Saturday, April 25, 2015

Items Of Interest

An astounding Quinnipac poll result - 54 percent of Americans say Hillary Clinton is not honest or trustworthy.
Forty-six percent don't feel this way?

Observation by a Tweeter --

Did you commit the crime? If you're innocent: "No, I did not." If you're a Clinton: "There is no evidence"

Another Tweet -- Evidence of the Clinton Foundation's "alleged" tax fraud.

Here is how the most transparent administration in history responds to the Clinton-Uranium One-Russia scandal. Jonathan Karl, reporter for that far right wing network, ABC News, asks the questions. Responding, WH Press secretary Josh Earnest does his best Sergeant Schultz impersonation. (I...know...nothing!)

Fox News' Bret Baier does a good job summing up the salient points of the scandal in less than 10 minutes.

And to put all this in context, a blast from the past.

The GOP candidate, whomever he or she is, should make the "Russian Reset" video a prominent feature of his/her 2016 campaign. And Hillary's laugh track should be turned into a downloadable wake-up alarm for smartphones. No one could possibly sleep through that sound.

Clinton scandal columns by --

Jonah Goldberg

Kim Strassel

Andrew McCarthy --

...We should consider the Obama administration’s legal standards. ...the Justice Department has just filed its indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D – NJ) on various corruption charges. The prosecution’s theory is that Menendez accepted “things of value” in exchange for using his political influence to benefit a big-time donor. Sen. Menendez counters that he did nothing wrong — i.e., that there is no nexus between, on the one hand, the hefty contributions, private jet rides to ritzy resorts, and other posh gifts he received, and, on the other hand, the use of his office in ways that just happened to favor the donor.

We are still at a very early stage of scrutinizing the Clinton Foundation, but we can already say two things with confidence:

(1) The millions upon millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation has collected from foreign donors and others with significant self-interest in U.S. government policy — during a time when Mrs. Clinton had a key role (and the prospect of an even bigger role) in designing U.S. government policy — makes the gifts to Menendez look like chump change.

(2) To the best of our knowledge, Menendez never withheld his emails from the government or wiped his server clean.

A reactionary homophobe speaks --

I believe marriage is the fundamental bedrock principle that exists between a man and a woman, going back into the mists of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.
-- Hillary Clinton, 2004

And there was this from the president, expressing his deeply held religious conviction.

I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.
-- Barack Obama, April, 2008.

God's no longer in the mix, I guess.
Clinton states precisely the secular conservative argument against gay marriage. Obama conveys the position of the Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, Christian wedding cake baker crowd.

Here is Obama lamenting the deaths of two hostages during a recent U.S. drone strike against Al-Queda targets --

It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically, mistakes—sometimes deadly mistakes—can occur.

Wait. What? The fog of what? Obama is waging what? This wasn't just a Kinetic Military Action in support of an Overseas Contingency Operation that went awry?

A letter appearing in the WSJ, 4/24/2015 --

The often repeated shibboleth that forms the basis for Hillary Clinton’s gripe that “the average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes” is a canard that seems to have originated with the AFL-CIO’s Paywatch website statement that in 2012 “[t]he CEOs of S&P 500 index companies made, on average, 354 times the average wages of rank-and-file U.S. workers.” The Executive Paywatch website, however, clearly acknowledges that this ratio is “based on [an] AFL-CIO analysis of average CEO pay at 327 companies in the S&P 500 index, which disclosed 2012 CEO pay data as of April 1, 2013.” Simply put, the ratio doesn’t represent the pay differential between an average CEO and an average worker as Mrs. Clinton and many others have claimed.

For 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were 255,940 non-self-employed CEOs in the U.S. For the same year, the BLS likewise estimated that the mean annual salary of these CEOs was $176,840. When compared with the July 2012 seasonally adjusted average annual pay of $34,645 for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls in the U. S., as also estimated by the BLS, the ratio of the average CEO pay to the pay of an average employee as calculated by the AFL-CIO shrinks from 354 to 1 to just over 5 to 1.

Thousands of words have been written depicting CEO pay as inflated, and statements such as that offered by Mrs. Clinton are often uncritically accepted.

Prof. Arthur G. Bedeian
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, La.

Kevin Williamson made much the same point in a recent column.

Discussions of CEO pay generally focus on the Fortune 500 or on publicly traded corporations. This is a mistake, for many reasons: The Fortune 500 CEOs are by definition an unusual group — there are only 500 of them in a nation of 310 million — which means that using them to judge executive pay, or even chief-executive pay, is like combining the incomes of the year’s New York Times bestselling authors and those of the screenwriters behind the year’s hit movies and television shows to get an impression of what an American writer makes, or using the New York Philharmonic to get an idea of what an American musician makes. In reality, the average American CEO — the average chief executive — makes a little less than $200,000 a year. Paul Krugman makes more than that for a part-time gig thinking deep thoughts about . . . economic inequality. 

Williamson is notable (among many other things) for his scathing depictions of abhorrent public figures (Harry Reid, Lena Dunham, etc), so it's good to see him take the lead going after Hillary Clinton and her flacks. Here are KW's recent columns on the servility of Paul Begala, the superficiality of the Clinton campaign, and Hillary at Chipotle --

A few weeks ago, I was at a Subway in a small town in Michigan, and there was a woman in front of me who was making the most complicated Subway order I ever have witnessed, i.e., a foot-long sandwich with different ingredients on each half — peppers on one half, no peppers on the other, onions and olives on the no-peppers half, etc. She paid with small coins and divided the sandwich with her friend — a single foot-long sandwich costs less than two six-inch sandwiches, and as she counted out the last pennies, it was obvious that this made a difference. The two shared a fountain drink, which I gather is against Subway policy, but nobody was making a fuss about it.

... Those two women in a dead-end Michigan town, not starving but far from prospering, literally counting their pennies — they will have to endure a great deal of unhappiness in life. Having that unhappiness made into an instrument of ambition for conniving politicians who pantomime the lives of “everyday Americans” only adds insult to injury.

Holman Jenkins (WSJ) --

As the late economist and social thinker Mancur Olson taught, political bargains of the past are the burden of the future.

Peggy Noonan --

Republicans know—they see it every day—that Republican candidates get grilled, sometimes impertinently, and pressed, sometimes brusquely. And it isn’t true that they’re only questioned in this way once they announce, Scott Walker has been treated like this also, and he has yet to announce. Republicans see this, and then they see that Mrs. Clinton isn’t grilled, is never forced to submit to anyone’s morning-show impertinence, is never the object of the snotty question or the sharp demand for information. She gets the glide. She waves at the crowds and the press and glides by. No one pushes. No one shouts the rude question or rolls out the carefully scripted set of studio inquiries meant to make the candidate squirm. She is treated like the queen of England, who also isn’t subjected to impertinent questions as she glides into and out of venues. But she is the queen. We are not supposed to have queens.

Rep. Lamar Smith on the religion of global warming --

At least the United Nations’ then-top climate scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, acknowledged—however inadvertently—the faith-based nature of climate-change rhetoric when he resigned amid scandal in February. In a farewell letter, he said that “the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

...Christiana Figueres, the official leading the U.N.’s effort to forge a new international climate treaty later this year in Paris, told reporters in February that the real goal is “to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years.” In other words, a central objective of these negotiations is the redistribution of wealth among nations. It is apparent that President Obama shares this vision.

Kevin Williamson explores left wing fictions --

It is not the case that American society is organized according to the principles of an 18th century slaver called Willie Lynch. It is not the case that crime is evenly distributed among various demographic groups. It is not the case that one in three or one in five or one in 50 women in college will be raped, or even that college campuses have elevated rates of sexual assault. It is not the case that crack cocaine was distributed in inner-city neighborhoods by the CIA or that the World Trade Center was taken down by covert demolition. It is not the case that we are suffering from out-of-control crime, or that crime is at anything other than historically low levels. It isn’t the case that the Republican party is controlled by the Koch brothers or Israeli intelligence officers. It isn’t the case that pharmaceutical companies have suppressed all-natural cures for cancer or that oil companies have suppressed an automobile engine that runs on saltwater. There are no Illuminati. Race, crime, global warming – there is no controversy in which we can lie our way to the truth. The more we hunt for imaginary villains, the less firm a grasp we have on reality. 

KW on Good Guys vs Bad Guys --

In popular culture, it is a commonplace that we could have cures for AIDS or cancer if not for the greed of doctors and pharmaceutical companies, that we could have cars that run off of sunshine and goodwill if not for the wickedness of the oil barons. Progressive media is entirely captive to the Evil-Man Theory of Everything, and popular left-leaning commentators such as Thom Hartmann are as crude in their illiterate moralism as any 1930s demagogue – indeed, as economic analysis, their views are indistinguishable from those of Father Coughlin.

... Every time you hear a politician or activist explain that the world is the way it is because villainous so-and-so is the tool of unsympathetic thus-and-such while heroic so-and-so really cares about sympathetic thus-and-such, what you are hearing is about as meaningful as the croaking of poorly educated frogs or explanations based on the four humors, hepatomancy, astrology, or the keen insights of John Oliver, each of which is about as intellectually defensible as the next.

KW on balancing order and liberty --

In the 800 years since the ratification of Magna Carta, we have not managed to come up with a political solution that does not in the end present us with a choice between servility and revolution. The Left, being schizophrenic, wants revolution and servility simultaneously: smashing store windows on Saturday night, cashing a welfare check on Monday.

Victor Davis Hanson's column on thought police. Here he mocks Hillary's laughably mendacious explanation for her e-mail fiasco. --

To believe the media’s acceptance of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail yarns, we would have to engage in mental gymnastics that would make Rose Mary Woods’s physical contortions during Watergate seem a trifle in comparison. Hillary sort of had four mobile devices, but also sort of had only one. Everyone knows you need two separate smartphones to have two separate e-mail accounts, and thus she had only one of each. She protected her server from hackers by having bodyguards on the premises — but not from her more dangerous alter ego, who deleted thousands of e-mails and crashed her server. She wanted a private account to e-mail her husband – and, as proof, Bill Clinton said he had written only two e-mails in his entire life. She swears that she knew which e-mails were private and which were public, and so understandably destroyed the former to prove just that to the American people. What Hillary Clinton did was not at all unusual, although no other high-ranking administration official communicated only through a private e-mail account and server. Listening to her gibberish was like an exasperated Dorothy watching the stammering Oz as the tiny man behind the curtain frantically twisted dials and pulled levers to let out steam and project a defiant, though empty, talking head. 

Bill Whittle details a couple of the laws violated by Madam Secretary Clinton.

Andrew McCarthy --

We seem to have forgotten that the point of the Constitution is not to accomplish great things; it is to prevent government from doing overbearing or destructive things. The achievement of great things was left to the genius and ambition of free people confronting challenges without stifling constraints. The Constitution’s constraints can indeed be stifling. Quite intentionally so: They are there to prevent legacy-hunting ideologues and feckless fixers from rolling the dice with our lives.

Deroy Murdock on Obama's delicate way of war --

When the Islamic State first emerged, it traversed Iraqi and Syrian deserts in pick-up trucks. A few days of relentless bombing would have reduced these maggots to cinders. Instead, Obama’s daintiness let them seize territory the size of Great Britain. The group now has infiltrated Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen, sealed an alliance with Boko Haram in Nigeria, and much more.

Anyone who looks at the nuclear deal and sees success is living in a world of rainbows and unicorns.
Mortimer Zuckerman (WSJ op-ed) explains.

Dick Cheney --

If you had somebody who, as president — who wanted to take America down. Who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world, reduce our capacity to influence events. Turn our back on our allies and encourage our enemies, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama is doing. I think his actions are constituted in my mind are those of the worst president we’ve ever had.

Arthur Herman hypothesizes that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's obsession with "getting" VP Cheney tragically led to an extension of the Iraq war.

Matt Purple on the weakened state of liberalism --

Of the top ten job-creating states in 2014, according to Gallup, seven were under total Republican control (it would be eight if Nebraska didn’t have a nonpartisan legislature). Of the ten states that created the fewest jobs, only one was under total Republican control and four were under total Democratic control.

These side-by-side economic comparisons—brought to you by federalism, another great conservative idea—have created a personnel shortage in the Democratic Party as voters toss out failed liberal governors. Consider that the Democrats’ presidential frontrunner for 2016 is Hillary Clinton, who’s been on camera without interruption since 1992 yet hasn’t held elected office since 2009. Consider too that her only potential challengers are a one-term senator from Massachusetts and a former governor from Maryland whose protégé was thrashed at the ballot box last year.

Or consider my old pal Dannel Malloy, the new head of the Democratic Governors Association. Malloy is governor of Connecticut, an economic leper colony ranked dead last in those Gallup job creation rankings. Why let him fail upwards into the DGA, often considered a stepping stone to national prominence? Perhaps because Malloy is all Democrats have left. Only 18 Democratic governors survived last year’s elections, after Republicans prevailed in blue states like Illinois and Maryland.

Malloy plans to reverse this trend by doubling down on progressivism. “If you abandon being a Democrat, they will always choose the Republican in that situation,” he said. In point of fact! Let’s hope he holds up himself as an example and pressures other Democrats to raise taxes 77 times.

None of this is to write off Hillary Clinton or chase some permanent Republican realignment chimera. It’s simply to observe that in the current snapshot of the political landscape, liberalism is as weak as it’s looked in at least ten years. Presented with a searing economic recession, Republican ideas worked, Democratic ideas didn’t, the public rewarded Republicans with everything except the presidency, and Democrats flew into a rage. That could change tomorrow or 50 years from now, but it remains an exhilarating and unexpected political narrative.

And finally, from the They Really Keep Track Of These Things Department (at ESPN) --

RHP Masahiro Tanaka made just the 10th start Saturday night by a Yankees pitcher since 1914 with at least seven scoreless innings, two-hits-or-fewer, no walks and at least eight strikeouts. It was the first one by a Yankees pitcher since Randy Johnson on July 26, 2005.

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