A History Lesson on Hillary Clinton

Oddly enough, Clinton enjoys her strongest support among older Democrats, the ones who were around and ought to remember all this. The younger Democrats, who didn't have the opportunity to see the constant crime and deceit, are the ones who have her figured out. That's an interesting irony.

UPDATE: Salon magazine hits the Clintons hard from the left.

UPDATE: Also, this progressive blogger who remembers the history unkindly.

The Anti-Klan Rally Will Be Held At The Klan Rally

I haven't seen a uniformed member of the Ku Klux Klan anywhere in Georgia since I was a boy. However, on April 23rd there is going to be a Klan rally at Stone Mountain (which has the dubious distinction of being the place where the Klan was reborn in 1915 after its successful suppression by Federal Marshals teamed up with Beford Forrest and other former-Confederate luminaries). I know this because there is going to be an anti-Klan rally at the Klan rally, and the group organizing it is soliciting attendance.

This group is called "All Out ATL," apparently a local wing of a nationwide movement. They are, naturally, Bernie Sanders voters who speak blithely about revolution. They are better fit to keep company with the Klan than they realize, preferring direct action and street violence to suppress their political opponents and smooth the way for their agenda. They see themselves as in "solidarity" (of course) with the protesting groups that shut down the Trump rally in Chicago. The comparison would no doubt shock them, but in truth they are a lot alike. I imagine the one group has more grad students than the other, but they are both motivated by hate and a taste for suppressing their enemies with force.

The Klan is a despicable organization we ought to oppose. It is possible to do so without becoming like them.

Politics as the Jerry Springer Show

Possibly also an assassination attempt on Donald Trump.

UPDATE: Drudge linked this video of Ronald Reagan's response to lawbreaking protests. It's worth watching for the short clip of him reading the riot act to the college faculty.

Bring the crowd to its feet

This looks like good exercise.

I'm Looking At You, Ash Carter

As our Secretary of Defense celebrates his decision to force all combat positions open to women in the military, I would like to present a Marine Corps recruit currently in training at Parris Island (the Land that Time Forgot). I could tell you her name, as a friend of mine worked with her while she was in the USMC's JROTC. All I'm going to tell you is that she is a young woman of spirit and dedication, and that she is exactly what the USMC is looking for right now.

Marines in the audience will notice that her belt is out of order and needs to be cut. At this stage in her career, that error on her DIs and not on her. Being a country girl, I'm sure she can shoot a rifle well. She says she wants to be a Marine to make her parents proud, and to do something important with her life. Those are both honorable, laudable goals. I think the world of this young woman and wish her well.

All the same, take a close look at what we're doing.

And now for something completely different

The amazing thing is, he barely seems to be moving his hands:

The Shutdown in Chicago

It was carefully organized, of course, but (as I heard someone remark last night) that doesn't change the fact that any other candidate could have held a rally in Chicago without drawing this reaction. For now: if this is seen to have been effective at killing the Trump candidacy, it will become a regular playbook entry for these organizations. BLM has made disrupting political rallies a standard of its tactics already, though the scale of this was larger.

Ironically, that would end up having a fascist effect on American politics even though the people behind this claim to be motivated by a fear of fascism.

He Is Very Disappointed In Us

David Frum, writing in the Atlantic, says of the President:
He admits one major mistake: not making sufficient allowances for how unreasonable other people are.
Apparently he inherited lousy allies as well as an American population that is significantly less capable than he expected.

Brokerage and floor fights

Knowing nothing of brokered conventions, and having recently discovered I can't even figure out my own state's rules for allotting delegates to candidates, I found this article by Michael Barone interesting.  He predicts that the rules will permit the party to outmaneuver Trump almost no matter how the vote comes out, that Cruz will end up with the nomination, and that we'll know the answer by June.

She Was One of Us

Hannah Arendt:
[W]hat would have become of that, had she not come to these [American] shores — who knows? It was the experience of the Republic here which decisively shaped her political thinking, tempered as it was in the fires of European tyranny and catastrophe, and forever supported by her grounding in classical thought. America taught her a way beyond the hardened alternatives of left and right from which she had escaped; and the idea of the Republic, as the realistic chance for freedom, remained dear to her even in its darkening days.
She died in her error, as I hope to myself.

Apocalyptic Modified Blues

Friday Night AMV

For Saturday night. I remember when this song was popular.

Oh, and wait for it.

She Sure -Sounds- Like a Target

FOX News is reporting that the FBI has been questioning Clinton's IT dude in such a way as to try to tie together images of then-Secretary Clinton using her electronic devices with the email server's records. The claim is that they are trying to put together voids in the email record, so they can get some sense of just what she deleted as "personal" and never turned over to State.

They are, in other words, looking at her personally. They want to know exactly what she herself was doing, and how it ties into the records they are examining.

If that's not a "target" of the investigation, it's certainly a "subject" of the investigation in the technical terminology they use. The real point of her denials of being a "target" is that she wants to say something like this:

This is just a security review! Nobody is thinking of indicting me!

If they're looking at images of her and trying to tie them to events, though, they're looking at her personally. This was never just a security review, but it might have been targeted at finding a scapegoat among her chief aides. Now it sounds like they are doing the right thing, and targeting her personally for her manifest and constant violations of national security law.

Better Late than Never

National Review endorses Ted Cruz.

I agree that Cruz is the best choice among the remaining candidates. I would rank them roughly as follows: Cruz -> Rubio -> Kaisch -> Sanders -> Trump -> Clinton. I'm not sure if Kaisch deserves to be ranked that high, but he does have gubernatorial credentials.

Religious Jokes for a Friday

It would be a good idea to have a laugh given the dreary state of American politics. How about some religious jokes from my wife's Uncle Bill in Canada?
*** Opening Joke

Recently a large seminar was held for ministers in training. Among the guests were many well-known motivational speakers.

One of these speakers boldly approached the pulpit and, gathering the entire crowds attention, said, The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!

The crowd was shocked! He followed up by saying, And that woman was my mother!

The crowd burst into laughter and he gave his speech, which went over well.

About a week later one of the ministers who had attended the seminar decided to use that joke in his sermon. As he shyly approached the pulpit one sunny Sunday, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head. It seemed a bit foggy to him this morning.

Getting to the microphone he said loudly, The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of another woman that was not my wife! His congregation sat shocked.

After standing there for almost 10 seconds trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurted out, …and I can't remember who she was!

*** Absolution

Edgar went to confession on Saturday and he told Father Duffy that he had an affair with a married
women from the parish. Father Duffy asked Edgar who she was and Edgar said, "Father, I can't tell you."

Father said, "If you don't tell me I cant give you absolution."

Edgar again said, "I know Father, but I just can't tell you."

Father Duffy then asked, "Was it Mrs. Murphy?"

"No, Father."

"Was it Mrs. O'Malley?"

"No, Father."

"Was it Mrs. O'Brian?"

"No, Father. I just cannot tell you who it was."

Father Duffy tells Edgar to go out and think about it and then come back when ready to confess who it was. Edgar leaves the church and runs into his friend Jim. Jim asks, "Did you tell him you had the affair?"

"Yes. He wanted to know who it was, but I wouldn't tell him."

"What did he say? Did he give you absolution?"

"Oh no, but he did give me three new possibilities........"

*** Religious Objects

A teacher asks her students what religious objects they have in their homes.

One boy answers, "We have a picture of a woman with a halo holding a baby and every day my mother kneels in front of it."

The next little boy says, "We have a brass statue of a man seated with crossed legs and a Chinese face, and every day my parents burn an incense stick before it."

Then a third boy pipes up, "In the bathroom we have a flat, square box with numbers on it. Every day my mother stands on it first thing in the morning and screams, 'OH MY GOD!!!'"

Georgia Legislature Passes Campus Carry

It is now off to the Governor for his signature.

I've had one of these licenses for decades, with a short void while I was a citizen of other states in the early 2000s. The permit requirements are fairly stringent. Most undergraduates are simply too young to apply, as you must be 21. All applicants are finger-printed and undergo both state and Federal criminal background checks. In addition, the probate court contacts Georgia's mental health facilities to make sure that they have no mental issues, and have never been in drug or alcohol rehabilitation treatment. All these checks are repeated every five years, and any serious criminal convictions -- as well as mere accusations of domestic violence, which is taken especially seriously by the Federal government -- void the license and are entered into the central tracking system to prevent the issuing of a new one.

Georgia has no firearms training requirement, which is a weakness in the law in my opinion: I think all American citizens should be trained in the use of firearms in High School as part of their militia service as citizens. Nevertheless, for the most part the state takes seriously the question of making sure that only rational adults of continually demonstrated good behavior are licensed.

The people who are likely to shoot up a campus are unlikely to prove to have a license -- nor, for that matter, are they likely to have cared whether it was legal to bring the gun in the first place.

The article does mention the recent robberies at Georgia State University, where I went to school as an undergraduate long ago. They're right that there were robberies regularly, as it is right downtown in Atlanta and classes run well into the night. Many of the students are "nontraditional," meaning they have enrolled in school later in life, and often they are working a full-time job in addition to pursuing a degree after work. These students are a very low risk for turning criminal, but they are exposed to a significant risk of robbery or assault walking back to their cars, or to the MARTA station, on what is often a lonely campus late at night.

A surprising education success story

In my high school in the 1970s, if you wanted any serious instruction, AP courses were your only option.  Nevertheless, I never sat for any AP tests; my university had no required freshman courses to place out of, and I never sensed that any prerequisite courses were likely to waste my time.  It was all I could do to keep up with a full course load at the suddenly much more challenging level that awaited me after I left public high school.  The AP high school courses nevertheless were quite good, an adequate preparation for a rigorous university, if not necessarily a substitute for freshman year.  If I had chosen to attend a state school, I might well have placed out of many freshman courses, since many of them amounted to remedial high school instruction.

This AEI article claims that AP has succeeded notably in expanding its market reach during the last decade or two, without sacrificing its quality control.  There have been reports of PC nonsense influencing the exams, but the overall rigor remains high.

Lizards in amber

This is cool.  A proto-chameleon beautifully preserved in amber pushes the estimated origins of that line back about 79 million years, leaving an extremely long fossil gap now needing to be filled with more discoveries.

News from Ghana

Alec Ndiwane decided that the Lord wanted him to challenge some lions.
The Zion Christian Church Prophet was at the park with his fellow church members when, according to GhanaWeb, he went into a trance and began speaking in tongues. The group approached the pride of lions while they munched happily on an antelope, but that’s when Ndiwane ran toward the lions....

Unfortunately, lions are fast and fierce animals and when one of the lions snapped her paws on him, Ndiwane sustained injuries to his buttocks.


“I do not know what came over me,” Ndiwane confessed. “I thought the Lord wanted to use me to show his power over animals. Is it not we were given dominion over all creatures of the earth.”
Don't feel bad, Alec. Sometimes the Lord helps the bear.

This Will Be Interesting

Today this Court by order dismisses all pending motions and petitions and issues the certificate of judgment in this case. That action does not disturb the existing March orders in this case or the Court's holding therein that the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, art. I, § 36.03, Ala. Const. 1901, and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act, § 30-1-9, Ala. Code 1975, are constitutional. Therefore, and for the reasons stated below, I concur with the order....

I agree with the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, and with Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, that the majority opinion in Obergefell has no basis in the law, history, or tradition of this country. Obergefell is an unconstitutional exercise of judicial authority that usurps the legislative prerogative of the states to regulate their own domestic policy. Additionally, Obergefell seriously jeopardizes the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
So rules Alabama's Supreme Court. (H/t D29.)

It's the right moment for a push like this: the usual answer, the deployment of Federal Marshals or even Federal troops to force compliance with Federal orders, is risky in the middle of an election season dominated by rebellion in both parties against their establishments. The states do have an interest in defending their own Constitutional powers under the 10th amendment: that powers not granted to the Federal government nor forbidden to the states are reserved to the states or to the People. No power to arbitrate fundamental moral questions for all states was ever granted to the Federal government, not even by the 14th Amendment, which only gives the Federal courts the power to ensure that existing rights and privileges are respected equally for all citizens. That power has been stretched out of shape, and now is thought to give the Nine power to force their views on every American and every state.

Did He Really Say That?

President Obama, on Putin:
“He understands that Russia’s overall position in the world is significantly diminished. And the fact that he invades Crimea or is trying to prop up Assad doesn’t suddenly make him a player. You don’t see him in any of these meetings out here helping to shape the agenda. For that matter, there’s not a G20 meeting where the Russians set the agenda around any of the issues that are important.”
Oh, really? Had any G20 meetings about Syria lately? The agenda on Syria was set by the Russians the day they parked an air force and a highly capable naval gunnery command there, providing fire support to their allies Assad and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Their deployment of S-400 missiles cemented that agenda, as has their sale of S-300 missiles to Iran -- banned by the UN Security Council's resolution governing Iran's nuclear "deal." Russia signed off on that piece of paper, too, didn't they? Wonder why it didn't stop them from selling these missiles to Iran?

That they are not playing your stupid games does not mean that they aren't a player. They're going to own the northern Middle East thanks to your failure to grasp this, just like they own Crimea. Have any G20 meetings about the lawful disposition of Crimea or Ukrainian territories, by the way? Who set the agenda for those?

What Could Go Wrong?

NSA data becomes widely available:
What does this rule change mean for you? In short, domestic law enforcement officials now have access to huge troves of American communications, obtained without warrants, that they can use to put people in cages. FBI agents don’t need to have any “national security” related reason to plug your name, email address, phone number, or other “selector” into the NSA’s gargantuan data trove. They can simply poke around in your private information in the course of totally routine investigations.
In addition to the civil rights abuses pondered at the link, let me raise a National Security concern: you'll be giving a vast number of people access to this information, which means its parameters and limits will become widely known very quickly. The tool will rapidly become useless for what it was originally intended to do.

Richard Fernandez on Challenging Opinions

The Belmont Club author, and one of the bloggers I've always respected most, gives a remarkable podcast interview.

He begins by contrasting historical imperalist treatments of the Middle East with the current post-Bush chaos unleashed by the Obama administration. The price of chaos, he says, will be much higher.

Somebody Looks Very Uncomfortable

NPR & Harvard: Boy, Obamacare is a Disaster

PowerLine notes an NPR report that can't sugarcoat the medicine.

You can list me in the group whose benefits have stayed about the same -- it's a grandfathered plan -- but whose co-pays have increased and whose premiums have skyrocketed. I'm paying I think twice now what I was paying before this lovely adventure began, for exactly the same plan (since I am now forbidden by law to change it without losing it forever).

Please Let That Be True

I don't know enough about Federal prosecutions to know if this statement is accurate. The source is the right kind of person to know, but if there's a loophole, I'd expect it to be in play in a Clinton-related case.
DiGenova said it was clear to him if a federal grand jury had been impaneled after Justice Department officials acknowledged they had issued statutory immunity to Bryan Pagliano, Clinton’s former IT chief.

Druid Temple in Scotland

Underground, and possibly. Interesting pictures, and worth entertaining as a theory.

The Expected Violence

Multiple camera angles caught a Trump supporter sucker-punching a black activist who was being removed from a rally following an attempt to disrupt that rally by protesting. The use of several cameras at different angles to capture his removal -- and the subsequent violence -- makes it difficult to claim the offense was faked or is being misunderstood.

Will Trump try to talk his people into not taking the bait? Does he actually have that much control over the passions he's riding toward the nomination? I am doubtful on both questions.

Trump on the Oprah Winfrey Show

Decades ago, talking about foreign policy and foreign trade.

He sounds pretty much the same, right down to praising Jesse Jackson and Michael Dukakis for doing "one hell of a job." The America-first, tired-of-seeing-our-country-lose tone is the same, too.

Also, President Obama just said the same thing about allied free riders that Donald Trump apparently took out a full-page ad to say 24 years ago.

The Democratic Debate, Abridged

A pro-Clinton writer despairs.

UPDATE: A former Clinton administration counsel writing at Salon magazine thinks it should really be over for her.

Sadr City

Corb Lund has a new album out. One of the things I like about his work is that he focuses on telling other folks' stories.

Is Hillary Clinton a Regional Candidate?

So asks an author at The Week. Pointing out that Clinton has only done well in the South, which the Democrats will doubtless lose in November anyway, he notices a pro-Sanders argument that she is even weaker against whomever the Republicans field than Sanders would be: the bulk of her voters will be overwhelmed in what are, overall, easy Red states.

It must be strange to be a "regional" candidate in the region that supports you least.

Fiorina Backs Cruz

I grew to like Fiorina more and more the longer she was in the race, although she lacked the necessary experience to be an ideal candidate for President. This was back when we were thinking about ideal candidates for President, instead of wondering if we were going to get the felon or the guy who really wants you to know about the size of his genitalia.

She's throwing her support to Cruz.

American Veteran Killed in Israel

Taylor Force was killed in Jaffa by a Palestinian terrorist. He was a Redleg and a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course, being a tourist, he was unarmed at the time.

UPDATE: Donations for his family can be given here. Condolences can be left on the West Point Association of Graduate's page for him once they have finished putting together the tribute page, as he was an alumnus of the Academy.

Life Exists Not Despite But Because of Entropy

A young man at the Institute has come up with a novel theory for explaining the origins of life: in fact, he has developed a mathematical formula for it.
From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.
This leads him to make a small, humble claim.
“I am certainly not saying that Darwinian ideas are wrong,” he explained. “On the contrary, I am just saying that from the perspective of the physics, you might call Darwinian evolution a special case of a more general phenomenon.”
OK, but if you are right, the Fermi paradox becomes even more urgent.

They Know If You Feel Bad Or Good, So You'd Better Feel Good for Goodness Sake...

Neuroscientists report that they can tell whether your motives are altruistic or selfish using fMRI scans, regardless of whether your actions are altruistic or selfish.

Increasingly we hear that it is not enough to do the right thing for the right reasons: you've got to feel the right way, too. Now we can look forward to a future in which that is enforced and transgressors punished.


Twelve years ago, pollsters began to notice that millions of people were abandoning traditional land phone lines for cell phones. Even then, we were wondering about the effect on polling. In Michigan last night, we may have seen it:
Bernie Sanders made folks like me eat a stack of humble pie on Tuesday night. He won the Michigan primary over Hillary Clinton, 50 percent to 48 percent, when not a single poll taken over the last month had Clinton leading by less than 5 percentage points. In fact, many had her lead at 20 percentage points or higher. Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.

Both the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus and polls-only forecast gave Clinton a greater than 99 percent chance of winning. That’s because polling averages for primaries, while inexact, are usually not 25 percentage points off. Indeed, my colleague Nate Silver went back and found that only one primary, the 1984 Democratic primary in New Hampshire, was even on the same scale as this upset
Sanders is the perfect candidate for an error of this type, as his support is demographically concentrated among the young. Many of the youngest voting generation have never had a landline. Telephone polls that aren't adequately capturing cell phones just don't know how to reach and count these folks.

Nevertheless, thanks to the rigged nature of the "Democratic" primary, Clinton came out ahead in delegates.

Of course, superdelegates can change their votes. Put that way, the race is a lot closer:
True and accurate numbers are the following: after “Super Saturday,” Clinton has 663 pledged delegates. Sanders has 459 pledged delegates. Clinton needs 1,720 delegates to win. Sanders needs 1,924 delegates to win.

Sanders is a few hundred delegates behind Clinton, and Clinton has over a thousand delegates to go before she clinches the nomination.
Sanders still has a chance to pull this thing off. At the least, he's going to drain Clinton of money and energy all the way to the convention if he keeps winning at this pace. At most, he'll pull off a historic upset.

Israeli Successfully Defends Country's Reputation

I really liked Israel.
An Israeli man attacked by a Palestinian Tuesday allegedly pulled his assailant’s knife from his own neck and then proceeded to kill the attacker.

The 40-year-old Israeli was apparently collecting money for charity at a store in the suburb of Petah Tikva at the time he was assaulted.

White Privilege

In Flint, Michigan -- home of Michael Moore, who made a couple of his early documentaries on the hardship of the factory workers and other urban and rural poor in the area -- Bernie Sanders declared that poverty is an ethnic issue. "When you are white, you don’t know what its like to be living in a ghetto,” he said. “You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.”

Go tell it in Appalachia, Bernie.

International Women's Day Quiz

Can you identify these 15 "iconic" women?

I happened to do so successfully, earning the award text: "Amazing! You can easily identify the most iconic women in history. You're a true feminist who understands the meaning of girl power!"

Indeed, that's what everybody says about me.

I do take women seriously. That's not quite the same thing.


Headline: "The World is Running Out of Good Scotch."

Rubio 2020

It'll take him the four years to grow this thing out, but then he's a shoe-in.

(H/t: Imgur)

Campus Carry Advances in Georgia

Senate Judiciary Committee cleared it. Now the Senate as a whole has to vote on it. The governor, who is not on my good list most of the time, has made noises sounding like he would sign it into law this year.

The proposed law actually only affects those 21 and older, who have been through the background checks and fingerprinting necessary to get a license. Thus, almost no undergraduates would be affected -- only a few upper-classmen, graduate students, and adults who were attending college later in life would be eligible. These will be people who have proven their capacity to handle adult stress without resorting to crime or violence, or ending up in mental health care or drug/alcohol rehab. The crime rate among concealed-carry permit holders is vanishingly small, but they do provide an important distributed defense in the rare but not unheard-of case of a terrorist attack or active shooter.

In spite of that, there was a three hour hearing in which people came and railed against it. Even in Georgia, a lot of the Great and the Good are terrified of handguns.


Reason magazine:
Surely a satirist who set out to write a deliberate parody of left-wing papers using the jargon of the earnest social justice warrior could not have done a better job than a paper on "just and equitable human-ice interactions."

But the paper is real—very real. The University of Oregon, in fact, put out a glowing press release touting its existence.
The paper itself appears to be a masterwork of the correlation-must-equal-causation fallacy combined with the sentiment epitomized by the famous parody NYT headline: "World ends tomorrow: Women, minorities hardest hit."

Not Torturing People is a Competitive Disadvantage

This doesn't strike me as a well-considered objection to the practice of banning torture.

First of all, I'm not sure it's true that our torture ban represents a strategic disadvantage. One of the reasons that the Sunni tribes were willing to turn against al Qaeda in Iraq was because of its reliance on torture. Even in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, that we were less likely to torture our opponents horribly (and showed an appropriate sense of shame about our lapses) made it easier for Sunni insurgents to consider walking away from the hatred of years of conflict with us, and consider a new partnership.

Second, even if it were true that a 'torture gap' was a strategic disadvantage, it may be that we could afford a strategic disadvantage given our other strategic advantages like the possession of a real air force. If so, we might be willing to accept the small cost in order to uphold our moral principles. This one is pretty important. It's worth paying significant costs to maintain.

In general I oppose trading moral principles for economic gains. If however you are the kind of person who is so invested in an economic mindset that you must sell off valuable moral principles, at least you shouldn't sell them cheaply. You should get a better deal for our principle against torture than beating ISIS, which is soon to be Russia's problem anyway as the current administration will have finished conceding the entire Middle East to Putin before you take office.

Third, I am deeply suspicious of the government's capacity to avoid sliding down slippery slopes. It has proven over the last two decades that it is inclined to do so. Removing the law against torturing terrorists suggests removing the law against torturing some despised classes of Americans, such as perhaps drug dealers. Removing that law suggests widening the class of despised Americans against whom torture can be wielded, perhaps to include "racists" or "sexists." Given the government's propensity to sludge down to the lowest level it can find, we should be reinforcing these walls rather than weakening them.

I could go on, but this surely suffices.

OAF on the VA

A former hitter describes the VA as "purgatory," and proposes that you take whatever money you get out of them for disability and spend it on private healthcare instead. Along the way, he offers this quote:
Law 40: Despise the Free Lunch - What is offered for free is dangerous—it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way, you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit.

48 Laws of Power

Philosophy for All (But Especially University Students)

An argument from a fan of contemporary philosophy.

The Florida Sun Sentinel: No One for President

If only that were an option.
The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board is not going to make an endorsement in Florida's March 15 Republican presidential primary because the kind of person who should be running is not in the race....

Trump may be entertaining, but he lacks the experience and temperament to be president. He does not deserve your vote.


If you think Marco Rubio can unite the Republican Party under a winning banner, vote for him. But remember that he has almost no experience and has done little but run for office. Then, when he gets in office, he doesn't go to work very much.... Rubio lacks the experience, work ethic and gravitas needed to be president. He has not earned your vote.


If you want someone who won't compromise on social issues, who will stand strong for limited government and will make his decisions based on the Bible, your choice is clear: Ted Cruz....

Cruz scares us.


If you consider yourself a mainstream Republican, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is your man. He's a solid conservative who's fought public services unions, opposed same-sex marriage and battled to limit abortion rights. He supports a path to legalization — though not citizenship — for undocumented immigrants. He has strong credentials in government at the state and federal levels.... But while Kasich is the most qualified of the four candidates left standing, he lacks presidential presence. And he doesn't have a chance of winning because the Republican base is in rebellion and he got out of the gate too late to build a viable campaign organization.

Perhaps in a more-rational election year, the Sun Sentinel would endorse John Kasich. But we can't urge you to vote for someone who doesn't have a chance of winning the nomination.

More in the "Who Is Trump Really?" line

From Jim Gerraghty's newsletter this morning:
In that CNN poll that showed Trump way ahead among Republicans, 35 percent said they would “definitely not” support him and 13 percent said the would “probably not” support him. There’s a certain percentage of primary voters who will only vote for Trump; there’s a percentage that will never vote for Trump. There’s no way to square that circle.
Every vote has to be earned; if a Trump supporter thinks Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio won’t improve the country and won’t do anything for them, they’re free to stay home. You can’t make them vote for a candidate they don’t think is any good. But the reverse is true: if a Cruz or Rubio supporter thinks Trump is a dangerous, erratic demagogue serving no cause higher than his own ego, insisting Trump won the nomination fair and square -- with the help of overwhelming media coverage, as our Stephen Miller points out -- isn’t going to make them sign on for a foul-mouthed vindictive narcissist with no concepts of limitations on state power.
ADDENDA: Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live featured a fake “Racists for Trump” ad. . . . This is the same program that had Trump host the show a few months ago. Some might see this as a sign that the media will build up Trump and then destroy him. A little while back, I argued that the media is blind to the ways that they already partially insulated him from these attacks:
If Trump wins the nomination, we’re likely to see the national media turn on a dime and start talking about him in the harshest of tones: He’s a racist, he’s a demagogue, he’s a maniac, he’s uninformed. Except . . . all of these powerful voices have already established Trump as a ubiquitous, delightfully unpredictable, fearless figure who can’t be ignored. If Trump is this repugnant, nasty racist, so undeserving of public office . . . why is he hosting Saturday Night Live and joking around with Fallon and Colbert? If he’s so self-evidently unsuited for the presidency . . . why has the national media spent a full year dissecting his every move? If he’s such a vulgar embodiment of reality-television narcissism, why the soft-focus profiles of his lovely family? If his economic plans are so wildly unrealistic and reckless, why has the business media written those glowing profiles about his keen mind and eye for opportunities?

So, How About that Democrat Debate?

Maine went for Sanders, too.

The line on the right is that the Democratic Party debates are even worse than the Republican debates because they are empty of substance. First of all, I'm not sure how much emptier you can get than the 11th Republican Debate, but at least this part of the criticism is valid:
An example Sunday night was when Anderson Cooper finally brought up the touchy question of Clinton's emails, ever so gently asking Hillary how she would respond to Trump's promised attacks on the scandal that could emerge, after the FBI investigation, as one of the most serious political crimes in American history.

Rather than answer the question, Clinton quickly changed the subject to how she had more voters, so far, than Trump. The evasion was so obvious you could drive the whole Russian army through it and probably part of the Polish as well. But did Cooper follow up? He didn't even blink....
He doubtless felt he'd stretched his neck out by mentioning the subject at all.

Two big things came out of the debate from my perspective. The first one is that Bernie Sanders is actually committed to the survival of the American gun industry. He rightly criticized Clinton's argument in favor of making gun manufacturers liable for the abuse of their products as having the consequence that it would destroy the industry. The fact that he raised the criticism shows that, somehow, he has missed the fact that destroying the gun industry is the whole point of the proposal.

Clinton didn't roll her eyes and say "Yes, obviously, Bern," which was a substantial act of self-control on her part. It does show that Sanders' mind on what to do about guns has somehow never drifted to actually destroying the gun industry, whereas Clinton is part of the Democratic Party's faction that never ceases to look for backdoor approaches to doing so. This proposal is of a piece with the proposal to require gun owners to own liability insurance for each firearm they own, or to tax ammunition at a sufficiently massive rate as to make it impractical to buy, or to ban ammunition outright ('the Second Amendment applies to arms, not ammo!'). While I don't doubt that Sanders' SCOTUS appointees would be drawn from a pool that believes the Second should be read out of the Constitution, as Clinton's certainly would be, it's interesting to realize that he thinks his cause is helped by raising the objection he did in front of the Democratic Debate. Raising the objection shows he believes that it will help him to object to destroying the gun industry.

The other thing I find interesting is that the Clinton campaign's #1 thing they want you to take away from the debate is that Sanders tried to get Clinton to stop talking over him. Except that they phrase this, "Sanders tried to shush Clinton."

Clinton has been laying for this moment for months, a fact I know to be true because her allies in the press immediately painted this as a "Rick Lazio moment." I only know who Rick Lazio is because of the frequent references by Clinton supporters to him. They clearly believe that nothing will drive people to support Hillary Clinton more than the idea that she is brusquely treated by a man.

It may be plausible -- AVI was recently describing the kind of voter on whom it will probably work. As a qualification for President, though, "I'm the kind of person who can be pushed around by Bernie Sanders" doesn't strike me as hugely impressive. The Washington Post commentator says, 'Wait until the Trump/Clinton debates.' I say: think about the Putin/Clinton reality you are courting.

That's not to say that Clinton couldn't stand up to Putin, with all the machinery of the Presidency at her beck and call. It is to say that she won't be able to do so via diplomacy. Clinton's political style is like a soccer player gaming the referees:

But there are no more referees when you become President. She will either have to roll over, or she will have to resort to the kind of force that the President can call upon. By way of comparison, I had the strong sense that a Jim Webb presidency would be a peaceful one in part because hostile foreign powers would think twice about messing with that former Marine. His diplomatic efforts would be greatly strengthened by the sense that he was not to be trifled with. Clinton has made a career out of being trifled with -- it's how she got elected to the Senate, and it's how she stood for President the last time, ending up as Secretary of State. The appeal to self-as-victim, in the hope of aligning other self-described victims behind her, is the core of her political stance.

A Clinton Presidency would thus be far more violent than a Webb Presidency would have been. She will have to prove for the first time what Webb proved decades ago at a machine-gun bunker in Vietnam.

Core personas

A commenter at Maggie's Farm suggested that this 25-year-old interview in Playboy would show us that Trump does have a consistent core, and I have to admit that it does have that effect.  He may not be a guy you're crazy about, but perhaps calling him a chameleon is also too harsh.  It's refreshing to see anyone in American public life who knows how to talk about creating and possessing wealth without cringing.