Friday, September 30, 2016

Audio Problems Were Real

Trump complained about his microphone after the debate. Probably everybody thought he was making excuses for his less-than-stellar performance, we at COTTonLINE certainly did. Now The Daily Caller reports the Commission on Presidential Debates admits:
There were issues regarding Donald Trump’s audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall.
Of course, as a seasoned performer, Trump knew it was wrong and said so. I don't expect it to be widely reported that he was not whining, but in fact was correct about the sound.

Phony Baloney

Much being written in the media concerning less-than-complimentary comments Trump made to a Miss Universe winner - Alicia Machado - who gained like 40 pounds. The Clinton campaign has tried to make a "thing" out of it.

Normally, as a circumferentially challenged individual, I don't hold with fat shaming. On the other hand, I've had the good sense to avoid participation in beauty contests where everyone understands having a trim body is a minimum requirement to play the game.

As an owner of the pageant, Trump had every right to expect a successful beauty queen to have the self-discipline to remain trim during her year as Miss Universe. Her failure to do so constituted breach of contract and, rather than dump her, he encouraged her (apparently successfully) to fulfill her contractual obligations. End of story.

A Revealing Choice

Hillary Clinton was asked to name the foreign leader whom she most admired. Fox Business reports Clinton named Germany's Angela Merkel - who threw open her country's doors to a million Muslim immigrants.

Today Merkel is one of the least popular politicians in Germany, perhaps even in Europe, and with good reason. If Merkel is who Clinton admires most, imagine how many immigrants Clinton will admit to the U.S.

Vote Trump; build the wall.

Putin's Gal, Kids Pictured

The Daily Mail (U.K.) has photos of the Olympic medal gymnast who is rumored to be Vladimir Putin's lady love. Alina Kabaeva showed up at an ice skating show with two young boys in tow, good looking kids, as cute as their mom.

The fact that Kabaeva is always accompanied in public by a government security detail is highly suggestive of the alleged relationship. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Raining On the 2nd Amendment

I spent three years living in Oregon - I got a Ph.D. out of the experience so it wasn't a total waste. Oregon is, however, one very strange place, a sort of slow-motion Twin Peaks, very odd, creepy, misty and off-the-wall.

For example, Cybercast News Service reports Multnomah County circuit judge Kenneth Walker recently said the following, while sentencing a man for murder:
If I could, I would take all the guns in America, put them on big barges and go dump them in the ocean," the judge said. "Nobody would have a gun. Not police, not security, not anybody. We should eliminate all of them.

They are a scourge of this country and no one should have one as far as I'm concerned," he said. "There's no defense to guns. There's just absolutely no reason to have them. But it is a right of people in this country to own and possess them, and I will not say anything to affect that right.
Walker seems to have a minimal awareness, if not approval, of the Second Amendment. I'm guessing most hunters disagree with him. He typifies the flake factor in Oregon, extremes come easily there.

Photo ID Needed to Vote

Republicans have been in the forefront of those seeking a requirement for a government photo ID for voting, even as one needs it to fly, or cash a check. Democrats have claimed this is racism in action, because many minorities don't have government IDs.

They further claim voting by those ineligible or multiple voting by the eligible are insignificant risks, in fact things that almost never happen. Suddenly, the nightly news proves them wrong. The Daily Caller reports:
Washington state mall shooting suspect Arcan Cetin could face another investigation related to his voting record and his status as a non-citizen.

Katherine Engelbrecht of the voter watchdog organization True The Vote wrote in a letter to Washington State U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes Sunday that the most recent data from the Washington secretary of state shows that Cetin registered to vote on Sept. 27, 2014, despite his illegal legal permanent resident status.

He later voted “in the 2014 General, 2015 General and 2016 Primary,” the letter said.

“His voter registration at the time of this letter’s submission is still listed as Active, according to public records,” Engelbrecht writes.
You've gotta wonder whether thousand of non-citizens have been voting for years, like this creep did? What are the odds?

Our opinion: Proving citizenship isn't too great a burden.

Party Realignment and CA's Future

Prolifiic demographer-turned-all-purpose-pundit Joel Kotkin, writing at Newgeography.com, about the party realignment being accelerated by Donald Trump.
The Democrats have become the party of the urban gentry, public employees and the government-dependent poor, an identification that hurts them elsewhere.
You see, in Kotkin's description of the main Democrat base groups, an outline of the direction in which my native state, CA, is trending. Because of its beauty and climate, CA will continue to have a fourth group - affluent retirees.

These cluster along the coast and in the Sierra foothills, enjoy the scenery and weather, and essentially ignore the Democrat silliness emanating from "Sacra-tomato" as many sarcastically label the state capital. If they maintain residence in CA, many will vote R and certain rural/exurban localities will elect a few Rs to the state legislature - a basically toothless permanent minority.

For a thoroughly dystopian view of CA's future, check out the Matt Damon SF film Elysium. To be sure, it exaggerates for effect but the directionality is spot on. Picturing a future Los Angeles looking like the unpaved slums of Ensenada or Cape Town, it is beyond bleak.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Weird Genetic Science

AFP reports via Yahoo News about comparative studies of various species of animals, including primates, and especially including people. The issue: to what extent are members of each species violent toward members of their own species?
The Spanish researchers gathered data on more than four million deaths in 1,024 present-day mammal species, as well as 600-plus human populations from the late Stone Age some 50,000-10,000 years ago until today.

The animals sampled represent some 80 percent of mammal families.

The researchers looked specifically at the proportion of deaths caused by lethal violence perpetrated by a member of the same species -- in humans this was war, homicide, infanticide, execution and other intentional killings.

Overall, the researchers found, intraspecies killing was the cause of about 0.3 percent of mammal deaths.

By the time the common human ancestor first appeared around 200,000-160,000 years ago, the rate was about two percent -- similar to that for other primates, the team found.

"This means that humans have phylogenetically inherited their propensity for violence," they wrote.

Commenting on the study, Mark Pagel of the University of Reading said it provided "good grounds for believing that we are intrinsically more violent than the average mammal."
Homo sapiens ... the killer ape. It's logical our favorite pets - cats and dogs - are hunters too.

The article didn't specify whether abortion was included in human "intentional killings." Inclusion certainly would make the findings stronger.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Subdued, Not Sub-Dude

I've read a fair amount of debate commentary, Dilbert's Scott Adams has the comment I find most useful to pass along to you via COTTonLINE.
By tomorrow, no one will remember what either of them said during the debate. But we will remember how they made us feel.

Clinton won the debate last night. And while she was doing it, Trump won the election. He had one thing to accomplish – being less scary – and he did it.
To be fair, Clinton had two things to prove: her health and her "likability." She looked healthy, sort of.  Likable? Not so much.

The First Debate

The first of three presidential debates happened tonight at Hofstra University on Long Island. Hillary Clinton attacked, Donald Trump defended, neither landed a knockout punch, and neither looked unpresidential.

My conclusion: no minds were changed, no undecideds swayed, in short, status quo ante. Lester Holt handed Clinton softball questions, but interrupted and argued with Trump.

If you're charitable or very old-fashioned, you'd argue Holt was simply treating a woman more gently than a man, something our society has traditionally encouraged. We saw his behavior reflecting what we expect from NBC's tame newsreaders - overt progressive bias.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Politics - Everyone Holding Breath

Polls are saying Trump has pulled, effectively, even with Clinton. If either has momentum, it is he.

Meanwhile, their first-of-three debates is tonight. Everybody and his dim brother are opining about it in advance. I shall forebear. Let's wait and see what happens, then comment, eh?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sayonara, Gate-Keepers

Kurt Schlichter blogs - with an acid-dipped pen and a mild case of testosterone poisoning - at PJ Media. Today, he has some fun denigrating the sad parody that the mainstream media has become. Here are some choice barbs, fresh-plucked from the hide of your neighborhood "Journolist" subscriber.
Two key phenomena – we normals have grown tired of the media elite’s lies, and today’s technology allows us to ignore the people who would presume to tell us what we can and cannot know.

You’ve dumped everything you have on Donald Trump and he’s still tied with your ancient, crusty crone candidate Hillary. And you realize that you don’t have the power you were promised. You don’t have the influence you sought. You have nothing.

No one cares anymore.

No one listens to you anymore.

We're laughing at you.
Sure, it's overwritten, but still fun and more than a little true, as well.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Barone: A Clinton Loss Could Be Devastating

Writing in The New York Post, the always interesting Michael Barone hints at an intriguing-to-conservatives prediction, in the event of a Hillary loss in November.
It’s possible that a post-2016 Democratic Party could look like Britain’s Labor Party, which has abandoned the New Labor posture of Tony Blair that produced three landslide victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Now, under far-left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, the party seems headed for landslide defeat in 2020.
The Labor Party has evolved (retreated?) from a political party to a movement, with a movement's typical firebrand leader - Corbyn. In the short-to-medium run they have no chance of electing a U.K. government. What a gas if the Democrats did that same evolution here.

WSJ: Trump the Change Candidate

Holman Jenkins has been writing opinion for The Wall Street Journal for decades. Today he argues that today's gloomy events make a vote for Trump look increasingly like a risky but reasonable bet.
At bottom, it’s this rottenness of American political culture that allows Mr. Trump, for all his flaws as a candidate and human being, to find traction with so many voters. Not because he’s a uniquely attractive individual, but because he’s uniquely willing to violate the political taboos and challenge the status quo. Indeed, his most insidious offense may be his suggestion that some problems aren’t intractable.
FDR made the same insidious suggestion during the Depression, and was elected to four consecutive terms. Like Roosevelt, Trump is an anti-gridlock candidate, he believes problems can be solved, obstacles overcome.

Apparently WSJ is coming around to support Trump, even as Sen. Cruz has recently done. Like Samuel Johnson's "impending hanging," the impending election of Hillary Clinton has the oft-noted ability to "focus the mind."

Saturday Snickers

Each week Steven Hayward of Power Line compiles a set of recaptioned photos, cartoons, and snarky sayings for our enjoyment. In those weeks were a few of these particularly tickle my fancy, I share those few with you.

A cartoon of an ambulance headed down the road, being driven by a donkey and with Hillary looking out the back window. It is captioned:
Back on the campaign trail
Two photos of Hillary Clinton in a shapeless, baggy pink chenille coatdress, apparently designed to conceal a colostomy tube. The photos are captioned:
The fact Hillary bought this dress proves she cannot be trusted with our money ...
A screen capture of a photo of Hillary being assisted up some steps by two handlers, as appearing on Wolf Blitzer's CNN show, where the chyron says:
Hillary helps two men up stairs. 
Iconic photos of the faces of Hillary and Donald. She says:
1/2 of Trump's supporters are deplorable.
He says:
1/2 of Hillary's supporters are deportable.
And finally, a photo of a young, bearded, outdoorsy type with backpack, captioned:
I am so glad that I don't have to actually hunt
I have no clue where gluten-free tacos live

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stop and Frisk

Donald Trump has indicated he'd favor making so-called "stop and frisk" policing a national phenomenon.  This is also referred to as "broken windows" policing - cracking down on minor offenses as a way of discouraging major offenses. Looking for concealed weapons on loitering young men (and women).

If you needed another reason to vote for Trump, this could be it. When Giuliani pushed this approach in NYC the crime rate for major crimes - murder, arson, assault - dropped dramatically. It has worked elsewhere too, but is unpopular with police-resenting civil rights advocates. As we know, Giuliani is advising Trump, perhaps might end up as Trump's Attorney General.

Cruz Will Vote for Trump

Various news outlets are reporting Texas Senator Ted Cruz has announced he will vote for Donald Trump. Trump has graciously accepted Cruz's endorsement and said some nice things about him as a competitor. This is good.

Cruz was the preferred candidate of conservative purists during the primaries. His endorsement will make it easier for some of the #NeverTrump people to hold their collective noses and vote for Big Don. Perhaps even enable some of the die-hards at Weekly Standard and National Review to reconsider.

At the end of the day, Trump is preferable to Clinton, particularly with regard to Supreme Court appointments. And he won't go around the world apologizing for doing what needed to be done.

I am not normally in the business of making predictions. That said, it is entirely possible Trump may be able to put together a majority coalition that can win presidential elections for several cycles. It is to be hoped his far-from-doctrinaire ideology might do the trick.

Real Police Bias

Are the police racist? You see articles that argue "no," like this by Heather MacDonald, and others that argue "yes," like this by Sherrilyn Ifill. For what it's worth, I'd argue they are not.

What police have a quite strong bias against is loud, belligerent, hostile behavior, particularly by young men, especially if those young men are "on" something - alcohol or drugs. Police are also prejudiced, by profession, against real or apparent criminal behavior.

If a particular demographic is more likely to be exhibiting those behaviors, it is likely to attract unwanted (and sometimes unwarranted) police attention, as we have noted in past posts.

As hammers seek out nails, so too do police seek out hoodlums, it is their job. If you are a law-abiding member of a troublesome demographic, expect unwanted and unwarranted police attention, keep both empty hands in plain sight, exercise care and make no sudden moves or stupid statements.

Most Immigrants a Net Loss to U.S.

A John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation-supported think tank, The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, has issued a report examining the economic impact of immigration. It's a long report, nearly 500 pages, and the authors did their best to bury, to obfuscate the negative impacts of immigration.

Fortunately, the diligent folks at Breitbart have done the digging for us, and here's what they found:
It shows how each new unskilled immigrant costs state and local taxpayers $1,600 per year. It shows how the annual cost of legal and illegal immigration to state and local taxpayer is at least $57 billion, and that each unskilled immigrant is a net loss to taxpayers for the next 75 years.

Immigration cuts working Americans’ wages by roughly 5.2 percent per year, or a total of $500 billion per year. That $500 billion ‘immigration tax’ is scooped up by new low-wage immigrants and by the owners of companies which employ the new immigrants.

Deep in the report, it says that state and local taxpayers lose at least $57 billion per year hosting the current wave of legal and illegal immigrants, because the migrants can’t earn enough money or pay enough taxes to fund the various benefits they and their children get from American taxpayers.
Most of us supporting Trump already knew this intuitively, but it is good to have empirical confirmation of our belief. Victor Davis Hanson has been telling us this for years.

It's time for us to be selective about immigrants, as Australia is. We should admit "makers," not "takers." Build the wall.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Grudging Admission

The Washington Examiner reports the comments of a former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico - Jorge CastaƱeda - regarding Trump's promise to build the wall and deport a large number of criminal illegal aliens.
The wall is a perfectly feasible promise to fulfill. (snip) If he really wants Mexicans to pay for the wall, he has many ways of getting many Mexicans to pay for the wall, increasing the fee for visas...increasing the toll on the bridges..taxing remittances.

Actually today you have somewhere like 40 percent of the 1,700 mile wall that is already there. So why can't Trump do what he has promised to do if his three predecessors did a lot of it without wanting to?

He certainly could deport twice as many as Obama, why not, why not? Everybody knows where they are, it's very easy to find them. It's expensive, but it's not outrageously expensive and you could pressure a bunch of people including my country into paying for part of it and taking them back.
Well ... all right, then.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Good Polls

RealClearPolitics' average of recent polls has Donald Trump ahead in seven battleground states, Hillary Clinton ahead in six, and a tie in one. He still has the momentum in this race.

RCP is pretty conservative, not so much politically as methodologically. He is probaby ahead in more than seven.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Willful Blindness

Bombings in NYC, stabbings in St. Cloud, MN, and the victims in both cases were unknown to the attacker. The authorities claim to be unclear about the motives of the perpetrators, both of whom are Islamic.  When someone kills strangers, isn't terrorism the first thing you think of, particularly if they're Muslim?

People in authority are warning about anti-Muslim backlash, as though that wouldn't be justified if it occurred. Our society is being run by morons - people with SJW credentials and no common sense whatsoever.

We need a thorough housecleaning in Washington and in the various state houses and city halls. The losers now in office need to go work for the ACLU, Greenpeace or some NGO where they cannot do much harm.

We need as their replacements people who understand the problem and aren't afraid to name it. Who worry more about protecting the innocent and law-abiding than perpetrators' rights.

And the Law and Order candidate in November is named Donald Trump. He's advised by Rudy Giuliani, a law and order mayor and possible Trump Attorney General.

WaPo: Hillary Tells Dreadful Lies

Marc A. Thiessen writes opinion for The Washington Post. Today his topic is this:
Hillary Clinton, who tells dreadful lies
Thiessen reminds us of Hillaire Belloc's Matilda, a little girl who told dreadful lies and, like the boy who cried wolf, died horribly as a result. He then documents Clinton's history of public lying going back to Whitewater and Bill's first term, and continuing to the present moment, with references cited so you can check out each fib for yourself.

Thiessen quotes poll findings which show only 11% of Americans believe she is truthful, whereas 14% believe in Bigfoot. His point, there are a few credulous souls who'll believe anything, including Hillary's tarradiddles. They're likely National Enquirer devotees.

Hard Choices

RealClearWorld carries a column by Ronald Tiersky which argues this premise:
ISIS's Deadliest Weapon Is the Idea of Heaven
Presume, for a moment, that you accept that premise. What is the logical response? Genocide, or ethnocide, or whatever you call the mass murder of believers, is the logical response. Repugnant doesn't begin to cover it.

What if the alternative is that they win? If your alternatives dwindle down to dying or converting? At what point do we conclude if somebody has to die, it's better if they die? Do you sense the rock and the hard place getting closer together?

The Trump Ideas ... What Matters

Writing in Politico Magazine, Joshua Mitchell summarizes Trump's platform in 6 key ideas, and argues that attention must be paid. The six are:
(1) borders matter
(2) immigration policy matters
(3) national interests, not so-called universal interests, matter
(4) entrepreneurship matters
(5) decentralization matters
(6) PC speech—without which identity politics is inconceivable—must be repudiated
I don't know about you; to me those seem like good beliefs from which to evolve policy. I'll vote for that program, and its spokesman. If you read COTTonLINE with any regularity, you probably will too.

Joint Chiefs Enable Obama's Denial

Sen. Lindsey Graham interviewing the four military branch Chiefs of Staff, before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, as reported by The Washington Times. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.
As the four armed forces chiefs testified in the Senate about the national security dangers of mandated budget caps, Sen. Lindsey Graham asked each officer if he had discussed the readiness crisis with President Obama.

"Have you told the president what you’re telling us about the state of the military under sequestration?” asked Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican. “Have you had a conversation with the commander in chief, telling him what you just told us?”

Army Gen. Mark Milley was the first to answer. “I have not personally had a conversation.” As Mr. Graham’s roll call continued, Navy Adm. John Richardson, Marine Corps. Gen. Robert Neller and Air Force Gen. David Goldfein gave the same answer: “No.”
No kidding. They know what their boss does and doesn't want to hear, and they don't give him any bad news. He has a track record of firing flag officers who do so.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Unequal Treatment

President Obama asks African-American voters to vote for Hillary Clinton, to defend his legacy. How is this not racism?

Suppose George Bush asked white Americans to vote for Trump to defend his (Bush') legacy. Wouldn't the MSM call thar racism? You bet they would, and they'd be right.

Question: How is it okay for Obama to play the race card, but whites aren't allowed the same privilege? This isn't equal treatment.

Hat tip to long-time friend Earl for the thought, which I've taken the liberty of paraphrasing loosely.

Update

Right after the Republican convention Trump had some bad weeks, more recently Clinton has had some bad weeks. Her poll numbers are down, his are up.

Trump seems to be gaining ground in the so-called "battleground states," the ones that can swing either way. He is even doing better in Colorado, which the "wise men" said was long gone blue. He is unbelievably gaining ground with black voters, a group the GOP had basically written off.

His good fortune is really getting up the nose of the MSM, it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch. I'm not getting my hopes up too much, the time between now and early November is an eternity in politics.

Editorial Note

The DrsC are migratory "snowbirds," when the snow falls, we fly. When winter extends its first icy tentacles and we get a hard frost, as it has done at our 6000 ft. elevation in the western Wyoming Rockies, we head for warmer locales, normally northern Califorinia.

We are in the middle of that process now. As a result of hours spent on the road and indifferent Internet connections at RV parks, posts to this blog will be thin for a couple of days.

We left behind the brief glory that is autumn in the high country, the mountain maple turning orangish-red across the south-facing slopes, the pale green of the aspens beginning to yellow, the sunlight taking on a faint amber tone. See photos of this spendor at the other DrC's blog: cruztalkingtwo.blogspot.com.

As I write this in northern Nevada, we've already returned to almost hot weather. Heat will definitely be our lot in NorCal, it won't reliably cool off there until November. Not complaining, we decided when we retired to spend our lives in climates approximating late spring as close to year-round as possible, and we've succeeded. You are permitted to envy, if so inclined.

November Dreamin'

I was just imagining all the exploding heads inside the Beltway if Donald Trump manages to win in November. All the #NeverTrump'ers and pundits who found him distasteful, all the SJWs who believe their world will end. Their reactions will be priceless; the schadenfreude will be exquisite.

Gosh, I hope lots of progressives emigrate, although I'm nearly certain few will do so when the time comes. And the angst in foreign capitals will be the icing on the cake, the cherry on the sundae.

The Call of the Wild

Canada's National Post reports the story of a worker at a mining camp in northern Saskatchewan being attacked by a wolf. Fortunately a security guard heard the ruckus, scared it away, and the attackee survived.

The article rehashes the party line that wolves never attack humans, debunks it, indicates circumstances under which they may do so, and indicates Parks Canada works at keeping wolf packs out of the human areas in Banff and Jasper.

It cannot be an accident that our ancestors hunted wolves almost to extinction and feared them a great deal. With the low tech at their disposal, doing that took a lot of work and energy; it was done to protect human lives and livestock.

Our greens and PETA activists have gotten wolves reintroduced in many places here and overseas. People who camp, hunt, fish, and run crosscountry will pay the price in wolf attacks and deaths.

Fido's big older brother is a formidable predator, both strong and wily.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Tony Yapias is a prominent Utah Hispanic activist who has protested Trump's characterization of illegal immigrants as rapists and criminals. He was recently arrested for rape and evidence tampering.

See the story of his protests in The Salt Lake Tribune.  See the story of his arrest at the Salt Lake City Fox TV website. Hat tip to The Conservative Treehouse for the links.

Wouldn't you think living down to Trump's invidious characterization would be beneath the Director of Proyecto Latino de Utah? Evidently not. Truly, a novelist who wrote this plot line would be ridiculed.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Dilbert Perspective

Dilbert's creator, Scott Adams, blogs about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
It turns out that Trump’s base personality is “winning.” Everything else he does is designed to get that result. He needed to be loud and outrageous in the primaries, so he was. He needs to be presidential in this phase of the election cycle, so he is.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has revealed herself to be frail, medicated, and probably duplicitous about her health. We also hear reports that she’s a drinker with a bad temper. Suddenly, Clinton looks like the unstable personality in this race.
Adams calls Trump a "Master Persuader" in almost reverential tones. It is an interesting post, top to bottom.

Clinton Foundation a Scam

The Daily Caller reports almost none of the money taken in by the Clinton Foundation went for charitable grants to do good. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.
Just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s massive 2014 budget actually went to charitable grants, according to the tax-exempt organization’s IRS filings. The rest went to salaries and employee benefits, fundraising and “other expenses.”
In other words, it was almost entirely a way to cover Bill and Hill's living and travel expenses using other people's tax-free money. Charity was clearly a minor afterthought, the red-headed stepchild in this lashup.

Friday Snark

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds posts a tweet by Jim Geraghty concerning the "lack of trust in media" story out recently.
There was video of the public trust in media collapsing, but the news reported that the trust was just dehydrated.
That deserves a rimshot.

Clinton Last White Democrat Nominee?

Writing in The New York Times, Nate Cohn argues America's highly touted demographic changes aren't much helping Hillary Clinton. He believes demographics is only one of three factors helping Democrats, the other two being support and turnout. And the last two are more important than the first, in his view.

His article is okay, much of what he writes is unobjectionable. Reading it, I'm going out on a limb to predict that if Hillary Clinton loses, she will be the last white presidential candidate nominated by Democrats.

Doing their version of the famous Republican 2012 loss post-mortem, Democrats will conclude that only a nonwhite candidate can turn out sufficiently large numbers of their base to elect a president. If Clinton loses in 2016, beginning in 2020 all Democrat nominees will be Black or Hispanic, or less likely Asian.

The tribalization of American politics proceeds as predicted.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Intelligence Matters ... a Lot

The Financial Times reports the results of several large-scale longitudinal studies of intelligence - innate aptitude in math and language. They note researchers at Duke University found those in the top 1 percent in math or language were overrepresented among CEOs, federal judges, billionaires, members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

This is no surprise to COTTonLINE. High IQ individuals are seriously overrepresented among university faculty - the field from which we retired.

When school comes easily, and good grades result, people logically do more of it, and gain additional credentials. Those credentials, in today's credential-driven society, often lead to well-paying jobs and other opportunities for advancement.

Other studies have shown that, to a large extent, intelligence is inherited. Smart people often have smart children, and the opposite is also sadly true.

Rumor Squelched

There is a rumor Donald Trump intends to name gay Republican tech mogul Peter Thiel to the U.S. Supreme Court. You are probably safe to ignore it.

Thiel spox Jeremiah Hall wrote, in a text message to Fortune, the following:
Peter hasn’t had any conversations about a Supreme Court nomination and has no interest in the job.
The lack of conversations I don't find persuasive. However, Thiel's lack of interest should kill any such speculation. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Claim: All Bacterial Pneumonia Contagious

Hillary Clinton's physician, a Dr. Lisa Bardack, has diagnosed Clinton as suffering from "mild non-contagious bacterial pneumonia." Some sources allege the only pneumonias which are non-contagious are those caused by non-bacterial, non-viral agents: poisons, pollutants, and presumably aspirated food and saliva.

Lucianne.com has links to two sources which claim there is no such diagnosis as "non-contagious bacterial pneumonia." Jazz Shaw at Hot Air cites a Dr. Charles Patrick Davis, M.D., Ph.D., at the website medicine.net as authority for its nonexistence.

The Conservative Treehouse cites the International Classification of Diseases ICD-10 as their authority for that claim.

I don't know enough to weigh in on this matter with an opinion of my own. I do see smoke, albeit from sources I know are not fond of Clinton; I wonder if there isn't a fire lurking somewhere.

Quote of the Day

Damon Linker, writing for The Week, about Clinton's "basket of deplorables" slander:
That's politics not as persuasion or policy argument but as masturbatory expressivism: one team intensifying its own political arousal to ensure that everyone does what he or she would have done anyway, though with even more enthusiasm than before. 
"Masturbatory expressivism" and "political arousal" ... that's amazing imagery, reminds me of Orwell's "two minutes hate."  When you remember she was speaking to an LGBT audience ....

WaPo: Trump Has the Big Mo

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes that, less than 2 months before election day, Trump has the momentum. It's good news from a source we normally don't think of as carrying much water for the GOP. Actually, much of what he writes is defensible. Enjoy.

Barkley on 'Black Enough'

John Hinderaker, senior blogger at Power Line, quotes at some length the thoughts of former NBA star and sports analyst Charles Barkley, as reported by The Daily Caller. Barkley said the following:
Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.

One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret.

We’re the only ethnic group who say, ‘Hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.’ It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.
I have no idea how to change the culture Barkley describes eloquently. Words like "self-defeating" come to mind. Change, if it ever comes, will have to arise from within the black community.

A Candidate Cracks Wise

Donald Trump, speaking to a crowd in Flint, Michigan, the town with the notoriously bad water system, as quoted by Breitbart.
It used to be cars were made in Flint and you couldn't drink the water in Mexico.
Now, the cars are made in Mexico and you can't drink the water in Flint. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nostalgia

Business Insider reports rating firm Moody's says it's time to list Sears and KMart on the death watch. In truth, they've appeared headed there for several years.

I find it sad. Sears was as much a part of my growing-up as Ma Bell and GM, before they split up Ma Bell and turned General Motors into Government Motors. Both my houses have Sears appliances, my tool box is full of Craftsman tools, and normally any replacement batteries I buy are DieHards.

At this stage in my life, believe it or not a KMart is my closest 'department' store - the one in Jackson being the only such store in western Wyoming. Having essentially no competition, it does okay. I once saw Harrison Ford buy something there. If KMart goes under, somebody will buy and operate that store.

To find a real department store, or for that matter a Walmart or Home Depot, we go to Idaho Falls. It is a longish drive, one we only undertake a few times per summer.

Toward the twilight end of a long life, I look back on so many defunct brand names unknown to today's young people: Montgomery Ward, Longs, Mervyns, Gottschalks, DeSoto, Pan-Am, Rambler, Flying A, Par-T-Pak, Mercury and many more.

Powell: Bubba Still D*cking Bimbos at Home

Colin Powell, retired General and former Secretary of State, in a 2014 email somehow obtained by CBS News, describes Hillary Clinton, saying he'd rather not vote for her. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.
A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not [sic] transformational, with a husband still d**king bimbos at home.
"Still dicking bimbos at home," eh? Honestly, Bill doesn't look up to it, the little blue pills must do the job. I suppose she long since came to terms with his behavior, as long as it doesn't happen on camera.

The Truth Is Racist?

Paul Mirengoff, a regular blogger at Power Line, critiques Slate's interpretation of the findings of a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Slate interprets the findings as showing:
A significant slice of Americans expressed racist views against blacks, and those who identify as Donald Trump supporters are more likely to fall into that group, though Hillary Clinton supporters are definitely there too.
Mirengoff's main issue with the Slate interpretation is the following:
What were the “racist views against blacks” that so many Americans expressed? The only ones that garnered anywhere close to 50 percent assent from Trump supporters (and 33 percent from Clinton’s) were that blacks are (1) more criminal and (2) more violent than whites.

But these opinions are true. Crime statistics show that the rate of criminality per capita, including violent criminality, is much higher among blacks than whites. In fact, blacks commit as many murders as whites even though they represent only a around 12 percent of the U.S. population.

It’s obviously unfair to infer racism among those who hold the correct view of the comparative criminality and violent criminality of blacks and whites. Some who hold this view may be racist, but they aren’t racist by virtue of holding the view.

A fairer statement would be that those who believe blacks and whites are equally criminal and equally violent are poorly informed.
Progressives are, by definition, poorly informed. Ignoring inconvenient realities, for them, is a virtue, an act of faith.

Dershowitz: The Election Is Unpredictable

Normally, I don't pay much attention to Alan Dershowitz as he's a reliable progressive (and if you hadn't noticed, I'm the opposite). On a whim I began reading an article of his from The Boston Globe, basically plugging his new book. I found some wisdom there to share with you.
The 2016 presidential election is more like the Brexit vote in many ways than it is like prior presidential elections. Both Brexit and this presidential election involve raw emotion, populism, anger, nationalism, class division, and other factors that distort accuracy in polling. So those who think they know who will be the next president of the United States are deceiving themselves.
Dershowitz explains why he believes this is so, and I mostly agree with the three factors named. I only partially agree with his view that ISIS might prefer Trump. He writes:
Islamist extremists would almost certainly like to see Trump beat Clinton, because they believe a Trump presidency would result in the kind of instability on which they thrive.
I agree extremists may prefer Trump but it's because they believe his actions would make clear to the world's Muslims that only the extremists are on their side. In that belief, they are mistaken, but they will, of course, act on their own beliefs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Quote of the Day

Milton Friedman, quoted by Stephen Green guest blogging at Instapundit, on the subject of government inefficiencies and waste:
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.
Green notes: "And it would be priced like diamonds, too."

Pew: Whites More Republican

I particularly enjoy when the data does not support the left-leaning MSM narrative line, an example of this just crossed my screen. The Pew Research Center has recent data on party affiliations, age, education, and race/ethnicity. Scroll down to a table headed:
GOP gains in affiliation in Obama era came largely during his first term
And then down to the second half of the table, which deals with the white subset of the data pool. You've been told that Trump isn't appealing to whites with college degrees. It turns out that is an exaggeration.

Pew finds essentially half of whites with college degrees are Republican, half are Democrats, the difference is 1%. The GOP gets much greater levels of support among whites with some or no college: 57% & 59% respectively. Overall, today's whites prefer Republicans by 54% to 39%.

Eight years ago, whites leaned GOP by only 2%, 46 to 44. One result of the Obama years has been a shift to the GOP by whites. Percentages by which Blacks, Hispanics and Asians prefer the Democrats haven't changed much during that period.

Among whites, men lean toward the GOP by nearly 2 to 1, whereas women are nearly evenly split, giving the GOP only a 1% lead. A majority of every white age group except the under-30 favor Republicans.

The tribalization of American politics proceeds apace.

Black Racism on Display in MSM

So ... what have we learned from Candidate Clinton's "basket of deplorables" gaffe? One thing we've learned for certain, black columnists for the New York Daily News, New York Times, Washington Post and other media view white people as "deplorable" pond scum.

Talk about racism, these individuals get paid to practice it. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Charles Blow, Errol Lewis, Jamelle Bouie, and others have jumped aboard.

It shows exactly the botched job of racial healing our President has done; race relations are worse than 8 years ago when he was elected. It helps to experience it as ironic.

Proudly Deplorable

COTTonLINE is proudly deplorable, if that's what supporting The Donald makes us. In fact, I may buy a button to wear with that slogan.

That said, I also wish Mrs. Clinton a speedy and complete recovery. She deserves to be beaten fair and square, not to fade away to some high-priced sanitarium. Anyway, I figure Joe Biden would be a more formidable competitor for Trump.

----------o--0--o----------

We'll say it one last time, in a two party system candidates are not responsible for the fringe people who endorse them. Someone's endorsement of a candidate does not imply a reciprocal endorsement by the candidate of the endorser.

Trump isn't responsible for David Duke, Hillary isn't responsible for her support by the Communist Party of the United States of America.  It is the nature of a two party system that nearly everybody to the left of center endorses the Democrat; while nearly everybody to the right of center endorses the Republican.

Thus major party candidates will have Maoist or neo-Nazi extremists, pedophiles or snake handlers supporting them. It is a quirk of having, effectively, only two parties.  Maybe we should screen who gets to vote, but we don't and won't - get over it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Something Not Right

According to the New York Post, Clinton spox Brian Fallon said today the following:
Several of the senior staff have been afflicted with something or other for the last few days. I was sick for a couple of days. I had the mild form of it.
The Post article continues:
The stricken staffers included campaign manager Robby Mook, and two top aides who needed emergency medical treatment — one of whom was taken by ambulance to a hospital emergency room after collapsing from severe dehydration, People magazine reported.

Fallon told CNN that Clinton’s pneumonia, which she is treating with antibiotics, was “not contagious.”
Let's be clear, if most members of a group who work and travel together get the same illness, it is contagious. That, or it is some form of poisoning to which all were exposed - possible but unlikely.

Fallon wants to call Clinton's condition "not contagious" because the optics are bad if, as the carrier of an infectious disease, she hugged a little girl on camera. CNN would do well to call Fallon on this allegation, but won't.

The campaign cannot have it both ways. Either she has some not contagious condition - likely neurological in nature - or she has a contagious disease and callously exposed a child to further the image of a healthy candidate. Take your pick, she's damned either way.

Child Endangerment

You've seen the video of Hillary Clinton some 2 hours after her fall at curbside on 9-11, saying "I'm fine" and hugging a little girl? Suffering from contagious pneumonia, what in God's name is Hillary doing hugging a child?

Clinton shows supreme selfishness, using the unsuspecting tyke as a campaign prop. The girl's parents should sue, claiming willful child endangerment.

Unless, of course, it turns out Clinton has something entirely other than pneumonia, something not contagious like Parkinson's or petit mal epilepsy...?

Duterte to U.S. SOF: Go Home

As Bloomberg reports, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the U.S. Special Forces trainers in Mindanao to leave, saying their presence inflames the island's Muslim rebels. This is the same Philippine leader who has supported the extra-judicial killing of drug dealers.

Although we cannot be sure, his real reason for asking U.S. troops to leave may be that he plans a genocidal assault on the islands Muslim population. If so, he doesn't want first world witnesses as his troops decimate or eliminate a perpetual thorn in the side to Manila.

Such a policy would certainly be consonant with Duterte's kill-problem-people approach to governing a peaceful nation.

Canada Ignores Its North

Writing in Macleans, Canada's newsmagazine, Scott Gilmore takes his fellow Canadians to task for ignoring their northern reaches. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link. He writes:
We are not a northern nation, and we need to stop lying to ourselves that we are.

We tell the world the North is ours, that we are protecting our sovereignty and our vast mineral wealth. But the truth is we aren’t, and those resources are so far from the nearest railhead they may as well be on the moon.

How many Canadians actually live up north? Approximately 118,000. That’s one-third of one per cent of the national population.

A study commissioned by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in 2011 found that only 14 per cent of Canadians had travelled to Canada’s North even once.

There is only one train to the North, traveling on tracks so old and so worn out, it can only manage an average speed of 28 km/h on its way to Churchill.
Actually,  it isn't only old, worn out tracks. It's also that the northern half of the tracks are laid over permafrost which creates strange trackage conditions. It is a fun train, but no fast trip for sure. You go from forest in southern Manitoba to taiga and eventually tundra before reaching Churchill on Hudson's Bay.

Much more critical, the Canadian Coast Guard is not equipped to operate in the Arctic winter. The Canadian Navy has no Arctic-capable ships whatsoever. That leaves the Canadian Rangers.

The indigenous Canadian Rangers understand the terrain and conditions, and they "show the flag" in the deep north. Their near-antique Lee-Enfield rifles are no match for modern weaponry.

Basically they're reservists who draw modest pay to take hunting trips a few times a year, in a "uniform" consisting of red sweatshirt and ball cap. Their value is largely symbolic, although they provide some on-site reconnaissance.

The Peso Index

Not all politics stories have to be bitter or brutal, here's one that is whimsically funny, if you aren't a Mexican national. Bloomberg Politics headlines their story:
Want to know how Trump's doing? Just look at Mexico's peso
As you might guess, when Trump's doing well, the peso is down. When he is hurting, the peso is up. Here's why:
In addition to ending Nafta, Trump has said he’ll make Mexico pay for the wall -- a proposal that the government has repeatedly said is a non-starter -- by holding remittances from immigrants in the U.S., which play an important role in bolstering the peso.
I don't think Bloomberg is entirely accurate in writing "holding." Trump has spoken about a tax on remittances sent south by Mexicans working in the U.S.

Trump's idea is attractive if the tax rate is modest. A high tax rate is likely to result in various criminal subterfuges which will become a new profit center for the drug cartels.

Early Monday Snark

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, snarking about the longer-term impact of the Trump candidacy:
Whether Trump wins or loses, his candidacy so far has revealed deep failures within the Republican Party, the media, and American politics in general. There are important lessons to be learned here, and important people who will be careful not to learn them.
Glenn's list of "important people" would likely include the neocons, the entire staffs of National Review and Weekly Standard, most contributors to The Wall Street Journal, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, all members of the Bush clan, John McCain, and perhaps Mitch McConnell.

A Second Opinion

Blogging at Power Line, Scott Johnson quotes a board-certified internist about Hillary's diagnosis of pneumonia.
It could simply have been a community acquired pneumonia, which means she contracted it as a healthy person living her usual life. This happens occasionally, even to healthy people. If this is the case the timing certainly is unfortunate for her given where we are in the election cycle though it doesn’t portend anything ominous.

Another more worrisome possibility comes to mind. I raise this second possibility because of Hillary’s history of neurological illnesses (blood clot in brain, concussion), hints raised on the internet in Wikileaks documents and by others that she may have a neurological disease like Parkinson’s, and her by now well documented history of recurrent coughing fits. This second possibility is that she has an aspiration pneumonia.

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when fluids and food particles that normally enter the esophagus instead enter the windpipe and lungs. It is commonly seen in neurological conditions like strokes and Parkinson’s disease or similar diseases where the nerves to the swallowing mechanism are not working properly. This is especially worrisome because it is likely to recur given the underlying, usually incurable disease process and because it can be a life-threatening event.
Hmmmm. The aspiration pneumonia diagnosis fits her observed symptoms better than simple pneumonia. Did her coughing fits begin after the concussion or before?

Hillary Health Update

We wrote earlier today about Candidate Clinton appearing to faint while entering a van, after leaving the 9-11 ceremony early, complaining of "overheating." Now we learn that her physician diagnosed her with pneumonia two days ago and prescribed antibiotics.

Nevertheless her schedule shows she did a full day on Friday and was hard at it this a.m. before she aborted her role at the ceremonial. Okay, pneumonia is a bad deal, it can knock you out or kill you, and would explain her cough.

However, as The Conservative Treehouse reminds us, her problems four years ago were first called a "cold" and then a "serious cold" before we eventually learned she had a concussion, and finally blood clots. The Clintons always default to a lie, or a series of lies, before eventually owning up to part of the truth.

That said, let's wait awhile before drawing conclusions about Hillary Clinton's health issues. Normally, with them the truth eventually trickles out if you are patient.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Great Virtuosity

From his perch next door in nearby Canada, Conrad Black writes very readable political analysis of the U.S. presidential election for the National Post, which he once owned. Some choice bits:
Donald Trump, having sewn up the Archie Bunker vote, the roughly 40 per cent of Americans who hate political correctness, dislike government on principle, own firearms, and have a generally macho view of America, tempered in policy terms by isolationist tendencies; has deposited that vast following, which he richly entertained through the primaries, on the electoral scale. And now he has set out to give enough of the mainstream a comfort level that he is not, himself, temperamentally or stylistically unsuited to the great office he seeks, to tip the balance for him. It is working, as the polls are now about even. However it ends, this is the final stage of a tactical progress of great virtuosity.

The public will not stand any longer for the chronic misgovernment produced by the Bushes, Clintons and Obama, each begetting the next. (snip) Turning the rascals out didn’t produce better rascals. Trump was the only person on offer who wasn’t complicit in any of it.

Trump raised the Republican vote in the primaries by 60 per cent. In many swing-states, such as Indiana, his vote equalled that of Clinton and Bernie Sanders combined.(snip)Trump is now the only person in American history to gain complete control of a major political party from the outside without being a cabinet officer selected by his predecessor or a prominent general.

If the next president, Trump or Clinton, is not more successful than anyone in that office since Ronald Reagan, the far right or the far left is going to take over the most powerful government in the world in four years.
About the two national conventions, Black writes:
The Democrats had a complacent orgy of continuity and the Republicans a celebration of complete change.
And he concludes:
For eight straight terms, from 1981 to 2013, either a Bush or a Clinton was president, vice-president or secretary of State, and both families put up candidates for their parties’ presidential nominations this year. There has never been anything remotely like such a co-regency in U.S. history, and it is not based on spectacularly good performance in office. Change must come.

WaPo: Hillary Health Real Deal

Chris Cillizza, of The Washington Post which supports Clinton, reports (reluctantly, one presumes) as follows:
Hillary Clinton falling ill Sunday morning at a memorial service on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks will catapult questions about her health from the ranks of conservative conspiracy theory to perhaps the central debate in the presidential race over the coming days.
A Clinton spox announced she felt overheated and retired to her daughter's apartment to cool off.
What that statement leaves out is that a) it came 90 minutes after Clinton left the ceremony b) reporters — or even a reporter — were not allowed to follow her and c) the temperature in New York City at the time of Clinton's overheating was in the low 80s.

Whereas Clinton and her campaign could laugh off questions about her health before today, the "overheating" episode makes it almost impossible for them to do so.

Taking the Clinton team's word for it on her health — in light of the episode on Sunday morning — is no longer enough. Reasonable people can — and will — have real questions about her health.
I'd conclude by reminding you that when someone on your side says the opponent has a problem, that could be wishful thinking. When someone on the other side says their candidate has a problem, you can be certain it isn't them confusing what they hope for with what they know.

Meanwhile, Fox News' Rick Leventhal reports what a witness saw:
She stumbled off curb, "knees buckled", lost a shoe as she was helped into van.
The RealClearPolitics website has video of the incident taken by a bystander, probably on a cellphone, as well as Leventhal's report. If the video is legit, she only escaped collapse because two strong men grabbed her arms and caught her halfway to the ground.

Preventable Murders We Enabled

The New York Times reports murder rates rose in a quarter of the nation's 100 largest cities. The worst offenders, in terms of rate growth, were these:
Cleveland
Milwaukee
Baltimore
Chicago
Houston
Nashville
Washington
NYT, reluctantly I suppose, adds:
Nationwide, nearly 6,700 homicides were reported in the 100 largest cities in 2015, about 950 more than the year before. About half of the rise — 480 of the 950 — occurred in seven cities.

Rising crime might be linked to less aggressive policing that resulted from protests of high-profile police killings of African-Americans.
"Might?" Does anybody with common sense not believe the observed increase is attributable to the Ferguson Effect, Black Lives Matter, and the consequent drop-off in profiling and proactive policing?

If you like irony, most of those being murdered - and doing the murdering - were from the very population complaining about "police brutality."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saturday Snickers

Time for my favorites from Steven Hayward's weekly compilation of mots and mottos, cartoons, recaptioned photos, and other fun stuff, which appears in the Saturday edition of Power Line.

A decent photo of Hillary making a serious point, captioned:
Why can you
people not understand?

The medical problems I don't have
are the reason I can't remember
the criminal acts I didn't commit.
A five panel cartoon, in each of the first four Hillary speaks, looking progressively more insane:
Trump is an idiot
... a wacko, a bigot...
... a conman & an unqualified lunatic...
... who is an embarrassment to this country!
In panel five a person with a donkey head and glasses, holding a poll, says to her:
And you're pretty much tied with him.
A revised photo of the Statue of Liberty. Ms. Liberty is wearing a bikini and her spiky crown, striking a hipshot model pose, her robes around her feet. The photo is captioned:
The French police were here. 
 A photo of a ceiling mounted smoke detector, captioned:
Million Dollar Idea

Smoke detector that shuts
off when you yell
"I'm Just Cooking"

Photo of a suburban street corner with closeup of a red-and-white octagonal STOP sign, mounted below it a home-made octagonal red-and-white sign, captioned:
CHILDREN
What's that sound
Everybody look
what's going down. 

And finally, a small, free-standing blackboard outside a bar, with this motto:
I Quit
Drinking for
GOOD
Now I
Drink for
EVIL 

Remembering 9-11

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center twin towers and on the Pentagon. We don't know for sure the destination of the third plane, forced down by its heroic passengers in PA, possibly the Capitol or White House. Roughly 3000 died that day.

My request to all who read this is the following. Please remember who did this awful collection of acts, why they did it, in whose name they did it, who funded the effort, who aided the suicide squad, and the nationality of the perpetrators.

September 11, 2001, was the Pearl Harbor of the Long War, which as we write 15 years later is far from over. Pearl Harbor wasn't World War II's opening act, nor was 9-11 the Long War's onset either.

World War II had been going on for over two years when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The Long War dates back to the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983. Both Pearl Harbor and 9-11 mark the beginning of the American public taking a particular conflict seriously.

There is no end in sight for the Long War, no sense that anyone on our side is willing to commit the mass murder needed to end it. In the short-to-medium run, one side is unable to win while the other is unwilling to do so, so the war continues ... fitfully.

If someone tells you Islam is a religion of peace, I'd suggest getting a second opinion.

Hillary Jumps the Shark

According to Politico, Hillary Clinton said the following:
You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? [Laughter/applause] The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it. (snip) Some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.
Dear reader, she says you are "irredeemable" and infected with the whole laundry list of -ist and -phobic PC horrors. In a fifty-fifty nation, her "half" is 25%, meaning a quarter of the electorate "is not America."

Remember when Mitt said 47% of America would not vote for him because they were, one way or another, on the dole? I believe Clinton just experienced her Romney moment.

Or when Obama talked about how Americans "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Another self-revelatory statement.

Clinton has subsequently "walked back" her unfortunate comments. However, you can be certain for once she slipped up and told the truth as she sees it. It's a mistake she seldom makes, for good reason as we learn.

Know this: Hillary Clinton does not like you, not even a little. She believes you, me, all of us would do the world a favor by dropping dead. In November you have the opportunity to vote to end her public life, take it.

Brooks Argues for Realignment

David Brooks was formerly a RINO who made his living as The New York Times' tame semi-conservative. He finds, in Ron Reagan's felicitous phrase explaining why he was no longer a Democrat, that his "party has left him" instead of the other way round. Today's column about party realignments is the result of Brooks lately finding himself more comfortable with Democrats.

As you might suppose, I no longer experience much of Brooks' writing as useful, but today's column is a partial exception. He writes of the chasms opening in the coalitions that make up the two major parties, and foresees a realignment along lines of trust. Those chasms are real enough.
We don’t normally think that politics is divided along trust lines. But this year we’re seeing huge chasms depending upon how much trust you feel toward your neighbors and your national institutions.
Thus, Brooks' personal odyssey gets transformed into a national realignment ... could be something of a stretch. He trusts what the "elites" are doing, although it is difficult from my vantage point to see why, and the emerging GOP doesn't.

Unclear to me in Brooks' new alignment is the fate of downtrodden minorities who have little reason to join either of the emerging realigned coalitions of trusters and distrusters. I don't see them making common cause with the whites and hapless Millennials of the Distruster group or with the globalist Wall Street/Hollywood/Silicon Valley/academia elites who are the power center of the "new Dems."

Bottom line: his formulation is still a work in progress. He has correctly identified splits in each party but I am unconvinced by his organizing principles of the realigned groups or his view of their exact membership.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Snark

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds posts a tweet from David Burge who essays an accurate definition of journalism at today's MSM. Burge tweets:
Journalism is about covering important stories.
With a pillow, until they stop moving.
Particularly if they deal with the Liar In Chief or his designated heir, Miss Hillary.

On Leadership

Donald Trump said Vladimir Putin of Russia has been a better leader than Barack Obama. People went crazy, and I wonder why. It certainly wasn't high praise; it was like saying someone's a better athlete than Woody Allen or smarter than Forrest Gump.

Obama's leadership hasn't been quite as bad as that of Maduro of Venezuela, or of Fernandez of Argentina. The only recent U.S. leader with less talent might be Jimmy Carter, and even that's questionable.

People are offended, I suppose, because Putin has not led Russia in actions the U.S. likes. From a Russian point of view, why would he?

How would doing so make him a better leader in Russian eyes? As Trump noted, polls show Putin more popular in his country than Obama is in this country, by a substantial margin.

Let's be clear. Someone can be an effective leader and yet be, from your outsider's point of view, a total pain in the tail, even a monster.

Putin has done a good job of playing the weak hand of cards he's been dealt. We wish Obama had done the same, instead of doing a botched job of playing our relatively strong hand.

Election Year Questions

Nobody seems to be talking much about the limp turnouts for Hillary speeches and the overflow turnouts for Trump speeches. This enthusiasm gap should mean something with respect to voter turnout on November 8 and in the mail-in balloting prior to that date.

Our difficulty, mine and that of other, better-known pundits, is we don't know how much weight to give enthusiasm. Conventional wisdom is that enthusiasm is a big plus for a candidate.

In this election cycle the enthusiasm has been with Trump and Sanders. The rest of the yahoos running, not so much.

Another factor nobody wants to talk about is whether the minorities who turned out in big numbers for Obama - a minority himself - will turn out for an old, tired white woman who claims with some authority to be on their side because she's also a Democrat.

How much of the black, Asian, Hispanic turnout for Obama was the kick of seeing a non-white face in the White House? Of just knowing it was possible?

Versus how much of the minority vote for Obama was driven by cold, calm political calculation of self-interest? Nobody seems to know, and those who claim to know are guessing.

We'll have a better idea of the answers to these questions on November 9.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday Snark

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, blogging about the reasons for our dear President's failures in office.
He was an unqualified community organizer who never much liked the country he was elected to run.
And his wife liked it even less than he did, by her own admission.

How It Works, and Why

George Friedman writes international wisdom at Geopolitical Futures, and is often prescient. Here RealClearWorld reprints an analysis he has done of Brexit, Trump, and the rise of the AfD in Germany.

In all three cases, a governing elite lost track of what people were thinking, how they were suffering, and got battered as a consequence.
These are times of systemic failure. (snip) It becomes apparent that something is wrong with the governing principles, the dominant parties, the leading individuals and so on.
But while this is becoming visible outside of the establishment parties, the establishment is oblivious that they are failing.

As the public becomes more alarmed and frustrated at the inability of the establishment parties to grasp that there is something terribly wrong, two things happen. First, the voters are blamed for their immaturity and there is increasing alarm that the irresponsibility of the public will disrupt the management of the system. Second, leaders arise who share or (in the case of politicians) exploit the increasing fear.

The mainstream parties invent the idea that it is these new politicians, inappropriate by tenor and character of governing, who are creating a crisis. This is important: the perception is that the new politicians are creating the crisis, not the other way around.
And that leads to Friedman's generalization about how this process works.
In a democracy, when politicians are oblivious to what is happening around them and a massive social crisis is well under way, the consequences are utterly predictable. First, the public knows full well there is a serious problem. Second, they know the establishment doesn’t care. Third, they know the political system is the only recourse. And finally, personalities arise to lead them against the establishment.

The establishment looks at these new leaders as bizarre and doomed to fail. These leaders, unlike the establishment, are aware of the social crisis and the contempt the establishment is held in. They do everything they can to appear utterly different than establishment politicians. The establishment believes this will lead to the downfall of the new politicians. They are totally unaware of how offensive their mode of government and even mode of speech has become.
I would almost be willing to take a Poly. Sci. class from George Friedman.

Hong Kong Votes

RealClearWorld has an article originally written for the Lowy Institute concerning the recent election in Hong Kong.
On 4 September, Hong Kong held its Legislative Council election, with record voter turnout (albeit only 58%), and results that won't please Beijing. The 'one country, two systems' vision is losing out to self-determination and even independence. Beijing is no doubt aware of these sentiments, but finds itself in a difficult position. Its efforts so far at enveloping Hong Kong into the mainland's embrace have not succeeded, but losing the city is absolutely unthinkable.
Having visited Hong Kong more than once as a Crown Colony, and repeatedly since, I wondered how its people would adjust to ChiCom rule. The answer is, apparently, "not well." The article describes views of the government.
For most Chinese people, state power has come to be perceived as an immovable inevitability – it is how it is, it cannot be changed, and there's no point in trying. This is not the case for many Hong Kongers, including the new, young voices in politics. For them, the very idea that the mainland Chinese government sees itself as an immutable truth in Hong Kong life is uncomfortable.
The parents and grandparents of many young HK residents fled Communist persecution, oppression, and hunger. As refugees they literally risked their lives to reach British-ruled Hong Kong, normally leaving behind whatever little they had.

Their children have heard the stories of terror, exhaustion, and eventual deliverance. Convincing these kids to be docile wards of Beijing will be a hard sell.

More on EU Divisions

Yesterday, we wrote about subdivisions forming within the European Union. Today comes an article at EurActiv.com which takes that discussion farther and fleshes it out.

The article hints ever so gently that the EU could break into three (or more) smaller blocs or units which have less internal dissension and more in common. They might have roughly the same membership as suggested yesterday: Visegrad Plus in the east, what author Daniela Vincenti calls "the MED boys" of the south, and the North Sea Union in the north.

If there is a trend in state formation today, it is in the direction of "smaller, more homogeneous, less diverse." Will a breakup happen? It certainly is possible.

Checks, Balances - Only With Trump as POTUS

Writing for USA Today, Glenn Reynolds comes down hard on the Federal civil service and the press.
The civil service, though supposedly professional and nonpartisan, has become a Democratic Party monoculture. Federal employees overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, donate to Democrats, and, by all appearances, cover for Democrats as a routine part of doing their job.

When Richard Nixon tried to weaponize the IRS, top officials at the Service made a stink. Under Obama, the IRS weaponized itself.

And, of course, the press is in the tank for the Democrats as usual. Bad news about Obama and Clinton has been soft-pedaled, with reporters sometimes admitting that they don’t want to help Trump.

So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump — he’s the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.
Intriguingly, Laura Ingraham, writing at LifeZette, makes essentially the same point with different examples, including a tame liberal Supreme Court under Clinton. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for both links.

The Fix Was In, It Appears

Earlier today we wrote about the Comey exoneration of Clinton and his subsequent memo to all FBI employees. Now comes a column in The Washington Times by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano which argues:
It is apparent that some in FBI management blindly followed what they were told to do — exonerate Hillary Clinton. There is no other explanation for the FBI’s failure from the outset to use ordinary law enforcement tools available to it. Yet some in the FBI are not professionally satisfied by this outcome. They know that a strong case for prosecution and for guilt is being ignored for political reasons.
Perhaps they feared she would be elected President in November and subsequently destroy their careers if they didn't take it easy. They wouldn't be the first agents who crossed somebody important and were sent someplace like Saipan or maybe Midland, or Duluth - to kill time until retirement.

It sure sounds like somebody inside leaked to Napolitano, doesn't it? I'd guess Comey's memo won't have the desired effect.

Poll: Trump Has Minority Support

A poll done by Franklin Pierce University and the Boston Herald finds, according to Breitbart, that Trump is more popular among minority voters than has generally been thought. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.
The poll showed that Trump has a very favorable rating among 18.4 percent of 105 Hispanics, and 10.5 percent of 101 African Americans. He also scored a “somewhat favorable” rating among 16.4 percent of Hispanics and 13.3 percent of African Americans. Combined, he gets a positive rating from 35 percent of Hispanics and 24 percent of African Americans.
I'm not certain I believe those numbers, but I do like them.

The Comey Memo

Folks are exercised about FBI Director Comey's decision not to recommend prosecution of Clinton, and his recent defense thereof in a memo to the bureau's employees, which memo was immediately leaked to the press. See two examples from recent Power Line posts here and here.

My view is that before Comey announced his decision he was informed by the White House and/or the AG that there would be no prosecution and that his choices were (a) to announce that as his recommendation or (b) to resign and make a stink about their stonewalling. As any good bureaucrat with an eye on his pension would, he knuckled under.

Yes, I know, we'd have preferred Comey to fall on his sword, and sacrifice his career for the greater good. Sadly, that isn't how the reward matrix is constructed.

Go ask Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson, and William Ruckelshaus how taking a principled stand resulting in the Watergate Saturday Night Massacre worked out for them. The fact that I, a political maven, had to go look up their names should tell you everything. They basically became non-persons.

I suppose his memo is a desperate bid to keep leakers from sharing their dissatisfaction with the less-tame elements of the press. Recent FBI retirees must be a particular problem as they're hard to coerce..

The Impossible Dream

Writing for reliably left-wing The Nation, Joan Walsh rhetorically asks "Can the Democrats Win Back White Working-Class Voters?" Her answer is yes, with difficulty.

My answer to her question is that doing so would be as difficult as the GOP winning back black voters, whose votes they once monopolized. Big tent politics become strained when the tent tries to cover groups with competing claims on scarce resources.

The Democrats have become the party of racial and sexual minorities and what Joel Kotkin calls "the clerisy" - virtue-signalling wealthy and upper-middle class whites. Meanwhile the GOP has become the party of what was once described as "typical Americans" - married, church-going, employed in the private sector, whites, who feel no guilt about their accomplishments and no need to share them with the unmotivated and the self-destructive.

The zero-sum nature of this game has become apparent to all. Their interests conflict; getting them to "carpool together" politically won't be easy, maybe impossible.

Millennials Leaning Right

CNN weighs in with positive research findings, drawn from metasurveys of huge data bases, which look at political attitudes among millennials, those born between 1980 and 1994.
The data showed that, as entering college students, 23% of millennials identified as leaning far right, compared to 17% of Baby Boomers and 22% of Generation Xers.

Less than half -- 47% -- of millennials identified as "middle-of-the-road," compared to 50% of Baby Boomers and more than half -- 53% -- of Generation Xers.
I see a trend line where conservative Boomers are 17%, Gen Xs are 22%, and Millennials are 23%. As conservatives we have to like that directionality. It is also true that increasing numbers of the population as a whole, unlike the millennials, self-identify as independents.
In 1989, only about 30% of adults identified as independent, but by 2014 that number rose to about 46%.
Although the article is careful not to say so, my back-of-the-envelope arithmetic suggests that if more millennials are leaning far right and fewer are independent, but more are not ending up on the far left, the balance must be in the moderate left and right. If true, not a bad outcome, not a bad trend. More polarized, yes, but in our favor.

As a retired professor, I have to wonder if the left-leaning academy is ready for roughly a quarter of "entering college students" to be "far right?" The obvious answer is "can't even imagine readiness." The culture clash should be interesting.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The EU Fragments

Leonid Bershidsky's name sounds like he was a Soviet apparatchik back in the day, and in fact he may have been. He now writes about foreign affairs for publications in the west, including Bloomberg View.

Today he describes three coalitions or caucuses forming within the EU, now that Britain is headed out the door.
One is centered around Germany and includes the Benelux, Nordic and Baltic countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn't doing anything to build this bloc: rather, the countries are united by similar economic policies, a belief in tighter budgets and, until very recently, by a relative inclusiveness and tolerance toward immigrants (there is now a backlash against it).

The southern caucus was, until recently, amorphous and defined by similar economic problems rather than common approaches, except perhaps a desire for a relaxation in the debt and deficit rules for the EU. Now, attempts are being made to turn southern Europe into a political entity. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has invited the leaders of six southern European countries -- France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta -- to Athens for a conference that will start on Friday.

The assertiveness of the eastern caucus is a relatively recent development: The post-Communist nations that comprise it have been viewed with a certain condescension because they're poorer and because they had to apply to the club, submitting themselves to founding members' scrutiny. Orban and Kaczynski have cast all shyness aside though.
I notice he leaves out Ireland, perhaps the Irish have not decided what path to take, what group to join, in the wake of Brexit. Historically, for all their former differences they were close to the U.K. That is now history.

Economically, Ireland's situation is "problematic/southern." Culturally, Ireland is Benelux/northern. The caucus they won't align with is the eastern group.

The Trump Defense Policy

Today Donald Trump gave a prepared speech outlining his military policies, the audience was Philadelphia's Union League and the press. The Hill has a complete transcript of the text, if you'd like to see what he favors for our military.

Trump wants more ships, planes, and troops, and more anti-missile and cyber war capabilities. He plans to press NATO allies to spend the minimum 2% of their GDPs on defense, and ask three specific wealthy nations - Germany, Japan, and Saudi Arabia - to pony up for the defense we provide them.

I can see Trump telling other nations to choose to (a) hire us to defend them, (b) spend to build their own defense, or (c) do without in a dangerous world. It's about time somebody made that demand, too.

Defending Americans is the most important thing our national government does. Thus, a presidential candidate's views on defense and military preparedness are seriously important.

Trump's motto is "Peace through strength." It has worked for the Swiss for centuries. The idea is at least as old as Rome where Si vis pacem, para bellum meant "If you want peace, prepare for war."

Government Dysfunction

Peter Thiel, who spoke at the GOP convention, is a venture capitalist who has interesting opinions about what is wrong in today's America. See his opinion column in The Washington Post.

Thiel mostly emphasizes how ineffective government is, and how we somehow take that for granted. His examples are excellent. Two key quotes :
Our newest fighter jet has already been under development for more than 15 years and it costs more than 15 times as much as the Manhattan Project (adjusted for inflation), but last year it lost a dogfight to a plane from the 1970s.

Last year a (DC) Metro worker was fired for fabricating maintenance reports on the ventilation fans whose failure resulted in a passenger’s death from smoke inhalation. This year he’s being reinstated, and union officials are suing Metro because they don’t think he’s being reinstated fast enough. Our dysfunctional public sector treats the loss of a government job more seriously than the loss of a person’s life.
Thiel thinks maybe Donald Trump can begin to turn this insanity around. It's a chance I'm willing to take. Hillary Clinton is the poster child for the comprehensively ineffective status quo.

Wednesday Snark

Roger Simon, blogging at PJ Media, on the subject of Hillary Clinton's health:
Why should we concern ourselves with Hillary Clinton's relatively minor (most probably) coughing fits?

For the most obvious reason: like virtually everything else, she lies about it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Good Polling News

A new CNN/ORC poll finds Trump in a slight lead nationwide among likely voters. The new numbers are Trump 45% vs. Clinton 43% in a four way race including the Libertarian and Green Party candidates.

Trump's slight lead is probably less important than the trend line, which over the last couple of weeks shows him gaining and her losing support. Each is popular with their own party members, but Trump is ahead of Clinton among independents with 49% to her 29%. Marriage also makes a difference:
Among women, those who are unmarried make up the core of her support, 73% of unmarried women back Clinton compared with just 36% of married women. Among men, no such marriage gap emerges, as both unmarried and married men favor Trump.

Conventional Wisdom

William Cook blogs for The Spectator (U.K.) about the impact of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party on German politics. He closes with the conventional wisdom which is often, but not always, correct.
Like UKIP in the UK, AfD’s most significant legacy will not to be to win power, but to force governing conservatives to move further to the right.

Dumb in Dallas

People wonder why the press is dying. Yahoo News carries a story about today's editorial in the Dallas Morning News stating Donald Trump "does not deserve your vote."

That appears to be suicidal behavior for a paper in a red state. You'd hope red state TX would have recruited journalists who aren't bright blue, apparently not.

As Yahoo notes, the Morning News couldn't quite bring themselves to endorse Clinton. They reportedly endorsed RINO John Kasich during the primary, which in Ted Cruz' home state wasn't wise either.

Either they believe TX is in the process of turning blue, or at least the Dallas demographic has done so. The urban Dallas populace probably has turned blue, but has the newspaper-reading subset done likewise? I doubt it.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Headed Off a Cliff

The Claremont Review of Books carries a long article by someone using the nom de plume Publius Decius Mus (warning: article opens slowly). The nom de plume refers to three generations of men in a Roman family (grandfather, father, and son), who died bravely leading legionnaires into three different battles, inspiring their troops to victory.

The clear implication is that the author risks his/her career as a conservative intellectual by writing this gloomy work. The risk is real. Let me share with you the intro:
2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.
The article makes a compelling case for the following:
America and the West are on a trajectory toward something very bad.

If conservatives are right about the importance of (snipped here the whole laundry list of conservative beliefs) then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.
But, as the author points out, conservative intellectuals don't believe we are headed off a cliff. Their public behavior clearly reveals this.
Let’s be very blunt here: if you genuinely think things can go on with no fundamental change needed, then you have implicitly admitted that conservatism is wrong. Wrong philosophically, wrong on human nature, wrong on the nature of politics, and wrong in its policy prescriptions. Because, first, few of those prescriptions are in force today. Second, of the ones that are, the left is busy undoing them, often with conservative assistance. And, third, the whole trend of the West is ever-leftward, ever further away from what we all understand as conservatism.

If you haven’t noticed, our side has been losing consistently since 1988. We can win midterms, but we do nothing with them. (snip) And, aside from 2004’s lackluster 50.7%, we can’t win the big ones at all. 
About the open borders enthusiasts, the author writes:
This is insane. This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die. Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity.
And the thoroughly gloomy conclusion:
We’ve established that most “conservative” anti-Trumpites are in the Orwellian sense objectively pro-Hillary. What about the rest of you? If you recognize the threat she poses, but somehow can’t stomach him, have you thought about the longer term? The possibilities would seem to be: Caesarism, secession/crack-up, collapse, or managerial Davoisie liberalism as far as the eye can see … which, since nothing human lasts forever, at some point will give way to one of the other three.
Wow! That pretty much anchors the gloomy end of the scale. I guess I think there is more societal inertia than this author sees, which doesn't make me optimistic, merely less pessimistic.