Donald Trump says that only Donald Trump should be allowed to run for President

At CNBC debate, Donald Trump denounces super PACs, rivals who rely on them

October 28, 2015

A lot of Republicans at Wednesday night’s debate lobbed criticism at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the self-described democratic socialist running for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it turns out that Donald Trump and Sanders have something in common: Neither has a super PAC supporting them. (Trump is largely self-financing, while Sanders is taking in mostly small donations.) And like all the Democrats, Trump is opposed to super PACs.

“Super PACs are a disaster, they’re a scam, they cause dishonesty, and you’d better get rid of them,” Trump said on Wednesday. “Because they are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people. And I’m not blaming these people,” he said, pointing at his rivals on the stage, adding to laughter, “but, I guess I could.” He repeated that super PACs cause good people to make bad decisions, then said that if “anything comes out of this whole thing, with some of these nasty and ridiculous questions, I will tell you: You’d better get rid of these super PACs, because they’re causing a big problem in this country,” citing how they favor lobbyists and “special interests.”

As has been noted previously, Carly Fiorina’s campaign relies heavily on the SuperPAC, Carly for America. From The New York Times:

Carly Fiorina’s ‘Super PAC’ Aids Her Campaign, in Plain Sight

By Nick Corasaniti | September 30, 2015

LEXINGTON, S.C. — The table festooned with red “Carly for America” placards arrived hours before the candidate. Political operatives took up positions outside the front door to catch supporters of Carly Fiorina, the corporate executive turned Republican presidential contender, and gather their contact information before steering them inside to the room where she would speak.

But the table, the placards and the workers did not belong to Mrs. Fiorina’s campaign. They were there because of the “super PAC” supporting her run for president.

The Federal Election Commission forbids direct coordination between campaigns and super PACs, lest candidates effectively rely almost entirely on the huge, unlimited donations of a small number of billionaires. But in 2016, the groups are aggressively exploiting gray areas and loopholes in the rules, few of which the commission — deadlocked with its three Republican and three Democratic members — has hastened to close.

One of the most important openings is the simplest: Candidates and super PACs are free to coordinate their plans if the information is shared in public view.

There’s a lot more at the link, and though the story notes that all of the Republican candidates except Mr Trump are using their nominally-independent SuperPACs for their campaigns, the story concentrates on Mrs Fiorina. That the story came out right after her very successful performance in the second Republican debate and subsequent surge in the polls just might have had something to do with that focus. And the Times has noted in another story that the SuperPACs have enabled the “outsider” candidates to compete in raising money with the more solidly establishment candidates. Lawyers for the Federal Elections Commission don’t like the way SuperPACs are doing business, but, thanks to the decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, it is legal for corporations and unions to spend from their general treasuries to finance independent expenditures related to campaigns, but they still may not make direct corporate or union contributions to federal campaigns. It seems like a strange way to set things up, but sometimes the action of the law requires strange things.

But, for Donald Trump, a billionaire five or ten times over, and a man who can finance his presidential campaign out of his own revenues,1 telling us how terrible SuperPACs are is his way of saying that only billionaires can run for President. Neither Ben Carson nor Ted Cruz nor Carly Fiorina, nor any of the Republican candidates with the possible exception of Jeb Bush, could ever have raised enough money to have even started a presidential campaign without the exception in the laws that allows the SuperPACs to exist and operate. Only candidates like Hillary Clinton, with her huge name recognition, and Mr Trump, with his personal fortune, could run.

Click on the icon to go to Carly Fiorina’s campaign website; The First Street Journal encourages you to make a campaign contribution there.

Do I like the SuperPAC formulation? No, of course I don’t: it is a backhanded way of having to finance a campaign, and the solution is simple: remove the restrictions on regular campaign contributions, fund raising and spending.2 It costs a huge amount of money to run for President, and that means that the campaigns have to raise that huge amount of money. If we were to eliminate the silliness of the individual campaign contribution limits, and allow the regular campaigns to do the things that the candidates increasingly rely on SuperPACs to perform, we could at least get the honesty of not having candidates go through silly contortions just to be candidates. SuperPACs are a form of a-wink-and-a-nod lying that only candidates like Mr Trump don’t have to do.

Just for John Hitchcock, you can contribute to Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign by clicking on this icon.

Mrs Fiorina is a millionaire several times over, with a net worth of $58 million according to Forbes, but she’d soon be a pauper if she had to finance her campaign the way Mr Trump is, and Forbes lists her as the second wealthiest candidate. Ted Cruz, with a net worth of about $3.5 million, much of which is due to his wife’s earnings at Goldman-Sachs,3 and the favored candidate of both Patterico and John Hitchcock,4 could never have run for President without a SuperPAC.5 We might not like SuperPACs, but it would be a much worse thing to limit a presidential candidacy to the super-rich.
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  1. A prosaic formulation which brings to mind how the kings of England had to operate before they consented to a Parliament to raise funds.
  2. My contribution to Mrs Fiorina’s campaign was made directly to her campaign; I did not make a contribution to the Carly for America SuperPAC.
  3. A position she left when Senator Cruz declared himself a candidate, to avoid any conflicts of interest.
  4. While I would find Senator Cruz a perfectly acceptable nominee, he is not my preferred candidate.
  5. Farris and Dan Wilks, billionaires who made their fortunes in the West Texas fracking boom, have given $15 million to the pro-Cruz super PAC, Keep the Promise.

When I was in college, the left were demanding absolute freedom of speech Now, the idea of hearing dissenting views absolutely terrifies them

From Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:

What No One Can Say on Campus

Posted on | October 28, 2015

“So what is feminism? What do feminists believe? Namely, that American women are oppressed by a patriarchy hell-bent on keeping women down, and that men and marriage are expendable. . . .

“What feminists want is to make men and women interchangeable. . . .

“I am not a feminist because I don’t believe feminists have an accurate understanding of human nature.”

Susanne Venker

Great minds think alike, and Suzanne Venker sees the problem with feminism exactly as I see the problem with feminism. It is a War Against Human Nature aimed at using the coercive power of government to bring about an androgynous “equality” that ignores the actual differences between men and women. Feminism is a totalitarian movement to destroy civilization as we know it — and feminists say so themselves.

There’s a lot more at the link, in which the esteemed Mr McCain spends rather a lot of bandwidth1 taking apart the “logic” of modern feminism, but I prefer to address a different issue, the utter fear of the modern left to be exposed to any views other than their own.

Uninvited to Williams

October 21, 2015 | By Josh Logue

Williams College students invited Suzanne Venker, a writer and longtime critic of feminism, to speak Tuesday night, but changed their minds and took back the invite for her talk, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails.”

Venker had been invited to participate in a student-run, alumni-funded speaking series at Williams called “Uncomfortable Learning.” The program’s purpose is to expose students to controversial voices and opinions they might not otherwise hear. Many of the speakers tend to be conservative or people whose views don’t square with those of most students.

The students who run the series decided to cancel the event, co-president Zach Wood explained, after its Facebook page began to attract acerbic comments and “things got a little out of hand.”

The page has since been deleted, but one comment, which Wood quotes in an article he posted, said, “When you bring a misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist to campus in the name of ‘dialogue’ and ‘the other side,’ you are not only causing actual mental, social, psychological and physical harm to students, but you are also — paying — for the continued dispersal of violent ideologies that kill our black and brown (trans) femme sisters … you are dipping your hands in their blood, Zach Wood.”

The concern, Wood explained, was that “people would get riled up while she was speaking,” maybe even throw things, and there wasn’t time before the event to organize security. “You never know,” he said. “We’re just trying to think ahead here. The last thing we wanted to do was do something destructive.”

Still, Wood said, “If it was just my decision, I would have brought Venker to campus …. Suzanne Venker’s views are views that are held by millions of Americans whether we like it or not, and if we want to push back against them, we have to try to understand them.”

Venker is the author of a number of books, including The War on Men and The Flipside of Feminism. In the past, she’s written that modern women are “angry” and “defensive” because “they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy,” or, in another article, that “Unlike women, a man’s identity is inextricably linked to his paycheck. That’s how most men feel a sense of purpose.”

Suzanne Venker

There’s more at the original. Mr McCain noted that we can read the text of the speech Mrs Venker online. The oh-so-offended-left at Williams College have actually exposed Mrs Venker’s views to more Williams’ students than would have been the case had she spoken on campus; such lectures are normally very poorly attended, but the added publicity the left has provided will (probably) lead more Williams’ students to read what she would have said than would have heard her speech.

From Jonathan Adler in The Washington Post:

Last week, a Williams College student group decided to cancel a lecture by Suzanne Venker in response to outspoken criticism from other students. Since then, the group has had second thoughts. According to Reason, the student group sought to reinvite Venker, but she is unlikely to accept. The speech she would have given is available here.

The editor in chief of the Williams Record also seems to have had second thoughts about the awful editorial her paper ran about the episode. In an op-ed published Friday, she wrote:

Although it was not our intent, I understand and accept that our editorial, as written, does advocate for limited free speech, and that was a mistake.

This letter is not a result of backlash but rather a result of the discussions that have occurred amidst that backlash. While we intended to critique the initial choice of inviting Suzanne Venker to campus, we did not intend to critique the right of Uncomfortable Learning to bring her to campus or the right of her ideas to be present here. Each time we silence one perspective or label it as “dangerous,” we compromise the freedom of speech. A newspaper – campus or otherwise – should never advocate to limit speech.

She goes on to write that student groups should be free to invite speakers to campus from any perspective, “provided of course that these speakers do not participate in forms of legally recognized hate speech.” Huh? There is no such thing as “legally recognized hate speech.”  So-called “hate speech” is entitled to full First Amendment protection — which is something I would think the editor in chief of the student newspaper at one of the nation’s premier undergraduate institutions would know. I also don’t quite understand her claim that student groups should consider “the potential for their speech to discriminate against members of our community” when inviting speakers.

I suspect that Mr Adler understands perfectly well what the left see as “the potential for their speech to discriminate against members of our community;” I certainly do! The left have become so thoroughly enmeshed in the idea that controversial speech might hurt somebody’s feelings that they believe that the poor dears must be protected from such hateful thoughts and ideas.2 Mr McCain noted that the annual tuition at Williams College is $50,070; that seems a fairly steep price for parents to pay to see to it that Johnny or Janey are never, ever exposed to the cruelties of the real world. When they do get out of school and into the real world, they won’t have the benevolent leftist student leaders to protect them from harmful thoughts or ideas, they won’t be insulated from people who do not care if they are offended by their views.

Now, had Mrs Venker been allowed to speak at Williams, and some students thought that her ideas were too offensive to hear, they always had the option of not attending her lecture. That, it seems, was too little protection.

That, however, is the charitable version, the version which assumes that the left are really only concerned with other people’s feelings being hurt. The less charitable view is the one which I find more probably correct, that the left really want to silence all dissent. It isn’t that Mrs Venker’s opinions would hurt their feelings, but that they would hurt their arguments, hurt their political positions.  The left know that they would not have had to attend Mrs Venker’s lecture, because they already have the experience of choosing not to watch Fox News or anything else which they don’t want to see or hear. What they really want to do is see to it that other people don’t have the choice to choose to listen to Mrs Venker; I’ve noted before that the left are pro-choice on exactly one thing.

Naturally, it has backfired on them: not only were they forced to reissue the invitation, but they gained more publicity for Mrs Venker’s views,3 and revealed themselves to be sniveling little [insert plural vulgar slang for feces here] at the same time.

This is not a First Amendment issue to me. Williams College is a private school, while the First Amendment is a limitation on government power. Further, the school itself did not take the invitation/ disinvitation/ reinvitation action itself; those were the actions of a student group, not the administration. And finally, the freedom of speech and of the press does not guarantee that any other person must listen to you, or that any other organization must publish or broadcast what you want. I see this as simply another example of the hypocrisy of the left; they want to say what they want to say, but will attempt to use every means they can to prevent the opposition from speaking. In the end, the left have no confidence the strength of their views or their “logic,” and a form of fascism is really all that they have left.
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  1. If you thought that I can be verbose, well, I’m not in Mr McCain’s league when it comes to that!
  2. The idea that perhaps some pro-life students might be offended that a pro-abortion speaker could speak on campus, well that would certainly never get the left to “uninvite” a pro-abortion speaker!
  3. I, for one, had never heard of her before today.

It’s just a shame that the people now have more of a voice! The patricians don't like the plebeians one little bit!

From Breitbart:

Mitt Romney: Demise of Legacy Media Empowering Conservative ‘Insurgents,’ Preventing More ‘Collaborative Action’

By Tony Lee | October 20, 2015

Failed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney lamented that the demise of traditional media is empowering Republican “insurgents” and preventing establishment Republicans from compromising more with Democrats.

As the Republican establishment is trying convince Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to run for House Speaker, Romney told David Axelrod on a recent “The Axe Files” podcast that the “extremes within our respective parties are having a louder and louder voice and demanding more attention” and “immediate action” as opposed to more “collaborative action.”

Romney said this phenomenon flows in part from the “change in the world of media.”

“There was a time when we all got the news with the same facts, if you will,” he said. “We had three networks we watched for the evening news. Most of us got newspapers. Everybody in the middle class got a newspaper, so we got the same facts whether we agreed or not with them.”

There’s more at the original, but what former Governor Romney is lamenting is that the internet has allowed ordinary citizens a freedom of speech which extends beyond the range of their own voices. Before the internet, to publish something or get your message across to a wider audience, it had to have been approved by a media gatekeeper, whether that gatekeeper was a newspaper, magazine or book editor, or a broadcast producer, a process which was heavily weighted toward the views of that gatekeeper.

Rush Limbaugh provided the first real crack in that gatekeeping wall, and even that was due solely to him being a tremendous radio talent.1 The vast majority of the rest of the media hated Mr Limbaugh and resented his success, because a message of which they did not approve was getting out, was being spread far and wide.

Mr Romney ought to appreciate that: were it not for Rush Limbaugh, and that first crack in the liberal media barrier walls, it’s entirely possible that the Republican revolution of the 1994 elections would never have occurred.

Mr Limbaugh and the other conservative radio talkers who followed in his wake2 were followed a few years later with the internet, opening wide the doors for conservatives to get out their message, and to subject the traditional media to the light of truth:

  • In 2004, Dan Rather and CBS News used forged documents to try to swing the election away from President Bush to Senator John Kerry. It was the efforts of two conservative blogs, Little Green Footballs3 and Powerline, when their owners recognized that the documents were obviously forged,4 something CBS claimed not to have spotted, and they exposed the truth. Had CBS not been challenged, it is possible that that faked story could have changed the outcome of the 2004 election.5
  • In 2008, then Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) claimed, during her presidential campaign, that her daughter Chelsea and she had to duck from sniper fire when disembarking from an aircraft on Kosovo. There was plenty of videotape showing that no, there was no dodging of bullets, the landing and disembarkation were safe and uneventful, and that Mrs Clinton was lying through her scummy teeth, but without the gatekeeperless internet, that information would never have been made public.
  • Early in 2015, it was discovered that NBC Nightly News anchorman Brian Williams had “embellished” some nationally broadcast news stories. Without the internet, those discoveries would not have been made, and Mr Williams would still be lying on the air to millions of people instead of being forced out in disgrace.6

When Mr Romney said that “we got the same facts whether we agreed or not with them,” what he is ignoring is that the “facts” the professional media gave us were not always facts at all.

Of course, what the 2012 Republican presidential nominee is really most upset about is that the internet is allowing ordinary people, the grassroots, to connect and communicate with each other, to have some actual influence on politics beyond casting our votes every couple of years. Why, it’s almost as though there’s some democracy in our democratic representative republic!

The elites don’t like that, don’t like it one little bit.
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Cross-posted on RedState.
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  1. He tried branching out into television, but that didn’t work for him.
  2. The left tried to do the same thing, but with little success.
  3. Charles Johnson and Little Green Footballs fell off the wagon later.
  4. The documents were printed using a proportional spaced type font which was not widely available at the time the documents were dated.
  5. Undaunted nevertheless, CBS News was sitting on a story concerning seized weapons in Iraq which hadn’t been properly accounted, and some of which had been lost, planning on broadcasting it on 60 Minutes the Sunday before the election, which would have given the Bush campaign no time to respond. Fortunately, The New York Times, of all organizations, chose not to sit on it, and published it earlier, giving the Bush campaign time to respond, perhaps saving the election for President Bush.
  6. Rather than being fired outright, Mr Williams was eventually assigned to MSNBC, which pretty much qualifies as being forced out in disgrace.

Glamour’s Woman of the Year Have the left gone so far over the edge that they have to resort to lying to themselves?

From Breitbart:

Women Cry Foul as Glamour Magazine Names Bruce Jenner ‘Woman of the Year’

By Thomas D Williams, PhD | October 25, 2015

Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year for 2015

The politically correct Glamour Magazine has reportedly waived the one defining requirement of candidates for its “Woman of the Year” honor—a double X chromosome—in conferring the title for 2015 on crossdresser Bruce Jenner, a move many women are finding insulting.

The magazine is expected to formally announce its choice of Jenner as woman of the year, along with actress Reese Witherspoon, on November 3.

Criticisms are already piling up from women who find the choice of Jenner to be demeaning, and are falling into two main camps. First, out of all the real women in the world, could Glamour not find one worthy of the title of Woman of the Year without needing to fish in the male pool of boys dressing as girls?

Second, what in the world has Jenner done in the past year—other than get a makeover—that qualifies him as a model for achieving woman around the world?

Other than causing a fatal automobile accident, perhaps?

In a stinging commentary, Nicole Russell writes that by choosing Jenner as woman of the year, “Glamour endorses the idea that men are better at being women than we are.”

Russell compares Glamour’s insulting maneuver to a cover of New York Magazine featuring transgender Martine Rothblatt as the “highest-paid female CEO” in the nation. “Apparently real women can’t cut it, so we’ve got to import men into our ranks to win awards,” Russell notes.

“Jenner might feel like he is a woman,” she writes, “he might want to be a woman, he might be living as a woman, but thoughts do not generate biology or reality.”

Australian-born feminist Germaine Greer accused Glamour of “misogyny” in its decision to award Jenner its woman of the year award, noting that transgender women are “not women” and do not “look like, sound like or behave like women.”

“I think misogyny plays a really big part in all of this,” Greer said, “that a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone who is just born a woman.”

There’s more at the original, but the whole notion is ridiculous and laughable. Bruce Jenner was born male, and all of his very publicly documented experiences, including his athletic ones, have been as a male. Everyone has reacted to him as they would react to a male. Despite whatever he might think, he has no experience in being female: he never had a period, never worried about getting pregnant — and might have worried about getting someone else pregnant! — never waited for a boy to ask him to the prom, never found certain opportunities more difficult for him because he was a girl, and his closest female role models have been the Kardashians.

But, apparently the editors at Glamour magazine somehow think that he’s a woman. He has his name legally changed to Caitlyn Marie Jenner1 and the State of California now officially recognizes him as being female, but he isn’t female, and isn’t a woman, and will never be female. He has money, and found a plastic surgeon to give him fake breasts, and I’m sure that he’ll be able to find some quack to castrate him and build him a faux vagina,2 but that will not, and cannot, make him a woman; it will make him nothing more than a mutilated male.

Glamour readers should be insulted.

But, really, it is virtually the entire left who are insulting women in this. Every mainstream medium I saw referencing Mr Jenner was using the feminine pronouns to refer to him, as well as calling him “Caitlyn,” even in those things published prior to his legal name change. No one with any common sense at all could really think that Mr Jenner really is a woman, but all of the liberal outlets are using language forms which go right along with his personal delusions.3

Is this really what liberalism has become? Have the left gone so far over the edge that they have now resorted to lying to themselves?
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  1. The First Street Journal will continue to refer to him as Bruce Jenner.
  2. A Google search comes up with both yes and no answers as to whether Mr Jenner has had those procedures yet.
  3. The First Street Journal will continue to use the masculine pronouns and honorifics to refer to Mr Jenner.

From Around the Blogroll I've been too lazy to write edition

I should have written something brilliant, or at least pithy, for this weekly post, but I was too lazy. I did work for eight hours yesterday; that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

Rule 5 Blogging: The fun times in Iraq

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 putting pictures of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Olivia Wilde 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: fun times in Iraq. Click any picture to embiggen.

Working on her weapon

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: The fun times in Iraq’ »

It appears that the federal government has no problems at all with people carrying concealed weapons

Sometimes you can find interesting articles in industry trade publications.1 From Concrete Products2

Second Amendment meets NLRA at Ready Mix USA bargaining table

By Don Marsh | Published: Thursday, 22 October 2015 15:07

The account here last month of an accident-prone building materials truck driver who commanded the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel’s attention pales against the outcome of a complaint NLRB Administrative Law Judge David Goldman weighed in a mid-September decision.

The judge ordered Alabama-based Ready Mix USA LLC to meet with Teamsters Local 402-designated representatives, including a shop steward who brought a firearm to an early-2015 bargaining session. A union complaint alleged a National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) violation stemming from the producer’s refusal to participate in any meeting the steward is present.

Judge Goldman reviews evidence, legal motions and precedent he sees favoring Local 402, which was certified in October 2014 as the collective bargaining representative for 19 drivers and yard staff at Ready Mix’s Huntville, Ala., concrete plant. The complaint emanated from a February session, during which Ready Mix management and counsel observed that Teamsters steward Jerry Davis bore a handgun, partially concealed by clothing. He acknowledged frequent weapon possession, owing to a concealed carry permit and views on personal safety.

Ready Mix attorneys fervently protested Davis’ action in correspondence the following day with Local 402 officials. The producer also suspended Davis as part of an investigation to determine if a gun had been brought to work, reinstating him with backpay satisfied of no such occurrence. Local 402 officials claimed they entered the bargaining session unaware of the weapon; condemned the steward’s action; and, indicated assurances from Davis that he would not bring a gun to any future meetings with the employer. They did not commit to designating an alternate steward from the Huntsville plant ranks.

Ready Mix petitioned the NLRB regional office in Birmingham to pursue a complaint against Local 402, alleging NLRA violation through bad faith bargaining. “By intimidating and harassing conduct, the Union engendered such ill will among members of the employer’s representatives as to render good faith bargaining impossible as long as the gun-toting representative remains on the Teamsters Local No. 402 bargaining team,” the company contended.

Explaining a decision not to issue a complaint on Ready Mix’s behalf, the regional director concluded, “The mere fact that an employee member of the Union’s negotiating team had a firearm on his person during a bargaining session is insufficient to establish a [NLRA] violation as alleged.”

I do not wish to quote the entire article, but the money line is further down; the Judge continued:

If Davis’ mere presence causes sufficient ill will to make collective bargaining impossible, it is not because of Davis’ conduct but because Respondent [Ready Mix] has chosen to make it so.

This is important: a federal government official, NLRB Administrative Law Judge David Goldman, ruled that the mere presence of a (partially) concealed deadly weapon, borne by a man with a concealed carry permit, does not create a hostile environment by itself, but that hostile environment is simply the perception of a second party, and that perception is both one of choice and one which does not make it actually the case. Further, he ruled this to be the case not just in a generalized sense, but in the context of an adversarial process, in this case a union contract negotiation.

One wonders what President Obama and the gun-grabber Democrats would say about that? :)
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Cross-posted and promoted to the front page on RedState.
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  1. While I am a ready-mixed concrete professional, and have been part of the industry for over thirty years, I am not now, nor have even been, associated with Ready Mix USA LLC. I do not know who any of the involved personnel are, or whether I have ever met any of them.
  2. Concrete Products, a Mining Media International publication, Volume 118, Issue 10, October 2015, p. 4

Barack Hussein Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu don’t like each other very much

From The Wall Street Journal:

Spy vs. Spy: Inside the Fraying U.S.-Israel Ties

Distrust set allies to snoop on each other after split over Iran nuclear deal; each kept secrets

By Adam Entous | October 22, 2015 9:01 p.m. EDT

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared at a news conference at the White House on Sept. 10, 2010, a time when both countries began to split over the best means to keep Iran from an atomic bomb. Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters (Click to enlarge)

The U.S. closely monitored Israel’s military bases and eavesdropped on secret communications in 2012, fearing its longtime ally might try to carry out a strike on Fordow, Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facility.Nerves frayed at the White House after senior officials learned Israeli aircraft had flown in and out of Iran in what some believed was a dry run for a commando raid on the site. Worried that Israel might ignite a regional war, the White House sent a second aircraft carrier to the region and readied attack aircraft, a senior U.S. official said, “in case all hell broke loose.”

The two countries, nursing a mutual distrust, each had something to hide. U.S. officials hoped to restrain Israel long enough to advance negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran that the U.S. had launched in secret. U.S. officials saw Israel’s strike preparations as an attempt to usurp American foreign policy.

Instead of talking to each other, the allies kept their intentions secret. To figure out what they weren’t being told, they turned to their spy agencies to fill gaps. They employed deception, not only against Iran, but against each other. After working in concert for nearly a decade to keep Iran from an atomic bomb, the U.S. and Israel split over the best means: diplomacy, covert action or military strikes.

There’s more at the original.

Two points:

  1. If the United States launched negotiations on a nuclear weapons treaty with Iran in secret, is it surprising that the Israelis reacted with suspicion?1
  2. Let’s not kid ourselves: the United States and Israel have been spying on each other all along. The only aberration about Jonathan Pollard is that he got caught. We’ve been spying on our allies all along, and, quite frankly, we’d be sloppy if we weren’t.

So, the unstated implication of the article, that the United States and Israel started spying on each other because of the very mutual distrust between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, is deceptive.

The mistrust between the two leaders began early, by their first official meeting in May of 2009, and it has gone steadily downhill from there. Even The New York Times reported that:

Jeremy Bird, the architect of the grass-roots and online organizing efforts that powered President Obama’s presidential campaigns from Chicago, is advising a similar operation in Tel Aviv. But this time it is focused on ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. .  .  .  .

American strategists have for decades signed on to work in Israeli political campaigns, with Democrats usually aligned with the Labor Party and Republicans often backing Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Obama or any of his senior aides had anything to do with the move by his former top campaign official, who has never worked at the White House, to join the effort to defeat Mr. Netanyahu.

But Mr. Bird’s involvement in the elections is drawing attention when tensions between the two countries are so acute that what is usually considered standard practice for American political consultants in Israel is now seen as a provocation.

“There is no evidence to suggest,” huh? And we are supposed to believe that Mr Bird’s work, not for a particular candidate, but simply to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu, was taken without any impetus or consultation with the White House, while the Administration was already at odds with Israel on several issues, and was negotiating with Iran?

We are already seeing the fruits of President Obama’s foreign policy when it comes to Iran.

Well, perhaps I shouldn’t have included that last one; that seems to be right in line with American policy under President Obama! But, is it any wonder that Israel doesn’t trust President Obama?
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  1. “The White House decided to keep Mr. Netanyahu in the dark about the secret Iran talks, believing he would leak word to sabotage them. There was little goodwill for Mr. Netanyahu among Mr. Obama’s aides who perceived the prime minister as supportive of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign.”

Are all Republicans RINOs? They have all agreed with the underlying premise of the Affordable Care Act

One of the fundamental differences that conservatives have with the left is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This 2010 monstrosity legislation effectively put the federal government in charge of insuring that all Americans had access to health care, whether they could afford it or not. Not one single Republican voted for it, not even the most “moderate” of the Republicans In Name Only, but the abysmal results of the 2008 elections left the Democrats with a filibuster-proof majority for a few months, enough time to get it through the Senate. Deals had to be made — and then later broken — such as the “Cornhusker kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase” to get the last couple of Democrats on board, but the deal was passed. I said, back in February of 2010, that I opposed any of the health care plans being considered, because, “Whatever form it takes, whether single payer or private insurance based, in the end it is an attempt to transfer the ultimate responsibility for your health care from you to the federal government.”

And that is exactly what has happened. The GOP opposed the PP&ACA, but left’s ultimate goal, making the federal government responsible for everyone having access to health care, was achieved.

So, what are the Republican presidential candidates’ positions? They all want to repeal the ACA, but, interestingly enough, they all want to replace it with something. Many of them have been less than specific about just how they would replace the ACA, but none of them is challenging the underlying principle that the government will guarantee everyone access to health care. I have omitted some of the snowball’s chance in Hell candidates, but here are the Republicans’ positions:

Let me be very blunt here: the Republicans have surrendered, completely, on the principle, and are simply arguing about how to achieve the goal. Is the Obysmalcare legislation poorly crafted? Certainly it is! Does the Obaminablecare foul up our health care system? Absotively, posilutely it does! But all that the Republicans are arguing is how to improve the delivery of socialized health care, and not whether health care should be socialized in the first place.

And I’ll be blunt again: our choice is between two fundamental positions:

  1. The government, at some level, is ultimately responsible for insuring that every American has access to health care; or
  2. The government is not responsible for seeing to it that everyone has access to health care, which necessarily includes the consequence that some people who need health care and cannot afford it will not get it.

Now, I am an [insert slang term for the rectum here], and I am perfectly willing to return to a system in which those people who cannot pay for their health care do not receive it, even if that means they will die in the street due to the lack. That is the natural result of not guaranteeing health care for everyone, and I am willing to both admit it and support that.

But the Republican candidates don’t seem to be willing to take that position — at least, not publicly — and thus they have been left with agreeing with the premise of the Affordable Care Act, but simply differing on how to achieve the objective. Doesn’t that make all of them RINOs?

Bad news for Hillary Clinton Which is good news for America!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Hillary Clinton Sees Continued Weakness With White Voters

By Peter Nicholas| 6:15 am ET | Oct 21, 2015

Hillary Clinton is riding a wave of encouraging poll numbers coming off her performance at the Democratic debate last week, shoring up her status as the Democratic presidential front-runner.

However well-positioned she may be in the Democratic field, a deeper look at the numbers shows some potential vulnerabilities for Mrs. Clinton in a general election in November 2016.

Consider white voters.

The latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll shows that 64% of white men have an unfavorable view of Mrs. Clinton, compared with just 26% who see her in a favorable light. Those numbers are moving in the wrong direction for Mrs. Clinton. In September, the Journal poll showed 59% of white men had a negative view of her.

If Mrs. Clinton looks at President Barack Obama’s 2012 election victory as a benchmark to emulate, she has some work to do. Exit polls in the 2012 race showed Mr. Obama captured 35% of the white male vote.

Mrs. Clinton might be expected to make up the difference by out-performing Mr. Obama among white women. She is, after all, a white woman and she has made a point of emphasizing that if she were to win she would become the nation’s first woman president.

Here, too, she is showing some weakness.

The Journal poll showed that 38% of white women see Mrs. Clinton in a favorable light, versus 49% who hold a negative view of her. Mr. Obama’s exit poll numbers suggest he enjoyed more robust support among white women, with 42% saying they voted for him over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

There’s more at the original.

Mrs Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination just got easier, with Vice President Biden’s decision not to enter the race, but her path to victory in the general election is getting more and more difficult. Her problem is two-fold, and fundamental:

  • Mrs Clinton is a fundamentally dishonest person. While all politicians are seen as having questionable honesty, successful politicians — like her husband — can counter that with being genuinely likable people; but
  • Mrs Clinton is not a naturally likable person.

Most of us will never meet the presidential candidates personally, and certainly not in any way which really allows us to get to know them, but great politicians can project that likability even over television; Mrs Clinton does not. In addition, there are plenty of stories and books out there, insider books, noting Mrs Clinton’s behavior with people who have had extensive contact with her.

Mrs Clinton’s inevitable presidency — like her inevitable presidency in 2008 — is founded on the notion that she will draw a large number of votes from women, simply because she is a woman. But when white women, the supposed backbone of her electability, have a 38%-49% favorable/unfavorable view of her, she’s trailing badly with the one demographic which is going to be necessary to put her over the top electorally.