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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Gallup on this day, 2012 on: Today at 12:23:05 PM
Gallup Poll, October 22, 2012: Romney 52, Obama 45
(outlier poll, didn't help Romney's result)

Gallup Poll: Jimmy Carter 47 -- Ronald Reagan 39   09/20/2012

Pollsters only get their accuracy checked on their final poll.  Will that cause them to close the gap?  

Trump will close strong, and the race will be closer than the current Oval Office drape measurers think.
Steve Hayward, Powerline.

Trump needs authentic, positive polling give supporters and undecideds reason to think upset is possible.
IBD, Rasmussen and LATimes today have Trump leading.

Is there a shy-Trump vote, where they won't say it but will vote it?  Also, is there a structural polling problem where households as we knew them are no longer reachable?
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Subic Bay, Phillippines on: Today at 11:11:47 AM
How long until the People's Liberation Army Navy (yes, that is what it's called) has a base there?

Construction can start in 3 weeks.  (

'Tell Xi we will have more flexibility after my chosen successors' election'.

We want Russians to be the force of freedom in the Middle East, why not have a communist-expansionist military run the Taiwan to Singapore Sea?  Saves us money in the short run.  And it brings them to the diplomatic bargaining table - to laugh at our demise.
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Can we be like Canada? on: Today at 10:58:14 AM
ccp:  "Keep in mind that many of the policy makers and evaluators are in their hearts, for a single payer system.

That's right.  Isn't it sick that it's actually the left, the designers and supporters of Obamacare who wish it to fail, oblivious to the human tragedy of that.  Conservatives just want it repealed, not wish harm on the recipients.

Government healthcare in every other nook of the world is helped by what's left of private sector innovation here.  When we go under, there isn't some other US for people to turn to.  The leading edge treatments are the most expensive and scarcity is always rationed one way or another.  If not by price then by queuing.

Waiting times for medically necessary treatments in Canada are up 97% in 20 years.
4 week wait for oncology radiation, that doesn't hurt outcomes, does it?
Waits for orthopedic procedures are far worse.
43.1 week on Prince Edward Island for "medically necessary treatments"?
8.4% of the populations in Newfoundland & Labrador are waiting for treatment.
Same system here would yield far worse results.

The top 1% don't wait, at least 52,000 came to the US last year for non-emergency treatment, up 25% in one year.
Where would Americans go after we abandon private care?

In the UK, the top 10% buy private coverage in addition to their NHS membership.

62% in the UK believe the private sector has a role to play in reducing NHS waiting lists.

I wonder if anyone has polled Venezuelans recently (or socialist North Koreans) on healthcare satisfaction.  Hugo chose Cuba over the Mayo Clinic for his treatment, ideology over outcomes.  How is that working out?
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fewer Americans Have Private Health Insurance, unsustainable free sh*t on: Today at 10:21:45 AM

Fewer Americans Have Private Health Insurance Now Than in 2007

No progress whatsoever in 10 years since Democrats took Washington.  More people can't stand on their own, need government assistance.  Remember when we used to judge their effectiveness by how many people no longer need the program?

Now lefties tout how popular free sh*t is with the public.

Yes, rob Peter to pay Paul.  And Amanda, Julia, Maria, Laquisha, Jose and Youssef.  And only getting the latter group's consent.

We made private healthcare unaffordable through government interference while pushing tens of millions into healthcare subsidies.

The argument their side makes is do more of it.  Kill off other people's money while making nearly everyone dependent on it.

The argument our side fails to make is that shutting down the vibrant and dynamic private sector that allows wealth creation to pay for public benefits hurts the recipients of the public benefits system more than it hurts the wealthy - if you can look past your next check.  How are the public benefits recipients doing in Haiti, Venezuela and Republic of the Congo - where wealth doesn't exist?  Not possible that could happen here?  We went from 6% growth to 1% growth and it is the low growth that is unsustainable, held up only by temporary, artificial measures like quantitative expansion and massive debt spending schemes.  We jeopardize our real safety net when we shut down our productive, private economy.

Free shit in Sweden including health care (along with open border migration) eventually brought in crime, riots, violence, police no-go zones and civil war. Native people quit reproducing and new people came for the wrong reasons.  Generous Minnesotans have known that for decades.  Murders in the worst areas have a Chicago migrant connection to them and dozens of Somalis have been arrested for joining al Qaida.  Screw up the price, cost and incentive systems and people respond with the rewarded, unproductive behaviors.

No one aspires to be Peter anymore, the one they all want to rob from.  But without Peter's continued income, we don't pay Paul and all the rest.
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - 4 seconds, 17 agencies on: October 20, 2016, 06:22:34 PM
"When the president gives the order to launch a nuclear weapon, that’s it. The officer has to launch. It can take as little as four minutes."

   - Wouldn't this information be strategic, if not classified?  Snopes denial that it is classified (they don;t know) makes me think it is classified.

"We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election."

PolitiFact says they don't know, therefore true.  Sounds like they made a requested, political determination, subject to change.  Was she also going to reveal methods? 

Same 17 agencies think sending and received classified material of the highest order, like the location of our Ambassador in a war zone, in an unsecured manner, is treason.
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fewer Americans Have Private Health Insurance Now Than in 2007 on: October 20, 2016, 03:57:32 PM

Fewer Americans Have Private Health Insurance Now Than in 2007

No progress whatsoever in 10 years since Democrats took Washington.  More people can't stand on their own, need government assistance.  Remember when we used to judge their effectiveness by how many people no longer need the program?
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, James Taranto, WSJ on: October 20, 2016, 03:54:25 PM
Let’s try a thought experiment. Suppose that during one of the October 2000 presidential debates, Vice President Al Gore had been asked the following question: “Do you make the . . . commitment that you’ll absolutely accept the result of the election?” Moderator Chris Wallace put that query to Donald Trump last night.

Now for the experimental part: Imagine Gore giving a completely truthful answer—that is, an answer that not only reflected his honest intent but accurately anticipated how he would respond to various scenarios, including the one that actually obtained.

It seems to us that Gore’s hypothetical answer would be similar to Trump’s actual one—not the long back-and-forth in which Trump enumerated complaints including media bias, FBI corruption and poorly maintained voter roles, but the prospective bottom line, to wit: “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now, I’ll look at it at the time. . . . What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”

Gore probably wouldn’t have said “I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”—that’s a distinctly Trumpian bit of showmanship—but if he were being completely truthful, he would say, as Trump did, that he would keep his options open and respond to circumstances as they arose. And did they ever arise. True, Gore delivered a gracious concession speech, but not until Dec. 13, more than a month after Election Day.

It isn’t hard to imagine a counterfactual scenario in which Gore would have conceded on the normal schedule. If George W. Bush’s initial margin in Florida had been, say, 60,000 votes (just over 1% of the total) instead of around 2,000, there would have been nothing to contest. But the narrow margin in a decisive state led to weeks of lawsuits and selective recounts—and, even after Gore’s concession, to years of bitter claims that he wuz robbed.

Among those bitterly clinging to the myth of the stolen election—or at least propagating it for political purposes—was Hillary Clinton.
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, willing suspension of disbelief on: October 20, 2016, 02:35:50 PM

I also had to do five of these  rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes

when Hillary said her policies will help small businesses!

That is absurd.  

Right and she will also add not a cent to the deficit - by expanding on exactly what caused the last $10 trillion.

For the low hanging curve balls that Trump missed, I wonder if enough viewers get it anyway.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: October 20, 2016, 02:11:29 PM
Rubio makes a good point IMHO to note the danger of accepting leaks, breaches and ill-gotten material.  That said, as others pointed out, we play on their playing field and cannot accept two sets of rules.  When the leaks expose Republicans, the adversaries aren't going to look the other way.  Good grief.

Trump should have turned this into example and proof that HER choice of unsecured communications was reckless and dangerous.  Emails of valuable targets get hacked.

It is also an interesting to the deletion of 33,000 wedding planning emails.  We will eventually know. 
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, 3rd debate on: October 20, 2016, 01:58:32 PM
1.  Heller wasn't about toddlers.  It was about the right or lack of a right of a 66 year old retired policeman to own a gun in Washington DC where the local government had banned guns in defiance of the 2nd amendment.  .0001 of gun deaths are toddlers.  Hillary lied.  She opposes the second amendment and is too dishonest and expedient to just propose its repeal.

2. What is 'difficult' about Roe-Wade, pro-life, "pro-choice' and difficult, personal healthcare decisions is that it takes a life.  She can blather with the best about cancer screening, as if only an abortion house can do that, and NEVER mention why the "choice" is difficult. It takes a life, 98% of abortions are for convenience reasons and support for partial birth abortions puts you in the furthest left of the left beyond even her own party.  Hillary lied by omission.

3. Hillary does not support open borders?  But that is exactly what she said and she supports the status quo that every reasonable person categorizes as open borders.  She explicitly supported everything that failed in Reagan's reform and the 2006 border act.

Her Brazilian comment about her dream of open borders was about energy.  Really?  Energy borders??

4. Hillary's described her economic plan only in terms of government making 'investments' in things that used to be private sector.  Distinguished it in NO way from the Obama plan that brought $10 trillion more debt and 1% growth.

5. TPP, She was for it before she was against it.  He will negotiate a better one.  She will do what?  Didn't say.  Just spewing what her pollsters and political advisers wrote.

6. Hillary defended the good work of the Foundation without denying or addressing the question about pay to play that has  been documented and proven.

7.  Hillary blamed Bush for the Obama economy.  Seriously??  What Bush did wrong is fail to oppose Democratic policies she STILL supports.

8.  Most noteworthy are all the things not mentioned.  Number one in my mind, This Clinton opposes all the policies that unleashed private sector growth in the Clinton I administration and supports all the policies that held back growth, income and wages in the Obama and Chavez-Maduro administrations.

The fallout from this is unknown.  Not many are moved on either side no matter what they say but so many undecideds have yet to make their decision.  Hillary looks the readiest to settle in and work with the existing establishment in both parties, the bureaucracy, the media, the allies and the adversaries.  She will be crooked but she is a known crook.  She will steal more furniture, raise the cost of healthcare and government and shrink real wages.  The verdict if she wins is 'more of the same', not 'the first woman' as media will declare.

If Trump wins it will be American Brexit.  The country that polls more than 2:1 wrong track over right direction will have spoken by giving the establishment of both parties and the status quo the back of their hand or worse.  Like Brexit, the country and the new administration will have to pick up the pieces from scratch.  There will be a new tax code.  A deletion of thousands of unconstitutional regulations and a re-opening of all international agreements with an eye toward protecting American interests.  Like or hate Trump personally, that possibility has to be at least tempting for a majority of the people.
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / re. How Roman Central Planners Destroyed Their Economy on: October 19, 2016, 10:49:24 AM

Central planning has been a failure for many years, really all of history.

This post is a keeper.  Hard to fully document the failure of central planning without knowing the end of the Roman empire and of the Soviet planners, two very different experiments.

Also note the writing of Ibn Khaldun from the 1300s, The Muqqadimah, noting how government expanding and incentives to produce diminishing ends in collapse.  Excerpt in translation:

"In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation."
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: October 19, 2016, 10:30:14 AM
Trump is failing to close the deal on his gravitas ("presidential-ness").  Everything else is secondary to that.

He should delegate the muck and the wonkery to his extremely capable team-- i.e. who would be doing what under a President Trump:

Gen Flynn for geopolitics, war with Islamo Fascism, Russia, Cyberwar
Christie for the indictment
Carson for Obamacare
Giuliani for Homeland Security and Law & Order
Gingrich for political tactics, dealing with Congress legislation
Team with Paul Ryan on specifics for enabling development of underclass neighborhoods.  Ryan is a true student of this under Jack Kemp and should have a bunch of stuff ready to go.
Ivanka for interface on women's issues

I agree.  A full team in place could show he is serious about winning and governing and allow people to envision a Trump administration.  Releasing his Supreme Court list helped him, made him look serious, and conservative.  The Pence pick was instrumental, showed wisdom on Trump's part.  Grow the team now.  Add gravitas.  Or lose.
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Dylan - hero of the LEFT - so he wins Nobel on: October 18, 2016, 01:05:38 PM
"I just want to know, why it is, that none of these leftist heroes ever give away all of their cash, to go live in poverty, in one of the places like the one they want to turn the US into?


DDF nails it.  The power and validity if questions like that make it hard for liberals and moderates to hang with us on this board.  You might be held to explain something like that.   Are prominent actors and musicians moving to Venezuela where their policies are fully in place?  And where can conservatives move?  Most of the rest of the world is worse, so to make things more equal, we copy them.

I also don't know how leftist ir how political Bob Zimmerman (Dylan) is.  With "how many times must the cannon balls fly Before they're forever banned" he perhaps invented the freeze movement and unilateral disarmament before John Lennon invented one world open borders, but in his own words he was a musician, not a political activist.
The 'how many times' refrain also applies to giving Nobel peace prizes to likes of the Arafat, Carter, Gore, Obama and Dylan without diminishing the good brand name.

Liberty isn't that sexy enough for popular songs - although "Hamilton" has people singing about the constitution and the federalist papers.
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Is Vote Fraud One Directional? on: October 18, 2016, 12:56:23 PM
I was watching the debate with a 'liberal' or at least a centrist, when Trump said "voter fraud", I heard the retort, "both ways".

But is it?  Are conservative Republican precincts committing electoral crimes of the types or on the scale we have seen in urban, leftist centers?  Are the dead, the felons, the illegals coming out equally or similarly for both sides.  I say no, but what is the evidence of that?

Maybe they refer to voting machine manufacturers being owned by corporations, or something like that...

Even if voter fraud went both ways, wouldn't that be even more reason to crack down and tolerate none of it?
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, rigged on: October 18, 2016, 12:45:19 PM
ccp:  "Will makes the case that Trump "has a point".   And we all know he is famous for being against Trump.   Yet Paul Ryan,  RNC lawyers, and the never Trumpers do nothing but undermine him.   They sing the tune of the LEFT undermining the most of the members of the Republican party for the umpteenth time.  Why couldn't Ryan have said something like this?: "

Trump could point to 3 things that happened in Obama's reelection to evidence the rig:

1.  IRS Targeting - 700 conservative groups were prevented from raising money and participating (against Obama's reelection and policies) by action / inaction of the federal bureaucracy, while the IRS commissioner was visiting the White House 500 times more often than his predecessor.

2. Two against one debates, ex parte media and playing field, Candy Crowtley, case in point.  It wasn't just that she jumped into the debate or that she was wrong, it was that the move was quite obviously planned, prearranged and coordinated between the campaign and the questioner.  Is Chris Wallace preparing for this week's debate by planning it with one side?

3. Benghazi Lie - and again the coordination with the media (see point 2) - The narrative was that al Qaida was in retreat and that 'smart diplomacy' was working and the act of war against our unprotected compound was a perfect refutation of all of it.  Obama, Clinton, Susan Rice and the top levels of some of the agencies conspired with the state-run media to ride their false story through to the election.

Is 'media conspiring with the campaign' too strong a charge?  No, it's documented in the emails.  It's also on display all around us.  Watch the latest buzzword montage, Trump is "dangerous".
These examples are planted by the campaign and repeated to the point of reaching every voter by the media.  
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: October 18, 2016, 12:20:49 PM
Case for Trump.

I agree with VDH and Doug.  I just emailed this to some relatives who are voting their conscious and writing in candidates  which I question as to the point. 

It certainly is a vote for Hillary.   

This election may well be the last one many of us will ever have any say in national politics and the direction of our country.  The never Trumpers are deluding themselves or so divorced from main street they don't care.  Like WSJ types who are for Hillary.

I also sent that VDH article to my closest of kin.  Under Trump, there is only a chance of saving a part of what we love about this country.  Under HRC, there isn't.  We head further in the wrong direction to where we  never come back.  

Trump needs to pivot away from the personal defects of both candidates and POUNCE on to direction of the country - where wrong track leads by a two to one margin.  One set of policies enhances economic growth, helping all.  The other set of policies prevents growth, hurts all.  One set of policies makes America strong on the world stage, deters enemies.  The other approach, weak America, makes us less safe.  One judicial philosophy honors the constitution and the limits on government.  The other makes a mockery of the constitution.  

Choose on direction of the country, not on the personalities and flaws in the candidates.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / we should vote for Hill because Putin "fears" her ?? on: October 17, 2016, 09:46:09 AM
'we should vote for Hill because Putin "fears" her'

I'm not sure what WikiLeaks has to do with Russia, nor is she, nor is Putin, but the answer to all questions related to leaked emails that we should have had anyway is pivot to Russia.

But pivot to Russia is a pivot to her own weaknesses and ineptitude, and Obamas'.

A little misunderstanding over a big red button.

Democratic governance:
Tell Vladimir I'll have more flexibility after my reelection.

Who needs checks and balances.

18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Iowahawk, the choice... on: October 17, 2016, 08:29:11 AM
“A team of 7 people editing your tweets is God’s way of telling you you shouldn’t be president of the United States
Iowahawk:  “your choice is between someone who tweets like an idiot and someone who requires a small army of editors to avoid tweeting like an idiot.”
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VDH today, Case.for Trump on: October 17, 2016, 08:18:52 AM

Read it all.

by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON   October 17, 2016 4:00 AM  Conservatives should vote for the Republican nominee.   

Donald Trump needs a unified Republican party in the homestretch if he is to have any chance left of catching Hillary Clinton — along with winning higher percentages of the college-educated and women than currently support him. But even before the latest revelations from an eleven-year-old Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump crudely talked about women, he had long ago in the primaries gratuitously insulted his more moderate rivals and their supporters. He bragged about his lone-wolf candidacy and claimed that his polls were — and would be — always tremendous — contrary to his present deprecation of them. Is it all that surprising that some in his party and some independents, who felt offended, swear that they will not stoop to vote for him when in extremis he now needs them? Or that party stalwarts protest that they no longer wish to be associated with a malodorous albatross hung around their neck?

That question of payback gains importance if the race in the last weeks once again narrows. Trump had by mid September recaptured many of the constituencies that once put John McCain and Mitt Romney within striking distance of Barack Obama. And because Trump has apparently brought back to the Republican cause millions of the old Reagan Democrats, various tea-partiers, and the working classes, and since Hillary Clinton is a far weaker candidate than was Barack Obama, in theory he should have had a better shot to win the popular vote than has any Republican candidate since incumbent president George W. Bush in 2004.

What has always been missing to end the long public career of Hillary Clinton is a four- or five-percentage-point boost from a mélange of the so-called Never Trump Republicans, as well as women and suburban, college-educated independents. Winning back some of these critics could translate into a one- or two-point lead over Clinton in critical swing states.

Those who are soured on Trump certainly can cite lots of understandable reasons for their distaste — well beyond his sometimes grating reality-television personality. In over-dramatic fashion, some Against Trumpers invoke William F. Buckley Jr.’s ostracism of John Birchers from conservative circles as a model for dealing with perceived Trump vulgarity. He is damned as an opportunistic chameleon, not a true conservative. Trump’s personal and professional life has been lurid — as, again, we were reminded by the media-inspired release of a hot-mic tape of past Trump crude sexual braggadocio. The long campaigning has confirmed Trump as often uncouth — insensitive to women and minorities. He has never held office. His ignorance of politics often embarrasses those in foreign- and domestic-policy circles. Trump’s temperament is mercurial, especially in its ego-driven obsessions with slights to his business ethics and acumen. He wins back supporters by temporary bouts of steadiness as his polls surge, only to alienate them again with crazy nocturnal tweets and off-topic rants — as his popularity then again dips. He seems to battle as much with GOP stalwarts as Clintonites, often, to be fair, in retaliation rather than in preemptory fashion.

All these flaws earned Trump nemesis in his disastrous first debate, which was followed by marked dips in his polls. He seemed not to have prepared for the contest, convinced that he could wing it with his accustomed superlative adjectives and repetitive make-America-great generalities. He so obsessed over Clinton’s baited traps and contrived slights about his commercial reputation and his temperament that he allowed her to denigrate his character with impunity — even as he missed multiple opportunities to chronicle her spiraling scandals and contrast his mostly conservative agenda with her boilerplate, Obama 2.0, “you didn’t build that” neo-socialism. Trump’s second debate performance was far stronger, and stanched his hemorrhaging after the Access Hollywood revelations, but it was not the blow-out needed to recapture the lost momentum of mid September — nor will it yet win over Never Trump Republicans and independent women.

The counterarguments for voting Trump are by now also well known. The daily news — riot, terrorism, scandals, enemies on the move abroad, sluggish growth, and record debt — demands a candidate of change. The vote is not for purity of conservative thought, but for the candidate who is preferable to the alternative — and is also a somewhat rough form of adherence to the pragmatic Buckley dictate to prefer the most conservative candidate who can win. The issue, then, at this late date is not necessarily Trump per se, but the fact that he will bring into power far more conservatives than would Hillary Clinton. No one has made a successful argument to challenge that reality.

Nor is the election a choice even between four more years of liberalism and a return of conservatism; it’s an effort to halt the fundamental transformation of the country. A likely two-term Clinton presidency would complete a 16-year institutionalization of serial progressive abuse of the Constitution, outdoing even the twelve years of the imperial Roosevelt administration. The WikiLeaks revelations suggest an emboldened Hillary Clinton, who feels that a 2016 victory will reify her utopian dreams of a new intercontinental America of open borders and open markets, from Chile to Alaska, in the manner of the European Union expanse from the Aegean to the Baltic.

Conservatives who sit out the election de facto vote for Clinton, in the manner that Sanders’s liberal supporters, should they stay home, become votes for Trump. Oddly, renegade Democrats seem more eager to return to their fold than do their louder Republican counterparts. The idealist Bernie Sanders is not nearly as bothered by WikiLeaks and other hacked revelations of how Hillary Clinton sabotaged his campaign, cozied up to big banks, and admitted to talking progressively while in reality serving Wall Street, as are Republicans by Trump’s potty mouth. Yet in a veritable two-person race, the idea of expressing positive neutrality, to paraphrase the Indian statesman V. K. Krishna Menon, is to suppose that tigers can be vegetarians.

The tu quoque argument suggests that Trump’s rhetorical excesses — media obsessions aside — are unfortunately not all that different from those of Obama and Hillary about the “clingers” and the “deplorables.” Name a Trump cruelty or idiocy — unfamiliarity with the political discourse, ethnic insensitivity, cluelessness about the world abroad — and parallels abound, from Obama’s mispronunciation of “corpsman” as “corpse-man,” his mocking of the Special Olympics, and his remark about “punish[ing] our enemies” to Hillary’s statement that believing David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker required a “suspension of disbelief,” her “what difference does it make?” glibness about the Benghazi attack, and her past pandering to “white Americans.” And these Democrats’ frauds — from the Tony Rezko sweetheart lot deal with Obama to Hillary’s $100,000 profiteering in cattle futures — are even more banal grifting than Trump steaks and Trump vodka.

Had anyone else in government set up a private e-mail server, sent and received classified information on it, deleted over 30,000 e-mails, ordered subordinates to circumvent court and congressional orders to produce documents, and serially and publicly lied to the American people about the scandal, that person would surely be in jail. The Clinton Foundation is like no other president-sponsored nonprofit enterprise in recent memory — offering a clearing house for Clinton-family jet travel and sinecures for Clintonite operatives between Clinton elections. Hillary Clinton allotted chunks of her time as secretary of state to the largest Clinton Foundation donors. Almost every assistant whom she has suborned has taken the Fifth Amendment, in Lois Lerner fashion. The problems with Trump University are dwarfed by for-profit Laureate University, whose “Chancellor,” Bill Clinton, garnered $17.6 million in fees from the college and its affiliates over five years — often by cementing the often financially troubled international enterprise’s relationship with Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Collate what Hillary Clinton in the past has said about victims of Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assaults, or reread some of the racier sections of Dreams From My Father, and it is hard to argue that Trump is beyond the pale in terms of contemporary culture.

Trump’s defeat would translate into continued political subversion of once disinterested federal agencies, from the FBI and Justice Department to the IRS and the EPA. It would ensure a liberal Supreme Court for the next 20 years — or more. Republicans would be lucky to hold the Senate. Obama’s unconstitutional executive overreach would be the model for Hillary’s second wave of pen-and-phone executive orders. If, in Obama fashion, the debt doubled again in eight years, we would be in hock $40 trillion after paying for Hillary’s even more grandiose entitlements of free college tuition, student-loan debt relief, and open borders. She has already talked of upping income and estate taxes on those far less wealthy than the Clintons and of putting coal miners out of work (“We are going to put a whole lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business”) while promising more Solyndra-like ventures in failed crony capitalism.

We worry about what Citizen Trump did in the past in the private sector and fret more over what he might do as commander-in-chief. But these legitimate anxieties remain in the subjunctive mood; they are not facts in the indicative gleaned from Clinton’s long public record. As voters, we can only compare the respective Clinton and Trump published agendas on illegal immigration, taxes, regulation, defense spending, the Affordable Care Act, abortion, and other social issues to conclude that Trump’s platform is the far more conservative — and a rebuke of the last eight years. There is a reason the politicized media — from biased debate moderators to New York Times reporters who seek to pass muster in the Clinton team’s eyes before publishing their puff pieces — have gone haywire over Trump.

Contrary to popular anger against them, Never Trump conservative op-ed writers and wayward Republican insiders do not have much direct influence in keeping Trump’s party support down. Indeed, even after the latest gaffes, it creeps back up even as he is alienating women and the suburbs. The problem is more nuanced. Never Trump conservative grandees help flesh out the Clinton narrative of a toxic Trump that is then translated through ads, quotes, and sound bites to more numerous fence-sitting independents and women: Why should they vote for a purported extremist whom even the notables of the conservative movement and Republican party cannot stomach?

In an election with flawed candidates, balance is a legitimate question: Why didn’t The New Republic or the Huffington Post run an “Against Clinton” special issue? Certainly, she was dishonest enough to warrant such opprobrium from among a few of her own — given her prior treatment of Bill Clinton’s likely victims of sexual assault. Her endangerment of national security through use of her private server, the utter corruption of the Clinton Foundation and indeed the office of secretary of state, and her serial lies, from claiming to have braved sniper fire in Bosnia to misleading the families of the Benghazi fallen amid the caskets of their dead, make her unfit for the presidency.

In this low-bar presidential race, why do conservative establishmentarians and past foreign-policy officials feel a need to publish their support for the Democratic candidate, when their liberal counterparts feel no such urge to distance themselves from their own nominee? Is what Clinton actually did, in leaving Iraq abruptly, or lying about Benghazi, or violating federal security laws, so much less alarming than what Trump might do in shaking up NATO or “bombing the hell out of ISIS”? Trump’s platform is the far more conservative — and a rebuke of the last eight years.

Have such conservative self-auditing and Marquess of Queensberry restraint paid dividends in the past? Would it have been worth it for John McCain to go after Obama’s personal mentor and pastor, the racist, anti-American, and anti-Semitic Reverend Jeremiah Wright, in 2008, to preempt an agenda that led to the passage of the Affordable Care Act? Or, in the second presidential debate of 2012, should Romney have, in Reaganesque fashion, grabbed the hijacked mic back from the moderator and “fact-checker” Candy Crowley, if that dramatic act might have meant his election would have warded off the looming Iran deal? Was losing nobly in 2008 and 2012 preferable to winning ugly with Lee Atwater in 1988?

All the Republican primary candidates, in fear of a third-party Trump bid, swore an oath to support the nominee. When Jeb Bush or Carly Fiorina, even if for understandable reasons, broke that promise, they reinforced the unspoken admission that the Republican field — despite impressive résumés — operated on politics-as-usual principles. Trump won not only fair and square but also with a larger aggregate vote than any prior Republican nominee. Moreover, the Trump constituencies for the most part loyally voted in 2008 and 2012 for Republican moderates who they presciently feared were malleable on many conservative issues and who they rightly guessed would probably lose.

Trumpism was no fluke. During the primaries, a solid conservative governor, Scott Walker, at times seemed a deer in the headlights on illegal immigration. A charismatic Marco Rubio fell into robotic recitations of boilerplate. A decent Jeb Bush’s characterization of illegal immigration as “an act of love” was no gaffe but seemed a window into his own privilege. Multi-talented Ted Cruz convinced few that he was the elder Cato. Rand Paul reminded us why we would not vote for Ron Paul. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry demonstrated how successful governors might not inspire the country. Chris Christie played the bully boy one too many times. The inspired outsiders, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, never quite got beyond being inspired outsiders. Campaigning is like war: It often involves a tragic correction to early mistaken appraisals of relative strength and weakness formed in calmer times. Casualties pile up to prove what should have been known but went unrecognized before blows fell: in this case, that in his energetic harnessing of popular anger, Trump, my own least favorite in the field, was the more effective candidate in gauging the mood of the times.

These are all valid rejoinders to those who say that recalcitrant conservatives, independents, and women should not hold their nose and vote for Trump. But they are not the chief considerations in his favor.

Something has gone terribly wrong with the Republican party, and it has nothing to do with the flaws of Donald Trump. Something like his tone and message would have to be invented if he did not exist. None of the other 16 primary candidates — the great majority of whom had far greater political expertise, more even temperaments, and more knowledge of issues than did Trump — shared Trump’s sense of outrage — or his ability to convey it — over what was wrong: The lives and concerns of the Republican establishment in the media and government no longer resembled those of half their supporters.

The Beltway establishment grew more concerned about their sinecures in government and the media than about showing urgency in stopping Obamaism. When the Voz de Aztlan and the Wall Street Journal often share the same position on illegal immigration, or when Republicans of the Gang of Eight are as likely as their left-wing associates to disparage those who want federal immigration law enforced, the proverbial conservative masses feel they have lost their representation. How, under a supposedly obstructive, conservative-controlled House and Senate, did we reach $20 trillion in debt, institutionalize sanctuary cities, and put ourselves on track to a Navy of World War I size? Compared with all that, “making Mexico pay” for the wall does not seem all that radical. Under a Trump presidency the owner of Univision would not be stealthily writing, as he did to Team Clinton, to press harder for open borders — and thus the continuance of a permanent and profitable viewership of non-English speakers. Trump’s outrageousness was not really new; it was more a 360-degree mirror of an already outrageous politics as usual.

One does not need lectures about conservatism from Edmund Burke when, at the neighborhood school, English becomes a second language, or when one is rammed by a hit-and-run driver illegally in the United States who flees the scene of the accident. Do our elites ever enter their offices to find their opinion-journalism jobs outsourced at half the cost to writers in India? Are congressional staffers told to move to Alabama, where it is cheaper to telecommunicate their business? Trump’s outrageousness was not really new; it was more a 360-degree mirror of an already outrageous politics as usual.

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell did make a good case that they had stopped some of the Obama agenda and could not have halted more, given that Republicans did not have the White House and Obama often exceeded his constitutional mandates. But they hardly provided emotional energy and vehement opposition — the thumos that galvanizes others to do things deemed improbable. Tea-party rallying cries to stop Obamacare, to stop piling up trillions in new debt, to stop slashing the military, and to stop disparaging working-class Americans mostly in favor of preferred racial, class, or gender groups were not inspired by the Republican elite. The WikiLeaks peek into the Clinton-Obama media Borg reveals an insidious corruption in which it is hard to distinguish between campaign officials, network-journalist grandees, and top-level bureaucrats. Colin Powell’s pathetic hacked e-mails might suggest that such insidiousness is not just confined to liberals and progressives.

“Creative destruction” and “job mobility” are favorite — and often correct — nostrums for the unfortunate downsides of otherwise wealth-creating, unfettered trade. The more foreign products undercut our own, in theory, the more we are forced to tone up, put the right workers into the right places for the right reasons, and become ever more productive and competitive.

The problem, however, is that a displaced real person, unemployed and living with his 80-year-old grandmother in a financially underwater and unsellable home, cannot easily move to the North Dakota fracking fields, any more than the destruction of an 80-acre small-farming operation owing to foreign agricultural subsidies is in any way “creative.” What we needed from our conservative elites and moderates was not necessarily less free-market economics, but fair in addition to free trade — and at least some compassion and sensitivity in recognizing that their bromides usually applied to others rather than to themselves and the political class of both parties.

When Trump shoots off his blunderbuss, is it always proof of laziness and ignorance, or is it sometimes generally aimed in the right direction to prompt anxiety and eventual necessary reconsideration? Questioning NATO’s pro forma way of doing business led to furor, but also to renewed promises from NATO allies to fight terror, pony up defense funds, and coordinate more effectively. Deploring unfair trade deals suddenly made Hillary Clinton renounce her prior zealous support of the “gold standard” Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

Wondering whether some of our Asian allies might someday build nuclear weapons galvanized Japan and South Korea to step up and warn North Korea against further aggressive acts, in a new fashion. In Europe, Trump is said to be unpredictable and volatile. But since when are predictability and serenity always advantages in global poker?

A President Trump might shake up U.S. foreign policy in controversial and not always polite ways. In far calmer fashion, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton already has revolutionized America’s role overseas — from the Iraq pullout to the foundations of the Iran deal to lead-from-behind Libyan bombing to tiptoeing around “violent extremism” and “workplace violence” to empowering Chinese expansionism to increasing distance from allies and proximity to enemies. Obama reminded us that approval from abroad is usually synonymous with thanks for weakening America and making us more like them than them us. Should we be more terrified that the socialist and largely pacifist European Union is afraid of Trump, or that it welcomes even more of Barack Obama’s type of leadership? Is not the present course of projecting weakness while insulting Vladimir Putin — the Russian reset of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — the inverse of speaking softly while carrying a big stick?

The ancient idea of tragic irony can sometimes be described as an outcome unfortunately contrary to what should have been expected. Many of us did not vote in the primaries for Trump, because we did not believe that he was sufficiently conservative or, given his polarizing demeanor, that he could win the presidency even if he were. The irony is now upon us that Trump may have been the most conservative Republican candidate who still could beat Hillary Clinton — and that if he were to win, he might usher in the most conservative Congress, presidency, and Supreme Court in nearly a century.

 — Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Read more at:
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clinton Sent Intelligence Info To Podesta’s Hacked Email Account on: October 15, 2016, 01:32:21 PM

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton sent a lengthy Middle East intelligence breakdown in an email to longtime ally and lobbyist John Podesta while he was working in the White House.

“With all of its tragic aspects, the advance of ISIL through Iraq gives the U.S. Government an opportunity to change the way it deals with the chaotic security situation in North Africa and the Middle East,” Clinton wrote to Podesta in an August 2014 email obtained by WikiLeaks.

Clinton’s email, sent from a private account she began using after leaving the Department of State, gives Podesta a breakdown of the political situation in the Middle East following the rise of the Islamic State. Clinton says her email and advice is based on various intelligence sources.

“Note: Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region,” Clinton wrote.
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What Erdogan’s Pivot to Putin Means, WALTER RUSSELL MEAD on: October 15, 2016, 01:27:05 PM

Obama handling of Syria continues to become more incoherent and more damaging to American interests. Putin has not only, thanks to White House dithering and irresolution, managed to reinsert Russia into Middle East politics in a spoiler role and his gains have not just included a deepening and commercially beneficial relationship with Iran and the weakening of the European Union and Merkel’s leadership in it over the refugee issue; he has also, thanks to the incoherence of American policy, managed to drive a thick wedge into NATO by further alienating Turkey from the West and, especially Washington.

As for what a naive and vainglorious President Obama once (back in those days when he collected Nobel Peace Prizes and was hailed as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln by a clueless and infatuated press corps) identified as a central goal of his foreign policy—the reconciliation of America with the Muslim world—his callous abandonment of the Syrian Sunnis to their increasingly genocidal foes has done as much, if not more, to tarnish America’s reputation among Sunni Arabs than anything any of his predecessors managed to do going back to Harry Truman.

The issues in Syria are difficult and the alternatives are few, but President Obama’s Syria policy is one of the shabbiest and sorriest displays of serial ineptitude that has unfolded in world politics in all these many years. That his emissaries and representatives attempt to cover the nakedness of their policy with grandiose rhetorical denunciation of the crimes that Obama’s incompetence has enabled merely underscores the horrifying moral and political emptiness of the President’s approach to world politics.
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: October 15, 2016, 12:57:57 PM
"I wonder if the growth surge coming from government 'investments' in solar Solyndra, Cash for Clunkers and Shovel Ready Projects never materialized..."

Hill wants to make us a clean energy power house.

millions and millions of solar panels and windmills on every square meter of land "might" actually do it.  

Paraphrasing Milton Friedman on government 'investments', investments that don't pay for themselves aren't worth making.  If these ideas make economic sense they don't need public subsidy in a free economy.

Also, there is the duck curve, we need far more energy produced at some times as compared with others:

Investing more in wind and solar provides more energy only during the times of the day and year when there is wind and solar, leaving even bigger gaps to fill during the other times.

It was fracking, a private sector program, that reduced our CO2 emissions.  Natural gas is close to 40% cleaner with carbon than coal.  Nuclear is the cleanest with carbon emissions at zero but scales up and down with the above demand curve the worst.   No one has fully thought this through, which is surprising when the proposal is always to move to a centrally planned economy.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: October 15, 2016, 12:48:06 PM
Yet more than 50% are satisfied/approve with/of Obama ?

This is a real problem in the dynamic of the race, in addition to the problems with the change candidate.  But maybe that polled approval is personal to Obama and not transferable to his chosen successor.

Here is another measure of the same question:

Right Direction  30.4
Wrong Track     63.6
Spread            -33.2
RCP Average as of today

If wrong track out-polls right direction by more than two to one and one candidate clearly represents more of the same, there is a mile-wide opening for a challenger to drive through even with today's electorate where half the people have below average intelligence.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, the Obama deficits are eternally 'bearable' on: October 15, 2016, 12:37:54 PM
"Now, the Congressional Budget Office is predicting deficits will, more or less, remain in the $600 billion range for the next several years. Those are eye-popping numbers to the average person, but they represent about 3 percent of the size of the economy, a level many economists say is bearable."

Deficit spending rate is twice the (artificial) 'growth' rate.  (What growth?) 

Deficits in a stable environment don't remain in that range when the wheels fall off. 

Under these economic policies, this is the new full employment.  Growth cannot happen without growing our capital base or workforce.  Without a change of policies it only gets worse.  Revenues stopped climbing; spending keeps increasing, and virtually none of it went toward rebuilding our infrastructure or modernizing our military.

The debt doubles in one Presidency, more accumulated deficits than the first 43 Presidents combined.  And the proposal going forward is MORE OF THE SAME. Best case.  As national healthcare and every other HRC program builds and the private sector diminishes, the real trend is to see national debt hit $40 trillion in 8 years.  That is assuming a continuing plowhorse economy, and not the financial and economic collapse that is far more likely.
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Donald Trump was a Democrat then. on: October 15, 2016, 12:22:53 PM
A defense he can't use, but didn't all of Donald Trump's alleged bad talk and bad behavior happen back when he was a Democrat?

When they ask, have you changed, the answer should be yes.  Democrats, everyone knows, are held to a lower standard.  He should argue they hold him to the Bill Clinton standard for the 10 and 30 years ago stuff and only to the higher, Republican standard going forward.
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs, spending, deficit, budget, deficit up 34% in a recovery on: October 15, 2016, 12:17:37 PM
Associated Press WASHINGTON

"The government ran a $587 billion budget deficit for the just-completed fiscal year, a 34 percent spike over last year after significant improvement from the record deficits of President Barack Obama's first years in office."

"the government is borrowing 15 cents of every dollar it spends. Government spending went up almost 5 percent to $3.9 trillion in fiscal 2016, but revenues stayed flat at $3.3 trillion".  (No they didn't; revenues went down a smidgen.)

Republican House.  Republican Senate.  No tax increases repealed.  No programs de-funded.  Not because they agree with Obama and his priorities but because they, the Republican establishment in Washington, wanted to make no waves in order to take back the White House in 2016.  How is that strategy working out for them?

I wonder if the growth surge coming from government 'investments' in solar Solyndra, Cash for Clunkers and Shovel Ready Projects never materialized...

Can someone name the nations that created great prosperity by having the government eat up the private sector?  Or the places around the world and throughout history that expanded prosperity by limiting personal economic freedom?  Once again, who could have know this would backfire?
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Tax rate increases yield virtually no revenue increase on: October 15, 2016, 12:00:39 PM
I'm real sick of trying to point out what virtually no one in power is capable of learning.  ObamaCare had two dozen tax increases in it.  'We' ended 'Bush tax cuts for the wealthy', meaning we raised tax rates.  We, meaning Obama and the Democrats, increased the estate tax rate by infinity-fold.  We, meaning the US, have the highest corporate tax rates in the world, especially in NY, CA and MN to name a few overtaxed places.  We should be raking in the revenue.


"After adjusting for inflation, the amount of taxes collected by the federal government in fiscal year 2016 is slightly lower than the $3.3 trillion the government collected in fiscal year 2015".

Higher rates didn't bring in higher revenues. 

Who fucking knew?!

The deficit went back up by 34% IN THE MIDDLE OF A "RECOVERY".  (Or is it the tail end of a 'recovery'?

If economics is a science, aren't these static analysis advocates like Obama, Hillary and every Democrat-run 'fact check' site DENIERS OF SCIENCE?? ?? ?? ?? !!
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: October 10, 2016, 02:42:49 PM
Regarding the 'lewd tape', one thing that seems to be overlooked is that it was Hillary's camp I believe that brought this into the public view - so that she could tell you to keep your young boys and girls away from the debate.  The electorate knew he has made comments about women, breast sizes etc.  Certainly it makes it worse to hear this including non-consensual allusions, but if she wanted the debate to be on the issues, she could have made her attacks on the issues.  They have been publicly offering rewards for coming up with material like this.  I expect more.  It's still early (October).

In the debate, Trump fought her to a draw.  Proved he offers a serious alternative to governing.  Proved that electing Hillary and the Clinton's in a binary election is no sure way to make the White House squeaky clean and free of debauchery. 

On the HRC side, it has always been said that the more people get to see her, the less they like her.  Trump has attached her to the status quo and is actively attacking the quality of the status quo on economic and foreign policy arguments.  She likely will still lead as this latest scandal and debate settle, but her numbers everywhere are consistently well under 50%.

Stated earlier on the forum, oddly it was Democrats, liberals and Clinton defenders that argued loudly that personal conduct has no relevance to the office of the Presidency.  I may disagree and argued long and hard for Republicans to choose someone else before this surfaced, but at this point, what choice do we have?

Holier than thou Republicans, purists, Rinos and establishment types better get back on track fairly soon.  This election will have consequences.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, VP Debate, Mike Pence, Tim Kaine on: October 07, 2016, 12:41:32 PM
(A little late to this as a post disappeared in my computer...)

VP choices are supposed to bring you no votes.  Mike Pence may be the exception.  He warms Trump to the middle and firms up the base a little.  I have been speaking highly of Pence since before the entire election cycle and spoke highly of Pence when Trump chose him.  Pence made me proud in this debate.  He projects a lot of good qualities, looks calm, ready and Presidential.  He helps firm up conservative voters for Trump, people like me.  No matter what you think of Trump, the pick of Pence shows good judgment to conservatives and gives hope for the American Creed, something that Pence gets.  On the other side of it, Hillary and Kaine offer none of that.  All their proposals are for a government run 'private sector', to run the country with the exact the opposite policies of what worked for her husband.  Implement Chavez-Venezueala policies and expect Reagan-like results.  Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Pence has experience with a decade in congress, foreign policy experience, and executive experience running a medium sized state.  Under his conservative watch, unemployment was cut in half in Indiana.  Under Tim Kaine's tax and spend tenure, unemployment doubled in Virginia.  Notice that their relative records were not brought up by the co-conspirator moderator or media.  Pence mentioned that once and Kaine let it go by.

As mentioned, Mike Pence is likable to independents and undecideds and he makes conservatism likable to a wider audience.

Kaine was nothing short of annoying throughout the debate with 72 counted interruptions.  Can someone check in this weekend with SNL and see if they picked up on it.  Kaine focused on Trump gaffes' not his policies.  His claim of eternal peace and serenity in Iran was nothing short of astonishing.  He was called out for being scripted and then stayed with the script until everyone but him felt his embarrassment.  I kind of wish they did have an earpiece to the handlers so that someone could have told him to get off it.  The script was very reminiscent of Susan Rice telling on all networks that a video led to an attack.  The world's number one sponsor of terror has given up its long-held nuclear ambition because of the toughness, charm and ingenuity of the former Secretary of State that no one else can see.  What really happened is what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called, this agreement paves the path for Iran to become a very real nuclear threat.  On top of that, we airlifted them the money.  

In a Presidential tragedy, it would be very easy to see Pence step in, composed and ready to lead the country.

All Pence gained is lost if Trump steps up Sunday with another bad debate of his own.  I look for Trump to show up sharper and readier than he was in the first debate, and the format perhaps favors him.  
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ACTION items, Judicial Watch on: October 01, 2016, 01:39:55 PM
ccp wrote in another thread: 

"Without Judicial Watch this whole thing would have received a blind eye."

If a person had a dollar and wanted to make a difference, Judicial Watch is the organization that perhaps has done the most good to expose corruption and scandal in government.

'Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and contributions are tax-deductible for income, gift, and estate taxes.'

If we can't win we can at least make a corrupt President Hillary's life miserable.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Libertarian and Green candidates on: September 29, 2016, 12:18:26 PM
Definitely not voting for Johnson. I've gone back and forth on this a few times... Trump started asking Hillary some hard questions yesterday in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Johnson can't name a foreign head of state that he admires. Dude... He could have said the Dalai Lama and no one would have questioned him at all.

Some of us I think could have said Benjamin Netanyahu.  Doubtful that Johnson agrees with that, since being lax on defense is a main stance of his. He could have said Narendra Modi and pivoted to India, or the guy who ended agriculture subsidies in New Zealand.  How do you beg to be included in prime time debates and then not try to learn 6 or 8 names from around the world?

Maybe he has some short term memory loss...

Johnson couldn't say whether US involvement in WWII was wrong. 

Maybe he has cognitive issues as well.
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survivalist, Prepper/prepping issues on: September 29, 2016, 10:49:17 AM
Correction to my own post: I wrote "brown" bears.  I meant "black" bears are good climbers.

With a black bear, hide quietly behind an apple tree and hope he stops for the apples.   Grizzly and polar bears are scary creatures.  You have a better chance out-swimming a Greenland shark (top speed 1.5 mph).

Bear spray is available at outdoor stores.  Very nasty stuff.  Too late if you're reading this and the bear is already charging you.  I saw a self defense ad one time saying that 'mace is nice if you have one attacker.  For an ally full of attackers try bear spray'. 
Be careful with wind direction...   
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues on: September 29, 2016, 09:42:04 AM
Our forum linked in the 'major media':    )
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / war on the rule of law, Dept of Injustice Discretionary Prosecutors on: September 29, 2016, 08:17:13 AM
I wonder why we call them prosecutors when they see the law broken, know who broke it, have the evidence and then fail to prosecute.
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Libertarian and Green candidates - held to a lower standard on: September 29, 2016, 08:08:20 AM
Minor party candidates are held to a lower standard - because they aren't going to be President.  In this case,  Gary Johnson couldn't name a foreign leader.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: September 28, 2016, 01:13:17 PM
Has anyone asked why she visited so many countries?   I strongly suspect it was to hit them up for money for the Clinton Foundation.  Why else?  It had something to do with that I suspect.
The only other reason would be just so she can state, like she is doing, that she did visit so many countries as though that is a gold star on her resume:

That's right.  They had already planned the Foundation all the way back in the 90s.  That is from a post of yours, I believe.  She became the first fitbit Secretary where it is taxpayer paid miles, not steps, that are counted.  A resume is a list of accomplishments, not of addresses.  I recall that women first voted in Iraq and Afghanistan under Bush.  What did she accomplish?  Liberation of Libya - to al Qaida?

One place she visited on behalf of women's rights was China.  Then when she wrote "Living History" she had the book translated to Chinese to sell more copies with any scolding of the regime omitted.  All the nice things she said about the PLA and PRC were left in the book. Caught in that by the NYT(?) she was 'appalled' to learn that criticism of the Chinese government was censored by the communist government!  (Who could have seen that coming?!)  She immediately posted those chapters to her website on the internet - where it was censored again by the communist government, as all anti-regime content is. (And who could have seen that coming?)  Meanwhile she kept all the money for the selected text books.  Was she bragging about being ignorant, stupid about what oppresive regimes do or was she just being duplicitous in profiting while giving legitimacy to a totally oppressive regime? 
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Lester Holt was quite wrong on Stop & Frisk ruling on: September 28, 2016, 12:25:28 PM
Is this a national issue relative to this election, why was it brought up in this debate with time for big issues so limited?  I presume the answer to that was to isolate Trump from blacks, stop and frisk is hugely unpopular with blacks.  Also to distract attention away from current failures.

This is like abortion question, questioners pick apart the most extreme conservative position on rare cases and ignore the 98% where babies are getting slaughtered for convenience reasons.  In this case, the black and Hispanic neighborhoods are becoming war zones.  Bothering innocent people isn't a big part of the fix.

The policy as I understand it is stop, question and frisk, not stop and frisk.
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Sovereignty/International Law, TPP sovereignty issues, Trans Pacific on: September 28, 2016, 12:15:38 PM
Follow up from Presidential discussion:

DDF:  I'm trying to do homework and also read the Trans-Pacific Partnership to pick it apart, and maybe send some things to Trump's campaign that he can use.
At 5,544 pages (it's hard to tell because the actual government link with the text is in several links due to its size), it weighs more than 100 lbs.

I'm very interested in seeing that.

From a previous post in this thread:
Crafty:  In that only 5 out of 29 parts are about Trade, perhaps it would make more sense for our discussions to be the Sovereignty thread?

This is my concern.  I support the freedom to trade across borders without undue government interference, but I would like to know what the other 24 chapters are about.  Is this where Hillary sees the gold standard in international agreements.  What are the real infringements on our sovereignty in the TPP?  Removing these is where Trump could call the countries back together and get a better agreement, one that doesn't violate our constitution or sovereignty, one we can sign.
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Rate cuts did not bring on a financial collapse. on: September 28, 2016, 10:09:36 AM
Deconstructing further the economic nonsense the Democratic nominee made this week to a record setting debate audience.  Tax policy too, but the allegation made is trickle down economics, a larger accusation than just tax policy.  Hillary Clinton quotes static analysis that defies the science of economics.  She blames the financial collapse of 2008, under her watch from the majority in the Senate, on the Bush tax rate cuts of 5 years earlier.  She misses that the Bush rate cuts doubled the economic growth rate when they were enacted.  Is she saying that  economic growth causes collapse and therefore we should avoid growth?

The main Bush rates cuts were passed in 2003.  The top rate was cut from 38.6% to 35%.  The lowest rate went from 15% to 10%.  It was not a give away to the rich with the largest percentage decreases actually going to the lowest end of income.  Only in deception can this be called "trickle down", nor do the dates come close to matching the collapse.

The rate cuts led to consistent double digit growth in federal revenues, 44% in 4 years from the time they were enacted until the side promising the end of the rate cuts won control of Washington DC at the end of 2006.

Capital gains revenues DOUBLED by 2005 following the lowering of that rate.  That means the rich are paying more, measured in dollars.

Rate cuts caused the rich to pay more, not less as Hillary Clinton alleged falsely to 80 million people.  From IRS data, the top 1% of income earners paid $84 billion more in federal income taxes in 2007 than in 2000 before the Bush tax cuts were passed, 23% more.  The bottom half of income earners paid $6 billion less in federal income taxes in 2007 than in 2000, a decline of 16%.   It wasn't a giveaway to the rich and it wasn't a loss in revenues.

Clinton is repeating a falsehood that Obama ran on twice and won.  Here is PolitiFact tapdancing around the same issue and getting it wrong:

Economic growth didn't cause the collapse.  The financial collapse was caused by the certainty that economic growth was coming to an end with the end of the rate cuts and other anti-supply side promises like over-regulation.  The end to wage growth meant an end to the rapid rise in the real estate market.  Investors saw a changed electorate, a changed political climate, Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden-Hillary all switching over to majority control, a certain rise in future tax rates coming, and then the trouble began.

More links on this topic:

Hillary Clinton's Zany Debate Claim That Tax Cuts Caused The Financial Crisis
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Michael Barone, 2nd thoughts on debate 1 on: September 28, 2016, 08:48:49 AM
From our point of view Trump missed so many opportunities.  OTOH maybe he did land some lasting punches with his targeted voters.  

[One other point is that Romney destroyed Obama in the first debate of 2012 and lost the election decisively.]

Did Donald Trump deconstruct Hillary Clinton with marginal voters?


One way to look at Monday's night presidential debate: Both candidates were speaking, time and again, to marginal voters. Specifically, to young Americans, and for a considerable time to young black Americans in particular, people who may or may not choose to vote, may choose to vote for a third- or fourth-party candidate or may (Democrats hope) turn out to vote in large numbers for Hillary Clinton. Clinton's strategy of replicating the 2012 Obama 51 percent majority requires high turnout among groups that over history have had a low propensity to vote — blacks, Hispanics, young people. Trump's strategy, given his unpopularity with young voters, is to deter them from voting for Clinton, especially considering that the black and Hispanic percentages among young people eligible to vote is higher than those percentages among older people.

"She's been doing this for 30 years," Trump said near the beginning of the debate, while talking about trade. The number's not quite accurate: Clinton has been a national figure for only — only! — 25 years, since Bill Clinton began running for president in 1991, but she was also, as speakers at the Democratic National Convention mentioned over and over, a public policymaker starting at least when Bill Clinton was first elected governor in 1978, 38 years ago. "And Hillary, I'd just ask you this," Trump said some minutes later. "You've been doing this for 30 years." There's no clear antecedent for "this" — Trump was riffing about energy, debt, trade — but the point was made again. He even lapsed into absurdity — "You've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life" — which is impossible because the Islamic State didn't exist for most of that time. Much later in the debate, he chimed in on ISIS. "So she talks about taking them out. She's been doing it a long time." And near the end of the debate, he chimed in, "Hillary's has experience, it's bad experience."

Trump also went after her on flip-flopping, which is to say, sincerity. He brazenly predicted that she would push the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement she's currently and then recalled, accurately, "You called it the gold standard of trade deals." Young people, it seems safe to say, value sincerity and dislike candidates who switch positions for political reasons.

Trump missed a chance to skewer Clinton for her secret email server in response to a question on cybersecurity, but earlier, when moderator Lester Holt (otherwise mum on the emails) asked her to respond to Trump's mention of them, he said, "That was more than a mistake. That was done purposely. OK?" At which point he repeated the previous two sentences. "When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they're not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it's disgraceful."

So on three critical characteristics Trump tried to get across the message that Clinton is antique, expedient and dishonest — qualities that young people presumably abhor. He underlined the concerns that have young people in some target state polls casting more than 20 percent of their votes for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein or no candidate rather than the Democratic nominee.

How did Clinton try to appeal to young voters? Near the beginning of the debate, as part of a laundry list of policies supported by many Democrats, she called for "paid family leave, sick days" and "affordable child care and debt-free college." She echoed the call for "debt-free college" later but did not describe her plan, adapted from Bernie Sanders' proposal, in any detail. Later, in listing her "plans," she said, "We also have to look at how we help families balance the responsibilities at home and the responsibilities at business." Not all these concerns are shared by many young people, especially those who are marginal voters. Not all want to go to college. The percentage of Millennials who are married is lower than it was of previous generations and most unmarrieds are not in the market for child care. By no means do all have jobs. It's not clear that the policies will help them.

She also attacked Trump for positions and statements presumably unattractive to young people. She charged that "Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpretrated by the Chinese" — a slight alteration of a Trump tweet. And at the end of the debate Lester Holt asked a question that gave her a chance to reprise some of the repulsive things Trump has said about women.

"We move into our next segment talking about America's direction," said Lester Holt. "Let's start by talking about race." I don't recall "race" being a subject in any presidential debate in the last four elections (please correct me if I'm wrong), which tells you something about the state of things today.

In response, Clinton echoed the complaints of the Black Lives Matter group: "race still determines too much," there is "systemic racism in our criminal justice system" and "implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police." But she said, "It's really unfortunate that he [Trump] paints such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country." She joined Lester Holt in stating, inaccurately, that stop and frisk has been declared unconstitutional (for once, Trump had his facts straight on this and relayed them clearly). But she also said that police deserve respect and "we do always have to make sure we keep people safe." But the clear thrust of her remarks was in line with that of many protesters and of most black elected Democrats, and she called for federal "retraining" of police. Presumably she did so in the hope of rallying black voters, particularly young blacks, to the polls.

In contrast, Trump talked bluntly about the need for "law and order" and made the point, less clearly than he had at the Republican National Convention, that "the people that are most affected by what's happening" — increasing crime and violent riots — "are African-American and Hispanic people. And it's very unfair to them what our politicians are allowing to happen." He didn't cite the FBI figures released Monday showing murders nationally up 11 percent in 2015 — the biggest annual rise in decades. But he did make specific reference to recent events in Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Dallas which show some acquaintance with what's going on.

My own sense is that Trump got the better of this exchange. Clinton's stance may gin up black turnout, but it's not likely to rise to the levels of 2008 and 2012 when the first black president was running. And if the Democratic percentage among blacks should fall from the 95 and 93 percent of those years to the 84 and 83 percent Bill Clinton got in the 1990s, that would mean 1 point off Hillary Clinton's percentage nationally and more in target states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. And I'm not sure it helps Hillary Clinton to accuse the 70-plus percent of voters who are white that they have a problem with "implicit bias."       (more at link)
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Debate 1, HRC Fact Check: Egg on Face on: September 27, 2016, 05:51:34 PM
Hillary wants her debate fact checked.  I'll take a shot at her assertions:
(more on this here:

HRC:  We also, though, need to have a tax system that rewards work and not just financial transactions. And the kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. In fact, it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country than we’ve ever had.  I call it trumped-up trickle-down, because that’s exactly what it would be. That is not how we grow the economy.

   - This always goes unchecked.  It isn't "trickle down" if all rate cuts apply to everyone.  It is an interconnected economy, not a trickled down one.

Rating:  Straw Argument, Deception, and Lie.

HRC: "He really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we’ll be and that everything will work out from there."

Still not true.  Rating:  Straw Argument, Deception, Lie and Repeating a Lie.

HRC: "I believe is the more we can do for the middle class, the more we can invest in you, your education, your skills, your future, the better we will be off and the better we’ll grow."

   - Government 'investment' is called spending, leads to debt, $20 trillion.

Rating:  Deception, Lie.

HRC: "Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, “Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.” "

   - Housing was over-priced in 2006.  A real estate buyer benefits from lower prices.

Rating:  Punch not landed.

HRC:  "The last thing we need to do is to go back to the policies that failed us in the first place."

   - She and her group have been in power from before the crash all the way through history's slowest 'recovery'.

Rating:  Egg on Face.

HRC: "Independent experts have looked at what I’ve proposed and looked at what Donald’s proposed, and basically they’ve said this, that if his tax plan, which would blow up the debt by over $5 trillion and would in some instances disadvantage middle-class families compared to the wealthy, were to go into effect, we would lose 3.5 million jobs and maybe have another recession.  They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said, OK, if we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy. Take clean energy. Some country is going to be the clean- energy superpower of the 21st century."

   - There isn't a serious economic study that uses static analysis.  Government money into investments like Solydra that otherwise don't pay for themselves add no net new jobs.

Rating:  Denial of Science, Lie, Deception.

HRC:  "I would not add a penny to the debt."

Pay no attention to the previous record of same policies.

Rating:  Congenital Lie.  There was a column by that name.

HRC:  "What I have proposed would be paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, because they have made all the gains in the economy. And I think it’s time that the wealthy and corporations paid their fair share to support this country."

   - That's exactly the argument made before Obama was elected.  These policies made it worse.

Rating:  Pathological Lie.

HRC:  "$4 billion tax benefit for your family."

   - You just said in the same debate that he pays NO federal income tax.

Rating:  Lie.

HRC: "Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated.  So we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little."

   - Mandatory sentencing was a feature of the Bill Clinton administration, as was the Defense of Marriage Act and repeal of Glass Steagal.

Rating:  Deflection, Deception, Lie.

HRC:  "He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen."

   - What is racial about birth?  And she started that political lie.

Rating:  Lying about your own Lie.

HRC:  "There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted."

  - The evidence was that he was refusing to release his birth certificate for a job that has requirements regarding birth, also that his own publicist was promoting him as a Kenyan.  
Rating:  No one Left to Lie to.  There was a book by that name.  Yes, about her.

HRC:  "I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate, but it wasn’t enough. So I spent a year-and-a-half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran.   And we did drive them to the negotiating table. And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition-building. That’s working with other nations."

   - She is taking credit for constructing the sanctions regime that they abandoned, and is supporting the abandonment.  There is a "lid" on Iran’s nuclear program"

Rating:  She is a consistently contrary indicator between right and wrong on policy.

HRC:  "Let’s have paid family leave, earned sick days. Let’s be sure we have affordable child care and debt-free college.  How are we going to do it? We’re going to do it by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes."

   - You already ran out of other peoples' money, $20 trillion in the red and counting.

Rating of anyone who believes that:  Gullible.
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 27, 2016, 03:19:01 PM
"The last thing we need to do is to go back to the policies that failed us in the first place."

   - Hillary Rodham Clinton in Debate 1, Sept. 2016

I agree.
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 27, 2016, 01:01:02 PM
Though the chattering class is scoring is for Hillary, and certainly Trump missed many opportunities (and got dinged a few times e.g. birther) I think Trump did fine on the meta issues.  I suspect when the first post debate polls come out (Saturday) once again will be confounded that his polls went up , , , I hope and pray.

Right.  Tom Brokaw said Trump didn't win any new voters and Bob Scheiffer said Hillary didn't win any new voters.  Millenials are right to be disillusioned.

The missed opportunities are what stand out to us.  He failed to defend capitalism, he missed key points on birther, that questioning it isn't racist and that Obama's publicist was calling him a Kenyan, besides that Hillary started it.

Some of us earlier mentioned that at this point in the campaign it would be nice if the nominee understood and could defend capitalism and free enterprise.

From my point of view Trump wasted his economic case on mostly hollow trade arguments.  Within that, he landed a truth that has to do with consumption-based versus income tax based nations.  (I will expand on that elsewhere.)  But those trade arguments poll at about 65% and Hillary couldn't argue back having herself taken Bernie's position.  They both looked bad but Trump did land some punches.  30 years and you haven't made it better.

On the omissions, stay tuned.  Of course key points of attack were missed, partly by the steering in the questions.  This one needs to be hammered home:

Hillary is running on her husbands good economic record while running against all of his policies that worked for him.  THE REAL GROWTH UNDER CLINTON CAME WHEN HE CHANGED COURSE.  See a previous post, WAGE GROWTH under Bill Clinton was EIGHT TIMES HIGHER after enacting supply side policies with Newt and the Republicans in the last years of his Presidency than they were in the first years when partisan Bill Clinton with a Democratic House and Senate raised taxes and pursued government healthcare.

Trump is running against both parties and all politicians.  This is not an ordinary political year.

He called her out for the results of the last TEN YEARS, not just the Obama Presidency.  Forgive me but this is an ad nauseum point of mine, that the Democrats took power in Washington 2 years before the Obama Presidency.  Hillary and Barack were the de facto majority leaders of Congress in Washington in the lead up and DURING THE CRASH.  The financial collapse wasn't caused by tax rate cuts.  Economic growth came out of that.  The collapse came from Democratic policies, namely CRAp, that yes Republican signed onto.  And it came as a consequence to the notice in Nov 2006 that voters gave investors that TAX RATE CUTS WERE ENDING.

44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Malmo attack on: September 26, 2016, 12:41:38 PM

We get accustomed to GM's wit but this a profound point.  If these attacks are happening around the world in random places, why wouldn't the Swedish attacker be Lutheran?  But Malmo Sweden is a de facto Muslim country.  The flags they fly are 'Palestine' and ISIS.  These aren't random acts in random places; they are acts of war in places where the enemy was invited in to destroy us.
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: rule of law, email coverup, FBI fake investigation, DOJ on: September 26, 2016, 12:40:09 PM
DOJ did not prosecute because FBI could not determine "intent".

The law does not require intent.

The FBI asked her no questions relating to intent.

The President said he didn't know about her private email until he learned about it in the press in 2014.  The president was emailing her private server via a pseudonym since 2012.

The fish rots from the head, in this case it was at least a two-headed rotten fish.  Now we know the FBI co-conspired with the political wings of the administration.  Also the IRS and DOJ. 

It is not only political opponents who should be upset about this.
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Grannis gives his Sit Rep: on: September 25, 2016, 01:48:47 PM
Good post by Grannis.  This is a remarkably stable, under-performing economy and the market has beat all bets for 7 years running.  Grannis has things mostly right (IMHO) with some disagreements on the margin that have already been discussed here.  I notice he doesn't see stocks undervalued any\more and he doesn't see great economic growth coming.  For the investor who must invest somewhere:  If you want to stay in for more, slow, steady growth, have at it, but don't look to these more optimistic prognosticators to give the early warning of the next sudden downturn or crash.  The pros will be getting out faster than you in a crisis.  Where should you invest instead of the equities markets?  I don't know.  Even cash and insured savings are sure losers.

If Hillary wins, the economy keeps the brakes on.  If Trump wins, I think the Fed puts the brakes on before any growth policies get enacted.  Lose-lose.
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 25, 2016, 01:33:43 PM
I have been out, traveling in the Boundary Waters.  In the RCP polls with no toss ups, Hillary clinton losing momentum now has 272 electoral votes with 270 needed.  Latest poll in PA has her up by only 2.  Losing Pennsylvania would change everything.  Debate tomorrow?

Trump needs Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, must win.

Clinton must-win Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Both must win their must wins plus a little more from the true toss ups to get over the top.

5 Trump paths to victory:
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Real Middle East Story, WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, Netanyahu, Obama on: September 25, 2016, 01:09:29 PM
Other than VDH, WRM is my favorite Democrat.  American Interest, subscribe at the link:

September 23, 2016
The Real Middle East Story

Precisely because he has a colder view of international affairs than Obama, Netanyahu’s leadership has made Israel stronger than ever.

Peter Baker notices something important in his dispatch this morning: at this year’s UNGA, the Israel/Palestine issue is no longer the center of attention. From The New York Times:

They took the stage, one after the other, two aging actors in a long-running drama that has begun to lose its audience. As the Israeli and Palestinian leaders recited their lines in the grand hall of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, many in the orchestra seats recognized the script.

“Heinous crimes,” charged Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. “Historic catastrophe.”

“Fanaticism,” countered Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. “Inhumanity.”

Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu have been at this for so long that between them they have addressed the world body 19 times, every year cajoling, lecturing, warning and guilt-tripping the international community into seeing their side of the bloody struggle between their two peoples. Their speeches are filled with grievance and bristling with resentment, as they summon the ghosts of history from hundreds and even thousands of years ago to make their case.

While each year finds some new twist, often nuanced, sometimes incendiary, the argument has been running long enough that the world has begun to move on. Where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once dominated the annual meeting of the United Nations, this year it has become a side show as Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas compete for attention against seemingly more urgent crises like the civil war in Syria and the threat from the Islamic State.

Baker (and presumably many of his readers) don’t go on to the next, obvious question: What does this tell us about the relative success or failure of the leaders involved? The piece presents both Netanyahu and Abbas as irrelevant. They used to command the world stage, but now nobody is interested in their interminable quarrel.

What the piece doesn’t say is that this situation is exactly what Israel wants, and is a terrible defeat for the Palestinians. Abbas is the one whose strategy depends on keeping the Palestinian issue front and center in world politics; Bibi wants the issue to fade quietly away. What we saw at the UN this week is that however much Abbas and the Palestinians’ many sympathizers might protest, events are moving in Bibi’s direction.

There is perhaps only one thing harder for the American mind to process than the fact that President Obama has been a terrible foreign policy president, and that is that Bibi Netanyahu is an extraordinarily successful Israeli Prime Minister. In Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, Israel’s diplomacy is moving from strength to strength. Virtually every Arab and Middle Eastern leader thinks that Bibi is smarter and stronger than President Obama, and as American prestige across the Middle East has waned under Obama, Israel’s prestige — even among people who hate it — has grown. Bibi’s reset with Russia, unlike Obama’s, actually worked. His pivot to Asia has been more successful than Obama’s. He has had far more success building bridges to Sunni Muslims than President Obama, and both Russia and Iran take Bibi and his red lines much more seriously than they take Obama’s expostulations and pious hopes.

The reason that Bibi has been more successful than Obama is that Bibi understands how the world works better than Obama does. Bibi believes that in the harsh world of international politics, power wisely used matters more than good intentions eloquently phrased. Obama sought to build bridges to Sunni Muslims by making eloquent speeches in Cairo and Istanbul while ignoring the power political realities that Sunni states cared most about — like the rise of Iran and the Sunni cause in Syria. Bibi read the Sunnis more clearly than Obama did; the value of Israeli power to a Sunni world worried about Iran has led to something close to a revolution in Israel’s regional position. Again, Obama thought that reaching out to the Muslim Brotherhood (including its Palestinian affiliate, Hamas) would help American diplomacy and Middle Eastern democracy. Bibi understood that Sunni states like Egypt and its Saudi allies wanted Hamas crushed. Thus, as Obama tried to end the Gaza war on terms acceptable to Hamas and its allies, Bibi enjoyed the backing of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia in a successful effort to block Obama’s efforts. Israel’s neighbors may not like Bibi, but they believe they can count on him. They may think Obama has some beautiful ideas that he cares deeply about, but they think he’s erratic, unreliable, and doesn’t understand either them or their concerns.

Obama is an aspiring realist who wanted to work with undemocratic leaders on practical agreements. But Obama, despite the immense power of the country he leads, has been unable to gain the necessary respect from leaders like Putin and Xi that would permit the pragmatic relationships he wanted to build. Bibi is a practicing realist who has succeeded where Obama failed. Bibi has a practical relationship with Putin; they work together where their interests permit and where their interests clash, Putin respects Bibi’s red lines. Obama’s pivot to Asia brought the US closer to India and Japan, but has opened a deep and dangerous divide with China. Under Bibi’s leadership, Israel has stronger, deeper relationships with India, China and Japan than at any time in the past, and Asia may well replace Europe as Israel’s primary trade and investment partners as these relationships develop.

The marginalization of Abbas at the UN doesn’t just reflect the world’s preoccupation with bigger crises in the neighborhood. It reflects a global perception that a) the Sunni Arab states overall are less powerful than they used to be and that b) partly as a result of their deteriorating situation, the Sunni Arab states care less about the Palestinian issue than they used to. This is why African countries that used to shun Israel as a result of Arab pressure are now happy to engage with Israel on a variety of economic and defense issues. India used to avoid Israel in part out of fear that its own Kashmir problem would be ‘Palestinianized’ into a major problem with its Arab neighbors and the third world. Even Japan and China were cautious about embracing Israel too publicly given the power of the Arab world and its importance both in the world of energy markets and in the nonaligned movement. No longer.

Inevitably, all these developments undercut the salience of the Palestinian issue for world politics and even for Arab politics and they strengthen Israel’s position in the region and beyond. Obama has never really grasped this; Netanyahu has based his strategy on it. Ironically, much of the decline in Arab power is due to developments in the United States. Fracking has changed OPEC’s dynamics, and Obama’s tilt toward Iran has accelerated the crisis of Sunni Arab power. Netanyahu understands the impact of Obama’s country and Obama’s policy on the Middle East better than Obama does. Bibi, like a number of other leaders around the world, has been able to make significant international gains by exploiting the gaps in President Obama’s understanding of the world and in analyzing ways to profit from the unintended consequences and side effects of Obama policies that didn’t work out as Obama hoped.

Bibi’s successes will not and cannot make Israel’s problems and challenges go away. And finding a workable solution to the Palestinian question remains something that Israel cannot ignore on both practical and moral grounds. But Israel is in a stronger global position today than it was when Bibi took office; nobody can say that with a straight face about the nation that President Obama leads. When and if American liberals understand the causes both of Bibi’s successes and of Obama’s setbacks, then perhaps a new and smarter era of American foreign policy debate can begin.

© The American Interest, subscribe at link above.
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Jewish vote, gap narrowing on: September 21, 2016, 06:28:57 AM
Clinton down 6, Trump up 6, 12 point move.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gates on the EDC and the Donald on: September 20, 2016, 04:45:18 PM
ccp,  Your post reminds me that I wrote this, this morning, and it didn't post.  (I am getting filtered out of posting on the forum by McDonald's wifi!)  It looks like our views overlap considerably.
My comments on Gates opinions:

Gates hates Trump but this is no ringing endorsement of Hillary.

First of his criticisms of Trump is the wall: "He [Trump] has expressed support for building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico".  Yes he has.  The Secretary of Defense opposes border security?  He has a better plan?  If so, mum's the word.  Didn't even enforce the last border fence act passed by congress and signed by a previous President he served.  This is not his department?

Defeating TPP is a political, economic win for China?  Maybe true if TPP was a trade agreement.  What about all the clauses giving up American sovereignty.  We don't know Gates' values and vision in this regard, but they probably don't match mine.  He did happily agree to serve on under Pres Obama and has rarely, openly differed with him, even in his profit-seeking tell-all.

"Dealing effectively with China requires a president with strategic acumen and vision, nuance, deft diplomatic and political skill, and sound instincts on when to challenge, when to stay silent and when to compromise or partner."

Or to put it differently, more of the same, the status quo, the unwillingness or inability to confront a rival and potential enemy that has led to where we are now.  Are we satisfied with where we are now, China in expansionary mode, America in retreat?  Wasting our money on a readiness that everyone knows we are unwilling to use.

North Korea:  The establishment, diplomatic status quo, America walking softly has led us to where we are, NK ready to reach the US mainland with nuclear warheads shortly.  Under their non-provocation doctrine previously we wouldn't have missile defense either.  That came from a President willing to poke the eye of the adversary's position.  There is an upside risk that in dealing tougher with the Chinese, Trump could get China to shut down the NK threat so we don't have to.  There is also the risk he sets off nuclear war.  No one wants that - ever - but I would rather have it now than after our adversaries pass up our capabilities and defeat us.

Iran:  While Gates pretends to speak out candidly - to sell books - he tapdances around what a historic failure this Iran agreement is.  Trump doesn't.  He has been right about it all along, the cash payments, the wrongful removal of sanctions, the support of terrorism and the path to Iran becoming a nuclear power UNDER THIS AGREEMENT.  In this regard alone, Trump looks clairvoyant and Gates looks either ignorant or afraid to speak out his former boss.

Gates: "whatever value Mr. Obama’s nuclear agreement has brought, the deal has led to no decrease in Iran’s aggressive meddling in the Middle East nor any lessening of its hostility to the U.S. Iranian naval challenges to U.S. warship operations in the Persian Gulf have nearly doubled over the last year."

WHAT VALUE DID IT BRING? (the Iran agreement)  Gates in this regard (and TPP/sovereignty) is part of the establishment potentially getting kicked out.  When Bush/Cheney failed to take out Iran's nuclear sites militarily, Iran gained 8 years of nuclear weapons progress.  Under Obama's agreement, they gained financing and legitimacy.  Trump would at least stop sending them cash.

Gates refers to "the boiling caldron that is today’s Middle East."  Exactly right.  That is HIS legacy.  He should own it, tell us where the last 8 years went wrong, against his advice, or STFU and go quietly away as others take a turn at this.

One problem with evaluating these two candidates is that their words unlikely describe how they will govern, lead the military or handle conflicts.  Trump speaks sometimes as a dove, wants to sit out some conflicts in the Middle East.  Except when he says destroy ISIS, bring back water boarding etc.  He probably won't sit still while threats to the US are forming in the region.  Hillary served as a so-called hawk in a dove administration, now courts the anti-war Bernie vote.  Build bridges here instead - for them to blow up.  Trump isn't going to sit still while Russia or the Caliphate take over the Middle East, nor is Hillary going to put hawk or dove ideologies ahead of the immense opportunities to buy and sell favors around the world.

[Gates on Trump] "a man who believes he, and he alone, has all the answers and has no need to listen to anyone. In domestic affairs, there are many checks on what a president can do; in national security there are few constraints. A thin-skinned, temperamental, shoot-from-the-hip and lip, uninformed commander-in-chief is too great a risk for America."

'I alone' sounded awkward when I've heard Trump say something like that.  What he obviously meant is that in the job at the top, you are alone.  Some advisers say invade, others urge restraint, one person makes the final decision.  It's lonely at the top in my business of one, probably more so to be a wartime President.  Shoot from the hip is exactly what Hillary did in Libya.  She gained Obama's go-ahead without winning his support.  Never took it to Congress AS REQUIRED BY THE CONSTITUTION, never planned for the aftermath.  Now Pres. Obama considers it his biggest failure, her mission.  Yet they keep scratching each other's back.

As Gates states or implies, lots of past Presidents had political bravado and a lack of detailed knowledge of military details and the dangers around the world before getting elected.  Then we elevate one of them to Commander in Chief and each transforms into a President with enormous responsibilities in their own way, think Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter.  That Trump won't seek out military advice from the best experts he can call together, that he will make strategic, war starting or response decisions all alone without consulting with Generals or advisers is buffoonery.

Totally missing in the microscope of this former defense secretary is what kind of country are you defending.  One candidate seeks American strength and greatness.  The other seeks to neuter us down to rest-of-the-world mediocrity.  Military strength is tied to economic strength, among other things.  Even the Soviets and the PRC know that.  Yet Gates limits his analysis to assuming those factors are equal or irrelevant, maybe above his pay grade.  He is wrong to ignore that.

Every four years we take the risk of elevating someone to the level of Commander in Chief or leader of the free world as we used to call it before Obama.  If Gates thinks only he knows better than the eight Presidents he served and better than the two now running, then he can run.  For the rest of us, the choice is down to two people.  Choose wisely.
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