Why Hillary Clinton must never, ever become President!

From The Weekly Standard:

Hillary: We Must Empathize With America’s Enemies
9:20 AM, Dec 4, 2014 • By Daniel Halper

At a speech yesterday at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Hillary Clinton made the case for empathizing with America’s enemies.

“This is what we call smart power,” Clinton said to a small audience at Georgetown. “Using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security. Leaving no one on the sidelines. Showing respect even for one’s enemies. Trying to understand, in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view. Helping to define the problems, determine the solutions. That is what we believe in the 21st century will change — change the prospects for peace.”

Should we have tried to understand, in so far as psychologically possible, Hideki Tojo? Should we have empathized with the perspective and point of view of Adolf Hitler? When ISIS beheads the next captive, as they have promised to do, should we be trying to understand their wants and needs and motives . . . or should we hunt them down and kill them?

This woman would like to be, thinks she just plain deserves to be, the next Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. She would, if the voters are so foolish to let her, become the Commander-in-Chief of the deadliest and most powerful fighting force on the earth, would have the sole responsibility for control and use of our nuclear arsenal, and would be responsible for defending our country against all enemies, and she thinks that we ought to empathize with them?

If he is still alive — there are reports that he was seriously wounded last month — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi must be smiling at the thought that Americans are so weak and so stupid as to actually consider Hillary Rodham Clinton as qualified to be President.

We told you so! Raising taxes has consequences that Democrats just don’t expect

The left are claiming that the Democrats took such a beating in the 2014 elections because evil white folks just despise our (half) black President. Well maybe, just maybe, there could be other reasons. From Forbes:

2014 Showed How Much Taxes Matter
By Patrick Gleason | November 6, 2014

Remember when the New York Times, Bloomberg, MSNBC, and everyone else said that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was going to lose reelection because he cut taxes too much? That was funny. Not only did that not happen, Republicans will soon occupy the governors’ mansions in deep blue states like Massachusetts, Illinois, and even Maryland thanks to Democrat tax hikes.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who was oddly endorsed by non-Illinois resident and Duke basketball coach Mike Kryzyzsewski, suffered a shocking loss to Republican opponent Bruce Rauner on Tuesday. How did Quinn lose in blue Illinois, home of President Obama? He enacted the largest tax increase in state history after assuming office in 2011, raising the personal income tax rate from 3 to 5 percent, and ratcheting up the corporate rate from 7 percent to 8.25 percent.

In Maryland, who will soon have a Republican governor in a state where Democrats have a 56 to 27 percent voter registration advantage over Republicans, Governor-elect Larry Hogan ran against the tax hiking, big spending ways of incumbent Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). During the eight years that O’Malley was governor, he signed into law 40 tax increases.

Gov. O’Malley wants to paint himself as a moderate, but in reality he’s such a liberal ideologue that he even raised taxes on rain. Yes, rain. O’Malley and his failed would-be successor subscribe to the “soak the rich” policy approach. That didn’t work out too well for Gov. O’Malley. Gov. O’Malley’s income tax increases reduced the job-creating capacity of thousands of Maryland small businesses who file under the individual income tax system. A year after Gov. O’Malley signed into law a “millionaires” tax hike, the roster of Maryland millionaires dropped by a third. O’Malley comically still sees himself as a presidential contender.

There’s a good deal more at the link.

In a comment on a previous thread, I noted this article from the Philadelphia Daily News:

Merchants say cigarette tax is a business-killer
By Solomon Leach & Regina Medina, Daily News Staff | Posted: November 10, 2014

The shelves of Ray Martinez’s West Philadelphia corner store are stocked full of unopened cigarette packs.

Martinez said he’s had trouble selling them since the city’s $2 cigarette tax to help public schools went into effect Oct. 1. Sales are down about 80 percent, he said, essentially killing the business.

“Right now we’re not making no money at the corner stores,” said Martinez, who owns Ray’s Food Market on Girard Avenue near 54th Street. “The stores right here in West Philly, we’re like three to five minutes away from City Line [Avenue] and Delaware County, and people, they’re going just across the street to get the cigarettes for $6 instead of getting them from us for $9.”

A pack of Newports that cost $6.35 six weeks ago in Martinez’s store is now $9.05. A carton is now almost $88, up from about $64.

“It’s really bad right now. We’re in real bad shape,” he said, adding that the decrease in cigarette sales has had a ripple effect on the rest of his business. He has let go of four employees in the past month. “Now it’s just me, my wife and my sister.”

Martinez isn’t alone. Other store owners and distributors in the city said they have seen a dramatic drop in revenue since the tax was added, causing them to wonder what the collateral damage will be on their livelihoods.

Hoagie noted:

To the economically ignorant leftist this is SOP. They don’t understand that when a person goes to the “corner store” for a pack of smokes he may also buy an ice cream, a bottle of ketchup, toilet paper or a bag of chips and a soda. So the tax on cigarettes becomes a reason not to buy the rest of these items and ultimately will ruin the business.

It’s not like we hadn’t known what would happen in advance:

As for the proposed, but as yet not approved, $2.00 per pack cigarette tax, your Editor really doesn’t care whether it is passed or not. The tax would be collected only in Philadelphia, meaning that city residents anywhere close to the county lines1 who buy cigarettes will simply cross into the suburban counties to buy their cancer sticks. At $2.00 a pack, or $20.00 a carton, the trip is economically worthwhile. The Editor does not live in Philadelphia, nor does he smoke, so the tax doesn’t affect his family or him in the slightest. And, quite frankly, it puts the onus for increased spending on Philadelphia schools on Philadelphia residents, where it ought to be. Of course, poorer people tend to smoke in greater percentages than do the well-to-do, so this new tax, if approved, will fall more heavily on poorer people, and Democrats, so it’s kind of humorous to see the Democrats urging it on. And if the tax reduces cigarette consumption in Philadelphia, the anticipated revenues will not be realized, and the school district will come back, begging for more money. With the Democrats, with the educational bureaucracy, that’s simply a given. It won’t actually help anything, but when has that ever stopped the left from wanting to spend more tax dollars?

One of the most basic concepts in economics, as in the first week coursework in Economics 101, is that economic actors are assumed to take decisions in their own best economic interest, that they will take decisions to maximize their own economic return. In actual practice, it isn’t so neat: many other things can go into economic decisions, including time, habit, personal likes and dislikes, and even which side of the street on which a business happens to be.1 But, other factors aside, economic self-interest is a pulling force which influences some economic decisions.

And that is why we have noted that states which seek to increase taxes, like California and Illinois, wind up losing corporations and people and jobs.  There are many other considerations, the most obvious being that a person might not have the economic mobility to move to a lower tax state and have the same income, or that an owner’s business is location specific, but, in the end, costs and benefits are part of the equation, and pull some people and companies to move.

What the 2014 election results indicate is that even in the solidly blue states, the voters want to see economic success, personal economic success, and just because they may be politically liberal doesn’t meant that all of them will continue to vote for policies which harm them economically.
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  1. Your Editor gets his breakfast at the bagel Bunch rather than Dunkin’ Donuts because the Bagel Bunch is on the right side of the road on the way to work, while Dunkin’ is on the left, which would require a left turn to get in, and another left turn, across traffic, to get out.

Different Take On the Staten Island “Choking”

Gentle Giant #2 had a record of 30 arrests. This arrest was for selling single cigarettes. It has not been said if the cigarettes were “Bootlegged” But consider if the cigerettes were bootlegged. Here’s the charts on state and city tax rates. http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/cigarette.pdf If these were bootlegged from Virginia where the state tax rate per pack is 30 cents as compared to New York of $4.85/ pack plus a $1.50 NYC Tax/ pack. So VA cigarettes are $0.015/ cigarette, NYC is $0.318/ cigarette. It is tax evasion and lucrative.

Economics 101: Government cannot really control the economy, but it can waste a lot trying!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Basic Costs Squeeze Families
Health Care, Cellphones Eat Up Income, Leaving Less for Things Like Movies, Clothes
By Ryan Knutson and Theo Francis | Updated Dec. 1, 2014 7:29 p.m. ET

Middle-income Americans’ spending on mobile phone service has soared, rising nearly 50% since 2007, the year the iPhone came out and data plans became more commonplace. (Bloomberg News)

The American middle class has absorbed a steep increase in the cost of health care and other necessities as incomes have stagnated over the past half decade, a squeeze that has forced families to cut back spending on everything from clothing to restaurants.

Health-care spending by middle-income Americans rose 24% between 2007 and 2013, driven by an even larger rise in the cost of buying health insurance, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of detailed consumer-spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That hit has been accompanied by increases in spending on other necessities, including food eaten at home, rent and education, as well as the soaring cost of staying connected digitally via cellphones and home Internet service.

With income growth sluggish, discretionary spending on things like clothing and movies, live shows and amusement parks has given way.

A lot more at the original.

But the basic information is pretty much what we knew intuitively: that family spending on necessities has crowded out some consumer spending on luxuries. Your Editor might quibble with the notion that the newest iPhone is a necessity,1 which changes the tenor of the Journal article: it’s less that people are spending a greater portion of their incomes on necessities than it is that some luxuries have crowded out others. However, health insurance is not a luxury, and its rising costs are part of the increase in the costs of necessities. Such costs were increasing before the wholly misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed, but, despite the claims of the proponents, that legislation has not bent he cost curve downward.

This is at least part of what the scholarly economists of the Obama Administration missed with their overly rosy projections of what the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 would do: they failed to predict, with any sort of accuracy, the change in spending patterns of the American public. The experts took assumptions concerning how the American people would behave economically, and when those assumptions turned out wrong, everything they projected based on those assumptions turned out o be wrong as well. And it’s part of the reason that Keynesianism is failing: the notion that the government can control the billions of economic decisions taken by two hundred million economic actors, literally every day, is laughable on its face.

In the People’s Republic of China, with its (partial) command economy, has seen trillions of dollars simply wasted through its own Keynesian investments. The Economist published an article challenging the study’s methodology, but even that article did not claim that the money had not been wasted, but that, perhaps, the calculation that $6.8 trillion had been wasted was overblown, and some returns could be seen, in the future, at lessened investment efficiency. And if the Chinese, with all of the power of a tyrannical government, cannot get their investments right, cannot calculate how best to spend their money, there’s really no way that the American, or European Union, governments can be expecte dto ever get this stuff right, other than by sheer dumb luck. And dumb luck has been in short supply of late.

  1. I have only a ten-year-old style flip phone, in part because the work that I do would quickly destroy a smart phone. However, everyone else in the family (there are four of us) has a smart phone, and they can be useful; we fairly frequently use my wife’s smart phone to check bank balances and move money from interest-bearing savings accounts to checking before larger purchases.

I did the math!

From Facebook:

As in so many tests, extraneous information is given to confuse the test taker: the part about throwing the safety triangle out the window is unnecessary, as well as incomplete: we are not given the angle from horizontal at which the triangle was thrown from the car!

But the problem really does have an answer! We know, thanks to Charlie Daniels, that the value of one human soul is the price of a fiddle made of gold. A full sized violin weighs 14.25 ounces. If we assume that a standard fiddle is built with maple, maximum density 47 lb/ft³, that gives us 0.019494 ft³, or 32.745 in³ of material in the fiddle. Gold weighs 10.18 troy ounces per cubic inch, giving us the weight of a fiddle made of gold being 333.3441 troy ounces. With the current spot price of gold at $1,178.90 per troy ounce, a fiddle made of gold is valued at $392,979.35. Using the listed prices at Divine Cupcakes of $27.50 per dozen, of standard sized cupcakes, we come up with 14,290.158 dozen, or 171,481.89 cupcakes per human soul.

And what better excuse is there to post the video of the Charlie Daniels Band?

Rule 5 Blogging: American soldiers!

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 Katy Perry 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: American soldiers protecting our county.

Lance Corporal Kristi Baker, 21, US Marine with the FET (Female Engagement Team) 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Regimental Combat team II patrols with other Marines on Nov. 20, 2010 in Musa Qala, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein/ Getty Images) Click to enlarge.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: American soldiers!’ »

Just in case you thought that raising taxes on cigarettes was designed to reduce smoking . . .

. . . we have this from The Los Angeles Times:

Health groups and other proponents said they need higher levies on each pack (of cigarettes) — or even e-cigarettes — to recoup more than $1 billion in revenues lost because fewer people smoke.

Hat tip to Donald Douglas!

That was only one line in along story cited by Dr Douglas on what he called an “orgy” of ballot initiatives to raise taxes in California. The last round of tax increases closed a $26 billion budget deficit, leaving the Pyrite State with a small surplus, but having balanced the budget is just not good enough; the Democrats who are running the state into the ground want more money to spend. Wallethub already ranked California as the second-worst state for average tax burden, with the average annual state and local tax bill of $9509 per year, 36% above the national average, and, as we have noted previously, the Census Bureau, using a methodology which takes into account both broader measures of income and the cost of living, says that the state has the highest poverty rate in the country. Of course, we have also previously noted that states that emphasize redistribution above growth have a wider gap between lower and higher incomes, and that California among other business unfriendly  states have  negative impacts on business, costing states jobs. People are emigrating from California, to places with lower costs of living, lower taxes, and more economic opportunity, and the people who are leaving are the ones who actually have the economic means to do so; the most desperately poor don’t leave because they can’t leave.

And now the left are admitting what we have been saying all along: that it’s all about having more money to spend, and not about trying to improve public health by discouraging smoking!   Since the discovery that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy, smoking has declined far more among the more affluent, and poor people are more likely to smoke than more economically successful ones.1 The Democrats who run California say that they want to tax the top producers in our economy, but what they really want to do is raise taxes on the poor as well.

The left are quite good at telling us just how much they want to help the poor, but their actual policies do nothing except hurt those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. By now, no one should be surprised.

At least there is some sort of karmic justice in all of this: the poorer people from whom the Democrats get so many of their votes are going to be the ones who are going to have to pay the increased taxes. Your Editor is smiling at that thought. He just hopes that Dr Douglas doesn’t smoke!2
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  1. It’s not just California; Pennsylvania recently allowed the Philadelphia School District to add a $2.00 per pack tax on cigarettes sold in Philadelphia, not to discourage smoking but to help fund the city’s public schools. If people in Philly quit smoking, or, more probably, go outside the city limits to buy cigarettes, the School District will run short of money! This has no impact on your Editor, since neither he nor anyone in his family lives in Philadelphia, and none of us smoke.
  2. Actually, the Editor wishes that no one smoked: it’s a nasty, filthy and unhealthy habit. But I wouldn’t make it illegal, because it shouldn’t be any of the government’s business.

From Around the Blogroll

From Donald Douglas at American Power:

‘I got six kids to feed!’ — Trapped Driver Pushes #Ferguson Protester Off I-5 For Making Him Late For Work (Video)

More from the “tolerant,” “respectful” progressives on the collectivist left.

Via Gateway Pundit:

I have always thought that if you want to persuade someone to take your side on an issue, deliberately pissing them off isn’t one of the better ways to accomplish it. Yet the demonstrators angered by the decision of the grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on any charges for the death of Michael Brown have taken to blocking traffic to get their message across. Well, most people don’t like getting stuck in traffic, and when they discover that it is the supporters of the late Mr Brown doing it deliberately, the people stuck in traffic are not likely to look upon those demonstrators positively.

And now, on to the blogroll!

That’s it for this week! But if you are doing your holiday Christmas shopping online this year, if you choose to use the Amazon widget below, your host will receive a (very) small commission!

Is there any source of electric power generation that is environmentally acceptable?

From The Pirate’s Cove:

Hydro-electric Dams Now Deemed Bad For “Climate Change”
By William Teach November 28, 2014 – 7:48 am

Remember the good old days when Warmists said we should transition away from fossil fuels for energy and look towards solar, wind, geothermal and hydrothermal? Well, wind is known to have a negative impact on the environment. Solar power is not exactly great for the environment, either. Many environmental groups have protested the building of solar and wind projects because of the environmental damage.

Even cavemen sitting around a fire were putting deadly smoke into the air!

When it comes to dams, hydro-electric or otherwise, hardcore environmentalists have long had a bugaboo over them, and even want existing ones torn down. Now we find out that they are super bad for “climate change”

Dams Emerge as Key Climate Change Suspects

Efforts by many countries to reduce their carbon footprint by building hydroelectric dams could be misbegotten should these facilities also prove to be a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

While dams have long been believed to make a major contribution to reducing carbon emissions by enabling the generation of renewable energy in the form of hydropower, researchers now suspect they could be one of the world’s leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

The reservoirs created by dams generate copious amounts of methane as a result of the bacteria that thrive in their oxygen-deprived environments.

More at Mr Teach’s original. But the obvious question arises: if solar, wind and now hydroelectric power generation all have their own (supposed) environmental problems, is there anything short of relying on pixie dust — a substance which has not been confirmed to be both non-carcinogenic and non-greenhouse gas emitting! — which would please everybody?

Your Editor has watched a lot of Star Trek television shows and movies in his life, and he would absolutely love to see the obviously non-polluting, apparently almost free power sources from the 23rd century available today, but, alas! your Editor realizes that this isn’t the 23rd century, and that — shockingly enough — Star Trek is actually fiction! It would be great to see such eventually happen, and sometimes fiction presages fact, but it is also quite possible that such a future will never materialize. Even if it does, we still need electricity here, now, today.

The “Working Class” is deserting the Democrats

We have said it many times before: the Democrats cannot be both the party of the working man and the party of the nonworking man! From Gallup polls:

Obama Approval Drops Among Working-Class Whites
by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating among white non-college graduates is at 27% so far in 2014, 14 percentage points lower than among white college graduates. This is the largest yearly gap between these two groups since Obama took office. These data underscore the magnitude of the Democratic Party’s problem with working-class whites, among whom Obama lost in the 2012 presidential election, and among whom Democratic House candidates lost in the 2014 U.S. House voting by 30 points.

Obama’s overall job approval rating has dropped throughout the first six years of his administration, and this downward trajectory is seen both among white Americans who are college graduates and those who are not. But the gap between his approval ratings among college-educated and non-college-educated whites has grown. It was six points in 2009, when Obama had the overall highest ratings of his administration, then expanded to 10 points in 2010 and to 12 points in 2013. The gap between these two groups is at its highest yet, at 14 points so far this year.

Whites in general constitute a political challenge for Democrats and the president given their Republican orientation, as evidenced by Obama’s job approval ratings so far this year of 84% among blacks, 64% among Asians, 53% among Hispanics and 32% among whites. About two-thirds of adult whites have not graduated from college, making working-class whites a particularly important group politically because of its sheer size.

Gender and Age

Democrats and the president do better among white women than among white men, and this gender gap is evident among those who are college graduates and those who are not. Obama’s approval rating ranges from a high of 45% among white female college graduates to a low of 25% among white male non-college graduates. The eight-point gender gap among white college graduates is twice that among white non-college graduates.

There’s more at the linked original, but I want to include this second graphic from Gallup polling, because it demonstrates the falsity of the cries of the left, that white disapproval of President Obama is due to racism. Note that, since the polling began, the President’s job approval ratings have dropped for all groups, in a fairly consistent manner. White female college graduates initially gave the President 59% job approval rating; they were, in effect, giving him a fair chance to see how well he would do the job. Working class white women1 initially gave the President a 51% job approval rating; their approval rates have had the greatest percentage decline of all. “Working class” white men were the least supportive of the President initially, but even they were giving the President an opportunity to win them over; the President’s race didn’t change in that time, but the success of his policies certainly did . . . for the worse.

The problem for the President specifically, and for Democrats in general, is simple: their policies have not helped the working class, and have actually been harmful. Despite the wholly misleading unemployment statistic, there are fewer full-time jobs than before the recession began. The Obama Administration’s and the Democrats’ moves to normalize the status of illegal immigrants, opposition to which the left see as racist, simply increases the supply of non-college educated workers vis a vis the demand for such workers, and working class people — white or not — can see that.

And, of course, there is the very obvious: the number of people on one form of welfare or another has increased dramatically under President Obama.  Working class people realize, seemingly better than the more highly educated, that all of those welfare benefits have to be paid for, somehow, and the only way to do that is to tax away the earnings of people who do work, to provide those benefits for those who do not.

Kentucky Senate race, by county, 1984

Kentucky Senate race, 1990, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 1996, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 2002, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 2008, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 2014, by county

I’d note here the 2014 Senate race in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was challenged by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Other than in 2002, when Mr McConnell faced only token opposition in Lois Combs Weinberg2, the Democratic candidate normally carried a respectable number of counties. Even in the token opposition race, Senator McConnell never carried, not even once, Pike3 or Floyd or Knott or Breathitt counties in the eastern coal regions,4 but against the well-financed Secretary Grimes, he did. It was the white working class regions of the Bluegrass State, always solidly Democratic, that Mrs Grimes failed to carry, because the voters there have realized that the policies of the Democrats are harmful to them.

The Democrats have long counted on the endorsements of labor unions,5 and they will still get the support of the union leadership. But the union leadership are highly-paid, professionally secure men, who claim to represent the working class but are no longer truly part of it,6 and don’t really understand the problems of working class America, and the working class in this country has been slowly but surely deserting a party which no longer helps them.
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  1. The Gallup article itself pushed the idea that not having been graduated from college makes one “working class,” an idea which is fairly common. Investopedia defines “working class” as “A socioeconomic term used to describe persons in a social class marked by jobs that provide low pay, require limited skill and/or physical labor, and have reduced education requirements.” It continues to state that “Unemployed persons or those supported by a social welfare program are often included in this group,” but The First Street Journal holds that there is a difference between working class and non-working class. Otherdefinitions can be found, but they are fairly unified on the concept that the working class are, primarily, those without higher education, who rely on manual labor to provide an income. Your Editor disagrees: he defines working class as those people who have to work for a living, and takes no distinction based upon the kind of work that they do, because he holds that all (legal) work is honorable and praiseworthy.
  2. Nevertheless, Mrs Weinberg is the daughter of former Governor Bert T Combs.
  3. Pike county is the larger county, the easternmost one in the state. Here is a county map of Kentucky.
  4. These counties have a significant number of unionized coal miners.
  5. In 2012, the United Mine Workers Union decided not to endorse any Presidential candidate. In 2008, the UMW had wholeheartedly endorsed Barack Obama.
  6. The Editor’s personal definition of working class, from footnote #1, notwithstanding.