Thursday, September 29, 2016

And now, in our nice-refutation-of-a-piece-I'd-hoped-I'd-see-refuted department

I ran across Cal Thomas's September 27 Townhall column when it came out (don't worry; link provided in the piece Im about to link to / excerpt from). At the time, I took enough note of it to scribble in my notes for a podcast I'm working on that it struck me as a watered-down version of the argument made in that buzz-generating Claremont Review of Books essay "The Flight 93 Election." In fact, Thomas ends his column by saying "we know what we will get with Hillary Clinton . . with Trump, we don't know for sure what we'll get, beyond promises he has made and some contradictory positions he has taken. We can only hope that good people will serve and surround him."

The three ways of looking at Thomas's piece that immediately occurred to me were "tepid," "wrongheaded" and "desperate," but really, I didn't give it much more thought, as I had pay-the-bills writing to knock out, as well as some other life obligations.

Still, it grated on me when I did think about it.

So it was gratifying to see Heather Wilhelm's piece at NRO today that deals with it head-on:

Cal Thomas, a Christian syndicated columnist, is the latest in a long line to crack. I met Thomas years ago, around the time of his 1999 book, Blinded by Might, which was written with Ed Dobson and — forthcoming irony alert — cautioned against Christians’ attempting to find salvation in politicians or the Republican party. I wove my way to the front of the event, which was at a church, and cheerfully introduced myself. “Mr. Thomas,” I said, bright-eyed, “I want to be an opinion columnist!”

“Oh,” he chuckled. “You poor thing.”

Boy, was he right! He must have seen 2016 coming. Fast forward to today, past Clinton and Bush and Obama to the current Clinton/Trump horror show, and witness Cal Thomas writing his September 27 column, in which he endorses Donald Trump. It’s a doozy.

“All analogies break down at some point,” Thomas writes, “but let’s engage in a theological stretch. When Jesus overturned the money changer’s tables in the Temple, he said that instead of a house of prayer, the elites of his day had turned the Temple into ‘a den of thieves.’ This increasingly applies to Washington.”

I’ll pause here to note that the co-author of Blinded by Might just compared Washington, D.C. to a house of worship. But wait! It gets better: “Only one candidate for president is capable of overturning ‘the money changers’ in Washington. The political, governmental and media elites have had their chance to turn things around and they have failed. Now it’s time for Trump.”

Let’s ignore the fact that Thomas just used an analogy in which he compared Trump to Jesus. Let’s also ignore the fact that amidst all this talk about corrupt money-changers, Thomas just endorsed a candidate who literally bankrupted businesses involving seedy money-changing tables, stiffed people who worked for him, and has applauded the abuse of eminent domain, in which the government can plow over poor people’s homes in order to build things like casinos and fancy hotels.

Yes, forget all that. Trump is going to be “our jerk”! Trump, Thomas argues, is the only candidate who can stop the “secular progressive agenda,” which seems odd, if you actually listen to what Trump says. Trump will fight for “Christians who are tired of being called homophobes,” Thomas tells the world; meanwhile, the real Trump recently called for immigrants to be questioned about their approval of gay rights. Trump, despite Thomas’s protestations, offers incoherent and conflicting paragraphs on transgender bathrooms. His history of abortion flip-flops is almost awe-inspiring.

When it comes to Christians, in fact, Trump seems passionate about just two things: (1) making everyone say “Merry Christmas” on command, and (2) manipulating what he has repeatedly called a “powerful” Christian voting block.
Why am I compelled to get a bit in the weeds here and write about what another writer wrote about yet another writer? (It brings to mind Norman Podhoretz's reminiscence in Breaking Ranks about a 1950s dinner party of New York intellectuals at which guests stood around singing a tune called "I'm the Guy Who Wrote the Piece About the Guy Who Wrote the Piece About David Reisman.")

Because it's important to say that Christian attempts to shill for Squirrel-Hair have yet to rise above what, as I call it above, the desperate, wrongheaded and tepid.

Wilhelm has it right when she reiterates the truism that must be stated as often as necessary but must never become cliche: culture is upstream from politics:

Many of the problems that face our nation have nothing to do with politics. The government can’t fix the spiritual vacuum behind the growing heroin epidemic. It can’t magically fix frayed race relations. It can’t help broken families or hurting kids.

Can a Christian vote for Donald Trump? Sure. I won’t, but I can understand why someone would. But please, don’t do it in the name of Christianity. 
In short, don't make excuses for the guy. There are none.

The question looms larger yet: failure born of incompetence, or by Cloward-Piven design?

We know beyond doubt that the Most Equal Comrade and his Freedom-Hater associates in Congress told us blatant falsehoods about keeping our plans and doctors, and how the"A"CA was going to put health care in post-America on a more stable and equitable footing.

It's plain to all that it has not worked out that way:

When Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey announced recently that it’s $46 million in debt and shutting down, it became the 17th failed ObamaCare co-op since the Affordable Care Act launched three years ago.
Those failures – just six of the original 23 co-ops remain – have left hundreds of thousands of people scrambling for coverage. 
Meanwhile, insurers claiming big losses are leaving some state exchanges -- including Indiana University Health Plans, whose exit is expected to result in 27,000 Indiana residents losing ObamaCare plans in 2017. And companies still operating in the federal and state exchanges are raising premiums for next year. 
Together, the developments are posing new challenges for Americans seeking affordable coverage, and show the highly touted overhaul of the country’s health care system is in some cases not yielding the savings President Obama once promised.
As a candidate on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama once said: “If you’ve got health insurance, we’re going to help that employer save $2,500 per family per year. … Those savings are going to be passed along to the workers.”
Nationally, though, premium hikes are expected to average 8 percent next year. Many insurance companies are seeking much more than that, for the exchange plans and those offered to employers. 
Premera in Washington state is approved to charge 19 percent more next year. Rates across California will go up an average of 13 percent. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is asking to raise premiums a stunning 60 percent.
Long-time critics of ObamaCare say they saw it coming.
“That basic promise, that it’s going to make health care more affordable, it’s not making health care more affordable,” said Avik Roy, an author and Republican adviser. “It’s making health care more expensive, especially for the uninsured.” 
The problem remains a risk pool with too many sick people and not enough who are young and healthy. Also, federal backstop programs, aimed at helping companies that miscalculated how much to charge, are now expired. So insurance companies need higher premiums to cover payouts to doctors and hospitals.
The alternative is pulling out of health exchanges, which many companies have been doing. In recent months Aetna, United Health Care and several Blue Cross and Blue Shield subsidiaries have announced they will be leaving many of the exchanges in 2017.
“That’s going to be the future,” said Roger Stark of the Washington Policy Center in Washington State. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a death spiral as far as exchanges are concerned as more companies pull out.” 
In Indiana, the company pulling out of the exchange had covered 15 percent of those covered under ObamaCare. Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, a Republican, told The Washington Times this is further evidence the health care law is “collapsing before our eyes.”
Yet Madame BleachBit's solution is to double down. A public option.

Again, you have to ask if this was just a colossal oopsie or orchestrated socioeconomic decline.

In other words, are these people merely buffoons, or are they the most sinister kind of liar?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Speaking truth to the power - and evil - of the Clinton machine

Madame BleachBit and Billy Jeff the Zipper even have their offspring in on the act:

Chelsea Clinton, ever her mother’s Socialist daughter, mustered up all her indignant glory and took to a liberal rag to bemoan the attacks on her family.
In response to the Trump camp praising the GOP nominee's supposed discipline, Chelsea Clinton said in an interview that the whole storyline is a "distraction."

This was in the course of a Cosmopolitan interview.

Juanita Broderick, who was on the receiving end of Madame BleachBit's forearm squeeze and direct, ice-cold gaze and passing remark "Do you understand? Everything" wasn't going to sit idly by for this vile dog vomit:

Challenge accepted.
While Trump has no intention of engaging with his daughter’s best pal, the missive did rile up Clinton rape victim, Juanita Broaddrick, who ripped a hole right through the middle of Chelsea’s pity party, with a series of tweets.
"[Y]ou said you don't remember a time in your life that your parents weren't being attacked," Juanita Broaddrick said in a series of tweets addressed to Chelsea Clinton.
"There's a very good reason for this — your parents are not good people," she said.
"Your father was, and probably still is, a sexual predator. Your mother has always lied and covered up for him," Broaddrick said on a Twitter account that has been verified as belonging to her.
"I say again 'I was 35 when Bill Clinton Raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73. It never goes away,'" she said.
Under normal circumstances, I would caution anyone from bringing the children into a situation this sensitive and vile, but Chelsea Clinton is a big girl, and she has inserted herself into the election. With that in mind, she’s old enough to know who and what her parents are.
By the way, Chelsea, how comfortable are you with the past of your father-in-law?

Post-America's partner in patty-cake - today's edition

Our mortal enemy  the culturally rich,  dynamically youthful nation to which we have outstretched our unclenched fist got more than just a juicy photo op the night of the State of the Union address:

Iran’s FARS news servicequotes General Ali Razmjou of Iran’s Second Naval Zone claiming that his forces “seized thousands of pages of valuable intelligence from the US marines during their detention.”

Razmjou was referring to the January 12 incident in which Iran seized two small U.S. Navy boats with ten personnel on board.
Russia’s supports Razmjou’s claim by quoting the U.S. Navy’s report on the January incident, which said it was “clear that some, if not all, crew members provided at least some information to their interrogators beyond name, rank, service number, and date of birth.”
Additionally, FARS reports General Alireza Tangsiri claimed the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy has “detained American and British trespassers twice and the Canadians and Australians once in the Persian Gulf,” without giving any details of the alleged incidents.
Tangsiri threw in a snide comment that foreign naval personnel are essentially mercenaries, coming to the Persian Gulf for “the salaries they receive,” but the Iranian navy is “defending our home and territories here.”
FARS also recalled a comment Tangsiri made in July about teaching the Americans, and other foreign navies, a lesson by humiliating the captured U.S. personnel: “We have a strong presence in the quintuple regions of the South and our independent bases in the Sea of Oman, in such a way that foreign vessels never dare to approach regions 12 miles away from our territorial waters and if they do, they will be treated like what we did to the Americans.”
Since the Islamic Republic is now a vital member of the International Community, they will no doubt use this information to help build a world in which all children feel safe, never go hungry, and get hugs whenever they are microagressed upon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Debate one - initial thoughts

Demeanor-wise, they lived up to their caricatures. Squirrel-Hair was smug and petty, Madame BleachBit was by turns cold and shrill.

A huge frustration for me was the fact that S-H didn't respond to BB's proud reiterations of her redistributionist proposals (hiking the minimum wage and estate tax, achieving "equal pay" for women, "investing in infrastructure") with solid free-market-based refutations, opting instead to talk about what he perceives to be crummy trade deals with other countries. That's because S-H has no grounding in free-market principles.

There were the expected why-won't-you-release-this-that-and-the-other-documents volleys, which have come to be customary at these spectacles. That's a shame, because BleachBit's emails fall into a category of significance above the usual tax-return clamoring.

Identity politics was sadly but inevitably a prominent theme.

S-H was a true-to-form bonehead in his "that's called business" response to BB's charge that he viewed the housing collapse opportunistically.

All in all, it made me embarrassed to be a post-American, just as I'd expected.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday morning roundup

Well, "international community," whatcha got up your sleeve now? Looks like Assad is in power to stay, with the most intense bombing of the five-year-old Syrian war going on in the northern neighborhoods of Aleppo and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem sounding pretty dang confident when addressing the UN General Assembly (and thanking Russia, Iran and the "Lebanese national resistance" for their solidarity).

What is it about Twitter that brings out the bratty eleven-year-old in Squirrel-Hair?

The development grew from a Twitter broadside Trump launched earlier that day.
“If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!” he tweeted.
It was a shot at Clinton’s decision to seat Cuban, a frequent Trump critic, in the front row as her debate guest, and a signal that the Republican nominee might dredge up past Clinton scandals as ammunition.
Trump originally misspelled Flowers’ first name, then sent a corrected tweet minutes later.
The Most Equal Comrade knew that Madame BleachBit was using a private email server. That's why he used a synonym.

President Obama is not stupid. He had to know this server was not a secure, State Department server. Two things stand out:
  1. If the President thought he was emailing somebody on a secure server, why on earth would he have to use a pseudonym? It's not as though he was trying to send explicitly sexual photos to somebody ala 'Carlos Danger' (Anthony Weiner) or hiding who he was while checked into a facility to treat STD's ala 'Ron Mexico' (Michael Vick).
  2. President Obama has portrayed himself as the tech savvy President. Wouldn't he wonder why an email he was sending to Hillary was not going to a address and to I find it very difficult to believe he didn't know. See point 1 as to why.
John Hawkins at Townhall says that the NFL turning into a sewer of America-hatred presents conservatives a perfect opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and do something about reaching our flatlining culture. Something for us - me, anyway - to think about just a few hours before this week's kickoff time.

How advanced is the rot? Well, a "Christian" school in Virginia is perpetuating this dog vomit:

A Christian school in Virginia is providing materials to students saying that gender is a state of mind and that "genderqueer" is a natural self-identity.  St. Stephen's and St. Agnes in Alexandria, Virginia, is associated with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and teaches pre-K through 12th grade.
The Episcopal school features artwork displayed in the hallways pertaining to “The Genderbread Person.”
The St. Stephen's and St. Agnes “Genderbread Person” has a gingerbread man shaped cookie with a rainbow colored brain.  It contains a heart-labeled orientation, and a symbol in the genital regions labeled sex, which identifies as male, female, and both.  This poster is hanging in the halls of the school.  The poster also provides St. Stephen's and St. Agnes students the URL, where they can peruse articles like “30 Examples of Heterosexual Privilege” or a “Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Vocabulary Definitions.”
Roundup within a roundup: Scott Johnson at Power Line  presents a compendium of takes on the erosion of integrity within the FBI.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hell, the Most Equal Comrade doesn't even do transparency within his own administration

Keeping the right hand from knowing what the left hand do-eth:

One might think President Barack Obama would have asked his top military officials to weigh in on his administration's  decision in January to send $400 million in cash to Iran. After all, Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and terrorists prefer cash to wire payments because it's so difficult to track. And its armed forces have both directly and indirectly threatened the U.S. military in the Middle East.
But Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry did not consult Secretary of Defense Ash Carter or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford.
This news came out of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In response to a question from Republican Senator Ted Cruz about the cash payment to Iran, Carter made it clear that he had been out of the loop.
"We weren't involved in this," Carter said, adding that it was part of the settlement of a decades-long legal dispute  between Iran and the U.S. over arms sales. "I don't know all the details of it, and the chairman and I were not involved in that. It is a decision that was taken by the law enforcement and diplomatic and I would refer you there."
When Dunford was asked about the cash payments, he responded: "I am not trying to be evasive but I don't know the details of that arrangement and it really was a political decision that was made to provide that money and I don't think it's appropriate that I comment on that."
Christopher Sherwood, a press officer at the Pentagon, later told me pretty much the same thing. "It was worked out through the administration. The Department of Defense had nothing to do with that."
And thus does the fissure between the Pentagon and the overlords widen.

Once again, the rioters are not mainly local

The pattern of bussed-in agitators repeats itself in Charlotte:

Confirming what many had suspected when viewing the sudden and intense collapse into anrchy that occurred in Charlotte this week, Todd Walther, spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police told CNN's Erin Burnett:

"This is not Charlotte that's out here.  These are outside entities that are coming in and causing these problems. These are not protestors, these are criminals."

"We've got the instigators that are coming in from the outside.  They were coming in on buses from out of state.  If you go back and look at some of the arrests that were made last night.  I can about say probably 70% of those had out-of-state IDs.  They're not coming from Charlotte."
Anybody want to place bets on who this can be traced back to?

The fix is in - today's edition

This gets stinkier by the day:

Hillary Clinton's former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and two other staff members were granted immunity deals in exchange for their cooperation in the now-closed FBI investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state, says a Republican congressman.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told the Associated Press on Friday that Mills gave federal investigators access to her laptop on the condition that findings couldn't be used against her.
Democrats on the committee said Friday the immunity agreements were limited in scope and did not cover statements made to investigators or to potential testimony before Congress.
Still, Chaffetz said he was "absolutely stunned" that the FBI would cut a deal with someone as close to the investigation as Mills.
"No wonder they couldn't prosecute a case," said Chaffetz, R-Utah. "They were handing out immunity deals like candy."
Copies of the immunity agreements were provided to the House oversight committee by the Justice Department this week under seal.
A yearlong investigation by the FBI focused on whether the Democratic presidential nominee sent or received classified information using the private server located in the basement of her New York home, which was not authorized for such messages.
FBI Director James Comey said in July that his agents hadn't found evidence to support any criminal charge or direct evidence that Clinton's private server had been hacked. He suggested that hackers working for a foreign government may have been so sophisticated they wouldn't have left behind any evidence of a break-in.
Chaffetz said in addition to Mills, others granted immunity include John Bentel, then-director of the State Department's Office of Information Resources Management, and Heather Samuelson, Clinton's executive assistant.
The revelation brings the total number of people who were granted immunity as part of the FBI's investigation to at least five.
It had previously been reported immunity had been granted to Bryan Pagliano, a tech expert who set up Clinton's email server, as well as Paul Combetta, a computer specialist for a private firm that later maintained Clinton's email setup.
Chaffetz said he is looking forward to asking Comey questions about the immunity deals when Comey testifies Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee. Chaffetz is also a member of that panel.
Yet more developments that bolster what Andrew McCarthy has been saying for months.

How post-America presently views the two candidates it loathes but has nonetheless chosen

Count on Jonah Goldberg to bring singular wit to a dead-on accurate report of the many ways we see these two at the onset of the last weekend before the first debate:

It’s difficult to capture the otherworldliness of it all. Most of the commentary centers around Trump — and for good reason. He’s the X factor. Some see him as a brilliant, media-savvy disruptor, shaking the foundation of the political establishment. Others see him as a Rodney Dangerfield-esque character (with a touch of Peter Sellers’s Chauncey Gardner) who managed to bluff his way onto the national stage, demanding respect. And that barely scratches the surface. Between friends and foes the descriptions get more ridiculous by the hour. He’s Cincinnatus, he’s Hitler, he’s Reagan, he’s “orange Muppet Hitler” (in the words of some celebrities), he’s George Washington, he’s some other kind of Hitler. And so on.

But it’s worth remembering that Clinton, in her own excruciatingly dull, grating, and pedantic way, has long been a larger-than-life figure, too. It may not seem like it given that she often sounds like a luncheon speaker at a conference of insurance-+industry actuaries. But if you were a student of the lady, you’d know that the flinty demeanor is widely believed to be a tightly managed veneer, hiding a thoroughly ideological, somewhat paranoid, and testy woman.
He says that fans of each insist there is another person beneath the veneer the public sees:

Her supporters, in fact, insist that’s the case: that the real Hillary is like a verdant oasis of wit and charm hidden in the vast desert of her public persona. To borrow a phrase from The Who, the Hillary we see is an eminence front, a put-on.

Intriguingly, this is almost the mirror version of what many of Trump’s biggest fans say about him, except they claim that the bluster and bullying, the stunted, ill-fitted vocabulary and seemingly bone-dry reservoir of policy expertise is what you might call an everyman front.

He may talk like a Joe Sixpack working one of his constructions sites, but underneath — allegedly — is one of the most clever and shrewd businessmen ever to walk the earth, playing chess ten moves ahead. 
Leon Wolf at RedState focuses more on the policy inclinations of each, and either way they add up to more, not less statism:

Trump thinks the President has the power to unilaterally rewrite both the First Amendment and the libel laws of all 50 states in one fell swoop. He also thinks that the President has the authority to tell local police departments to stop black people on the street and frisk them for guns without probable cause. He also thinks the President has the authority to unilaterally undo constitutionally-enacted treaties as long as they were entered into by "stupid people." To say nothing of the fact that he bragged in a live debate that the military would follow unlawful orders coming from him because of his strong, manly leadershipness. I could go on, but you get the point. You get the point. Following in the path of Trump's vision of government leads you to authoritarianism and police state despotism.
Clinton, on the other hand, literally wrote the book on "it takes a village to raise a child" and by "village" she meant "the will of the village as expressed by the forceful intervention of the village's elected officials and bureaucrats." Clinton is on the side of people who want to tell churches they can't not have transgender bathrooms, make disbelieving in global warming a crimeraise your taxes, and so on. You get the point. Following in the path of Clinton's vision of government leads you to your life as a bit player in the real life version of 1984.
So I mean, one way or another, the size and scope of the Federal Government is going to advance quite a lot over the next four years. You ought to really do something about that. Even if that something is the equivalent of crossing the streams - a plan that seems hopeless from the beginning and likely to end in total destruction (like voting for Gary Johnson or Evan McMullin or starting a new party altogether), now is not the time to abandon the playing field of politics altogether. If you think doing so will mean you won't have to think about our corrupt government at all, you are wrong. Sooner or later it will be staring you in the face, like it or not. 
He sympathizes with the natural tendency to want to tune it all out.

But if conservaistm is about anything, it's about dealing with reality as one encounters it rather than glossing it over with a clever narrative.

So, yes, hate 2016. I know I do. But for the sake of your sanity, remember that there is no place else for you to live right now.

During UN General Assembly week, you can always count on the thunderous moral clarity to come from Bibi

He shook 'em up every which way.

Said, "Hey, Abbas, how about you and me speaking to each other's legislatures?"

Also said the UN was irrelevant to any kind of peace that can ever be achieved by Israel and the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to come “speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem,” during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday,

In return, he offered to “gladly come to speak peace with the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.”
“The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York,” Netanyahu said.
In reiterating his persistent call for direct negotiations with the Palestinians, Netanyahu rejected any possible United Nations plan to unilaterally impose a solution to the conflict.
“We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

“I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples.”
Netanyahu began his UN address by slamming the international body for consistently condemning Israel, calling it “a disgrace” and “a moral farce.” He also called the UN Human Rights Council a “joke” and UNESCO a “circus.”

“The sooner the UN’s obsession with Israel ends, the better. 
The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself,” he said.

Nonetheless, he predicted that change will come soon.“Ladies and gentlemen, one message for you today: Lay down your arms, the war against Israel in the UN is over,” the prime minister told the member states.

“The change will happen in this hall because back home your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes toward Israel, and sooner or later that’s going to change the way you vote at the UN,” he told the assembled representatives.

“More and more nations see Israel as a potent partner.

“World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth.

Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.”

Netanyahu stressed that “Israel’s diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less but a revolution,” especially in its relations with Arab countries in the region, which he said have started to “recognize Israel not as their enemy, but as an ally” in the fight against radical Islam and terrorism.
He understands that the UN is behind the curve, out of the loop. It's a new day, and any relatively sane element in Israel's actual neighborhood recognizes what the real threats are.

And he concluded by reiterating in no uncertain terms: There will always be a Jewish homeland right where it is now.

When Madame BleachBit goes off her meds, she gets all Castro-ite

Her latest hell-yeah-I'm-a-redistributionist doozy:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would levy a 65% tax on the largest estates and make it harder for wealthy people to pass appreciated assets to their heirs without paying taxes, expanding the list of tax increases she would impose on the top sliver of America’s affluent.
The estate-tax increase and other new proposals that Mrs. Clinton detailed on Thursday would generate $260 billion over the next decade, enough to pay for her plans to simplify small business taxes and expand the child tax credit, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates fiscal restraint.
In all, Mrs. Clinton would increase taxes by about $1.5 trillion over the next decade, increasing federal revenue by about 4%, though that new burden would be concentrated on relatively few households. There is at least a $6 trillion gap between her plan and the tax cuts proposed by her Republican rival Donald Trump.
The Clinton campaign changed its previous plan—which called for a 45% top rate—by adding three new tax brackets and adopting the structure proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primaries. She would impose a 50% rate that would apply to estates over $10 million a person, a 55% rate that starts at $50 million a person, and the top rate of 65%, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couples.
Just wow.

It would clearly be DOA in any makeup of Congress that wasn't full-tilt Freedom-Hater, but still to know someone whose dream has been to run America since her teens is so strongly inclined toward this kind of thinking as to state it ofthrightly.

Makes kind of a good electoral indicator, though. Will have to keep my eye out for polls regarding how the voting populace feels about this. Obviously, my prayers are that post-America is not so far gone as to give it a big yay-rah.

I just wish we had somebody steeped in an understanding of free-market principles to make the case. Alas, it's up to Squirrel-Hair, which I don't find encouraging.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Helps make a couple of post-American foreign-policy fronts more understandable

Tony Badran at Tablet sheds some light on the seeming incoherence of the Most Equal Comrade's Syria policy. He told Iran he'd do nothing to p--- that country off when it came to Syria. That's how important the "agreement" on Iran's nuclear ambitions was to the MEC.

 . . .  it is a byproduct of America’s overriding desire to clinch a nuclear deal with Iran, which was meant to allow America to permanently remove itself from a war footing with that country and to shed its old allies and entanglements in the Middle East, which might also draw us into war. By allowing Iran and its allies to kill Syrians with impunity, America could demonstrate the corresponding firmness of its resolve to let Iran protect what President Barack Obama called its “equities” in Syria, which are every bit as important to Iran as pallets of cash.
And just like it sold its Iran policy through a public “echo chamber” of paid “experts” from organizations like Ploughshares and quote-seeking journalists and bloggers, some of whom also cashed White House-friendly nonprofit checks, the White House deliberately constructed an “echo chamber” to forward its Syria policy. The difference between the two “echo chambers” is that, absent any wider debate or the need for congressional approval, the Syria version was much more narrowly targeted at policy wonks and foreign-affairs writers, and the arguments it echoed were entirely deceptive in their larger thrust—the point of the Iran Deal was, in fact, to do a deal with Iran—rather than simply incomplete or false in their specifics.
America’s Syria policy can, therefore, be best understood not in the terms most familiar to Mideast analysts, such as “getting Assad to step aside” or “supporting the moderate opposition” or “paving the way to a peaceful transition and elections.” Rather, it is a strategic-communications campaign tightly run from the White House, whose purpose was and is to serve as a smokescreen for an entirely coherent and purposeful policy that comes directly from the president himself, but which he and his aides did not wish to publicly own. The goal of the president and his closest aides is to convince the Iranians that we would meet our commitments to them while confusing and obscuring the real reasons behind the president’s set decision of nonintervention in Syria from American legislators and the public alike.
You can't act on consistent principle when your overriding aim is to secure a legacy as the One Who Ushered In the Age of Unicorns and Rainbows.

Pagliano's officially in trouble

Falling on one's sword for Madame BleachBit has repercussions:

Members of the House Oversight Committee voted Thursday to hold Hillary Clinton's former IT aide in contempt of Congress over his refusal to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony.
Bryan Pagliano, the aide who set up Clinton's private email server, failed to appear before the committee on Sept. 13 and declined to provide a copy of the immunity agreement given to him by the Justice Department during the year-long FBI investigation of Clinton's email network.
"Subpoenas are not optional," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the Oversight Committee, at a hearing Thursday to consider Pagliano's fate.
Pagliano worked on Clinton's 2008 campaign before following her to the State Department. Clinton reportedly paid the IT specialist out of her own pocket to operate the private server in her basement through a personal arrangement that was not initially disclosed to the government.

Last year, Pagliano's involvement in the email controversy raised eyebrows when invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer questions when called before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The IT aide has never spoken about the server network in any setting other than his interview with FBI agents.

Three other technology specialists who worked on the email server appeared before the committee last week, but two pleaded their Fifth Amendment rights and walked out of the hearing room. 
Spill the beans, Bryan. You're in nothin'-left-to-lose mode.

Another city in riot mode before facts of the catalyzing incident are established

Where have we seen this pattern before?

PUTNEY: The officers gave loud, clear, verbal commands which were also heard by many of the witnesses.  They were instructing in the subject, once he got out of the vehicle, to drop the weapon.  In spite of their verbal commands Mr. Scott, as I said, exited his vehicle with a handgun as the officers continued to yell at him to drop it.  He stepped out, posing a threat to the officers, and Officer Brentley Vinson subsequently fired his weapon, striking the subject.

And, because this is post-America, it must be pointed out that Charlotte police chief Putney is black.

So once again, as with the grand promises the Most Equal Comrade made to us about health care (like your doctor, keep you doctor, like your plan, keep your plan), Iran (can be brought into the "international community") and a host of other areas of national life, we have to ask: A failure or a lie from the outset?