Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday Snark

John Hinderaker of Power Line posts the following (probably apocryphal) tweet. Enjoy.


Many who have gotten crosswise with the Clintons have ended up the victims of something other than a natural death. Coincidence? Perhaps....

Partisan Prep

Following years of post-Soviet Russian adventurism in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, the three small Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are nervous about Russian intervention on behalf of their resident (and restive) Russian-speaking minority populations.

Their basic problem: relative size. Russia is the world's largest country, the Baltic republics are among the small nations. As such, they have no hope whatsoever of a conventional military defense against a Russian invasion.

Estonia is taking an interesting approach to its defense, related to that of Finland and Switzerland. It is encouraging its citizens to learn to be partisans, guerrilla fighters. See a very interesting New York Times article about Estonia's "military sport" competitions.

The Estonian Defense League claims nearly 25,000 members, who meet for weekend drills to learn military and survival skills, marksmanship, escape and evasion, and IED bomb making. The nation encourages its citizens to keep an assault weapon and ammunition at home, in a gun safe or hide. The article quotes a retired army corporal.
Partisan war is our way. We cannot equal their armor. We have to group in small units and do a lot of destruction of their logistics convoys. We needle them wherever we can.
The Russians respect this type of defense, they utilized it to good effect against the Nazis in WW II. The idea is to be so obnoxious only a nation willing to kill every living soul wants to invade you. Them you cannot deter completely.

Reid ... an Outlier

Many of my neighbors in western Wyoming are Mormons. Generally these are people of enormous rectitude, extremely hard-working, well-behaved and law-abiding. Houses go unlocked and keys are left in cars.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is the highest-ranking Mormon in national politics. He falsely accuses FBI Director Comey of a Hatch Act violation, which has led colleagues to label Reid a "hack."

Reid's latest intentional misrepresentation suggests he must embarrass fellow Mormons. As a Democrat, he's an out-of-step maverick. They, of course, tend to be Republican.

Fortunately, Reid retires in January, 2017, a thing long overdue. He will not be missed. If only the ancient crone Pelosi, queen of Botox, would retire....

White Workers Have Listened

Scanning a list of articles linked at RealClearPolitics this morning, I came across this title:
How to Get White Workers to Vote for Clinton
I can't honestly say I rushed to read this piece but its title started me thinking about the Democrats' problem with white working class voters. Most of whom will probably vote for Trump this year.

Democrats have spent the last 2-3 decades telling workers of color that only Democrats have their interests at heart, that Republicans exist to maintain white dominance in our society. What if white workers have been listening? Listening to Democrats and, noting Democrats actions mirror their words, believing them?

Playing identity group politics has a downside. You don't get to tell groups A and B that your opponent only favors group C in a vacuum. Group C hears what you tell Groups A and B and, mirable dictu, perhaps they believe it.

Now you try to get group C to vote for you too, but they've gotten your message, your oppponent is the group C advocate. Oops, you have a problem; it's the downside of your upside.

Democrats once had the interests of all blue collar workers at heart, regardless of color. That message long since gave way to the racially color-coded identity group message they sell today.

Tropes like sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind come to mind. Down this road lies tribal politics, the downfall of many third world countries.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Dilbert Files

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds links to this Scott Adams tweet, copied on Adams' Dilbert website:


If Clinton really delivers the third "Obama term" she has promised, why wouldn't ISIS prefer her? Obama has been a pushover, disrespected by enemies and friends alike.

A Crime Family

Former FBI assistant director James Kallstrom said the following about Bill and Hillary Clinton, during a radio interview, as reported by The Hill.
The Clintons, that’s a crime family, basically. It’s like organized crime. I mean the Clinton Foundation is a cesspool.

This investigation was never a real investigation. That’s the problem. They never had a grand jury empaneled, and the reason they never had a grand jury empaneled, I’m sure, is Loretta Lynch would not go along with that.
The Democratic Party is alleged by some to be a criminal conspiracy masquerading as a political party. Democrats would be wise to cease giving those making the allegation additional examples to use as illustrations. For example, Lynch chatting with a possible defendant's husband on the tarmac was more than unwise.

An Ordinary Politician

Kyle Smith of the New York Post writes hard truth about President Obama:
It was always hard to believe the president’s repeated claim that he didn’t know his own secretary of state was using an off-the-books e-mail server to avoid public scrutiny, in the process virtually guaranteeing that she would commit multiple felonies by taking classified information into the open.

Now we know Obama was lying. His own aides said so, in e-mails uncovered by WikiLeaks and made public this week.

Our president is an ordinary politician who lies for the same reason other pols do. He thinks whatever means he uses are justified by the ends.
He is a politician. If his lips are moving, he is lying ... count on it.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Gods Got Sick, Too

Michael Goodwin, who writes a column for the New York Post, riffing on the reopened FBI Clinton investigation.
It looks as if the gods finally got sick of her.

Maybe it was the web of sleaze revealed by WikiLeaks or her brash talk of making nutty Joe Biden secretary of state.

Or maybe Hillary Clinton just ignored too many maxims, including the one that if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. (No offense to real dogs, because Anthony Weiner is a lower species.)
A much lower species, homo erectus sounds about right.

Saturday Snark

Someone is writing wonderful snark for Stephen Colbert concerning the latest twist in the Clinton scandals. Deadline Hollywood reports his comments. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.
Here’s the crazy part; they found out about the emails when investigating illicit messages sent to an underage girl by Anthony Weiner. In a shocking twist, Anthony Weiner’s penis might destroy two political careers!

Truly, for the Clinton campaign, horny men giveth and horny men taketh away.
Gotta love those King James allusions.

Yet Another Unintended Consequence

Sometimes the important stories are hiding down in the proverbial weeds, being crowded out by the latest nine-day wonder. For example a story in Channel News Asia (Singapore) about the "shidu" families in China. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

It raises the plight of families who, because of government policy, had only one child and whose child subsequently died when it was too late for the family to have a replacement. In the huge population of the PRC, there are a million such families.

The story strongly implies support in old age by one's children is China's primary means of financial and emotional care for the elderly. These families are eligible for some kind of stipend from the state as a result of their childlessness.

So far, the story is merely a curiosity, how another culture arranges for the support of its elderly. What can be read between the lines is that the enormous PLA or People's Liberation Army is something of a paper tiger, made up of only children, only sons.

What good is an army if you cannot send it to fight, where thousands will die and thus thousands of families will be left childless? Going to war inevitably means getting one's own soldiers killed. Any society will fight back if attacked, but going "on the attack," or initiating hostilities to pursue some national aim is another matter.

An army of only children in a society so organized is unlikely to do much offense, instead be mostly for defense. Honestly, I don't think the PRC wants us to know that.

Being Right Feels Wrong

You know how sometimes you hate to learn you were right? Last Sunday I predicted future developments in Venezuela as follows:
As this progresses, I think it likely Maduro will arrest the opposition members of the legislature and declare himself President for Life. It's the Latin American way - via del caudillo.
Today, AFP reports via Yahoo News President Maduro made the following public statement:
If they launch a supposed political trial, which is not in our constitution, the state prosecution service must bring legal action in the courts and put in jail anyone who violates the constitution, even if they are members of Congress.
What's next? Descent into dictatorship, followed by chaos and civil war.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Weird Oregon

Odd things are happening. Armed people who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon and who never denied doing it, were eventually arrested and tried. See an Associated Press story at Yahoo News.

Those seven people - who occupied the federal wild life sanctuary for 41 days - have been acquitted of charges of felony conspiracy by a jury. The armed group actually never attacked anyone so the alternative would have been misdemeanor trespass charges - no big deal, county jail time at worst.

Since most of the trespassers were from out of state, conspiracy is certainly likely but the jury found the prosecution hadn't proven a case against the seven. This story is very populist in tone, very anti-establishment. I'm wondering what it portends downstream?

Two of the perps are the sons of rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada who engaged in an armed standoff with BLM enforcers in 2014 over grazing rights on BLM land. The Bundys are part of a grassroots movement which holds the federal government owns too much land in the West, crowding out westerners who want to use it..

Intergenerational Ruminations

At the end of my first post today I wrote "Meh, too many Democrats are low-life scum." As the day has progressed I've mused about that comment and those musings unearthed a memory from my youth.

My dear mother, dead nearly 20 years, was a lifelong Roosevelt Democrat. She was won over during the Great Depression by Roosevelt's fireside chats and New Deal. My father whom she met during the Depression was a Southern Democrat (i.e., social conservative populist) who died too soon to become a Reagan Democrat.

Mother was an active club woman - Women's Club, women's association at the church, Garden Club. I asked her once why she wasn't active in the Democratic Party, as it seemed a natural fit. I'll never forget her reply.

Mother memorably said, "I know women active in Democratic politics and they aren't the sort of people I like." I pressed her and she added, "Most of the women I like are Republicans, not active in politics but that's how they vote." Dear lady, I can imagine her biting her tongue as they talked politics at the bridge table.

As an academic for almost 40 years I was a conservative Republican mostly surrounded by progressive Democrats, "liberals." Like mother, I did my share of tongue-biting as colleagues bashed Republicans.

Because I liked my profession, keeping my head down politically was worth the cost in irritation. Obviously in a Business School - my university home - there were fellow conservatives but we were a minority and didn't make many waves.

Were I still an active academic I probably wouldn't (couldn't?) write what you read here. "Micro-aggressions," don't you know, maybe even hate crime in some eyes. I'm glad I retired when I did, and missed the precious snowflake hypersensitivity of today's campus.

Bernstein: Hillary's Indefensible Conduct

In spite of being, most of the time, an unregenerate lefty, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein knows a story when it surfaces. RealClearPolitics reports his CNN comment in response to the reopening of the FBI email investigation.
There's no question that the e-mails have always been the greatest threat to her candidacy for president, that her conduct in regard to the e-mails is really indefensible and if there was going to be more information that came out, it was the one thing, as I said on the air last night, actually that could really perhaps affect this election.

We don't know what this means yet except that it's a real bombshell. And it is unthinkable that the Director of the FBI would take this action lightly, that he would put this letter forth to the Congress of the United States saying there is more information out there about classified e-mails and call it to the attention of congress unless it was something requiring serious investigation.
The October surprise, better late than never.

Almost NSFW

Hat tip to Drudge Report for the image, no comment necessary.

FBI Reopens Clinton Case

Multiple sources are reporting the FBI has reopened its investigation into the Clinton emails, based on their recent access to a "new device." A CNBC article implies that device might be the computer of either Clinton aide Huma Abedin or former Congressman Anthony Weiner, Abedin's estranged husband.

The talking heads on CNBC's Closing Bell all indicated what has surfaced must be very serious for the FBI to reopen this investigation just 11 days before the election. I agree seriousness is likely, but will add another possible motive none of them mentioned.

Realizing the Bureau's public image has taken a huge hit, perhaps Director Comey reopened the investigation to try to salvage his, and the Bureau's reputation. He can safely do so now when the investigation's findings will arrive too late to influence the election.

I want to believe "reputation salvage" was not the FBI's main motivation. However, we've seen too much slipperiness in recent years not to raise the issue.

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

Later ... The New York Times reports it was an investigation into Anthony Weiner's sexting of a NC teen that turned up the previously unseen Clinton emails on a computer jointly owned and used by Weiner and Abedin.

You see what draws Hillary and Huma together, both have sexual predator husbands. Meh, too many Democrats are low-life scum.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Seib: Today's Republicans

Gerald Seib has written politics for The Wall Street Journal for two decades at least. Today he describes the changes that have happened to the Republican Party over the past half century. The wealthy have migrated to the Democratic Party and the less well off have moved to the GOP.

Seib has two charts, one showing the 100 poorest counties and the other the 100 wealthiest counties. The proportion of poor counties voting GOP went from darned few in '68 to most in 2012, and the proportion of wealthy counties voting GOP dropped from most to about half over the same period.

How did the party change? While the affluent went elsewhere, who came on board?
The GOP that carried Mr. Trump to the presidential nomination was formed by waves of new voters who washed onto Republican shores in the last four decades: George Wallace Southerners, Ronald Reagan Democrats, Pat Buchanan pitchfork populists and tea-party foot soldiers.

The Republican establishment was happy to have the votes of these newcomers, many from America’s working class, and accommodated their cultural preferences on social issues from guns to abortion to gay marriage. What the establishment didn’t do was adjust the GOP’s economic approach to match the populist impulses—or even seem to consider such a shift necessary.

“It really is the elitism,” says Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia. The attitude of many in the party was “we’re smart, and they’re stupid, and we’ll just feed them abortion and guns,” he says.
That elitism only worked as long as nobody spoke to their core interests. Trump took the new Republicans seriously and won the nomination handily.

Any attempt to return the party to its country club roots will fail spectacularly. Trump supporters have "seen the elephant" and are unlikely to vote for a latter-day Bush or Romney.

Meanwhile the elites are in denial and it's easy to understand why. There is currently no party where they'd be comfortable, or welcome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

He's a Weird Monkey, Very Funky

The always interesting David P. Goldman who channels Spengler at PJ Media, riffs on the Nobel Prize for poetry awarded to Bob Dylan. Goldman doesn't approve of the choice, but does approve of Dylan ignoring the Nobel Committee.

Goldman believes Dylan is primarily a satirist, a put-on artist, and I'm inclined to agree. My favorite scrap of Dylan doggerel is this, from the 1971 I Shall Be Free, No. 10:
Well, I set my monkey on the log
And ordered him to do the Dog
He wagged his tail and shook his head
And he went and did the Cat instead
He's a weird monkey, very funky.
Look up those lyrics and tell me this is a Nobel poet....

Follow the Money

The frequently readable Ross Douthat writes for The New York Times. Today he tries to dissect what went wrong between conservatism's elite and its populist base, and there is merit in some of his reasoning.

Douthat believes the issue is just the populist base vs. the conservative intelligentsia - a two-sided conflict. He fails to understand it was a three-cornered relationship, not merely two.

Yes, the two groups he mentions are real enough. What he leaves out is the third leg of the stool, the wealthy fat-cat party funders. A relatively small group of 0.1%ers with enormous amounts of money who have paid the party's bills for decades.

On key issues like open borders and free trade, the big donors and the populist base are at loggerheads. The donors favor both while the base opposes both. What benefits one harms the other.

Historically the conservative intelligentsia sided with the bill-paying donors whose money funds the foundations and journals at which they labor: Hoover, Heritage, AEI, National Review, Weekly Standard, etc. So have most Republican candidates who need donor money to afford to run.

Only someone very wealthy could espouse views popular with the base and ignore donors' disapproval and non-support of his or her candidacy. No such wealthy person spoke up for populist values in past election cycles and thus the base was left to support what the party offered them, as better (if not by much) than what the Dems put up. Or stay at home as many rust-belt blue-collar whites did in 2012.

Trump was willing and able to self-fund his primary campaign and actually spoke in favor of populist interests. It is little wonder populists went for him in their millions.

The dilemma faced by the base is that they cannot afford to support impecunious pundits and candidates, as the fat cats can and do. Ironically, the working class now must rely on maverick moguls like Trump to speak for them. Mavericks, like Trump, will often be offbeat personalities with "baggage."

Monday, October 24, 2016

Corrupt Appearance, and Perhaps Reality Too

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports Democratic Party money going to the wife of the FBI official who was in charge of the Clinton "investigation" which concluded there was no indictable offense. They write:
A PAC controlled by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, one of Bill and Hillary Clinton's most consistent backers, donated $467,500 to the Virginia state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe. Her husband is FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who runs the Washington Field Office – the subagency in charge of investigating Clinton.

The Virginia Democratic Party, normally at McAuliffe's beck and call, also donated $208,000.
It is important to note that the donations and the unsuccessful run which they supported happened before Jill McCabe's husband Andrew became head of the FBI investigation. However, with a wife active in Democrat politics, is it reasonable to expect him to pursue a fair and vigorous investigation of the party's favored candidate after Clinton's buddies gave the wife's campaign nearly $700,000?

People who know better - Director Comey, AG Loretta Lynch - should have seen the appearance of impropriety in all this. Oversight of the investigation would then have gone to someone with no glaring conflict of interest. What actually happened gives off a bad aroma. The FBI ends up looking soiled, diminished.

Blue Lives Matter, Americans Agree

The Gallup polling organization reports respect for police is very nearly the most positive they've ever seen, and the highest since 1967. More good news, while conservatives, non-city dwellers and whites have somewhat more positive attitudes, a real majority of every group young and old, white and not, rural and urban, Democrats and Republicans respects our police.

This is wonderful news for a group that has, as a consequence of the Black Lives Matter movement, felt beleaguered and under threat. I wonder if the pro-police sentiment Gallup found will translate into an anti-Clinton vote?

Trump has been much more vocal in his support for police and his rejection of police racism accusations. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Warren: Right for Once

COTTonLINE rarely agrees with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), aka Fauxohontas. It helps when she slips into sarcasm, as what she finds risible we are likely to find true. The Daily Caller quotes her reacting to Trump's characterization of Clinton as "such a nasty woman."
On November 8th, we nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes.
We can certainly agree with her characterization of her ideological sisterhood - nasty, indeed, and proud of it. "Proud" in the same way we're proud of being "deplorable," if I wanted to be fair, which I don't.

Woodward: Clinton Foundation Corrupt

As a panelist yesterday on Fox News Sunday, star Watergate reporter Bob Woodward was asked (scroll down) by moderator Chris Wallace:
When you see what seems to be clear evidence that Clinton Foundation donors were being treated differently than non-donors in terms of access, (snip) are voters right to be troubled by this?
Woodward replied:
Yes, it's a -- it’s corrupt. It's -- it’s a scandal. (snip) The mixing of speech fees, the Clinton Foundation, and actions by the State Department, which she ran, are all intertwined and it's corrupt. You know, I mean, you can't just say it's unsavory.
Corrupt crooks headed back to the White House? "It's a scandal."

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tectonic Shifts

Michael J. Totten attended the Democrat convention in Philadelphia and writes up for City Journal his interactions with Clinton and Sanders supporters. His point is that while everyone talks about the schism in the Republican Party, the Democrats only just managed to paper over their similar chasm. He concludes:
These young millennial delegates are the rising generation. They preferred Sanders over Clinton by a margin so overwhelming that the word “landslide” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

There’s nothing inevitable in politics, but these delegates, if they take over the Democratic Party in the future, will control the platform and the messaging, and their extreme views, combined with their generation’s startling disregard and even contempt for democratic and broadly liberal principles, will scare the daylights out of moderates in the party and could easily trigger an existential crisis.

If the Democrats crack up after another election cycle or two, however, we’ll look back to the 2016 primary and the convention that followed, when Bernie Sanders and his young revolutionaries nearly toppled an establishment icon, and say that, yes, this was bound to happen—and sooner rather than later.
Perhaps predictions of the impending demise of the GOP have been overdone? I can imagine Sanders' Maoist moonbats driving centrist Democrats out of the party. A fair amount of this happened during the McGovern anti-Vietnam years.

Poor Bill

Matt Drudge's Drudge Report has the following set of photos as its illustration as we write this. Someone did various crops of the one photo to make a collage of snarls. This is Hillary as her Secret Service protectors have described her.

She looks like the distilled essence of ex-wife. I took the liberty of posting it here for, as you know, Drudge changes illustrations more than once a day and it soon will be gone.


Venezuela Update

The slow-motion train wreck that is Maduro's Venezuela continues to tear the country apart. Now the legislature, dominated by opposition members, proposes to try Maduro for violating democracy. Most likely the charge is based on cancelling a referendum on his presidency. Reuters via Yahoo News reports:
The measure is unlikely to get any traction given the government and a compliant Supreme Court have systematically undermined the legislature, but it marked a further escalation of political tensions in the crisis-hit OPEC nation.
As this progresses, I think it likely Maduro will arrest the opposition members of the legislature and declare himself President for Life. It's the Latin American way - via del caudillo.

The article implies Venezuelans think themselves more civilized than other Latins. Why that should be true is entirely unclear, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Weird Immunological Science

Newser reports scientists are getting closer to developing a vaccine for the common cold - actually an array of rhinoviruses. Work at Emory University has developed a vaccine that protects against many common cold viruses, at least in monkeys.

Dreary and miserable, but rarely fatal, colds are a drag. I'd gladly avoid having more colds. Faster, please.

A Welcome Echo

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, commenting on the current presidential race.
Remember: The Tea Party was polite, and was insulted and destroyed. Trump voters aren’t polite, and they’re angry. If Trump loses, what comes next? Nothing you want to see.
Exactly. COTTonLINE has been beating this drum for over a month.

Saturday Snickers, late

Steven Hayward came forward with his weekly collection of cartoons, recaptioned photos, and generally snarky sayings for Power Line yesterday. I was, however, busy with weekend guests and had no time to enjoy them and share a few with you. Here are my tardy picks:

Cartoon of Hillary and Donald facing Chris Wallace in debate, Hillary's voice balloon says:
Can we stop the insinuations about my character and get to the questions Donna Brazile told me you'd be asking?
Cartoon of a zombie headed for a polling place. Looking on are Donald Trump and a generic Democrat. The Donald speaks:
Hey, that dead guy is voting early!
To which the Democrat rejoins:
Stop undermining confidence in U.S. elections! 
Photo of Margaret Thatcher at the top of her game, posed with chin resting on interlaced fingers, captioned:
Please tell me more about liberals shattering glass ceilings.
Photo of an incredulous looking Bill Clinton, captioned:
So let me get this straight ...
My wife's campaign strategy is to portray Trump as a womanizer?
Photo of a mellow dog, wearing a Trump-style bouffant reddish-blond hairpiece, captioned:
You know, I'm automatically attracted to humans - I just start licking them. It's like a magnet. Just lick. I don't even wait. And when you're a good boy they let you do it. You can do anything.
Two photos of Barack Obama, top one captioned:
Spends eight years whining about "Inheriting a bad economy...."
Second photo captioned:
Tells Trump to "Stop whining." 
Cartoon of a red baseball cap, with this embroidered lettering:
Make Kaine Catholic again. 
A tweet:
Therapist: so why do you want to end your marriage?
Wife: I hate the constant Star Wars puns.
Husband: Divorce is strong with this one.
And finally a slogan:
If life gives you lemons ...
Throw them away and get some BACON
Side benefit: as a pork product, bacon tends to repel certain people.

Update: South Africa

Occasionally it is worth looking in at the experiment in inter-racial coexistence that is post-apartheid South Africa. Writing in the Daily Maverick as a white South African, Steven Boykey Sidley asks the question, "Are we still welcome here?"

From his column, it is clear the calm pragmatism of the Mandela days is wearing very thin. Sidley writes:
I felt welcome enough to return from another country I had called home for nearly two decades. My daily lived experience, for the most part, seems far removed from the vicious racism of some of the Fallists, or even the oft-repeated anti-white lashings of the EFF, and even occasionally by the ANC as they try to seduce those voters who would approve of the sentiment.
Sidley worries the calm he experiences day-to-day is a bubble, a bubble that could one day pop and leave him in fear for his life. He concludes:
If not for me, who does not have the energy to start again elsewhere, then at least for my children – are we still welcome here?
One suspects his private answer is "NO" or he wouldn't have asked the question. Formerly exceptional South Africa has been regressing toward the African mean, which isn't good.

Good News

The Investor's Business Daily/TIPP Poll tracking poll for today finds:
With 16 days to go until November 8, Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 2 percentage points — 43% to 41% — in a four-way race.

The poll results include responses from 783 likely voters, with a weighted partisan breakdown of 282 Democrats, 226 Republicans, and 259 Independents. The results reflect the rolling average of six days' worth of polling.
The Trump trend line is up, albeit gently. The news could be (and has been) worse.

Quote of the Day

Pseudonymous blogger Publius Decius Mus, writing at American Greatness in rebuttal to some critical things written by National Review's Jonah Goldberg.
The Right will either reconcile on terms favorable to Trump’s issues or it will split. There will be no going back to the status quo ante.
We at COTTonLINE have argued thus for months.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Not-So-Bad News

RealClearPolitics links to a Reuters story about two successive iterations of their Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Clinton led Trump 44 percent to 40 percent, according to the Oct. 14-20 Reuters/Ipsos poll, a 4-point lead. That compared with 44 percent for Clinton and 37 percent for Trump in the Oct. 7-13 poll released last week.
This was after the bad news about Trump's potty mouth comments. Reuters' interpretation of the finding is interesting.
The polling data showed Trump's argument that the Nov. 8 election is "rigged" against him has resonated with members of his party.
Their reading - Clinton lost no support, but Trump gained back some lost support, people who had responded "undecided" or "third party" a week earlier. That makes sense, perhaps as the furor died down more Trump supporters were willing to admit their support, felt less social pressure to deny supporting him.

I look forward to reading the text of Trump's major speech in Gettysburg scheduled today. He will reveal his plan for the first 100 days of a Trump presidency. Maybe it will never happen, but maybe he (and we) will get lucky, eh? In true "master persuader" style Trump calls it his "closing argument."

Friday, October 21, 2016

What Is At Stake

The Conservative Treehouse has the complete text of a Trump speech given just over a week ago, and it is worth reading the whole thing. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Trump may not win but he has the establishment's number and his description of their perfidy is a powerful indictment. A sample:
It is our corrupt political establishment that is the greatest power behind the efforts at radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people. Their financial resources are unlimited. Their political resources are unlimited. Their media resources are unlimited. And, most importantly, the depths of their immorality is unlimited.
And sitting at the center of this web of deceit and criminality are Bill and Hillary Clinton, who seek to return to the White House. Imagine Bill back in the Oval Office, fondly remembering where Monica knelt in her blue dress and his other conquests. It isn't a pretty picture.

The Hunger Games Election: Clinton = Snow

Like several more prominent political bloggers, I'm a science fiction fan so you'll understand how I made the following connections. As I was reading the McCarthy article referenced in the post below, I was struck by his description of the third debate.
Trump seemed like the amateur he is, up against the consummate polished, status quo politician that is Hillary Clinton. She calmly and icily sliced him to ribbons—and she would have done the same to any Republican who could have won the nomination. (Just imagine: low-energy Jeb? Boyish Rubio? The inhumanly aggravating Cruz? She would have slaughtered them just as gleefully as Trump.)
Standing there in her white pant suit, Clinton reminded me of Donald Sutherland's white-suited portrayal of President Snow in Hunger Games. Clinton's icy calm was reminiscent of Snow's manner toward heroine Katniss in their early encounters.

I begin to think of this election as the opening round in the conflict between the districts and Panem, the capitol. That is, the opening round in a protracted conflict between everyday Americans and the scornful gilded uniparty elite in Washington.

Caveat: In life, unlike a novel or film, the good guys (and gals) don't always win.

Trump's Favor

Writing at The National Interest, Daniel McCarthy suggests Trump has done us a favor.
Trump, on the other hand, has helped to make clear exactly where Americans’ divisions lie and how intense they are. This is something that every one of his Republican rivals this year failed to do—and it’s why he won the nomination. Trump, the most unorthodox Republican in terms of his policies, was the one candidate who represented how a plurality of Republican voters actually feel: angry, betrayed by their own party’s failures, and totally opposed to Democratic administration, above and beyond any individual “issue” or cluster of issues.
McCarthy buys the conventional wisdom that Trump will lose, but draws two interesting comparisons with former consequential losing candidates.
Trump has shaken up American politics in much the way that Barry Goldwater and George McGovern once did. Both parties will have to contend with the divisions and passions he has brought to the fore, no matter what happens on Nov. 8. And if more conventional politicians cannot honestly deal with such things, we will see more unconventional figures like Trump in the future.
Ummm ... right. How about Ivanka in 2020?

EU Gridlock

An AFP article at Yahoo News concerns Canada's reaction to the EU's inability to sign a trade agreement both negotiated and about which both were excited. This reminded me of something about which I wish to rant, gently I hope.

The officials of Canada and the EU negotiated a trade agreement which both believe will be in their interest - in other words, win-win, not zero-sum. For those who don't follow nitty-gritty European politics, the reason the EU cannot finalize is that one of the two major regions in Belgium held a referendum on it and the people voted it down.

Now you might wonder why a subdivision of a country can kill something at the pan-Europe level. The U.S. equivalent would be half a state voting to nullify, not a state law but a federal law. In the U.S. this is not possible. How, you are wondering, is this possible in the EU?

The EU makes decision by consensus, if any nation won't sign on, an action doesn't go forward. No majority or super-majority votes, everybody has to be on board.

Allowing one member nation to stop progress seems foolish until you realize the EU only exists because each member knows it can stop anything it truly hates. If this decision rule were not in place, many (perhaps most) member states would never have joined, the EU would not exist.

The entire panoply of EU bureaucrats and pan-European regulations is built on a structure that requires unanimity at the macro level, if not at the micro level. Unanimity may be necessary for EU existence but it is also that which means the organization can never act as a nation would, will never be a United States of Europe.

Most of the time the EU work-around is to dodge popular votes on EU matters, Eurocrats hate referenda with good reason. When these are held the people so empowered quite often turn down what the EU wants to do.

A cold-eyed appraisal of the European Union finds it really exists in spite of the will of the people, not because of it. It is government by technocrat, dodging most of the time any reference to the popular will, which it appears to honestly disdain.

The U.S. isn't the only developed region where the governing elites neither reflect the popular will nor value it. The same is very true in the EU as well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

3rd Debate, 1st Reaction

One of the guys at Power Line said Trump did well but it's likely no minds were changed, I expect that is about right. The MSM will go crazy over his refusal to promise in advance to accept the results of an election he has been claiming is "rigged."

This is where you see Trump isn't a real politician, he actually cares about having to change his mind. A real politician would have answered "Of course" when Chris Wallace asked if he would accept the results. However, a real politician would not have felt bound by those words if irregularities later became manifest.

In the sorts of high stakes negotiations Trump's done, a commitment once made cannot be unmade without blowing up the whole deal. So he hedged and the press will go cuckoo over it.

With the last debate behind us, it is relatively safe to say one of two things will happen come November 8. Either Clinton will win, as all the mainstream pundits and polls predict; or Trump will win in a Brexit-style upset which, after the fact, will be attributed to Clinton's inability to motivate minority voters to actually go vote.

One of those two is likely so long as no black swan makes an appearance. A serious terrorist attack or a North Korean nuke on Seoul (or Tokyo) or even a Russian move into Latvia could alter the equation in ways entirely unforeseen. Absent such events, one of the two things mentioned above is highly likely.

Utter Contempt in Both Directions

Johns Hopkins University political scientists Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg have done a survey of Washington bureaucrats - civil servants, not presidential appointees - and reported their findings in a new book: What Washington Gets Wrong. Washington Post blogger Jeff Guo quotes their conclusion:
Many civil servants expressed utter contempt for the citizens they served. Further, we found a wide gulf between the life experiences of ordinary Americans and the denizens of official Washington. We were left deeply worried about the health and future of popular government in the United States.
To be fair, many "served" citizens have utter contempt for civil servants, too.

Hang In There

A quick survey of the MSM suggests everyone there believes Hillary's win is a foregone conclusion. The final debate happens tonight, but it has largely been written off as irrelevant.

Is there any reason for optimism? Well, Drudge Report cites two polls that show the candidates even and one with Trump ahead. The L.A. Times poll shows Trump ahead by less than a point, effectively even. Rasmussen Reports has the two dead even at 42% each. Both are daily polls. Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll shows Trump with a 1% lead, 41% vs. 40%. It is alleged by Drudge and others that the IBD/TIPP poll has been the most accurate over the last three presidential elections.

So ... just maybe there is still reason to hope, if not to be confident, that The Donald might pull out a Brexit-like surprise in early November. To be sure, the RCP polling average says otherwise, but averages tend to reflect the conventional wisdom, whatever that is at the moment.

At this moment, the CW is that Trump loses. In two recent occasions, the CW has been absurdly wrong: Brexit and the referendum which rejected the Colombian peace deal with FARC. So ... perhaps we have a glimmer of hope. We may know more this time tomorrow, or we may not.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rumor Time

Breitbart reports that Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report has tweeted as follows:
Oh, on the sex stuff. Hillary is about to get hers…
Breitbart suggests Drudge means someone is about to "out" Hillary Clinton as a lesbian. Who would do the outing, or when, is unclear.

Since Drudge is seriously ambiguous in his tweet, we really have no idea what he means. Could be wishful thinking on his part, or on Breitbart's. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Uniquely Tawdry

Writing from a Canadian vantage point, Conrad Black opines for the National Post about the presidential race to his south.
This is a uniquely tawdry presidential race because one candidate is culturally offensive to half the people, but is the only alternative to a person who has serious problems with probity and is a continuation of a sleazy and broken-down system that a majority wants changed drastically. The price of change is Donald and the cost of avoiding Donald is Hillary. So it is not surprising that the campaign has plumbed the depths it has, and that the match is so negative.

Kass: Evil Queen vs. Evil Clown

John Kass writes opinion for the Chicago Tribune, today his topic is the presidential race. Bottom line: he doesn't like any of what he sees.
With only a few weeks left in this ugly presidential race to the bottom, Americans finally have a clear choice:

The Evil Queen vs. The Evil Clown.

Hillary Clinton, the ice queen of the American political establishment, a practiced deceiver who will make Nixon look like an angel before she's through.

She is the darling of the frightened bipartisan elites, and she is protected by their imperial guard, those in the media who ignore her sins to focus on Trump's.

And Donald Trump is the meat-faced barbarian at the establishment gates, swinging his angry rhetorical axe against the arrogant elites, like an Andrew Jackson of our time.

Trump spent years bragging about his sexual prowess, acting like a pig (or Bill Clinton) around women. And now he's so enraged by allegations of sexual aggression that he threatens, like an angry clown, to use the power of the federal government against his enemies.

Both Clinton and Trump are statists. Both believe in using the federal hammer.

So this is where we are now, an uncertain people in a post-constitutional society. The establishment center is corrupt and has been collapsing for years. And the people, tired of their lies, become angry. And now anything goes. 
We've been cursed with interesting times. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Is the Game Rigged?

You've seen Donald Trump make the claim that the election is somehow "rigged," that it isn't a fair match between him and Clinton. Is it merely Trumpian hyperbole? Not entirely.

Most of the major media oppose his candidacy in much less covert fashion than in prior years. Hollywood hates him, NYT and WaPo ditto, and several papers which haven't endorsed a Democrat for decades have endorsed Clinton. Almost all journalists today are what Instapundit Glenn Reynolds calls "Democratic operatives with bylines."

Speaking his name in any positive sense is enough to get you thrown off most campuses, condemned as a micro-aggressor at the very least. Even the brahmins of his own party avoid or condemn him, and most didn't attend the convention at which he was nominated.

These are significant obstacles to overcome in a presidential race, obstacles around which a Democrat doesn't have to navigate. In that sense, Trump is correct - he isn't getting a fair shake in this election.

That any Republican has to cope with some level of this opposition is beside the point. His predecessors took for granted we understood the structural barriers to their candidacies.

As a non-career politician Trump experiences this unfairness as new and disturbing. New it isn't, except that it is much less muted in 2016 than in prior cycles.

If Trump loses and then makes it his business to pursue his "rigged" accusation, the sequelae can get ugly. This country was founded by people who, believing they had no voice in decisions concerning them, rebelled. Are we talking a Hunger Games scenario? Washington as Panem? It is not impossible.

Saturday Snickers

Steven Hayward has again compiled at Power Line a collection of cartoons, recaptioned photos, and snarky sayings for our enjoyment. Some of my favorites described below:

Cartoon of Hillary Clinton standing between husband Bill and Donald Trump, holding Bill's hand, gesturing toward Donald. Both Bill and Donald drawn with pig snouts and ears. Her voice balloon says:
How can someone like this be president?
Two photos, featuring Michelle Obama quotes. On the left Michelle speaking:
Trump's sexual boasts have "shaken me to my core."
On right a photo of Beyonce in tiny bikini twerking, captioned:
"Beyonce could not be a better role model for my girls."
Two photos, one each of Hillary and Donald. His is captioned:
Everything that is wrong with our culture.
Hers is captioned:
Everything that is wrong about our government. 
Closeup photo of a dead fly, lying on its back, captioned:
The fly that landed on Hillary Clinton during the debate, his death ruled a suicide.
Photo of a woman's hand holding an opened copy of 50 Shades of Grey, with latte in foreground, captioned:
If American women are so outraged at Trump's use of naughty words,
Who in the hell bought 80 million copies of 50 Shades of Grey? 
A cartoon, done in the style of Mesoamerican art, depicting human sacrifice and ritual, captioned:
In 1487, five years before Columbus' arrival, the Aztec people sacrificed as many as 84,000 men, women, and children at the re-consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan.
Happy Indigenous People's Day!
The saintliness of Native Americans has been exaggerated by tree-huggers. They were flawed humans like the rest of us.

Hold Nose, Vote Trump

COTTonLINE doesn't often flag something as a Must Read, perhaps a handful of times per year. Today's Wall Street Journal article about the election by David Gerlernter is one of that handful. He disdains Obama, Clinton and Trump for good cause. About Obama:
Voters hear what the leaders and pundits don’t: the profound contempt for America and Americans that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama share and their frightening lack of emotional connection to this nation and its people.

Mr. Obama is arch, patronizing, so magnificently weary of having to explain it all, again and again, to the dummies surrounding him.

He’s been a stern baby sitter to an American public that is increasingly getting on his nerves. ObamaCare and the Iran treaty are his big achievements. That the public has always disliked them, and hates them worse as it knows them better, strikes him as so unspeakably irrelevant; he doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Do you ask 6-year-olds if they like going to school?

For eight years it’s been Humiliate America season—buzz our ships, capture and embarrass our men, murder an American ambassador—a resoundingly successful attempt to spit in our faces and tell each one of us to drop dead. Thanks, Mr. President. Enough is enough. You know that Hillary is Obama Part III. We can’t let that happen. 
About Trump:
In his Mr. Nauseating video of last weekend, Mr. Trump showed us that he had all the class and cool of a misbegotten 12-year-old boy. Yet the video taught us nothing; no one had ever mistaken him for anything but an infantile vulgarian. This week’s allegations of actual abuse are different. If these stories are true (and I don’t know why they shouldn’t be), there is nothing to be said for Mr. Trump. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be said for Mrs. Clinton either.
About Clinton:
Mrs. Clinton has nothing on Mr. Trump when it comes to character. She lies (“Wipe? Like with a cloth?”—cute and charming Mrs. C.) the way basketball stars shoot baskets—constantly, nonstop, because it’s the one thing she is best at and (naturally) it gives her pleasure to hear herself lie—swish!—right onto the evening news. And her specialist talent of all is the verbal kick in the groin of a Secret Service man or state trooper who has the nerve to talk to her as if she were merely human. She is no mere rock star; she is Hillary the Queen. She is so big, and you are so small, she can barely even see you from up there.
About our culture:
Since when has the American public endorsed affirmative action? Yet it’s a major factor in the lives of every student and many workers. Since when did we decide that men and women are interchangeable in hand-to-hand combat on the front lines? Why do we insist on women in combat but not in the NFL? Because we take football seriously. That’s no joke; it’s the sad truth.

Did we invite the federal bureaucracy to take charge of school bathrooms? I guess I missed that meeting. The schools are corrupt and the universities rotten to the core, and everyone has known it since the 1980s. But the Democrats are owned by the teachers unions, and Republicans have made only small-scale corrections to a system that needs to be ripped out and carefully disposed of, like poison ivy.
And his conclusion:
There is only one way to take part in protecting this nation from Hillary Clinton, and that is to vote for Donald Trump. A vote for anyone else or for no one might be an honest, admirable gesture in principle, but we don’t need conscientious objectors in this war for the country’s international standing and hence for the safety of the world and the American way of life. It’s too bad one has to vote for Mr. Trump. It will be an unhappy moment at best. Some people will feel dirty, or pained, or outright disgraced.

But when all is said and done, it’s no big deal of a sacrifice for your country. I can think of bigger ones.
Really, you should go read the whole thing which, thankfully, is not behind the WSJ paywall.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Explaining Trump

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds links to a piece of serious socio-political commentary that appears in Cracked. Yes, it's profane, salty and inelegant, but also profound and moving.

Along the way Cracked Executive Editor David Wong describes growing up in rural America - where he no longer lives - and shares the mixed feelings he has about put-downs directed at his roots. Wong starts out to explain the Trump phenomenon in six points, sometimes illustrated with themes from Hunger Games, Star Wars, or Braveheart. All profanities are direct quotes.
6. It's not about red and blue states - it's about the country vs. the city.
5. City people are from a different goddamned planet.
4. Trends always start in the cities - and not all of them are good.
3. The rural areas have been beaten to shit.
2. Everyone lashes out when they don't have a voice.
1. Assholes are heroes.
He explains each, here he explains the last point.
Everybody wants an asshole on their team -- a spiked bat to smash their enemies with. That's all Trump is. The howls of elite outrage are like the sounds of bombs landing on the enemy's fortress. The louder the better.
My own movie analogy: Supporters see Trump like Clint Eastwood's character Dirty Harry Callahan, a rule-ignoring tough guy on our side. In hockey, he'd be an enforcer.

At some level, Trump understands this is his role. I expect him to try hard to win between now and election day, but to be absolutely certain - win or lose - he leaves the Clintons as bloody, befouled damaged goods.

Malaise

Yesterday we wrote about problems afflicting our beloved nation:
A once-muscular can-do nation is becoming a flabby can't-do crippled giant.
Today comes a jeremiad from historian Victor Davis Hanson on much the same subject, written for the Hoover Institution. VDH compares what brought down the Byzantine empire to what is happening in today's America, and concludes:
What would once have been seen as radical neglect of our existential problems is now the normal way of getting by one more day. What destroys civilizations are not, as popularly advertised, plagues, global warming, or hostile tribes on the horizon, as much as self-indulgence, self-delusion—and, finally, abject paralysis.
Remember Kurt Vonnegut's dystopian future society, described in the short story "Harrison Bergeron," which created equality by handicapping all who were not handicapped? That's us today, obsessed with comforting the afflicted by afflicting the comfortable, in Findley Peter Dunne's memorable phrase.

It's a form of mass hysteria called "progressivism."

They Don't Like Us

Peggy Noonan's weekly column for The Wall Street Journal comes out on Fridays. The web gives us on the west coast early access.

For those who don't know, Ms. Noonan is an unreconstructed Irish Catholic, comfortably at home in the arms of her faith. Today she is in high dudgeon about anti-Catholic comments in some of the Podesta, et al. emails that have been leaked.
The big fact of the week, however, has to do with these words: They don’t like us. The Democrats, progressives and left-liberals who have been embarrassed by the latest WikiLeaks dump really hate conservatives, or nonleftists. They don’t like half the people of the country they seek to control! They look at that half with disdain and disrespect. Their disdain is not new—“bitter clingers,” “basket of deplorables.” But here it’s so unashamed and eager to express itself.

It’s the big fact of American life now, isn’t it? That we are patronized by our inferiors.
There is a world of red vs. blue hate in this country. If Clinton wins, as it now appears she might, it will only get worse. In four years we'll look back on Trump as a reasonable guy much as Mitt Romney is now viewed, in hindsight. His successor, four years downstream, may more closely resemble a media-savvy David Duke, an out-of-the-closet hater.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Grim Future

RealClearMarkets has a review of a new book by two economists, Craig Smith and Lowell Ponte. The book is entitled:
We Have Seen the Future and It Looks Like Baltimore
Without going into detail, suffice it to say if you seek to become suicidally depressed, this book is for you. The authors essentially document how Progressivism has destroyed our cities, for which they use Baltimore as their poster child, and more broadly our country.

Understand, I'm not debunking what they come up with, basically they're correct. Much is gradually going to hell in our fair land.

A once-muscular can-do nation is becoming a flabby can't-do crippled giant, as we try to protect ever more forms of insanity by declaring them normal, and hemming them in with government bureaus designed to foster, or at least protect the various delusions embodied therein.

The authors claim it basically started with Woodrow Wilson, and I wouldn't be surprised if they're correct. He was a former college professor and we professors are a notoriously impractical lot.

Many Americans have seen the decay but felt powerless to reverse it. We console ourselves with the notion that it is happening slowly enough not to be overwhelming in our lifetimes, which for retirees is necessarily not overly long.

I have to believe that long-term pessimism is a factor in declining birthrates. Basically I have a sense, likely widely shared, that our medium-to-long-run future isn't going to be pretty, not something with which one would want grandkids forced to grapple.

Conservatives Liking Science Fiction

Conservative bloggers and opinion writers are often Science Fiction enthusiasts. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds is well-known for this view, and has invited active Sci. Fi. author Sarah Hoyt to regularly guest blog on his site.

Tonight I'm reading something written by Ben Domenech who edits The Federalist and what pops up, a reference to Heinlein's Starship Troopers. I'm not in their league but have read hard science fiction all my adult life, and fold the occasional reference to Dune, Star Wars, Blade Runner or Fifth Element into my own blogging.

I wonder what it is about science fiction that goes with conservative views? At first blush, the pairing would seem counterintuitive.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Republicans: Trump Leads GOP

MSNBC's Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, debunking claims Paul Ryan leads the Republican Party, as reported by Breitbart Video. In substantiation, Scarborough makes reference to a poll by The Economist/YouGov showing Trump more popular with Republicans than Ryan, 74% to 54%, and having lower unfavorables, too: 26% to 31%. He concludes:
I got bad news for Hugh Hewitt, the American Enterprise Institute, the Republican leadership, all the fundraisers — Paul Ryan is not the leader of the party. The party believes Donald Trump is the leader of the party. That is the conundrum that every Republican from Pennsylvania to Oregon faces.
It is only a conundrum for those Republicans who find Trump highly offensive. Personally, I find Ryan's gutless performance as Speaker highly offensive.

Trump is somewhat egotistical and over the top for my taste, but hardly offensive. Trump's personal style is much like that of Rush Limbaugh. I don't take either's bragging seriously and each, as a leader in his field, has earned the right to an inflated opinion of himself.

Multiple Interpretations

It is reported the Russian government has ordered home relatives of government officials who are traveling, studying, or living overseas. The instructions say such individuals should not stay to the end of the school term but come home now. See for example this article in the Daily Mail (U.K.).

Western sources tend to spin this as being preparation for impending war, as the Mail does. Of course war is possible, although unlikely.

I have seen other sources which paint this as being driven by conflicting messages. On the one hand, the Russian government calls the West depraved and evil, while on the other hand the children of its officials choose to come here to study and/or live.

You can see how the "West is evil and depraved" meme is undercut if privileged Russians want to come here to study or live. Does the average Russian believe their words, or does he find their actions more persuasive?

Be clear, COTTonLINE claims no special knowledge of when the next war will break out; that's "when," not "if." There certainly must be a terrible temptation to go to war before the feckless Obama leaves office next January.

While the relative strengths of Russia and the West suggest otherwise, Pearl Harbor is a vivid reminder that a weak opponent sometimes strikes out of a fear of growing even weaker as time passes. Might Putin hold that view? It isn't impossible.

Further Thoughts

Some days ago we wrote that if Hillary loses, she will be the last white candidate nominated for the presidency by the Democrats. Upon further reflection, that is merely a continuation of a trend that arguably began eight years ago.

John Kerry was not only the last white male the Democrats nominated but very likely the last straight white male they will nominate going forward. As a collection of "victim groups," the Democrats will gravitate toward nominating a member of one (or more) of their groups. Perhaps their ideal candidate would be a gay minority single mother.

We live in interesting times.

Turning On Each Other

Writing for CNBC, Jake Novak states some political home truths vis-a-vis the battle within the GOP.
Democracy can be ugly. And what Republicans like McCain and Ryan have had so much trouble accepting is that the voters in the primaries flocked to Trump. It doesn't matter if Trump deserved it or not. It doesn't matter if he had the best chances to win the general election. If a political party works to undermine what its voters want, it is dead. Trump's campaign is thus still alive while we watch the GOP commit a form of suicide as it fears national polls and the news media more than its own voters. This is what losers do — when the going gets tough and chips are down, they turn on each other.
The people who bail on Trump, in order to try to save their own political careers (a) look weak and (b) are not succeeding in salvaging their own fortunes. The electorate spoke and those who didn't like what it chose had the option of shutting up, or getting on board. That is, endorsing or changing the subject.

Once aboard the Trump train, getting back off isn't a real option. A few days ago we punned that, as a way of being safe, withdrawal doesn't work.

Republican Class Warfare

We quite frequently find something to share with you in the voluminous writings of Victor Davis Hanson, here writing for the National Review about the current state of the Republican Party.
Class hatred now splits the party. The culture of the Republican establishment resembles more that of their liberal urban counterparts than of the populists in the hinterland. We are at a Jacksonian moment. The Republican party is eroding. No one quite knows what will replace it.

After the election, the mainstream will blame the Trump people. The latter will certainly fault the former for sabotage — as the country goes further to hell under Obama’s third term.
The issue is social class; the GOP establishment/elite is upper middle to upper class, the base is blue collar/lower middle/middle class. The Trump phenomenon has forced these two groups to face the fact that they really don't like each other, not even a little.

GOP elites have more in common with Dem elites than with their déclassé voters. The Tea Party was relatively polite and lost. The Trumpistas have been less so, and have been spurned by elites, the media, and the commentariat. So suppose Trump loses.

When the same disaffected folks return a third time it may well be with torches and pitchforks, or their latter day equivalents: molotov cocktails and assault rifles. Worry they will not go gentle into that good night, they're well armed and grow angrier by the day.

A GOP return to the status quo ante - that is, before Trump - isn't possible. The genie is out of the bottle and isn't going back. The splintered remnants may degenerate into irrelevance, or may unite around a truly dangerous demagogue. In the words of an ancient Chinese curse, we live in interesting times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

WH Crude Talk Not New, Noteworthy

On Saturday I wrote about recent U.S. presidents who either talked dirty or did the dirty while in the public eye. As an example, I mentioned Lyndon Johnson. Here is the documentation of that claim, from a book entitled The Kennedys: An American Drama by Peter Collier. See footnote 46 at the bottom of p. 25 of vol. 2, link here.
Bobby Baker later recalled that on return from an errand to the Oval Office he found several messages from Johnson, requesting a meeting. "As soon as he spotted me he leaned forward and whispered, 'Tell me, is ol' Jack gettin' much p*ssy?'"
Lyndon Johnson was Vice President at the time he uttered this query. As we now know, the correct answer to the question was "More than his share." Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Base Treachery

The Wall Street Journal has been less than steadfast in its conservatism this election cycle; editorially loving open borders, cheap labor and free trade. An occasional voice of sanity at the Journal has been James Taranto, who edits their Best of the Web online presence.

Today he takes Republican leaders to task for ignoring the wishes of Republican voters. See what he writes:
Let us concede that a loss for Trump still seems likelier than not, and catastrophic down-ballot losses for Republicans are possible.

The notion that the party could “cut Trump loose,” however, is fantasy, and not only because the ballots are already printed. Politico commissioned a poll by Morning Consult Saturday—immediately after the tape’s release, but before the debate—that found 74% of Republicans wanted the party to stick with Trump; only 13% favored dumping him.

The Post’s Robert Costa (snip) tweeted today: “In calls this morning, many Rs privately want to defect from Trump. But they say the debate gave them pause since he roused their base.”

“Base” is political jargon for voters, specifically for a party’s most loyal voters. We can’t fault Republican politicians who find Trump’s comments repugnant or who worry about their political fallout. But how can a party function, or even survive, if its leaders are at odds with its voters?

Trump’s behavior has often exacerbated that divide, but his nomination was primarily an effect of it. A plurality of Republican voters rejected the conventional GOP candidates—a majority if you consider Cruz to be, in his own way, an unconventional candidate. Some Nevertrump commentators have been forthright in blaming the voters for the party’s current predicament. If the politicians adopt that approach, they won’t have a party for long.
As we noted weeks ago, a movement can find new leaders much more easily than a group of leaders can find a new group to lead. In fact the spurned Tea Party folks made common cause with blue collar America and, viola, Donald Trump.

It will be so fine if Trump wins and the Nevertrumpers and the endorsement withdrawers have to eat large, rancid, maggoty portions of crow. Unlikely, to be sure, but wonderful if it happens.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Go Ask Bill

Bill Clinton accuser Paula Jones in the after-debate "spin room," as reported by RealClearPolitics.
When a journalist said to Trump as he was flanked by the four, “Do you touch women without their consent?” Paula Jones ended the session by snapping at him, “Why don’t you go ask Bill Clinton that?”

Spengler: Trump Nailed It

David P. Goldman, who blogs as Spengler at PJ Media, writes a trenchant column concerning last night's debate. Some choice excerpts:
A brilliant rhetorical device: under the rubric of campaign financing, Trump slipped in an allegation that Clinton corruptly enriched herself by using the power of her office for personal gain--and Clinton didn't even respond. That's a win by a knockout.

Trump's bombshell below Clinton's waterline came at the end of the debate, well prepared by jabs at Clinton's erased emails and Bill's rapes. Trump used the "J" word--that is, jail. That was perhaps the evening's most important moment. This is not an election fought over competing policies but a struggle for legitimacy. A very large portion of the electorate (how large a portion we will discover next month) believes that its government is no longer legitimate, and that it has become the instrument of an entrenched rent-seeking oligarchy.

It was so important for Trump to talk about jail time for his opponent. If things had not gotten to the point where former top officials well might belong in jail, Trump wouldn't be there in the first place. The Republican voters chose a reckless, independently wealthy, vulgar, rough-edged outsider precisely because they believe that the system is corrupt. They are right to so believe.

Worth 1000 Words

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds posts this AP photo as sent to Facebook by Fox News' Bret Baier. I think it tells you all you need to know about last night's debate.


The Clintons had to know when they put out a tape of Trump trash talking about sex, that he'd come back hard at Bill's infidelities and Hillary enabling and covering it up. He did.

He Won Big

I'll share a guilty secret with you, I couldn't force myself to keep watching last night's debate, so I only saw bits and pieces. I hate listening to Clinton and feared Trump would get creamed. It turns out my fears were exaggerated.

I tuned in later to hear the commentary, on Fox News, and saw various snippets that talking heads believed were key for one or the other. The general consensus was that Trump did quite well, far better than the first debate.

John Hinderaker, the senior contributor at Power Line, watched and pronounces Trump the winner.
Trump was Trump tonight–he had some great moments, and also some incoherent ones. But he swung for the fences, for example, going after Hillary on her criminal conduct with regard to handling of national secrets. Hillary was Hillary. She yaks away in a manner that most people find obnoxious, and leaves herself open to the observation that she is all talk and no action.

The last few minutes were good for Trump. The question was, what do you admire about your opponent? Trump’s tribute to Hillary as a persistent fighter was well done.

In short, Trump won. In my opinion, he won big.
I've gotta think Trump bringing as his guests three women who accuse Bill Clinton of sexual misbehavior and one who blames Hillary for winning an acquittal for her rapist was a masterstroke. It's the sort of theatrical psych-out move The Donald learned while hanging with pro wrestlers.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Change vs. Status Quo

2016 has brought us two seriously flawed major party presidential candidates. Chances are, neither is someone you'd want at your dinner table, or as an in-law. They're ugly in different ways, but ugly people nevertheless.

That said, one sees the problems our country faces and has dedicated himself to trying to fix them. These are big problems, and he has a reputation of being able - at least sometimes - to get big projects done. If he can do 25% of what he hopes to do, we'll be measurably better off.

The other says we're doing just fine; we're on the right track and need - at most - some minor course corrections. She is the candidate of the status quo, of the Washington/Wall Street establishment which got us into the current mess.

If you are happy with the course America is on, believe we're headed in the right direction, you have to vote for Clinton. If, on the other hand, you believe the nation is on the wrong track, is headed into rough waters, you have to vote for Trump.

Be clear, you will end up with a president of whom you're ashamed, whoever is elected next month. The question is what will that flawed person in the Oval Office do to move the country forward. One promises steady-as-it-goes and the other promises change.

Pick one. For me it's no contest.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Withdrawal Is Ineffective

Several high level Republicans are withdrawing their endorsements of Donald Trump. There is a question I'd like to ask each of them. "When you heard what Trump said, where you even a little surprised?" My guess: if truthful, most of them would answer "no."

If you answered negatively, then he's still the same guy you were endorsing before the tape emerged. And the reason you have pulled your endorsement is to cover your own backside. It is virtue signaling vis-a-vis the electorate. An "I don't want to be associated with his crudity" response.

Friends, it will do you no good. You once endorsed him and everybody knew who he was when you did it. Pulling your endorsement now is closing the barn door after the horse is gone. Democrats will hang your former endorsement around your neck forever, repudiating it will do no good. Nobody will believe your "I'm shocked, shocked!" response, it's as phony now as it was at Rick's place in Casablanca.

Saturday Snickers

Once again Steven Hayward has assembled a set of cartoons, recaptioned photos, and mostly political general wit, for his Week in Pictures feature at Power Line. These obviously predate the Trump potty mouth tape. Here are my favorites:

A four panel cartoon of a woman talking to Hillary Clinton.
Panel 1:
Hillary: Trump used a tax loophole that benefits wealthy developers.
Voter: Did he break the law?
Panel 2
Hillary: Actually, no ... but I think the law is completely unfair.
Voter: Did you work to change it during your eight years in the Senate?
Panel 3
Hillary: Actually, no ... but I would as President.
Voter: (looks nonplused, says nothing)
Panel 4
Hillary: And can I count on your vote?
Voter: Actually, no.

Photo of a man, sitting in a car, looking puzzled, captioned:
So, cops are evil and racist but you
don't need a gun because you have the police?
Which is it, liberals?
Picture of an outline of the lower 48 states, painted to resemble a U.S. flag, captioned:
I live in a place that liberals hate
Yet they just won't leave
Cartoon of a man looking up in horror at what looks like a T. Rex,
His voice balloon says:
Gasp!
The dino's voice balloon says:
Inhale, pant, puff, respire....
The bottom caption says the large lizard is a:
Thesaurus.

Hollowing Out

The Christian Science Monitor reports findings of Sentier Research concerning income levels. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.
Sentier researchers examined and compared wage and salary income per individual for college graduates as well as high school graduates in two different age cohorts, and found that while high school graduates overall saw their incomes drop by nine percent between 1996 and 2014, white male college graduates saw their incomes rise by 23 percent over the same period.
Automation and the off-shoring of manufacturing jobs are largely responsible for the decline reported. It's something I call the "McDonaldization" of the workforce: a move to split-shift, part-time, low-skill, no-benefits work.

The result has been an increase in dysfunctional behaviors in this demographic, self-destructive behaviors which affected non-white males a generation earlier.

Clinton Double-Speak Explained

The Washington Times has a quote from one of Hillary Clinton's 2013 speeches to a Wall Street audience, perhaps Goldman Sachs, derived from a recently released John Podesta email. You can readily understand why this comment would be well-received by that audience.
If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the backroom discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So you need both a public and a private position. You just have to sort of figure out how to — getting back to that word, ‘balance’ - how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today.
Translation: she tells them one thing, and us another. She cons Bernie Sanders' supporters that she's anti-Wall Street (public position), when she is taking Wall Street money and promising them covert support (private position). Now we know how she thinks of it, as her "public and private positions" between which balance needs to be maintained.

Actual truth has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Alpha-Plus Males

Second (and third) thoughts about the video of Trump talking dirty. I've been remembering all the presidents who either talked dirty or cheated on their wives. Think Lyndon Johnson, who I mentioned yesterday, a notorious potty mouth. Or Jack Kennedy, who was known for his multiple affairs while in office, including with White House staff and maybe Marilyn Monroe.

Recall Richard Nixon whose discussions on the Oval Office tapes were replete with swearing and comments about "limited hang-outs." What exactly did people think was supposedly hanging out?

Bill Clinton, don't get me started with the whole "presidue" on the blue dress routine and the bimbos eruption. Clinton's problem was that he erroneously assumed because some women "came on" to him, they all meant to.

How about Ike's affair with his British driver Kay Summersby during WW II? FDR and Missy, plus Lucy Mercer and several others. And these are all within living memory.

Face it, our presidents are alpha-plus males and women flock to them like bees to flowers. Get over it, feminists, I understand your sisters' behavior embarrasses you. Trump was correct that celebrities get away with gross stuff, often gratuitously volunteered to them by groupies.

Later ... go here to watch on YouTube a young Barack Obama say to an audience the following:
Gotta have them ribs and p*ssy too.
Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.

Clinton's Open Arms

New emails released show Clinton told a group of Brazilian bankers the following, as reported by John Hinderaker of Power Line.
My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.
"Open borders" means every illiterate peasant from Central and South America can bring his family here and apply for welfare, food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid. How is that good for us? Are you willing to pay for that?

Vote Trump, build the wall.

Trump Potty-Mouth

A brief video of Donald Trump has surfaced, shot in 2005, of him saying some very lewd things about one or more married women he'd tried to have sex with. The Washington Post has a transcript of what he said, and it is crude.

Trump has apologized, said he didn't realize he was being taped, and believed he was having a private conversation. The unattractive things he said were very reminiscent of the crude speech of a former president who was another larger-than-life character ... Lyndon Johnson. Ask Doris Kearns Goodwin about the locker room language Lyndon used as President.

Should Trump have said what he said? Of course he shouldn't. Did he have any idea in 2005 he'd run for president a decade later? Likewise, no. At the time he was a CEO with a show biz sideline.

Have many guys said something of the sort at some point in their lives, showing similar bad judgment? Certainly. Is his behavior in office likely to be any worse than Bill Clinton's was? At age 70 you can be sure it won't be.

Will it cost him votes? Probably a few. Most of those expressing outrage will not have planned to vote for him anyway.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Slackers

Writing for RealClearPolitics, Mona Charen reviews Nicholas Eberstadt's book Men Without Work. His topic is the vastly increased percentage of working age male Americans who are neither working nor looking for work.
The participation of prime-age men in the labor force fell from 94.1 percent in 1948 to 84.3 percent in 2015.

Who are these new non-workers? Most are low-skilled, never married and native-born, and many are African-American. High school dropouts are the most likely group to be out of the labor force, but 40 percent of non-workers have some college under their belts, and one-sixth are college graduates. A significant number have felony convictions and/or prison time in their pasts.

How do they make ends meet? Many live with family members who earn income -- and then there are government benefits. The average working man received $500 in benefits from the government in 2014. The average non-working man got $5,700. Disability payments seem to account for a large share of the benefits the non-employed receive, and it's an open secret that most are not truly disabled.
Marriage seems to be a key factor, strongly associated with working. Does marriage cause working? Perhaps to some degree, but more likely, working enables marriage.
Married black men are more likely to be in the workforce than unmarried white men of the same age. Similarly, the labor-force participation rate for married whites with only a high school degree exceeds that of unmarried whites with some college or associate degrees.
As regular readers know, we've been writing about workforce non-participation for several years, blaming too-generous disability benefits for much of it. Perhaps we should give more credit to the unintended consequences of incarceration.

FBI Agents Unhappy

I've been wondering when this story would surface. Today the New York Post carries a story with a tantalizing title:
FBI agents are ready to revolt over the cozy Clinton probe
The Director of the Bureau is a political appointee. Most of the cadre are career LEOs and, at least historically, justifiably proud of their organization's reputation for probity and honor.

It isn't difficult to imagine many Special Agents suffered gastric distress and/or rage upon hearing Director Comey's non-indictment of Clinton, plus his deceitful memo to all hands defending the decision. A great many agents must share the scorn folks in Congress have heaped upon his flaccid performance.

If you've spent your career trying to live up to high ideals, having your boss sell out those ideals has got to infuriate you. Especially mere days after his boss meets "socially" with the perp's husband on an airport tarmac.

I'm waiting for recent retirees to speak up, as they've less to lose.

Another View of a Democrat Loss

You'll recollect back in September I wrote that, if she loses, Hillary will be the last white Democrat nominated to run for president. I stand by the prediction.

Now, writing for U.S. News & World Report, Mary Cate Cary examines the question of what happens to Democrats if Clinton loses.

Cary doesn't even mention candidate race - not particularly surprising as everybody is petrified of being called "racist." Here are her three points.
First, I've long thought that the anti-establishment wave that hit the right this year is heading for the left.

Second, if Clinton loses, Democrats will have to do some soul-searching on policy.

Third, a Clinton loss means millennial voters will abandon the party en masse.
I have no particular argument with any of her three points. However Cary overlooks the extent to which Obama motivated minority voters to do what they are often don't bother to do - register and vote.

It will be surprising if Clinton can replicate Obama's majorities among minorities, or be able to win if she cannot. I presume the party will draw the obvious conclusion.

Campus Segregation, Nothing New

College and university campuses are being pressured by students who self-identify as something other than white to set aside separate facilities for members of their groups. You see articles like this from The Daily Beast concerning the rise in official student segregation.

The increase in official campus-sanctioned segregated groups is new. What isn't new is the segregation of students when not involved with official campus settings like classes, dorms, and the like.

I spent a whole career on college campuses in five different time zones. In 40 years I saw literally tens of thousands of students hanging out together in student unions, coffee shops, bars, libraries and commons as well as sitting on lawns.  

More times than I can count I've walked into a student union or the library and seen the following: here a table of Hispanic kids, there a table of Asian kids, perhaps a table or two of African-American kids, a table of kids from the Middle East, or from India, and a dozen tables of white kids. Nobody told them where to sit, they chose to group with others like themselves.

Probably if you interviewed them about segregation they'd all be against it ... strongly. And be offended if you pointed out they practice it unconsciously.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Quote of the Day

GOP VP nominee Mike Pence, speaking about Hillary Clinton's disdain for most Americans, as reported by Breitbart.
You cannot lead people you loathe.
She couldn't lead a buzzard to road kill.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Free Riding Must End

Writing for a German audience at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung website, American conservative Kurt Schlichter tries (in English) to explain to European readers "why Trump?" Most of what he writes is accurate but essentially uncontroversial to a politically aware conservative American audience like COTTonLINE readers.

Schlichter does, however, a particularly good job of explaining why Trump has said less-than-complimentary things about NATO.
His recent heresy on NATO’s Article 5 was not based upon a misunderstanding of America’s treaty obligations but upon the widespread feeling that America’s allies have had a free ride on America’s largesse, and that this must end. Having served in the U.S. Army in Germany in the Cold War, I understood my mission in case of a hot conflict would have been to kill Russians until either the reserves arrived or I died, and this was fine – I knew a large and powerful Bundeswehr would be fighting by my side. But today, Germany and Europe have allowed their militaries to wither into near uselessness. Trump embodies the question on many Americans’ minds – if the Germans don’t think defending Germany is worth German money and lives, why is it worth American money and lives?
Why, indeed?