch brothers. That's certainly correct as far as it goes.

Rather more visibly, a billionaire can "buy" one or more high quality supermodels to adorn his entourage, and many do just that. Extremely wealthy women and their "toy boy" tennis coaches or trainers are a thing, too.

It seems likely some billionaire's legal team invented the prenuptial agreement. Apropos of which, Donald Trump is the current poster boy for trophy wife acquisition and display by a billionaire. In an earlier era Aristotle Onassis snagged a glamorous presidential widow, while Prince Rainier landed the coolly beautiful Grace Kelly.

An enormous pile of money is a potent aphrodisiac.

The Race Card

National Journal's Josh Kraushaar writes about an unexpected source of Trump strength. The group he identifies: white Republicans who live near or mixed in with large numbers of minority Democrats.

These conservatives live in districts that, in the general election, normally give large majorities to Democrats. As you might guess, living near Democrats these Republicans dislike them even more than suburbanites whose acquaintance is more arms-length. And they are voting for Trump.
What ex­plains this dy­nam­ic? A ma­jor reas­on is that Trump’s (mainly white) sup­port­ers are dis­pro­por­tion­ately con­cen­trated near areas with many minor­it­ies, sug­gest­ing that strained race re­la­tions may have played a role in their back­ing of Trump.

Coulter Could Be Right

The always interesting, never boring Ann Coulter writes in her Townhall blog that Trump is the only Republican candidate who has a chance of winning in November. I halfway agree with her. See what she concludes:
Trump is saying he'll bring in lots of new people, as he has throughout the primaries. In the Florida GOP primary, for example, Trump got nearly half a million more votes than Romney did in 2012 -- about half a million new people voted. Trump may be wrong, but it's insane to say that it's impossible for him to bring out new voters.

What's impossible is for any Republican candidate, other than Trump, to win a single state Romney lost. Ted Cruz's corny speaking style is creepy to anyone who doesn't already agree with everything he says. He's the less likable, more hard-edged version of Romney. Every other Republican is, one way or another, a less attractive version of Romney.*

Maybe 50 years of Third World immigration means it's too late, and even Trump can't win. But it's an absolute certainty that any other Republican will lose.
*Except Kasich, who is a less attractive version of George W. Bush.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Weird Pharmacological Science

The PBS Nova Next website reports promising findings on a single therapy useful in treating Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, and prion diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. All of these are diseases of protein misfolding and plaque buildup in the brain.

The "magic bullet" is a phage virus called M13, which lives to infect only the escherichia coli bacterium. For reasons as yet not understood, it appears to make brain plaques dissolve or disappear.

First identified in Israel and shown safe and effective in animals, it goes into human testing this year. It is still several years from being an approved drug, if that ever happens. Faster, please....

Do You Know OLLI?

This is the first Tuesday in some while that has no election results to report. Its odd how quickly we became accustomed to that weekly ritual.


On an entirely different note, if you are retired or nearly so, you might look into whether your region has an OLLI chapter. There are supposedly over 100 chapters scattered across the nation. See this website for a list of locations.

What, you may be asking, is OLLI? It is an acronym for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Associated with a college or university, OLLI finds volunteers to teach non-credit, ungraded courses for seniors who pay a small annual fee to be eligible to attend.

The teachers are called peer leaders and the topics can be almost anything seniors might be interested in learning about. The other DrC and I each teach for our local OLLI chapter, I on world affairs, she on point-and-shoot photography.

Our chapter also has courses on ukulele, on knitting, on computers, on genealogy; about a hundred different topics in all. It's probably one of the more active chapters, especially as it is located in a not-huge city in a rural area. It is a great way to keep your mind active, and meet some friendly folks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Geopolitical Musings

Since the end of World War II, European nations have spent little on military hardware and salaries. They have been willing to leave that dubious pleasure to the United States, while they've mostly spent their budgets on elaborate welfare schemes.

For seven decades the U.S. has defended Europe. We did so because allowing the Soviets to overrun it would have done unpleasant things to our place in the world's balance of power. Now the Soviets are gone and Europe is being overrun by MENA migrants.

Defending a region overrun by young Muslim men quickly will become unpalatable to American voters. We are approaching the day when we level with Europe about their choices as we decide to no longer defend them.

Europe can elect to do nothing - basically invite Putin to become their "protector" - or they can rearm. To rearm they will have to raise taxes, cut benefits, borrow extensively, and perhaps reinstitute a draft.

None of these options will be popular. Expect European anger at our "selfishness" in asking them to carry their own weight. We will, however, need to continue to protect Canada because it is in our interest to do so.

Hostility to Peaceful Coexistence

Margaret Wente writes for The Globe and Mail, perhaps Canada's leading paper. Today she recounts many acts by Islamic extremists against those who do not share their views, and concludes:
“In parts of the Muslim community a discourse has grown up which is profoundly hostile to peaceful co-existence,” former British prime minister Tony Blair wrote recently. “Countering this is an essential part of fighting extremism.”

Maybe Justin Trudeau should take note. Like it or not, we really are at war. It’s a war of light against the dark. And last week, the dark was winning.
If you haven't paid attention, Trudeau is the new Canadian PM. And hostility to peaceful coexistence exists everywhere there is a significant Muslim population, places as far apart as Egypt, Thailand, The Philippines, Belgium, China, Nigeria and Canada.

An Argument in Favor

You don't have to look far to find criticisms of Donald Trump, at least some of which are valid. Maybe you'd like to see someone argue he could be good for the country? Investor's Business Daily has a column in which an investment officer argues for giving The Donald a second look.
Trump has put forth a tax plan as specific as that of any candidate. No less an authority than Reaganomics guru Arthur Laffer said: “It’s a great plan. And I think it’s better or pretty close to as good as Reagan’s.”

Trump’s plan calls for a top personal tax rate of 25%, a capital gains rate of 20% and a top corporate rate of 15%. I don’t know of many pro-growth supply-siders who wouldn’t crawl across broken glass to get that enacted into law.

Trump will run as a madman for capitalism. He just might win. And by unleashing America’s animal spirits, he just might turn out to be the most effective pro-growth president since Reagan.
A strong argument; as we wrote two days ago, on March 27,
Why would anyone want four more years of this lackluster economy? We need growth.

The Lesser Evil

The New York Times carries an article in which Andrew E. Kramer looks at the Russian approach to counterterrorism and the suppression of rebellion. The article has, if you look closely, two parts.

In part one, Kramer describes how the Russians suppress terrorists by targeting their families: parents, children, spouses, uncles and aunts. At various times they've held family members hostage to prevent terror acts, at other times they've "disappeared" family members. Little though he wants to admit it, this approach appears to work.

Therefore, in part two, Kramer talks about the downside of such actions - radicalizing whole groups, creating enemies where none previously existed, accusations of war crimes, creating a bad reputation. You get the sense part two was added to keep the SJWs off the backs of the Times' editors.

What Kramer cannot deny is that the Russians took Chechnya and the Caucasus from open rebellion to a sullen quiet, now largely under Moscow's control. The process was far from humane or pretty, human rights were violated wholesale.
“He should understand his relatives will be treated as accomplices,” Kirill V. Kabanov, a member of President Vladimir V. Putin’s human rights council, said of a potential suicide attacker.
The tribal societies producing most of today's terrorists value family highly. Knowing your family will suffer your fate - or worse - cannot be comforting to a potential jihadi.

This article describes an approach western democracies have - so far - been unwilling to employ. I wonder how bad terrorist carnage will have to get before such tactics become, as they have for the Russians, the lesser evil?

Monday, March 28, 2016

And The Poor Get Children

Hey, demography fans, see an article plus charts looking at the relationship between fertility and national income, at the website. Countries with older populations tend to be richer, those with a very young population - many births per woman - tend to be poor.

As my dear, departed father would say, "The rich get richer and the poor get children." He's been dead for decades so it is no new thing. Still, it's good to see the data reinforcing anecdotal experience.

As you might conclude, the trend line outliers are (a) the former Communist nations which are poorer than would otherwise be expected given their age distributions, and (b) the oil producing nations which are richer than their age distribution would predict.

Author Sami Karam notes that children cause poverty, poverty causes children, and gender inequality and female illiteracy cause both. Again, no particular surprises.

BTW, if you ever needed proof that communism/socialism is a way to share the poverty, not the wealth, Karam has the numbers.

Singapore Serenade

Prolific demographer Joel Kotkin, writing for City Journal, takes a fond but concerned look at today's Singapore, as it faces a "midlife crisis." Its birthrate is among the world's lowest and, unlike Japan, it is importing people and experiencing the normal controversy and concern over cultural maintenance such importation engenders.

If you respect Singapore's national "architect" Lee Kwan Yew or just have a fondness for what is perhaps the world's best-run city, I believe you'll find Kotkin's take on Singapore interesting.

A Biased Case

Writing for The Atlantic Peter Beinart argues Donald Trump cannot bring out to vote large numbers of blue-collar whites who've been uninvolved in recent politics. People who are analogous to the Reagan Democrats of an earlier time.

I can't find the citation but I distinctly remember reading, during the post-mortem following Mitt Romney's 2012 loss, that large numbers of blue-collar whites sat on their hands. They didn't vote for either Obama or Romney.

It was argued Romney would have won, or at least won some additional states in the Rust Belt, if they'd turned out for him as they had earlier for Bush. They were dissuaded from voting for Romney, supposedly, by ads showing him responsible for mass layoffs at firms targeted for turnaround.

Beinart doesn't deal with these folks, or with the extra large turnouts at GOP primaries and low turnouts at Dem primaries. Maybe as he argues Trump isn't bringing in votes not reflected in polling, but his polling is strong.

If primary turnout has any bearing on general election turnout, and presuming most GOP voters cannot stomach Clinton, I believe Beinart overstates the anti-Trump case, by what amount I cannot be sure.

Count On Liars to Lie

Former Editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson is doing political coverage for The Guardian (U.K.), a consistently lefty paper. She headlines a column about Democrat presidential politics as follows:
This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest
Which only proves what we already knew: Jill Abramson is fundamentally dishonest. It's a basic job qualification for editorship at the Times.

Where the Immigrants Are

The Washington Examiner reports immigrant levels in various states:
Today one third of the nation's states register over 15 percent immigrant: California, Nevada, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Oregon.

The population of immigrants and their children in six are over 25 percent: California, Nevada, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey.
One wonders - when will California decide to formally change its name to "Alta California" and Texas begin pronouncing its name "tay-hoss?" Because:
California, for example, went from 13 percent immigrant in 1970 to over 37 percent last year. Texas went from 5 percent to 25 percent over that same period.
Meanwhile, eight states have 5% or fewer immigrants: Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Maine, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Errata: Washington Examiner's map of the continental 48 states shows all of the Great Lakes except Lake Michigan. It makes the upper Midwest look just plain "wrong."

Belgium Is Irrational

Since the recent terror attacks in Brussels, the MSM has been writing about failures in intelligence there. These exist, of course, both within and between European nations.

Underreported, I believe, is that Belgium is itself a failed state. Culturally, the nation is irrational. The Flemish in the north are more-or-less ethnically (and linguistically) akin to the Netherlands. The Walloons in the south and capital are ethnically French.

The central government is purposefully kept weak lest it infringe on the prerogatives of one of the two ethnic groups, to basically do their own thing. This weakness is undoubtedly reflected in the inability of the police to rein in terrorists.

One could argue that Belgium should not exist, but should be split between the Netherlands and France. Were that done, the resulting parts would, in all likelihood, be better governed.

The more affluent Flemish have talked of separation, but the less well-off Walloons need the transfer payments they get to keep the lights on, so they resist. Another real point of contention is the two sides arguing, like a hostile married couple, over which gets Brussels.


The MSM has made much of the divisions in the Republican Party. How about we look at the yawning chasm in the Democratic Party?

As ABC News notes, Sanders won by big margins in three western states: WA, AK, HI. The reason: few black voters in these states. Clinton has won those states like SC where many, perhaps most Democrats are African-American.

Sanders is the candidate of white and Asian progressives, Clinton the candidate of black and Hispanic liberals. The interests, the agendas of these two factions - Sanders' progressives vs. Clinton's liberals - have diverged. The SJWs love Sanders, the aggrieved victim groups love Clinton.

This is a political season where both parties' big tents are failing to cover the disparate groups supposedly housed within. Does this split herald a political realignment like that of the Goldwater revolution in the GOP? Unclear at this point, it may.

Nordlinger Hearts Cruz

As regular COTTonLINE readers know well, I enjoy the writing of Jay Nordlinger at National Review. I also have endorsed GOP hopeful Ted Cruz on this site.

Imagine my pleasure at discovering, via a recent Nordlinger NR column, that Cruz is a long-time friend of Nordlinger. They met while working on the first Bush campaign sixteen years ago.

Jay says Ted is the real deal, his beliefs sincerely held, but that his ambition turns off some who find it unseemly. Jay reminds us this same ambition also marked a fellow named Lincoln, who portrait is on the $5 bill. That's good company to keep.

The column referenced above is Part I of II, I'll check out Part II when it becomes available.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Obama Slump

Former Treasury official J. T. Young, writes for RealClearMarkets about the true state of the Obama economy.
Two significant facts emerge from putting Obama's seven years into context. First, although an additional nine million employed sounds impressive, it has not kept pace with the growth of America's potential labor force. Second and more dramatically, today's seemingly low unemployment rate is the product of today's low labor force participation rate - without its huge fall, today's unemployment rate would actually be far larger than when Obama took office.

Examining Obama's employment and unemployment record, two basic conclusions emerge: Either employment failed to match the potential labor force's growth because there have been insufficient jobs; or Americans deem the available jobs not worth entering the workforce for. Either conclusion indicts Obama's real employment record.

There is a reason why Obama makes no remarks concerning economic growth: there is little on which to comment. Annual real GDP growth during Obama's presidency has averaged less than half of the post-WWII period preceding it - 1.4% from 2009-2015 versus 3.1% from 1946-2008.
Why would anyone want four more years of this lackluster economy? We need growth.

Least Bad

Tony Fabrizio writes for RealClearPolitics about the "lesser of two evils" voting segment in 2016, which he argues is (a) large and (b) somewhat conservative in values. These folks don't like either Trump nor Clinton.

Fabrizio argues the trick for both campaigns is to figure out how to get these folks, however reluctantly, to pull the lever for their candidate. Given what you've read here concerning these two, I find this article particularly relevant.

Draft Obituary

Europe is slowly dying, inch by inch, as we watch in fascinated horror. Even more bizarre, the death is volitional. The choice to live exists, it is in front of them, but they cannot bring themselves to take it.

What's happening isn't exactly suicide, they didn't elect to die. It more nearly resembles someone who cannot be bothered to take the steps needed to live, or who finds those steps morally repugnant. This phenomenon is not, unfortunately, unknown or particularly rare.

Requiescat in pace.

Irony for Irony's Sake

A headline in the Washington Times:
Belgium's "March against Fear" cancelled due to security concerns.
In other words, because they were too afraid.

Easter Sunday Snark

Kevin D. Williamson who writes for National Review, on Hillary's imperviousness to prosecution:
People like Hillary Rodham Clinton do not go to jail without first becoming governor of Illinois or mayor of Detroit, and Herself always has her sights set on a higher office than those.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has violated a half-dozen national-security statutes, has criminally withheld information from investigators, and much more. It is a safe bet that the consequences of her doing so will be considerably less than those of failing to pay a parking ticket issued by the duly constituted authorities of Muleshoe, Texas.

Something about that isn’t right.
Ya think?

Happy Easter

COTTonLINE wishes all of our readers a Happy Easter. Put on your new bonnet and parade your finery on this day of celebration of all things spring.

Coincidentally, the other DrC informed me she saw a rabbit on our back patio this morning. It's an Easter bunny, one of many who live in the neighborhood.

You know that thing about March hares acting crazy? They truly do act with abandon in this season. I'm not certain why, maybe it's a breeding frenzy or maybe something they're eating is psychedelic?

Dem Results for AK, WA

Democratic caucuses were held Saturday in Alaska, Washington, and Hawaii. Results are in from WA and AK.

Sanders won both handily, gaining more than 81% of the vote in Alaska and 72% of the vote in Washington. According to RealClearPolitics, on Saturday Sanders won 36 delegates, Clinton won 11.  Hawaii has yet to be heard from, at midnight on the West Coast.

Next day ... Sanders won Hawaii too, just as convincingly with about 70%. Bernie Sanders is demonstrating clearly that Clinton is no Democratic icon. Nevertheless, all pundits expect Clinton to win the nomination.

I have to wonder if the Sanders voters can get over their anti-Clinton protest and vote for her in November? Some yes, but most? It's unclear.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Anti-Immigrant Stirrings in Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel's policy of welcoming Muslim refugees to Germany has been a real boost to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party. That rightist party has to continually fend off accusations of neo-Nazi attitudes.

To do so they've picked a leader who, like Merkel, is a woman and a scientist. Unlike Merkel, Frauke Petry has a thousand watt smile and looks about as threatening as Audrey Hepburn. Smart move.

See an article with photos in The Telegraph (U.K.). Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.

Last Tango in Office

Some years ago, traveling in Argentina, the DrsC learned the tango was developed by low-life prostitutes and pimps. Their goal: to act out in dance the love-hate, attraction-repulsion relationship between men and women in Latino culture. Most would agree they succeeded.

On President Obama it merely looked foolish, as odd as if the president of NOW revealed a Fifty Shades of Grey obsession. On Trump, it would be totally believable, but equally repulsive.

Imagine The Donald and Megyn Kelly dancing the tango. Boffo!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Political Snark

Each Friday retired comedienne Susan Vass writes a life-and-times column for Power Line, using the nom de plume Ammo Grrrll. Here is her less-than-flattering summation of the four presidential nomination finalists, two for each major party.
The survivors who haven’t been voted off the island include: a crooked, lying harridan who may soon be living in a new gated community, i.e., prison; a wacky, elderly commie who thinks we should manufacture just one brand of deodorant; a liberal loose cannon with a fluffy, orange comb-over; and a wicked-smart but weird, conservative guy nobody likes who reminds my friend John Hinderaker of Richard Nixon!
Politics this year are crazy enough to make me nostalgic for clean, sane Mitt Romney, whose major shortcoming was an inability to beat a failed incumbent.

The Real Problem

National Review's Jay Nordlinger, reacting to the Jeffrey Goldberg interviews of Obama appearing in The Atlantic. Obama is quoted about hostile Islamicists:
There is a violent, radical, fanatical, nihilistic interpretation of Islam by a faction — a tiny faction — within the Muslim community that is our enemy, and that has to be defeated.
To which Nordlinger responds:
I grant you that a tiny portion — a teeny-tiny portion — of Muslims carry out atrocities: fly planes into buildings and so on. If that were the extent of our problem, we would have a happily manageable problem. But a huge portion of Muslims either cheer on, defend, excuse, or don’t mind the tiny portion. And that is our problem.
Nordlinger's "huge portion" is a problem of which we need to stop importing more examples.

Streetcorner Sociology

Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones about the declining rate of marriages among all except those with college degrees. His horseback analysis of why this is so: most men are pigs, college educated men are less so, and women can survive without marriage today. Unpacking his argument, see what he writes:
Basically, an awful lot of men are—and always have been—volatile and unreliable. They drink, they get abusive, and they do stupid stuff. They're bad with money, they don't help with the kids, and they don't help around the house. They demand subservience. They demand sex. And even on the one dimension they're supposedly good for—being breadwinners—they frequently tend to screw up and get fired.

In other words, marriage has been a bad deal for women pretty much forever. But they've been forced into it by cultural mores and economic imperatives, and that's the only reason it's been nearly universal in the past.

Nothing has changed much about that. It's still a bad deal for an awful lot of women, but cultural mores and economic imperatives have changed, and that means more women can afford to do what's right for themselves and stay unmarried these days.

But there's one exception to this: the college educated. Well-educated men are fairly reliable; they have good earning power; they generally aren't abusive; and they've been willing—slowly but steadily—to change their habits and help out with kids and housework. For college-educated women, then, marriage is a relatively good deal. For everyone else, not so much.
If Drum is correct, women are rejecting marriage, not men. Marriage is a good deal for men, he implies. Men should be desperately looking for wives, asking women to marry them and being turned down ... but it's not happening that way.

The men aren't asking; presumably they don't see marriage as a good deal either. We all have friends financially crippled by child support payments and alimony, having lost half their retirements. If you realistically fear marriage won't last, avoiding it is sensible.

That is the trouble with streetcorner sociology. Back to the drawing board, Kevin, your "dorm room bull" is just that.

Time to Get Tough

Andrew C. McCarthy writes for National Review, today about the nature of militant Islam, whose name our raised-a-Muslim President refuses to speak.
Our enemies are at war with us. They continue to execute acts of war, not tragedies, against us. We cannot “end” the war by withdrawing from it; we can only lose that way. We cannot prevail, or even adequately protect ourselves, without seeing the enemy plain: radical Islam — Islamic supremacists determined to impose sharia on the world, with jihadists as the pointy end of the spear, and ideological sympathizers as their support system.

What we like to think of as “radical Islam” is actually a legitimate and rabidly anti-Western interpretation of Islam that is followed by millions of Muslims. It is irrelevant to non-Muslims in the West whether theirs is a correct or incorrect construction of Muslim scripture. The remorseless fact remains that its adherents believe it — with a fervor that inspires the kinds of attacks we’ve seen today and have seen over and over again. Those adherents include Muslims who lack the commitment to carry out attacks themselves but nevertheless provide moral (and other) support to those who do, and who populate the Western immigrant enclaves in which the ideology thrives.

We have to be clear that Muslims who endorse Islamic supremacism, who want our Constitution supplanted by sharia, are on the wrong side of this war, regardless of whether they cross the line into violence.
How about this: any Muslim who will not declare him/herself on our side in the fight against Sharia-loving suicide commandos, is deemed to be on their side and treated accordingly? At the very least, you've got anyone so declared but supporting them for perjury.

The Awful Legacy

Glenn Reynolds writes a column for USA Today, today his topic is the accuracy of Bill Clinton's gaffe concerning Obama. Reynolds concludes:
Bill Clinton is right. Obama’s is an awful legacy, one that has borne ugly fruit in the Middle East, in Europe and — as Islamic-State-inspired attacks strike here, too, from San Bernadino to Garland, Texas — in the United States.
Obama views the presidency as a limbo contest, where the question is, "How low can you go?" He's proved he can go lower than Jimmah Carter, the previous modern worst.

The real Junior Varsity has been sitting in the Oval Office for 7+ years. His mischief will keep coming, without end, until January, 2017.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday Super Snark

Michael Walsh, blogging at PJ Media, on the subject of Europe's dilemma with its Islamic immigrants.
The modern Left and Islam exist in a sado-masochistic relationship: the atheistic Suicide Cult has met the satanic Death Cult of its dreams.
They deserve each other ... we deserve neither.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Weird Diabetic Science

MIT Technology Review reports research aimed at controlling diabetes with skin patches. They sense excessive glucose in perspiration and release insulin via micro needles.

Unfortunately, I suspect the devices are still experimental and not available for use by the typical diabetic. This looks like something my friend Roger needs to know about. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Friedman Supports Selective Engagement

Today The New York Times' Tom Friedman writes from the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq. Tom is worth reading when his topic is MENA - the Middle East and North Africa - as it is here.

His basic point: while Obama may have been correct to reduce U.S. involvement in the region, the President now appears to be too withdrawn. Friedman argues for U.S. (and European) support of fledgling democracies in Tunisia and Kurdistan, both of which are threatened.

He pointedly fails to deal with how angry U.S. engagement with the Kurds will make the Turks. Turkey can retaliate by dumping hundreds of thousands of refugees into Europe.

Doom and Gloom

Jonah Goldberg writes some downbeat stuff in the Los Angeles Times, depressing unless you're a dim Dem.
Nominating Donald Trump will wreck the Republican Party as we know it. Not nominating Trump will wreck the Republican Party as we know it.

This ends in tears no matter what. Get over it and pick a side. 

Wednesday Morning Depression

Trump is a WWF-style caricature of a CEO and Clinton is a world-class manipulative sleaze. These are the front-runners for nomination by our two major political parties.

Way to go, political people! You're showing me no class whatsoever. Barack Obama has certainly lowered the bar on what can pass for "leader of the free world."

Australia is looking better every day. It's main drawback is its reliance on the U.S. as a security partner. Talk about leaning on a weak reed.

Wednesday Morning Snark

Mitt Romney, cracking wise about Donald Trump, as quoted by The Hill:
Donald Trump has had several foreign wives. It turns out that there really are jobs Americans won’t do.
Of course, Jeb's wife is foreign too. May have been one reason he didn't win more votes.

Late Results

At midnight Pacific Time, Utah has been called for Cruz, and for Sanders. Idaho which only did the Dems today Sanders also won, handily. Neither Utah nor Idaho has many minority voters.

Cruz is taking well in excess of 50% of the votes in Utah, which gains him all 40 of the state's delegates. Kasich actually edged out Trump in Utah to take a distant second; Mormons don't have much in common with Trump stylistically.

If RealClearPolitics has an accurate delegate count, Sanders won 6 more delegates tonight than did Clinton, winning 57 to her 51. Trump edged Cruz 58 to 40. The race rolls on.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jihad, Broadly Understood

David French writes at National Review. His topic today is the actual nature of jihad, as opposed to what we non-Muslims believe it to be - terrorist violence. Some key points:
Jihad is an eternal, all-encompassing unholy war against the unbeliever. It is waged in the mind of the believer, to fortify his or her own courage and faith. It is waged online and in the pages of books and magazines, to simultaneously cultivate the hatred and contempt of the committed for the kafir — the unbeliever — while also currying favor, appeasement, and advantage from the gullible West. Jihad is the teaching in the mosque. It is the prayer in the morning, the social-media post in the afternoon, and the donation to an Islamic “charity” in the evening.

There is jihad in predatory, coordinated sexual assault, there is jihad when Western camera crews are chased from Muslim neighborhoods, and there is jihad when Muslim apologists invariably crawl from the sewers of Western intelligentsia, blaming Europeans for the imperfections in their life-saving hospitality.

So don’t make the mistake of believing that Europe or America only “periodically” or “rarely” deal with jihad. We confront it every day, just as the world has confronted it — to greater or lesser degrees — ever since Muslim armies first emerged from the Arabian peninsula. While not all Muslims are jihadists, jihad is so deeply imprinted in the DNA of Islam that the world will confront it as long as Islam lives.
Instapundit Glenn Reynolds posts the link and adds the following:
Well, that suggests rather drastic remedies are called for.
So drastic, in fact, that spelling the remedies out in any detail might constitute a war crime.

Early Results

The Arizona primaries have been called for Trump and Clinton. It's winner-take-all for Trump, he gets all 58 GOP delegates. It's proportional for Clinton, she apparently will get something like 2/3 of the Democrat delegates, Sanders getting the balance.

Each state party makes its own rules for delegate distribution on the GOP side, seemingly Democrat delegates are assigned proportionally in all states.

Pediatricians: Sex is Biological, Binary

The American College of Pediatricians has released a draft statement of principles which can be summarized as your sex is chromosomal, determined at conception. If you believe yourself to be something other than what your chromosomes (and your "plumbing") indicate, you suffer from a mental disorder.

They advocate treating the mental disorder, not the physiology which fails to conform to mental self-image. See the whole statement posted at Power Line by Steven Hayward. I've been waiting for someone authoritative to take this entirely sensible position.

The transexual community, however, will really hate being told they have a mental disorder. Truth has nothing to do with how they'll feel.

Four Tribes of Republicans

See an analysis for RealClearPolitics by Jeffrey H. Anderson of where the GOP nomination process now stands. He splits Republicans into four groups - The Trumpers, The Cruzers, The Realists, and The Ostriches - and identifies well-known members of each group.

Anderson does a particularly effective job of describing the role of John Kasich in this process. He questions Katich's motives in remaining in the race, seeing at least two possibilities: one nefarious, the other naive.

This column is relatively even-handed between Trump and Cruz, unusual punditry in these troubling times.

Quotes of the Day

Roger Kimball, writing in his Roger's Rules blog at PJ Media, about the presidential primary leaders.
The essence of conservative wisdom is the melancholy appreciation of the fact that in the real world the choices we face are often not between good and better but between bad and worse. This is particularly true in the messy world of politics.
In spite of this gloomy admission, the Kimball assessment of Trump and Clinton:
Both are utterly unfit to be president of the United States. (snip) Either would be a disaster for the country.
Slight hyperbole has been detected in the second quote.

The Soft Target Blues

Today Arab suicide bombers struck multiple times in Brussels, killing 34. One wonders how much of this punishment Europeans will absorb before they take action? I thought Charlie Hebdo followed by the Paris shootings would move them to act. I was wrong.

The dilemma for European leaders is that any action which would truly forestall terror would also seriously infringe on the human rights of many recent Muslim residents. The immigrants in question are already recipients of discrimination by native Europeans which leaves key decision-makers feeling guilty - as Brits say, on the back foot - and unable to act.

Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a similar dilemma following Pearl Harbor; we know his answer. We also know that, in the rosy glow of 20-20 hindsight, many regret the Japanese internment camps, believing them a grievous, unforgivable error.

Roosevelt was right, his critics are wrong. I know of no claims of torture or murder of Japanese internees. Sadly, the human rights of many fine patriotic Japanese-Americans were infringed.

War is an ugly business, innocent people get hurt. Unwillingness to act in self-preservation equals surrender. In the current argot, European leaders need to man up ("cowboy up" is too much to ask).

Process Yields Two Evils, Lesser One Wins

A couple of times recently we've written about the less-than-wonderful choice the political process seems to be dishing up for November. Now CBS News reports on the favorability of the leading candidates of both parties.
More than half of the states have held a primary or caucus, and registered voters nationwide now hold negative opinions of the political parties' current frontrunners. More than half of voters have unfavorable views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; each has a net negative rating in the double-digits.
That net negative rating is their unfavorables minus their favorables. CBS has been asking this question of presidential candidates since 1984 and the unfavorable ratings of Clinton and Trump - 52% and 57% respectively - are the highest yet recorded. Bummer.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Season Two of Bosch

Around eleven months ago I reviewed an Amazon original drama series entitled Bosch. A second season has been posted, available for binge watching if you're of a mind to do that.

Personally, I find the episodes so gritty, so noir that I don't want to watch several at a sitting. Basically, every character is ethically dirty, including the title role to some minor degree.

You could take time finding someone onscreen to admire, and you'd end up with the homicide detective Bosch himself. He cuts corners but doesn't break major laws. Everybody's motives are impure, some worse than others.

The second season finds Bosch investigating the murder of a successful pornographer, with enough subplots running alongside to keep things interesting. Star Trek: Voyager Seven of Nine actress Jeri Ryan plays the pornographer's widow.

Unlike normal TV crime dramas, a single Bosch episode isn't free-standing. Think of it as a televised chapter of a book, you don't achieve closure until the last episode of the season. I like the L.A. sense-of-place the series conveys. Enjoy.

Climate Refugees Nothing New

Bloomberg View has an article about a small group of Choctaws on a Louisiana island slowly sinking into the Gulf. They are to be moved to higher ground. Fine, it's an okay story.

However, the Bloomberg headline writer - a historical ignoramus - labeled it The First U.S. Climate Refugees. Whatever happened to truth in labeling?

Were not the Okies of the Depression era Dust Bowl climate refugees? Aren't the people who leave the Rust Belt to retire in the sun climate refugees? Can't you argue the whole tribe of migrate-twice-a-year "snow bird" retirees are climate refugees?

I daresay my father and his family were climate refugees when they moved to Southern California from Illinois over a century ago. L.A. was lovely in those years, I've seen the pix, heard the stories.

Bottom line: climate refugee is nothing new, here or elsewhere. Folks have been movin' on in hopes of a better life practically forever, likely since the hike out of Africa by protohumans.

Will English Become Universal?

Writing at the Newton Blog of RealClearScience, Ross Pomeroy asks the question, "Will English destroy all other languages?" A clear enough question, his answer is more ambiguous.

On the one hand, languages are disappearing at an amazing rate, and the number of native English speakers is actually declining.
Prominent linguist David Graddol estimates that as many as 90 percent of the world's 6,000 to 7,000 languages will go extinct this century. His learned guess is echoed by John McWhorter, a linguistics professor at Columbia University. 
However, if people study a second language, English is the language most people try to learn, not Mandarin Chinese.
English happens to have gotten there first. It is now so deeply entrenched in print, education and media that switching to anything else would entail an enormous effort... Also, the tones of Chinese are extremely difficult to learn beyond childhood, and truly mastering the writing system virtually requires having been born to it.
English has become the language of travel, of commerce, of science, and of entertainment. On balance, you find it hard to argue against.

The other DrC and I joke that 50 years from now the whole world will speak broken English. Likely a pidgin-on-steroids, perhaps like that spoken by Mal and his crew in the Firefly/Serenity 'verse. Shiny.

The Awful Legacy of the Last Eight Years

A very careworn former President Bill Clinton campaigned today for wife Hillary in Spokane, Washington. Along the way he blasted President Obama's "awful legacy."

The Weekly Standard has the textThe American Mirror has video with clear audio in case you don't believe he really said the following:
Now if you don’t believe we can all grow together again, if you don't believe we're ever going to grow again, if you believe it's more important to re-litigate the past, there may be many reasons that you don't want to support her.

But if you believe we can all rise together, if you believe we've finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us and the seven years before that where we were practicing trickle-down economics with no regulation in Washington, which is what caused the crash, then you should vote for her.
Matt Drudge speculates Bill's "re-litigate the past" means he's heard the Obama DOJ will go for an indictment and angrily trashed Obama in the same breath with Bush. Unfortunately, calling Obama's years "awful" is no way for Hillary to wrap herself in the Obama mantle and coax his minority voters to the polls.

If the President knows the FBI won't quietly drop the case, he may have to go along to preserve his legacy. There's this old guy - Bernie Sanders - who hopes it's true. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the links.

Faith Wanes

Drudge Report provides a link that eventually leads to the report of research into religiosity in the U.S., published today in the peer-reviewed journal Sage Open. The following is quoted from a San Diego State University website where the study's lead author Jean Twenge is located.
A research team (snip) analyzed data from 58,893 respondents to the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults administered between 1972 and 2014. Five times as many Americans in 2014 reported that they never prayed as did Americans in the early 1980s, and nearly twice as many said they did not believe in God.

Americans in recent years were less likely to engage in a wide variety of religious practices, including attending religious services, describing oneself as a religious person, and believing that the Bible is divinely inspired, with the biggest declines seen among 18- to 29-year-old respondents.

This decline in religious practice has not been accompanied by a rise in spirituality, which, according to Twenge, suggests that, rather than spirituality replacing religion, Americans are becoming more secular.
Americans follow a well-worn path trod first by the Japanese and later by the Europeans. Declines of religion and of child bearing are key path elements. That path appears to lead gradually in the direction of ethnic group extinction, an eventuality not yet approached by Japan.

A Thought Experiment

Imagine you have a neighbor who is a bully to his kids and wife, mean to his dog too. None of his behavior quite reaches the "call Child Protective Services, the Humane Society or the cops" level but is ugly nevertheless.

Imagine further that for a decade or more your parents have pointedly not been friendly to the abusive neighbor. Now you've inherited the home you've shared with them, as they head off to Florida to retire in the sun.

Are you likely to announce that your parents' approach to the bully hasn't worked because his behavior hasn't improved, so you believe you'll befriend him in the hopes that will help? You wouldn't? Neither would I.

The scenario I sketched out for you above is what President Obama has chosen to do with Cuba. He's declared our policy with respect to Cuba is a failure and he'll try friendship. This without seeing any marked improvement in Cuban behavior toward their own citizens.

By doing so Obama continues his policy of befriending our enemies and criticizing our friends. His policy has the practical (and almost certainly intentional) effect of reducing American influence abroad.

Obama has taken the motto of the 1st Marine Division, "No better friend, no worse enemy" and turned it on its head. He invites other countries to evaluate the U.S. as "a bad friend, a good enemy." This cannot end well, nor do I believe he intends it to do so.

Monday Morning Snark

The prolific Victor Davis Hanson, writing at his PJ Media website Works and Days, about the GOP establishment confronting a Clinton vs. Trump contest in November.
Staying home or forming a third party, despite all the high-minded professions, is a vote for Hillary Clinton, or rather a third term for Barack Obama. And there lies the dilemma that everyone dreads.

So the looming questions for the elite concern whether Godzilla Hillary would be better than King Kong Trump.
This snark contains more than a kernel of truth.

Conservatism "in the Closet"

At a website named Minding the Campus, Peter Wood reviews a book by Jon Shields and Joshua Dunn entitled Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University. Peter Wood is President of the National Association of Scholars, a group devoted to protecting free speech and opposing censorship on campus.

Wood observes the book is based on
Interviews with 153 professors in economics, political science, sociology, history, philosophy, and literature, all of whom self-identified as “conservative” or “libertarian.”
Wood is critical of the books message to conservative academics: keep your views to yourself until, at the minimum, you get tenure and preferably until you have passed through assistant and associate ranks and reached the rank of professor. His organization wants social science and humanities faculty to be free to express non-progressive views without penalty, a desirable goal unlikely to be achieved anytime soon.

Conservative views are threatened in the fields surveyed. However, such views are likely to exist at least somewhat out in the open in other parts of the university: engineering, business,  and sometimes law.

As you might imagine, capitalism is relatively popular in university business schools.Thousands of Wall Street Journals are delivered daily to business school faculty across the country, and even larger numbers of business students subscribe. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Suspicions Confirmed

The New York Post reports the following vis-a-vis the FBI's Clinton email investigation. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.
FBI chief James Comey and his investigators are increasingly certain that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton violated laws in handling classified government information through her private email server, career agents say.

Some expect him to push for charges, but he faces a formidable obstacle: the political types in the Obama White House who view a Clinton presidency as a third Obama term.

With that, agents have been spreading the word, largely through associates in the private sector, that their boss is getting stonewalled, despite uncovering compelling evidence that Clinton broke the law.
Don't you wish you were at all shocked by these allegations? It is sad our response instead is something like, "More lawlessness from a scofflaw administration."

Perhaps Comey will wait until after the Democrat convention, and Clinton's nomination, to publicly resign in protest of the refusal to indict. Oh, the gnashing of teeth, the rending of garments!

Sunday Night Snark

It occurs to me Donald Trump has a perfect answer for the gotcha question, "Why did you contribute to Clinton and others of her ilk."

His ideal response, "Over-regulation means a businessman needs to buy the influence of corrupt politicians in both parties. Clinton was one of several for sale."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Politics with an Italian Flavor

Demographer Joel Kotkin has broadened his interests, seeing U.S. politics through an Italian lens. Writing for The Daily Beast, he describes Trump as an American Berlusconi and Clinton as an American Mafiosi.

As we wrote the other day, neither is a good option. If Kotkin's prognostication is accurate, both would do a poor job in office, albeit in different ways.

Irony in the Levant

Reuters reports via Yahoo News the bomber who killed four others, and himself, in Ankara, Turkey, was affiliated with the Islamic State in next-door Syria. This is the second done by people from Daesh. They've been responsible for as many bombings as the Kurds this year.

Turkey has paid much more attention to Kurdish militants than to ISIS radicals, and perhaps that will have to change. If ISIS plans to make war on Turkey, the Turks can't very well continue to ignore them, even if that would be their preference.

Modeling Today's Russia

If you find the Putin phenomenon in Russia interesting, you will likely enjoy an article in The New York Review of Books, by Masha Gessen. He argues the best model to use to understand the workings of Russia's current regime is that of a Mafia family.

Gessen makes clear it is Mafia-like in functioning, but one mostly not held together by genetic ties. The linkages are more friendships and associations going back decades, to Putin's KGB or even school days.

The upshot is there is little interest in ideology, other than dislike of the "other" or outsiders - non-Russians. And there is little killing for its own sake, mostly bribery, coercion and intimidation get the job done. 

Gessen quotes Hungarian sociologist Bálint Magyar who claims a mafia state operates as follows:
To understand what a mafia state is, we need to imagine a state run by, and resembling, organized crime. At its center is a family, and at the center of the family is a patriarch. He doesn’t govern, he disposes—of positions, wealth, statuses, persons.
The final part of the article describes how a Russian oligarch - found dead of blunt force trauma in a Washington, DC, hotel room - got on the wrong side of godfather/patriarch Putin. 

Status-Influence Disequilibrium

Andrew C. McCarthy writes in National Review about the current GOP race for the nomination, and what is behind the choices made so far. He riffs on a concept developed by David Brooks - Status-Income Disequilibrium - and modifies it to fit the current GOP mess.
The story of the race is not Trump. The story is the emphatic popular rejection of Republican party leadership. Combined, the anti-Washington forces have won two-thirds of the vote and over three-fourths of the delegates.

Most remarkable is the SID phenomenon: the higher one’s status in Republican leadership, the less one’s influence over Republican voters, and hence over the GOP nomination battle. SID leads us to a final bit of Washington un-wisdom: the purportedly pressing matter of “uniting the party.”

That is the wrong way to look at it. What needs changing, desperately, is the Republican party. The establishment needs to make itself acceptable to supporters of these candidates (i.e., Trump, Cruz), not the other way around.

One way or the other, though, when the Trump dust finally settles, it will be clear that the Republican party as currently constituted is unsustainable. The people who oppose what the Left is doing to the country want an opposition party. The Republican establishment has shunned that role, preferring to be Washington than to fight Washington. The people are looking elsewhere.
Heads up, Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell. Andy McCarthy is talking to you and the 0.1% fat-cat donors.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Welcome the Equinox Tonight

At 9:30 p.m. tonight, Pacific Time, the Vernal Equinox occurs. Astronomers actually pin it down to 4:30 a.m UTC/GMT tomorrow in London, which is the same moment. See a Slate article for some technical detail.

Starting tomorrow, there will be marginally more minutes of light than of darkness. This condition will persist until roughly September 21 in the northern hemisphere.

Regardless of what the weather is doing where you are, the Vernal (Spring) Equinox is the generally accepted start of the season we call "Spring." It has been feeling like Spring for some time in NorCal, as is typical. The almond trees bloomed weeks ago, allergy season is upon us.

By contrast, our part of Wyoming is white and shiny under a fresh coating of snow, and likely will be so for some weeks at its over-a-mile-high elevation in the Rockies. The region rarely gets deep snow; its winters, while not especially hard, are long.

The growing season - between the last hard frost of Spring and the first hard frost of Fall - is less than 60 days. The most practical field crop is irrigated fodder - raising, cutting, and baling hay - which is fed to cattle and horses.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Brave New World

KFOR, the NBC station for Oklahoma City, posts a news story about the CEO of Carl's Jr./Hardee's wanting to try an all-automated fast food restaurant with no employees. I'm not sure he can pull it off.

An automated system might handle special orders. Who will pick up after the customers and clean the restrooms? Food prep and debit/credit card payment can be automated, but cleaning probably not.

It is a logical, if extreme, response to rising minimum wages. Rising wages make automation cost-effective. The true minimum wage is zero, if you hire no one.

Afterthought: An automated outlet could work in a mall food court where the mall's custodial employees handle cleanup for the common dining area and restrooms.

Residential Segregation Is Very Old News

Were you thinking "white flight" and residential segregation were new things, relatively speaking? Post-World War Two phenomena predicated on residential suburbs? The Washington Post reports, via the WonkBlog, this is a much older trend.
"If you want to understand the origins of segregation in the U.S., you have to look at this period between 1900 and 1930," says Allison Shorter, an economist at the University of Pittsburgh who has studied detailed, digitized census forms from that era.

Even if the Fair Housing Act had existed back then, if restrictive covenants were illegal in 1920s America, we'd have gotten segregated cities anyway because of behavior that's beyond the reach of regulation. You can create a lot segregation, this research says, without having any discriminatory institutions. Uncoordinated market choices create it.
As we never tire of pointing out, "birds of a feather" do in fact flock together. Happily or otherwise, it is an apparently "hard-wired" aspect of human nature.

It's not just true in the U.S., either. You find ethnic enclaves in many large foreign cities too - a Chinatown or Turkish neighborhood, perhaps a barrio or Pakistani area, a Romany encampment.

Trump Has a Shot

The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus writes he's been in Florida, covering the Rubio primary loss. While there he tried to assess Trump's support, see his conclusions.
Donald Trump is leading the race for the Republican nomination in large part because he's winning over throngs of nonhabitual voters.

Will traditional Republicans who loathe what Trump is doing to their party hold their noses and vote for a nominee who breaks all the rules?

The unscientific sample I interviewed this week all said yes: They'll vote for Trump if it's the only way to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

If Trump wins the nomination, he could find a path to winning the votes of most regular Republicans — in addition to all the irregular ones he's lured to the polls.
I promise you it galls McManus, a frequent panelist on PBS Washington Week, to write those words.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wanting It Both Ways?

Politico quotes Megyn Kelly on the subject of her conflict with Donald Trump:
I wish Bill O'Reilly defended me more.
COTTonLINE responds: Don't be such a girl, Megyn. Politics ain't beanbag. You're doing a man's job and doing it well. If Ailes or Murdoch won't defend you, then maybe you've got a beef.

Kasich Helps Trump

One of the savvy political analysts is Sean Trende who works for RealClearPolitics. Today he looks at the impact of the Kasich candidacy on the race for the GOP nomination. Trende runs two scenarios (with and without Kasich) through his delegate calculator and finds the following.
The outcome is fairly stark. Under the first scenario, Trump wins 1,296 delegates and clinches the nomination on the last day of primary voting.

Under the second, Kasich-less scenario, however, Trump has 1,125 delegates, while Cruz collects 899. Given that under the second scenario, Cruz rattles off a string of wins at the end, and given the fact that Rubio’s and Katich’s 300 delegates would probably disproportionately gravitate toward Cruz, this would likely be enough deny Trump the nomination. 
Translation: Kasich takes votes from Cruz, enables Trump to win on the first ballot at convention. If Kasich drops out, most of his voters go to Cruz. Trump goes to the convention with less than the minimum winning number of 1237, and after the first ballot, pledged delegates are free to switch to another candidate, arguably Cruz.

Of course, Kasich believes the delegates will turn to him instead of Cruz. If Kasich stays in and Trende's analysis is correct, Trump will win on the first ballot giving them no opportunity to do so.


On the way to the analysis described above, Trende reports
Trump has, generally speaking, performed best among voters with a high school education or less, with Cruz having his best showing among voters with some college or college degrees, while Rubio and Kasich have performed best among voters with graduate degrees.
The Rubio/Kasich wing of the party are mostly those who haven't been personally impacted by the offshoring of jobs and the importation of foreign labor, perhaps they've even benefited therefrom. 

Blessings Be ....

COTTonLINE wishes all of our readers a Happy St. Patrick's Day. We suggest, if you celebrate it, do so in moderation.

Speaking of which, my university career was largely on a residential, as opposed to commuter, campus. In the bad old days our students would begin drinking the night before St. Patrick's Day, skip classes to drink all day - green beer and other ghastly potables - and generally OD on ethanol. Some got very sick and, sometimes, one would die from alcohol poisoning or drunk driving.

Unsurprisingly, university administrators are sensitive about accusations these things happen "on their watch" even though they have little actual control over student drinking. My university solved the problem by scheduling Spring Break week so that St. Patrick's Day is always a time when the university is not in session.

Some youngsters stay in town to drink with their friends. Most go home or go to a "spring madness" destination like Palm Springs, San Diego or Cabo San Lucas.

The upshot, whatever they do there isn't the "fault" of the school's administrators. And, of course, this move had the added benefit of it no longer being "Easter vacation," which smacked of the establishment of religion.

Political Musings

The most likely nominees of the two parties are Trump and Clinton. Both are viewed by the electorate as untrustworthy and dishonest, probably accurately so.

Both lie with great fluency and élan, both have semi-shady pasts and questionable associates, both are a major turn-off for around half of the voters. Actually, it's probably different halves.

Assuming one of the two is elected in November, he or she will have difficulty governing, maybe even difficulty in attracting an audience to speeches in office. It is tempting to argue that our political process is broken, using them as exhibits A and B in our proof.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Emphatic Rejection

Ann Coulter dips her pen in acid and writes biting political commentary, here for Breitbart. A brief sample of her latest:
The combined vote for Trump and Cruz is a ringing chorus of what this party wants: a wall, deportation, less immigration and no job-killing trade deals.

In other words, what the party wants is the diametric opposite of what the donor and consultant class wants. One would have to search the history books to find a party establishment so emphatically rejected by the voters as today’s Republican Party has been.
This is exactly what we've been writing, perhaps not so colorfully, for some months now.  The Wall Street Journal has been particularly objectionable in this regard.

A Dilemma

I'd share with you an interesting dilemma I face. Two commentators, both of whose opinions I value and often cite here on COTTonLINE, have stated somewhat opposite views of the threat posed by Iranian ambitions.

On the one hand, there is this column by Ralph Peters, military analyst for the New York Post. In it he argues Putin's motivation for the announced withdrawal from Syria is a realization that Russian efforts to prop up Assad mostly move forward the imperial ambitions of Iran, which include but are not limited to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Peters believes Putin sees Iran as an evolving threat in his immediate neighborhood, and is dismayed by the lack of gratitude his Syrian incursion has generated.

On the other hand, David P. Goldman who blogs as Spengler and writes a column for Asia Times, sees Iran's imperial ambitions as demographically doomed by a less-than-replacement birth rate. I believe his view is that any expansionism on their part will necessarily be short-lived as they will soon have a shortage of military-aged young men. See an article in Al Monitor which describes the effect of Iran's population crash on funding retirement.

One could argue that the two views don't clash as the first is immediate whereas the second is longer-term, I'm not certain that workaround will fly. Putin is a chess player, accustomed to looking several moves ahead. If he believes Iran is a Russian problem going forward, he's likely correct.

However, knowing the mind of an autocratic (aren't they all?) Russian leader is notoriously difficult, and Putin is no exception. It is also possible Putin is trying to cut expenses in the face of low prices for Russia's oil exports.

Getting Real

Writing for RealClearPolitics, Michael Needham demonstrates the two strands of Republicanism with any significant votes behind them are conservatism and populism. Cruz represents the former, Trump the latter. The old GOP "establishment" of Bush and Rubio is an electoral non-starter in 2016.

Needham's point: the party needs both strands, meaning either Trump needs to be more convincingly conservative or Cruz more populist. One gets the sense he'd prefer Cruz but is willing to work with Trump if that is the voters' will. It's a sensible position, one I share.

Perhaps Trump is nominated but can't beat Clinton. Goldwater was once our choice and he failed against Johnson; disappointing, sure, but part of politics. McGovern was another such choice, on the other side ... it happens. Our ship of state has mostly withstood Obama's depredations, Clinton isn't likely to be significantly worse. And just maybe whoever we nominate wins election.

The Late Wrap-up

As of midnight, Pacific Time, Missouri hasn't been called for either party! The Trump-Cruz and Clinton-Sanders races are that close. 

With 99% of precincts reporting, the gap between each pair is 0.2%. In other words, they split each 1000 votes 501 to 499. I haven't heard what happens now, perhaps they recount the absentee ballots or await challenges?

On the GOP side, no changes from our earlier report. Trump took FL, NC, and IL, of which only NC was close. Kasich took OH. On the Dem side, Clinton took FL, NC, IL, and OH, of which only IL was somewhat close.


The many Republicans who don't want Trump had better get behind Cruz, nobody else has a shot. I believe the convention must award the nomination to whoever - Trump or Cruz - can muster the most delegates, on the first ballot or later.

It will be interesting to see where the delegates pledged to Rubio, Carson, etc. will turn. Trump actually has less than half of the delegates so far allocated, meaning if all of the others went to Cruz he'd have a plurality at this point. That exact scenario won't happen, but something similar might. If it happened, that would give the convention "cover" to choose Cruz over Trump.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bye-ku for Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced tonight he is suspending (ending) his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination after he failed to carry his home state. In Rubio's honor we compose the by-now ritualistic bye-ku or haiku of farewell, with a hat tip to its popularizer - James Taranto.

Marco Rubio,
Your optimistic message
Did not resonate.

Early Results

Of the five states up for grabs in today's primary action, four have been called at 8:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Trump has won Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois, Kasich won his home state of Ohio. Missouri is still too close to call between Trump, who has a slight lead, and Cruz.

Trump took those three states with between 39-46%. Kasich won OH with 46% too. Our source for this data:

The Faces of the Past

I'm that rare American who pays at least some attention to our northern neighbor Canada. Justin Trudeau, the Canadian PM, was just in Washington making nice with lame-duck President Obama, who feted him, mum, and the 3 kiddos.

Margaret Wente writes opinion for The Globe and Mail, more or less Canada's national paper. She describes Trudeau as "a leader with no parade." Referencing the failure of progressive politics to solve Canada's problems, her conclusion:
As charming as he is, Mr. Trudeau has no answers. His entire approach to these dilemmas is to assure us that if we all pull together and make everyone feel included, everything will be okay. I don’t blame him for that – no one else has the answers, either. But no one should mistake him for the face of the future. He’s the face of the past.
Obama too is a figure of the past, an almost-has-been.

Historian Says Trump Ho-Hum, Not Horrid

Everybody has to have their say about Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner. Now it is historian Victor Davis Hanson's turn in National Review. Hanson points out that Trump is no more outrageous than Obama, or Johnson, or FDR. See VDH's conclusion:
I would not vote for Donald Trump in the primary, given that I have no idea what he would do as president and thus most certainly hope he does not get the nomination. But he seems about on par with the current president, in terms of reckless speeches, inexperience, crudity, and cluelessness.
And unlike the candidate Obama, Trump actually has real accomplishments to his credit. Hanson concludes Trump isn't sui generis, he's the normal flawed human who runs for high office.

If you don't believe it, compare Trumpisms with VDH's list of recent past presidential indiscretions. His quotes of outrageous, inappropriate statements by Sanders, Clinton, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg are lulus.

Minority Anti-Semitism

The Washington Post reports blacks and Hispanics are much more likely than whites or Asians to express overt anti-Semitic views. Hat tip to Instapundit Glenn Reynolds for the link. Author David Bernstein writes:
ADL (Anti-Defamation League) surveys show that “approximately 12 percent of Americans hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views.” However, over 30% of African Americans and Latinos hold such views. Given that they are almost 30% of the population, this suggests that of the 12% of Americans who hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views, 9% or so are African Americans or Latinos. This means, in turn, of the 70% or so of the population that is not African American or Latino, only 3% hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views.

It seems odd given these numbers that Jews seem especially concerned about mostly phantom anti-Semitism emanating from white evangelical Christians, while being less concerned about anti-Semitism in core Democratic constituencies.
The second paragraph certainly describes the attitudes of the Jewish friend with whom I have discussed politics. Of course, a number of studies have shown people downplay things making political opponents look good while amplifying that which makes them look bad, and vice-versa with respect to political allies.

It's Mega-Tuesday

Today is the Ides of March. Five populous states hold their primaries today: FL, NC, IL, MO, and OH.

FL and OH are winner-take-all states, the first two this cycle. Whoever gets the most votes in each gets all that state's delegates. The other three, to some degree, allocate delegates in proportion to votes received.

RealClearPolitics finds the polls suggest Trump should win FL, NC, and IL. Kasich may win his own state of OH. Cruz could win MO.

If the polls are anywhere near accurate, by this time tomorrow Marco Rubio may be a former presidential contender, having failed to carry his home state of FL. If Kasich loses OH, he may be "former" as well. Cruz is in for the long haul, he has money and a non-trivial number of pledged delegates.

On the Dem side, RealClearPolitics has Clinton ahead in NC and FL, Sanders looking strong in MO and closing fast in IL and OH. Now let's sit back and await results as the polls close this evening.

Monday, March 14, 2016

United States of Europe Unworkable

The felicitously named Boris Johnson, mayor of London, MP, and Tory luminary opposes Britain's continued membership in the European Union. The Telegraph (U.K.) reports his reaction to the announcement that President Obama will come to the U.K. to ask them to vote to stay in the EU.
Why is it essential for Britain to comply with a system that the Americans would themselves reject out of hand? Is it not a blatant case of “Do as I say, but not as I do”?

The Americans see the EU as a way of tidying up a continent whose conflicts have claimed huge numbers of American lives; as a bulwark against Russia, and they have always conceived it to be in American interests for the UK – their number one henchperson, their ficus Achates – to be deeply engaged.

When Americans look at the process of European integration, they make a fundamental category error. With a forgivable narcissism, they assume that we Europeans are evolving – rather haltingly – so as to become just like them: a United States of Europe, a single federal polity. That is indeed what the eurozone countries are trying to build; but it is not right for many EU countries, and it certainly isn’t right for Britain.

There is a profound difference between the US and the EU, and one that will never disappear. The US has a single culture, a single language, a single and powerful global brand, and a single government that commands national allegiance. It has a national history, a national myth, a demos that is the foundation of their democracy. The EU has nothing of the kind.

In urging us to embed ourselves more deeply in the EU’s federalising structures, the Americans are urging us down a course they would never dream of going themselves. That is because they are a nation conceived in liberty. They sometimes seem to forget that we are quite fond of liberty, too.
Before multiculturalism, we had "a single culture, a single language." Some of us would like it to stay that way.


James Robbins writes at USA Today that the rioters protesting Donald Trump's appearances and rallies might well swing public opinion in Trump's favor. Most voters don't hold with rioting and those doing it.

Robbins reminds us Nixon used the rioting at the Democratic convention in 1968 to cast himself as the law and order candidate. He made opponent Hubert Humphrey look like a riot sympathizer. Trump has already made the same claim with regard to Sanders.

El Nino Update

On Saturday we wrote that El Nino had finally made an appearance, with a series of rain storms.  This afternoon we took a drive to check out one of the two large reservoirs which store much of the NorCal runoff.

We discovered the reservoir is about half full; it looks much better than it did in the fall when "puddle" was a more apt descriptor than "lake." A couple more storms and it might conceivably fill, very good news for a parched state.

Later ... local TV news tonight reports the reservoir's water level rose 8 feet today, in addition to perhaps 22 feet over the weekend. Excellent.

The Question Is Irrelevant

Writing at The Hill, Niall Stanage poses this question: Can Trump unify the GOP? His short answer - based on the public statements of various party officials - is no.

I agree, but maintain the question is largely irrelevant, under current conditions. Trump won't have to unify anything, Hillary Clinton will unify the GOP. She is almost as widely disliked and distrusted as Obama.

Party officials understand the "lesser of two evils" concept. They may not campaign for Trump but they will hold their collective noses and vote for him.

If Clinton is not the Dems' nominee - if she is indicted - I'll need to reevaluate. Sanders would get some votes she would not, people wanting a left-leaning outsider.

Something Different

Modern, non-representational art doesn't "work" for me. I suppose that means I'm a Philistine ... no matter.

The good folk at Power Line provide a link to a City Journal article about artist Jacob Collins. He's trying to recapture the skill level of old masters like da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rembrandt. Maybe there is hope for art after all.

Collins has founded a "school" that's really his workshop on Long Island where a bunch of apprentices spending four years laboriously learning the craft. They spend the "school year" learning figure painting, and their summers in the Catskill Mountains learning to paint landscapes. I wish them well.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cruz: Obama, Trump Both Demagogues

Sen. Ted Cruz, being interviewed by Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet The Press, as reported by RealClearPolitics.
Cruz: Barack Obama's a world class demagogue.
Todd: You think that's worse than what Donald Trump's been doing?
Cruz: I think it's very much the same. They're both engaging in demagoguery.
Both Obama and Trump are big vote-getters, too. Demagoguery sells - a substantial segment of the electorate are "buyers."

Voters Flee Merkel's Party

Reuters reports via that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats took a beating in regional elections. These are somewhat equivalent to U.S. state elections.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives lost out in two out of three regional state elections on Sunday as Germans gave a thumbs-down to her accommodating refugee policy with a big vote for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Already represented in five of Germany's 16 regional parliaments, the anti-immigrant party campaigned on slogans such as "Secure the borders" and "Stop the asylum chaos".

Turnout in all three states was much higher than in 2011, rising by 5.7 percentage points in Baden-Wuerttemberg, by 9.7 points in Rhineland-Palatinate, and by 11.8 points in Saxony-Anhalt.
The Germans are closing the barn door after the horse is gone. History will identify Mutti Angela as the pied piper who blithely guided her nation's self-destruction.

Mystics will say Germany's suicide was karma, atonement for the holocaust. I say it was damn stupidity. With a hat tip to Johnny Rivers, here's my take:
"Ah shut up, silly woman," said that reptile with a grin.
"Now you knew darn well I was a snake before you brought me in."
If Merkel didn't know, she sure-as-blazes should have known.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Day Brightener

Could you use a quick, legal upper, a mood booster? Let me turn you onto a John Kass column in the Chicago Tribune, his title makes clear why you'll like it.
Hillary can't win. She's the establishment candidate in a year of insurgency.
Kass makes a decent argument about the kind of year it has been, here's his conclusion.
Timing is everything. And I don't see Hillary winning, because she's the wrong candidate at the wrong time.
Has there ever been a "right time" for the likes of her? I guess she might have been able to beat poor Bob Dole. He had even less charisma than Hillary.

Time to Spring Ahead

Remember to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight. Daylight Saving Time technically starts at 2 a.m. tomorrow morning, when magically, it become 3 a.m. and you lose an hour.

It won't be Spring for another week. Then we'll reach the Vernal Equinox, the day when there are exactly 12 hours each of daylight and darkness. Hang in there, we've almost made it through another winter.

My Homies Choose

The Wyoming caucuses have reported. It appears Ted Cruz will get 2/3 of the 29 delegates, say 20 at least. Most of the rest went to Rubio.

Way to go, guys. Not a huge number because there aren't many residents, but every little bit helps. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.

A Lot of Hate

I read somewhere online an interviewer asked Trump, with regard to his "Islam hates us" comment, do you mean all of Islam? He responded. "A lot of them do." His is a defensible position.

MSM reportage of thousands of young people who've left North America, Australia and Europe to become ISIS jihadis in Syria proves him correct. "Great Satan" is no compliment.

Western society's post-modern non-judgmental values directly conflict with Islamic morality and, in truth, much classical Christian morality. Having foreseen the clash over 20 years ago, Samuel P. Huntington seems more prophetic every day.

Funny Stuff

Once a week, typically on Saturday, Steven Hayward who blogs at Power Line comes forth with a collection of funny stuff, cartoons, recaptioned photos, interesting juxtapositions, etc. Some choice gleanings from his collection this week.

Over a photo of Hillary Clinton the following recaption:
If you think any one of my lies will hurt my campaign, you don't know how dumb liberals are, do you?
Over a photo of Bill Clinton looking puzzled:
I have just one question for Democrat voters: Why are you so loyal to my wife? I never was ... why are you?
Two photos, the first of Donald Trump standing before a Trump University sign, the second of Bernie Sanders campaigning.
Trump is labeled:
Wants to sell you a worthless degree.
Sanders is labeled:
Wants to make every degree worthless.
A Monopoly board with the large center square overprinted as follows:
You're playing Monopoly.
After every trip around the board you pass GO. If you're the leader you must give one piece of property to the player with the least property. Same goes for houses, hotels, etc. Instead of collecting $200 you pay income tax of 35% to be split between the other players.
Soon no one is buying property, houses or hotels. Eventually everyone quits trying and just waits for their handout when someone else passes GO.
Over a photo of a faux news anchor from comedy TV, this split caption:
The man who invented Autocorrect has died.
His funfair is next Monkey.

El Nino Update

You'll recollect this is an El Nino year, and California was supposed to get a lot of rain but, through the end of February, it had fallen far short of predictions. In March El Nino finally arrived, at least in Northern California.

The so-called Pineapple Express is bringing one warm, wet storm after another through Northern California in March. Our reservoirs are beginning to fill from the run-off, and it is supposed to rain more or less all weekend. We may yet get what is considered normal rainfall for the year.

For non-California residents, understand that rain falls here, if ever, only between November and April. Unlike everything east of the Rockies, we get next-to-no summer thunderstorms or monsoon.

Basically there is no rain in CA all summer long, year after year. If our winter isn't wet, we have a drought.

Southern California is staying mostly dry, these storms aren't much wetting the south. That isn't as disastrous as it sounds, much of their water flows south through giant aqueducts from Northern California which always gets more rain.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Your Friday Snark

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff, considering the endorsement of Donald Trump by former recent antagonist Dr. Ben Carson.
It makes sense to me. In effect, one candidate whose quest for the presidency was founded on a cult of personality, not on any demonstrated ability in the realm of public policy or even demonstrated ability to discuss policy in any depth, is endorsing another such candidate.
Ouch! Truth applied at that strength is painful.

NR ... Too Late, Again

An Open Letter to National Review:

In many ways, Bill Buckley's magazine National Review has been the house organ of American conservatism. On January 22, National Review published an issue devoted to the "anybody but Donald Trump" concept. At the time we noted we believed it may have been too late, by some months.

Today National Review is out with an issue endorsing the candidacy of Ted Cruz. Once again we ask, are you not too late to do any good?

Cruz could have used your help some weeks ago, when NR's poobahs still harbored hopes for little Mario Rubio. Now, when it is clear only Cruz has any chance of catching Trump, or being able to lay any legitimate claim to the Republican mantle at a convention-that-matters, your endorsement merely looks opportunistic.

Heads up, guys! A late endorsement does not constitute leadership on your part, as an earlier one would have. It is sad to see the hard times upon which NR has fallen.

Anti-Trump Realpolitik

Jonah Goldberg who writes for National Review says it's time for Republicans who don't relish a Trump nomination to coalesce around Ted Cruz. It's fun to read the "thinking aloud" process by which he talks himself into it.

Goldberg's key points, for me, are the following:
Pretty much everyone respects his intellect. Cruz is simply one of the smartest people in Washington.

Cruz has been the only candidate to effectively respond to Trump and is arguably the only one that many Trump supporters could live with as an alternative.

Cruz is ideologically and intellectually qualified to be president (and to pick Supreme Court nominees).
Obama claimed to be a constitutional scholar while actually teaching anti-discrimination and affirmative action law as adjunct faculty. Cruz has actually argued cases before the Supreme Court after clerking for its Chief Justice.

Not incidentally, Cruz would be less often an embarrassment as President. Am I a quibbler for wondering if Goldberg has reached this conclusion too late to do much good?

Top Anglican: Fear of Immigration Not Racist

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior figure in the Anglican Communion which includes the Episcopal Church in the U.S., has given all of us who are concerned about high levels of immigration cover. See the story in the Daily Mail (U.K.). He is quoted as saying:
Fear is a valid emotion at a time of such colossal crisis. This is one of the greatest movements of people in human history. Just enormous. And to be anxious about that is very reasonable.

There is a tendency to say “those people are racist”, which is just outrageous, absolutely outrageous.

In fragile communities particularly – and I’ve worked in many areas with very fragile communities as a clergyman – there is a genuine fear: what happens about housing? What happens about jobs? What happens about access to health services?
I believe we have a right to defend the integrity of our culture, particularly as it has stood the test of time and is a magnet to others.