Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

“on earth peace, good will toward men.”

—Luke 2:14

Christmas. Birth. New life. Celebrating the birth of the rabbi who taught us to turn the other cheek, to answer hate with love.

Christmas.  A birth celebrated by a messenger calling for peace and goodwill on earth. What a great religion, one that celebrates peace, a celebration build upon understanding the horror of war.

Christmas, a major holiday for 2.2 billion mostly Latin Americans, East Europeans, Africans, Asians, even as Christianity declines in North America and Western Europe; as Islam grows in the East.

“God is love.”

—John 4:8

Each person comes to religion in their own way.  For me, life has purpose, and that purpose is love.  Love is a powerful force inside each of us, or else life is without meaning.  Want to understand God?  Understand love.  The joy of living beyond oneself, the joy of giving.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged.”

—Luke 6:37

How can we as imperfect humans, so ignorant in relation to all that is impossible to know, take upon ourselves the work of God?  I fear calls for “justice.” They come from people convinced they are our betters. Christ took on such “betters,” the priests of his day.

We are all equal before God, flawed, striving, unworthy of being forgiven but through grace, forgiven anyway to free us to love.

My thoughts.  I have no special insight, though I have lived a life.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Election: Why the @#%&! Electoral College?

“we tend toward a 50-50 nation[, yet] parties see their wins as a sign that they’ve finally ‘won’ at politics”

Sean Trende, “RealClearPolitics”

“just eight years ago, Democrats had total control of Washington—assuming Republicans will be in power forever is folly.”

Mark Hemingway, “Federalist”

The Democratic fit over Clinton losing to Trump in the electoral college is a bit overdone.  What happened in 2016 — the electoral college winner losing the popular vote by 2.8 million — may never happen again. 

But an electoral college makes sense.  We are, after all, the United States of America.  Our motto is E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one.”

It’s the only way our nation became one in 1787.  The states weren’t going to give up all their sovereignty to a national government.  That’s why the Senate, where each state has two votes no matter its size, is half of Congress.  That’s why the Constitution’s Xth Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” [emphasis added]

That’s why the electoral college grants votes for president to the states, acting individually and separately.  In deference to popular will, the electoral college weighs the power of each state’s vote by population size, so that California has 55 electoral votes and Wyoming 3.  But California is still just one of 50.

As conservative Mark Hemingway wrote:
Nearly the entire premise of the U.S. Constitution—including the Electoral College—is setting up a system of government such that in a large country with as many striking regional and political differences as ours, one state can’t dominate the rest. Clinton’s margin of victory in California was 4.3 million votes. The rest of the country has good reason not to want national elections to be determined by California alone.
Hemingway reminded us how rapidly the political winds shift (see quotation above).  Today, progressives fret about the wasted power of votes cast by big city Democrats.  Yet progressive Jonathan Bernstein took a longer view when he wrote:
The big, urban states traditionally did very well in the electoral college. . . . New York used to be a major swing state; California also was very contested once it became large, and even Texas had a run as a competitive state with big cities for a while. For whatever reason, all of that has slipped some over the last twenty or thirty years . . . Still, all else equal, a presidential candidate would rather pander to a large state with lots of winner-take-all electoral votes than a small one, which should tend, over time, to balance out the small-state advantage in the Senate. [emphasis added]
In the 2016 election, almost all experts believed a Trump victory impossible unless he carried Florida’s 29 electoral votes.  So both candidates campaigned heavily in the large, swing, Sunshine State.

One possible electoral college reform would be to replace the current winner-take-all state electoral vote calculation with allocations based on how candidates did in each congressional district.  The National Archives describes how such a system would work, pointing to Maine, which currently so allocates its four electoral votes:
Maine .   .   . awards one Electoral vote per Congressional district and two by the state-wide, “at-large” vote. It is possible for Candidate A to win the first district and receive one Electoral vote, Candidate B to win the second district and receive one Electoral vote, and Candidate C, who finished a close second in both the first and second districts, to win the two at-large Electoral votes.
Progressive Mark Joseph Stern, in “Slate,” doesn’t like such a system, saying it would “favor Republicans, who have long sought to carve up purple states to deprive Democrats of electoral votes.”

Stern agrees with Bernstein’s reluctance to give up the impact big states earn through the electoral college’s “winner-take-all” state-by-state allocation.

The progressive “Daily Kos” is currently mapping the congressional districts won by Trump and Clinton.  Results so far suggest Trump would have won if electoral votes were allocated by congressional district.  Today, the “Daily Kos” tally is 147 congressional districts for Trump, 140 for Clinton, with 148 districts, mostly in Trump states, yet to be determined.

Arthur Lieber, in the progressive “Occasional Planet,” adds a strong note of sobriety to any electoral college reform short of abolishing the electoral college outright:
proportional electoral voting by state.   .   .  would clearly be a much more democratic process. However, this method would only work if all fifty states agreed to allocate their electors proportionally. The likelihood of that would be less than that of passing a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with the popular vote.
Conservative Peter J. Wallison argues the electoral college’s benefit is “to settle the question of legitimacy,” since the winner becomes president, even without a popular plurality or majority:
In the election of 1992, Bill Clinton received a majority of electoral votes and was the duly elected president, despite the fact that he received only a plurality (43%) of the popular votes [see here]. In fact, Bill Clinton did not win a majority of the popular vote in either of his elections, yet there was never any doubt—because he won an Electoral College majority—that he had the legitimacy to speak for the American people.
Chicago Tribune conservative John Kass defends in stark terms the electoral college as a protector of minority rights.  Kass proclaims that
abolishing the Electoral College to satisfy a party's power demands would usher in “The Hunger Games.”
Getting rid of the Electoral College would provide pure "majority rules" democracy, but not freedom. And minority rights as protected by our republic would disappear.
I've been reminded of the famous anecdote of the two wolves and the lamb voting on what to have for dinner. The wolves had the votes.
"What do you think you're doing?" cried the lamb. "What of minority rights?"
"Majority rules," said one wolf.
"We're hungry," said the other wolf. "I mean, I could eat a horse, but I'll settle for lamb.”

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Election: The Popular Vote Says. . .

What does the popular vote tell us about who wins the White House?  It’s a serious question when so many millions in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s loss believe she should be president because she won a popular vote plurality over her Republican opponent.

There have been eight elections since the Reagan era, four won by Republicans, four by Democrats (bold in my chart above, click to enlarge).  In all eight, the winner gained an electoral vote majority. In half the elections, the winner also gained a popular vote majority.  No popular vote majority winner failed to win the electoral college.

Close elections are the norm. Most candidates running between 1988 and 2016 received a minority of the popular votes in a narrow range between 46% and 49% (see chart).  That group includes three winners and six losers, five Democrats and four Republicans.

Hillary Clinton is in this group, along with her winning husband and accompanied by three other Democrats, who like Hillary were losers.  Donald Trump is also here, alongside GOP winner George W. Bush and two Republican losers.  The popular vote plurality leader in this narrow range equates somewhat randomly to electoral college winners.

Note that Hillary Clinton, who is supposed to be president in the eyes of many because she won 48.1% of the popular vote, received a smaller popular vote share in 2016 than did loser John Kerry in 2004 (48.3%).

But Hillary did beat out her husband’s 1992 winning share. 

Bill Clinton is the only winner in the chart’s tiny bottom group (above) — those who received less than 45% of the popular vote.  Clinton won a mere 43% of the popular vote in his exciting “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” 1992 election.  The nation at the time saw Clinton’s win as an echo of John Kennedy’s dramatic 1960 victory that brought “a new generation” of leaders to power.  Note, however that Kennedy, like Clinton, was a popular vote minority president, having won only 49.7% of the total vote in 1960.

Evidently, sometimes change candidates — Trump comes to mind — barely scratch their way to power, with the popular vote majority going elsewhere.

Here’s another look at the popular vote, in this case votes for each candidate since 2000 (above, my 2nd chart).  There are three trends.  First, Republicans and Democrats both improved their 2000 popular vote in 2004.  Second, after 2004, Republicans could not top Bush’s 2004 victory total until 2016, when Trump gained more votes for president than had any Republican in history.  Third, Obama’s 2008 vote total is the most any presidential candidate received ever. Democrats have done worse in each election since.

Trump’s votes show Republicans on the rise to new heights, up in 2012 from 2008, and up again this year.  Meanwhile, Hillary has done worse than Obama in 2012, who did worse than Obama in 2008.  Obama, in fact, was the only incumbent president ever to receive less votes in his second term.

One has to wonder, with the Democratic popular vote trend line headed downward, why would Hillary run as the status quo candidate?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Election: Conservatives on Why Trump Won

Trump won because people unhappy with both candidates voted for change.  Here, from conservative commentators, are other reasons for Trump’s triumph.

Intolerance of Elite Rule

From William McGurn, Wall Street Journal:
liberals come across as intolerant of ordinary Americans today [with] their preference for court decisions and regulatory mandates over democratically debated and approved legislation. This preference for working around the people’s elected representatives feeds all-or-nothing outcomes that are devoid of the accommodations and compromises which almost always feature in any legislative solution.
Comment: Progressives are better than us; “father knows best.”  Why should our betters compromise?  Maybe because lesser folks vote too.

Disgust with Identity Politics

From Monica Crowley, Washington Times:
The left’s multidecade grand plan — to change the very nature of the country by moving it toward European-style socialism — reached its pinnacle with Obama. And yet, those statist policies are — paradoxically — greatly responsible for Donald Trump’s win.

Obama had three main goals: to expand government as fast and as widely as possible; the ultimate objective of that was to expand the number of people dependent of government as fast and as widely as possible; and the ultimate objective of that was to leverage it into a permanent Democratic voting majority.

To achieve those goals, he chose to pit Americans against each other in order to make it easier to slide in his radical redistributionist agenda. He divided us by class, gender, race and age. He turned the American motto “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of Many, One”) upside down and into “Out of One, Many.” The American experiment could not go on as it once did if it were driven by divisions and envy rather than uniting values and common goals.
Comment: Clinton, following Obama, played identity politics for all it was worth.  Why? Because she had nothing else to run on — Obama’s economy isn’t working. The irony is our credentialed “betters” don’t deliver prosperity for the middle and working classes.

Trumping the “Race Card”

From Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal:
most liberals and their friends in the media continue to view Trump’s victory through a self-serving racial lens. Today, race is the Democratic Party’s organizing principle. Group identity is a doctrine and group grievances are to be nurtured and exploited politically no matter the damage to civil discourse.
Comment: Riley, who is black, doesn’t like the way Democrats’ focus on race affects our “civil discourse.”  OK, but Riley errs in his use of the word “today” in his sentence, “Today, race is the Democratic Party’s organizing principle.”

Since Vice President (1825-32) John C. Calhoun’s time, Democrats have used race as an “organizing principle,” first to hold the South, then after the 1960s civil rights struggle, to gain the rest of the country.  While the racial hostility target has shifted 180 degrees from blacks to “rednecks,” “Yahoos,” and “white supremacists,” the organizing principle remains the same: win through demonizing a race, not by fixing the economy.

The Democrats’ effort backfired in 2016, when fed-up whites in key northern states got behind Trump.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Election: Trump Derangement Syndrome

Fascist Mussolini                               "Fascist" Trump
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.   .   . They are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

Hillary Clinton

Why do progressives, in response to the Trump phenomenon, insist on “going low” and matching Trump’s name calling?

In his Washington Post article titled, “Donald Trump is actually a fascist,” progressive Michael Kinsley argues that Trump is:
a fascist[, n]ot in the sense of an all-purpose bad guy, but in the sense of somebody who sincerely believes that the toxic combination of strong government and strong corporations.   .   . “Nazism” and “fascism” — are now beyond all respectability. [“Fascist”] means, roughly, combining the power of the state with the power of corporations.  .  . At its most toxic, it is concentration camps.
Set aside the fact that progressives complaining about big government and big business working hand-in-hand is the pot calling the kettle black.  Also, please set aside the fact that, last year, this blog itself compared Trump to the fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.  But that was long before Trump secured the Republican nomination, much less the presidency, and was based partly upon the facial resemblance of the Donald to il Duce (picture). 

Kinsley is calling the person who will be inaugurated in less than six weeks in a nation bound by the U.S. Constitution someone who might put Americans into “concentration camps.”  What is going on?

Here is another example of a mainstream progressive going off the rails — former Atlantic editor James Fallows writing in his old publication of his “Despair .  .  . in the Age of Trump”:
through its cycle of struggle and renewal, the United States is in a continual process of becoming a better version of itself. What I have seen directly over the past decade.   .   .  has reinforced my sense that our current era has been another one of painful but remarkable reinvention, in which the United States is doing more than most other societies to position itself, despite technological and economic challenges, for a new era of prosperity, opportunity, and hope.

And now we have Donald Trump.   .   .  I view Trump’s election as the most grievous blow that the American idea has suffered in my lifetime. The Kennedy and King assassinations and the 9/11 attacks were crimes and tragedies. The wars in Vietnam and Iraq were disastrous mistakes. But the country recovered. For a democratic process to elevate a man expressing total disregard for democratic norms and institutions is worse.
How can Fallows seriously compare today to the terrible years between 1965 and 1974 — assassinations, Vietnam, 58,000 victims of the draft dead, massive unrest throughout the country over war and civil rights, the Democrats torn apart, two presidents driven from office, Watergate -- a constitutional crisis lasting nearly two years?  Fallows lived those years. 

Today, someone “expressing total disregard for democratic norms and institutions is worse.”  Really, worse? Trump is checked by the Constitution, the separation of powers, U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule, the courts, and Fallows’ own media.

“Progressive” means “moving forward or onward:  advancing.”  Fallows’ most significant sentence may be, “the United States is in a continual process of becoming a better version of itself.”  That’s the progressive religion.  The near civil war that was 1960’s America was o.k., because we became “a better version” of ourselves (in progressive eyes at least).  Trump is an appalling step backward, returning to Kinsley’s 1930's fascism, if not exactly the caveman era.

Both Kinsley and Fallows supported Hillary Clinton, who called one-fourth of American voters — not Trump himself — in an election where she needed every vote she could get, “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it” “irredeemable" “deplorables.” 

We documented how divided is America by where people live — either in mostly coastal big cities or elsewhere — and progressive support is particularly concentrated in “the Capitol” (in “Hunger Games” terms) — that combination of wealth and power where both Fallows and Kinsley reside; the “swamp” Trump hopes to “drain”.

No doubt the fact that the “people”, in the form of popular votes cast, supported Clinton over Trump by 2.8 million votes (2.1%) helps explain why progressives are exploding as Trump’s inauguration approaches.  But as the progressive Will Marshall wrote in the “Daily Beast”:
There’s no point in whining about the Electoral College. Team Clinton knew the terrain on which the race would be decided.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Election: GOP Sweep Wide and Deep

“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Selena Zito, Atlantic

“when poor Bill Clinton piped up at strategy sessions and wondered why Hillary’s campaign wasn’t trying to appeal to [working class whites], he was treated as an embarrassing relic, out of touch with the inexorable tide of the future.”

Rich Lowry, New York Post

Who knew Obama’s presidency would turn out like Dwight Eisenhower’s, not Franklin Roosevelt’s?  The personalities of Ike and Obama — radically different.  Ike got along with Democrats; Obama only with Democrats. But their failure to turn personal triumphs into either party victories or wins for their successors — remarkably parallel.

The White House

This blog found in 2010 what has become conventional wisdom; it argued Democrats, at least in presidential years, were building an unassailable demographic majority of unmarried females, racial and ethnic minorities, and youth. But this year contrary to conventional wisdom, Sean Trende in “RealClearPolitics” showed us that:
Donald Trump.   .   .  captured 71% of the two-party vote among whites without college degrees, eclipsing Ronald Reagan’s record-setting mark of 66% in 1984. To put that in perspective, Trump received a larger vote share from whites without college degrees than Hillary Clinton received from Hispanics. Whites without college degrees also happened to cast three times as many votes as Hispanics (and probably more, since people lie about their level of education). To top it off, he performed better among Hispanics and African-Americans than Mitt Romney had four years earlier.
Blue: Clinton; Red: Trump, from Washington Post
Trende further found that:
[since] 2002, African-American [turnout] rates have always lagged Republican rates by around 5%, give or take.  This was true in 2010 as well as 2014.  The exceptions were 2008 and 2012, when [with Obama topping the ballot,] African-American turnout rates exceeded white rates.

the Hispanic share of the electorate has actually increased glacially.  It was 8% of the electorate in 2004, 9% in 2008, 10% in 2012, and 11% in 2016. The fact that Hispanics are increasingly adopting a “white” identity (“racial attrition”) may blunt this growth in the future.

In 2004, white evangelicals were 23% of the electorate, and they cast 78% of their vote for fellow evangelical George W. Bush.  In 2012, they were 26% of the electorate, and gave Mormon Mitt Romney 78% of the vote.  In 2016, Donald J. Trump, a thrice-married man who bragged about sleeping with married women .   .   . won 81% of their vote[, and evangelicals] were once again 26% of the electorate.


Jay Cost, in the conservative Weekly Standard, sums up Obama’s lack of coat tails in congressional elections:
When President Obama took office in 2009, Democrats claimed 257 House seats, 60 Senate seats (after Arlen Specter switched sides), 28 governorships, and total control of 27 state legislatures. Many pundits figured that the Republican party was turning into nothing more than a regional coalition, with little strength outside the South.
Red: Republicans; Blue: Democrats. 2008-15, @ Washington Post  
In the end, no two-term president during the postwar era lost more U.S. House seats than did Obama. While Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012, he did so with 3.6 million fewer votes than in 2008. Cost wrote that “Such a victory is without precedent. Every incumbent president who has won election to a second term did so by increasing his total votes—except Obama.”

John Podhoretz and Noah C. Rothman, writing in the conservative Commentary, marked the decline of Democratic congressional strength from midterm to midterm:
In the 2006 midterms, when an anti-GOP wave began, Democratic candidates for the House received a national total of 42.3 million votes. In the next midterm election, 2010, they received 38.9 million votes, a decline of 9%. In 2014, they were down to 35.6 million votes, a 10% decline from the 2010 midterms. In all, Democrats have gained a total of two seats back from their 2010 low. That means they have suffered a net loss of 61 Democratic elected officials from the House of Representatives in the Obama era.

The States

According to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, GOP control over state legislatures is “more than at any other time in the history of the Republican Party,” now holding “more total seats, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920.”

Podhoretz and Rothman detail the Democrats’ state level wipe-out:
There are some 8,000 elected officials in the United States at the state and federal levels. Between 2009, when Barack Obama took office, and today, as he prepares to retire from it, more than 1,100 Democratic elected officials lost their jobs to Republicans. That number is unprecedented.

Barack Obama entered the White House with his party in control of 62 of the nation’s 99 legislative chambers. By January 2015, Republicans were in control of 68. He then made it a personal mission to help reverse the damage that had caused the ejection of nearly a thousand Democratic state legislators from their seats by voters. He made 150 down-ballot endorsements in 2016 and even hit the trail for a few of them at a time when his personal approval rating was above 50%.

Red: Republicans; Blue: Democrats, @ Washington Post
The result of the president’s direct intercession? The Democrats did worse. On Election Night in 2016, Republicans took full control of the legislatures in Minnesota and Iowa. The Democratic Party’s sole remaining legislative majority in the South, in Kentucky, fell to the GOP for the first time in nearly 100 years. In North Carolina, the GOP held onto veto-proof majorities in state legislatures despite the statewide loss of an unpopular Republican governor. The GOP prevented Democrats from retaking the state Senate in New York.

Red: Republicans; Blue: Democrats. 2008-15, @ Washington Post
Democrats held 31 governorships in 2009. Now they hold 17, having been kicked out of the mansions in Missouri, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Following this year’s election, Republicans have control of all levers of government in 25 states.

Sums up  Kevin Williamson, in the conservative National Review:
the majority of Americans live in states in which there are Republican trifectas [governor plus both legislative houses] or veto-proof legislative majorities. [emphasis added]

Monday, December 05, 2016

Election: Obama is Why Trump Ran

Donald Trump applied to trademark the phrase “Make America Great Again” [in 2012,] six days after President Obama was elected to a second term.

Daily Beast

We all know Trump was really a pro-choice Democrat, friends with fellow New Yorkers the Clintons and New York’s senior senator Chuck Schumer.  We also know, however, the New York elite never embraced the developer from Queens, and that he explored running for president as a Reform Party candidate in 2000.

What may have taken Trump from play to serious presidential candidate was an event in 2011: that year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.  For some reason, most likely irritation over Trump’s repeated questioning of his native-born American status, President Barack Obama decided to rip hard into Trump at the event.  With Trump in the audience and visibly humiliated in front of all these big shots, Obama said:
I know that he’s taken some flack lately—no one is prouder to put this birth-certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to the issues that matter, like: did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And—where are Biggie and Tupac? We all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example—no, seriously—just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice [when a team did not impress, you] didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf—you fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.
 The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik, for one, suspects that
on that night, Trump’s own sense of public humiliation became so overwhelming that he decided, perhaps at first unconsciously, that he would, somehow, get his own back—perhaps even pursue the Presidency after all, no matter how nihilistically or absurdly, and redeem himself.
Trump did not run in 2012, but once Obama was re-elected that year, and three years before he became a declared candidate in 2015, Trump registered his “Make America Great Again” trademark, indicating 1) his seriousness about running, and 2) his strategy for winning.

As Godfather Don Corleone noted, "Revenge is a dish that tastes best .  .  . cold.”

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Election: The Clinton World Defined

“more than one-third of Democrats in the new House come from only three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts. Two-thirds are from either the West Coast or the East Coast.”

Lisa Boothe, Washington Examiner

Many seek to understand how Clinton could win the popular vote over Trump by (now) 2.6 million, yet lose decisively in the Electoral College.  The answer, as Lisa Boothe shows in relation to Democratic domination of East and West Coast representation in Congress, is that progressives concentrate in mostly coastal big cities.

Clinton's Base of Strength

More than one-third of Clinton’s popular vote, 34.3%, came from just six states: the California-New York-Massachusetts concentration Boothe singled out, plus Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington DC’s Virginia suburbs (see map, hit to enlarge).  Clinton’s winning margin over Trump in these six states plus DC metro Virginia totaled 9.2 million votes. That’s 3.6 times Clinton’s total winning margin; wasted extra votes.

These seven states including Virginia (that state's DC suburbs delivered Virginia to Clinton) provided nearly three-fifths (152 electoral votes, see map above) of Clinton’s needed 270.  Yet just a few of the seven's 9.2 million extra votes -- if cast elsewhere -- would have easily given Clinton the 38 electoral votes she so needed beyond the 232 she gained.

The AMTRAK Acela Corridor
Progressives rule California and the Boston-DC so-called “Acela Corridor” (see AMTRAK’s Acela route, hit to enlarge).

Illinois' Cook County (Chicago)
Plus Chicago. Chicago merits recognition because Clinton’s winning margin in Chicago’s Cook County exceeded her Illinois winning margin.  Outside Chicago, Clinton lost Illinois by 216,000 votes.

In the six states plus the Virginia DC suburbs, Clinton won a whopping 63% of the votes that went to either her or Trump.  In the rest of America, Trump won 56% of the two-way vote.

DC's Virginia Suburbs
When one thinks of the Acela Corridor, one thinks of Boston’s and the Ivy League’s academic influence, the concentrated media and financial clout of greater New York City, and the powerhouse DC metro area with its “Hunger Games”-like government-based wealth and power.

Acela means Harvard-MIT, the New York Times, publishing, foundations, Broadway, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, FOX, and the Washington Post. Chicago is “Second City” to all this. California is the entertainment industry and Silicon Valley. Just think, 63% of everyone in these six-plus power states voted Clinton over Trump! 

No wonder “the world” thought Trump was doomed.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Election Prophesy: Pennsylvania

On February 3, 2015, shortly after the 2014 mid-term election, I pointed out that Pennsylvania had become a key swing state, that it was trending Republican (even though the state hadn’t voted GOP for president since 1988).  In “Swinging Pennsylvania. Who knew?”, I wrote:
Pennsylvania has 18 congressional districts, 13 Republican, 5 Democratic. Both houses of the state legislature are Republican. And why not? The bulk of the state is Appalachia (see map [below]), dominated by the lower income white population that is leaving the Democratic Party, their cousins having already delivered West Virginia to the GOP.

Four months later, in a post titled, “Quinnipiac Poll Shock: Trump Catches Clinton in 3 Crucial States,” I called the Quinnipiac Poll “a blog favorite,” because it “rightly considers Pennsylvania, along with Florida and Ohio, one of three swing states that could well decide the 2016 election.”

Finally a year after that, this past June, I published “If 2016 is about race, Trump could win,” where I said the Keystone State “is THE key state, as was Florida to Bush’s win in 2000 and Ohio to Bush’s re-election in 2004.”

Pennsylvania, along with Florida and Ohio which George W. Bush won in both 2000 and 2004, plus all the states Romney had carried in 2012, gave Trump 273 electoral votes of a needed 270, just enough to win.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Election: I was wrong. . . and right.

“my prediction that Clinton was a 100% favorite was a glaring miss. My confidence was not partisan spin. It was based on public data, voting history and some sense of the Clinton campaign’s own models. I played with various state scenarios, and even in the most generous outcomes, could not get Donald J. Trump to 270 electoral votes.  [emphasis added]

David Plouffe, manager of Barack Obama’s winning 2008 campaign who oversaw Obama’s winning 2012 campaign from the White House.

It’s not surprising someone would emerge to take on Obama’s elite rule, with all its faults.  I’m surprised Trump was that person.

I expected the polls were right — Clinton up by 3.3% on election day meant Hillary would be president.  If the polls had instead shown her ahead by 1.7%, her current popular vote victory margin, I would have been less sure.

On June 9, 2016 — six months ago — I demonstrated how Trump could beat Hillary in the Electoral College, while still losing the popular vote.  Here’s that prophetic blog post in full:

Conservative John Podhoretz makes the case that Clinton’s path to victory is much smoother than Trump’s. He’s right. We showed how Trump can win, but added that it importantly depends upon Trump holding every state Romney won, plus Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

It’s important to understand that, contrary to normal thinking, Trump has a better chance of winning the electoral vote than the popular vote.  [emphasis added] That’s counterintuitive because Democrats have more big electoral vote states they will likely carry than does Trump.

The size of the unmarried women + minorities + youth coalition, which we first wrote about in 2010 and which keeps expanding with our minorities' population, shows up best in national polls. But the election will be won within individual states, not in a nationwide referendum. 2016 could see Democrats beating Trump by millions, but still losing in the electoral college. [emphasis added]

Here’s our map showing in brown the eleven states that will decide America’s next leader (click map to enlarge):
If you live in the other 40 (including the District of Columbia) states, the ones marked blue or red, your vote won’t really matter this November.

To win, Trump must hold the Romney states of Arizona (57% non-Hispanic white, 26% Mexican-American), Georgia and North Carolina (two “New South” states with transplanted liberals and large African-American populations). North Carolina, which voted for Obama in 2008 and barely for Romney last time, is particularly at risk for Trump.

Trump then must add Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to win. Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, is THE key state, as was Florida to Bush’s win in 2000 and Ohio to Bush’s re-election in 2004. Obama carried all three twice, and Pennsylvania, 79% white and with its western half the anti-Obama Appalachia coal country ripe to turn to Trump, hasn’t voted Republican since 1988.

Right now, Clinton leads Trump in the poll average for all three, though not by large margins. Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric is expected to complicate his winning Florida, which is only 57% non-Hispanic white (however, only 3% Mexican-American).

But if Trump loses Florida’s 29 electoral votes, there is one other narrow path to victory. That path accounts for the remaining five battleground states on the map above.

Race will be very important in this election. Forget talk of non-border states Colorado or Nevada being in play. [emphasis added] Their relatively heavy Mexican-American populations will help send them to Clinton. (Arizona is different because like Texas, Arizona's long border with Mexico means whites there hold together in the face of the rising Hispanic immigrant tide.)

The race issue cuts two ways. If race is big and noisy, heavily white states may vote more Republican, more anti-Obama/Clinton than they have in the past. [emphasis added] New Hampshire (92% white) voted for Bush in 2000, and Iowa (88% white) voted Bush in 2004. The two states are targets for Trump pick-ups.

If Trump loses Florida and wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, victory will depend upon picking up two of three upper Midwest states: Michigan (16 electoral votes), Minnesota (10), and Wisconsin (10). Wisconsin is 83% white, Minnesota 82%, Michigan 76%. All are mining or Rust Belt and variously suffering in the Obama economy.

The go-white election strategy won’t win over white but progressive Maine, Vermont, and Oregon, but every other state more white than Michigan is either in Trump’s column or on our battleground list. [emphais added] A smart Trump would focus his campaign on the 11 states our map colors brown.

Evidently, Trump was smarter than we realized.  He won Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, barely lost New Hampshire, lost Minnesota by just 1.5%, and won the election.

Monday, November 07, 2016

After the worst election since 1860, is unity possible?

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord”

Isaiah 1:18

Social psychologists Jonathan Haidt and Ravi Iyer, writing in the Wall Street Journal, ask if after this election, “Is it possible for Americans to forgive, accept and carry on working and living together?”

Haidt’s and Iyer’s answer, extrapolated below from their essay, is “Yes.”

Why? “Three time-honored quotations serve as guides.”

1. “Me against my brother, my brothers and me against my cousins, then my cousins and me against strangers.”

—Bedouin saying

Human nature is tribal. But this year, for the first time, more than 40% in each party now see the policies of the other party as being “so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.” Something is broken in American tribalism. It is now “my brothers and me against my cousins” all the time, even when we are threatened by strangers and even when there is no threat at all.

We must find a way to see citizens on the other side as cousins who are sometimes opponents but who share most of our values and interests and are never our mortal enemies.

2. “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?… You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

—Jesus, in Matthew 7:3-5

Our tribal minds are equipped with a powerful tool: shameless hypocrisy. When we think with a particular purpose in mind, often that purpose isn’t to find the truth but to defend ourselves or attack our opponents. Psychologists call this “motivated reasoning.” It is why partisans find it so easy to dismiss scandalous revelations about their own candidate while focusing intently on scandalous revelations about the other candidate. Social media, hackers and Google searches help us find specks in our opponents’ eyes, but technology hasn't forced us to acknowledge the logs in our own.

3. “Nature has so formed us that a certain tie unites us all, but…this tie becomes stronger from proximity.”

—Cicero, “On Friendship”

Humans are tribal, but tribalism can be transcended. The key is proximity. Students become friends with the student whose dorm room is next door more than with a student four doors away. People with one friend from the other party are less likely to hate.

But Americans are losing proximity to those on the other side, spending more time in politically purified settings. Democrats pack cities while rural and exurb areas attract Republicans. Churches split over culture. Social life exists online, in homogeneous virtual communities. Meeting the other side anonymously online often leads to extreme incivility.

Yet we have lasted 240 years so far. Both sides agree America is worth fighting for.

Those who would like to let go of anger November 9 without letting go of one’s moral principles might:

a) Separate feelings about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton from your feelings about their supporters. Don’t assume others like or even agree with their candidate on any particular issue. They may be voting out of fears you don’t understand, and if you knew why, you might empathize.

b) Step back and think about your goals. Would you rather change people or hate them? If you actually want to influence people, know that it is nearly impossible to change people’s minds by arguing. When there is mutual antipathy, there is mutual motivated reasoning, defensiveness and hypocrisy.

Open the heart and open the mind. Cultivate personal relationships with the other side. Spend time together, and let Cicero’s proximity strengthen ties.

As our hearts harden, thinking also calcifies, and we become dogmatic. John Stuart Mill wrote in 1859, “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” So cultivating a few cross-partisan friendships will make you smarter and calmer.

To have a real conversation, approach it skillfully. Open by pointing to a log in your own eye. That signals you aren’t spoiling for combat. Another powerful depolarizing step is praise.

Each of us must decide what kind of person we want to be.  And we must think about the relationship we want with our politically estranged cousins.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

What to do about the Clinton criminal enterprise?

“Clinton Incorporated-- I think it's a racketeering enterprise.   .   . He does the speeches, they put the money in the pocket, she does the favors in the government. It all links up. Why did they destroy 33,000 emails? Because it shows the link.”

Rudy Giuliani, former New York District Attorney

There is enough evidence to back Giuliani’s claim that “Clinton Inc.” is a criminal enterprise.  In short, the Clinton life story is one of getting away with murder, so to speak.

The best evidence this continues is the Wikilinks detailed memo from the inside, from Bill Clinton’s so-called “body” Doug Band, the man who helped make Bill (and Hill) rich. Read the memo, if you still don’t believe.

By now, we know so much about Clinton criminality (wasn't it all there in “House of Cards”?) that it simply cannot continue.  The Clintons' day of reckoning is at hand.

Conservative guru Michael Barone — pointing to another example — said what I believe:
Success breeds failure. That's one of the melancholy lessons you learn in life. The success of policymakers in stamping out inflation in the 1980s and minimizing recessions for two decades also produced policies that contributed to the collapse of the housing and financial markets in 2007-08.
The Clintons got away with it, and got away with it again, then again.  Now, no more.

So here’s what’s going to happen.  If Hillary wins, her world will turn on her.  The establishment’s perfect solution isn’t “House of Cards.”  It’s “The American President” or “The West Wing” — progressive rule without the impossibly-corrupt Clintons.  Maybe Hillary stays as president, maybe she is forced to resign in favor of Tim Kaine.  But in any case, others will exercise the power.

If Trump wins,  the establishment will hem Trump in and eventually destroy his presidency.  Trump’s latitude for maneuver will be severely restricted.  Trump will enjoy no mandate; he will have won only because he wasn’t as bad as the criminal he opposed.

I hope I'm wrong and Trump does take the establishment down.

Monday, October 31, 2016

DEMocrats = Destructive Election Manipulators

Democrats are better than Republicans at rigging elections.

As conservative scholar Victor Davis Hanson has written, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election strategy has significantly included “a series of Democratic-planted IEDs about Trump’s foul mouth that exploded at preplanned and opportune moments.”

The anti-Trump tape release, followed by women surfacing to say that the taped comments were true, fits a Democratic Party pattern of unloading extremely negative trash in the campaign’s final weeks.

In 2000, in the campaign’s last five days, A Maine TV reporter acting on a tip unearthed a court record of George W. Bush’s 1976 Maine DUI arrest.  It nearly cost Bush that election.

In 2006, Rahm Emanuel orchestrated a late-campaign release of information about Republican Congressman Mark Foley’s unseemly pursuit of male pages, information that came into his possession a year earlier.  The released information dominated the campaign’s final weeks, and helped turn the House from GOP to Democratic that year.

In 2012, Mitt Romney in May, well before the GOP nomination, told a fundraising event audience:

There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what ... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... and so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

This was called 2012’s best quote, anywhere. Why not? It probably cost Romney the 2012 election. Had the quote surfaced before the GOP nomination, Republicans could have replaced Romney with a more appealing alternative.

The May quote was secretly filmed by a Democrat sympathizer, but didn’t appear until the progressive Mother Jones published it on September 18, 15 days before the October 3 first presidential debate between Romney and Barack Obama.  Early voting (except in North Carolina, which started even earlier) began September 22, 4 days after the “47%” video hit the media.

In 2016, the Trump/“Access Hollywood” tape surfaced in the Washington Post October 7, two days before the October 9 second Trump-Clinton debate.  The tape, which was eleven years old, was supposed to drop just a few days earlier. 

NBC, however, which controlled the tape (“Access Hollywood” is owned by NBC), was working to edit Billy Bush out of the Trump tape’s content — difficult (also dishonest) because Bush was very much a part of the tape, egging on Trump’s unacceptable comments.  Bush was an NBC personality and co-anchor of “Today” prior to his being fired once the tape came out.

Early voting in 2016 (except in North Carolina, which started even earlier) began September 23.  If the Trump/“Access Hollywood” tape had come out 4 days before early voting began in 2016 — as Romney’s “47%” tape did in 2012 — it would have hit on September 19.

The ideal dates for wreaking the Romney and Trump presidential campaigns appear to have been just before early voting began.  Democrats met that target in 2012, missed by roughly two weeks in 2016, but were still early enough to ruin Trump’s campaign.

Needless to say, had NBC released its 2005 Trump/“Access Hollywood” tape in the Spring instead of October, Trump wouldn’t have been the GOP nominee, and Trump wouldn’t have been here now, easing Clinton’s path to the White House.

DEM = Destructive Election Manipulators.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Vote for Clinton, Vote for “Blatant Corruption”

Quotation without comment.

A Hillary Clinton presidency will be built, from the ground up, on self-dealing, crony favors, and an utter disregard for the law. This isn’t a guess. It is spelled out, in black and white, in the latest bombshell revelation[s] from WikiLeaks.

The Clintons spent their White House years explaining endless sleazy financial deals, and even capping their exit with a scandal over whether Bill was paid to pardon financier Marc Rich. They know the risks. And yet they geared up the foundation and these seedy practices even as Mrs. Clinton was making her first bid for the presidency. They continued them as she sat as secretary of state. They continue them still, as she nears the White House.

This is how the Clintons operate. They don’t change. Any one who pulls the lever for Mrs. Clinton takes responsibility for setting up the nation for all the blatant corruption that will follow.

Kim Strassel, Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hillary: A Crook Running the U.S.A.?

Edited from the words of Mike Goodwin, in the conservative New York Post:
Following Richard Nixon’s 1974 resignation over Watergate, President Gerald Ford declared, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” The constitutional system prevailed because both parties confronted the crisis.
Republican Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy, Republican William Ruckelshaus, resigned rather than follow Republican Nixon’s order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon himself resigned when fellow Republicans signaled they were prepared to impeach and convict him.
That smooth transfer of power marked a ringing triumph of justice. The fundamental principle that nobody in America is above the law was upheld.
Now imagine another scenario. America wakes up on Nov. 9 to President-elect Hillary Clinton, and to the cold reality that the same principle of equal justice is null and void.
No rational observer could possibly think otherwise.

Here, from a Wall Street Journal editorial:
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of Hillary and Bill, steered money to the campaign of the wife of a top FBI official. Political organizations under McAuliffe’s control gave more than $675,000 to the 2015 Virginia state Senate campaign of Jill McCabe, the wife of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. Mr. McCabe, director James Comey’s right-hand man, helped oversee the probe into whether Clinton mishandled classified information on her server.
[Are] voters to believe that Mr. McCabe as the No. 3 official at the FBI had nothing to do with the biggest, most sensitive case at that agency[?] This strains credulity. Before he became No. 3 at the FBI Mr. McCabe ran the bureau’s Washington, D.C. field office that provided resources to the Clinton probe. Campaign-finance records show that 98% of the McAuliffe donations to Mrs. McCabe came after the FBI launched its Clinton probe. . . Comey, the self-styled Boy Scout, somehow didn’t think any of this would look suspicious?
And from Daniel J. Flynn, in the conservative American Spectator:
The loss of faith in [FBI Chief James Comey] stems in part from a dishonest rendering of the decision not to indict Mrs. Clinton as unanimous rather than unilateral and in part from the bureau’s decision to destroy evidence in the case and grant blanket immunity to Clinton underlings for no possible prosecutorial purpose.
“There is a consensus among the employees that the director has lost all credibility and that he cannot lead the bureau,” [former U.S. attorney Joseph] diGenova explains. “They are comparing him to L. Patrick Gray, the disgraced former FBI director who threw Watergate papers into the Potomac River.
“When the director said that it was a unanimous decision not to recommend prosecution, that was a lie,” diGenova points out. “In fact, the people involved in the case were outraged at his decision, which he made by himself.”
The Supreme Court's “Equal Justice Under Law?” Right.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Stolen Podesta Wikileaks Emails Reveal People Don’t Matter

Quotation without comment.

From Mark Hemingway, in the conservative Weekly Standard:
America's greatest novelists could not have concocted a tale that so perfectly confirms dark suspicions about how the liberal elites running America really operate. Taken in total, the picture Podesta's emails present is of a man whose tentacles are adroitly moving all the levers of power. In retrospect, Podesta's casual attitude toward Clinton's email problems doesn't look oblivious—it looks prescient. Why should he worry about disgrace for Hillary Clinton when he and his friends in politics, business, and the media dictate what becomes a scandal?
In this respect, Podesta's emails help explain why the FBI ignored basic procedure, destroyed the computers of Clinton aides in "side agreements" to their immunity deals, and then refused to charge Clinton for egregious violations of laws governing classified information.
According to FBI files released in late September, Obama was emailing Clinton using a pseudonym.   .   . Had the Department of Justice charged Hillary Clinton, the nature of the president's correspondence with her might have quickly emerged as an issue. Pretty soon all of America would have been asking: What did Obama know about Clinton's illegal email server and when did he know it?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Clinton’s Clueless National Elite

The trouble with our current national elite is they really, deeply, truly believe they are better. They are the product of high SAT scores and elite universities, trained to rule, a bicoastal meritocracy in control of government, the media, the arts/entertainment, and the global, knowledge-based economy.

The old land-based aristocracy understood they held their exalted status via dumb luck. Our meritocracy is more arrogant, believing brains earn them the right to rule. Therefore, they cannot defer to the country’s vast, inferior majority. But the U.S. inconveniently is a democracy that proclaims all people equal. That’s not meritocracy!

Thus our outnumbered elite know they must by “hook or crook” maintain their status. That means rigged elections (see “Undocumented Democrats”). It means corruption (as in “Clinton Foundation”). It means Hillary’s “public” (false) and “private” (real) positions, as discussed here.

Hillary was raised a white-privileged Goldwater Republican, with no love for the masses. In college, along with many of her fellow late ‘60s anti-Vietnam elitists, she made a smooth transition from reactionary to radical without dropping her detachment from the masses, re-tagged “rednecks”.

Hillary was early to discover Saul Alinsky, even before he wrote Rules for Radicals (1971). Roger Kimball, in the conservative Washington Examiner, tells us that in 1969, Hillary wrote "'There Is Only the Fight ...': An Analysis of the Alinsky Model," a 92-page Wellesley College senior thesis that at the Clintons' request, remained embargoed until after they leave the White House.

We know that Alinsky:
  • admiringly cited Lenin's observation that the Bolsheviks "stood for getting power through the ballot, but would reconsider after they got the guns.” 
  • practiced deviousness, saying there would be "absolutely nothing here that the police department or the ushers or any other servants of the establishment could do about [trashing]. The law would be completely paralyzed.” 
  • preached mouthing various nostrums about the welfare of children, access to healthcare, etc.; one might rail against inequality, sexism, racism, homophobia, etc., but at the end of the day, politics was all about the acquisition of power and life was all about politics. 
  • in Rule No. 13 advocated, "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it ... All issues must be polarized if action is to follow.” 
  • in Rule No. 4 said, "Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules,” adding, "You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian can live up to Christianity.” 
As Alinsky says, it’s all about power — the “private,” real side of defeating the enemy. Or, as Hillary herself described her opponents:
You know, just to be grossly generalist, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. . . Now some of these folks, they are irredeemable. . .
Comment: What’s so very wrong about the Alinsky/Clinton approach to power is that the differences between people are far less important than their similarities. We are all flawed. A century ago, the white world went crazy believing skin color determined who should rule — supposedly based upon the “science” of evolution. Then, it was about superior v. inferior races.

A world war later, have we not learned anything? Brains no more divide us than did skin color. In a democracy, meritocracy is doomed.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s Hidden Campaign: Can’t Make This Up

Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein with Hillary Clinton
Controlling the “unaware and compliant”  

“we’ve all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry.”

Hillary Clinton supporter Bill Ivey (email to campaign chief John Podesta)  

Putting down Catholics (and Evangelicals)

John Halpin of the Clinton front “Center for American Progress”:
Ken Auletta's latest piece on Murdoch in the New Yorker starts off with the aside that both Murdoch and Robert Thompson, managing editor of the WSJ, are raising their kids Catholic. Friggin' Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the SC [Supreme Court] and think tanks to the media and social groups.
It's an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.
Clinton Press Secretary Jennifer Palmieri:
I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals.
Wikileaks via “Independent Journal Review”

From Clinton’s private speeches (in Investors Business Daily):  

Fool the public:
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.
IBD comment: Believe one thing in public, another thing in private: That's a pretty good working definition of hypocrisy.  

Open borders:
My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it.
Asians and Jews up; blacks, Muslims, Gypsies down:
The main reason behind successful immigration should be painfully obvious to even the most dimwitted of observers: Some groups of people are almost always highly successful given only half a chance (Jews, Hindus/Sikhs and Chinese people, for example), while others (Muslims, blacks and Roma, for instance) fare badly almost irrespective of circumstances.
Wikileaks titles for speeches delivered to Goldman Sachs and others:

"Clinton Talks About Holding Wall Street Accountable Only for Political Reasons"

"Clinton Suggests Wall Street Insiders Are What Is Needed to Fix Wall Street"

"Clinton Touts Her Relationship to Wall Street as a Senator”  

Why the hidden hypocrisy?

In our history, first came the shock of realizing the people are sovereign. In the U.S., that began with the election of 1800, when power passed from the Federalists to Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party, the pro-French-revolution rabble of farmers and decentralists who won an election where each side deployed its own controlled journals in an all-out dirty war.

The next shock came in the 1828 election, when Andrew Jackson’s popular-based Democratic Party overturned the old order, and at Jackson’s inauguration his common rabble tromped their mud-laden boots all over White House rugs and furniture. Abraham Lincoln’s minority-vote win in 1860 against three opponents, which put the new Republican Party in control of the North and triggered a Civil War, added a third shock to electoral continuity.

After each shock, the country’s moneyed elite adjusted to the new reality, working to insure the newcomers’ leaders and their followers came under the national elite’s control. The Republicans set the tone in post-Civil War America, with business and land-based wealth controlling most elections (14 of 18) from 1860 to the Crash of 1929.

Since 1930-32, Democrats have learned how a meritocracy of the “best and brightest” can hold power by manipulating shifting coalitions of the government-dependent, winning the popular vote in 13 of the last 21 presidential elections and holding the House for all but 4 years from 1930 to 1994.

Of course, a minority needs its “private” exchanges in order to control a “public” majority. The “private” works at fooling “a majority of the people some of the time” — that “some” time being each presidential election. Seeing into Hillary Clinton’s private world helps us understand how the elite fools us.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ignorant Washington Elite Exposed

I am so pleased about publication of What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People, by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg of Johns Hopkins. It shows what we suspected but had not seen in proof — our Washington D.C. elite thinks of itself as our betters (see nearby chart; click to enlarge).

Bachner and Ginsberg polled staffers from the White House and Capitol Hill, career civil servants, and private lobbyists and others who work closely with government. We learn from their work and from Kyle Smith’s accompanying New York Post article that:
  • The insiders failed simple multiple-choice quizzes: 65% guessing median household income is lower than $52,000 a year, four out of five underestimating the white share of the population (78%), 64% underestimating the cohort aged 25 and up with a high school diploma (85%), and 80% guessing the homeownership rate is 62% or lower (poll says 67%, but home ownership is now down to 64%). 
  • Like President Obama, who tells us terrorists are no more likely to kill you than your bathtub, the Washington elite thinks Islamic extremism is under control. Yet 71% of the public calls terrorism either a huge problem or a moderately big one. 
  • When a congressman asked, on behalf of the taxpayers, the chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to talk about how much the agency’s new headquarters would cost (an estimated $125 million), director Richard Cordray replied, “Why does that matter to you?” 
  • Franklin Township, NJ residents discovered in 2011 that they couldn’t send a tractor over to remove a tree that fell into a creek and caused flooding. They needed federal permission first, because the feds classified the stream as a “Class C-1 creek.” Thus flooding continued for 12 days, damaging many homes before the federal permit finally arrived.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Sunday Townhall: A Civil Debate?

Townhall Principals Cooper, Raddatz, Clinton, Trump
On “Hannity” (10/5/16, @27 minute mark), pollster Frank Luntz offered Trump (unsolicited) advice on how in Sunday’s “Town Hall” Trump can improve his debate performance:
  1.  Be specific, say what you will do in your administration's first 24 hours, include a forensic audit because folks think government wastes money. 
  2. Ask the audience a question, such as “How many of you feel safer than you did 8 years ago?” 
  3. Ask viewers at home “Which one of us is more likely to bring about the change you desire?"
Overall, “take responsibility, show humility, lower the decibel level because you are interacting with real people, not a moderator.”

Good advice. But what about the story the mainstream media and last week’s debate moderator, NBC’s Lester Holt, insist on ignoring? Will Trump be able to get any of this in?

Paul Sperry at the conservative New York Post writes about how upset FBI agents are in the wake of that agency’s failure to mount a real investigation of Hillary Clinton’s crimes. As Sperry reported:
  • Comey allowed immunity for witnesses that came with “outrageous” side deals preventing agents from searching for any computer documents written after the Congressional subpoena, especially messages from former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills to Clinton’s server administrator regarding destruction of evidence. 
  • Comey accepted FBI destruction of Mills’ laptop, denying Congress the chance to look for destroyed evidence and making the FBI a party to the crime. 
  • The witnesses Comey immunized suffered “chronic lapses in memory, made unsubstantiated claims of attorney-client privilege upon tougher questioning and at least two gave demonstrably false statements.” 
  • Comey allowed Clinton a “voluntary” witness interview on a major holiday, and let ex-chief of staff Mills sit in on the interview, even though she, too, was supposedly under investigation. 
  • Clinton’s interview lasted just 3½ hours, and despite 40 bouts of amnesia, she wasn’t called back. Three days later, Comey cleared her of criminal wrongdoing. 
Said retired FBI agent Dennis V. Hughes, the first chief of the FBI’s computer investigations unit,“The FBI has politicized itself, and its reputation will suffer for a long time. I hold Director Comey responsible.”

Retired FBI agent Michael M. Biasello, calling “cowardly” Comey’s decision not to seek charges against Clinton, commented:
Comey has singlehandedly ruined the reputation of the organization. The accommodations afforded Clinton and her aides are unprecedented, which is another way of saying this outcome was by design. Had myself or my colleagues engaged in behavior of the magnitude of Hillary Clinton, as described by Comey, we would be serving time in Leavenworth.
The latest reporting adds to evidence we provided earlier that Comey in effect abetted Clinton’s obstruction of justice. Will Clinton II really end up as Nixon II?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Watergate II: FBI Director Comey Complicit in Crime

FBI's L. Patrick Gray                        FBI's James Comey
In 1972, Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray learned about the White House connection to Watergate, didn’t himself participate in the cover-up, but failed to expose it. As a consequence, the Senate declined to confirm Gray as FBI director. Gray resigned before major evidence against President Nixon became public.

Now we have another FBI director acting to protect the administration that pays his salary. More and more the Hillary Affair is looking like Watergate, though this time, the media switching sides is now helping the coverup.

Thank goodness for Republicans in Congress and for Wall Street Journal reporter Kim Strassel. They are putting the pieces together of a government conspiracy to obstruct justice, one guarded by FBI Director James Comey.

Strassel’s reporting on Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee questioning of Comey zeroed in on two exchanges:  

Question 1.

Rep. Tom Marino (R., Pa.), an ex-Justice Department prosecutor who knows how investigations work, asked Comey why Hillary Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills was offered immunity in return for turning over her laptop, a laptop, according to Strassel, “Comey admitted investigators were very keen to obtain.” Marino wondered why Comey didn't simply convene a grand jury, get a subpoena, and seize the laptop?

Strassel writes:
Comey’s answer was enlightening: “It’s a reasonable question. . . . Any time you are talking about the prospect of subpoenaing a computer from a lawyer—that involves the lawyer’s practice of law—you know you are getting into a big megillah” [Yiddish for a long involved story].
The key words: “The lawyer’s practice of law.” What Mr. Comey was referencing here is attorney-client privilege. [But] here’s the rub: When Mills worked at the State Department she was not acting as Clinton’s personal lawyer. She was the secretary's chief of staff.
Mills was allowed to get away with this “attorney-client privilege” nonsense only because she claimed that she did not know about Clinton’s server until after they had both left the State Department. Ergo, no questions about the server.
Question 2.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) showed Comey an email Mills sent in 2010 to Justin Cooper, Clinton’s personal employee charged with maintaining her private server. The email reads: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Cooper responds: “Ur funny. We are on the same server.”

As Strassel makes clear:
When Clinton had an email problem, Mills . . . called a privately employed Clinton aide and asked specifically about Clinton’s “server.” She did this as chief of staff at the State Department. Chaffetz asked Comey why the FBI [claimed] that Mills was ignorant about the server until later.
Comey suddenly sounded like a man with something to hide. “I don’t remember exactly, sitting here,” he said, in what can only be called the FBI version of “I don’t recall.” . . Really? Only a few minutes before he had explained that the Justice Department was forced to issue immunity to Mills because she had asserted attorney-client privilege. Yet he couldn’t remember all the glaring evidence proving she had no such privilege?
Mills was part of a criminal scheme. [Comey] could have offered immunity in return for the real goods on Hillary. But going that route would have required grand juries, subpoenas, warrants and indictments—all things that Comey clearly wanted to avoid.
As in Watergate I, the FBI seems to be aiding the administration’s “obstruction of justice”.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Watergate v. Clinton's Server: Media Switches Sides

Jonathan Turley is a distinguished law professor at George Washington University, D.C.  Turley is clearly distressed at the immunity the Justice Department awarded key potential witnesses in the Hillary Clinton affair:
Of all of the individuals who would warrant immunity, most would view [Cheryl] Mills as the very last on any list. If one assumes that there may have been criminal conduct, it is equivalent to immunizing H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman in the investigation of Watergate. Mills appears repeatedly at critical moments as one of the most senior figures making decisions or monitoring events, including being informed as Clinton chief of staff of the search for emails by the State Department in response to a Freedom of Information demand in 2012 (three years before the disclosure of Clinton’s use of a private email server).
What do we know about Clinton's separate email server, and the related destruction of over 30,000 emails?  We know that after Watergate had forced Richard Nixon out of the White House, Nixon said failure to destroy the secret tapes of his private White House conversations was his "biggest mistake."

Clinton knows all about Watergate.  She was Democratic staff on the House Judiciary Committee's investigation of Watergate.  So it's no surprise that Clinton was determined to block her Watergate-type downfall by destroying any possible records of her crimes, and by making sure her aides and underlings won't be forced to testify against her.

In spite of his failure to destroy tapes, "obstruction of justice" is the crime that brought down Nixon.  Why is Clinton getting away with destroying evidence?  Answer: the media.

Our nation enshrined "freedom of the press" in the Constitution to be a check on abusive governmental power.  Press freedom worked as it should in Watergate.  The media, along with our independent judiciary and an executive branch special prosecutor, took down Nixon.

This time it's so different.  The media no longer operates as an independent check on executive overreach.  Today's media works hand in glove with the executive breach to keep progressives in the White House, helping them run America on behalf of our ruling elite.  Thus we live with weak investigations of Hillary's crimes, along with strong efforts to protect her stonewalling of the truth.

Fortunately, the mainstream media is no longer the force it once was, and at least some truth is reaching the people who still remain sovereign.