Tag: #NeverHillary

Whom to vote for today

Dana Carvey as the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live characterized Tuesday’s presidential election by asking, “Do we vote for a bitter female android from the ’90s, or a riverboat gambler with a big tummy and an orange head?”

The fact that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the Democratic and Republican (In Name Only) choices for president represent a failure of the parties. As you know, the fix has been in for Hillary for literally years, and neither Bernie Sanders (who was a Democrat In Name Only) nor anyone else had a chance of getting the Democratic nomination. Trump was not the choice of more than half of Republican voters, yet due to the GOP leadership’s failure to tell Trump to leave and run for president on his own independent dime, the question Tuesday is how bad Republican losses will be besides Trump.

Neither Hillary nor Trump should be president of anything. We know from her Wikileaks what she really thinks about her non-supporters. We also know how carelessly she treats national security issues in her quest for more Clinton Cash and more Clinton power. Every one of Slick Willie’s “bimbo eruptions” (all of which were sexual assaults since they were all coerced) were aided and abetted by Hillary to enhance her own power. Barack Obama and Hillary are first and second on the list of Presidential Candidates Who Hate their Opposition. (She makes Richard Nixon look like a piker in comparison.) Her definition of “Together” is “Bow down and do everything I tell you to, right-wing scum, and then die.”

The problem, of course, is that Donald Trump is every bit as bad, though in different senses. There are people voting for Trump because they believe what he says about blowing up the political system. The problem, of course, besides Trump’s inability to act like a man should, is that every position he has has been changed multiple times (sometimes in the same day, such as abortion rights). That makes him impossible to trust.

I’m not sure if this is a vote for Trump or not, from Newt Gingrich, reported by Recallarama Ground Zero:

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump becomes president, the country will end up like Madison with an assault on labor unions.

“If Trump is elected,” he said, “it will just be like Madison, Wisconsin, with (Gov.) Scott Walker. The opposition of the government employee unions will be so hostile and so direct and so immediate, there will be a continuing fight over who controls the country.”

As for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Gingrich predicted that if Clinton gets elected, the criminal investigations will be endless.

“I think that we are in for a long, difficult couple of years, maybe a decade or more, because the gap between those of us who are deeply offended by the dishonesty and the corruption and the total lack of honesty in the Clinton Team,” he said.

“And on their side, their defense of unions, which they have to defend, I understand that. But that will lead to a Madison, Wisconsin, kind of struggle if Trump wins.”

When moderator Chuck Todd remarked that Gingrich painted a pretty drastic picture, Gingrich said, “I wish it wasn’t true, Chuck, I wish it wasn’t true.”

If not Clinton or Trump? I wouldn’t vote for Jill Stein, who flip-flops on vaccinations like Trump and apparently believes cellphones cause cancer, for dog catcher. I was willing to vote for Gary Johnson until, well, he opened his mouth. (Religious freedom is a trap, you know.) I ended up voting for Evan McMullin, because unlike Trump he has taken actual conservative positions consistently. Trump has zero chance of winning Wisconsin (he couldn’t even win the GOP primary), therefore my vote for McMullin doesn’t affect Hillary’s chances at the White House.

There is a U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin, the repeat of the 2010 race in which voters fired Sen. Russ Feingold, the phony maverick. Johnson is about four years late getting out to see voters and adopting a higher public profile.

However, all you need to convince you to not vote for Feingold is to remember what Sen. Feingold was like. He was famously the lone Senate vote against the Patriot Act, knowing full well it was going to pass anyway. His vaunted “listening sessions” were as phony as Feingold. Ever hear a remotely conservative statement from an attendee? No. Ever hear a remotely conservative statement from Feingold? No.

Moreover, Kevin Binversie observes …

Let’s just look at a few situations, or issues in Campaign 2016, where Feingold’s phoniness has been on full display for all to see.

Campaign Finance Reform

Where to begin?

For a man who built his reputation on being “Mr. Campaign Finance Reform,” it’s amazing how quickly he turned his back on the issue. From setting up his own political operation which doubled as slush fund and jobs program for his most loyal political staffers, to completely abandoning his “Garage Door Pledge” once and for all, these moves highlighted Feingold’s new found love of campaign donations.

He can blame Citizens United all he wants, but it’s not the Supreme Court that caused him to raise and spend around $25 million when the campaign is said and done. He didn’t have to do that; and in past races he hasn’t.

But by far the biggest sign of Feingold’s phoniness in campaign is a repeat offense. Back in 1998, just as now, Russ Feingold publicly called for all third-party groups to stay out of the race. Then, when things got really bad for him – or they needed to cripple his Republican opponent – they came in at the last minute to come bail him out.

Oh, this time he tried to provide cover for himself with his so-called “Badger Pledge” against outside group interference, but everyone knew that just as in 1998, it was all for show. Now we’re in the midst of a $10 million (or more) ad blitz; half of which is there to help ensure he doesn’t blow it.

“Fixing Obamacare” 

So let me get this straight. One of the 60 votes which gave us Obamacare AND believed it didn’t go far enough without a public option believes we should trust him with fixing it?

Apparently that’s the case if you believe your television . Not only does it appear as though Russ Feingold is finally admitting the law doesn’t work, but also that this time he’s going to work across the aisle and make sure the job is done right “this time around.”

You know, it’s the sort of thing which never happened in 2009 and 2010 when Obamacare was passed into law. Back then, Feingold willingly went along with everything Obama and company wanted. His only complaint was that it didn’t go far enough towards single-payer.

To have Feingold now tell us that he’s here to fix the very damage to the health care system he caused is like having a home contractor come back to do your windows after they’ve leveled your house’s ground floor. It’s just not a wise idea, and frankly you’d rather have their contractor’s license striped than see them hired for one more job.

Reason for Running 

Why exactly is Russ Feingold seeking his old Senate seat? Of all the questions involved in the Johnson-Feingold rematch, it’s the most obvious and the most unasked.

You listen to the man long enough and you’ll always get some diatribe about “Listening to the people of Wisconsin” and so on. If that were the case, he would have accepted the 2010 outcome and moved on with his life. Clearly, he didn’t hear them in 2010; more likely, just didn’t like the answer he got.

It doesn’t take much looking to find any liberal publication, in Wisconsin or nationally, to see that they view his 2010 lose as a “fluke result of a wave election” or some grand miscarriage of electoral justice. It is what has clearly driven him, his ego, his most loyal staffers, and his sycophantic media enablers throughout this campaign.

Oh all the phoniness of Russ Feingold, circa 2016, it is here where he takes the grand prize. In his concession speech on election night 2010 , Feingold said “The people of Wisconsin have made their decision, and I must respect it.”

The truth is, he never has respected that decision. If he did, he wouldn’t be on the ballot today.

If Feingold returns to office, Wisconsin conservatives will be disenfranchised once again in the U.S. Senate. It is bad enough to have U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D–Wisconsin) in office, but two of the same ilk will mean conservative issues will die on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol, as they did during Feingold’s 18 years in office, which were the last 18 years of Nobody’s Senator but His, Herb Kohl.

The other reason to vote for Johnson and not Feingold is the importance of the Republican Party’s retaining the U.S. Senate to stop Hillary. (And the House of Representatives as well, so vote accordingly in your House race.) It is well documented that Feingold’s definition of “maverick” consists of (1) slavish adherence to the Democratic line unless (2) a more leftist position can be found. Maybe that fits some twisted definition of “maverick” to the likes of The Capital Times, but not to normal people.

There are, of course, legislative races. No Democrat deserves your vote until that Democrat explains (1) how to balance the state budget better than Republicans without (2) raising taxes and with (3) cutting taxes and the size of government, both of which remain far too bloated in this state. Republicans haven’t done a good enough job, but Democrats, as we all know from the disaster of 2009–10, will do far worse if given the opportunity.

There are also a few school district referenda, which are up to the reader to determine. Democrats have been claiming that there are too many school referenda, as if voters should never be consulted whether their school districts need more of their taxpayer dollars. The revenue-limit referenda in the IT world is a called a feature, not a bug.

Cast an informed vote today, if you haven’t already.

 

A First and Second threat

Steve Chapman:

Donald Trump is a clear menace to our democratic form of government, the rule of law and my James Madison bobblehead. The teenage Ted Cruz could recite the entire Constitution from memory. Trump wouldn’t know it from Two Corinthians.

But it’s not exactly safe to entrust your copy of the Constitution to Hillary Clinton, either. You might get it back with some parts missing or mutilated—like the First Amendment and the Second.

When it comes to gun rights, Clinton has taken a position appreciably to the left of Barack Obama’s. From his first presidential campaign, he has assured gun owners he respects their cherished prerogatives and would never take away their weapons.

When the Supreme Court issued its landmark 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller, he applauded it. “I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms,” Obama said.

Not Clinton. When asked in June whether she endorses that interpretation, she conspicuously declined to do so. “For most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment, until the decision by the late Justice Scalia,” she groused.

Asked whether she agrees “that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right,” Clinton replied, “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulations.” If?

In her final debate with Trump, Clinton was asked again about the Heller decision. She reiterated her opposition, insisting that “what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns, and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them.” She eventually said, “I also believe there’s an individual right to bear arms.”

So Clinton rejects the Supreme Court decision that established constitutional protection for that right—but now agrees the right has constitutional protection? As former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once said, “If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said.”

She and Obama both favor universal background checks for gun purchases, a ban on “assault weapons” and denying guns to anyone on the federal no-fly list. But her cramped view of the Second Amendment suggests she would favor additional curbs that she knows the Supreme Court would not abide.

Clinton seems to think that a new justice or two might set the Second Amendment right. On the First Amendment, however, she sees the Supreme Court as a lost cause.

Her target is the 2010 Citizens United decision, which established the right of corporations and labor unions to participate in electioneering. In the debate, she said it “has undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system.”

But all the decision did was to prevent the government from suppressing speech about political matters. The justices noted that under the law it struck down, it would be a felony for the Sierra Club, within 60 days of a general election, to run an ad urging “the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests.” The court ruled that speech doesn’t lose protection merely because it comes from corporations—a category that includes many advocacy groups.

Such expression would be censored if Clinton had her way. She proposes a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision—which would alter the Bill of Rights to restrict our freedoms.

The idea has drawn opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, which says, “Our system of free expression is built on the premise that the people get to decide what speech they want to hear; it is not the role of the government to make that decision for them.”

Her alarms about “dark money”—contributions to politically active groups that don’t have to reveal their donors—are misplaced. In the 2014 campaign, 77 percent of political spending was fully disclosed, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, up from 45 percent in 2010.

What Clinton omits is that Congress could require more transparency from these groups if it wanted to. The Citizens United decision doesn’t forbid such regulation. The obstacles are political. But the same obstacles stand in the way of her constitutional amendment.

Trump and Clinton make me miss Al Gore’s famous Social Security lockbox. Over the next four years, it would be the perfect place to keep the Constitution.

Hillary’s media toadies

The group in the headline includes neither myself nor Kimberley Strassel, who writes:

If average voters turned on the TV for five minutes this week, chances are they know that Donald Trump made lewd remarks a decade ago and now stands accused of groping women.

But even if average voters had the TV on 24/7, they still probably haven’t heard the news about Hillary Clinton: That the nation now has proof of pretty much everything she has been accused of.

It comes from hacked emails dumped by WikiLeaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, and accounts from FBI insiders. The media has almost uniformly ignored the flurry of bombshells, preferring to devote its front pages to the Trump story. So let’s review what amounts to a devastating case against a Clinton presidency.

Start with a June 2015 email to Clinton staffers from Erika Rottenberg, the former general counsel of LinkedIn. Ms. Rottenberg wrote that none of the attorneys in her circle of friends “can understand how it was viewed as ok/secure/appropriate to use a private server for secure documents AND why further Hillary took it upon herself to review them and delete documents.” She added: “It smacks of acting above the law and it smacks of the type of thing I’ve either gotten discovery sanctions for, fired people for, etc.” …

A few months later, in a September 2015 email, a Clinton confidante fretted that Mrs. Clinton was too bullheaded to acknowledge she’d done wrong. “Everyone wants her to apologize,” wrote Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress. “And she should. Apologies are like her Achilles’ heel.”

Clinton staffers debated how to evade a congressional subpoena of Mrs. Clinton’s emails—three weeks before a technician deleted them. The campaign later employed a focus group to see if it could fool Americans into thinking the email scandal was part of the Benghazi investigation (they are separate) and lay it all off as a Republican plot.

A senior FBI official involved with the Clinton investigation told Fox News this week that the “vast majority” of career agents and prosecutors working the case “felt she should be prosecuted” and that giving her a pass was “a top-down decision.”

The Obama administration—the federal government, supported by tax dollars—was working as an extension of the Clinton campaign. The State Department coordinated with her staff in responding to the email scandal, and the Justice Department kept her team informed about developments in the court case.

Worse, Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show, took special care of donors to the Clinton Foundation. In a series of 2010 emails, a senior aide to Mrs. Clinton asked a foundation official to let her know which groups offering assistance with the Haitian earthquake relief were “FOB” (Friends of Bill) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs). Those who made the cut appear to have been teed up for contracts. Those who weren’t? Routed to a standard government website.

The leaks show that the foundation was indeed the nexus of influence and money. The head of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Ira Magaziner, suggested in a 2011 email that Bill Clinton call Sheikh Mohammed of Saudi Arabia to thank him for offering the use of a plane. In response, a top Clinton Foundation official wrote: “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.”

The entire progressive apparatus—the Clinton campaign and boosters at the Center for American Progress—appears to view voters as stupid and tiresome, segregated into groups that must either be cajoled into support or demeaned into silence. We read that Republicans are attracted to Catholicism’s “severely backwards gender relations” and only join the faith to “sound sophisticated”; that Democratic leaders such as Bill Richardson are “needy Latinos”; that Bernie Sanders supporters are “self-righteous”; that the only people who watch Miss America “are from the confederacy”; and that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is “a terrorist.”

The leaks also show that the press is in Mrs. Clinton’s pocket. Donna Brazile, a former Clinton staffer and a TV pundit, sent the exact wording of a coming CNN town hall question to the campaign in advance of the event. Other media allowed the Clinton camp to veto which quotes they used from interviews, worked to maximize her press events and offered campaign advice.

Mrs. Clinton has been exposed to have no core, to be someone who constantly changes her position to maximize political gain. Leaked speeches prove that she has two positions (public and private) on banks; two positions on the wealthy; two positions on borders; two positions on energy. Her team had endless discussions about what positions she should adopt to appease “the Red Army”—i.e. “the base of the Democratic Party.”

Voters might not know any of this, because while both presidential candidates have plenty to answer for, the press has focused solely on taking out Mr. Trump. And the press is doing a diligent job of it.

 

 

Hillary and Trump vs. the First Amendment

Retired Judge Andrew Napolitano:

It seems that at every turn during this crazy presidential election campaign — with its deeply flawed principal candidates (whom do you hate less?) — someone’s personal or professional computer records are being hacked. First it was Hillary Clinton’s emails that she had failed to surrender to the State Department. Then it was a portion of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns, showing a $916 million loss he claimed during boom times. Then it was those Clinton emails again, this time showing her unacted-upon doubts about two of our Middle Eastern allies’ involvement in 9/11 and her revelation of some secrets about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The reason we know about these leaks is the common thread among them — the willingness of the media to publish what was apparently stolen. Hence the question: Can the government hold the press liable — criminally or civilly — for the publication of known stolen materials that the public wants to know about? In a word: No.

Here is the back story.

When Daniel Ellsberg, an outside contractor working in the Pentagon, stole a secret study of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam in 1971, which revealed that President Lyndon Johnson had lied repeatedly to the public about what his military advisers had told him, the Department of Justice secured an injunction from U.S. District Judge Murray Gurfein, sitting in Manhattan, barring The New York Times from publishing what Ellsberg had turned over to Times reporters. Such an injunction, known as a “prior restraint,” is exceedingly rare in American legal history.

This is so largely because of the sweeping language of the First Amendment — “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” — as well as the values that underlie this language. Those values are the government’s legal obligation to be accountable to the public and the benefits to freedom of open, wide, robust debate about the government — debate that is informed by truthful knowledge of what the government has been doing.

Those underlying values spring from the Framers’ recognition of the natural right to speak freely. The freedom of speech and of the press had been assaulted by the king during the Colonial era, and the Framers wrote a clear, direct prohibition of such assaults in the initial amendment of the new Constitution.

Notwithstanding the First Amendment, Judge Gurfein accepted the government’s argument and found that palpable, grave, and immediate danger would come to national security if the Times were permitted to publish what Ellsberg had delivered.

The Times appealed Judge Gurfein’s injunction, and that appeal made its way to the Supreme Court. In a case that has come to be known as the Pentagon Papers case, the high court ruled that when the media obtains truthful documents that are of material interest to the public, the media is free to publish those documents, as well as commentary about them, without fear of criminal or civil liability.

The government had argued to the Supreme Court — seriously — that “‘no law’ does not mean ‘no law'” when national security is at stake. Fortunately for human freedom and for the concept that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and means what it says, the court rejected that argument. It also rejected the government’s suggested methodology.

The government argued that because Congress and the president had agreed to void a constitutional mandate — the First Amendment’s “no law” language — in deference to national security, the judiciary should follow. That methodology would have rejected 180 years of constitutional jurisprudence that taught that the whole purpose of an independent judiciary is to say what the Constitution and the laws mean, notwithstanding what Congress and the president want. Were that not so, the courts would be rubber stamps.

Moreover, the high court ruled, it matters not how the documents came into the possession of the media. The thief can always be prosecuted, as Ellsberg was, but not the media to which the thief delivers what he has stolen. In Ellsberg’s case, the charges against him were eventually dismissed because of FBI misconduct in pursuit of him — misconduct that infamously involved breaking in to his psychiatrist’s office looking for dirt on him.

Since that case, the federal courts have uniformly followed the Pentagon Papers rule. Hence, much to the chagrin of the Obama administration, the media was free to publish Edward Snowden’s revelations about the ubiquitous and unconstitutional nature of government spying on Americans by the National Security Agency. The same is true for Trump’s tax returns and Clinton’s emails.

Are these matters material to the public interest?

Of course they are. In a free society — one in which we do not need a government permission slip to exercise our natural rights — all people enjoy a right to know if the government is spying on us in violation of the constitutionally protected and natural right to privacy. We also have a right to know about the financial shenanigans or uprightness and the honesty or dishonesty of those who seek the highest office in the land. That is particularly so in the 2016 campaign, in which Trump has argued that his business acumen makes him uniquely qualified to be president and Clinton has offered that her experiences as secretary of state would bring a unique asset to the Oval Office.

Efforts to silence the press or to punish it when it publishes inconvenient truths about the government or those who seek to lead it are not new, and the vigilance of the courts has been unabated. Thomas Jefferson — himself the victim of painful press publications — argued that in a free society, he’d prefer newspapers without a government to a government without newspapers. Would Clinton or Trump say that today?

Proof of the plant

It is becoming increasingly clear that Donald Trump was planted by the Clintons to give Hillary the easiest possible opponent to defeat in November.

Brandon Morse begins:

The hacked emails released by Wikileaks shows an interesting tidbit about how the Democrats looked at the idea of a Trump candidacy, and you can safely see that of all the candidates Hillary actively wanted to face, Trump was on the list.

Calling them the “pied piper” candidates, team Hillary describes Trump, Cruz, and Carson as nominees that could – if handled properly – make the extreme the mainstream

The summary is that the DNC and the Clinton campaign wanted Trump to be Hillary’s opponent because they knew his extreme stances could be used to alienate and divide. They could then use these candidates to paint the Republican party as a whole as something dangerous.

Trump was a tool for Hillary’s campaign all along. She wanted the press to take Trump seriously, put him up as the most viable option for Republicans, and the right took the bait, hook, line, and sinker. Now with the Trump campaign burning to the ground, and GOP leaders walking away due to his recent comments, the Clinton campaign’s plan to put Hillary on top is coming to fruition.

In short, the Republicans have been played. Trump was a unknowing puppet for Hillary from the get-go, and the right – though some had very strong suspicions – didn’t know it.

Other emails were read by The Right Scoop:

In the newest trove of emails released by Wikileaks, there’s a really interesting reference to Cruz and Trump:

According to Podesta, who is Hillary’s campaign chairman, Hillary is a horrible liar, and she’s such a terrible candidate that their only hope is if Donald Trump gets the nomination! LOL!!

Lucky for them, they got what they wanted and now he’s in absolute freefall in the polls. 

And what’s even sadder is that he gives Ted Cruz even odds with Hillary. In an alternate universe, Cruz would be close or beating Hillary. Meanwhile, in our reality he’s making sad phone calls for Trump.

Don’t like Cruz? (I don’t blame you.) An even better candidate would have been Marco Rubio, according to the Clintons as reported by London’s Daily Mail:

A new batch of Wikileaks emails highlighting Hillary Clinton‘s campaign were released last week and show that the first GOP candidate the Democrats saw as a threat wasn’t Donald Trump but Marco Rubio.

At 43, the Florida Senator was the youngest Republican in a crowded field of 17 candidates and was seen by Clinton’s advisers as similar to Obama, who bested Clinton in 2008 with his calls for a move away from the old guard politicians.

Wikileaks claims the emails come from the hacked account of campaign chairman John Podesta.

Neither Podesta or Clinton have denied their authenticity.

‘It’s interesting to compare/contrast with Obama 08,’ a staffer wrote to Podesta, referring to Rubio saying, ‘Yesterday is over, and we are never going back’ in a campaign speech.

The staffer wondered if the statement was directed at Clinton, and emails bounced back and forth about whether to respond, but in the end they decided to let it lie.

‘Don’t see reason to react here,’ campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri wrote, according to The Daily Beast. …

‘He gives a good speech, and sounded much more reasonable, populist and accessible than much of the rest of the GOP field,’ wrote public relations maven Christina Reynolds, words that could have been used to describe the approach Obama took to beat Clinton.

‘Felt more like an inspiring Democratic speech than a GOP candidate, outside of foreign policy, repealing Obamacare and choice. Lots of references to ‘our generation’ (i.e. Him and younger voters) vs. ‘their generation’ (them being us, Jeb, his opponents, Washington).’

One staffer noted that Rubio’s speeches were reminiscent of one Obama made when he said, ‘This election is not just about what laws we will pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.’

Think about it. How could the Democrats have come up with a more perfect candidate to run against than Trump — racist, misogynist, loud-mouthed, foul-mouthed and the embodiment of every negative stereotype of Republicans? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Trump endorsed Hillary Nov. 7, or make a big unity joint appearance with Hillary Nov. 9.

 

Why should you be #NeverHillary and #NeverTrump?

Retired Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why neither the Democratic nor Republican candidates on your ballot for president by asking some questions:

What if the most remarkable aspect of this presidential election is not how much the two principal candidates disagree with each other but how much they actually agree?

What if they are both statists? What if they both believe that the government’s first duty is to take care of itself? What if they both believe in the primacy of the state over the individual?

What if, in clashes between the state and individuals, they both would use the power of the state to trample the rights of individuals?

What if the first priority of both is not to decrease the size and scope of government but to expand it? What if they both believe that the federal government may lawfully and constitutionally right any wrong, tax any behavior and regulate any event? What if they both want to add a few thousand new employees to the federal payroll, give them badges and guns and black shirts, and engage them as federal police to insulate the federal government further from the people and the states?

What if, when James Madison wrote the Constitution, he took great pains to reserve powers to the people and the states that were not delegated away to the feds? What if both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump couldn’t care less about that?

What if both of them reject the Madisonian principle that the federal government is limited in scope to the 16 unique and discrete powers given to it by the Constitution? What if they even reject the corollary to that principle, which is that the balance of governmental powers — those not delegated by the Constitution to the feds — resides in the states? What if they both reject the Madisonian principle that in areas of governmental power retained by the states, the states should be free from federal interference?

What if this principle of a limited federal government depends upon the principle of natural rights — areas of human behavior and choice stemming from our humanity and immune from government interference? What if the Declaration of Independence and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution define our natural rights as inalienable? What if both Trump and Clinton reject that? What if she believes in killing innocents by drone and he believes in torturing innocents at Gitmo?

What if both Clinton and Trump accept the principle that the federal government can address any problem for which there is a national political consensus? What if this idea — championed by Woodrow Wilson, who hated the values of Madison — is the opposite of what the Framers wrote and intended?

What if this Wilsonian principle has unleashed the federal government to regulate nearly all aspects of personal behavior and to enhance immeasurably the powers of an unelected, unseen, and unaccountable federal bureaucracy, which never seems to shrink or change?

What if both Trump and Clinton embrace the idea that federal power, rather than being limited by the Constitution, is limited only by what the feds can’t get away with politically? What if this concept was expressly rejected by the Framers but both Trump and Clinton don’t care? What if neither of them believes that a limited federal government must reside and remain within the confines of the Constitution?

What if Trump wants the police to be able to stop anyone they wish based on just a hunch that the person is armed or possessing contraband? What if the Fourth Amendment — which requires the police to have individual articulable suspicion, not just hunches and not judgments based on race, in order to stop a person — was expressly written to prohibit just what Trump wants? What if Trump doesn’t care because he prefers votes to constitutional fidelity?

What if Clinton wants free higher education for all in America who go to community colleges, all of which are government-owned? What if the Constitution does not delegate regulatory or spending authority over education to the feds? What if there is no such thing as “free” college? What if someone somewhere will need to pay for it?

What if all federal revenue is already committed to wealth transfers (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare), interest payments on the federal government’s debt (now north of $400 billion annually), and the Pentagon (which spends crazily so its budget won’t be reduced in the future)? What if the Clinton “free” college deal would mean the feds would need to tax more or borrow more or both?

What if more taxation means less money for the productive aspects of society? What if more borrowing produces a decrease in the value of what you already own? What if a dollar spent by the feds produces far less wealth — jobs, income, productivity — than a dollar invested in the private sector? What if Clinton doesn’t care because she prefers votes to economic productivity?

What if both Trump and Clinton believe they can use the federal government to bribe the poor with handouts, the middle class with tax breaks, the rich with bailouts and write-offs, and the states with block grants? What if Trump himself has benefited enormously from federal write-offs available only to the very rich?

What if neither talks about personal liberty in a free society? What if they both talk about the government’s duty to keep us safe? What if neither talks about the government’s first duty, which is to keep us free? What if neither believes that the government works for us? What if they both really believe that we work for the government?

What if Mark Twain was right when he said that the reason we get to vote is it doesn’t make much difference?

Jeff Jacoby adds more questions:

Would you hire a babysitter who lied with impunity? Would you choose a therapist who was a compulsive braggart? Would you want as your accountant or financial adviser someone who trailed the reek of corruption and bottomless avarice? Would you list your home with a real estate agent who routinely played fast and loose with rules that others must abide by? Would you attend the church of a pastor who spewed insults and threats and trafficked in delusional conspiracy theories?

If so, you’ll have no trouble supporting Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president.
But if you wouldn’t entrust your personal affairs to someone manifestly devoid of ethics and good character, how can you think of entrusting the nation’s highest office to either of the major-party candidates?

Over and over this year, Trump and Clinton have been described as the two worst presidential nominees in living memory — perhaps the worst matchup in US history. Both candidates espouse bad ideas and destructive policies, but that isn’t why they are so widely regarded as appalling choices for the White House. It is the candidates’ lack of integrity that makes so many Americans despair when they think of the upcoming election.

Opinion polls have consistently reflected Americans’ terrible opinion of the nominees’ character. In a USA Today/Suffok University poll taken just before Labor Day, 59 percent of likely voters said they don’t think Clinton is honest and trustworthy — and that included nearly one-fourth of her own supporters. An even larger majority, 61 percent, don’t regard Trump as honest and trustworthy, including one-fifth of his supporters.

The public’s misgivings about Trump and Clinton are well founded. To elect either one would be a moral disaster.

I plan to cast a ballot for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. I don’t agree with every position Johnson endorses (though I certainly share the libertarian tropism for smaller government, lower taxes, free trade, robust immigration, and individual autonomy). Nor, to be fair, do I disagree with every proposal and priority of the Trump and Clinton campaigns.
But I’m not voting for president this year on the basis of traditional issues. I’m basing my vote on character. Johnson’s is acceptable — he appears to be honest, friendly, capable of self-criticism, and not egomaniacal. That puts him miles ahead of Trump and Clinton, incorrigibly mendacious self-aggrandizers for whom personal ambition always supersedes ethical standards or the national interest.

This isn’t to suggest that what the presidential candidates’ say about the economy and foreign policy and national defense and criminal justice isn’t important. Of course it is, and if this were a typical election I’d be voting for the candidate whose political outlook came closest to my own.

Unfortunately, this election isn’t typical. The major parties have coughed up nominees so tainted that to vote for either one would amount to a betrayal. Our generation inherited a democratic republic that, despite all its flaws and weaknesses, was grounded in the conviction that a basic level of civic virtue is indispensable to the survival of American freedom. A vote for a candidate as dishonorable as Trump or Clinton is a vote to trash that inheritance. I can’t bring myself to do that.

The founders of the American system warned at every turn that without moral and civic virtues to navigate by, no democracy can endure. The character of government, they stressed, is inseparable from human character. “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust, so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence,” wrote James Madison at the very end of Federalist No. 55. “Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.” In short, once good character and integrity no longer matter, government of the people is doomed.

Politicians aren’t expected to be saints, and political campaigns aren’t church socials. Campaigns get nasty. Deals get cut. Promises get broken. Voters are deceived and disappointed by elected officials all the time. But it’s one thing to understand that candidates sometimes lie after winning office, as Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has written. “It’s another thing entirely to conclude in advance that they are both liars, and simply shrug and elect them anyway. That does something to the national soul that tears at the fabric of who we are.”

In 2008, The Economist titled a cover story about that year’s US presidential contest “America at its best.” The article hailed Republican John McCain for his political courage. It applauded the qualities that enabled Democrat Barack Obama to vanquish the Clinton machine and become the first black presidential nominee. “The doughty but sometimes cranky old warrior makes a fine contrast with the inspirational but sometimes vaporous young visionary,” the magazine concluded. “This is the most impressive choice America has had for a very long time.”

Alas, there is nothing remotely impressive about America’s choice this year. Obama and McCain both had their shortcomings, but Clinton and Trump are practically defined by their cupidity, deceit, and self-righteousness. For Americans to elevate anyone so reprehensible to the presidency would be to humiliate themselves before the world. It would also be a sign that the great American experiment in republican self-government may have run its course.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving Independence Hall, a woman approached him with a question.

“Well, Doctor,” she asked, “what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?”

Franklin’s famous answer: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Well, we kept our republic for 225 years. Whether it survives the 45th president of the United States is an open question.

Is this who you want leading the country?

The Washington Post summarizes last night’s presidential debate and the weekend generally so you could watch the Packers:

The second presidential debate veered into ugly territory Sunday night in St. Louis, as the two nominees swapped insults and interruptions.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at one point said that his rival Hillary Clinton had “hate in her heart,” and showed it by saying that half of his supporters were in the “basket of deplorables.”

Clinton in turn accused Trump of living in an “alternate reality,” and of peddling what she called the “racist lie” that President Obama was not born in the United States.

That exchange came as an especially bitter, boundary-breaking debate neared its conclusion.

The second presidential debate veered into ugly territory Sunday night in St. Louis, as the two nominees swapped insults and interruptions.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at one point said that his rival Hillary Clinton had “hate in her heart,” and showed it by saying that half of his supporters were in the “basket of deplorables.”

Clinton in turn accused Trump of living in an “alternate reality,” and of peddling what she called the “racist lie” that President Obama was not born in the United States.

That exchange came as an especially bitter, boundary-breaking debate neared its conclusion.

The words “sex tape” even made their debut in the solemn tradition of American presidential debates on Sunday night, as Trump denied doing something he had actually done: Asking his Twitter followers to “check out sex tape” of a former Miss Universe with whom he was feuding.

“It wasn’t, ‘Check out a sex tape,’” Trump said, saying instead that he wanted followers to examine the life of Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe. His rival Hillary Clinton had brought her up in the previous debate, talking about a 1990s episode when Trump made a public spectacle of Machado’s weight gain.

Trump’s message, sent out on Twitter on Sept. 30, was this: “Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?” …

One of the night’s most striking moments came when Trump contradicted his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, on a question of American policy in Syria.

During the vice-presidential debate, held Tuesday, Pence was asked what the U.S. should do to protect rebels and civilians in the city of Aleppo, under heavy bombardment by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies.

Pence called for a strong reaction: “the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.”

Such a move could provoke a dangerous crisis with the Russian government, which Trump has said the United States should seek a better relationship with.

Trump was asked if he agreed. In one of the most direct answers he gave all night, Trump said Pence was wrong.

“He and I haven’t spoken. And I disagree,” Trump said.

“Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS,” Trump said, refering to the Islamic State. Outside experts have criticized Russia and Syria for focusing on other rebel groups, instead of focusing on the Islamic State. “I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about SIIS before we get too much involved” with the Syrian regime, Trump said.

Trump was then asked about how to prevent the fall of Aleppo.

Pence, after all, had been willing to risk a military conflict with Russia to prevent its fall. Trump said, in essence, that this outcome was inevitable.

“I think that basically has fallen,” he said, meaning Aleppo.

At another moment, Trump seemed to concede that he had avoided paying any federal income taxes for some recent years, by taking advantage of tax loopholes and a massive $916 million loss he reported in 1995.

“Of course I do. Of course I do,” said Trump, when moderator Anderson Cooper asked if he’d used that loss – first reported by the New York Times – to erase all his federal income tax liabilities. “And so do all of her donors,” he said, referring to large bankroll supporters Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump did not provide any details about how many years he had avoided paying income taxes, but affirmed again that he had. “I absolutely used it,” he said, when Cooper asked. Trump also repeated an argument he had made on the campaign trail, that his skillful use of loopholes in the tax code made him best-qualified to eliminate those loopholes. “I understand the tax code better than anybody that’s ever run for president,” he said, and argued that Clinton could not fix the system because of Wall Street donors, and because she had failed to reform the system during her years as a senator and first lady.

Clinton, in her response, argued that Trump would only cement an unfair system in place: “Donald always takes care of Donald, and people like Donald,” she said.

The second presidential debate was unusually bitter, with the two candidates taking steps unheard-of in the genteel tradition of debates – which, typically, are the kind of discussions where “There you go again” is considered a flaming zinger.

In this debate, the two interrupted each other often. Trump referred to Clinton as “the devil,’ and promised that – if elected – he would order the Justice Department to re-investigate her for her use of a private email server to handle government business. Clinton said at one point that Trump lives “in an alternate reality.”

The debate topics ranged from news of the past week as well as stances taken by the candidates over the previous year.

Trump said his proposal to ban foreign Muslims from entering the United States has “morphed,” but the Republican nominee declined to give details about what it had morphed into, during Sunday night’s presidential debate.

“The Muslim ban is something that, in some form, has morphed into an extreme vetting from certain areas of the world,” Trump said, when asked if he had backed off the position.

Moderator Martha Raddatz sought to gain clarification, interrupting Trump at several points to ask what his position was. “Would you please explain whether or not the Muslim ban still stands”

“It’s called extreme vetting,” Trump said, but did not say much more about how the vetting process would work – or how it would be different from the current methods used to screen immigrants and refugees for terrorist affiliations.

Trump also asserted, once again, that he had opposed the War in Iraq before it began. That is incorrect. In fact, Trump was asked on Sept. 11, 2002 — before the invasion — if he supported the war.

“Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly,” Trump told interviewer Howard Stern during a radio interview, referring the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

“It’s been debunked,” Clinton said, about Trump’s claim to have opposed the war.

“I was against the War in Iraq, and it hasn’t been debunked,” Trump said.

Earlier, in an unprecedented threat during a presidential debate, Trump promised that – if he was elected – he would instruct the Justice Department to investigate his rival.

“I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say this, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” Trump said. “There’s never been anything like it. And we’re going to get a special prosecutor.”

Trump seemed to be speaking specifically about Clinton’s use of a personal email server to handle government business while she was secretary of state. That has already been the subject of an FBI inquiry, which ended with FBI Director James Comey calling Clinton and her staff “extremely careless” but recommending no criminal charges.

His promise to use his executive power to re-open that case, and have it investigated again, was unlike anything in recent presidential debates.

“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said.

“Because you’d be in jail,” Trump said.

The first half-hour of this debate was dominated not by questions from the undecided voters in the audience, but by interruptions and accusations by Trump himself. At one point, Trump referred to the endorsement by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) of Clinton as a deal with “the devil.”

The debate opened with a question as to whether the campaigns were setting a good example for the nation’s youth, but it quickly turned to discussion about a recent revelation of a damaging video for Trump.

The Republican nominee rejected a question that called his remarks about groping women – captured in a 2005 video – “sexual assault,” during the second presidential debate on Sunday night.

“That is sexual assault. You bragged that you committed sexual assault,” moderator Anderson Cooper said, and then asked Trump if he understood the implications of what he said.

“I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was said. This was locker-room talk,” Trump said. “Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker-room talk.”

Cooper kept on, asking Trump if he had actually committed the acts he alluded to in the video – which included kissing women without their consent, and groping women’s genitals. Trump repeatedly sought to turn the subject to other subjects, including in some cases with seeming non-sequitor.

“I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. It’s locker room talk,” Trump said at one point. “I will knock the hell out of ISIS.”

Clinton, in her response, said that she considered Trump different than past Republican nominees.

“I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different,” she said. “What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women, and he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is…It represents exactly who he is.”

The night’s dark tone was presaged by a news conference Trump heled about 90 minutes before the debate began at Washington University in St. Louis. Trump was joined by four women, all of whom said they had been mistreated by Hillary Clinton or former president Bill Clinton. One of the women was Paula Jones, who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment in the early 1990s. Another was Juanita Broaddrick, who at the news conference said Bill Clinton had raped her in 1978.

“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words,” Broaddrick said. “But Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s any comparison.”

Broaddrick has made such statements before, but it has never been criminally litigated, and the Clintons deny the accusations.

As Trump began and ended the news conference, reporters shouted questions related to the 2005 video. ““Mr. Trump does your star power allow you to touch women without their consent?” a reporter asked. Trump ignored the questions, then left.

For Trump, the stakes for this debate would have been high in any event: He had seen his poll numbers begin to slide after a weak and rambling performance during the first debate in late September.

Now, however, Trump is in worse shape — and in far greater need of a surprising, campaign-changing performance. That’s due to the release of the 2005, video, first published by The Washington Post. It set off a cascade of criticism from Trump’s fellow Republicans — and led dozens of them to formally renounce the party’s nominee.

Trump’s supporters said they were hoping to see a humble, focused performance, in which he could seem contrite about the 2005 remarks, and then move on.

“He has to reach inside himself and realize what he’s capable of doing. He has to live it out, and it’s going to be a uniquely personal moment. No one else can figure it out,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

On Sunday, however, Trump was showing no sign of a contrite approach. Instead, in interviews and social media posts, Trump made clear that he has no plans to back down — and that he intends to criticize Clinton for her treatment of women who over the years have accused her husband of unwanted sexual advances.

Trump also seemed to blast his fellow Republicans, scorning them for leaving him at this moment.

“So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers — and elections — go down!” read one Trump tweet Sunday.

“Tremendous support (except for some Republican “leadership”). Thank you,” another read.

Dozens of elected officials, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said Saturday that they could no longer support Trump. A growing chorus called for him to drop out of the race. Even his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, said he could not defend Trump’s remarks. Trump was scheduled to campaign with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Saturday in Wisconsin, but Ryan asked the nominee not to attend. Pence was scheduled as a stand-in, but he, too, decided to stay away.

What an insane situation.

Hillary the racist

Michael  J. Hurd, Ph.D.:

“Implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police,” said Hillary Clinton during the presidential debate.

Excuse me? Maybe you’re a racist, Mrs. Clinton, but speak for yourself. Of course, would you ever admit to being a racist? Not a chance. Yet your statement implies that everyone, yourself included, is one.

How can one prove that one is NOT a racist? It’s impossible, because you cannot prove a negative. Imagine that I said to you, “You killed my dog,” and you replied in horror, “No I didn’t.” Rationally and objectively, the burden would be on me to provide proof–via facts and evidence–that you did, in fact, kill my dog. It would be logically impossible (and psychologically unbearable) for you to try and prove you did not kill my dog.

(I would have used the example “You cheated on your wife” myself. Of course, Mr. Hillary would have replied, “What’s your point?”, so never mind.)

It’s the same with racism. People like Hillary Clinton claim everyone is racist. It’s like we can’t help it. It’s in our genes (we’re told). Particularly if you’re white. More so if you’re white and male. Absolutely if you’re anything other than a progressive and a socialist.

Although Hillary Clinton damns herself by saying that everyone engages in “implicit racism,” you already know what her self-exoneration consists of: “Well, I have spent decades tirelessly working for the poor and disadvantaged of all races.”

No such thing is true. She has worked tirelessly at achieving and maintaining power over others, and using people’s sometimes legitimate sense of being a victim (due to race, or other factors) as a way to exploit their vulnerabilities, ignorance or weakness in the name of achieving power.

How do you know if you’re a racist? It all depends on how you view individuals. If you recognize people for their individuality alone, then you’re not a racist. Race is either a non-existent factor, or a marginal one, in your appraisal of people in everyday life. If someone is your doctor, you care about what kind of doctor he or she is, not the race. If someone is your car mechanic or friend, it’s the same. If someone is your friend or spouse, it’s the same. People are appreciated or disparaged for the presence or lack of character, personality traits or competence. When this is how you view the world, then you’re no longer (or never were) a racist.

It’s not human nature to be racist. It’s actually human nature to wish to survive. When focusing on survival and (once that’s settled) enjoyment of life, it does not serve one’s interest to practice racism. People only fall into the trap of racism or irrational discrimination when they started out in the trap of viewing people as members of collectives, rather than individuals. Individualism liberates human beings from the mentality of tribalism, and it’s only individualism that will extinguish racism.

Hillary Clinton is no individualist.

Individualism is the complete opposite of racism. Clinton does everything in her power to encourage people to think of themselves as members of a class, race, gender, sexual orientation, or whatever other type of group serves the interest of pursuing power. She has a vested power (and money) interest in doing so. Anyone who believes her crap is beyond foolish.

Hillary Clinton seems about to obtain what she considers the most important quest for power one would ever attain: the U.S. presidency. The irony? That office only holds value, esteem and power because of people who believed in very different kinds of ideas than she does … ideas such as economic freedom, the right to bear arms, the right to freedom of association and speech.

Like Obama and many others who put socialism, pressure group politics and the pursuit of personal power above the preservation of the rights of the individual, Clinton will bring to the office lower credibility than ever before. Her corrupt dealings in the Clinton Foundation, bad as they are, will be the least of it. In fact, by the time she’s done with the presidency, there might be little point to being a U.S. President.

The primacy of the individual is something Republicans used to believe, until Donald Trump ran for president.

Mark French is similarly unpersuaded about how racist and sexist we are because:

… equality is equality. If a man or woman steps up to occupy the White House as a major party candidate, in my mind, they themselves are primae facie evidence that racism or sexism isn’t as powerful a force as is being argued. A woman can’t drive or be out alone, much less run for power in many places in the world (many whom have donated heavily this election cycle). As disappointing as it is in this century, I can’t name a first-world power, except for the USA, that has a black head of state in my lifetime. Not France, not England, Ireland or the UK, not the Scandinavian utopias of Denmark, Sweden or Norway, not suave and fashion leading Italy, Spain or Portugal, not our Queen-loving brothers and sisters in Canada. But we’re the racist ones, right?

A black man in the White House deserves respect, but he’s not above criticism. A woman running for president is not above criticism – the Presidency is not a participation trophy, it’s the highest office in the country. Candidates should be vetted, and like it or not, national political figures are celebrities. The media sells ads by whipping up a frenzy around celebrities, and we gobble it up and spray it out everywhere, the good, the bad and the ugly. Celebrity politicians are our new professional wrestlers – they have cults of personality, they have mortal enemies that will not so much as ever lay eyes on them, ever. Trump and Clinton are our Big Brother, and get our undying love, they’re our Emmanuel Goldstein and get our unrequited, spittle-flecked hatred. If we’re honest, we’ll admit we like it that way. But let’s get back to sexism. I was once very close friends with an Army Huey UH-1V Medevac pilot. After one of her flying evaluations by a dustoff pilot who was legendary for his exploits in Vietnam, she called me in tears. He’d been brutally rough on his evaluation. She didn’t care about the criticism, she’d learned a lot from his criticism that wan’t in any books or field manuals. What destroyed her was the compliment that he paid her – that she was the finest woman pilot he’d ever met. To her, the criticism was welcome, but being a woman had nothing to do with her flying. The criticism wasn’t sexist, but judging her abilities on the basis of her gender, that was sexist. Seeing abhorrent behavior and calling a candidate on those behaviors? Not sexist. Ignoring the bad bad judgement and behavior on the basis of the flesh suit they happened to be born into? You know where I’m going with this.

You can’t criticize or even despise a black president without being called racist? You can’t dislike a woman running for president without being called sexist? Is that what you really believe? Well, that’s mighty righteous of you. You think that if we don’t see your point of view, if we don’t love your candidate that we must be evil or stupid? Well, okay. But before you go, I have to say that I don’t think that was Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision about judging on content of character instead of the wrapper we happened to be born into. Worse yet, if you think that a black man in that kind of position of power needs your protection because of his race, or a woman running for that office needs your protection because she’s a woman, your slip may be showing.

They watched, so you didn’t have to

Facebook Friend Michael  Smith starts with …

I heard there was a debate last night. I looked for it but all I found was an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos with 90 minutes of two old people saying things…and they weren’t funny. One seemed to have Tourette’s Syndrome and the woman was clearly suffering from dementia, remembering things that never happened and forgetting those that did.

The big take away for me (and this will be a shocker…not really) is that neither are acceptable. We all should be embarrassed that these two people made it to the top of our political system. It is a true indication of just how broken our system is. A person of principle has no chance to lead this country – and with Cruz’s endorsement of Trump, the evidence is in that politics will always trump (no pun intended) principle in the current process.

I didn’t think Trump did well at all – he didn’t suck – but all Hillary did was repeat canned phrases from her campaign commercials. It was like she was reading a script – but with Lester Holt “fact checking” every “a”, “and” and “the” out of Trump’s mouth, this “debate” was tailor made for her to just spout off sound bites without challenge. Trump didn’t hurt himself but I don’t see it as a win. His optics were awful – his facial expressions made him look as if he was sucking a lemon all night. His rambling answers and third grade playground ruffian style just turn me off…but on the other hand, Hillary is the daughter of Satan so she has that going for her. …

These “debates” are a farce. Have a real one. Have a single topic, let them go at it for 90 minutes and then have an independent panel decide the winner on points just like a real debate. These televised food fights are a waste of time and are always an advantage to the candidate favored by the media – the Democrat.

Another Facebook Friend, a reluctant Trump backer, adds:

Observation: Trump couldn’t explain how to flush a toilet properly, but it would be beautiful, that I can tell you. He HAS the right ideas (on many, many things), let there be no doubt, but his mind is a disarranged gallimaufry of half-remembered talking points that collectively equal balderdash. He is incapable of ordering and then explicating his thoughts in a coherent manner verbally, from a starting point to a conclusion normally, but especially so during a “debate” when the moderator is interrupting and Hillary is sniping back from the other side of the stage thus constantly discomposing an already-terribly incoherent man. It flustered and frustrated and aroused his anger. Devastatingly so. …

It is entirely Trump’s fault for allowing himself to be baited so easily, and failing to be able to respond in anything better than what will be depicted in political cartoons in the papers today as a sputtering, infuriated, confused old crackpot totally out of his depth, and totally outclassed. By Hillary. In the first 20 minutes.

Of course, it’s possible to win on style and lose on substance. Edmund Kozak:

Clinton’s nose began to grow from the very start, as she asserted that the nation needs to “finally guarantee equal pay for equal work” for women in her opening statement. The notion that women on average do not receive the same pay as men — the 77 cents to a dollar myth — has been proven false repeatedly.

The fact is that it is already illegal to pay men and women different wages for the same work if they have the same experience. The 77 cents myth is derived from looking merely at average income accrued over a lifetime, and ignores the fact that men on average tend to work longer hours, often work in higher paying industries, and spend more active years in the work force.

When confronted by Trump about her former strong support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Clinton claimed that she “hoped it would be good deal.” The truth of course is that she called it the “gold standard” of trade deals.

Clinton also advocated raising taxes on the wealthy based on the premise that they do not currently pay enough. “I think it’s time to suggest that the wealthy pay their fair share,” she said. The truth is that America has the most progressive tax system in the developed world — the top 10 percent contribute over half of all income tax revenue.

Bizarrely, Clinton claimed that “slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn’t worked.” Her comment implied that slashing taxes on the wealthy is why the economy is in such poor shape currently. This is an odd thing to say, considering Obama has been in office for the better part of eight years and has done anything but slash taxes for anyone.

When Trump said he wished to lower the corporate tax rate, Hillary said: “We’ve looked at your tax proposals. I don’t see changes in the corporate tax rates … you’re referring to that would cause the repatriation.”

Clinton and her team couldn’t have been looking very hard, as Trump’s plan to lower to corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 is written quite clearly on the economic plan posted on his website.

Taking time to remind the country that Clinton’s success is due in large part to her surname, she asserted that “my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s.” Clinton, like all Democrats, loves to take credit for the financial stability of her husband’s presidency. Of course, it was the Republican-controlled Congress led by Newt Gingrich that blocked Clinton’s desired spending measures and balanced the budget.

Clinton also claimed that in being party to the Iran deal she helped “put the lid on Iran’s nuclear program.” But many said the deal guarantees no such thing. Indeed, it rests entirely on Iran’s acting in good faith and upholding their end of the bargain.

When Trump defended the use of stop-and-frisk policies in New York City, Clinton attacked them as unconstitutional and asserted “it was uneffective it did not do what it needed to do.” This is simply false.

“Data from the few cities that report police stops show their effectiveness,” Dennis C. Smith, professor of public policy at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, wrote in The New York Times in 2012 .

“My trend analysis with SUNY Albany professor Robert Purtell found that the increased use of stops correlated significantly with accelerating drops in most of the major crimes. A Harvard study of policing in Los Angeles under William Bratton, when crime dropped significantly, reported a surge in stops by the L.A.P.D. [with per capita stop rate higher than N.Y.P.D.],” Smith continued.

Perhaps Clinton’s most egregious lies were two concerned with emails. “I made a mistake using a private email,” Clinton said. Of course, Clinton didn’t use a “private email.” She used multiple private email servers. The word mistake implies Clinton didn’t know she was doing anything wrong, a claim belied entirely by the fact that so many of her aides and associates pleaded the Fifth or were granted immunity by the FBI — not to mention the fact that many of them engaged in the destruction of evidence and that she herself made false exculpatory statements.

Finally, in visiting her favorite Trump-Putin conspiracy theory, Clinton claimed that “Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans.” The truth, as is obvious from the context of his words, is that Trump was calling on the Russians to release Clinton’s missing emails in the event that they already had them.

The stop-and-frisk point is one Trump needs to hammer on repeatedly the rest of this trainwreck of a campaign, whether or not stop-and-frisk is constitutional. (Neither he nor his supporters care if it is, and you’ll never convince Hillary and her Black Lives Matter supporters that it is.) If people feel less safe, stop-and-frisk is a way for police to keep a constant eye on the bad guys. Trump also needs to keep hammering on Hillary’s horrible Iran deal, though, again, Hillary’s toadies will continue to claim, right up until the mushroom clouds materialize in front of their eyes, that we need to give money to Iran’s illegitimate government.

I watched about 10 minutes of the debate by accident. Trump was his usual blustering mouthy idiot, saying “bigly” twice and getting off one and only one good line, saying he’d release his income tax records when Hillary released her 30,000 deleted emails. Hillary looked like something the labs of Harcourt Fenton Mudd developed.

See if you can  make any sense of this Trump “statement”:

As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said, we should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t know if we know it was Russia who broke into the DNC.
She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. You don’t know who broke into DNC, but what did we learn? We learn that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of by your people. By Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Look what happened to her. But Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of. Now, whether that was Russia, whether that was China, whether it was another country, we don’t know, because the truth is, under President Obama we’ve lost control of things that we used to have control over. We came in with an internet, we came up with the internet.
And I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what ISIS is doing with the internet, they’re beating us at our own game. ISIS. So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is a, it is a huge problem.
I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing, but that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester, and certainly cyber is one of them.

Not a single viewer’s mind was changed last night. Not a single American should think either of these people (to use that term loosely) should be president.

 

What (doesn’t) cause terrorism

Over the weekend terrorist attacks took place in New York and, of all places, St. Paul, Minn.

And Scott Shackford reports:

Since this is an election revolving around blaming and punishing people, of course that’s where the political discussion went. Reminding us that they are both terrible on issues of free speech, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both had awful things to say about everybody’s civil liberties in the fight against terrorism.

Trump, [Tuesday] morning, on Fox & Friends, blamed the freedom of the press because of the publishing of magazines that instruct people on how to make bombs. He insisted that he believes in the freedom of the press (doubtful), but also called for anybody who provides instructions on how to build bombs to be arrested because they’re “participating in crime.” He also said some people who operate websites should also be arrested for “inciting violence. … They’re making violence possible. They should be arrested immediately” for operating websites that give instructions on making bombs. …

In typical Trump (and Fox & Friends) fashion, everything discussed is so vague as to be unclear what he means. Does he believe it’s a prosecutable offense to simply publish information that can be used to make bombs? It’s absolutely not, but it’s often worth trying to tease out the bigger issue Trump is trying to get at. I want to maybe guess that what he really wants to do is go after sites that are actively attempting to stir up terrorism on behalf of the Islamic State, but maybe that’s giving him too much credit. If he thinks that the providing of information is what makes the violence possible, then he’s got a problem because—even if it were legal for the United States to prosecute people simply for providing information that could be used for violent means—the ability to access information on the Internet doesn’t end at the U.S. borders. Who is he going to arrest?

Trump’s response is awful, but represents a commonly held attitude: Quite a few people want to censor information that can be used for violent means without actually thinking through the unintended consequences (maybe remind them of the court ruling that a school could ban patriotic apparel if it offended students and potentially stirred up violence).

Trust Clinton to match Trump with her own broadside against free speech in response to the attacks and to make it all about Trump himself. Clinton said that the things Trump says is being used as a recruitment tool for ISIS and flat out essentially accused him of treason (without actually using the word).

From New York Magazine:

“We know that a lot of the rhetoric that we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS,” Clinton said “They are looking to make this into a war against Islam, rather than a war against jihadists, violent terrorists — people who number in the, maybe, tens of thousands, not the tens of millions. They want to use that to recruit more fighters to their cause, by turning it into a religious conflict.”

Clinton went on to note that Trump’s comments have been used for the recruitment of terrorists online, according to former CIA director Michael Hayden.

“We also know from the former head of our counter-terrorism center Matt Olsen that the kinds of rhetoric and language Mr. Trump has used is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries,” Clinton continued. [emphasis added]

Not entirely sure how social signaling is going to help with the war on terror. Also not entirely sure it’s going to help with the election. When you’re accusing Trump of treasonous language, what are you saying about his supporters? Frankly, this statement is probably much nastier than the “deplorables” comment, but it’s probably too subtle to register to a lot of people. (David Harsanyi noticed over at The Federalist.)

And Clinton may not want to prosecute people for posting information that authorities deem dangerous, but she most certainly wants to fight terrorism by censoring the Internet, and she wants Silicon Valley to help. She endorses a very technocratic approach that assumes the right people and the right technology and the right algorithms will somehow make sure only the bad people get censored. But tell that to anybody who has had to suffer the abusive enforcement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Moving down the Bill of Rights, Brian Anderson (not the Brewers’ TV announcer) reports:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has suggested that a democratic gun control bill would have stopped these attacks and stated unequivocally that the legislation would stop any further attacks like them. So yes, the democratic leadership believes a gun control bill can stop terrorists from stabbing and bombing.

The democrats are pushing a bill that would ban people who are on the FBI terror watch list from purchasing a gun. It’s terribly unconstitutional because it strips a person of their rights without due process, but who ever said lefties give a shit about the Constitution or people’s rights?

“It’s hard to believe in America today an FBI terror suspect not allowed to fly on an airplane can walk into a gun story in Las Vegas, New York City, anyplace, and legally purchase explosives and assault weapons,” said Reid on Monday.

Are there any gun stores in New York City? I know for a fact that no one, including terrorists, can buy an “assault weapon” in NYC or anywhere else in the state because they were banned by the SAFE Act. I’m also pretty sure explosives are not for sale in the Big Apple. Is he trying to suggest that terrorists can walk into Sack’s Fifth Ave. and pick up some designer C4, and that somehow a gun control bill would stop this? Sadly, yes.

“We can argue from now on about whether this bill would have prevented this weekend’s attacks,” Reid said.

Only an idiot would argue that a gun control bill would stop terrorists from stabbing or bombing innocent people. Gun control laws don’t even stop bad guys from getting guns, so they sure as hell won’t stop them from getting knives or making improvised explosive devices.

If you think that was stupid, check out the punch-line:

“But one thing is for sure, it would prevent the next attack,” Reid finished.

Let’s think about this for a second. Reid is pushing his “no-fly no-buy” gun control bill that would keep people on terror watch list from being able to legally purchase a firearm. If it were to pass, a person would have to be on the list to be prevented from buying a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Most lone-wolf terrorists are not even on this list and it certainly doesn’t address the reality that criminals don’t purchase firearms legally and have absolutely no problem getting their hands on a gun.

And all of that ignores the fact that the terrorists in Minnesota and New York didn’t use a gun in their attacks. One used a bladed weapon and the other used homemade bombs. Not only won’t Reid’s pet legislation stop any future terrorist attacks, it wouldn’t have come close to stopping the attacks over the weekend.

On to the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments, Mediaite reports …

Speaking to supporters in Florida Monday, Donald Trump denounced that the alleged NYC bomber would be given hospitalization and legal counsel in accordance with his constitutional rights.

“Now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room,” Trump said.

The suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, an Afghan-born naturalized citizen, was injured in a shootout with the police Monday morning before being apprehended. The FBI said he was “directly linked” to the homemade bombs that appeared over the weekend in New York and New Jersey.

Trump continued: “And he’ll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is. And on top of all of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer. His case will go through the various court systems for years and in the end, people will forget and his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation.”

He argued for the need for “speedy, but fair trials,” as well as a “very harsh punishment.”

He also said that authorities must use “whatever lawful methods are available to obtain information from the apprehended suspect to get information before it’s no longer timely.” (Previously on the campaign trail, Trump has spoken of his enthusiasm for waterboarding and other methods of torture.)

Speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday evening, New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to Trump by saying, “Welcome to America. We have a system of jurisprudence. You’re innocent until proven guilty. You have a right to counsel. And you have the right to hospitalization if you’re ill.”

Cuomo added, “Let’s not lose ourselves in an effort to protect ourselves. We want to protect America. What is America? It’s the rights that we’ve established.”

He said, “I fear sometimes with this rhetoric that people are suggesting we lose what’s special about us in a way to protect ourselves. And that doesn’t work. It’s not who we are. Let’s preserve the system. Let’s be fair about it. Let’s keep our heads.”

Whether terrorists should be handled by the criminal justice system or the military is an interesting argument. In this country as of now, the criminal justice system handles alleged terrorists, and defendants have rights in the criminal justice system.

Perhaps a law should be created that requires political candidates to pass a test about the U.S. Constitution before they’re allowed on the ballot.