Sunday, October 23, 2016

Child abuse in London

The Guardian reports in the UK,
A seven-year-old boy who was “living life entirely as a girl” has been removed from his mother’s care after a ruling by a high court judge.

Mr Justice Hayden said the woman had caused her son “significant emotional harm”, and he criticised local authority social services staff responsible for the youngster’s welfare.

The judge said the woman had been “absolutely convinced” the youngster “perceived himself as a girl” and was determined that he should be a girl. He said the boy was now living with his father, who is separated from the woman. The youngster still saw his mother.

Hayden said “flares of concern” had been sent from a “whole raft of multi-disciplinary agencies”, and he could not understand why so many concerns had been “disregarded so summarily” by social services staff.

The judge said social services staff had “moved into wholesale acceptance that [the boy] should be regarded as a girl”. He said he wanted the council to undertake a review of the “social work response” to the case. A council spokesperson said bosses had already begun a review.

Details of the case emerged on Friday in a ruling by the judge after private hearings in the family division of the high court in London.

Hayden said no one involved in the case – including the local authority – could be identified. The judge also barred the woman from revealing specifics of the case in any media interviews. He said he was afraid that an information jigsaw could be created that might lead to the boy’s identity being revealed.

The judge said he had analysed evidence from the boy’s parents, local authority social workers and a psychologist. He indicated the boy’s parents had separated some years ago. The boy had stayed with his mother.

Family court litigation had started about three years ago after the father raised concerns about not having contact with his son. A lower-ranking judge had authorised a “wide-ranging” inquiry and local authority social services staff had begun investigations.

The boy’s mother “told me that [he] was ‘living in stealth’ by which was meant, she explained, that he was living life entirely as a girl”, said Hayden. “He dressed, at all times, like a girl and, it transpired, had been registered at a new general practitioner’s as a girl.”

The judge added: “I was also left in no doubt that [the mother] was absolutely convinced that [the boy] perceived himself as a girl.” Hayden said his “overwhelming impression” was that the woman “believes herself to be to fighting for [her son’s] right to express himself as a girl”

He said the woman had told him that the boy “expressed disdain for his penis”. He added: “I consider that [the mother] has caused significant emotional harm to [her son] in her active determination that he should be a girl.”

Hayden said the boy had settled well in the care of his father and his father’s partner. “I have been told that [the father] and his partner were shocked when they first saw [the boy] by the extent to which he appeared to be a girl, both in appearance and in mannerism,” said the judge. “However, what is striking is how well [the boy] has settled down.”

The judge added: “I have noted from reports that the boy] has become interested in Power Rangers, SpongeBob, superheroes and is constantly finding new interests … It is striking that most of [the boy’s] interests are male-oriented.

“I am entirely satisfied, both on the basis of the reports and [the father’s] evidence at this hearing, that he has brought no pressure on (the boy) to pursue masculine interests. [The boy’s] interests and energy are entirely self-motivated.”

Amazon is not worried about offending Catholics; just Muslims.

Amazon deleted the burqa costume from this year's Halloween offering, but kept the "sexy nun" one. They are not worried about offending Catholics.

The Clintons in Haiti

Dinesh D'Souza wrote this piece in July 2015 for the National Review, explaining the activities of the Clintons and Clinton cronies in Haiti.

Color me skeptical!

Nate Silver's Five Thirty Eight blog has the reputation of being the go-to blog for statistical analysis of everything from sports to politics. Recently, though, I have begun to doubt their objectivity, as illustrated in this piece entitled,
Election Update: Trump May Depress Republican Turnout, Spelling Disaster For The GOP

Depress turnout? Trump is the one who gets "yuge" turnouts day after day on the campaign trail. Color me very skeptical of Five Thirty Eight's objectivity.

The Director of Wikileaks has mysteriously died!

Fire Andrea Mitchell reports,
Gavin MacFadyen becomes the fifth to die this year who was involved with exposing Clinton corruption. The cause of Gavin MacFadyen’s death is currently unknown. Like usual.

Is Planet Nine tilting the sun?

First they have to find Planet Nine.

h/t Nancy Reyes

Entice, then betray!

David Cloud reports in the LA Times,
Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.
Read more here.

Drugs, terrorists, and our addictions

Dan Miller in Panama writes,
Most heroin consumed in America enters across our southern border.

hat’s the border that Trump wants to close and Hillary wants to keep open for the Mexican criminal cartels, rapists, other criminals and potential Democrat voters; U.S. citizen or non-U.S. citizen? What difference it make now? Just play Catch and Release.

Heroin is not the only “recreational” drug transiting our southern border.

The author quotes an article by Joseph Wouk,
[D]eeper and more alarming than the Venezuelan homicide toll, there appears to be an imminent threat to the entire Western hemisphere from partnerships between Venezuelan drug traffickers and terrorist networks like Hamas and Hezbollah, two groups that act a proxies for Iran.

Together, terrorism and illegal drugs represent a significant export for Venezuela. Iran and Venezuela partner together to move terrorist cells and drugs to hubs in the United States and throughout North America.

Hezbollah’s annual budget of more than 100 million dollars is provided by the Iranian government directly and through a complex system of finance cells scattered around the world, from Bangkok and Paraguay to Michigan and North Carolina.

Far from being the passive beneficiaries of drug-trafficking expats and sympathizers, Hezbollah has high-level officials directly involved in the South American cocaine trade and its most violent cartels, including the Mexican crime syndicate Los Zetas. Hezbollah’s increasing foothold in the cocaine trade is facilitated by an enormous Lebanese diaspora.

At the same time, the U.S. administration continues to purchase 10% of its oil (roughly 300 million barrels per year) from Venezuela, the same entity that it sanctioned in 2011 for shipping gasoline to Iran.

This is all happening while terrorist groups are regularly connecting to drug cartels in the region, and forging a deepening narco-terror machine that in turn is funding terrorist activities.
Read more here.

He doesn't see himself as a victim!

Arek Trenholm was born with a condition called spina bifida, which impairs the development of the spinal cord.

The 16-year-old has been wheelchair-bound for 10 years now. But at the sight of the red, white and blue, he hoisted himself up to pay homage.

The teen and his family were outside his uncle Myron Leggett’s photography studio in Leesburg, Florida to watch a high school homecoming parade. It was when the junior ROTC marched by with the American flag that he used his arms to rise up out of his wheelchair.
Read more here.


Bill Clinton was proud of Gennifer Flowers, with whom he had a 12-year affair, which began three months after he married Hillary. He bragged to an Arkansas State Trooper that Gennifer
"could suck a tennis ball through a garden hose.”
Read more here.

Internet vulnerability

David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth report in the New York Times,
Chester Wisniewski, a principal computer research scientist at Sophos, a security company, said that attacks like the one on Dyn “might be the beginning of a new era of internet attacks conducted via ‘smart’ things.”

“There are tens of millions more insecure ‘smart’ things that could cause incredible disruptions, if harnessed,” Mr. Wisniewski added in an email.

It is possible, investigators say, that the attack on Dyn was conducted by a criminal group that wanted to extort the company. Or it could have been done by “hacktivists.” Or a foreign power that wanted to remind the United States of its vulnerability. The answer may not come by Election Day, but the next wave of attacks very well could.
Read more here.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 about it?

Andrew McCarthy believes that for mishandling ‘top secret’ information and lying about it, Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted. He writes about this week's guilty plea by Marine General Cartwright
to making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating his mishandling of classified information. The general admits to falsely concealing his communications with two journalists. They involved “Stuxnet,” a covert American–Israeli operation to infect the computer systems that controlled Iran’s main nuclear-enrichment facility. The information was top secret, regarding a crucial program. Its exposure caused diplomatic problems and threatens our spy agencies’ relationships with foreign intelligence services, which are based on the ability to keep secrets secret.

...In light of General Cartwright’s prosecution for lying about his mishandling of classified information, it is worth revisiting Mrs. Clinton’s representation to the FBI that she did not know what “(C)” meant. For four years, Clinton was secretary of state, a job in which classified information is stock-in-trade. On starting her tenure, Clinton signed a document acknowledging that she had “received a security indoctrination concerning the nature and protection of classified information.” In the last paragraph, right over her signature, Clinton acknowledges that she has been provided with the aforementioned executive order signed by her husband in 1995 — the one that explains, in painstaking detail, what classified information at the confidential level is.

Well, in those classified documents she studied lo those dozen years, the “(C)” designation is ubiquitous. It often appears numerous times in a single document — even on a single page. Yet, despite spending a decade-plus as a daily, top-level consumer of classified information, Clinton looked a room full of FBI agents and federal prosecutors in the eye and told them she didn’t know what the “(C)” designation meant.

Hillary Clinton said she did not know what “(C)” meant. Hillary Clinton told the FBI she could not recall any training regarding how classified information was to be handled, and yet she wrote extensively about it in her memoir, and — as a condition of getting access to such information — she signed a government declaration attesting that she had gotten precisely such training.

This week, after General Cartwright’s guilty plea, the Justice Department and the FBI thumped their chests and told us that if any government official, no matter how powerful, mishandles classified information and then lies about it, that official will be prosecuted — at least for the false statements.

Well . . . how about it?
Read more here.

I would vote for this guy (and his wife)!

Every river basin in the United States

h/t Mike Miles

Something similar is going to happen this year.

Here is what Trump plans to do. What's not to like?

Click to enlarge.
h/t Bookworm

2016 will be a repeat surprise

Don't worry!

Having too much fun on the farm today

Do I look like a man who cares whether or not his shirt is tucked in?

Are you a cowardly #NeverTrumper?

Bookworm writes,
...what makes the most prominent #NeverTrumpers’ position especially disreputable is that they live in such Blue states that their votes do not matter (e.g., New York). If you’re engaging in a purely symbolic act that has no real world consequences, you can do whatever the heck you want and justify your actions as existing on some higher moral plane.

The problem is that the #NeverTrumpers, rather than justifying their geographic ability to stand on the sidelines without getting their hands dirty, are vigorously and aggressively attempting to sway people who live in swing states, where the votes do matter. As to those voters, the outcome within their states matters greatly and is entirely binary: It’s Hillary or Donald. Or to put it another way, corrupt, incompetent, and anti-American versus vulgar, competent, and respectful of America’s virtues, strengths and traditions. Swing state voters who take these uber-moral #NeverTrumpers seriously are the ones who will propel Hillary to the White House.


Bookworm writes
Huma Abedin’s Mom, Dad, and brother have all worked for Saudi-funded organizations that promote sharia law and that have links with violent Wahhabi entities — and that Huma worked for those organizations herself.

Some important research about coffee (funded by the coffee industry)

Scientists have discovered that a daily espresso, teamed with a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables, has a protective effect on the eyes.

They found that coffee consumption can help ward off age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.

The debilitating condition already affects 600,000 people in Britain and is set to increase significantly in the next few years as people live longer.

Another article tells us when to drink coffee (not first thing in the morning.)

Here's one more reason to drink coffee:
Scientists say the brew, enjoyed by millions as the perfect pick me up, is rich in antioxidants which protect the brain and heart.

A review of previous studies found a few cups a day made deadly heart attacks and strokes 21 per cent less likely.

It comes a week after the same scientists, funded by the coffee industry, found the same consumption level cuts the chance of suffering dementia by over a quarter.


The New York Times has a report on yesterday's internet attacks.
...the attack appears to have relied on hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras, baby monitors and home routers that have been infected — without their owners’ knowledge — with software that allows hackers to command them to flood a target with overwhelming traffic.

...Security researchers have long warned that the increasing number of devices being hooked up to the internet, the so-called Internet of Things, would present an enormous security issue. And the assault on Friday, security researchers say, is only a glimpse of how those devices can be used for online attacks.

Dyn, based in Manchester, N.H., said it had fended off the assault by 9:30 a.m. But by 11:52 a.m., Dyn said it was again under attack. After fending off the second wave of attacks, Dyn said at 5 p.m. that it was again facing a flood of traffic.

...Dyn is one of many outfits that host the Domain Name System, or DNS, which functions as a switchboard for the internet. The DNS translates user-friendly web addresses like into numerical addresses that allow computers to speak to one another. Without the DNS servers operated by internet service providers, the internet could not operate.

...“This is a strong argument for why we should not allow voters to send their voted ballots over the internet.”
Read more here.

"New World Hackers" disconnect the internet for many

AP's Big Story today is about yesterday's attack on the internet.
Members of a shadowy collective that calls itself New World Hackers claimed responsibility for the attack via Twitter. They said they organized networks of connected "zombie" computers called botnets that threw a staggering 1.2 terabits per second of data at the Dyn-managed servers.

The collective has also claimed responsibility for cyberattacks against Islamic State. The two said about 30 people have access to the @NewWorkdHacking Twitter account. They claim 20 are in Russia and 10 in China. "Prophet" said he is in India. "Zain" said he is in China. The two claimed to their actions were "good," presumably because they highlighted internet security problems.

Another collective member the AP previously communicated with via direct message called himself "Ownz" and identified himself as a 19-year-old in London. He told the AP that the group — or at least he — sought only to expose security vulnerabilities.

During the attack on the ESPN site, "Ownz" was asked if the collective made any demands on sites it attacked, such as demanding blackmail money. "We will make one demand actually. Secure your website and get better servers, otherwise be attacked again," he said.

Unconstitutional censorship of free speech

Kevin Williamson writes,
Mrs. Clinton seeks to unmoor the Supreme Court from the Constitution in order to pursue her own repressive and self-interested political program, namely the censorship of publications, organizations, and institutions that are critical of her.

Lost in all of the deeply stupid rhetoric (“Money isn’t speech!”) surrounding the Citizens United case is the fundamental issue that was at question, to wit whether the federal government can censor films of which it disapproves. The film in question was called Hillary: The Movie, and it was very critical of Mrs. Clinton while she was seeking the Democratic nomination in 2008. The government attempted to forbid the distribution of the film on the grounds that it was critical of a political figure, which was at the time impermissible, under what is cynically known as “campaign finance” law, unless done in strict compliance with narrow and restrictive federal regulations, and then only at certain times. The Supreme Court rightly threw the law behind that out as rankly unconstitutional censorship of political speech.

What those beef-witted partisans who abuse the word “liberal” fail to appreciate is that the principle behind the so-called campaign-finance laws they support is an open-ended power of federal censorship of all political speech, journalism, literature, films, television, radio, and other communication. Some of the more sinister forces on the left understand that perfectly well, and the glee with which Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders present the proposal of silencing their political critics is both astounding and horrifying.
Read more here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

This one!

He wants to read this one.

A gauge of American impotence and incompetence

David Goldman writes,
I've been planning to write something longer about Putin, but the Jewish holidays have intervened. So, a quick answer to the question: What does Putin want? Russia has grand ambitions and a failed economy, but it always has had grand ambitions and a failed economy (World War I came about in part because Russia required taxes from its Western provinces to finance its Eastern adventures). Through most of its history Russia was behind the West in technology, especially cutting-edge military technology, and this inspired caution--with two exceptions. The first exception was 1957 through the early 1960s, after Sputnik put Russia ahead in the space race; Russia's achievement contributed to the euphoria that produced the Berlin and Cuba crises. The second exception is the present, when Russia's air defense effectively shuts us out of Syria. As some wag wrote, there is a no-fly zone, except it's operated by the Russians. Putin's interest lies in humiliating the US and proving his importance to his Chinese partners, who still need Russian technology in air defense, jet engines, and other military applications.

In addition, Putin as before wants to preempt the creation of a Sunni Islamist government in Syria which would support jihadis inside Russia. Where Turkey is concerned, Putin keeps his friends close and his enemies closer. His deal with Turkey in Syria is a masterstroke, and a gauge of American impotence and incompetence. As for the Europeans: the Italians (!) vetoed a resolution warning of sanctions against Russia at last night's European summit, and the Germans and French bit their tongues. As Il Foglio observes, the Italian public thinks that the mess in the Eastern Mediterranean is the fault of US (and French and UK) policy--which in large part it is.

Up til a few months ago there still was a change to stabilize the situation in the Levant and Mesopotamia. No more: Putin is now playing Richelieu, keeping the war going with the object of exterminating enough of the population to remove the long-term threat. It is just what I would do in his position, if I could get away with it -- and he can.

I do not think Russia can be contained until the US re-establishes a technological edge in air defense, and that would take years under the best possible assumptions (meanwhile the Russians are learning how to shoot down our stealth aircraft). The result inevitably will be disgusting.

To those who say we should get tough with Putin, I ask, "How?" The mainstream of both parties got us into this mess and gave Putin room to cause havoc.

"Trump if elected will be more interesting, Hillary a boring but more certain civilizational mortician..."

Fred Reed gives Hillary credit for consistency.
She is always mendacious, firmly in the pockets of Wall Street, Israel, the Neocon hawks, and the arms industry, never having accomplished anything on her own, always riding Bill’s coattails, having a disastrous record as SecState, always for sale. With her, we know what we will get. With Trump, it’s a roll of very weird dice.

Ah, the Donald. While he unmistakably displays various presidential qualities–he can walk up stairs by himself, and his eyes usually point in the same direction–there is indeed a certain aleatory quality to the man. God knows what he might do. He shoots from the hip, saying all sorts of loopy but interesting things. Interesting if you live somewhere else. He talks unflatteringly about the other sex near open mikes, instead of away from them like everybody else.

The Donald merely makes me nervous, while Hillary makes me want to take poison. It is the difference between an acid trip and death by sinus drainage. His truly great strength is that he is not Hillary.

...But America is more fragile than it looks. Its people cannot feed themselves. The economy really can collapse. If civil unrest broke the link from farm to cities, in two weeks New Yorkers would be eating each other. Soft white urbanites eeeeking and squealing about guns cannot defend themselves.
It is over. Watch. Trump if elected will be more interesting, Hillary a boring but more certain civilizational mortician, but both are chips floating on a fetid tide.
Read more here.


Joel D. Hirst writes,
...violence – in ‘free societies’ – is usually reserved for the most extreme cases. Most of the abuse comes in the form of societal pressure to conform. This is an exhausting process, as Hugo Chavez figured out fifteen years into his rule – because it requires those who would wish to wield authority to be ‘right’. And so begins the propaganda, the control of the media, the silencing of dissenting voices and squelching of debate, lest the blunt-object-holder prove to be, well wrong.

Knowledge must find a way – will find a way – and that way can only be found if opinions and hypothesis hit up against each other, with only one surviving. Sure, you can torture Galileo, and he will recant. But that doesn’t change the movement of the earth. There should be no ‘safe spaces’ for the uninformed.

Back to Venezuela – again as the greatest example of “oops” in policy making by actors unwilling to admit the “oops”. No food, no water, no electricity, violent protests on the streets. Hunger running rampant, a specter haunting the silent hospital halls enveloped in darkness.
Read more here.

Media coverage of events in the Phillippines

The American media seems to have suddenly started to pay attention to politics in the Phillipines. Luckily we have a blogger friend in the Phillipines, Nancy Reyes. Here is some of what she had to say on the subject.
Most of us are happy that we are in a lot less danger from criminals now. And although Duterte has problems with some aspects of American bossing the Philippines around, there is not a lot of grass roots dislike of Americans in general.

...Obama has sat back and ignored calls for help, and only now that China has destroyed the ecosystem building artificial islnds with military capacity, and an election is near, that Obama decides to push in their face by sailing the US navy near these islands.

...And it is not anti Americans, who are liked, but against a US policy of telling the Philippines what to do, like not to make China angry by letting your fishermen continue using their traditional fishing grounds and especially not to antagonize them by using the military to defend the fishermen, as Indonesia has done.

but then you have the usual idiots in the US and ellite press hyperventillating that the local cops ran over some demonstrators, when what happened is that the demonstrators were attacking and hitting on the truck, and the driver moved forward.

...but the US press is making a big thing of it, just as they make a big thing of the anti drug war but for years ignored the drug gang killings. And here in the Philippines, it looks like the US press is making war against the right of the Philippine people to decide how they want to govern themselves.
Read more here.

Today's DDoS attacks

Security expert Bruce Schneier explained in a blog post written on September 13, 2016,
Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.

First, a little background. If you want to take a network off the Internet, the easiest way to do it is with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS). Like the name says, this is an attack designed to prevent legitimate users from getting to the site. There are subtleties, but basically it means blasting so much data at the site that it's overwhelmed. These attacks are not new: hackers do this to sites they don't like, and criminals have done it as a method of extortion. There is an entire industry, with an arsenal of technologies, devoted to DDoS defense. But largely it's a matter of bandwidth. If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has, the attacker wins.

Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they're used to seeing. They last longer. They're more sophisticated. And they look like probing. One week, the attack would start at a particular level of attack and slowly ramp up before stopping. The next week, it would start at that higher point and continue. And so on, along those lines, as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure.

The attacks are also configured in such a way as to see what the company's total defenses are. There are many different ways to launch a DDoS attacks. The more attack vectors you employ simultaneously, the more different defenses the defender has to counter with. These companies are seeing more attacks using three or four different vectors. This means that the companies have to use everything they've got to defend themselves. They can't hold anything back. They're forced to demonstrate their defense capabilities for the attacker.

I am unable to give details, because these companies spoke with me under condition of anonymity. But this all is consistent with what Verisign is reporting. Verisign is the registrar for many popular top-level Internet domains, like .com and .net. If it goes down, there's a global blackout of all websites and e-mail addresses in the most common top-level domains. Every quarter, Verisign publishes a DDoS trends report. While its publication doesn't have the level of detail I heard from the companies I spoke with, the trends are the same: "in Q2 2016, attacks continued to become more frequent, persistent, and complex."

There's more. One company told me about a variety of probing attacks in addition to the DDoS attacks: testing the ability to manipulate Internet addresses and routes, seeing how long it takes the defenders to respond, and so on. Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.

Who would do this? It doesn't seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It's not normal for companies to do that. Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes—and especially their persistence—points to state actors. It feels like a nation's military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the U.S.'s Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.

What can we do about this? Nothing, really. We don't know where the attacks come from. The data I see suggests China, an assessment shared by the people I spoke with. On the other hand, it's possible to disguise the country of origin for these sorts of attacks. The NSA, which has more surveillance in the Internet backbone than everyone else combined, probably has a better idea, but unless the U.S. decides to make an international incident over this, we won't see any attribution.

But this is happening. And people should know. doS

Taking down the internet!


Libby Plummer reports for Mail Online,
A massive co-ordinated series of cyber attacks has forced hundreds of major websites from Amazon to Twitter offline across the globe - and WikiLeaks believes its supporters were responsible.
It urged its backers to 'stop taking down the US internet', saying 'Mr Assange is still alive and WikiLeaks is still publishing'.
It then tweeted: 'The Obama administration should not have attempted to misuse its instruments of state to stop criticism of its ruling party candidate.'
The Ecuadorian government switched off Assange's internet service Sunday after he released another tranche of emails showing the contents of a speech given by Hillary Clinton to Goldman Sachs.
Read more here.

Trump on fire!

F.Y.I. Hillary: 6%, not 90%!

h/t Mike Miles

Do you know anyone who could use one of these?

Read more here.

Shooting stars tonight!

The next couple of weeks are going to be great for viewing shooting stars.

Science alert reports,
October is a special month for astronomy lovers, because around this time every year, Earth passed through the tail of debris left behind by three different comets.

Right now, we’re cruising through the tail of Halley's comet, and the result is one of the best sky-watching events of the year - the Orionid meteor shower. This shower lasts until November 7, but don’t wait, because it’s about to hit its peak.
Read more here.

O'Keefe files formal complaint with Federal Election Commission against Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National committee.

Lee Stranahan reports at Breitbart,
James O’Keefe and Project Veritas are filing a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The decision comes amid increasing media coverage of the two videos released by O’Keefe, which expose apparently illicit actions by a group of political actors associated with the Clinton campaign, the DNC and the White House.

The establishment media was forced to cover O’Keefe’s videos after one subject, Robert Creamer, announced he would quit working for the DNC. This break came a day after the first video release prompted another subject, Scott Foval, to leave his job with another Democratic political group, Americans United for Change.
Read more here.

The echo chamber

David Goldman writes at PJ Media,
"We created an echo chamber. They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say. In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this....The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience is being around political campaigns. That's a sea change. They literally know nothing."

Thus spake a certain Ben Rhodes, literary dabbler and Don DeLillo wannabe, in a stunning interview-essay by David Samuels in the New York Times last May. Rhodes was describing the sale of the Iran nuclear deal to America's body politic, fed by media ignoramuses who dutifully repeated the echoes of the administration's stable of putatively independent experts. But the "echo chamber" principle applies just as well to anything that the Establishment media wants to sell to the public. The trouble with echo chambers, of course, is that positive feedback can blow the roof off. That is what is happening in American politics right now.

... We have had so many iterations of lies, cover-up, cover-up malfunction, new lies, new cover-up and new cover-up malfunction that the experts are in information overload. What is going on in the head of an ordinary voter with a passing interest in politics and ten or fifteen minutes a day to devote to news?

The answer is: Almost anything you might imagine. Sixty-two percent of Americans get at least some of their news via social media according to a Pew Research survey and the proportion is growing fast. Facebook and other social media allow individuals to customize their news consumption on the basis of recommendations and re-posting by friends, and news consumers increasingly depend on their networks rather than the media.

That's how Steve Bannon's Breitbart news organization, with its edgy mix of salacious gossip and right-wing politics, morphed almost overnight into a major media player. That's why the Drudge Report got 1.47 billion page views in July. There is no way of knowing what Americans believe. Only one in nine Americans believes that Hillary Clinton is "honest and trustworthy." They don't trust the media's cover-up of her misdeeds, and the cover-up of the cover-up of the cover-up.

There's no way to tell what people think. It's impossible for most Americans to form a judgment with which they feel comfortable, because they do not have sources of information they can trust. Fox News is in a civil war between the pro- and anti-Trump Republicans. The other networks are with Hillary. The major media outlets have lost credibility. Only 32% of Americans said they had "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of confidence in the news media in a September Gallup poll survey. That's the lowest level in history, and should be no surprise: the major media has to spin a new cover-up every couple of days, before it is finished putting the previous set of lies to bed.

That's why Americans don't simply watch the nightly news and go to bed. They read the rumors on the Internet and circulate them to their friends. They create networks of people they trust in the hope of obtaining an accurate account of what is happening around them.

That's why I'm still calling this election for Donald J. Trump. The polls are meaningless. Perceptions are morphing as rapidly as the new-model Terminator in the molten steel vat at the end of the movie. The election will be won and lost a dozen times between now and Election Day. And when Americans finally go into the voting booth, they will not be able to think of any reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton--only reasons to vote against Donald Trump. There are far more compelling reasons to vote against Clinton. And that's how the election will go.

"What goes around comes around."

Pat Buchanan writes in The American Conservative about the hysterical reaction in the media to Trump's comments about whether or not he will accept the election results.
What explains the hysteria of the establishment?

In a word, fear.

The establishment is horrified at the Donald’s defiance because, deep within its soul, it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority.

It may rule and run the country, and may rig the system through mass immigration and a mammoth welfare state so that Middle America is never again able to elect one of its own. But that establishment, disconnected from the people it rules, senses, rightly, that it is unloved and even detested.

Trump is “talking down our democracy,” said a shocked Clinton.

After having expunged Christianity from our public life and public square, our establishment installed “democracy” as the new deity, at whose altars we should all worship. And so our schools began to teach.

Half a millennia ago, missionaries and explorers set sail from Spain, England, and France to bring Christianity to the New World.

Today, Clintons, Obamas, and Bushes send soldiers and secularist tutors to “establish democracy” among the “lesser breeds without the Law.”

By suggesting he might not accept the results of a “rigged election,” Trump is committing an unpardonable sin. But this new cult, this devotion to a new holy trinity of diversity, democracy, and equality, is of recent vintage and has shallow roots.

For none of the three—diversity, equality, democracy—is to be found in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, or the Pledge of Allegiance. In the pledge, we are a republic.

The establishment also recoiled in horror from Milwaukee Sheriff Dave Clarke’s declaration that it is now “torches and pitchforks time.”

Yet, some of us recall another time, when Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote in “Points of Rebellion”: “We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”

Baby-boomer radicals loved it, raising their fists in defiance of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

But now that it is the populist-nationalist right that is moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America that they love, elitist enthusiasm for “revolution” seems more constrained.

What goes around comes around.
Read more here.

Spending less on t.v. ads

Not only is Trump spending much less than Clinton on t.v. advertising, but they both are spending much less than candidates in recent elections. Why do you think that is?

Graphics via New York Times

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Classified? What difference does it make?

"Ever since Trump started raising the issues that no one else would, the media and the political class have done everything in their power to try to stop our movement."

Ann Coulter writes,
The only reason for these 11th-hour claims is that the ruling class doesn't want voters thinking about the immigration policies, trade deals and wars that are destroying their way of life. Ever since Trump started raising the issues that no one else would, the media and the political class have done everything in their power to try to stop our movement.

They're so close! Just four more years of importing the Third World at breakneck speed, and America will be O-ver
Read more here.

Polls rigged by oversampling Democrats?

Chateau Heartiste offers evidence that the polls are rigged, by oversampling Democrats, and analyzes the phenomena here. Warning: He uses language that many would find offensive.

Crimes that would put anyone else in jail

Victor Davis Hanson writes,
...After the current campaign — the maverick Trump candidacy, the Access Hollywood Trump tape, the FBI scandal, the Freedom of Information Act revelations, the WikiLeaks insider scoops on the Clinton campaign, the hacked e-mails, the fraudulent pay-for-play culture of the Clinton Foundation — the nuked political infrastructure may look the same. But almost everyone involved in the election has been neutroned.

...Who are the big losers of 2016, besides the two candidates themselves? The D.C. ‘establishment’ and its ‘elites’

Collate the Podesta e-mails. Read Colin Powell’s hacked communications. Review Hillary’s Wall Street speeches and the electronic exchanges between the media, the administration, and the Clinton campaign. The conclusion is an incestuous world of hypocrisy, tsk-tsking condescension, sanitized shake-downs, inside profiteering, snobby high entertainment — and often crimes that would put anyone else in jail.

They live in a confined coastal cocoon. They went largely to the same schools, intermarried, traveled back and forth between big government, big banks, big military, big Wall Street, and big media — and sound quite clever without being especially bright, attuned to social justice but without character. Their religion is not so much progressivism, as appearing cool and hip and “right” on the issues. In this private world, off the record, Latinos are laughed off as “needy”; Catholics are derided as near medieval and in need of progressive tutoring on gay issues. Hillary is deemed a grifter — but only for greedily draining the cash pools of the elite speaker circuit to the detriment of her emulators. Money — Podesta’s Putin oil stocks, Russian autocrats’ huge donations in exchange for deference from the Department of State, Gulf-oil-state-supplied free jet travel, Hillary’s speaking fees — is the lubricant that makes the joints of these rusted people move. A good Ph.D. thesis could chart the number of Washington, D.C., insider flunkies who ended up working for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac or Goldman Sachs — the dumping grounds of the well-connected and mediocre.

In this world, there are Bill and Hillary, the Podesta brothers, Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner, Christiane Amanpour and Jamie Rubin, Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein, Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan, and on and on. Jorge Ramos goes after Trump; his daughter works for Hillary; and his boss at Univision badgers the Clinton campaign to stay lax on open borders — the lifeblood that nourishes his non-English-speaking money machine. George Stephanopoulos, who helped run the Clinton campaign and White House, and who as a debate moderator obsessed over Mitt Romney’s answers to abortion hypotheticals, is the disinterested ABC News chief anchor.

CNN vice president Virginia Moseley is married to Hillary Clinton’s former deputy secretary at the State Department Tom Nides (now of Morgan Stanley) — suggesting “The Clinton News Network” is not really a right-wing joke.

Former ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron is married to Susan Rice, a — pre-Benghazi — regular on the Sunday talk shows.

CBS president David Rhodes is the sibling of aspiring novelist Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for “strategic communications and Speechwriting,” whatever that fictive title means.

ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman married former White House press secretary Jay Carney (now senior vice president for “worldwide corporate affairs” at Amazon: not just “corporate affairs” or “worldwide affairs” but “worldwide corporate affairs”). And on and on. Is there a rule somewhere that requires a media kingpin to be married to a political operative or government official or like kind?

These nice people report on each other. They praise each other, award each other, make money together, and bristle with each other when they are collectively and pejoratively dubbed the “elites.” They write and sound off about the buffoon Trump and preen in sanctimonious moral outrage, as the rest of the country sees this supposedly lavishly robed imperial class as embarrassingly naked.

...Are Trump’s private boorishness and crudity worse for Republicans than Clinton’s now quite public corruption and dishonesty?

...After the election, don’t expect a rapid reconciliation. The Trump base, often in nihilistic fashion, does not wish to be part of Paul Ryan’s pragmatic world; and those who identify with the culture of the Wall Street Journal and the Chamber of Commerce have no desire to be seen with the NASCAR and tea-party crowd. For fleeting moments in the primaries a Marco Rubio or Scott Walker posed as a Reaganesque uniter, only to implode under national scrutiny and candidate infighting.

The Clinton Foundation Syndicate served largely as a sinecure for Clinton hangers-on between elections who were apparently otherwise unemployable. It offered free jet travel for the Clinton family. It oiled pay-for-play donations that would spin off into private speaking and consulting gigs for the insatiable Bill and Hillary. Oil profits — from Russia, the Persian Gulf, and the autocracies of the former Soviet Union — fueled the Clinton cash nexus. (How odd to oppose domestic fracking but to welcome carbon cash from medieval foreign petro-nations.)

Many Republicans damn conservatives who would hold their nose and vote Trump in hopes of saving the Supreme Court or stopping the socialization of the federal government. They should spend a quarter of their time writing about the Clinton Foundation. In the past 50 years, have we ever seen anything quite like the listing of VIP foundation donors by name so they could cash in on Haitian relief contracts to pick over the carcass of a ravaged, impoverished nation — or blatant requests to medieval sheikdoms to send million-dollar presents or free jet service to the ex-president, the message routed by way of his secretary of state spouse? Dick Nixon would not have found a way to enrich himself on the backs of the Haitian refugees or think out loud about assassinating a troublesome political opponent.

There are three models for ex-presidents and their foundations. One is Jimmy Carter’s sanctimonious progressivism — of setting up a quite legitimate “center,” staying active in politics, and assuming a (sometimes tiring) role as senior citizen of the world who globetrots and editorializes on how humanity has disappointed him.

A second is more or less genuine retirement in the fashion of George H. W. and George W. Bush; their respective foundations and libraries are largely apolitical. Neither comments much on contemporary politics, nor do they trash their successors. Painting or sky-diving is preferable to returning to the campaign trail or slicing Obama.

The third is the Bill/Hillary Clinton paradigm of non-stop electioneering, tawdry enrichment, and massaging the office of president emeritus and a presidential foundation to feather one’s nest.

...When Hillary Clinton in the second debate directed the audience to her own website to “fact-check” Trump, we came full circle from naiveté to farce.

...Debate moderators follow assumed premises: an Anderson Cooper, Candy Crawley, Lester Holt, or Martha Raddatz envision themselves as crusaders hammering away at selfish and dangerous conservatives, in behalf of an ignorant audience that needs their enlightened help to avoid being duped. In a few of the worst cases, a scheduled debate question is leaked to the liberal candidate to ensure she is not embarrassed.

If a conservative candidate seems to have tied his opponent, the liberal moderator — witness a Matt Lauer — is considered a sell-out, soon to be shunned by the right people. Most are thus deterred from moderating “incorrectly.”

After 2016, we should either let the candidates go at it, or, better yet, let robot time keepers run things. The 2016 campaign is not quite over, and there are a few neutron bombs left to go off — but for many of our accustomed fixtures it is too late. They are nuked, and nothing remains but their shells.
Read more here.

Mass, shared illusions

Hypnotist, cartoonist, master persuader Scott Adams reminds us,
Clinton’s team of persuaders has caused half of the country to see Trump as a racist/sexist Hitler with a dangerous temperament.

...As a public service (and I mean that literally) I have been trying to unhypnotize the country on this matter for the past year. I don’t do this because I prefer Trump’s policies or because I know who would do the best job as president. I do it because our system doesn’t work if you think there is a pink elephant in the room and there is not. That isn’t real choice. That is an illusion of choice.

...Trump represents what is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring real change to a government that is bloated and self-serving. Reasonable people can disagree on policies and priorities. But Trump is the bigger agent for change, if that’s what you think the country needs. I want voters to see that choice for what it is.

And it isn’t a pink elephant.

If you are wondering why a socially liberal and well-educated cartoonist such as myself is not afraid of Trump, it’s because I don’t see the pink elephant. To me, all anti-Trumpers are experiencing a shared illusion.

...the person who sees the unlikely addition to reality is the one experiencing the illusion nearly every time. Trump as Hitler-in-America is an addition to reality that only some can see. It is a pink elephant. It is a classic hallucination.

I’m not trying to say I’m smarter than anyone else. I just don’t see the pink elephant. Nor do perhaps 40% of the country who prefer Trump as president. And when that many people don’t see a pink elephant in a room, you can be sure it isn’t there, no matter how many do see it.

If you are a Clinton supporter, you might think Trump supporters see the same pink elephant that you do, and you rationalize that by saying Trump supporters prefer the pink elephant because they want it to stomp all over minorities.

If you are an anti-Trumper, you might reject my point of view as manipulative or naive. I can’t change your mind with a blog post. But you can change your own mind. Just ask others if they see the addition to reality that you see. If others don’t see the pink elephant in the room, and you do, the elephant isn’t there.

Look for that pattern. Once you see it, you’re awake.

Then vote for whoever has the policies you like.
Read more here.

Nutty White guys

DiploMad 2.0 writes,
For a number of reasons not worth going into here, the white voters, especially white males and married white women, and most especially working and middle class males, have moved away from the Democrats and vote increasingly Republican. The Democratic party has become largely a party of public sector workers, university professors and students, lawyers, labor union leaders, socialists, journalists, rich actors, crony bankers and CEOs, and, above all, racial and ethnic minorities. The glue that holds this disparate grouping together is government: Democrats are the party of government and of expanding the public sector at the expense of the private, while doling out vast sums to those members of the shrinking and maligned private sector who play along--Solyndra, anybody?

The electoral appeal of the Democratic party is to those who want more government, and who feel that a whole litany of current and historical grievances can only be addressed by more government taking more from, well, from the "rich," defined as anybody who is not one of the aforementioned categories. It is a party increasingly divorced from economic reality; it seeks to repeal the pesky and brutal laws of economics by reforming our souls, by getting us not to think or articulate bad thoughts, by getting us to give up on greed and privilege and allow the government to allocate resources and ensure the well-being of us all. And when that fails, it is a party that reverts to its violent lynch mob past to get its way.

...I notice that the white guys, especially the senior politicians who remain in the party, are more than a bit loopy. Gone are the Scoop Jacksons, the Moynihans, the Liebermans with whom one could disagree, but yet recognize that they were common sense politicians with whom a deal could be reached, and, above all, who were deeply patriotic. The party is left with gems such as the increasingly unhinged Senator Reid, the clownish Tim "I speak Spanish" Kaine, the unbearably smug Governors Brown and Cuomo, and the completely insane Mayor DeBlasio. They are white guys trying very hard to hide the fact that they are white guys. They adopt positions of extreme pandering to the worst and most radical elements of the party, and actively work for the elimination of the white majority in this country as a way to "solve" all our problems. They are ashamed of being who they are and must work to ensure that they are never succeeded by people like them.
Read more here.

The media runs with it.

Ann Althouse correctly predicted that the biggest story coming out of last night's debate is

What a sweet guy!

Crafty glossing over; oozing empathy

Law school professor Ann Althouse gives us the benefit of her legal knowledge as she anayzes the answers given by Trump and Clinton to questions by Chris Wallace about the Supreme Court.
As I said at the outset, I wasn't happy with either of them, but Trump's problem is more about lack of interest and depth of knowledge and a scattered, emotive mind. Hillary's problem is more about the crafty glossing over of things she probably understands.

She ends her long anaysis withthese comments about the two candidates.
Trump really is very feminine. If you listen to his voice — when he's not blustering — it gets soft and gentle and oozes empathy in a way that doesn't happen with Hillary. She has her hard, flat, assertive tone and it stays the same
Read more here.

Could you withstand a sugar shortage?

Ann Althouse has a post about a sugar shortage in Egypt.
Egyptians in "a panic" over a sugar shortage.
According to the NYT, which details the importance of sugar to Egyptians:
Egyptians pile sugar into mugs of tea by the spoonful — or three or five. A staple long subsidized by the government for most of the population, sugar is the chief ingredient of the national pudding, Om Ali. It can feel like the only ingredient. It is also a prime reason that nearly a fifth of Egyptians have diabetes....

“The people are going to snap,” Ahmad el-Gebaly said as he turned away customers seeking sugar he did not have at his subsidized-goods store in Bulaq, a working-class neighborhood of Cairo. “Nobody can stand [President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi] anymore,” he added of Mr. Sisi. “Sugar is like rice and oil and wheat. You can never run out of it. You can never mess with it. Who can live without sugar?”
One solution is to convince people that it's not good to eat so much sugar, but it doesn't sound as though Egyptians are ready to respond well to that advice.

Could you withstand a sugar shortage?

Old tree trunks

It is not at all uncommon here to see trunks of old trees jutting out of groves of cedar, juniper, and pinon pine trees. There is something about those old trunks that I find fascinating. I always stop and stare at them for a while.

The white you can barely see in the background are the few remaining meat chickens, enjoying a stroll through what's left of the rows of squash.

I think it went in, don't you?


The hens are going to be happy. All that straw is going to go for their nesting, to encourage them to keep on laying eggs, even as the weather gets colder. The eggs in the foreground are the ones I collected this morning, and now I am going to carry them in to the egg-cleaning room. Colleen told me that yesterday's boxed eggs fetched $500 at the grocery stores in Santa Fe. That makes me happy to know that I am doing something useful.

"She has all this, and Trump is still competitive in the polls."

Kurt Schlicter writes at Town Hall,
...And then there’s Hillary, a woman so stupid she botched the Washington, D.C., bar exam that the zombies from The Walking Dead could pass. Here’s how stupid she is. She has 99.99% of the reporters in America with their faces parked firmly in the seat of her pantsuit. She has every tycoon, robber baron, potentate, and ditzy Hollywood half-wit writing her giant checks. She has female genitalia, which much of liberal America considers enough, in and of itself, to qualify her to be president. She has all this, and Trump is still competitive in the polls.
Read more here.

Clapping merrily along

Ace writes,
Once Again, Media Ignores All Parts of Debate That Favored Trump to Zero In On the Two Parts That Favored Hillary

The "two storylines" that emerged from this debate, as MeAgain Kelly beamed joyously last night, are 1, Trump's aside "Such a nasty woman" and 2, Trump's refusal to say he'd "accept" the results of the election.

As to the first: Trump said this in direct response to a cheap-shot insult -- one that Hillary laughed as she delivered, turning it from a common political attack into an attempt to humiliate through mocking laughter.

Defending her sham Social Security scheme, she said she'd raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for it, then added in a chuckling quip, "I'm sure you'll find ways to avoid paying it, Donald," or something like that.

Apparently there are a lot of women, including lots of women who don't call themselves liberal feminists -- MeAgain Kelly and half of the online female "conservative" commentariat, for starters -- who actually think that a woman is allowed to insult a man to the accompaniment of a witch's mocking cackle and the man is not allowed to say anything more than "I agree with you, Thee of the Superior Sex."

Go fuck yourselves, women (and some men) who think this way. You're not superior and you have no special rights and privileges, and men do not have a special requirement to defer to you in all things.

People who claim these things seem to be trying to vindicate some personal, at-home domestic issue -- "My husband is such a useless cad!" -- through their political agitation.

You have two choices, ladies: You can either compete in the hard world, or you can keep to the soft world. You cannot go out into the hard world, and in fact employ the tactics of the hard world like insult and mockery, and then demand to be treated by the rules of the soft world.

That's not feminism -- that's infantilism. Learn the difference. The only man in the world obligated to treat you like Daddy's Little Girl is your actual Daddy.

As to the claim that Trump is destroying the Republic by refusing to say in advance that he'd "accept" the results of the election -- Hillary Clinton said in 2002 that George W. Bush had been "selected, not elected" and just this week Hillary nodded and clapped and smiled along with a crowd shouting to Al Gore YOU WON! YOU WON! YOU WON!

As Larry O'Connor points out in that piece, much of Gore's subsequent speech on Hillary's behalf strongly implied he'd actually won the election, but not by enough votes that the Supreme Court was chastened from stealing it from him. And Hillary clapped merrily along.

Do you get turned on by learning?

Ace of Spades writes today,
I personally used to hate learning. I learned to hate learning as a child, because adults were bossing me around and forcing me to learn things I thought were boring.

But once you're an adult, if you can get over that early aversion to the process of learning, you get to learn the things you're really interested in, and kind of turns you on. (Mentally, I mean.)

And I have to say that learning is actually fun. Now that I'm learning again, I feel pretty lame for letting so many years lapse without learning.

It's actually a deeply satisfying thing. It feels right. It feels like there's some actual forward progress in your life. It feels something like illumination.
Read more here.

Let's go!

J.J. Sefton writes,
...a 100-year coup to overthrow the nation as founded has taken place. The hijacking of academia that started at least 40 years ago has resulted in the lobotomizing of our national identity and values (exacerbated by the passing of older generations of Americans and with them our collective memory). The default mindset of too many Americans is that the country as founded is illegitimate, Judeo-Christianity is oppressive/evil and we must atone.

...After living through the last eight years it’s hard not to just give up, knuckle under and endure a metaphorical curb-stomping of indeterminate length. But I won’t. What’s happening to my beloved country is hateful. We have to do something. I have to do something. Lao-Tzu said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Let’s go.
Read more here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The last debate!

Supreme Court: Hillary doesn't like Citizens United. Trump also feels victimized (by Justice Ginsburg). Second Amendment and Constitution important to Trump.

Guns: Hillary wants gun control. Trump will appoint justices that will not weaken the Second Amendment.

Abortion: Hillary obfuscates the killing of babies. Partial birth abortion? Trump vehemently opposes.

Immigration: Hillary doesn't want deportation. Hillary wants amnesty. "Bring em out from the shadows!" That will get the "economy working."

Wikileaks: Proves Trump is a puppet of Putin. Trump: "You're the puppet! Putin has outsmarted her and Obama over and over again."

Economy: Hillary wants to raise the minimum wage. She is going to "go where the money is." (the story of her life). Trump says Hillary will double our taxes. She says she will "invest" (our taxes). Trump doesn't like NAFTA. Hillary wants to hire a prosecuter to enforce trade agreements. Hillary very aggressive tonight, far more than the other two debates.

Fitness to be president. Trump: lies! Hillary wants diversity: men, women, anyone!

Rigged? Media dishonest. Chris Wallace winces and tries to interrupt. Trump will let you know after November 8, as to whether he accepts the result of the voting.

Hillary says Trump always says "It's rigged!" when things don't go his way. Trump agrees!

Mosul. Hillary hopes things get better. Trump wants the element of surprise.

Trump on Iran: the stupidest deal of all time, even stupider than NAFTA?

Aleppo: Trump getting better as the night goes on. "Thanks a lot, Hillary!"

Trump: We are outplayed! We use political hacks to negotiate trade deals. America has the best business minds in the world.

Trump: Repeal and replace Obamacare!

Trump: "She's such a nasty woman!"

Unfortunately, we couldn't turn off the t.v. before Shep Smith came on and tried to get his two cents in.

One more comes forward

At Breitbart Aaron Klein has an interview and report of a new woman alleging Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her when she was a television reporter in Arkansas and Clinton was governor.

White dove comes visiting

Where did this white dove come from? He or she is welcome to stay.

Click on the image to see if you can see it better.

Turning CO2 into ethanol

Avery Thompson reports at Popular Mechanics,
Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol, potentially creating a new technology to help avert climate change. Their findings were published in the journal ChemistrySelect.

The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. The reaction turns CO2 into ethanol, which could in turn be used to power generators and vehicles.
Read more here.

"Dark hat"

Jen Lawrence reports at Breitbart,
The political consulting firm Democracy Partners is at the center of the Project Veritas investigation exposing Democrat operatives instigating violence at Trump rallies and plotting potential voter fraud.
Robert Creamer is the founder of Democracy Partners and a frequent visitor to the Obama White House. Logs show Creamer making 340 visits to the White House, with 45 of those meetings including President Obama.

In one hidden camera video, filmed at Creamer’s Washington, D.C. office, Creamer explains that Hillary Clinton is aware of “all” of his activities, directly or indirectly, and that Democracy Partners has a daily conference call with the Clinton campaign, as well as frequent calls with the White House.

Another character in the investigative videos is Scott Foval who was removed from his job at Americans United for Change as a result of the Project Veritas investigation. In the second O’Keefe video, Foval paints a dark picture of Creamer saying, “Bob Creamer is diabolical and I love him for it.” While discussing the potential voter fraud plot, Foval credits Creamer for “coming up with most of these ideas,” and describes Democracy Partners as a “dark hat.”
Read more here.

Teachers unions and hard left colleges

Bookworm writes,
American youth thinks Bush a greater killer than Stalin. Stalin oversaw the death of well over 40 million Russians — those whom he ordered killed, those whom he starved to death, those whom he worked to death, and those whom he used as cannon fodder because his dysfunctional economy couldn’t produce real weapons. I don’t even know the numbers for those in those countries he overran who died thanks to those same policies.

George Bush didn’t kill any Americans, although he did oversee two wars in which American service men and Iraqi and Afghani civilians died. Too many died. But the numbers aren’t even in the seven digits probably just crack the low six digits. But one-third of American students believe that Bush was more deadly than Stalin. That’s what teachers unions will do to your education — aided by publicly funded hard-Left colleges.

Living with a sense of anticipatory joy

Scott Ott writes at Facebook,
"Let me give this little piece of hope. Right after election day, I think we'll have the best opportunity in a generation to begin solidly defining what it means to be a liberty-loving, Constitutional American. I'm intentionally avoiding traditional labels because I think we need to realize that we're aging, and we're going to age out pretty soon -- in the not-too-distant future. I have children, and someday I may have grandchildren. We want to pass on to them a country that is better than the one we found -- the same way that our ancestors were able to do that for us.

"In order to do that, I think we need to shed this idea that, somehow, by bad-mouthing and insulting people who disagree with us we're going to win them over to our way, or somehow they're going to put their tails between their legs and slink away and leave the arena. They're not.
"The way that we're going to go forward is through effective civic dialogue; through connecting with peoples' hearts and minds. It's through conveying to them the truth and beauty of these ideas which we hold so dear.

"If we're so happy with this pursuit of happiness, then this ought to be infectious and result in reaching other people because they say, 'You know what? I don't know what he believes exactly, but that Steve Green, that Bill Whittle, that Scott Ott, that…YOU, are so excited about living this freedom that we enjoy in the United States.

"'I want to live like that. I want to be like them. I want to embrace that. I don't want to be angry all of the time. I don't want to be constantly snipping and sniping at my neighbors. I want to live with a sense of anticipatory joy that comes from having a set of ideas that you're able to put into practice and make life better for yourself and other people.'"
-- Scott Ott, on 'Right Angle LIVE' with Bill Whittle and Stephen Green, October 18, 2016

"Complaining to each other does not count as the brave whistle blowing necessary to expose the White House, the DOJ, the FBI, and the whole Clinton political establishment as dangerously corrupt."

So writes Bookworm:
Despite knowing that the head of their organization is incredibly corrupt, as evidence by the deals he cut and his ultimate refusal to send to the DOJ a woman who committed manifestly felonious acts, all that FBI agents are doing is talking amongst themselves about Comey’s corruption. I’m not impressed. Complaining to each other does not count as the brave whistle blowing necessary to expose the White House, the DOJ, the FBI, and the whole Clinton political establishment as dangerously corrupt. Sidney Powell says what should really happen, and that is for Loretta Lynch and Comey to be impeached — or, at this point, just exposed — but all the FBI does is whine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The AWOL Congress

Andrew McCarthy observes that
the Constitution’s mechanisms for reining in or ousting a rogue president are in tatters.

...Among the greatest fears of those who founded our constitutional republic was that the powerful new office they were creating, the President of the United States, could be a path to authoritarianism and eventual tyranny. Much of the deliberation over the drafting and adoption of the new Constitution was dedicated to ensuring adequate safeguards against that possibility.

The Constitution’s aim is to preserve liberty and self-determination. Its prescription for doing so is to constrain government (and thus increase the realm of free, unregulated activity) by limiting and dividing governmental powers. Federal authority was balanced by states that maintained sovereign power. The limited powers delegated to the federal government were divided among three branches, each given sufficient inherent authority that it could not be overwhelmed by the others.

To prevent the president from becoming a monarch, the Framers made Congress supreme over the budget and the enactment of law. With limited inherent authority (albeit significant authority, particularly in the conduct of foreign affairs), the executive would not be permitted to act in the absence of statutory license and funding. Indeed, the president’s primary responsibility is to take care that Congress’s laws are faithfully executed and the Constitution is preserved.

Yet, realizing these grants of legislative power would be insufficient to hem in a determined rogue, the Framers added impeachment – an “indispensable” remedy, as Madison put it. It empowers Congress to remove government officials, up to and including the president, for “high crimes and misdemeanors” – corruption, abuse of power, misleading Congress, collusion with foreign powers against American interests, and other profound violations of the public trust.

...the president can act as a rogue only if Congress allows that to happen.

...If Congress refuses to use its authority to limit or cut off funding, the only remaining limitation is impeachment. If, in addition, Congress takes impeachment off the table, there is nothing left but a rogue president’s subjective sense of what he (or she) can get away with politically. The same, obviously, is true of the president’s subordinates: If, despite their lawlessness or incompetence, Congress maintains (or increases) their budgets and shrinks from impeaching them, then they are limited only by the whims of the rogue president they serve.

This is why our system no longer works. The Congress is AWOL: an increasingly irrelevant institution that: (a) does not see itself (either individually or collectively) as obliged to defend the Constitution; (b) delegates its legislative tasks to the sprawling bureaucracy, over which the president has far more influence; (c) punts tough calls to the judiciary, simultaneously refusing to exploit its constitutional authority over the courts’ jurisdiction in order to prevent or reverse judicial imperialism; and (d) is incompetent to perform basic tasks, such as imposing “regular order” on the appropriations process and compelling presidents to submit international agreements to the Constitution’s treaty process.

We should always be on guard against presentism, but in this instance I do not hesitate to say that the upcoming presidential election is the most alarming in American history. I can make that statement with confidence because I do not believe the most disturbing aspect of the election is the choice of candidates – even though the two major party nominees present the worst choice the American people have faced in my lifetime (Eisenhower was president when I was born), and perhaps ever.

The reason this is such a frightening election is that the Constitution’s mechanisms for reining in or ousting a rogue president are in tatters.

We are not supposed to have transformative elections, contests that will forever change our system of government or enable government to orchestrate cultural upheaval. The Constitution is supposed to be our guarantee against that.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a book called Faithless Execution in an attempt to explain this and campaign, in my own small way, for a restoration. The theory I posited was straightforward. Among the greatest fears of those who founded our constitutional republic was that the powerful new office they were creating, the President of the United States, could be a path to authoritarianism and eventual tyranny. Much of the deliberation over the drafting and adoption of the new Constitution was dedicated to ensuring adequate safeguards against that possibility.

The Constitution’s aim is to preserve liberty and self-determination. Its prescription for doing so is to constrain government (and thus increase the realm of free, unregulated activity) by limiting and dividing governmental powers. Federal authority was balanced by states that maintained sovereign power. The limited powers delegated to the federal government were divided among three branches, each given sufficient inherent authority that it could not be overwhelmed by the others.

To prevent the president from becoming a monarch, the Framers made Congress supreme over the budget and the enactment of law. With limited inherent authority (albeit significant authority, particularly in the conduct of foreign affairs), the executive would not be permitted to act in the absence of statutory license and funding. Indeed, the president’s primary responsibility is to take care that Congress’s laws are faithfully executed and the Constitution is preserved.

Yet, realizing these grants of legislative power would be insufficient to hem in a determined rogue, the Framers added impeachment – an “indispensable” remedy, as Madison put it. It empowers Congress to remove government officials, up to and including the president, for “high crimes and misdemeanors” – corruption, abuse of power, misleading Congress, collusion with foreign powers against American interests, and other profound violations of the public trust.

Thus, besides the ballot box, the most vital limitations on presidential power are Congress’s powers to control spending and impeach. These were thought sufficiently strong checks that, for over 160 years, the president was not even term-limited (i.e., until the 22nd Amendment in 1951). This confidence owed to the principle that members of Congress had a solemn duty to defend their institutional authority and the constitutional framework. In essence, the president can act as a rogue only if Congress allows that to happen.

As I argued in Faithless Execution, while Congress’s powers to thwart abuse of presidential power are dispositive, there are, really, only two of them. If Congress refuses to use its authority to limit or cut off funding, the only remaining limitation is impeachment. If, in addition, Congress takes impeachment off the table, there is nothing left but a rogue president’s subjective sense of what he (or she) can get away with politically. The same, obviously, is true of the president’s subordinates: If, despite their lawlessness or incompetence, Congress maintains (or increases) their budgets and shrinks from impeaching them, then they are limited only by the whims of the rogue president they serve.

This is why our system no longer works. The Congress is AWOL: an increasingly irrelevant institution that: (a) does not see itself (either individually or collectively) as obliged to defend the Constitution; (b) delegates its legislative tasks to the sprawling bureaucracy, over which the president has far more influence; (c) punts tough calls to the judiciary, simultaneously refusing to exploit its constitutional authority over the courts’ jurisdiction in order to prevent or reverse judicial imperialism; and (d) is incompetent to perform basic tasks, such as imposing “regular order” on the appropriations process and compelling presidents to submit international agreements to the Constitution’s treaty process.

The power of the purse is now a toothless check. In the last century, the federal government’s most basic role has been transitioned from national security to social welfare, wealth redistribution, and economic regulation (including transfer payments to industries and research institutions based on political favoritism, not market forces). Congress is paralyzed by fear that any cutting off of funds will be portrayed as a denial of someone’s entitlement or other transfer payments.

Furthermore, with the appropriations process having collapsed, the government operates under huge “omnibus” spending acts and “continuing resolutions.” This transforms budget battles into ludicrously high-stakes affairs, in which attempts to force government to live within its means – means that are far greater than they have ever been – become shutdown showdowns. This itself is an extension of another dysfunction: Congress no longer reads the laws it writes, or even perceives that dereliction as a dereliction. Single $4 trillion budget resolutions of hundreds of inscrutable pages that no one could conceivably read are now standard fare. Lots of critical legislation is now that way.

...Since the start of the Bush 43 administration, the federal deficit has exploded from about $5 trillion to about $20 trillion (doubled under Bush, then that inflated amount doubled again under Obama). During the majority of those 16 years, Republicans controlled one or both houses of Congress.

But then they win … and they agree to pay for everything they campaigned against – Obamacare, immigration lawlessness, a Justice Department that practices racial discrimination in law-enforcement while using extortionate lawsuits to federalize the nation’s police, an IRS used as a weapon against conservative activists, an EPA decreeing economy-strangling regulations Congress has refused to enact, and so on. Moreover, they pass sleight-of-hand legislation to duck confrontations with Obama on the debt ceiling and the Iran deal – pieces of theater designed to dismantle the Constitution’s brakes but to allow them to pose as opposing that which their legislation actually enables.

...Democrats do not tell their supporters, “The president has veto power and Republicans have the numbers to block us, so don’t expect us to accomplish anything.” Democrats know you move public opinion by fighting, even if you lose battles along the way. A movement has to move. And since they and the mainstream media are part of the same movement, they do not doubt their ability ultimately to turn public opinion in their favor.

...That is why the 2016 election is so harrowing. It is not just that the candidates are awful yet one of them will become president. It is that our political class has eviscerated the constitutional weapons that protect us from an awful president. Thus, what the Framers most feared is coming to pass.
Read more here.

Update: Bookworm adds,
Trump won’t go begging for Congress to resume its responsibilities. Congress simply will. Between a GOP that hates him and a Democrat party that hates him more, he will be completely cabin’d, crib’d, confin’d and bound. Hillary will not. Nothing will change Congress’s laziness, and Republicans will be just as cowed by cries of “misogynist” as they were by cries of “racist.” Hillary’s election would put the seal on the imperial presidency.

What does it mean when the facts on the ground bear no relationship to the polls?

Bookworm observes,
Something is very rotten with the polls. Trump draws 10,000 people to a rally; Hillary draws 100. In areas where their cars won’t get smashed up, Trump supporters have Trump bumper stickers. Here, in the San Francisco Bay Area (Hillary country), there are no bumper stickers. Nor is this because people are so secure in their votes that they won’t place bumper stickers on their cars. In 2008 and 2012, uncountable cars were festooned with Obama stickers, while I saw innumerable Bernie stickers during the primaries. Now, though? Nothing.

And yet, the polls insist that Hillary is creating an insurmountable lead. So one has to ask, what does it mean when the facts on the ground bear no relationship to the polls?

This isn’t just me being paranoid. A lot of people are thinking there’s something extremely rotten in Media and Polling Land.

Virtue signaling?

Genderless, before it was cool

h/t Goodbye, America

"We have free speech in Canada, but only between consenting adults."

Canadian David Warren writes,
We have free speech in Canada, but only between consenting adults.

He asks the question,
Why do people want what they don’t want?

The advertising agencies (which work with equal enthusiasm on commercial and political products) know this. It is why Democrats and Liberals exist. It is why products that are obviously not good for any conceivable environment are sold as “ecological” and “organic.” It is why new subdivisions are called “Mountainview” when there is no mountain in sight. Or, “Meadowview” when they are in the heart of an asphalt jungle. It is why politicians, who advocate schemes that will bankrupt the polity, recommend them as “investments in the future.” The trick is to remind people of what they really want, while substituting something the client really wants to sell.
Read more here.

Graft and crony capitalism

Investors Business Daily got the Wikileaks transcripts of Hillary's three questions and answers sessions with Goldman Sachs, and IBD asks,
Goldman Sachs Paid Hillary $675,000 For This?
Read more from the Wikileaks transcripts here.

Feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake

Thomas Sowell has written three articles on the Left and the masses at Town Hall. In the first article he writes
...Surely the intelligentsia of the left have access to empirical evidence and the wit to understand such evidence. But the real question is whether they have the stomach to face the prospect that their crusades have hurt the very people they claim to be helping.

...Examining hard evidence would mean gambling a whole vision of the world -- and of their own role in that world -- on a single throw of the dice, which is what looking at hard evidence amounts to. The path of least resistance is to continue going through life feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.
Read more here.

In the second article he wrote
...the left in general, and Hispanic activists in particular, have fought against leaving Hispanic parents with that choice. At the heart of the left's vision of the world -- and of themselves -- is that they know better what is good for other people. This means that the left sees itself as having both a right and a duty to take away other people's options.

This issue was fought out 18 years ago, in a California referendum on so-called "bilingual education," which in practice meant largely teaching Hispanic school children in Spanish. All the forces of political correctness, including the media and the educational establishment, argued in favor of teaching those children in Spanish, even when their parents wanted them taught in English.

Despite a barrage of propaganda from the media and other organs of the left, a majority of California voters sided with Hispanic parents, and passed a law forbidding schools from imposing Spanish on children whose parents wanted them taught in English.

But the left never gives up on their pet notions. This year there is a new proposition on the California ballot -- Proposition 58, very misleadingly phrased -- that would take that choice away from parents, and let schools impose teaching in Spanish to Hispanic children, whether the parents want it or not.

...There is the same dogged resistance on the left to allowing black parents to choose to have their children educated in charter schools that are part of the public school system, but are not subject to all the bureaucratic rules that lead to such bad results in other public schools.

...When it comes to crime and violence, the political left, including much of the media, are having a great time demonizing the police. Blacks are the biggest victims of the sharp upturn in murders that has followed. But, yet again, hard evidence carries very little weight when the left is feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.

The absurdity to which this kind of media frenzy about the police can lead is shown by the fact that a black policeman in Charlotte, North Carolina, shooting a black suspect who had a gun, has been blown up into a racial issue across the nation. Have we become so gullible that we are so easily manipulated and stampeded?
Read more here.

In part three Sowell explains where the term "the Left" came from.
Claiming the role of champions of the masses is something the political left has been doing ever since there has been a political left -- which is to say, ever since the late 18th century, when people with such views sat on the left side of the French National Assembly.

...What role is there for the masses in the vision of the left?

One role is to provide a moral basis for the left to claim power, as defenders of the downtrodden. No secular doctrine has so swept across the world so swiftly, and with such widespread political impact as Marxism in the 20th century. Its central premise is that the workers are poor because their employers have exploited them.

...The political left in general has been able to claim that they have more compassion for the less fortunate, and to depict their opponents as lacking in compassion for others. For none of these assertions have they felt a need to offer hard evidence.

Such evidence as exists contradicts those assertions. An empirical study titled "Who Really Cares" by Arthur C. Brooks found that conservatives donate a higher percentage of their incomes to philanthropic causes, as well as more hours of their time as volunteers, and they donate far more blood.

Another study showed that President Ronald Reagan donated a higher percentage of his income to philanthropic causes than such liberal icons as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Senator Ted Kennedy.

What may be more remarkable than these findings is that the left was able to get away with asserting the opposite for years, without evidence being asked for or given.
Read more here.