A Democrat lied to us during his campaign? Shocking!

Hillary Clinton isn’t the only lying Democrat:

Wolf’s $30B budget: tax hikes, school relief
Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau | Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 11:35 AM

Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his budget address for the 2015-16 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Harrisburg, Pa. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, is at left, and Lt. Gov. Michael Stack, is at right. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG – Gov. Wolf on Tuesday unveiled a nearly $30 billion spending plan that would raise the state income and sales taxes, but use much of that new money to give school districts almost $4 billion for property tax breaks.The governor also wants to infuse an additional $400 million into basic education, bump up subsidies for early childhood education by $120 million and increase funding for the four state-related universities, including Temple and Lincoln universities, by $80 million.

The scope of Wolf’s first budget proposal is both ambitious and controversial, raising taxes and imposing new taxes at levels that have not been seen in years.

The administration is arguing that Democratic governor’s budget is more than just a string of tax hikes to support spending in areas like public education that saw funding slashed under his Republican predecessor.

There’s more at the original.

So, for all of those Pennsylvanians who voted for Tom Wolf, who said that he would not raise the sales tax or income taxes on the middle class, how do you like him now? Here’s a video that the Wold for Governor website used, but this copy is on YouTube, where the Governor’s minions might not be able to delete it so quickly:

From Mr Wolf’s campaign website:

Tom Wolf wants to ease the tax burden on middle class families. Tom will implement a five percent severance tax that will make oil and gas companies pay their fair share to help fund Pennsylvania’s schools. Tom Wolf’s personal income tax proposal will provide middle class families their first personal income tax break in 22 years. Tom Wolf’s personal income tax plan will make the tax system more fair, and according to one analysis, 77 percent of Pennsylvania families will get a tax cut.

The Governor’s actual proposal: to increase the individual income tax rate from 3.07% to 3.70%, a 20.52% increase. In his campaign, Mr Wolf said that he’d only increase income taxes on the top income earners; today, he proposed to increase it on everyone.

When he was running for Governor, Mr Wolf clarified that he opposes an increase to the state sales tax; now he says that he wants to increase it 10%, from 6.0% to 6.6%, and to expand sales tax coverage to some things previously exempt.

One point in particular bothers me:

On paper, Wolf’s proposed $29.9 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 is about 3 percent higher than this year’s $29 billion spending plan. But that is because it doesn’t account for nearly $2.1 billion that Wolf would transfer into a special fund for property tax relief, as well as $1.7 billion moved to another fund for public school employee pension costs.

If that money is taken into account, Wolf’s budget proposes spending 16 percent more over this year.

Yeah, 16%, that bothers me!

I was living in Virginia when Jim Gilmore, the Republican candidate for Governor, promised to cut the very-much-hated personal property tax on automobiles during his 1997 campaign. Mr Gilmore won, but there was a problem: he became the head of the state government, while the personal property tax was levied by local governments, by counties and cities. Having no direct authority over the personal property tax, the Governor and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly put together legislation which essentially bribed the local governments to cut the personal property tax.1

That’s what Governor Wolf wants to do here, because, like Governor Gilmore, he was elected to an office that does not control the item he wants to change!

It’s understandable: people hate property taxes! I pay them,2 and I certainly do, but local governments and school districts have to be supported in some fashion. Transferring more of their funding to the state means more control of local education by the state, something to which I am unalterably opposed.

And for some areas, including the Poconos, where I live, reducing property taxes to support pubic schools, while increasing the sales and income taxes to replace them, is not a net wash. Many school districts in the Poconos have vacation homes owned by out-of-staters, vacation homes on which they have to pay property taxes. If property taxes are reduced, we will lose that out-of-state revenue, while getting no income taxes from them at all, and any sales tax increases only when they are actually buying things in Pennsylvania. In most parts of the state, this isn’t a concern, but it is in the northeast.

Fortunately, at the same time Pennsylvanians elected Mr Wolf, we also increased the sizes of the Republican majorities in both Houses of the General Assembly;3 Governor Wolf cannot get his tax increases passed unless the Republicans approve. I certainly hope that Governor Wolf’s proposals are dead on arrival!
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  1. Full disclosure: I voted for Jim Gilmore, and would do it again, but this was a misbegotten policy.
  2. Renters pay property taxes just as surely as do property owners; those taxes are included in their rents, so they aren’t as obvious.
  3. Please do not interpret the “we” to think that your Editor voted for Mr Wolf; he most certainly did not!

Possibly breaking the rules?

From The New York Times:

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules
By Michael S. Schmidt | March 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

More at the link.

But let’s be honest here: had the Secretary been a Republican, especially a Republican supposedly considering running for President, the headline in The New York Times wouldn’t say “possibly breaking rules,” but “breaking the law.”

There is no reason at all for the Times to mealy-mouth the story, replacing “law” with “rules” and “requirements,” but that is exactly what they did.

The story tells us, if you read between the lines, that the Secretary was not the only official who broke the law; it states that the Secretary’s “aides” failed to preserve the e-mails on “department servers,” as required under the law. People who knew better, people who knew what the law required, allowed the Secretary to violate the law.

More, there is no way on God’s earth that Secretary Clinton was not informed of the law; when she took her position, the career foreign service employees in the Secretary’s office would have presented her with the e-mail account, and whatever codes were necessary to use the secure accounts; that would have been standard procedure. These people had to have known that Mrs Clinton was breaking the law, but either willingly ignored it, or failed to tell her, throughout her four years in office.

And, given that Secretary Clinton was sending out thousands and thousands of e-mails — the article says that there were 55,000 pages of e-mails turned over, but did not specify how many e-mails that constituted — there had to have been recipients within the State Department and other branches of government who knew what the law required, and that the Secretary was breaking the law. If those officials sent reply e-mails to Mrs Clinton’s personal e-mail account, they were (possibly) breaking the law as well.

(Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a group based at George Washington University that advocates government transparency) said high-level officials should operate as President Obama does, emailing from a secure government account, with every record preserved for historical purposes.

“Personal emails are not secure,” he said. “Senior officials should not be using them.”

The Times report said that it was unknown what security procedures were used for Mrs Clinton’s private e-mail account.  Your host is not an information technology professional, but wonders: wouldn’t e-mails from a private account have to go through private servers, outside of department security protocols?

As already quoted above:

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.

Which means that it wasn’t the State Department, but Mrs Clinton’s personal employees who were “deciding” which of her e-mails were of importance to the government.  The law states that they all are!

The obvious question is: why did Secretary Clinton do this?  She knew full well that she was supposed to have a government e-mail account, and her office employees were right there to have everything set up for her.  She knew that she was breaking the law by using a private e-mail account from her office, for government business.  What good reason did Mrs Clinton have for breaking the law when it would have been just as easy to obey the law?  Your Editor can think of only two:

  1. She knew that she would be sending out e-mails which would get her in trouble if ever made public or scrutinized by the government; or
  2. She’s just plain stupid.

Remember: she was doing this from the very first day of her tenure as Secretary; the Times report stated that Mrs Clinton “exclusively used” her personal account, and “did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department,” which, in English as normally understood, means never had such an account. It’s difficult to imagine that it could be just stupidity.

But, in the end, it won’t matter in the slightest for the Democrats and the left. They will not care that Hillary Clinton willfully broke the law on a serious matter in which it was not in any way necessary for her to break the law. They will not care if she is dishonest — they have known that anyway, for years and years, and haven’t cared yet — and they will not care that she is secretive to a fault, they will not care about anything along any of those matters, as long as they think she can defeat the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

The left and discrimination

Once again, I’m stealing borrowing something from Donald Douglas:

Why Do Leftists Hate Asian-Americans?
By Donald Douglas | Monday, March 2, 2015

Well, I posted on this last week or so, “Leftist Racial Bias Against Asian-Americans in College Admissions.”

And now here comes Michael Walsh, at Pajamas, sounding the tocsin on the left’s despicable racism. See, “Why Do Democrats Hate Asian-Americans? Because They’re Smart and Successful“:

This piece appeared in the Los Angeles Times recently, and it deserves a lot more notice from conservatives than it’s received so far. It’s not that it doesn’t tell us things we didn’t already know — it’s that the Left is so blatant about its prejudices, and so determined to tear down any semblance of meritocracy regarding college admissions. And, mostly, it reminds us that Asian-Americans need to recognize who their enemies are

Don’t think that it’s just Asians; the Joooos face the same thing.

The problem is easily understood: both Asian-Americans and American Jews demonstrate the same cultural traits. They encourage their children to study and work hard in school, to get the best grades, and get into the best colleges. Then, they continue with the habits they developed in primary and secondary schools, and get top grades in college, meaning the best post graduate admissions and job opportunities.

This doesn’t mean that Asians or Jews are somehow smarter than other people, but that their cultures encourage behavior that is more intellectually and economically successful, exactly what we say that everybody should be doing!

Yet, Asian Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats; in 2012, 73% of Asian voters cast their ballots for President Obama. In the same election, American Jews gave 69% of their votes to Mr Obama, and that was actually a serious decline from the normal percentage Democratic presidential candidates receive from Jewish voters.

Discrimination against Jews in university admissions was particularly blatant a century ago; now, not so much, but in my search for current discrimination, some anecdotal evidence cropped up, and anti-Semitism once on campus is more obvious.

This is the part I simply cannot understand: two higher-than-normal achieving groups in our country give an almost outlandish amount of their support to the very people who discriminate against hard work and high achievement!

The unspoken truth is that our liberal friends, who claim to be oh-so-inclusive and so very multicultural are anything but that.  They are willing to help those groups which will not help themselves, but when it comes to the ethnic groups which do work hard, you can forget about it!  Why, it’s almost as though they are afraid of the competition.

Rule 5 Blogging: the Republic of Korea

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Megan Fox in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

This week’s is just for Hoagie: women from South Korea!

military_woman_south_korea_army_000001

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: the Republic of Korea’ »

From Around the Blogroll

Today’s most important news:

Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein (15) slapped a rebound away from Bobby Portis (10) in the first half of the Arkansas at Kentucky men’s baskeball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

Kentucky goes whole hog on Arkansas, 84-67
by Jerry Tipton | jtipton@herald-leader.com | February 28, 2015 6:50 PM EST

The Southeastern Conference’s only game between two ranked teams this season was — ho-hum — business as usual on Saturday.

No. 1 Kentucky reinforced its superiority by beating No. 18 Arkansas 84-67.

A battle between the SEC’s best defense (Kentucky) and best offense (Arkansas) was no contest. UK never trailed in clinching outright possession of the program’s 46th SEC regular-season championship.

Kentucky improved to 29-0, one victory shy of the SEC record for consecutive victories in a single season. Florida won 30 straight last season. The Cats need to beat Georgia and Florida this week to match the Gators’ unprecedented 18-0 SEC regular-season record in 2013-14.

It was the third straight game in which Kentucky did not trail. That meant UK’s last deficit came 142 minutes and 47 seconds ago, according to game clocks. (Or with 2:47 left in the first half at Tennessee on Feb. 17).

Andrew Harrison and Trey Lyles led UK with 18 points each. Tyler Ulis added 14 and Devin Booker 10.

Arkansas, which had its longest SEC winning streak since 1994 snapped at seven games, fell to 23-6 overall and 12-4 in the SEC. Michael Qualls led the Hogs with 17 points. Bobby Portis added 15.

The first half breathed life into the adage that good defense beats good offense. Kentucky limited Arkansas to 8-for-27 shooting in taking a 42-26 lead into intermission. Arkansas came to Lexington averaging 38.2 points in first halves.

Read more here.

And now, on to the blogroll!

Requiescat in pace, Leonard Nimoy. He lived long and prospered.

The most Pyrrhic of victories (Part 2)

As we noted in The most Pyrrhic of victories, the Senate Democrats defeated a bill to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline last November, when some of them hoped that hey could save the seat of then-Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in her run-off election. Whether authorization would have enabled her to save her seat is doubtful, but it wasn’t authorized, and she lost.  We have also previously noted the expanded use of railroads to ship crude oil. The oil is still getting shipped, the oil is still getting refined, and the oil is still getting used. Delaying and (probably) stopping the Keystone XL pipeline has not stopped any of that, because, the protests of the left notwithstanding, the country needs to use petroleum to power our modern civilization.

Well, the left have gained yet another Pyrrhic victory against the Keystone XL pipeline; after the Republicans took control of the Senate, a Keystone authorization bill was passed, but President Obama has done as he promised, and vetoed it; there will not be anywhere close to enough votes on the Democratic side of either House of Congress to override that veto. The obvious question remains: just what have the Democrats really won?  From The Wall Street Journal:

Obama’s Oil-by-Rail Boom
Activists get their jollies blocking pipeline construction, but the crude still flows through your neighborhood.
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. | Feb. 24, 2015 6:45 p.m. ET

It’s better to be lucky than good. President Obama, who arrived promising to heal the planet and halt the rising seas, instead presided over a fossil-fuel renaissance in America. If you were unemployed and found a decent job in Obama’s economy, there’s a good chance it was a fracking job. If things are finally looking up for the middle class, cheap gas is a major contributor.

He was lucky again on July 6, 2013. Thanks to various competing news stories (a plane crash in San Francisco, the Trayvon Martin shooting trial), Americans did not dwell on a fiery oil-train accident in Canada that killed 47. For if there’s one boom Mr. Obama can claim authorship of, it’s the oil-by-rail boom.

A business that barely existed when he took office now moves an impressive million barrels a day. The oil pouring forth from America’s resurgent fields, after all, has to reach market somehow. And as the Journal explained in December, political opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline has “emboldened resistance to at least 10 other pipeline projects across North America. . . . The groups coordinate their moves in regular conference calls and at meetings in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.”

The publication Energy Monitor Worldwide elaborated in September: “Environmentalists and governments are making it more and more difficult to get approval to build pipelines, so producers are increasingly using rail to get their oil to refineries for processing into products that the American public needs. . . . If all the railcars carrying crude oil on a single day were hitched together to a single locomotive, that train would be about 17 miles long.”

There’s a lot more at the original, but the key point is simple: as the author states, blocking Keystone and other pipeline projects will not have anything more than an infinitesimal impact on fossil fuel consumption, but will simply fuel the oil-by-rail boom.

And “boom” is exactly the right word; multiple tanker rail cars carrying crude oil derailed Monday afternoon in Fayette County, (West Virginia) triggering explosions and a 100-yard-high flames as several cars rolled through a residential subdivision and into the Kanawha River. There was no loss of life, but at least one home was destroyed; it could have been much, much worse.

No method of transportation is 100% safe, but, as we have noted previously, shipping oil by rail cars, an obvious necessity, has proved a bit more dangerous than other methods. If an oil pipeline leaks, the danger is spilled oil, a nasty mess that costs a lot of money to clean up, but is only very rarely explosive; when a rail car derails, there can be a massive impact, sending out sparks, possibly causing fires and explosions. From an environmental point of view, a ruptured oil pipeline and a wrecked tanker-car train are about the same problem; from a safety standpoint, shipping oil by rail is clearly more dangerous.

“The rescue of Pyrrhus” by Nicolas Poussin

So, what victory have the environmentalists gained? If their goal is to reduce the use of fossil fuels, they have gained none at all, because modern society needs energy, and fossil fuels are the primary source of such.1 If their goal is to prevent oil spills, they haven’t accomplished that, either. Given that the new pipelines they have succeeded in blocking would be just that, new, and that their efforts have simply rerouted the oil over the rails, some of which are nowhere close to new, and in tankers of varying ages, the environmentalists’ actions have made oil spills more probable, not less.

The real problem is that the environmentalists, and pretty much the left in general, do not think things through. As much as we would all like to see some sort of Star Trek future, where all energy is cheap and completely clean, that future does not yet exist, and we still need energy today.2 Until we get to that Star Trek future, the most sensible thing to do is try to make what sources of energy we have to use today as safe as possible, something the shortsighted environmentalists continually try to block.

They are their own worst enemies.
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  1. Other environmentalists have managed to shut down construction of nuclear power plants for decades, meaning, among other things, that the electricity those plants generate has had to be replaced by fossil fuel powered plants!
  2. William Teach on The Pirate’s Cove pointed out the hypocrisy of so many of the climate change activists choosing to live in densely populated urban areas, increasing their own energy consumption.

€urosclerosis: Socialism meets reality in Greece

Your Editor has been somewhat remiss in keeping up with the Greek bailout story. From The Wall Street Journal:

Greece Struggles to Get Citizens to Pay Their Taxes
Tax Collection Is a Top Priority of Reform Plan From Athens
By Matthew Karnitschnig and Nektaria Stamouli |Feb. 25, 2015 7:31 a.m. ET

ATHENS—Of all the challenges Greece has faced in recent years, prodding its citizens to pay their taxes has been one of the most difficult.

At the end of 2014, Greeks owed their government about €76 billion ($86 billion) in unpaid taxes accrued over decades; the government says only €9 billion of that can be recovered, with most of the rest lost to insolvency.

Billions more in taxes are owed on never-reported revenue from Greece’s vast underground economy, which was estimated before the crisis to equal more than a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product.

The International Monetary Fund and Greece’s other creditors have argued for years that the country’s debt crisis could be largely resolved if the government just cracked down on tax evasion. Tax debts in Greece equal about 90% of annual tax revenue, the highest shortfall among industrialized nations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Greece’s new government, scrambling to secure another tranche of short-term funding, agreed on Tuesday to make tax collection a top priority on a long list of measures.

There’s more at the link, but, in effect, the new left-wing Greek government has been quickly corralled by reality: in needing yet another bailout payment, the government has pulled far back from its socialist campaign promises, because they have, in Margaret Thatcher’s famous dictum, run out of other people’s money. Greece’s creditors have mostly held firm, saying that they would not give lend Greece any more money without most of the stringent conditions already required.

I will be honest here: it is my belief that the European leaders are being just plain stupid here. The chances that Greece will actually repay the bailout loans being extended to it are not high, and, as we noted here, back in 2012, Standard & Poors raised Greece’s credit rating to junk bond status (CCC), from SD, or selective default. This was before the Greeks replaced a responsible government with one which campaigned on not following through with the debt extension requirements.

This has reached, and reached a couple of years ago, the point of throwing good money after bad; Greece is already in a bankruptcy-in-all-but-name agreement, where creditors are not receiving full payments on existing debts. There really are no more (good) reasons to do this.
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More from The Wall Street Journal:

Does President Obama love our country?

From Commentary:

Does President Obama Love This Country?
@steelegordon 02.24.2015 – 10:45 AM

Rudy Giuliani has been taking a lot of flack for questioning whether President Obama loves America. The left and the mainstream media (pardon the redundancy) have been denouncing everyone who dares to not join in their auto-da-fé of the former mayor. And they are using the uproar to smear anyone who does not toe their party line, such as Governor Scott Walker, for transparently political reasons. This is just one more instance of why Republicans should not play the MSM’s game. When they are in this mode they are DOWBs (Democratic Operatives With Bylines) and should be treated as such—and called out as such—with the contempt they deserve for prostituting their profession.

But is it unreasonable to have doubts about the president’s love for this country? .  .  .

But has he ever said he loves this country? Perhaps, especially as a prelude to criticizing it for some lapse from perfection, but I don’t know of an instance. He is very much on record as denying American exceptionalism, which is pretty startling for the head of state of a country as exceptional as this country actually is (a topic for another post).

He has openly expressed his contempt for tens of millions of his fellow citizens who are not part of the liberal intellectual and financial establishment, mocking them for clinging to “God and guns,” which is a pretty startling statement for a Christian.

And he is the only head of state in all human history, as far as I know, and I know a fair amount about history, whose core foreign-policy operative principle has been to diminish the power and influence of the country he heads. He wants to lead from behind if we lead at all, and he clearly thinks that America is more often a part of the problem than a part of the solution.

A bit more at the original.

Mr Gordon’s final quoted sentence is the most relevant one to me; our President, the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, thinks not like a mature and responsible national leader, but like a college sophomore, in typical bovine feces discussions around the table at the Student Center coffee shop . . . if not around the bong at an off-campus party. The question isn’t about whether President Obama loves this country — we cannot read his mind, though we do know that his lovely wife was never proud of this country until it seemed as though the Democratic Party would nominate her husband to become President — but whether he, after six years, one month and four days in office, has the wisdom, the maturity and temperament to actually be our President.

To me, the answer is clearly that he does not. A wise man would be able to tell the truth about our enemies, even though it is uncomfortable for him, but Mr Obama  will not. A mature man could take the decisions required by the office for which he holds, for the position he asked to be given, but Mr Obama cannot. A man of even temperament would be able to work with people he doesn’t particularly like, if that is what his job required, but Mr Obama will not.

Democratic candidates Barack Obama, Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton during the playing of our national anthem.

To be President of the United States requires both arrogance and humility, the arrogance to say that you are the best man for the job and that people should vote for you, and the humility to realize that the position is bigger than you, and that the country means more than you do.  That Barack Hussein Obama has the arrogance is unquestioned, but he has never honestly displayed the humility that should come with being entrusted to hold that office.

In the end, President Obama may think that he loves our country, but he does not act as though he does, at least not the country we have today, nor the country most of us believe we ought to be.  The voters have, twice now, entrusted our country to a man neither fit enough nor mature enough to hold his office.  And after his eight long years are up, we shall all be poorer for it.

The Democrats’ unsolvable problem

There have been many stories about the Democrats’ 2014 election postmortem report, and their conclusions that the party needed to find away to appeal to rural white voters again. The bast comment I saw was on Facebook:

“The report calls on the party to further explore why groups, such as white southerners, are abandoning the party.” Hmmm … I would say that mocking them as inbred, Bible-thumping crackers and accusing them of racism and homophobia at every opportunity might have something to do with it. But that’s just me.

The author referred, of course, to the infamous “bitter clingers” remark by then Senator Barack Hussein Obama, (D-IL), while campaigning for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

If you spend any time looking through the liberal websites, it won’t take you long to find that same attitude amongst the more urbanized people who inhabit them. To much of the American left, the rural white voters really are a dismissible group of people. Too bad for the left that they still get to do something radical like vote. The notion that rural white voters might have different beliefs for reasons other than being frustrated simply does not occur to them; they are so absolutely certain that they are right about everything that other people seeing things differently can only come from somehow being a victim of something, or just plain stupidity.

This was the report in The Wall Street Journal:

Democrats’ Review Finds Party Ignored Congressional and State Races at Dire Cost
Since 2008, party has lost seats in House and Senate and in state legislatures
By Laura Meckler | Updated Feb. 21, 2015 12:13 p.m. ET

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was part of an 11-member task force looking into what went wrong for the Democrats during the 2014 midterm elections and how the party can reinvigorate itself. Photo: Associated Press

In the Obama era, the Democratic Party successfully has won the White House but all too often has ignored down-ballot races that determine control of Congress and state legislatures, according to a preliminary report by a Democratic National Committee task force charged with rebooting the party following the disastrous 2014 election.

At the same time, the party has failed to focus on core values that voters can relate to, instead putting forth a list of disjointed policy recommendations.

“We need a cohesive, values-based narrative that quickly and succinctly defines our beliefs and helps voters identify with who we are and how we best represent them,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a member of the task force, said in releasing the draft recommendations in Washington.

The report comes as Democrats face the new reality in Washington and around the country: Republicans are in charge of both houses of Congress and most state legislative chambers. It tallies up the losses since 2008: 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, 910 state legislative seats, 30 state legislative chambers and 11 governorships.

The task force recommends creating a “National Narrative Project” that will work with party leaders, activists, and “messaging and narrative experts” to create a “strong values-based national narrative that will engage, inspire and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats.”

Also urgent, the report said, is the need to recruit strong Democratic candidates over the next three elections to win back state legislatures, so the party can have more control over the redrawing of congressional seats following the next Census.

“We need to build our bench,” Mr. Beshear said. The report recommends identifying and nurturing a new generation of Democratic candidates and advisers.

More at the original.

State legislature party control. Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is officially non-partisan, but in practice, the majority of the seats are held by Republicans. Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia across the “top” of the South have Democratic governors.

Your Editor was particularly amused by the story due to the presence of Governor Steve Beshear (D-KY) on the panel. I suppose that Mr Beshear’s presence was inevitable, given that the Bluegrass State is the only one in the South in which the Democrats control a single state legislative chamber, making my former — and future — home state the lone bright spot in the South for Democrats.

But, the obvious question is: what kind of Democrats? Kentucky voters actually increased, slightly, the Democrat majority in the state House of Representatives, but, at the same time they were doing that, they gave Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a huge majority against Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Mr McConnell carried counties in eastern Kentucky that he had never carried before. The very simple fact is that Kentucky Democrats are moderate to conservative Democrats, the same kind of Democrats who used to control state governments throughout the South, the kind of Democrats conservatives can respect.

The key for the Democrats to regain rural white voters is simple, and obvious: the party must move closer to the philosophies and views of those voters, and that, of course, is anathema to the more liberal elites who control the party, and their heavy bloc of voters in the northeast.

The death of Kayla Mueller

Stolen Borrowed from Donald Douglas:

Kayla Mueller’s Parents Say U.S. Ransom Policy Came First

We don’t pay ransom for hostages, simple as that.

And it’s kinda sad.

The U.S. did attempt a rescue mission, however. So that should count for quite a bit, you’d think.

And I don’t care if Ms. Mueller was a brainwashed anti-Israel leftist. She’s certainly not the only one to die at the hands of Islamic State. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone.

Still, her parents are wrong to fault the U.S. government’s refusal to pay ransom. Sure, it’s their own child. But in the long run, it’s better not to reward terror.

We have some bitter experience with paying ransom, President Reagan’s cockamamie arms-for-hostages machinations, which did get some hostages freed, but which also got other innocent people seized as replacement hostages. The President basically established a value for kidnapping, and it’s unsurprising that the Iranians and their minions in Lebanon kept seizing value. Had Miss Mueller been ransomed, someone else would have been seized in her place.

It’s a harsh policy, but it is also a very necessary one. Miss Mueller knew the risks of residing in the Middle East amongst the Islamists, and took that risk willingly.

If there can be any good which arises from Miss Mueller’s tragic death, it could be this, that the anti-Israeli Muslim sympathizers amongst the left might, might! see that the Islamists do not give one bit of credit to sympathetic points of view among Americans; Westerners are nothing more than pieces of meat to them. Perhaps, just perhaps, there will be fewer very idealistic but nevertheless foolish Kayla Muellers who travel to the Middle East to “help” people who want to kill them.