Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Clinton Method/Updated

The AP reported here on the number of meetings that HRC had with "...people outside of government". More than half of them were Clinton Foundation donors, according to the report.

The implications are clear that either:
a) If you want to meet with the Secretary of State to pitch your case you need to donate to the Clinton Foundation and/or,
b) If you are already a donor you can demand access in exchange for an undertaking to keep donating.

In either case, as is so often the case with the Clintons, the whole thing stinks.

Scott Johnson, one of the proprietors of the Powerline, blog writes today of a telephone interview HRC did with Jake Tapper of CNN last night. UPDATE: It appears that the interview was with Anderson Cooper, not Tapper

Mr. Johnson writes, correctly in my view, that HRC's attempt to explain all these meetings with donors away as innocuous is "pathetic". 

It is actually an excellent example of the Clinton method. Here is the gist of her explanation as reported by Mr. Johnson.

“I know there is a lot of smoke, and there is no fire. This AP report? Put it in context. This excludes nearly 2,000 meetings I had with world leaders, plus countless other meetings with U.S. government officials when I was secretary of state. It looked at a small portion of my time,”.

In time honored Clinton fashion she did not answer the obvious question of the appearance of impropriety. She answered a question that was never asked. I don't recall any commentators wondering why she was wasting her time with these meetings. They want to know why they happened at all.

The answer is unfortunately obvious to anyone with eyes and the willingness to see what is before them. The woman is hopelessly corrupt.

As Mr. Johnson says of her explanation, " One doesn’t need to be a genius to see through it." I guess I just proved his point!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Black Lives Matter, Again

I have written about the BLM movement before . I have also proposed a way to address the real problems that plague so many in the black community .

Today, through, I came across this bit of nonsense. It includes this hilariously self-righteous self-parody:

"I think there are several police officers who are good people."

Several? Wow, how thoughtful of you. There are more than 900,000 law enforcement officers in the USA. Nice to know that "several...are good people".

How does any publication allow such a spectacularly stupid sentence to appear in print?

I don't know.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Socialism Again, Again

I have written before about socialism and its utter failure every time it is tried. I devoted a post to it on June 12, 2016 if you would like to have a look. I can't link directly to it.

This 2013 Salon article written by David Sirota was brought to my attention recently. I can't remember where it was linked and apologize for being unable to attribute it properly.

Mr. Sirota wrote,

"No, Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving."

Mr. Chavez's legacy doesn't look too good today. I can't find any recent articles by Mr. Sirota on the subject. Sean Penn  has been pretty quiet too.

Time, as they say, tells all. Mr. Chavez and his hand picked successor ran into Margaret Thatcher's Law:  "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

From the Los Angeles Times (via,

"But 2006 also was the year that President Hugo Chavez nationalized 10 of the 16 privately owned sugar refineries and turned them over to worker cooperatives, part of his “21st Century Socialism” agenda. After taking office in 1999 and until his death in 2013, Chavez also seized thousands of acres of sugar cane plantations and made them communal properties.

Comradely gestures to be sure, but sugar production has rapidly declined ever since the seizures. In May, scarcities got so bad that Coca-Cola temporarily suspended production of its popular line of soft drinks, saying it couldn’t buy enough supplies of the industrial sweetener."

The LAT article documents the complete wrecking of Venezuela's private economy through nationalization. For "nationalization", read, the taking "of other people's money".

The money runs out every single time and then you get the partially shared misery which is the real promise of socialism. The elites of socialist countries never participate in the misery. To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds of, in free market systems the rich become powerful. In socialist systems the powerful become rich.

As I posted this past June:

"Take a close look at any socialist country and what you find, once the veneer has been removed, is a kleptocracy. The rich and connected become richer, the poor poorer and the middle class disappears."

I keep writing about the disaster that is socialism because I think it is important that it be described as what it is, not what Mr. Sirota and so many people on the left want it to be. It is a very seductive ideology. What decent person would not prefer that poverty cease to exist, that everyone has everything they need and a lot of what they want?

None. Trouble is, as I have explained before, socialism relies on the unicorn that is the expulsion of human nature from the economic equation. As Venezuela's unfortunate citizens have shown us again, human nature is immutable and cannot be ignored. Socialism cannot work. I wrote, in the June 12 post,

"  Why? Because socialism cannot co-exist with human nature. It is counter-intuitive to a human not to take advantage of every opportunity to improve the quality of his own life. Thus, every socialist regime becomes brutal when persuasion is insufficient to suppress human nature and people refuse to countenance the shared misery absent coercion." Forced labor is now on the agenda.

Even the fervent Socialist, Bernie Sanders is not immune to the demands of human nature.

Socialism in action as opposed to in thought.

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Sunday, August 07, 2016

Human Nature, Again

I have long advised that policies and philosophies that ignore human nature are bound to fail. If your goal is to persuade those with a surfeit of the laziness component of human nature to become productive members of society, removing work requirements from welfare programs is not going to help you achieve your goal.

This fact, proven many times over, has been ignored by liberal policy makers many times over.

This article is just the latest in an endless supply of examples of the immutability of human nature. Add a work requirement to a welfare program and watch two things happen.

First, participation plummets.

"Maine, one of the most proactive states in reinstating work requirements for food stamps, saw its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents decrease by 80 percent within just a few months after re-establishing the work requirement."

 Second, those forced to work or starve find work and end up much better off than they were while accepting the unrestricted handouts.

"The Foundation for Government Accountability identified that nearly 60 percent of Kansans who left the food stamp rolls following the establishment of food stamp work requirements found employment within 12 months and, “their incomes rose by an average of 127 percent per year.”"

Once more with feeling:

"One nice thing about being a liberal is, no one expects you to learn from experience."

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Peace Loving "Palestinians"

I am no fan of the New York Times. The ethics of the editors appear to be almost entirely situational, they change opinions without ever acknowledging the change, those of their "reporters" almost non-existent, they will "report" almost anything their liberal friends tell them.

Occasionally they surprise us. This is one of those times.

"In an effort to appeal to Palestinians ahead of hotly contested elections, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas listed one of its main achievements as having “killed 11,000 Israelis.”"

The NYT and every other main stream newspaper have been telling us for years how Abbas is a "moderate". I guess this is the proof. His opponents have probably killed more of us.

To any of you who believe that there is any current path to a two-state solution, please stop talking and try thinking until you have something to say that is worthy of discussion.

The leadership of the "Palestinians" is divided between awful (Fatah in the West Bank) and worse (Hamas in Gaza).

Then there is Israeli leadership. I am an acquaintance of one opinion shaper in Israel. Donniel Hartman is president of the Shalom Hartman Institute. I attended a private meeting with him in 2013 during which he lamented that we should be doing more for the "Palestinians" and our failure to do "more" is one reason for the continuing troubles. He failed to define "more".

I am reading his latest book, "Putting God Second, How To Save Religion From Itself". It contains at least one example of the moral relativism (I am only on page 43 of 170) that results in a belief that the reason the people who have sworn to kill you and all your brethren and brag of their buddies killing 11,000 of you, is that you didn't do enough for them.

"As more and more people are being killed daily in the name of one god or another, I often wonder about the religious sensibilities of these pious perpetrators of murder and pain." P.43

To my knowledge there is only one god in whose name "more and more people are being killed daily". His name is Allah, his prophet is Mohamed and if you publish a funny picture of Mohamed you will be threatened with death and, perhaps,  killed .

To borrow Rabbi Hartman's construction: I often wonder about the rationality of intellectuals who seem unable or unwilling to understand the obvious.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Islam, again

I have linked to Andrew McCarthy of NRO before. He  recently wrote about Islam and why our policies with respect to identifying the problems it has and dealing with them have been such a failure.

He has more than a passing familiarity with Islam and its practitioners having been the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York when the "Blind Sheik" tried to take down the World Trade Center in 1993 . The "Sheik" and his minions remain in jail.

In his recent article he makes a distinction that I think is very important and had not previously occurred to me.

" should by now be perfectly obvious that that there is no “Islam,” at least not if we are talking about a monolithic belief system. There are sects of Islam, all vying for supremacy in what is, in the main, a conquest ideology — with the various splinters having very different ideas about what conquest entails, and with no papal analogue to impose order by decreeing orthodoxy and condemning heterodoxy."

His context for this assertion is the vacuousness of our current administration and its unwillingness to identify the problem. Some major Islamic factions are our enemies and ought to be identified as such. Claiming, as Mrs. Clinton did in the immediate aftermath of the Nice massacre: "Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism." is just wrong.
Major factions of Islam are our adversary and we would do well to understand this as clearly as Mr. McCarthy does.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Affirmative Action

As I shake my head in confusion at the policy decisions being made in the name of equality I tend to make predictions. I often wonder if my predictions will be accurate.

Men in the ladies' room? An obviously terrible idea fraught with entirely predictable danger.

ObamaCare? An idea so bad it is impossible to understand how anyone with a brain could think it a good idea.

Abandoning, for whatever high-minded set of ideals, the incredibly successful criminal law and policing regimes of the past twenty-five years, is an astonishingly stupid idea. Crime rates are a fraction of what they were in the 1970's. No, we have not accomplished this by incarcerating an entire race of people. Any guesses as to what happens now?
Treating college students like precious snowflakes in order to cushion them from the devastating blow of hearing something they find insulting.

The list goes on and on. Most of them are so obviously wrongheaded to me because they defy human nature. I described my thoughts on human nature here (scroll to the 2nd post).

I often wonder whether my analyses are correct and look for evidence that they are, or not, in an effort to stay honest and avoid confirmation bias.

I am joined by multitudes in concluding that Affirmative Action programs in higher education were always a bad idea. Some people knew just how counter-productive they
would be from the start. One man predicted, in 1969, exactly where we would find ourselves as a result of installing Affirmative Action programs. His name was Macklin Fleming and at the time he wrote his incredibly prescient letter he was a Justice on the California Court of Appeals.

He was writing the Dean of Yale Law School (his alma mater) about the school's announced intention to admit 38 black students who could not qualify under the school's normal standards.

The letters between the Dean and Fleming, as well as analysis can be found here .

I will share some excerpts taken from the link.

"If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students... The fact remains that black and white students will be exposed to each other under circumstances in which demonstrated intellectual superiority rests with the whites.

...No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards."

Exactly what has occurred. Re-segregation. It is inconceivable to me that a large number of people, including those promoting the policy, were not able to see its short comings and pitfalls. They subscribed to it anyway.

Their complacency was probably a combination of fear of being judged racist and the "hope" that their good intentions would usher in their desired result. "Hope" as we all know, is not a strategy. Human nature, while ameliorable, in my opinion, simply cannot be ignored. Ignoring it is just a short-cut to ensuring its assertion and the failure of the  preferred policy.

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Learning Nothing from Experience

"One nice thing about being a liberal is, no one expects you to learn from experience."

John Hinderaker, the author of the quote above, has a nice habit of often getting things just right.

I have written a couple of posts about socialism recently. In all of those words I never came close to the clarity of Mr. Hinderaker's brief statement.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

The Curious Case of James Comey and Donald Trump/Updated

 On Tuesday July 5, 2016, FBI Chief James Comey gave a speech. As many others have mentioned, there seemed actually to have been two, unconnected, Comey speeches.

 The first speech gave us a detailed description of lawless activity clearly in violation of  18 U.S. Code § 793 - Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information. 
(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence* permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. (Emphasis added)

Comey, in the first speech, characterized Clinton and her associates as having been "extremely careless" in their handling of her emails in general and classified ones in particular. As far as I know "extremely careless" is not a legal term, although "carelessness" is defined in Black's Law Dictionary in part as,

"...The careless person is the person who does not take the care he ought to take: never mind whether he felt careful. He can be held to be negligent in making a perfectly honest mistake". Black's Law Dictionary, 7th Edition, P. 205. (Emphasis in the original).

When used by an experienced lawyer like Mr. Comey, it may or may not be a euphemism for gross negligence. From all I have read and from my own viewing experience I had the impression that he intended it to convey the depths of his contempt for Clinton and company's disregard for the norms of behavior in the handling of state secrets.

The reason for his use of the expression in lieu of gross negligence became clear to me in the second speech, the one that said, essentially, nothing to see here. Had he used "gross negligence" in the first speech he would have materially reduced the already limited coherence of drawing the no prosecution conclusion in the second. An already incoherent conclusion would have been rendered more incoherent.

As you can see from the statute above, the intentions of the subjects being investigated have no relationship to the breaking of the law in subsection (f). This contrasts (f) with (a) and (b) which require intent as part of the crime.

In his second speech Comey said:

 In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

Far more authoritative voices than mine have called foul on this. It just doesn't ring true. Andrew McCarthy at NRO
demolishes Comey's assertions in detail.

We are left to wonder why Mr. Comey, of apparently spotless reputation, chose to humiliate himself in this manner.

None of the wondering leads anywhere we want to go.

 The presidential election of 2008 ushered in, in my opinion, our Emperor's New Clothes era (ENC). Mr. Comey continued it, in grand style, with his speech.

We elected a black President, have had two black Attorneys General, a black man sits on the Supreme Court, a black man heads Homeland Security, we have dozens of black mayors, congresspersons, thousands of black state legislators, city council members and judges (I found no firm figures but extrapolated from this )and descend into racial chaos because we are racists.

We know we are not racists and the evidence is everywhere and overwhelming, but, we must admire the ENC. Among the most overwhelming evidence we have of this is that at 13.125% of the population, black people cannot elect anyone without a great deal of help from us racists. source

We  are told of a great new deal with Iran that will stop them from building a nuke, but we aren't allowed to see the whole deal...because it is so good. But, we must admire the ENC.
UPDATE: Now we know that the part we weren't supposed to see will allow Iran to halve, to six months, the time it will take them to build a bomb when the deal expires . Who could have guessed?

We are told how brilliant our President is but we cannot see his college transcripts...because they are so great. ENC.

Unemployment is at pre-2008 levels Hooray! Not! ENC source  

Everybody knows that right-thinking Americans have always supported gay marriage, and not agreeing makes you a neanderthal.
Right. source  Note the relationship between Obama's change of heart and the 2012 election. ENC.

The list goes on forever. Black is white, white is black. ISIS is not an Islamic organization. We are not sure what motivated Mateen. Hillary didn't do anything she should be prosecuted for and, according to Mr. Comey, a statute that says gross negligence is the required level of responsibility to complete the crime doesn't really mean that.

Which brings us to Donald Trump. I am, at the moment, an extremely reluctant supporter. Among the reasons for my reluctant support is that I can't take being told black is white and white is black anymore.

As I have written before, good luck to all of us.

*Gross Negligence is defined in part as ...A conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty and of the consequences to another party. Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition, P. 1057

A lot has been written about conservatives' discomfort with the threshold of gross negligence as sufficient for a criminal conviction. The reason for the discomfort is the exploding number of new crimes being minted by government agencies. Using gross negligence as the replacement for criminal intent places ordinary citizens in jeopardy.

Hillary Clinton is not an ordinary citizen. She signed several documents confirming that she understood the rules. She was grossly negligent in carrying out her duties and should be prosecuted for that malfeasance.



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