Democratic National Coven: Kaine, Biden, Obama [Ace of Spades HQ]

Boo-yah, we smashed your glass ceiling. There was a ghost behind it. #ImWithHer #BustTheCeiling #Ghostbusters pic.twitter.com/Q9ZCHkIVRR— Ghostbusters (@Ghostbusters) July 27, 2016 A commenter mentioned the Red Letter Media guys tore this piece of shit apart. Here's that review. I may...

Fun Blow Off Thread I'm Too Burnt to Even Think of a Topic For [Ace of Spades HQ]

So it's time for a new thread but it's gonna be a loooong night (Tim Kaine, Joe Biden, Barack "ISIL" Obama) and I don't feel like writing about news or fighting with our priest caste so do me a solid...

Paper Publishes What Are Alleged to be Jackie's "Catfishing" Emails as "Haven Monahan" [Ace of Spades HQ]

I argued, correctly, that this is not catfishing, but George Glassing. A stupid world, uncaring of what words mean, has made me an ignored dissenter and an internal exile. So "catfishing" it shall be. I submit to the dumb temporal...

Hillary Clinton Suddenly Admitting Her Deleted Emails Contained All Sorts of Sensitive "National Security" Information [Ace of Spades HQ]

Previous claim: the deleted emails contained wedding plans and yoga routines; no big deal if they were on an unsecured system. New claim: Trump is endangering "national security" by suggesting Russia release these completely-innocent emails. Mollie Hemmingway has a good...

Trump's Daily Outrageous Statement and Chesterton's Open Field [Ace of Spades HQ]

Today, Trump -- half-jokingly, but, I think it's fair to say, only half -- said he hopes Russia searches its records for the emails it already hacked from Hillary and lets the rest of us see them. This has provoked...

All Remaining Charges in Freddie Gray Case Dropped; Marilyn Mosby Blames Police for Shoddy Investigation [Ace of Spades HQ]

Yeah. So. The day started with a pretrial hearing for Officer Garrett Miller -- who had faced assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges. But instead of pretrial motions, Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow told the judge that...

Ooof: LATimes Poll Puts Trump at 47, Hillary at... 40 [Ace of Spades HQ]

Bounce. Last night wasn't particularly useful for Hillary. Bill Clinton, I would argue, basically swung the election for Obama in 2012. After all the good work Romney did in his convention, Bill Clinton came out and rebutted every claim made....

Mid-Morning Open Thread [CBD] [Ace of Spades HQ]

The Crusaders Reach Jerusalem Designed by Domenico Paradisi (Italian, active 1689-1721) What? No...There is no point to this choice. It's a complete coincidence....

Wednesday Morning News Dump (7/27/16) [Mis. Hum.] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Its official Cankles Clinton is the Dem nominee DNC lawyers in hot water Ice Bucket Challenge leads to ALS discovery This Obama is voting for Trump Jokers & clowns House arrest in France is something else Miss Cleo RIP...

Overnight Open Thread (7-26-2016) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Quote of the Day I - Motives Unclear Edition Such is the state of affairs in Germany right now that there were two horrifying attacks by refugees in a single day yesterday. A Syrian refugee in a town south of...

Cop Killin' Night at the Democrat National Coven [Ace of Spades HQ]

Not cop killers, but a lot of agitation for killing more cops than are already being killed, as "Mothers of the Movement" of slain black men will agitate the crowd. Remember, when Trump brought out family members of people slain...

Update and new PETs from trio [Barry's news]

Forum member trio has developed some great PETs for tweaking the desktop themes.

I have updated these two:

JWM Theme Maker

GTK Theme Maker 1.9.4

There is a new PET created by trio:

SVG Wallpaper Maker 1.8.3

I have added the latter to the next build of Quirky.

The problem though, is SVG Wallpaper Maker does not yet work in Quirky. It does work, in that I can create a wallpaper, however Qwallpaper does not display it.
Also "Setter" button in wallmaker fails, as there is no executable "wallpaper".

...mere details!


Bruce Hawker, allegedly reporting for Sky News from the Democratic National Convention, describes a magically cohesive and supportive gathering where everybody is united in…


The great P.J. O’Rourke is speaking at the Sydney Opera House on August 9. Be there! I will.


“A priest was killed and another person was seriously injured following an attack at a church in Normandy, France, where officials said police killed two…

Hollywood Party (1934 film) [[Citation Needed]]

The film is notable for several disconnected sequences that have little connection with each other.


Apple Music Buys ‘Carpool Karaoke’ TV Series [Daring Fireball]

Cynthia Littleton, reporting for Variety:

“We love music, and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services. “It’s a perfect fit for Apple Music — bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favorite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride.”

The most recent installment with first lady Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott has grabbed nearly 32 million views on YouTube since July 20. “Carpool” segments to date have generated more than 800 million views, according to CBS.

Apple is definitely getting into content.

Apple Q3 2016 Quarterly Results [Daring Fireball]

iPad revenue is up, services are up, everything else is a bit down. But the overall results are slightly better than expected.

Photographer sues Getty Images for selling photos she donated to public [Ars Technica]

This photograph, like nearly all of Carol Highsmith's, is donated to the public via the Library of Congress. (credit: Carol Highsmith / This is America! Foundation)

A well-known American photographer has now sued Getty Images and other related companies—she claims they have been wrongly been selling copyright license for over 18,000 of her photos that she had already donated to the public for free, via the Library of Congress.

The photographer, Carol Highsmith, is widely considered to be a modern-day successor to her photographic idols, Frances Benjamin Johnston and Dorothea Lange, who were famous for capturing images of American life in the 19th and 20th centuries, respectfully.

Inspired by the fact that Johnston donated her life’s work to the Library of Congress for public use in the 1930s, Highsmith wanted to follow suit and began donating her work "to the public, including copyrights throughout the world," as early as 1988.

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Apple sells its billionth iPhone, year-over-year decline be damned [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / Over one billion of these things have been sold. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple has sold fewer iPhones in the last two quarters than it did last year, but it's still selling plenty of them. Apple CEO Tim Cook proclaimed today that the company has sold one billion iPhones since the launch of the original device back in 2007.

Recent slump aside, the iPhone's astronomical growth rate means that nearly half of those iPhones have been sold within the last two years; about 472 million of those phones were sold between Q3 of 2014 and Q3 of 2016.

For his part, Cook expects the iPhone's slump to be temporary, and he has blamed the year-over-year drop on the abnormally high number of upgraders who bought an iPhone 6 after it came out—the 6 and 6 Plus were Apple's first large-screened phones and there was a lot of pent-up demand. New iPhones (possibly without headphone jacks) are due in the fall, and we'll need to wait until then to see if new models can restart the phone's steady growth.

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Getting tomatoes to ripen without going soft [Ars Technica]

(credit: Delaware.gov)

Soft, juicy, delicious tomatoes were a feature of my childhood and are still available from the plants I grow each summer. However, they've largely vanished from stores. The ripe fruits don't hold up well to shipping, so producers have focused on growing variants where mutations have partially blocked the ripening process. These tomatoes stay firm longer, but it comes at the cost of texture and flavor—as well as a decline in their nutritional value.

Now, researchers seem to have identified an enzyme that specifically helps soften the tomato during the ripening process. By knocking its activity down, they've interfered with softening while leaving other aspects of the ripening process intact. The result is a ripe fruit that can sit at room temperature for two weeks and still remain firm.

In some ways, the surprise of these results isn't that they happened; it's that they took so long. A high-quality tomato genome sequence was first published in 2012, and it allowed researchers to identify more than 50 genes that were likely to encode proteins that could modify the plant cell wall. Four of these genes appeared to be active at high levels in the ripening fruit, and so these genes were targeted through genetic engineering.

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Seeing the Xbox Design Lab work from Web interface to couch reality [Ars Technica]

Back in the day, if you wanted a specially colored game controller, too bad. Gamers were stuck with the system default (unless you bought a cruddy third-party pad, of course). The N64 was the first system to buck that trend, launching 20 years ago with six default controller colors. This many years (and consoles) later, the novelty has worn off.

Or, has it? At this year's E3, Microsoft announced that players could head to Xbox Design Lab to really customize their Xbox One controllers by letting them pick seven discrete color options spread across its body and buttons. We had a chance to see a few sample pads during the conference, and now we've gone and gotten ourselves a pair of fully customized pads.

As a result, we've observed exactly how Xbox Design Lab's $80-$90 controllers look from Web-store interface to couch-combat reality—but we've also gotten to see their biggest Bluetooth-related shortcoming for now.

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Intel’s Core M Compute Stick is an actually usable computer with caveats [Ars Technica]

Back in January at CES, Intel showed us a full range of mini desktop PCs that it has been releasing steadily over the course of the year. The first was a new, inexpensive version of its Compute Stick, followed by a new, mainstream Skylake NUC, and finally a quad-core NUC box that wasn't quite like anything the company had done before.

Now Intel has sent us the last device we learned about at the beginning of the year: a Core m3-powered version of the Compute Stick that sits somewhere between the Atom version and the Skylake NUC on the price and performance spectrum. It looks more or less like the Atom version we've already seen, but it introduces a few neat ideas (and enough performance) that it's actually plausible as a general-use desktop computer.

The bad news is the price tag, which at $380 (with Windows, $300 without, and XXX with Windows and a Core m5) is pretty far outside the sub-$150 impulse-buy zone that the other Compute Sticks exist inside. So how well does it work? What compromises do you make when you shrink a decent laptop's worth of power into a stick? And how big is the niche for a relatively powerful, relatively expensive stick-sized desktop, anyway?

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Xiaomi takes on the MacBook with the $750 “Mi Notebook Air” [Ars Technica]

Overnight, the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced that it's jumping into the laptop market with the launch of the definitely-not-MacBook-inspired Mi Notebook Air. For now, the Windows 10 devices only have a release date in China.

The 13.3-inch version is about $750 (RMB 4999) and has a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U (Turbo up to 2.7GHz), 8GB of DDR4 RAM, an Nvidia Geforce 940MX, a 256GB PCIe SSD with a factory expandable SATA SSD slot, and 802.11AC Wi-Fi. The 13-inch version measures 309.6mm x 210.9mm x 14.8mm (12.18" × 8.3" × 0.58") and weighs 2.82 pounds (1.28kg). Xiaomi is claiming a "9.5 hour" battery life.

If you're looking for something a little smaller, there's the $525 (RMB 3499) 12.5-inch model. That version has an Intel Core M3 with integrated graphics, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and 802.11AC Wi-Fi. The device weighs (1.07kg), measures 292 x 202 x 12.9mm (11.5" × 7.95" × 0.51"), and has a claimed "11.5 hours" battery life.

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Unified Patents files legal challenges against top three patent trolls of 2016 [Ars Technica]

A once-upon-a-time company called "BusCall" advertised its product in a video, pictured here. Its patents have become the basis for hundreds of lawsuits against companies that use vehicle and package tracking. (credit: BusCall)

The three biggest patent trolls of this year will all soon face new legal challenges to their most valuable "inventions."

Unified Patents, a company that focuses on invalidating patents through the use of the inter partes review (IPR) process, has filed challenges against patents belonging to the three most litigious "non-practicing entities" of 2016. In late June, the company challenged Uniloc's patent on DRM. Last week, it filed papers against a company called Sportbrain Holdings, which makes wide patent claims over fitness tracking devices. On Monday, Unified challenged Shipping & Transit LLC, formerly known as ArrivalStar, a company that has demanded payments from hundreds of small companies—and even city transit systems—for using GPS vehicle tracking or sending package tracking numbers in e-mail.

The IPR process, created in 2012, has proven effective at knocking out patents that the Patent Office says shouldn't have been issued in the first place. Many private companies have used IPRs, as have third-party organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which challenged the podcasting patent.

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Some Surface Pro 3s with catastrophic battery life may get a software fix [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / Surface Pro 3. (credit: Peter Bright)

Microsoft says that it is going to release a software update for Surface Pro 3 systems that should restore their battery life without requiring any hardware fixes.

Over the last few months, there have been scattered claims that some Surface Pro 3 systems are suffering from extremely poor battery life. Some amount of battery degradation over the lifetime of a system is to be expected, but some owners of Microsoft's tablet computer are saying that battery life has dropped to as little as one to two minutes, which is far below what it ought to be, even after many charging cycles.

Windows' own battery health reporting shows that the charge capacity of affected batteries has dropped precipitously, from the 42Wh they started with to, in some cases, less than 0.2Wh.

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Critics blast Trump calls for Russia to locate missing Hillary Clinton e-mails [Ars Technica]

In comments that appeared to condone the hacking of sensitive US correspondence, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday said he hoped Russia locates missing e-mails sent by Hillary Clinton when she was US secretary of state.

"Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing," Trump said during a news conference. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That'll be nice."

Donald Trump on Russia missing Hillary Clinton e-mails (C-SPAN).

At the same event, Trump also said, "I'm not gonna tell Putin what to do. Why should I tell Putin what to do?... It's not even about Russia or China or whoever it is that's doing the hacking. It's about the things they said in those e-mails. They were terrible things." A video of the entire news conference is here.

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A new app reveals apocalyptic history behind novel Frankenstein [Ars Technica]

An iOS app called Summer of Darkness was released earlier this summer, just in time for the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. What few people remember is that Shelley wrote Frankenstein during a terrifying summer in the Swiss Alps, after a massive volcanic eruption at Mount Tambora in Indonesia caused weather across the globe to turn grim and cold. Many Europeans believed this disaster-induced climate change meant the world was ending. Summer of Darkness recreates this historical moment with daily updates from the writings of four famous authors who traveled together that summer.

Trailer for Summer of Darkness, a literary history app by Andrew Sempere and Anindita Basu Sempere.

Shelley spent the apocalyptic months between May and September touring the Swiss Alps. She was joined by a group of literary friends, including poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who would soon become her husband, as well as writer John Polidari. Spurred by a writing challenge from Byron and the terrible weather, the group wrote ghost stories. Two of those stories, Shelley's Frankenstein and Polidari's Vampyr, gave birth to new genres of popular fiction. Meanwhile, Byron and Percy wrote poetry together in a blaze of productivity kindled by their new friendship.

Summer of Darkness offers a fascinating look at the lives of these writers, as well as the events that inspired their creativity that year. The app was built by designer Andrew Sempere and author Anindita Basu Sempere, an American couple who have been living in Switzerland for many years, surrounded by the same landscapes that Shelley and her friends saw two centuries ago. As you read snippets of letters, poems, memoirs, and stories by the group, the app provides beautifully rendered maps to show where exactly each person was as the summer unfolded. Brief flashes of rain and lightning illuminate the screen behind the text, providing a delightful but non-invasive hint of atmosphere. You receive updates to unlock material as the summer unfolds in real time, and if you download the app now you can consume all the past updates in one glorious binge. New updates continue into September.

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Tor inquiry: “Many people” reported being “humiliated” by Appelbaum [Ars Technica]

Jacob Appelbaum is a former Tor staffer. (credit: SHAREconference)

The Tor Project said Wednesday that its internal investigation has been completed into allegations of sexual misconduct allegedly perpetrated by one of its most prominent staffers, who has since left the organization.

In a statement, Executive Director Shari Steele wrote that the inquiry concluded that "many people inside and outside the Tor Project have reported incidents of being humiliated, intimidated, bullied, and frightened" by Jacob Appelbaum, a now-ex-member of Tor’s "Core Team," adding, "and several experienced unwanted sexually aggressive behavior from him."

The Tor Project is the Massachusetts-based nonprofit that maintains Tor, the well-known open source online anonymity tool.

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Verizon talking to cities about fiber expansion after years of stagnation [Ars Technica]

(credit: Virginia Tech)

As Verizon plans a fiber expansion in Boston, CEO Lowell McAdam yesterday said the company is talking to other cities about potentially building fiber networks.

Verizon stopped expanding its FiOS fiber-to-the-home Internet, TV, and phone service several years ago, making it a surprise when in April the telco announced plans to replace its copper network in Boston with fiber. In an earnings call yesterday (see transcript), McAdam said, "We are talking to other cities about similar partnerships."

Verizon's fiber expansion plans are as much about improving backhaul to its more profitable mobile network as they are about bringing wired Internet to people's homes. "We will create a single fiber-optic network platform capable of supporting wireless and wireline technologies and multiple products," McAdam said.

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Massive genome analysis suggests life first thrived in hot springs [Ars Technica]

Features of how DNA, RNA, and proteins are built and metabolized are common to every living thing we've looked at, suggesting they were inherited through common descent. While life may have arisen more than once, it appears that only one lineage has survived down to the present day.

If you could trace living lineages back far enough, you'd arrive at an organism that's the ancestor to every living thing: the last universal common ancestor, or LUCA. This idea has naturally led to a lot of speculation about what LUCA might have looked like. In the latest effort to offer some informed opinion, scientists have performed a clever genomic analysis to identify some of the genes that were probably in LUCA. Those genes, in turn, allow us to infer something about how LUCA lived and what environments it inhabited.

Building trees

Various analyses have indicated that organisms with complex cells (eukaryotes) are a relatively recent development on Earth—assuming you're willing to call something over two billion years old "recent." Two other lineages, bacteria and archaea, go back much further. LUCA sits at the point where bacteria and archaea started to diverge. So if you can identify genes that have been inherited by both of these lineages, they probably were present in LUCA's genome as well.

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Preliminary price tag on SpaceX’s Red Dragon mission: $300 million [Ars Technica]

In this conceptual image, eight SuperDraco thrusters fire as a Dragon spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere at supersonic speeds. (credit: SpaceX)

In April, when SpaceX announced an ambitious mission to land an uncrewed Dragon spacecraft on Mars by 2018, one of the biggest questions was how much the private rocket company would spend on this venture. Now we have a ballpark estimate: $300 million.

During a meeting of NASA's Advisory Council Tuesday, one of the agency's deputy associate administrators, Jim Reuter, provided an overview of NASA’s agreement with SpaceX, SpaceNews reports. NASA estimated that it would spend about $32 million on the mission, with SpaceX spending about 10 times as much.

The agency and the company have a Space Act agreement that bars the transfer of funds, but the agreement will allow NASA to assist SpaceX with some technical advice. NASA can also gather critical information about the Martian atmosphere and get tips on how to slow a large spacecraft descending toward the planet's surface. It's also likely that NASA, with its assets in orbit around Mars, will help facilitate communication between the Red Dragon and Earth.

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Telegram app vuln recorded anything macOS users pasted—even in secret [Ars Technica]

(credit: amalthya)

A bug in the Telegram Messager app logged anything its users pasted into their chats in its syslog on macOS, even if they had opted for the end-to-end encrypted "secret" mode.

The vulnerability was spotted earlier this month by Russian infosec operative Kirill Firsov, who directly and publicly challenged Telegram's flamboyant founder and chief Pavel Durov about the app's latest security flaw.

In an angry reply, Durov admitted that the vuln existed, but insisted it "applies only to texts that were copy-pasted from clipboard, and such texts are open to all other Mac apps anyway."

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Florida judge: Bitcoins aren’t currency, so state money laws don’t apply [Ars Technica]

(credit: Noah Coffey)

A Florida judge has decided in favor of a bitcoin vendor charged with violating local money-laundering laws, because, she found, the cryptocurrency is not money as defined under state law.

“The Florida Legislature may choose to adopt statutes regulating virtual currency in the future,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler wrote in her Monday opinion. “At this time, however, attempting to fit the sale of bitcoin into a statutory scheme regulating money services businesses is like fitting a square peg in a round hole.”

According to her eight-page opinion, a Miami police detective began investigating local bitcoin sales in the area in 2013 after learning more about it from a local and federal task force led by the Secret Service. Detective Ricardo Arias then started looking at postings on localbitcoins.com, a website where people can arrange in-person bitcoin sales for cash, often anonymously. One vendor, “Michelhack,” offered 24-hour availability and only wanted to meet in public places, which Arias thought might be suspicious.

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East Texas judge backs off restrictive “abstract” patent motion rules [Ars Technica]

US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas hears more patent cases than any other federal judge. Last year, he installed a set of controversial rules for those cases, leading to rare public criticism. Changes to Gilstrap's order (Word file), dated last week, suggest some of those rules have been withdrawn.

Section 101 of the US patent laws is what the Supreme Court has deemed bans overly abstract patents. Since the high court decided Alice v. CLS Bank in 2014, Section 101 has become more important, since courts have been reading it as banning many software patents that recite basic processes.

Last year, the patent rules for Gilstrap's court held that defendants seeking to file a motion under Section 101 "may do so only upon a grant of leave from the Court after a showing of good cause, which shall be presented through the letter briefing process."

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Nintendo suffers huge first-quarter loss as Wii U and 3DS sales tumble [Ars Technica]

While Nintendo tried to temper expectations and the impact of augmented reality game Pokémon Go ahead of its financial results, its latest quarterly earnings still make for surprisingly bad reading. Compared to the same quarter last year, Nintendo saw net sales drop 31 percent from ¥90 billion (£651 million, $853 million) to ¥62 billion (£448 million, $587 million) with an operating loss of ¥5.1 billion (£37 million, $48 million).

While the company blames "foreign exchange rates" and "significant yen appreciation" for the loss, the reality is that hardware and software were down across the board, and software growth has been minimal. Nintendo sold 220,000 Wii U consoles, a 53 percent decrease year-on-year, bringing the total number of consoles sold to just over 13 million. Wii U software sales rose a mere three percent to 4.7 million units.

Meanwhile, 3DS hardware sales dropped seven percent to 940,000 units, but software fared a little better, rising seven percent to 8.5 million units off the back of games like Kirby: Planet Robobot and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright/Conquest. Even Amiibo sales, which have been a bright spot for the company of late, remained flat due to "a lack of new titles that are compatible with Amiibo." Sales of downloadable games and content were also down year-on-year.

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How DNC, Clinton campaign attacks fit into Russia’s cyber-war strategy [Ars Technica]

An attendee at the first day of the Democratic National Convention protests the DNC's treatment of Bernie Sanders, as hinted at by e-mails exposed by an alleged Russian hack. (credit: Chip Somodevilla , Getty News Images)

The well-timed leak of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, following a long-running breach of the DNC's network, is a masterful piece of information warfare. The leak may only be the beginning of an effort to shape the US presidential election, or it may be a backup plan triggered by the exposure of the long-running breach. But the hacking of the DNC and the direct targeting of Hillary Clinton are only parts of a much larger operation by Russia-based hackers who have breached a number of US government networks.

Evidence collected by the security firm CrowdStrike and forensic work by Fidelis point to the breach being caused by two "threat groups" associated with Russian intelligence organizations. A pair of reports published in June by SecureWorks suggests that the same threat groups conducted phishing campaigns against the e-mail addresses of the DNC. The same attackers targeted the addresses of Clinton campaign staffers, political consultants, journalists, and current and former members of the military, among others.

At a minimum, this suggests that the DNC breach was part of a larger intelligence collection operation. The leaked data from the DNC breach, however, may have been intended to create chaos and uncertainty around the election. But why would the Russian government open that can of worms? It's possible that this fits into a larger Russian strategy aimed at splintering NATO and countering what Russia has seen over the past decade as encroachment by the West on Russia's national interests.

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I Have A Problem With Peter Beinart's Problem [JustOneMinute]

Via Glenn, Peter Beinart in The Atlantic flags a problem with Bill Clinton's speech to the Democratic Convention (CNN transcript): But the worst moment of the speech came near its end, when Clinton began to riff about the different kinds...

In The Mailbox: 07.26.15 [The Other McCain]

— compiled by Wombat-socho OVER THE TRANSOM First Street Journal: #DemsInPhilly – So Appropriate To Hold It In The City Of Brotherly Love! EBL: 60 Minutes Decides Not To Air Clips About DNC’s Efforts To Undermine Sanders Candidacy Michelle Malkin: “Tough Guy” Trumpka’s Blood-Stained History Twitchy: Sandernistas Spoil Historic Moment Of Party Unity By Staging […]

Just how high might the national debt go under Clinton and Trump? [Publications – AEI]


The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget offers the above updated chart on how the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump economic plans would affect the national debt over the next decade. But these numbers will surely change as the campaign slogs on. For instance: Clinton has talked about adding a middle-class tax cut, while Trump might revise his tax plan so it loses a lot less money.

The post Just how high might the national debt go under Clinton and Trump? appeared first on AEI.

Americans don’t want science to create superhumans, at least not yet [Publications – AEI]


Americans are less religious than they used to be, even less so than a decade ago. A Pew Research survey last year found, for instance, an 8% drop — to 63% from 71% — in the share of Americans who say they’re certain God exists.

I bring this up because of a new Pew survey on attitudes toward human enhancement. The technologies surveyed were (a) gene editing to give babies reduced risk of serious disease, (b) implanting brain chips to improve cognitive abilities, and (c) synthetic blood to increase speed, strength, and stamina. (I call that last option, the Captain America option.)

Some of the key takeaways are (a) most people are worried about such enhancements, (b) the more significant the enhancement, the more worried they are, and (c) the more religious people are, the more worried they are. Perhaps a continuing decline in religiosity will be accompanied by more societal acceptance of human enhancement.  If you don’t believe in God, then you probably aren’t worried about playing God.

One might also think that if we have future labor markets more rewarding of high cognitive abilities, society might want science to affect how nature distributes such abilities. And imagine if, say, China develops major breakthrough in these technologies, politicians might start warning of the national security implications of an “enhancement gap.” I would think public opinion could prove quite fluid on these issues.

The post Americans don’t want science to create superhumans, at least not yet appeared first on AEI.

Links and quotes for July 27, 2016: CEO personalities, exhaustion as status symbol, and more [Publications – AEI]

CEO Personality and Firm Policies – Steve Kaplan et al., NBER

Recent research in economics and finance has started to explore the relations between individual senior executive traits, investment and financing choices made by these executives, and firm performance. Very few papers, however, examine how (or whether) differences in personality traits are associated with executive decision-making and firm performance. We develop and validate measures of Big Five personality traits for CEOs and examine the associations between these measures and investment and financing choices and firm performance …

We find that openness is positively associated with R&D intensity and negatively with net leverage; whereas conscientiousness is negatively associated with growth. In performance tests, extraversion is negatively associated with both contemporaneous and future return on assets and cash flow. However, our results are descriptive and further work is necessary to understand the nature of the causal relations, if any, between personality and firm policies and performance.

How much is the selfie economy worth? – The Guardian

Could Paid Parental Leave Be Silicon Valley’s Next Big Disruption? – Pacific Standard

First time CEO in America — one biggest difference with Russia that I learned. – Medium

So, what’s the biggest difference between running a company in the USA vs. Europe? For me, the answer is quite clear, though complex at the same time. I call it a “sense of ownership”. Software developers in the US tech scene seem to have an understanding that no matter where they are positioned on the org chart, they own their part of the work. They value company stock and understand the way it works. With a sense of ownership comes a high level of shared responsibility. Engineers are truly motivated by company growth. In the event of liquidity, everyone with stock options walks home happy. Sounds obvious, right? If it does, congratulations — you most likely spent a good chunk of your adulthood in the United States of America.

In Russia, which in my opinion is still a country with a developing economic (one may argue that), a sense of ownership within the company barely exists.

Psychologists have long debated how flexible someone’s “true” self is. – The Atlantic

What this new understanding of personality means is that people are only introverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, and open to new experiences to the extent that their repeated patterns say they are. Genes certainly influence patterns of behavior (we have what Brian Little refers to as a “biogenic” nature), but there is nothing sacrosanct about being a certain way. With enough adjustments to these patterns over time, it seems that people can change who they are.

The Value of a Flawed Memory – WSJ  “It is commonly believed that storing a memory is like making a video, but long-term memories are never literal replays. They’re mental constructions of facts, inferences and imagined details that people patch together after the fact.”

At World’s Largest Hedge Fund, Sex, Fear and Video Surveillance – NY Times

How Exhaustion Became a Status Symbol – New Republic

First used in the 1970s to describe exhaustion suffered by workers in the social sector, “burnout” was characterized by increased cynicism and apathy, and a decreased sense of personal accomplishment. Since then, its application has widened to include all worn down, overburdened workers, especially in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, where burnout is a subject of regular media debate. Burnout, caused by workplace conditions rather than by a worker’s mental and physical composition, is depression’s more palatable, more prestigious cousin. As the German journalist Sebastian Beck puts it: “Only losers become depressive. Burnout is a diagnosis for winners, or, more specifically: for former winners.”

The post Links and quotes for July 27, 2016: CEO personalities, exhaustion as status symbol, and more appeared first on AEI.

How come it's not called... [halls of macadamia]

..."Black Lives Ended by Black People Don't Count"...

once upon a time

Somali Canadian and Black Lives Matter supporter Hana Jama said although “we don’t know ANYTHING” about what happened, “at the same time, we do know that the man who was beaten up by police was a black man, was a Muslim man, was a Somali man and was a mentally ill man.”
Actually Hana, we know a little more than that...
What is known is that police responded to 911 calls reporting Abdi grabbing women’s breasts inside a Hintonburg coffee shop. Once police arrived, they found Abdi. Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said Monday that the man continued to be “assaultive.” He fled the area and police pursued. He was physically taken down by officers some 270 metres away on Hilda Street.

No use of force by police is captured on video. It’s not clear if Abdi was conscious or breathing when the video was filmed.
Has anybody been following the Toronto news lately? It ain't the cops droppin' all those bodies. And it's a continent-wide problem...
"Less than 2% of our population commits more than half of all American gun murders. Thus, a very small percent of the US population commits most gun homicides."

RELATED: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling...

Have you had enough of this socialist fuckery yet?
All of the officers had pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys have said they acted reasonably and professionally, and that Gray's death was the result of a tragic accident.
Seriously... do a little research.


RELATED2: Spin any harder somebody's gonna get hurt..

Watch Jennifer O'Brien, Postmedia reporter, turn cartwheels to avoid using the word "Black"...insert alt text hereTry Googling "North Prestons Finest"... it's a little bit more than an "out-of-province" gang. Here's a question... why do young Nova Scotia girls lives not matter? We're way past simple criminality here... can you say "child slavery?"
Benjamin Perrin, a University of British Columbia faculty member who is involved with human trafficking research and activism, wrote extensively about NPF in his 2010 book Invisible Chains, calling North Preston "a place of Shakespearean irony" because of the town's conversion from a sanctuary for Black Loyalists (former American slaves) in the 1780s into the hub of a major gang that deals in modern-day slavery and drug and arms trafficking.
Maybe Mr Perrin could send a copy to "professional" journalist Jennifer?

The enemy of my betrayer... [halls of macadamia]

...might just have to be my new best friend...insert alt text here

Sanders, at times, struggled to calm his most ardent supporters, as TV cameras highlighted delegates in tears as he urged them to support Clinton. "Not for sale," some delegates screamed... "It's not over."
What did Bill's wife offer Bernie to make him roll over & submit?


RELATED: Hope and change, you say?

Truth AND Consequences... [halls of macadamia]

...in Torontostan...suckass political correctness"They say a picture is worth a thousand lashes."will of allah

Meade texts from the front yard. [Althouse]

Open thread... talk about anything.

"What stops us from looking at ourselves and seeing ourselves is that we’re kind of ugly, if we really, if we look really hard." [Althouse]

"We’re not who we think we are. We’re not, uh we’re not as wonderful as we think we are."

Said Bill Murray, back in 2014, in an interview with Howard Stern, quoted in a new NYT article — by David Segal —  titled "Confessor. Feminist. Adult. What the Hell Happened to Howard Stern?/Scattered among the gleefully vulgar mainstays are now intimate exchanges that have made Mr. Stern one of the most deft interviewers in the business."

That's one of the articles I read on my iPhone this morning before getting out of bed. I've had it in the back of my mind as something I might blog, and I thought of it just now as I was having a conversation with Meade about Bill and Hillary Clinton. The theory under discussion was that Bill and Hillary are not really of our generation but our parents' generation, even though they are only about half a decade older than us. What puts them in that earlier generation is that they don't believe in telling it straight and revealing their true selves. They think things need to be kept hidden and that what you say publicly needs to be a cover story. They never believed the 1960s credo Tell it like it is.

Why not tell it like it is? Let it all hang out — that's another 60s saying. I thought of what Bill Murray said: "What stops us from looking at ourselves and seeing ourselves is that we’re kind of ugly...." Not everyone thinks like that. "We’re not, uh we’re not as wonderful as we think we are." Not everyone thinks like that, but it is a way of thinking. You could also believe that everybody's beautiful. (Here's the song that plays in my head when writing that sentence.) You could take a flier on the belief that whatever you are is what you should be and it's perfectly good. What else are you going to do? You're you, and you're never going to be anyone else. Another 60s expression: Do your own thing. 

Did that make you think of Donald Trump? It seems that all roads lead to Donald Trump these days. And wouldn't you expect an article in the NYT about the greatness of Howard Stern as an interviewer would have something important about the Howard Stern interviews with Donald Trump, something as profound as the place where Howard took Bill Murray? Your NYT-mistrusting mind might be yelling at the computer screen: Not if it's anything that makes Donald Trump look good. Bill Murray was highlighted as the celebrity Stern opened up. If he opened up Trump in a similar way, we don't learn about from the NYT. Trump appears in the article, but only like this:

Mr. Stern...  is the same guy who, for years, traded misogynistic quips with anyone who was game, including, Donald J. Trump. In a 2005 phone interview, the two rated the looks of the cast of “Desperate Housewives.”

“Would you go out with Marcia Cross,” Mr. Trump asked, “or would you turn gay, Howard?”

“She’s got a good body,” he answered. “Just put a bag over her head.”
It's like one of those video  from the Democratic National Convention — those little videos displaying Trump saying something like "A woman who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10" so you can sit there staring and hating....

"Bill Clinton had a very difficult job last night: He was tasked with making it seem like Hillary would have been the nominee even if she wasn't Mrs. Bill Clinton, the wife of the former Governor of Arkansas and the former President of the US." [Althouse]

Wrote Tommy Duncan, in the comments to the previous post.

That made me think of this section of Bill Clinton's big speech:

Meanwhile, I was still trying to get her to marry me. The second time I asked, I tried a different tactic. I said, "I really want you to marry me, but you shouldn't do it." She smiled and looked at me like what is this boy up to. She said, "That is not a very good sales pitch." I said, "I know but it's true." And I meant it. It was true. I said, "I know most of the young Democrats our age who want to go into politics, they mean well and they speak well, but none of them is as good as you are at actually doing things to make positive changes in people's lives."

So I suggested she go home to Illinois or move to New York and look for a chance to run for office. She laughed and said, "Are you out of your mind? Nobody would ever vote for me." So I finally got her to come visit me in Arkansas. And when she did, the people at the law school were so impressed, they offered her a teaching position. And she decided to take a huge chance.

She moved to a strange place, more rural and conservative than anywhere she had been. Where she knew good and well that people were wondering what in the world she was like and whether they could or should accept her. Didn't take them long to find out what she was like....
It takes a third asking before she agrees to marry him, but she's already moved to Arkansas and begun living with (near?) him. He's linked her up with a job at the law school where he works. Why would she go and teach in Arkansas if not to be with him? There's a way that you go about getting a lawprof position if that's what you want, and the normal thing to do is to apply to the best schools in the places where you'd be willing to live and to see how well you can do.

Any graduate of Yale Law School would know to do that if she wanted to enter academia. You wouldn't just snap up a job because Arkansas happened to see you when you were in town and threw an offer your way. Obviously, she was stepping down career-wise in order to be with Bill — a man whose offer of marriage she'd already turned down twice.

I know, it's only the story he tells, certainly not the whole truth and possibly hardly true at all, but I'm analyzing the speech. Bear with me.

Later, he buys a house and she — liking the house?! — accepts his offer of marriage, but it's the decision to bag her high-level career and exile herself in Arkansas that's really important, and look why she does it. It's the idea that in Illinois or New York, she'll have trouble establishing a power base, and not just because these places are big, but because "Nobody would ever vote for me." Why not? And what does that have to do with marrying her fortunes to Bill?

We know the answer to that question. It's the basis of the statement in the post title. She had a lot but she lacked something crucial, political charisma. She's still got that problem, even after all those decades of hard work and dogged desire. Bill was the magic missing ingredient, and she needed that in him. I know that last phrase looks like double entendre, but I only mean to dangle that in front of you for your amusement, not because I believe it's true that she wanted him sexually. She wanted his charisma in her, merged with her, giving her what without which Nobody would ever vote for me.

Maybe watching the convention on C-SPAN isn't such a good idea. [Althouse]

I thought that by watching on C-SPAN, I'd do more blogging, but I ended up blogging nothing, despite watching hours and hours of material.

Maybe what's on CNN and Fox and the rest is the real show, and what's going on in the hall is just the background, so if you stick with C-SPAN, it's like watching raw footage from a riot. How can you watch for hours and hours?

There was the roll call. I watched a lot of that. One lady was very old. The people from the Mariana Islands had floral headdresses. Bernie Sanders's older brother was there and said something about his parents that got Bernie very emotional. There was no outburst when Hillary crossed the line to nomination, which was puzzling, but then Bernie participated to stop the roll call and go straight to acclamation.

There was a long parade of people, mostly women, onto the stage, sometimes in great crowds. It was a big stage, so it took a long time for people to walk up to the lectern and then, after they'd said whatever, to walk back out. Lena Dunham was one of the people. Also Elizabeth Banks, a celebrity I'd never noticed before but decided was really pretty.

There were some short — great, something was short! — videos of Donald Trump, little hate nuggets. These began with a title — something like "Future Possible President" — on top of an American flag. They had these Monday night too, so those people who were saying there were no American flags to be seen failed to notice the flags that began the Trump videos. They'd have a clip of something Trump once said that was supposed to make you think a person who said that should not be President. The one I remember is: "A woman who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10."

The most interesting thing chez Meadhouse last night was a discussion on the subject of how bad is it for a man to have said that. It's not like he said that in a political speech or interview. He just happened to say that once. I got rather literal about it. He didn't say this woman couldn't be a 10, just that it would be "very hard." And I note he also used "very" with the "flat-chested" part. The other 2 participants in the conversation, as I recall it this morning, didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with a man saying that, though all of us recognized that the statement has an effect on those who think a man should never express opinions about the attractiveness of women's bodies — whoever these people are.

The main thing last night — other than the ritual of the roll call (the cut-short ritual) — was a speech from Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was allowed to do his thing and talk and talk and talk. He went last and so: let Bill be Bill. Some people find him charming. But even those of us who do drift into when-will-it-end mode eventually or we've fallen asleep. Bill's idea for the speech was just to tell the story of his half century of life alongside of Hillary — tell it as if it's the most charming, beautiful tale of a guy from Arkansas who somehow got to weave his story together with the most hard-working do-gooder who ever appeared on Earth.

At Meadhouse, the feed got paused a few times to make comments about his failure to mention how he cheated on her time and again over the decades and how (we think) he's still doing it now. Was he never sexually attracted to her? Did they have an agreement about it and, if so, was it just don't let the public see what you are doing? These were topics of conversation during one of our many pauses.

You know, these pauses are only making the speech longer and longer and I'm falling asleep, the person not holding the remote control did not say, but she did fall asleep without hearing the end of The Wonderful Story of the Life and Times of Hillary and Bill Clinton. 

Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention. [Althouse]

Watch it with me. Hillary is nominated. That's the central fact, but there's got to be more going on here. Help me find something to talk about.

So After Six Months Of Legalized Open Carry In Texas, Is Blood Running In The Streets? [The Captain's Journal]


In the first panicked hours following the ambush on Dallas police officers, the department released a photo of a man carrying a long gun as a person of interest.

But he was the wrong guy—and one who never broke any laws by carrying that gun.

“I also don’t fault Dallas police for immediately listing that person as a person of interest,” said Ray Hunt with the Houston Police Officers Union. “Just like anybody else that had guns on the scene, they would be considered persons of interest. That’s just called clues in police work.”

The worklist for police has gotten longer as more people will be sporting pistols and handguns through the state’s open carry law, which took effect this year. And at any scene, it may require more resources.

“It may take another officer to be there to watch that person to make sure that person is not part of the problem,” Hunt said.

But the Houston Police Officers Union is more concerned about the public.

“The number of people who were gonna be calling, because they’re not used to seeing that,” Hunt said.

So far, it hasn’t seemed too problematic.

Since January, the Houston Police Department says out of the tens of thousands of calls a month, only 62 were weapon related.

And out of those, only 19 were actual open-carry situations.

Considering the shootings we have seen around the country, it’s possible people are hypersensitive to weapons. So for now, police can only hope that dispatchers will determine how serious the threat is.

“If we find out that someone is carrying and they’re allowed to be carrying we are allowed to disarm them during the investigation,” Hunt said. “And then give them their weapon back at the end.”

So I reckon the sky isn’t falling and the bodies aren’t stacking up in the morgue because of open carry.  So much for the hyper-dramatic hysteria by the gun controllers.

But on to something the article said about LEO interactions.  “If we find out that someone is carrying and they’re allowed to be carrying we are allowed to disarm them during the investigation,” Hunt said. “And then give them their weapon back at the end.”

You … have … got … to … be … kidding … me?  Is the Houston police department really doing this?  Seriously?  Previously I had said this about the practice of LEOs unholstering weapons from innocent citizens.

If you’re a LEO and you actually touch another man’s gun in the process of a stop, or you have a partner touch his gun, much less unholster it, “secure” it or anything else you think you are doing to it, let me be as clear as I can be.  You … are … an … idiot.  If your procedures have you doing this, then your procedures were written by idiots.  You can tell them I said so and send them this article.

You have no business risking NDs or taking possession of property that isn’t yours, even temporarily, and especially since you don’t know of modifications that may have been made to the firearm that would make it unfamiliar to you.

Don’t do it.  Just say no.  I wouldn’t walk up and presume to take possession of another man’s gun at a range or while in his home.  You have no business doing that either.  It’s weird, creepy, and unsafe.

It makes no one safer, and it makes everyone less safe.  So in light of this, I have two questions for the Houston PD.

  1. What basis in law gives you the authority to touch another man’s weapon if he isn’t being charged with any crime?
  2. Given that there is a step change downward in safety if you touch another man’s weapon like this, why do your procedures have your officers doing such a stupid thing?


Matt Bracken On Orlando Gun Carry [The Captain's Journal]

Matt Bracken’s article at WRSA or Ammoland is well worth your time.  In order to understand what I’m saying about it, you need to go read it.

For non-permissive environments, Matt has given a good option.  If it appears at the outset a bit absurd, consider why we have to do things like this to begin with.  This is why I prefer legal open carry.  Concealed carry means almost by definition that your weapon will be a “smallish” to medium frame gun.  With open carry it can be larger.  Additionally, you don’t have to bother with things like sweating your weapon in the summer, or the lack of comfort associated with IWB or ankle carry.

I personally wouldn’t engage in the OWB/concealed carry suggestion he advocates with improvised holsters, but if that works for you and you prefer it, then by all means do it.  I like much better the use of sacks, satchels, bags, and small backpacks for carry of a larger sidearm along with ammunition.  I also see a tactical light in his kit.  I never go on a road trip without one, and sometimes won’t even go down to the grocery store without one.

Development Release: Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 Alpha [DistroWatch.com: News]

Jeff Hoogland has announced the availability of the initial alpha build of Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, an upcoming major release of the Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a modified variant of the Enlightenment desktop called Moksha. This alpha build is available for 64-bit computers only: "Not only is our first 4.0.0....

Legal LULZ Du Jour [hogewash]

Judge Mason ordered that no further motions for sanctions should be filed in the Walker v. Kimberlin, et al. lawsuit until after the case is concluded.398855V DI 112So the Kimberlins have filed another motion for sanctions.

Paragraph 1 asserts that the “Defendants” served discovery on Aaron Walker. That isn’t true. Only Brett Kimberlin attempted to serve discovery. Tetyana Kimberlin did not sign either the request for production of documents or the deposition notice.SigBlock_1SigBlock_2In any event, nothing was properly served. Paragraph 1 also contains an admission that TDPK’s attempt to serve discovery on Aaron Walker was via “Priority Mail with a tracking number” instead of Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested as the judge had ordered. The motion spins further out of control from there.


UPDATE—Here’s the address found on the letterhead of the videographer’s bill attached as an exhibit to the Kimberlin’s motion.CRVideo letterheadHere’s the letterhead used by VelvetRevolution.US to file a bar complaint.VRUS letterheadThe sharp-eyed Gentle Reader may notice some similarities.

UPDATE 2—I’ll just leave this right here.

Domain ID: D168760206-LROR
WHOIS Server:
Referral URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2013-07-22T03:46:02Z
Creation Date: 2013-05-23T01:24:08Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2018-05-23T01:24:08Z
Sponsoring Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 146
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited
Registrant ID: CR143822451
Registrant Name: Brett Kimberlin
Registrant Organization: VelvetRevolution
Registrant Street: POB 9576
Registrant City: Washington
Registrant State/Province: District of Columbia
Registrant Postal Code: 20016
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.3013205921
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: jtmpinfo@comcast.net
Admin ID: CR143822453
Admin Name: Brett Kimberlin
Admin Organization: VelvetRevolution
Admin Street: POB 9576
Admin City: Washington
Admin State/Province: District of Columbia
Admin Postal Code: 20016
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: +1.3013205921
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: jtmpinfo@comcast.net
Tech ID: CR143822452
Tech Name: Brett Kimberlin
Tech Organization: VelvetRevolution
Tech Street: POB 9576
Tech City: Washington
Tech State/Province: District of Columbia
Tech Postal Code: 20016
Tech Country: US
Tech Phone: +1.3013205921
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax:
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email: jtmpinfo@comcast.net
DNSSEC: unsigned

For more information on Whois status codes, please visit https://icann.org/epp


Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

I think so, Brain … but if we met government specifications, we’d be elephants.

Democrats [hogewash]

I’ve heard they’re having their convention this week, but I have Real World things to attend to, so I’m not paying attention. Will someone please drop me a line when it’s over to let me know how it turns out?

Login [hogewash]

2016 JUL 27 04:19:00 UTC Home Page

UPDATE—2016 JUL 27 11:05:29 UTC Home Page
2016 JUL 27 11:07:52 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 2—2016 JUL 27 15:13:22 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 3—2016 JUL 27 16:15:13 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 4—2016 JUL 27 18:35:45 UTC Home Page

Meh [hogewash]

MU201607261753ZI’ve already been subjected to a couple of false criminal charges at the hands of Team Kimberlin. If a third false charge is filed, I’ll beat that one too. Therefore, before another malicious charge is filed, the person planning to do so should reflect on how I am now dealing with the first two and make sure that his vision of future is as clear as he thinks.

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

I think so, Brain … but do any of the aardvarks have commercial operator’s licenses?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

On Monday, Aaron Walker filed a motion for summary judgment against Tetyana Kimberlin in the Walker v. Kimberlin, et al. lawsuit. The text of the entire motion is posted at Scribd and can be read via the link below.

Here’s the TLDR—

Neither Brett nor Tetyana Kimberlin responded to the discovery requests served on them by Aaron Walker. Additionally, Tetyana Kimberlin did not serve any discovery requests on Aaron, either on her own or jointly with The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin. Therefore, she cannot offer any further evidence beyond what she has already put on the record, and Aaron maintains that because there are no disputed facts to be tried that relate to his claims against her and that those facts support his claims, he is entitled to summary judgment in his favor as a matter of law.

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

I knew that however bad the Republican party was, the Democratic party was much worse.

—Frederick Douglas

Logins [hogewash]

2016 JUL 25 10:31:44 UTC Home Page
2016 JUL 25 10:32:04 UTC Home Page

UPDATE—2016 JUL 25 16:06:33 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 2—2016 JUL 25 22:34:26 UTC Home Page

Dem convention, night three: Who’s up for 45 minutes of “that’s not who we are”? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Tonight is a bookend for Hopenchange twice over. It’s a bookend to Trump’s rise politically during the Age of Obama, at least if you believe the armchair psychologists who say O’s 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner speech goofing on Trump lit a fire under him to earn the respect of the political class. Obama was the one who unwittingly baited Trump into running for president; now he has to help drag Hillary over the finish line to prevent him from winning. In a larger sense, this is a bookend to Obama’s entire career as a national figure, which began in earnest with his speech at the 2004 Democratic national convention. That was his first attempt to define who Americans really are — not red states or blue states, he insisted, but United States. Twelve years later whatever unity there was at the time is all but gone, yet count on O to return to his favorite theme tonight and try to scold Americans into dumping Trump. He’s on the wrong side of history, his politics is “not who we are” — you’ve heard this song a thousand times and all it’s done so far is produce a Trump/Clinton election. But Obama will never give up on his heartfelt belief that if he can just explain to people how backward they’re being, they’ll come around. Perfect approach during a populist political climate, don’t you agree?

Actually, given free rein, I think Obama would prefer to vent his contempt for Trump at length rather than doing his “better angels of our nature” shtick, but that would probably backfire in being seen as unpresidential. O is an asset for Clinton right now because of his rising job approval and Hillary has a thousand other Democrats willing and able to attack Trump on her behalf. What she needs from Obama is help persuading the Bernie fans and minority voters who turned out for O but might not turn out for her to go to the polls this fall. Expect a heavy emphasis tonight from him that Hopenchange will all have been for naught if Clinton isn’t elected to protect his legacy. If anyone’s going to knife Trump tonight, especially over his game of footsie with Putin, it’ll be Biden. He’ll speak directly before O during the 10 p.m. hour. It’ll be a good cop/bad cop routine with Officer Joe punching Trump repeatedly before Sergeant Barack strolls in and tells everyone with a straight face that American greatness can only be achieved by electing Hillary Clinton, of all people, as president. To repeat my weeklong prediction: No convention bounce for Herself. We’ll see. Here’s your Twitter widget for real-time commentary from the Hot Air crew.

Federal judge frees would-be Reagan assassin [Hot Air » Top Picks]

“Many people may ask,” CBS reporter Paula Reid notes, “how is it possible that you can shoot four people, including a US president, and then walk free?” Unfortunately, anyone who followed this case knew that the day would come when the justice system would permanently release would-be Ronald Reagan assassin John Hinckley from his medical detention, thanks to the success of his insanity plea in 1981. Today, despite the mayhem Hinckley caused for the nation and his four victims, a federal judge made it official — albeit with some conditions:

A federal judge has granted John Hinckley, Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, full-time release from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he has been in treatment since the shooting.

Judge Paul L. Friedman delivered the ruling Wednesday, granting Hinckley, now 61 years old, full time convalescent leave to begin no sooner than Aug. 5.

CBS News’ Paula Reid reports that St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has a constitutional obligation to transition patients to outpatient care when they are ready. This case is not about the merits of whether an individual should be able to shoot four people, including a sitting U.S. president, and then be able to spend the last third of his life a free man. The hospital believes he is ready for this next step to independent living and is required by law to advocate for his release.

Hinckley has been half-out already for the last three years, spending 17 days per month at his mother’s residence. We noted this two years ago, when his attorneys first began petitioning for his full release two years ago. Thanks to the insanity-defense laws at the time of the assassination attempt — which, as Reid reminds us, were changed because of Hinckley’s success in using them — his release was all but inevitable. The wonder might be that it’s taken 35 years to effect.

The Department of Justice will keep an eye on Hinckley, and presumably so will the Secret Service, but the conditions placed on his release are hardly onerous. He has to carry a GPS-enabled smartphone while outside of the house, but has no other tracking systems placed on him. Hinckley has to conduct weekly conference calls with his treatment team, has to travel to DC for treatment once a month, and can’t move out of his mother’s house for one year — or more than 30 miles outside of Williamsburg after that. No media contacts, no contact with victims, no Googling his victims or himself as well as bars on weapons research and pornography, and no social-media accounts without getting unanimous approval from his treatment team, or presumably Hinckley would get recommitted.

Friedman issued a detailed, 103-page opinion in addition to his order that claims that Hinckley’s main mental illnesses “have been in full and sustained remission for well over twenty years, perhaps more than 27 years.” Friedman also found that the preponderance of evidence on potential danger for others and/or Hinckley himself shows that “Mr. Hinckley presents no danger to himself or to others in the reasonable future.” After having received the “maximum benefits possible in the in-patient setting” — a phrase sure to rankle the victims and their families — Friedman says it’s time to let Hinckley out on supervised “convalescent leave.”

Hopefully, he’s correct about the danger posed to others from this release. But there’s no getting around the fact that a miscarriage of justice occurred to allow this release at all, especially given the nature of the shooting and the far-reaching consequences a presidential assassination would have produced.

Addendum: Michael Reagan offered a remarkable thought on hearing the news:

Obviously he doesn’t speak for all the victims and families, but it’s definitely food for thought.

Today’s liberal hot take: Let’s charge Trump with a crime for asking Russia to find Hillary’s e-mails [Hot Air » Top Picks]

You want to charge Trump for goading Russia to release classified information after not charging Hillary for gross negligence in making that information easily available to Russia in the first place?

Am I awake?

“It’s probably the most egregiously stupid thing I’ve ever heard a party nominee say ever,” said Bradley Moss, a lawyer specializing in national security law.

Moss believes that there’s a legal case to charge Trump for his comments, because he was calling for Russia to take “imminent lawless action,” which is speech not covered by the First Amendment.

Moss added that Trump could theoretically be charged as a conspirator under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

“You could argue what Trump was urging Russia to do was hack Hillary’s server and release the contents to the media — conspiring with them to hack into a private server and release confidential information to the public,” Moss explained.

I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act but I will point out to you that Trump didn’t use the word “hack” this morning. He asked Russia to “find” her missing e-mails, which may sound like splitting hairs but would doubtless be flagged by his lawyers in court as proof that he wasn’t necessarily encouraging criminal activity. By “find” he could have meant obtaining them from a third-party who already has them. And he wasn’t talking about a prospective hack; he was assuming that they’d already harvested the contents of her private server years ago. He was encouraging a leak. The hack has, presumably, already happened.

As for “imminent lawless action,” I think that’s a reference to when incitement can and can’t be prosecuted legally under the First Amendment per Brandenburg v. Ohio. Under Brandenburg, you can locked up for inciting lawbreaking if what you say is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Trump’s arguably compromised on the first half of that insofar as he’s encouraging Russia to release classified material; how you would go about proving that what he said is likely to cause them to release it, though, I have no idea. The textbook case for incitement charges is when an angry mob is threatening to attack a person or his property and someone in the crowd yells “Get him!” The speaker in that case should know that saying something like that under the circumstances might lead to violence. In this case, there’s every reason to think the Kremlin’s going to do what it wants to do no matter what Trump says and really no reason to believe another leak is “imminent.” In fact, as pure politics, him egging them on to release what they’ve got is stupid since it leaves him open to blame if and when Russia really does doxx Hillary. Democrats will turn around and say, “Trump put them up to it! He’s working with the KGB to influence the election!” They’ve been saying that already this week but now they have a ready-made soundbite from the man himself that they can use to call him a Putin stooge.

It’s not just Moss who wants Trump in the dock. This is floating around this afternoon too:

Okay, I read it. That’s the statute for solicitation to commit a crime of violence. Hacking doesn’t involve “physical force.” And even if you want to overlook that, you run into the same problem above with “find” instead of “hack.” I think it’s fair to read what Trump said today as a wink-wink invitation to further hacking — his unofficial motto is “whatever helps Trump is good,” after all, therefore past, present, or future hacks that damage Clinton are good — but good luck convicting a guy of a speech crime beyond a reasonable doubt when he hasn’t even specified that he’s talking about illegal activity. That case would be hard enough even with a private citizen as the defendant. Trying to prosecute a presidential candidate for something said during a campaign press conference, no matter how gross, is off-the-wall looney tunes. A court would never allow it for fear that the judiciary would be seen as meddling in an election. (Meddling in U.S. elections is reserved for the Kremlin.) They’d leave it to voters to render a verdict.

All of this “let’s prosecute Trump” idiocy is really just rhetorical barfing at the spectacle of an American presidential nominee egging on Russian fascists to spill the state secrets his opponent negligently failed to protect. And even that barfing, I think, is aimed less at Trump himself than at the fact that he’ll pay no political price for this, that it’ll all be subsumed in partisan red/blue wagon-circling — the same way the left circled the wagons for Hillary for months over Emailgate. It’s the flip side of the point in the last paragraph: If you can’t trust voters to render a thoughtful verdict on something like this, the theory goes, you have to appeal to the courts. But in the meantime, the barfing continues:

Philip Reiner, a former National Security Council official in the Obama administration, called Trump a “scumbag animal.”

“Hacking email is a criminal activity. And he’s asked a foreign government — a murderous, repressive regime — to attack not just one of our citizens but the Democratic presidential candidate? Of course it’s a national security threat,” he added.

And William Inboden, who served on the NSC during the George W. Bush administration, said Trump’s comments were “tantamount to treason.”

“Trump’s appeal for a foreign government hostile to the United States to manipulate our electoral process is not an assault on Hillary Clinton, it is an assault on the Constitution,” said Inboden, who now teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.

“This just is beyond my own understanding of the responsibilities that candidates have to be loyal to their country and to their country alone,” said Clinton crony and former CIA chief turned Defense secretary Leon Panetta. “You’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics and I just think that’s beyond the pale.” You may hear something like that tonight from Biden and Obama. I’ll leave you with this, as a helpful remind for when and if you do:

Venezuela’s socialist government seeks to ban opposition party [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The grasping socialist government of Venezuela is doing what grasping socialist governments do when things get desperate: accusing the opposition of crimes. Yahoo News reports Nicolas Maduro’s government is actually moving to have the entire opposition party banned because of alleged voter fraud:

The Venezuelan government asked electoral authorities Tuesday to ban the opposition coalition seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a recall vote, accusing them of massive fraud.

Ratcheting up the tension in a country pushed to the brink of collapse by an economic crisis, Maduro’s camp hit back with a vengeance on the same day the opposition was hoping to get a green light to go ahead with its bid to hold a recall referendum.

“We have just asked for the cancellation of the registration of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), for being involved in the worst vote fraud in the country’s history,” said Jorge Rodriguez, Maduro’s designated aide to monitor the recall process.

The opposition party has been trying to get the government to approve a referendum on removing Maduro, something which is allowed under the country’s constitution. The first step in that process was collecting enough signatures to start the referendum process. Only 200,000 signatures were required for that initial step and, back in May, the opposition party turned in 1.8 million signatures, way more than what was required.

Yahoo News reports the socialists in power are now claiming to have found 11,000 signatures which they claim belong to dead people, children or convicts. The opposition disputes this but even if it’s true what about the other 1,789,000 signatures? Are all of those invalid too? Based on a claim to have invalidated a tiny fraction of the signatures the socialists are attempting to ban the entire opposition party.

Meanwhile, people stuck living under this horrible regime are starving, unable to find enough food to feed their families. As many as 100,000 people crossed the border just to shop a couple weeks ago. And the situation is worse for children who must go without needed medicines. Many of them will simply die while Maduro continues to stall and play for more time. If Maduro refuses to allow a constitutional challenge to his authority, he may find an unconstitutional one comes next.

Marco Rubio on Trump: Relax, he’ll learn on the job [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Via BuzzFeed, do the usual rules apply here about not holding a former candidate to anything he said about an opponent during the heat of a campaign? We all know that candidates need to distinguish themselves from each other and that attacks are a tool to do that. No one would begrudge Rubio criticizing Trump’s tax plan, say, and then deciding to endorse him anyway during the general election. That’s politics.

But not all attacks are equal. From February:

“This is the most important government job on the planet. And we’re about to turn over the conservative movement to a person that has no ideas of any substance on the important issues,” Rubio said in an interview Friday on “CBS This Morning.”

“The nuclear codes of the United States — to an erratic individual — and the conservative movement — to someone who has spent a career sticking it to working people,” he added.

It’s politics to dump on your opponent’s tax plan. Insisting that your opponent can’t be trusted with the nuclear codes is something else. What you’re hearing in this clip, especially in the second half when he gamely recites some reasons for supporting Trump, is Rubio’s shift from the most ardent anti-Trumper in the GOP during the primaries to the most prominent anti-anti-Trumper now. Plenty of Republicans can rattle off reasons for preferring Trump to Hillary but he’s the only one I can think of who made the case emphatically before that Trump is an existential threat not just to conservatism but, insofar as he can’t be trusted with a nuclear arsenal, to America itself. That’s some flip-flop. And the fact that Rubio brushes it off by treating it more or less as politics as usual apart from the boilerplate about how his differences with Trump are well known is amazing. It’s actually, and ironically, a Trump-like move in that it exposes professional politics as insincere nonsense motivated purely by self-interest. Remember how Trump used to goof on Rubio and Jeb Bush for claiming that they’re buddies despite the animosity between them? They hate each other, Trump said! The emperors have no clothes. The buddy stuff is garbage political politesse. Now here’s Rubio with his own upside-down version of that. “Remember when I said Trump was a threat to the United States? Yeah, well, just more political garbage. Don’t take anything I say seriously. He’ll learn on the job.”

Rubio’s been giving answers like this consistently for the past few months but listen to him build out the case for Trump in the last few minutes below. I wonder if that’s a reaction to the beating Cruz has been taken for telling convention-goers to vote their conscience. Cruz made a high-stakes bet that Republicans will reward him down the road for conspicuously refusing to endorse Trump. Rubio, watching the backlash to Cruz, may now be calculating that there’s more advantage in 2020 to being a good soldier no matter how ridiculous it makes his earlier criticisms of Trump look. Or maybe this is just how Republican super-hawks have conditioned themselves to cope with Trump’s foreign policy. Tom Cotton, another super-hawk, gave a similar answer recently when asked if he’s worried about Trump as commander-in-chief. His views will change once he starts getting intelligence briefings, Cotton insisted, no doubt sweating profusely at his own uncertainty. Ah well. The fact that Rubio gave this interview this morning at almost exactly the same time Trump was pleading publicly with Vladimir Putin to publish more classified information feels almost like karma for Rubio’s acquiescence in Trumpmania. Can’t wait for the next interview.

Live blog, Day three: Joe, Tim and Barack [Hot Air » Top Picks]


6:54pm Sen. Harry Reid in dark glasses, led onstage. Chants: “Harry. Harry.” : “I’ve spent a lot of time in a Republican Senate. So, it’s nice to be in a room that respects reason and facts….I give a never-ending tribute to our next president, Hillary Clinton…Donald Trump and Mike Pence wanna let big banks run wild again…I have never seen anything more craven than Mitch McConnell and what he’s done to our democracy…

“The only thing Republicans like Mitch McConnell have accomplished is setting the stage for a hateful con man, Donald Trump…Republicans who won’t stand up to trump believe in one thing and one thing only–party first. And this year 2016 they’ve gone even farther nominating the poster child of Me First.”

6:18pm Rev. Jackson still reading, head down, biting his lips. : “My words rang true in ’84 and they do today. If blacks register and vote in great numbers, progressive whites win. The only way they win. If blacks and Hispanics vote in great numbers, women win. When women win, children win….It’s healing time., It’s hope time. It’s Hillary time. I know it gets dark sometimes. But the morning cometh.”

6:14pm Rev. Jesse Jackson. Is he OK? He slowly dons eyes glasses and, head down, reads, sometimes mumbling, in a labored monotone from notes: “Tonight I stand proudly for the next president of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton. Let me also congratulate Bernie Sanders for energizing this campaign with hope. The Bern must never grow cold.

“We brand her trusted and tested and tried. Hillary can be trusted to appoint a fair Supreme Court. A skilled administrator including a man in place like Sen. Tom (sic) Kaine. She can be trusted to ban assault weapons…She can be trusted to honor the most progressive platform our party’s ever had. She will feel our pain and never forget us.”

6:02pm Debbie Almontaser, teacher: “To my fellow American Muslims, this November get out there and vote.”

5:32pm New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is in trouble and in the news elsewhere on this site. Read Jazz Shaw’s account here.

de Blasio is in Philadelphia: “Hillary Clinton will be armed with the most progressive agenda in modern times. One that rewards work instead of wealth. One that flips the script on economic polices of and by and for the one percent. From paid sick leave and paid family leave to universal pre-K and debt-free college.”

6:02pm Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, Pro-Choice America: “I wanted a family. But it was the wrong time. I made the decision that was best for me. To have an abortion and get compassionate care at an abortion clinic in my own community. Now, years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children….We need Hillary Clinton.”

4:56pm Speaking of endless conventions, did you know Democrats hold the record for longest ever. New York City. 1924. They took 15 days. And 103 ballots to pick John Davis to lose to incumbent Republican President Calvin Coolidge that fall.

Pssst. Here we go, Day 30 of the Democratic National Convention.

Oh, wait. No. It’s only Day 3. How time flies when you’re having so much fun. Here’s our quote and color highlights from Day Two.

4:48pm We’re kicking things off tonight with Eleanor Holmes Norton, ex-New Yorker, now House member from the District of Columbia. She wants D.C. to become the 51st state. Part of her argument centers on the fact that the District’s government spends more money on its civic budget than 13 states. Wow! Not good news for taxpayers, to be honest. But, hey, what do they know? And what does she care?

I interviewed this lady in the late 60s before she got the D.C. gig. “We are home to our most powerful institutions. Yet we have been denied our power as American citizens.” Maybe she should return to New York.

Whoa: DNC emails discuss rewarding donors with fed-gov’t appointments [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Old and busted: Most transparent administration ever! New hotness: The system is rigged, and not just in the Democratic primaries. The campaign-finance watchdog site Open Secrets reports that DNC e-mails published by Wikileaks show DNC officials apparently coordinating with the Obama administration to reward donors with appointments to boards and commissions:

Email exchanges involving top officials at theDemocratic National Committee released along with private documents by WikiLeaks show that DNC officials hoped to reward top donors and insiders with appointments to federal boards and commissions in coordination with the White House.

The revelations give an inside look into how the Democratic Party attempted to leverage its access and influence with the White House to bring in cash.

In an April 20, 2016 email, DNC National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan canvassed what appears to be the committee’s finance department – its fundraising office – for names of people (mainly donors) to reward with federal appointments on boards and commissions.

That email exchange yielded a list compiled by DNC Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer and emailed to Kaplan on April 26 titled “Boards and Commissions Names_Final,” which listed the names of twenty-three DNC donors and insiders.

Here’s the e-mail from Kaplan to the team handling the big-time donors and bundlers to the Democratic Party:


So much for the best and brightest, eh? Get those appointments while you can!! Kaplan sent this three months ago, so this looks like either a last-chance opportunity to burnish resumés before Democrats have to vacate the White House, or an early-bird special if Hillary Clinton manages to win the election.

I’d guess it’s the latter, as this sounds very … familiar. Rajiv Fernando managed to get himself appointed to the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), a group which oversees US nuclear and security policies, despite having no qualifications for their mission. Except two: He donated a lot of money to the Democratic Party, and to the Clinton Foundation. When ABC first started sniffing out the Fernando appointment, he abruptly resigned.

Now, in truth these boards and commissions are routinely used to reward supporters. Usually, however, that isn’t handled by fundraising staff so as to avoid making it into an explicit quid pro quo. It would be handled as Clinton’s team handled the Fernando appointment, which still wound up embarrassing them. This is as blatant as it gets, and should result in serious probes of the White House’s connection to these pay-for-play fundraising efforts at the DNC. After all, Kaplan had to be sending this data to someone over there to make this scheme work.

However, they may skate by on the fact that none of the people listed have managed to find an appointment … at least, not yet. And now that this has been exposed, they may be waiting a very long time for their resumé enhancements.

Berners not going quietly into that good night [Hot Air » Top Picks]

We’re back here in Philly for the penultimate day of the Democratic National Convention and contrary to what you may be seeing on MSNBC all day long, there is nowhere near a unanimous consensus regarding the general election ticket. The Feel the Bern crowd is still here and while some of them seem to be resigned to destiny, others are continuing to rouse rabble. There were several groups of them out in force this morning expressing their concerns over Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine who is scheduled to speak tonight. America Rising got in early and obtained a copy of the flyer they were handing out detailing Kaine’s perceived lack of a sufficiently progressive record.

As Tim Kaine prepares to take the stage tonight at the Democratic National Convention, he’s poised to become the next speaker to “Feel The Bern” from the legions of still-disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters.

After railing against the DNC for preventing them from mounting a formal challenge to Kaine’s nomination, an organized group of Sanders delegates were still on the attack against Kaine on Wednesday morning, passing out handouts blasting him for being insufficiently progressive at a press conference.

The handout cites Kaine’s positions on coal, labor issues, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as proof of is unsuitability, and includes the results of a poll of 285 Sanders delegates, where a whopping 251 described Kaine as an “unacceptable” vice presidential pick.

You can read that list of specifics and quickly come to the conclusion that the Sanders – Warren wing of the party is incensed over the fact that Kaine has occasionally shown flashes of what most conservatives would think of as sanity. He’s far more accepting of fossil fuels and their place in powering the nation for the foreseeable future, he remains concerned over job outsourcing brought on by some trade agreements and apparently isn’t a loud enough cheerleader of the unions. (Wait… did anyone check to see if this guy is actually a Democrat?)

I spoke to one Midwest delegate outside the convention center (still wearing her Bernie Sanders buttons) who said that the Clinton team “should have their heads examined” for picking Kaine, implying that it bordered on being a direct insult to the Sanders supporters. That’s not too much of a mystery because he does seem rather far afield from the likes of Warren and the hard core populist / socialist wing of the party.

The thing to be watching for tonight is what sort of reception Kaine receives during his introduction and remarks. The pro-Hillary crowd definitely outnumbers the more vocal Sanders supporters by a wide margin and they will try to drown them out with cheers. But it was a sizable group that staged the walkout yesterday and a good night’s sleep doesn’t seem to have calmed them down any this morning. If the Boo Birds are out in force tonight it will be another hazy moment marring what was supposed to be an “All Together Now” festival in Hillary Clinton’s coronation.


Dem convention TEMS: Live on site with Jazz Shaw, Guy Benson; Tom Jackson, Andrew Malcolm [Hot Air » Top Picks]

All this week, we’ll have daily installments of The Ed Morrissey Show at 4 pm ET to cover the Democratic national convention! We have Jazz Shaw and Guy Benson in Philadelphia to bring us updates, plus we’ll bring in other commentators and analysts to preview the evening to come and the events of the day. The show will be streamed on Hot Air’s Facebook page as well as on our Ustream channel. Join us as we welcome:

  • Guy Benson, political editor at Townhall, will brief us on yesterday’s events
  • Jazz Shaw, coming live via Skype from the convention to bring us the behind-the-scenes stories
  • Andrew Malcolm will give us a brief preview of his live blogging tonight, and tells us what he expects to see from the Democrats’ first night on parade.
  • Tom Jackson, veteran reporter and columnist from Tampa for Newstalk Florida, Florida Politics, and Laker Lutz News, brings us up to speed on the convention’s impact on the key swing state — and the Alan Grayson meltdown, too.

Online Streaming

The Ed Morrissey Show and its dynamic chatroom can be seen on the permanent TEMS page. Be sure to join us, and don’t forget to keep up with the debate on my Facebook page, too!

How can Republicans and conservatives win the 2016 election, and fix what went wrong in 2012? Find out in GOING REDpublished in April from Crown Forum!



George Soros is backing Hillary with $25 million [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Left-wing billionaire George Soros is once again opening his wallet to help Democrats win an election. It didn’t work out so well for Soros when he dumped $27 million into the 2004 election to defeat George W. Bush. Since then Soros has reportedly held back on going all in but, as Politico reports, that is changing in 2016:

People close to Soros say he seems more politically engaged than he’s been in years, motivated they say by a combination of faith in Clinton and fear of her GOP rival Donald Trump, who Soros has accused of “doing the work of ISIS” by stoking fears.

Eventually Politico gets to a list of Soros’ donations:

Through the end of June, Soros had donated $7 million to a super PAC supporting Clinton called Priorities USA Action, according to FEC filings, making it the biggest recipient of his political largesse this cycle. And three Democratic operatives say he’s considering donating another $3 million to the group.

FEC records also show Soros gave $2 million to American Bridge 21st Century, an opposition research super PAC that has been targeting Trump and other Republican candidates, and $700,000 to an assortment of Democratic party committees, PACs and campaigns, including Clinton’s.

American Bridge is the SuperPAC founded by Clinton crony David Brock, who also runs Media Matters. In addition, Soros is reportedly giving $5 million to a Latino voter outreach group called Immigrant Voters Win and $5 million to the Voting Rights Trust, a group that fights in court against state laws requiring ID to vote. That latter commitment is one Soros made more than a year ago according to the NY Times.

The story notes the irony of Soros, who opposes Citizens United because it allows too much big money in politics, spending big money supporting Hillary. A source close to Soros says he once called it ‘odious’ that billionaires like himself had so much influence and cited that feeling as a reason to pull back on giving after 2004.

But all of that seems out this window this election cycle. Now Soros is spending freely even as he donates the legal maximum ($5,000) to a group called End Citizens United. He’s really against this sort of money in politics and so is Hillary, just not right this moment.

Mike Pence: We’ll ensure that there are serious consequences for Russia if they’re behind the DNC hack [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The fact that this bit of damage control was rushed out under Pence’s name before Trump’s press conference had even finished this morning makes me think Paul Manafort might have actually wet himself over Trump’s public appeal for further Kremlin intervention in the election.

Maybe this will be their new approach to cleaning up Trump’s public statements. Trump: I’m not saying I’d nuke Belgium but I’m not not saying it either. Statement from Mike Pence: We will not nuke Belgium even though maybe they deserve it.

“The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences. That said, the Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind it and not addressing the basic fact that they’ve been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous. The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job.”

Paul Ryan’s office got cracking quickly on clean-up this afternoon too:

In a statement, Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokesman Brendan Buck said: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”

One thing that got lost in the buzz afterwards but which John noted in his post is Trump saying about the hack, almost as an aside, “If it is Russia, which it’s probably not—nobody knows who it is…” That’s true insofar as the U.S. government hasn’t made a formal accusation yet but to say “it’s probably not” them is self-serving garbage. Everyone who’s looked at the hack so far, from private cybersecurity firms to sources within U.S. intelligence, says it’s them. The latest:

American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence.

But intelligence officials have cautioned that they are uncertain whether the electronic break-in at the committee’s computer systems was intended as fairly routine cyberespionage — of the kind the United States also conducts around the world — or as part of an effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

Julian Assange hinted weeks ago that leaks were coming which he hoped would damage Hillary Clinton. To believe that he, rather than Russian intelligence, made the call on when to release them, you need to believe that Russia was willing to outsource to Wikileaks the decision on whether to inject Kremlin espionage into the middle of the U.S. presidential election or not. Far more likely is that the DNC documents were handed to Assange on the condition that they not be released until Russia permitted it, no? Either way, Trump’s talking straight out of his ass in trying to absolve Russia of responsibility. That’s part of a pattern.

Here’s something else he said today:

The 2014 UN vote on whether to recognize Crimea as part of Russia rather than Ukraine went 100/11 against, with Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela joining Russia among the 11. Room for one more?

John’s right, of course, that the root problem here is Russia having had easy access to Clinton’s e-mails in the first place and that the theatrical Democratic indignation over Trump is designed to deflect from her own negligence in making that happen. In the end this is a Hillary problem, not a Trump problem, and it’s a Hillary problem that the left spent month after month pretending wasn’t a problem at all — until today. It’s also true that Trump isn’t explicitly encouraging more hacking but rather publication of what’s already been hacked. But publication would expose classified information (yes, liberals, not just yoga schedules) to other foreign intel agencies besides Russia’s. And Trump egging it on for his own benefit amounts to, as Ed put it, “blessing the hack” that’s already happened, which is an incentive for future hacking. Case in point: One Trump fan on Twitter, in response to criticism of what he said today, wondered whether Trump’s critics would have preferred that the wrongdoing exposed by the DNC e-mails stay hidden. By that logic, Russia should hack everyone and expose malfeasance everywhere, at least if it redounds to Trump’s advantage. Maybe that’s the next stage in politicking — come 2020, Russian intel could hack the Democratic candidate and, say, Chinese intel could hack the Republican one and then they can have a fun contest during the campaign of who can release the most damaging well-timed leak. Think of it as next-level oppo. I’d prefer not to have U.S. elections tilted by foreign hacks and timely leaks of private communications, even when there was gross negligence in protecting their privacy, but the genie’s out of the bottle now.

In lieu of an exit question, a Trump classic from 2014:

Bill de Blasio hit with yet another corruption probe [Hot Air » Top Picks]

US Attorney Preet Bharara strikes again. The dogged investigator of official corruption in the Empire State has identified a new target relating to the official activities of Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio and it looks like a good one. This time he’s checking into some contributions from real estate developers who wanted to convert a property owned by the State University of New York (SUNY) into affordable housing. The facility in question had been very publicly championed by de Blasio as one which needed to be kept open until he became mayor. Then the situation seemed to change rapidly. (NY Post)

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating whether Mayor de Blasio engaged in a fund-raising pay-to-play scheme over the controversial sale of a Brooklyn hospital for redevelopment into housing, The Post has learned.

The corruption-busting federal prosecutor recently subpoenaed the State University of New York seeking a slew of records regarding de Blasio’s ties to its sale of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, sources said.

The records date back to 2013, when de Blasio was the city’s public advocate and campaigned to keep LICH open. He even made a show of getting arrested during a protest rally while he was running for mayor…

But after winning the 2013 election, the mayor largely abandoned his opposition to the hospital’s closure, instead backing a redevelopment plan by the Fortis Property Group for a series of apartment towers that would include 200 to 300 affordable units.

There were several developers interested in obtaining the property, including Don Peebles, chairman of The Peebles Corporation. While he was fishing for access to the Long Island College Hospital (LICH), Peebles found out that de Blasio was interested in some donations to one of his political advocacy groups, this time to the tune of $20K. He forked over the money, but it apparently wasn’t enough to cement the deal since the LICH eventually went to rival Fortis Property Group. (No word at this time whether or not they also pitched in to the Mayor’s slush funds.)

If Bharara gets his hooks into this one and can show some sort of quid pro quo it will not only be a damaging and potentially criminally liable case for de Blasio, but will shine a harsh light on his often touted populist appeal. While campaigning to advance his political career, the mayor championed LICH as a needed institution serving the public’s medical needs which simply had to be kept open. Then, once he’d made it to City Hall, it was quickly on the chopping block to the highest bidder. Bill de Blasio, along with Governor Andrew Cuomo, are already under an increasingly intense focus of investigation and you have to wonder how many more of these allegations can surface before it brings them down.


Bounce: Reuters poll shows Trump in lead for first time [Hot Air » Top Picks]

It’s a bump — a small bump, but a bump nonetheless. In the latest iteration of the Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll, Donald Trump took his first lead of the election cycle over Hillary Clinton during and after a sometimes fractious Republican national convention — but only by a 39/37 score, within the margin of error. A large number of voters still remain undecided:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump posted a two-point lead over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday, the first time he has been ahead since early May.

Trump’s gains came as he accepted his party’s nomination to the Nov. 8 ballot at the four-day Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, and as Clinton’s nomination in Philadelphia this week was marred by party divisions and the resignation of a top party official.

The July 22-26 poll found that 39 percent of likely voters supported Trump, 37 percent supported Clinton and 24 percent would vote for neither. The poll had a credibility interval of 4 percentage points, meaning that the two candidates should be considered about even in support.

When filtered down to likely voters, Trump still leads 40.2% to 38.5% for Hillary. This chart (LVs) shows both a bump upward for Trump and a decline for Hillary over the past month in the tracking-poll series:


The shift is doubly interesting considering the source. The Reuters/Ipsos series has given Hillary her biggest leads, and Trump his lowest support levels, of any major media polls. Three weeks ago, Reuters had Hillary up by 11 points, and ten points in the two polls prior to that. The narrowing of the gap in this series seems especially dramatic, given that history.

The Reuters filtering system produces some surprising results in the demos (all LVs). For instance, Hillary only leads Trump by three points among women, 40.1/36.9; less than two weeks ago, that was a 19-point lead at 46.7/27.8.He leads among men 44/36.9, after having (improbably) trailed in that demo for almost the entire month.  Trump has now established a wide lead among white voters, going from 39.9/39.1 ten days ago to 44.3/33.7 now. College graduates still prefer Hillary, but only 40/38 from 53/27.1 twelve days ago. Trump now leads or ties in every income demographic, including those making less than $25K, 41/37. (Oddly, the filter won’t return results for Hispanic voters, saying it has insufficient data.)

Some of this has the same whiff of an outlier as the earlier Reuters/Ipsos polls, of course, and the overall race is still a virtual tie. But there’s no doubt from the data that Trump got a convention bounce in this polling series, and time will tell whether he can hold it.

Trump: I hope Russia finds Hillary’s deleted emails [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Donald Trump gave a news conference Wednesday morning during which he suggested that Russia ought to try to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

Trump talked about seeing Robby Mook on television talking about Russia’s involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee:

Trump went on to say, “I have nothing to do with Putin. I’ve never spoken to him. I don’t know anything about him other than he will respect me.” “He doesn’t respect our president,” Trump added.

On the subject of the DNC hack, Trump said this was a sign of Russia’s lack of respect. “If it is Russia, which it’s probably not—nobody knows who it is, it’s really bad for a different reason because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and get everything.

“But it would be interesting to see…I will tell you this. Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next.”

It’s hard to know what to make of Trump. He bounces between saying, in a somewhat serious way, that the DNC hack shows a lack of respect for the United States. But then, in the very next breath, he’s calling on Russia to find Hillary’s missing emails.

With Trump the mantra seems to be: Always be trolling. Did he really ask the Russians to hack Hillary? Not really. The emails were deleted long ago and the server was collected by the FBI months ago. If Russia doesn’t have those emails by now, it’s too late. Nevertheless, here’s the Clinton camp reaction claiming Trump is calling on “a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent.”

I’m not a fan of Trump’s loose approach but the Clinton camp and the media are overreaching here. The idea that Hillary’s email system was hacked (by someone) is something many people, including FBI Director Comey, have already said was a genuine possibility. If it did happen, that’s not Trump’s fault. And Wikileaks, which is retailing this material apparently hacked by Russia has already said it has more, and worse, in the hopper. That’s not Trump’s doing either. At worst, Trump is admitting he’d be happy to see Hillary take a hit from these ongoing leaks. That’s unseemly (and probably unwise) for a candidate to say but it’s not the same as asking Russia to commit espionage.

And as a matter of politics, well it’s a mixed bag as Trump’s stories often are. On one hand, he’ll get hit for this all day. On the other hand, Trump has completely knocked day 2 of the Democratic convention out of the news and even as the press attacks him they’ll also be talking about Hillary’s deleted emails, the DNC hack and what might be dropping next from Wikileaks. So, sure, Trump just stepped on a landmine of his own making but he also made sure Hillary was standing right next to him when it went off.

All charges dropped against remaining officers in Freddie Gray case [Hot Air » Top Picks]

More than a week ago we were talking about the fate of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and the remaining trials for the police officers involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. Having failed to obtain a conviction in any of the trials thus far, Mosby has been under increasing pressure to abandon the effort if not resign her position entirely. Up until now she seemed content to stick to her guns… a position which has been repeatedly encouraged by liberal observers and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement around the nation. But reality seems to have sunk in at last and Mosby’s office announced this morning that the remaining trials will be cancelled and all remaining charges dropped.

Charges against the remaining three Baltimore Police Officers in the Freddie Gray case were dropped Wednesday morning.

The decision was announced at the start of a pretrial motions hearing for Officer Garrett Miller, who was the next scheduled officer to stand trial. Officer William Porter was to be retried in September, and Sgt. Alicia White was scheduled for trial in October.

Officers Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson Jr. and Lt. Brian Rice have previously been acquitted of all charges in the case, and the trial of Porter ended in a hung jury and mistrial last December.

I suppose the first question we might ask is what took so long and why the city has wasted so much money in a lost, politically driven cause. The upshot of the case is that Officer Garrett Miller and Sgt. Alicia White will not face trial and Officer William Porter’s second trial following a hung jury in the first go around will not take place either. There’s something to be said for saving the city the time and money on further wasted efforts, not to mention the risk of additional protests and potential rioting each time another officer is cleared of charges, but the damage to the city’s credibility is long since done.

There’s one other political aspect to this story which reaches well beyond the borders of Charm City. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was part and parcel of the decision to go after the officers in the first place and Mosby had her full backing and endorsement for the effort. She’s not in Baltimore right now because she’s been busy running the proceedings at Hillary Clinton’s convention here in Philadelphia. I’m sure that’s yet another headline that the convention organizers didn’t need on the eve of their candidate’s big acceptance speech, serving as a reminder of the failed policies which the Democrats have foisted off on America’s urban centers for generations.


LA Times tracking poll has Trump out to his biggest lead of the year [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Lucky seven. Well, six and a half:


That’s up from a dead heat on the last day of the GOP convention. Safe to say that Trump got a bounce from Cleveland, no? If you’re unconvinced, here’s what the last seven polls that RCP is following look like:


Five of the seven lean red, amounting to a narrow but seemingly reliable lead of 1.1 points for Trump. To put that in perspective, over the past 12 months he had led Clinton for exactly three days, in late May of this year — and that was a lead of just 0.2 points, fueled by the fact that he’d already become presumptive nominee at that point while Hillary was still busy trying to tamp down Berniemania. Maybe the polls revert to form next week when Hillary gets a convention bounce of her own. Or maybe not: I’m all-in on predicting that she won’t get a bounce. For some Americans, last week was their first real introduction to Trump the politician. There’s no new introduction to a pol as familiar as Clinton, no matter how hard the DNC strains to manufacture one.

Back to the LA Times poll, though, which is noteworthy in various ways. It’s the only poll out there right now that includes data from Monday and Tuesday of this week, which means the extra-large lead it’s seeing for Trump might be a sign that his bounce is still expanding. We’ll have to wait for other surveys to confirm that. In the meantime, the (almost) seven-point advantage here is tied for the biggest lead for Trump in any poll this year. Rasmussen, whose numbers have skewed conspicuously pro-Trump, has also found a seven-point lead for him in the past. The Times and Rasmussen have something in common: They both poll likely voters, which should make their numbers a little closer to what we’d expect to actually see on Election Day. I’ll be curious to see Rasmussen’s new data once it’s available. They haven’t polled the race for a week.

It’s not just the convention that’s driving Trump’s lead either. New from Gallup:

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton’s image is at its lowest point in the 24 years of her national career, with 38% of Americans viewing her favorably and 57% unfavorably. Americans’ most positive view of Clinton, 67% favorable, came in December 1998. Before last year, her lowest favorable ratings since she became well-known had been 43% in January 1996 and 44% in March 2001.

Clinton was at 41% favorable in mid-June but drifted down to 37% by mid-July. Her favorable ratings have since held near that level, including through last week’s Republican National Convention. Republican nominee Donald Trump’s image for the past seven days was 36% favorable and 59% unfavorable, only slightly less positive than Clinton’s.

What happened smack dab in the middle of mid-June and mid-July? Right, Jim Comey’s press conference on July 5th accusing her of “extreme carelessness” in how she handled classified information. Even now, with her ratings in the toilet, she’s no more unpopular than Trump is, but that’s a bad place for a well-worn political commodity like Clinton to be in a populist climate. Voters might be willing to back an establishmentarian whom they personally like much more than the “change agent” from the other party. When they dislike her as much as they dislike him, though, why not roll the dice on something different?

One last note about the LA Times poll’s methodology. Most pollsters use a different sample every time they conduct a survey; they dial up Americans randomly and see who responds. The Times poll is a tracking poll that uses 400 people from a fixed group of 3,000 to try to gauge how they’re feeling about the election on a daily basis. It’s a different way to measure shifts among the population towards or away from a candidate, but it gives you a truer sense of people changing their minds since you’re polling the same people over and over again. When the poll debuted two weeks ago, the Times noted that this methodology was more accurate in predicting the election four years ago than many other surveys were. Good news for Trump. Stay tuned.

Update: Perspective from Sean Trende.

Manafort: No, Trump won’t release his tax returns [Hot Air » Top Picks]

In February 2015, Donald Trump promised to release his tax returns at some point during the election cycle, but who cares about pledges these days? Campaign chief Paul Manafort told CBS This Morning that Trump won’t release his returns after all, while insisting that it has to do with IRS audits than any desire to hide his business dealings from the public. Manafort specifically dismissed rumors that Trump has Russian ties he’d prefer to keep quiet:

A top aide to Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Republican presidential nominee “will not be releasing” his taxes.

“Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them,” Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort told “CBS This Morning.”

“It has nothing to do with Russia, it has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and his normal tax auditing process,” Manafort added.

The Russia speculation got amplified this week from comments made by George Will. The conservative columnist speculated — admittedly without proof — that his predilection for “dealing with Russian oligarchs” was the real reason for Trump’s sudden shyness:

Eh, maybe. The Clintons have their own issues about dealing with Russian oligarchs, the Uranium One deal in particular. No matter how much private-sector dealings Trump has had with oligarchs, it won’t stack up to the smelly circumstances that gave Russians control of American uranium thanks to State Department approval of the deal while Bill Clinton scored a $500,000 speaking deal from the bank involved. That oligarchical dance goes straight to official corruption and personal enrichment at the expense of national security, so it wouldn’t be tough for Trump to counter that kind of attack, and it seems unlikely that the Clintons would be dumb enough to open up that debate.

So what’s going on? Perhaps Trump’s nervous about letting people see why the IRS has been auditing him for more than a decade. It might be that the returns will show Trump’s claims of wealth to be greatly exaggerated, although wealth and income are two different things, and returns don’t necessarily reflect the former. Unfortunately, Trump’s year-long vacillation on this topic removes the argument for the principle of privacy, even though such an argument can certainly be made.

The problem for Trump is that this flip-flop erodes his standing to make the best argument against Hillary — that she can’t be trusted. It doesn’t make it any less true, but his sudden shyness about his business dealings and his backpedal from his early promise makes Trump look less than trustworthy himself, or at least diminishes the contrast between them. That won’t matter to his base, but independents might take this very, very differently.

Uh oh. IRS launches investigation into Clinton Foundation at awkward time [Hot Air » Top Picks]

It seems odd that I haven’t seen a single mention of this story in all of the cable news coverage this morning. While everyone focuses on the historic nature of Hillary Clinton’s nomination to be the next President of the United States, there are daily body blows coming to the Clintons in less observed sectors of the media. The latest shoe to drop is the fact that the IRS has responded to complaints made to a number of federal agencies and will open an investigation into the the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation over allegations that the organization is a corrupt, pay-to-play outfit disguised as a charity. (Daily Caller News Foundation)

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen referred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless.”

The initiative is being led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who serves as the vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees FTC. The FTC regulates public charities alongside the IRS.

The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.”

The timing of this next phase of the ongoing investigation into the affairs of the Clintons could hardly come at a worse time. It’s dropping like the toad at the garden party, just as Hillary Clinton puts the finishing touches on her acceptance speech for the convention tomorrow night. But there’s another aspect to this story which doesn’t credibly seem coincidental. It was only this week that Wikileaks announced that the next batch of emails will be arriving shortly and this time, rather than dealing with the DNC, they will come from the aforementioned Clinton Foundation, among other sources.

How damaging could it be? I have my doubts about the claims made by Julian Assange that these revelations will land Clinton in jail (though who knows?) but the potential subject matter could be crippling politically. It’s already known that there has been billions of dollars changing hands through the Clinton Foundation for years and a lot of it comes from the homes of some fairly unsavory characters on the international stage, some of them also having business before the US government. Too many revelations along those lines could put an end to Clinton’s White House dreams.

In the meantime we’ll no doubt be learning a lot more about the money changers at the Clinton Foundation and their relationship with the tax man. Stay tuned and keep the popcorn popper on standby.


Top Hillary crony: Sure, she’ll sell out for TPP! Oh, wait … [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Just how inept is Terry McAuliffe? The man who won the top office in Virginia due almost entirely to his connections to the Clintons apparently has some trouble keeping up with the news, even in Democratic circles. This has been the scene at the foundering Democratic national convention, where the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has torn apart the party, and has emerged as one of the top issues leading to the walkout of Bernie Sanders supporters yesterday:


McAuliffe chose this particular moment to reassure everyone that Hillary Clinton would flip-flop on her recently acquired skepticism of TPP:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime best friend to the Clintons, said Tuesday that he believes Hillary Clinton will support the TPP trade deal if elected president, with some tweaks.

“I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules — but Hillary understands this,” he said in an interview after his speech on the main stage at the Democratic National Convention. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy.”

Pressed on whether Clinton would turn around and support the trade deal she opposed during the heat of the primary fight against Bernie Sanders, McAuliffe said: “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”

Hey, good to know! It’s not like anyone thinks the Clintons have principles, of course, only interests, but it’s good to get confirmation of that from Hillary’s bestie. Donald Trump wasted little time in highlighting the comments and alerting Sanders’ supporters, assuming any of them follow the Republican nominee on Twitter:

Team Hillary chair John Podesta had earlier told the Wall Street Journal that he thought Hillary would renegotiate the trade deal rather than seek “tweaks”:

After McAuliffe’s remarks, Podesta committed Hillary much more strongly to opposition to TPP:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime friend to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, got crosswise with another powerful Clinton friend when he suggested Tuesday that Hillary Clinton might revert to her previous support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership once in office.

“Love Gov. McAuliffe, but he got this one flat wrong. Hillary opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election. Period. Full stop,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said on Twitter.

Having gotten the message with both barrels, McAuliffe then tried to walk back his earlier statement:

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy had this explanation: “He was expressing a hope she will come around,” Coy said after the comments blew up on Twitter and elsewhere. “But he has no expectation she will.”

Er … suuuuuuure. Does anyone buy that for a moment? Hillary was deeply involved in the TPP negotiations, which have been underway for almost the entirety of Barack Obama’s presidency. She even bragged about her role in developing TPP and called it the “gold standard in trade agreements.” Zeke Miller tweeted out this passage nine months ago, when TPP became a hot issue for both political parties:

Of course she’ll support TPP, because she’s almost certainly never changed her mind on it in the first place. She’s pandering to the Left — and McAuliffe knows this. He just made the Kinsleyan gaffe of telling the truth at a particularly bad time to do so.

Democrats are just sure that Hillary will keep up the gun control push through November [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The Democrats have officially placed all of their eggs in Hillary Clinton’s basket as of last night and pinned their hopes and dreams on her for the general election. This includes their fervent belief in the need for tougher gun control laws. But with the primary out of the way and the general election looming, will she come through for them? Some of their spokespeople certainly seem to think so. (The Hill)

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), a gun owner who heads the Democrats’ gun violence prevention task force, delivered a similar message Tuesday, saying Clinton’s dedication to the issue has given advocates fresh hope they can break a long-standing congressional impasse and adopt tougher gun laws if she wins the White House.

“This is the first presidential nominee, in my lifetime, that came out talking about responsible gun laws,” Thompson said following a gun reform rally on a sweltering morning in downtown Philadelphia. “That’s huge in itself.”

There’s an obvious explanation for what Clinton’s been up to on this issue, but Senator Chris Murphy tried to sweep it under the rug.

“There were a lot of cynics who said, ‘Hillary Clinton’s going to drop this issue once the primary was over.’ That this was just a means to create a wedge with Sen. Sanders,” said Murphy, who has become Congress’s best-known gun control advocate since the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“They were wrong.”

But that’s exactly what’s been going on. Hillary Clinton was, as usual, ready to say or do anything to beat back the challenge posed by Bernie Sanders, and gun control was one area where he was seen as weak among the progressive wing of the party. With that in mind, Clinton was all gun control all the time. But this is nothing new. Hillary Clinton has taken both sides on this issue for as long as she’s been in politics. You’ll recall that Clinton was so “concerned” about protecting the rights of gun owners during her first run at the presidency that Barack Obama referred to her as Annie Oakley. But the political winds have changed a bit since then, and so have Clinton’s deeply held beliefs.

But if she does stick to these positions there is trouble awaiting Clinton in November. What’s tempting the Democrats to be thrown into this trap is the background check question. And it’s absolutely true that you can get large numbers of Americans to respond in the affirmative when asked about increased background checks. But here’s the thing about that question: Americans hearing only about background checks approach the question in their minds as one of stopping the bad guys from getting guns. And why shouldn’t they? Nobody wants that to happen. But that same response comes with the caveat that the good guys will still be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

A closer examination of their proposals will show that they do virtually nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while making life more difficult (if not impossible) for responsible gun owners. Any competent candidate will be able tear that argument to shreds in a general election debate and the consistent majority of Americans who find gun ownership rights more important than gun control won’t be pleased. Clinton’s team is smart enough to know this, so with all due respect to Senator Murphy, I wouldn’t expect Hillary to come through for you. Once this convention is over and she’s in full general election campaign mode, much of the gun control issue will be discarded, just as she’s done with so many other issues over the course of her career.

Hillary shrugs

Will Bill Clinton’s cagey speech unite Democrats? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Bill Clinton had one job on taking the stage last night — to unite a fractious party behind his wife Hillary. It might turn out to be Mission Impossible, but no one can say that the former president didn’t give it his best shot. Energy-wise, he’s a far cry from the youthful and charismatic politician who seduced Democrats in 1992, but he hasn’t lost his political skills — and the Clintons needed all of that, and more.

At the end of Day Two, the DNC had tried almost everything to keep angry Bernie Sanders delegates from bolting. They apologized for the e-mails sent by top DNC execs (but have not as yet cashiered them, notably); they cajoled them to unite; they threatened credentials, if tales from delegates are to be believed; and they even had Sarah Silverman tell them to shut up. By the time Bill Clinton took the stage, they’d tried everything … except giving them an argument to support Hillary. The result? Hundreds had already walked out before his speech.

Clinton tried to fill that gap in the most non-confrontational way possible, as I note in a special column I wrote for CNN:

Rather than take on the task of unifying through direct debate, Clinton delivered a masterful soft-sell by walking through a personal history of his wife that tried to answer the divides in the party.

The former president offered a self-deprecating view of his courtship of Hillary Rodham, loving memories of their time as parents, painting a touching picture of a marriage that has endured some very public humiliations.

But woven within these memories were specific reasons for dissenters to reconsider. For those who place racial disunity at the top of their priorities, Bill offered the Hillary who worked on fighting segregation. System rigged? Here’s the Hillary who registered Mexican-American voters in Texas. How about education? Bill talked about the Hillary who launched preschool education reform in Arkansas. For two-thirds of the speech, Clinton didn’t challenge the divisions in the room, but instead spun tales that put Hillary squarely within each of the groups in the Democratic coalition at loggerheads this cycle.

Worth noting, too, is that Clinton didn’t take the easy path of just painting Donald Trump as the devil incarnate. Speakers did that repeatedly over the first two days of the convention to appeal to the Sanders clique, to little avail. Rather than do that, Clinton painted his wife as the “change maker” around which all of the factions of the party could unite.

Will it work? Perhaps, and it did have the novelty of not yet being tried, but … does Clinton still have that much draw in the Democratic Party any longer? It’s not even close to the same party it was when the Democratic Leadership Council backed him to pull the party back from the New Left in order to win national elections. The people who supply the energy to the Left clearly don’t take orders from the Clinton machine any longer, and they are the people least likely to be charmed by a walk down Memory Lane from an old centrist — especially one with the corruption baggage Bill and Hillary carry.

As cagey and clever as Bill’s strategy and execution were last night, his nostalgia really speaks only to those who still embrace the Democratic Party of old. Just as the towering and unifying figure for Republicans is Hillary Clinton, the counterpart for Democrats will be Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders probably made the more effective pitch between the two, for that reason.

Reports of the death of Fox News were apparently premature (again) [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Fox News has been in the news quite a bit over the last few weeks and not in a way that their executives might wish. The controversies surrounding Roger Ailes could leave one with the impression that the network is in major trouble after dominating the cable news game for years on end. But with the end of the Republican National Convention and the final compilation of the ratings, it seems that the public hasn’t been particularly put off their feed. Not only did Fox come in at the front of the pack yet again, they achieved their highest ratings in more than a decade. (Mediaite)

Though racked by internal scandal and jolted the dismissal of its founder and guiding star Roger Ailes, Fox News came in #1 in total viewers beating all cable networks in both primetime and total day during the week of the Republican National Convention.

During last week — from Monday, Jul. 18 to Sun, Jul. 24 — the cable news network was also #1 among all cable networks in primetime (8pm-11pm) for the coveted demographic of viewers aged 25-54. For primetime Fox averaged 4,212,000 viewers in total and 932,000 in 25-54…

Furthermore, FNC crushed the broadcast networks in total viewers at 10PM/ET with convention coverage, and was just behind NBC at number two in the 25-54 demo. FNC also claimed nine out of the top 10 telecasts in cable for the week, leading with America’s Election HQ on Thursday, July 21st, anchored by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, which averaged 9.7 million viewers and 2.6 million in adults 25-54 at 10PM.

Like most other aspects of modern media, we’re probably seeing the effect of the old rule which reminds us that content is king. It’s unlikely that regular consumers of cable news are unaware of the drama playing out in the background at Fox, but do they really care? It doesn’t change the programming or the content and if this is the cable news station people trust they clearly are willing to continue tuning in.

That’s not all that different from non-news television and movie industry events. The things that happen in board rooms or in the personal lives of TV and movie personalities doesn’t immediately wipe out their success in the field. One of the biggest examples is Robert Downey Jr. There’s somebody who went through more high profile drama and angst in the 90s than you could list in a short biographical study. He paid a brief price for it at his lowest point, but the guy worked at his craft and kept pushing on, going on to be one of the more successful actors of the current era. I’m sure there were those who wouldn’t have spoken flatteringly of his personal life back in the day, but if the shows were good, we still sat down and watched.

Far from being dead, Fox News seems to be alive and well. And unless somebody new takes the helm and completely changes their programming regimen, it’s difficult to imagine that changing.

Fox News

Bill Clinton at the DNC: Hillary is a ‘change-maker’ [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Bill Clinton was introduced by a video clip showing highlights from his life, both as president and since then. Clinton then took the stage and gave the crowd a moment to settle.

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” Clinton opened. He then described meeting Hillary Clinton and spent the next 15 minutes of his speech describing their history in detail up to the point Hillary agreed to marry him (which Bill said was the third time he had asked). Clinton’s recitation of history continued at this relatively slow pace, with a focus on Hillary’s role in his own political success and her role as a mother.

The final ten to twelve minutes of the speech was devoted to Hillary’s own career in politics, first as a Senator and later as Secretary of State. After describing the highlights of her resume, Clinton asked, “How does this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What’s the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it?” He concluded, “You can’t. One is real and the other is made up. You just have to decided which is which, my fellow Americans.”

Clinton went on to say that the Republicans’ only option was “to create a cartoon, a cartoon alternative.” He closed this section of the speech saying, “Good for you because earlier today you nominated the real one.” This brought a huge round of applause from the crowd. Throughout the speech Bill repeated referred to Hillary as a “change-maker,” framing it as her defining character trait.

Clinton ended his speech saying, “Those of us who have more yesterdays than tomorrows tend to care more about our children and grandchildren. The reason you should elect her is that, in the greatest country on earth, we have always been about tomorrow. Your children and grandchildren will bless you forever if you do.”

Mothers of the Movement at the DNC [Hot Air » Top Picks]

A group called Mothers of the Movement spoke at the convention tonight. The group is composed of moms whose children died in high profile incidents, usually (though not always) involving police. Nine moms took the stage and three of them spoke. First to speak was Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland. Here is part of what she said:

One year ago yesterday I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine. I watched as my daughter, Sandra Bland, was lowered into the ground in a coffin. She was my 4th of 5 daughters and she was gone. No, no, not on administrative leave but on permanent leave from this earth. Found hanging in a jail cell after an unlawful traffic stop and an unlawful arrest.

Next up was the mother of Jordan Davis. Davis was killed at a gas station by a stranger, Michael David Dunn, after an argument about loud music. Here’s a part of what she said:

I lived in fear that my son would die like this. I even warned him that because he was a young black man he would meet people who didn’t value him or his life. That is a conversation that no parent should ever have with their child…

We’re going to keep building a future where police officers and communities of color work together in mutual respect to keep children like Jordan safe. The majority of police officers are good people doing a good job.

This last comment in support of most police brought applause from all the moms on the stage as well as from the audience. The final speaker was Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin. She described herself as an “unwilling participant” in the movement but said she wanted to speak on behalf of her son. Here is part of what she said:

Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to support grieving mothers. She has the courage to lead the fight for common sense gun legislation. She has a plan to divide…that so often exists between law enforcement and the communities they serve. This isn’t about being politically correct. This is about saving our children.

It appears she meant to say that Hillary has a plan to address the divide but skipped over a few words of her speech.

It’s not clear how the group decided who would speak but it is interesting that only one of the three mothers, Mrs. Reed-Veal, lost a child in a way that involved the police at all. And even in that case, her daughter was found to have committed suicide in her cell, not to have been killed by the police. It appears as if the DNC wanted to emphasize that this group was not there to speak against police. This might easily have been a very different presentation if we hadn’t recently experienced the murder of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Dem convention, night two: The big dog [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Is Bill Clinton so singular a figure that he needed a night of the convention all to himself? Right, I know — former president and spouse to the current nominee, but if they could shoehorn Obama and Biden into the same primetime bloc tomorrow, you would think they might have lined up at least one big name for the undercard tonight. As it is, there are no other marquee speakers scheduled, just members of the public telling their stories followed by the big dog reassuring the country that Hillary will carry on the Clinton spirit even though neither the right nor the left wants to hear that. If they’re going to push that message, having him introduce Herself on Thursday might have been a wiser move. But that has problems too: He’d risk overshadowing her; the one-two Clinton punch would remind voters of the dynastic element; and a candidate eager to pander to women voters is probably better off being intro’d by her daughter rather than by the Clenis. So poor Bill gets kicked into the Tuesday night slot, albeit with the consolation that he has the main 10 p.m. hour nearly all to himself. Will he use this opportunity to remind us of how awful the past eight years have been?

Of note among the “regular people” speaking tonight are Mothers of the Movement, a group of seven black women whose children were killed in high-profile shootings or while in police custody over the last several years. Among them are the mothers of Trayvon Martin, whose shooter was acquitted at trial, and Michael Brown, whose death in Ferguson was, you’ll remember, ruled an act of justifiable self-defense by the Obama/Holder Justice Department. Democrats are going to hear about that from the right tomorrow — why use Brown especially as an example of injustice? — but that’s okay by Hillary. The point tonight is to nudge black voters to show up for her this fall the way they did twice for Obama. If featuring Mothers of the Movement baits Trump or other Republicans into grumbling publicly about them or “Black Lives Matter” generally, that probably helps Clinton achieve her goal. Just as it probably also helps Trump continue to pile up working-class white support.

Here’s your Twitter widget for live commentary from the Hot Air/Townhall/Red State staffs. Will Bernie fans disrupt Bill’s speech? Given the antagonism between him and them, the odds are good.

My conversation with Michael Orthofer [Marginal REVOLUTION]

That is the latest entry in the Conversations with Tyler series, here is the transcript, audio, and video.  Here is the overview:

Michael Orthofer, one of the world’s most prolific book reviewers, joins Tyler Cowen for a conversation on — what else? — books. Read to discover why Michael believes everyone should read more fiction, how we should choose books, why American popular literature is overrated, what he thinks about authors like Herman Melville, Fyoder Dostoevsky, Goethe, J.K. Rowling, Arno Schmidt, and many others, his recommendations for the best sites for readers, why studying literature at college was such a big disappointment, how much book covers matter, and why his opinion will never be the final word.

Here is one excerpt:

COWEN: Here’s another life hack which I totally reject, but it may just be because I’m an addict of sorts. You tell me why, for you, it’s wrong.

A lot of people say to me, “Well, I love fiction, but I’m never going to read new works because I can’t tell what’s really good. I’ll just wait 20 years and then look back on what was truly excellent from 20 years ago and read that 20 years later. In the meantime, now I’ll just read classics or things in other areas which are verified as being truly excellent.” Does that make sense?

ORTHOFER: I worry very much about people who rely on what gets that stamp of approval. Just because it has a cover review in the New York Times Book Review does not mean that that book really is, if we look at it from five or ten years down the road — that that book will still be a significant work. I find so much which is highly praised at any one point long‑term won’t be. Again, however — .

Another question:

COWEN: If we take American citizens, who are not necessarily the people who read you, but at the margin, we could give them more nonfiction, we could give them more travel, we could give them more fiction, or we could actually give them more of some really good TV, which of those things are we rooting for them to do more of, at the margin?

And this exchange:

COWEN: Bottom’s Dream. Most people have never heard of Arno Schmidt.

ORTHOFER: Regrettably, no.

COWEN: We have a chance now to read his masterwork. Some of his others are in English already. Tell us why we should care.

COWEN: But you giggled when you read Bottom’s Dream, right?


COWEN: You giggled a lot.

ORTHOFER: The English edition, I think, is just under 1,500 pages.

COWEN: A mere pittance compared to Dream of the Red Chamber, right?

Do read the whole thing.

Here is my short review of Michael’s big book on world literature: “If you measure book quality by the actual marginal product of the text, this is one of the best books written, ever.  Reading the manuscript in draft form induced me to a) write an enthusiastic blurb, and b) order about forty items through Amazon, mostly used of course.  The book is basically a comprehensive guide to what is valuable and interesting in recently translated world literature, a meta-book so to speak, with extensive coverage of most of the countries you might want.”  And here is Michael’s blog.  You can order Michael’s book here.

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Zombie Banks and other reasons why Financial Intermediaries Fail [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Here’s Four Reasons Financial Intermediaries Fail the latest video from our Principles of Macroeconomics class at Marginal Revolution University.

As always, these videos go great with our superb textbook, Modern Principles of Economics, but they can be used with any textbook. In fact, if you teach economics and want to incorporate video into any of your classes then check out our syllabus service. Just drop our instructional designer, Mary Clare Peate, an email and she will suggest some videos that map directly to your syllabus.

The post Zombie Banks and other reasons why Financial Intermediaries Fail appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Maybe negative yields are a sign of prosperity [Marginal REVOLUTION]

That is the counterintuitive take from my latest Bloomberg column.  Here is one part of the argument:

Perhaps the most overlooked point is that the supply of negative-yielding securities is not so large relative to total global wealth. A recent Credit Suisse estimate suggested that global wealth could reach $369 trillion by 2019, reflecting growth rates of perhaps 7 percent a year. Such numbers are typically inexact, because who can measure the value of all the land in China and the buildings in Uzbekistan? Nonetheless, this number is truly large and it has been growing rapidly. By comparison, the negative-yield securities seem like not such a big deal.

Maybe it’s time we started thinking of negative securities as the equivalent of fire or earthquake insurance for that wealth. If there is truly $300 trillion in global wealth, is it so crazy to think that investors would pay a premium to buy $10 trillion dollars’ worth of insurance?

Keep in mind that if you buy securities at a yield of negative 1 percent a year, and equities are yielding 4 percent on average, your insurance cost on the safer securities is roughly 5 percent of the upfront investment.  So on $10 trillion of safe securities, that is an insurance premium of roughly $500 billion — a relatively small chunk of the $300 or $400 trillion of total global wealth.  In percentage terms it is cheaper than the homeowner’s insurance many of us pay for every day.

Observers sometimes wonder why there are so many negative yields at a time when volatility indices are not always so high. But the key to the risk-protection insight is not that the world is more volatile, which may or may not be the case at a given point in time, but rather that the quantity of otherwise hard-to-insure global wealth is significantly higher than in times past. It is worth noting that in both China and India, standard insurance remains an underdeveloped sector.

Do read the whole thing.

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*The Complacent Class* [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Thank you all for making the first day of The Complacent Class such a success; pre-orders were strong and according to one standard metric it was the #1 best-selling book for Monday.

I am working to get you information on Kindle pre-order, as of now the pre-order extra book offer still stands.  I also am told that on UK Amazon you have to search for title, not by my name, for whatever reason.

The post *The Complacent Class* appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

From the comments, the culture that is German [Marginal REVOLUTION]

In Germany, where I live, you get money back for plastic bottles (“Pfand”). Sometimes €0.25 per bottle. And yet, I collect them, without ever finding the time to cash them. I never outright throw them away, but leave them standing neatly close to public trash cans. They are gone in less than an hour.

German colleagues are horrified by my barbaric behavior. I tell them that someone will recycle them, and get the money. But they are actually are horrified that I am not willing to claim the money as everyone else does. I can explain that I would be working below minimum wage if I were to spend time and mental bandwidth returning bottles. But these reasons are no use against the dogma that pfand bottles should be returned. Man macht das nicht.

That is from Londenio.  And, not from the comments, here is a short piece on German economists:

So, my claim is that economists are only respected and accepted in the broader public discourse if they are like lawyers. And my conjecture is that this will remain so.

That is Rüdiger Bachmann: “Die hier geäußerten Meinungen sind nicht unbedingt die Sicht des Vereins für Socialpolitik.”

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*The Complacent Class*, available for pre-order, with a special offer [Marginal REVOLUTION]

That is my next book, now finished, due out February 2017 from St. Martin’s Press.  You can pre-order it from Amazon or Barnes&Noble.  Recommended!

Very little of the content of this book has appeared on Marginal Revolution.  It contains my thoughts on the death of American restlessness, what is happening with segregation by race and income, how we have become a nation of “matchers,” why crime rates will move up, the ultimate sociological roots of the economic great stagnation, why Steven Pinker is probably wrong about world peace, what we can learn from the riots and violence of the 1960s, why the bureaucratization of protest matters, marijuana vs. cocaine vs. heroin, in which significant way gdp statistics really do under-measure productivity, the importance of cyclical theories of history, and what Tocqueville got right and wrong about America.

And much more!  Most of all it is about why the future will be a scary place.

I also am making a special offer for those who pre-order the work.  Just send me an email to tcowen@gmu.edu (or my gmail), and tell me you have pre-ordered The Complacent Class, and I’ll send you a free copy of another work by me — about 45,000 words — on the foundations of a free society.

I have been revising this second one for over fifteen years, and it is called Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals.  It is finally ready.

You will receive links to an on-line version with images, a pdf with images, and a plain vanilla pdf for Kindle.

In that work, I outline a true and objectively valid case for a free and prosperous society, and consider the importance of economic growth for political philosophy, how and why the political spectrum should be reconfigured, how we should think about existential risk, what is right and wrong in Parfit and Nozick and Singer and effective altruism, how to get around the Arrow Impossibility Theorem, to what extent individual rights can be absolute, how much to discount the future, when redistribution is justified, whether we must be agnostic about the distant future, and most of all why we need to “think big.”

These are my final thoughts on those topics.  And to be fair, this is likely to come out someday as a more traditional book, but that will not happen soon as I have not shopped it around to any publisher.  So if you pre-order The Complacent Class, you’ll get what is an advance and also free copy of Stubborn Attachments.

Are you feeling down because of the political conventions?  Or maybe you’re feeling down because of me?  This is exactly the bracing and optimistic tonic you need.  These two works, taken as a whole, cover where we are at and also where we need to go.

Addendum: If you are a member of the media and would like to receive a review copy of THE COMPLACENT CLASS (St. Martin’s Press; On-sale: February 28, 2017), please contact Gabrielle Gantz: gabrielle.gantz@stmartins.com; or 646-307-5698.

The post *The Complacent Class*, available for pre-order, with a special offer appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Microsoft makes Windows 10 hardware change for PC security [PCWorld]

Microsoft is rolling out a change in minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10 PCs and mobile devices, and expects hardware makers to comply in order to make their devices more secure.

Starting Thursday, PC makers should include a hardware-based security feature called TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 in Windows 10 PCs, smartphones and tablets.

The TPM 2.0 feature will be beneficial for users as it will do a better job of protecting sensitive information on a PC. A TPM 2.0 security layer—which can be in the form of a chip or firmware—can safeguard user data by managing and storing cryptographic keys in a trusted container.

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50% off Prime Membership After Free 6 Month Trial, For Students - Deal Alert [PCWorld]

If you know somebody headed off to college soon, or maybe you'll be attending yourself, you should know that Amazon is giving away 6 free months of Amazon Prime, followed by a 50% discount on a Prime Membership ($49 vs. $99). Just sign up, or have them sign up with an .edu email address and start accessing free two-day shipping, exclusive deals and promotions, unlimited photo storage, and unlimited TV & movie streaming through Prime Video. And students get $5 Amazon credit for every friend they get to sign up. Click through to take advantage of this deal.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple has sold 1 billion iPhones [PCWorld]

Apple announced on Wednesday that the company has sold 1 billion iPhones. That’s a huge milestone, but its timing is strangely awkward. Tim Cook told employees in Cupertino that the billionth iPhone was sold last week, but this announcement comes just one day after Apple’s Q3 2016 saw disappointing iPhone sales, declining to 40.4 million units sold, from 47.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

“Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone,” Cook said in a press release. “We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day.”

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94% off the Complete Machine Learning Course Bundle - Deal Alert [PCWorld]

Machine learning is hot, and with good reason. For the uninitiated: it’s the use of pattern recognition and prediction that underlies important technologies like self-driving cars and speech recognition.

Want to dive into the field? From learning to build financial models and utilizing Big Data, to coding Java and Python--the 10 courses in The Complete Machine Learning Bundle will get you up to speed on all things machine learning.

Here are the courses included in your bundle:

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Flaw with password manager LastPass could hand over control to hackers [PCWorld]

Even password manager LastPass can be fooled. A Google security researcher has found a way to remotely hijack the software.

It works by first luring the user to a malicious site. The site will then exploit a flaw in a LastPass add-on for the Firefox browser, giving it control over the password management software.

LastPass wrote about the vulnerability on Wednesday and said that a fix is already out for Firefox users.

Google security research Tavis Ormandy first discovered the issue. When examining the password manager, he tweeted on Tuesday, "Are people really using this lastpass thing? I took a quick look and can see a bunch of obvious critical problems. I'll send a report asap."

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Get $200 off Samsung KU6600 Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD TV and a $100 Gift Card - Deal Alert [PCWorld]

Amazon is currently discounting the UN55KU6600 Curved 55-inch TV from Samsung, taking its typical list price of $1,148 down by 17% to just $947.99. And on top of that, they're giving you a $100 Amazon.com gift card along with it. The UN55KU6600 delivers 4K Ultra HD resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, with greater depth and clarity and a fuller spectrum of color with PurColor. It lets you access your favorite content quicker and easier with the new Samsung Smart TV platform powered by a Quad-Core Processor. It currently averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from 275 people (read reviews). See the discounted Samsung 55-inch 4K Ultra HD TV bundle (TV+$100 gift card) now on Amazon.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft says Pix, its new iOS camera app, is better than Apple's [PCWorld]

There’s a new iPhone camera application on the block that’s supposed to be better at taking pictures than the one Apple ships with its phones ... and it’s built by Microsoft. 

The company’s research arm launched Pix, which enhances the photos that users take in a variety of ways, on Wednesday morning. The app is  designed to make photos look better and even improves on Apple’s Live Photos ability to capture scenes that have moving elements in them. 

It’s part of Microsoft’s continued push to build applications for platforms beyond those that it controls directly, especially iOS and Android. The free app was built by members of Microsoft Research, and released for free on the iOS App Store.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Nextbit Robin goes bold and bright with new ember color variant [PCWorld]

Nextbit has announced a schnazzy new color for its flagship Robin smartphone. 

The ember model, which has bright red highlights at the top and bottom, can now be yours for $299. Nextbit notes the unlocked device comes in limited supply, so head on over to the official store if you want to pick one up.

nextbit robin Nextbit

The new ember model will certainly stand apart from everyone else’s smartphone.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Dropbox levels up its features for administrators [PCWorld]

IT administrators managing Dropbox deployments are supposed to have an easier time with it soon, thanks to improvements that the company announced Wednesday.

The company is rolling out a redesigned interface for examining logs of user activity within an organization, new folders that make it easier to create and manage a shared workspace for teams and mobile access management capabilities.

The move is part of Dropbox's push to get its product used by more large organizations, in addition to its strong base of consumer users. The company recently announced that it has more than 200,000 organizations subscribed to its business offering, and improving these capabilities is not only a means of helping existing users, but also a way to prove to new ones that the company is serious about reaching businesses.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email [PCWorld]

U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has called on Russia to hack his rival Hillary Clinton’s email.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said during a press conference Wednesday. “I think you’ll probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Trumps remarks came as reporters questioned him about ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Security experts and government officials have suggested Russian hackers were behind a breach at the Democratic National Committee that lead to WikiLeaks publishing unflattering internal campaign emails.

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After delays, Lenovo finally ships its first OLED laptop [PCWorld]

After months of delays, Lenovo's first laptop with an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen is now shipping, but it's unclear whether the PC maker will bring out additional OLED models anytime soon.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga with a 14-inch OLED screen is now shipping for US$1,682, which is a premium price compared to the same model with a conventional LED screen, priced at $1,394. Both laptops have Intel Core i5 Skylake processors.

The laptop has the largest OLED screen available. HP's Spectre x360 Convertible Laptop and Dell's Alienware 13 gaming laptop have 13.3-inch OLED screens.

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Report: Motorola can't commit to the monthly security update cycle [PCWorld]

Here’s something you may want to chew on while you ponder whether or not one of the new Moto Z phones should be on your wish list.

According to an Ars Technica report, Motorola would only commit to regular security patches instead of the specific monthly update scheme established by Google. Motorola, which went to great lengths to proclaim how revolutionary the Moto Z line was at Lenovo Tech World, went into further detail with a statement issued first to Ars:

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Rival gang leaks decryption keys for Chimera ransomware [PCWorld]

Aside from the efforts of security researchers and antivirus companies, malware victims can sometimes also benefit from the fighting between rival cybercriminal groups.

That happened this week when the creators of the Petya and Mischa ransomware programs leaked about 3,500 RSA private keys allegedly corresponding to systems infected with Chimera, another ransomware application.

In a post Tuesday on Pastebin, Mischa's developers claimed that earlier this year they got access to big parts of the development system used by Chimera's creators.

As a result of that hack, they obtained the source code for Chimera and integrated some of it into their own ransomware project, according to the Pastebin message.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Warning: The new Marvel: Ultimate Alliance PC ports are a disastrous mess [PCWorld]

A quick way to get my attention? Name-drop Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Not only is it the last good Marvel game I can think of (seriously, why?) but it was also, thanks to some bundle magic, the first-ever game I owned for the Xbox 360. I’ve got a soft spot.

So when Activision announced it was updating and re-releasing the games—bringing Ultimate Alliance 2 to PC for the first time, in the process—I felt equal parts excited and nostalgic.

The perfect combination for a disaster scenario.

Yes, the ports are a complete tire fire. Don’t even touch this one with a ten-foot pole, lest the pole burst into flames too.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Shame, because it’s a great action-RPG series.

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Google Play Family Library launches, enabling shared apps, games, movies, and more [PCWorld]

At long last you can bring up to six different individuals together into a single happy Google Play Family.

Google officially debuted its new Family Library on Wednesday, bringing Android up to speed with Apple’s Family Sharing, which has been a longstanding perk of iOS. When you sign up, you’ll be able to select a credit card to share as the family payment method. However, other family members will be able to designate a different payment option or use a gift card instead for specific purchases.

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Osram's Lightify smart bulbs suffer from several serious security flaws [PCWorld]

Those smart lightbulbs you installed may just be dumbing down your home network’s security, creating cracks that hackers can slip through to press attacks.

“Nine issues affecting the Home or Pro versions of Osram Lightify were discovered, with the practical exploitation effects ranging from the accidental disclosure of sensitive network configuration information, to persistent cross-site scripting (XSS) on the web management console, to operational command execution on the devices themselves without authentication,” security firm Rapid7 said in vulnerability report posted earlier this month.

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Nintendo's hotly anticipated Pokémon Go Plus wearable delayed until September [PCWorld]

You gotta catch ‘em all in Pokémon Go, but right now that’s hard to do. Unless you’re looking at your phone 24/7 or willing to jump out of your running car, you might miss out on a rare Pokémon.

It looks like you won’t be getting any help with that before the fall. Nintendo recently announced via Twitter that the Pokémon Go Plus wearable won’t be released until September. The wearable was originally expected to roll out in July.

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Surface Pro 3's massive battery drain is a software problem, Microsoft says [PCWorld]

Since May, a number of Surface Pro 3 owners have been dealing with surprisingly weak battery life for the two-year-old device. The problem hits some users so severely that their battery lasts only an hour or two after a full charge. Now, Microsoft says it thinks it can fix the issue.

When the problems first hit Surface Pro 3, users wondered if the cause was a faulty battery; many people reporting problems had devices with a Simplo brand battery installed. Faulty-battery recalls also aren’t uncommon in laptops and other devices. But Microsoft says that faulty hardware is not the problem.

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The free Windows 10 upgrade: Who should do it, and who should pass [PCWorld]

The day is almost here: On July 29, Windows 10 will turn one-year-old—and Microsoft will retract the free upgrade offer for current Windows 7 and 8 users. After that, you’ll need to pay retail pricing of $100 or more if you want to upgrade your PC. And once you install Windows 10 you’ll keep getting updates for a long, long time, without subscription fees or kill switches, despite what well-intentioned fearmongers may say.

If you’ve put off upgrading until this point, you’ve either made up your mind to stick with the Windows you know, or you’ve been waiting for the inevitable launch day bugs to be squashed. If it’s the latter, you’re no doubt wondering: Now should I upgrade to Windows 10?

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Xiaomi's first laptop is the Mi Notebook Air, a $750 MacBook rival [PCWorld]

China’s Xiaomi has entered the laptop market with new, lightweight notebooks that run Microsoft’s Windows 10.

The company, which has been getting into new markets including air-purifiers and drones, introduced on Wednesday its Mi Notebook Air, at prices ranging from RMB 3499, or around $524, for the 12.5-inch model with the larger, flagship model at RMB 4,999, or about $749.

Xiaomi is entering the Chinese laptop market at a time when the market for consumer laptops is shrinking. The Chinese market for consumer notebooks is expected to contract by 10.4 percent this year, according to Bryan Ma, IDC’s vice president for devices research.

The announcement of the laptops came at an event where Xiaomi also rolled out a new smartphone, the Redmi Pro, a dual rear camera OLED phone. Xiaomi badly needs a new flagship phone as it has seen market share decline from 14.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 9 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to data from IDC.

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How to take control of your Android notifications [PCWorld]

It’s time to reign in how often your phone pesters you.

Windows 10's free upgrade deadline will stretch into July 30, thanks to time zones [PCWorld]

Windows 10’s free upgrade deadline officially ends July 29. When we checked on the exact time with Microsoft, however, we learned that some lucky procrastinators will get extra hours to upgrade, thanks to international time zones. Here are the details. 

The official deadline for the free upgrade is 11:59 p.m. UTC-10 on Friday, July 29. Time nerds know that UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time and is the successor to Greenwich Mean Time as the standard for setting clocks and time worldwide. The starting point, UTC-0, includes major cities Accra in Ghana and Dakar in Senegal; Casablanca in Morocco and Lisbon in Portugal; and farther north, Dublin in Ireland and London in the United Kingdom.

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Phone hacking: What the FBI won't reveal could hurt users, experts argue [PCWorld]

WASHINGTON—We already know that law enforcement agencies can hack our phones. But we don’t know what they find, how they find it, or even who helps them discover the information. Top cybersecurity experts and lawmakers argued about how much should be revealed at a July 11 meeting of the Congressional Internet Caucus.

“Government hacking has already happened. The question of whether it should happen is actually way past the point,” said Harley Geiger, director of public policy at Rapid 7, an Internet security company. 

Geiger and others cited the FBI-Apple encryption dispute as a troubling example. Apple refused to help the FBI unlock the iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists involved in the December, 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California. The agency sued Apple, then dropped the lawsuit when it used a third party to crack the passcode in the phone instead. The issue of whether law enforcement should be able to take advantage of vulnerabilities remains unresolved, and government hacking is still unregulated.

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Oppo PM-2 planar magnetic headphones review: As exquisite as they are expensive [PCWorld]

The Oppo PM-2 are all-around spectacular headphones, as well they should be considering their $699 price tag. These cans deliver an uncolored, neutral, and engaging musical presentation with an uncanny knack of revealing the finest details from just about any musical source. While you can drive them with a smartphone, you’ll be duly rewarded by pairing the PM-2 with the highest-quality headphone amplifier or digital audio player you can afford (we review four of the best DAPs in this story).

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

What Microsoft is taking away from Windows 10 in the Anniversary Update [PCWorld]

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is full of great new features like a more powerful Cortana, deeper integration with mobile devices, and new inking features designed to make the stylus cool again. But as with any new version of Windows, the Anniversary Update also removes a few features and functionality that some of you might miss.

Amid all the excitement over what's coming to AU, here’s a look at what Microsoft sent to the Recycle Bin.

The impersonal login page


The Windows 10 login page in build 14385.

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Qualcomm agrees to pay $19.5M to settle charges of bias against women [PCWorld]

Qualcomm has agreed to pay US$19.5 million to settle a gender discrimination class action lawsuit that alleged that women at the company get lower pay and have lesser chances of promotion under its current programs.

The settlement on behalf of a class of about 3,290 female employees was reached before suit was filed, but still requires the filing of a class complaint and a move for preliminary approval of the agreement from a judge in a federal court in California, according to Sanford Heisler, the legal firm representing the women.

The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California alleges that in Qualcomm’s U.S. operations, women in science, technology, engineering, and math, known together as STEM, and related roles face discrimination in pay and promotions.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

New Pokémon Go maps show you where to catch 'em all [PCWorld]

If you’ve been wondering how to find Pikachu, Scyther, Electabuzz, or any other rare Pokémon, you might not have to wait much longer: new crowdsourced Pokémon Go maps are teaching players how to find Pokémon in Pokémon Go.

But the best Pokémon Go map doesn’t use crowdsourcing at all: it pulls directly from the data that developer Niantic sends to the Pokémon Go clients. Right now, we’re saying that the best Pokémon Go map is Pokévision, which provides a real-time look at the Pokémon spawning around you, and more importantly, when they’ll de-spawn or vanish. Pokévision is just a teeny bit difficult to use, but it’s terrific—when the servers are online, that is. (Our story has more tips on how to use it.)

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In light of increased cyberattacks, White House sets defense plan with FBI in charge [PCWorld]

Faced with increasingly troubling attacks on its cyber infrastructure, the United States has outlined new measures intended to help it respond more effectively to attacks that might compromise public safety or its national security interests.

On Tuesday, President Obama approved a directive that lays out how federal agencies will respond to “significant cyber incidents," with the FBI to be formally in charge of investigating.

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The best Pokémon Go map grabs data directly from the Pokémon Go servers [PCWorld]

If you want the best Pokémon Go map, why not use the game’s servers to tell you where to find Pokémon? That’s the aim of Pokévision, which claims to use the the game’s own API to discover the Pokémon in your midst.

Pokévision’s premise is simple: It taps the game’s API to provide a real-time “cheat sheet” pointing to the locations of the nearest Pokémon in Pokémon Go. Each Pokémon location comes with a timer; when that timer expires, the Pokémon de-spawns and disappears. 

“Find all Pokémon near you (or a selected target location) in real time for Pokémon Go. Pokémon nearby will be marked along with their appearance timer on the map,” the Pokévision site claims. “These are real-time Pokemon locations, meaning they are currently live and can be found exactly at the marked spots.”

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Trump, Russia and the DNC Emails: The Real Story [Power LinePower Line]

(John Hinderaker)

This morning Donald Trump conducted a press conference in Miami, in the course of which he made a flippant comment about Russia finding Hillary Clinton’s tens of thousands of deleted emails:

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.

This caused the Democrat/media complex to become hysterical, charging Trump with encouraging a hostile power to conduct espionage against the U.S. Curious about the context of Trump’s obviously tongue in cheek remark, I watched his press conference (or most of it anyway, it is pretty long). It is posted in its entirety below; I encourage you to watch as much of it as you have time for.

The real story is that Trump put on an impressive performance. At the beginning of the press conference, reporters badgered him relentlessly about Russia and Vladimir Putin, trying to suggest that Trump was somehow in cahoots with the Russians in hacking into the DNC’s server–a ridiculous supposition, even if you assume the Russians had anything to do with it. Trump pushed back against the reporters in the manner that has made him popular with so many Americans, but, in my opinion, more skillfully and articulately than he has generally done in the past. It is a very good performance, and it puts into stark relief the fact that Hillary can’t face the press even though virtually all of its members are doing their best to help her.

Here is Trump. Enjoy:

The New York Times: Two conflicting editorials, one cynical motive [Power LinePower Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal captures the shameless partisanship of the New York Times in just a few sentences. The sentences come from editorials that appeared in 2012 and 2016 regarding the views of the Republican presidential candidates on Russia.

Here is the New York Times on March 29, 2012:

Two decades after the end of the cold war, Mitt Romney still considers Russia to be America’s ‘No. 1 geopolitical foe.’ His comments display either a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics. Either way, they are reckless and unworthy of a major presidential contender.

Here’s the Times today, July 27, 2016:

Regardless of whether Mr. Putin is out to help Mr. Trump, voters would be right to question the judgment of a candidate who has shown so much admiration for such a dangerous adversary.

By its own reckoning, the Times has displayed either a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics. By any fair reckoning, it stands convicted of craven politics.

All charges dropped against remaining Freddie Gray defendants [Power LinePower Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

Prosecutors have dropped all remaining charges against the three remaining Baltimore police officers (William Porter, Garrett Miller, Alicia White) accused of crimes in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. Three other original defendants (Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson, and Brian Rice) have been found not guilty.

The Baltimore Sun describes the prosecution’s move as “startling,” and maybe it is. However, it was the only rational decision available. In the trials of the defendants most likely to have been culpable, Judge Barry Williams, has made it clear that he finds the prosecution’s theories of criminal culpability to be without merit.

The six officers still face the possibility of administrative discipline. Anything more than a slap on the wrist will further demoralize Baltimore’s police force and probably make the murder-plagued city even less safe.

We now have conclusive outcomes in the three episodes that fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. George Zimmerman, a civilian rather than a police officer, was found not guilty by a jury because he established that he killed Trayvon Martin in self defense.

Officer Darren Wilson was exonerated by the Obama Justice department. He clearly acted in self defense when he shot and killed Michael Brown.

Now, the prosecution, after suffering serial defeats in the Freddy Gray cases, has finally decided to move on. Initially, it seemed to me that the prosecution might well have a case against a few of the defendants, even though it was clear the officers had been overcharged.

This highlights the importance of not jumping to conclusions. It turned out that there was no good evidence that Gray was given a “rough ride.” I’m not talking about evidence that would satisfy the “reasonable doubt” standard. There appears to have been no real evidence at all of a rough ride, and Judge Williams gently criticized the prosecution for using the term.

The only possible case Judge Williams found against the officers was based on the failure to restrain Gray with a seat belt. But any such case would have been a civil one for negligence. The judge was clear that the officer’s decision did not amount to criminal negligence.

There is also no basis for concluding that the decision not to restrain Gray was based on race. For one thing, several of the officers who didn’t belt him are Black. For another, Gray appears to have been causing a ruckus in the van, thus making it difficult and potentially dangerous for officers to get him seat-belted.

Like the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, then, the Freddy Gray tragedy doesn’t support the Black Lives Matter movement. At most, it should have spawned a Seat Belts Matter movement.

I don’t mean to suggest that there are no cases in which police officers have killed Blacks unjustifiably. Patrolling neighborhoods in which criminality runs rampant is a nerve racking job, especially now that officers, not just residents, have been targeted for attack.

A few officers will therefore be too quick on the trigger. And in some of this very small number of cases, racial animus will be a contributing factor.

I’m not going to go President Obama’s route and say that more people die in bathtub accidents (or follow the lead of the Saul Bellow character who said, in a non-police context, “more die of heartbreak”). But it seems to me that the problem of unjustified, racially based killings by police officers doesn’t make the list of the nation’s 50 biggest concerns.

It also seems to me that those who want to portray it as a major issue are, in most cases, being extremely cynical. The most radical among them want to incite riots and assassinations. They are beginning to succeed.

Many of the remaining Black Lives Matter folks and their allies want to obscure the things that go on in Black neighborhoods that should be the main concern. I’m referring to killing by Blacks of other Blacks and, more generally, the social pathology that underlies this lawlessness.

During his contentious interview with Sheriff David Clarke, Don Lemon said “we can walk and chew gum at the same time.” He meant we can focus on both the problem of Blacks killing blacks and the almost infinitely less frequent matter (my characterization, not Lemon’s) of the racially influenced unjustified killing of Black men by police officers.

Maybe so. But among the mainstream media and the political left, we’re seeing a whole lot gum chewing and precious little walking.

Another Day, Another Allahu Akbar [Power LinePower Line]

(John Hinderaker)

This is the kind of headline you couldn’t make up: “Gang of Muslims storm nudist pool in Germany yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ and threatening to ‘exterminate’ women for being ‘sluts.'”

Nudists were told they would be ‘exterminated’ by a gang of Muslims who stormed into a German swimming pool yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’.

The six men, described as being in their 20s and with beards, spat at women and children because they were swimming in the nude and called all the females ‘sluts’.

The revelers were at a pool in the town of Geldern in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, known for its preference for natural form of swimming.

…[A]ccording to other witnesses the men referred to the bathers as ‘infidels.’

Interestingly, this group of Muslims apparently were not new arrivals:

The Muslim gang were fluent in German, but also threatened people in Arabic.

A swimming pool in Geldern

A swimming pool in Geldern

Following their successful raid on the nudist swimming pool, the six men “then went to a water skiing facility where they abused more civilians and staff before they were chased out by one of the workers.”

The same Daily Mail article recounts the problem of rape and other forms of sexual assault by recent immigrants in Germany’s swimming pools. There have been a number of such cases in the past year, leading liberal groups to propose a novel solution:

[T]he professional swimming association in Germany wants to reduce escalating sex attacks by refugees at public baths by training migrants to become pool lifeguards.

The Federal Association of German Swimming Professionals (BDS) says this would be ‘an inclusive measure that would benefit everyone.’
Sexually repressed young Muslim men have taken the sight of women in skimpy bathing costumes as an unspoken statement that they want sex, especially in Germany.

The idea of turning them into lifeguards responsible for security, order and cleanliness, water quality monitoring and maintenance of technical equipment would lead to a decrease in sex crimes, the group claims.

Others are skeptical:

But Cologne lifeguard chief Berthold Schmitt believes there is a ‘fundamental problem’ for refugees in 6,000 indoor and outdoor and school swimming pools in Germany.

He said: ‘The ‘new people’, as we call them, have three problems: they speak no German, have no knowledge of German or European bathing culture, and most cannot swim.’

At least 20 refugees are reported to have drowned in Germany this year.

One would be tempted to describe Germany’s immigration policies as insane, except that they are not materially different from ours.

Mid-Week in Pictures: Special DNC Edition [Power LinePower Line]

(Steven Hayward)

Yeah, there’s just too much piling up from the first 24 hours of the DNC, and I’m sure the last two days will offer even more material, so here’s a fillip for the meantime:

The inspiration for Bernie Sanders?

The inspiration for Bernie Sanders?

Bill and Hillary: the Pig Pen of American politics?

Bill and Hillary: the Pig Pen of American politics?

Warren the Nazi copy

Look: Fauxchahontas plagiarizing Laura Ingraham.

Soros Dems copy Secret Server copy

Clinton dress copy

Speech Bill copy Divided Dems copy Hillary 2016 copy Marriage be saved? copy Dumpster Fires copy Wasserman to Hillary copy Corprpoate Greed copy Enough HIllary copy Hillary Shining copy Surprise brniePros copy

DNC manip copy

Russian Truth copy Bernie Twits copy Clinton Lawn Signs copy Thelma copy

Kaine and Unable copy Berned copy

No Flag copy

And finally. . .  since the DNC is having trouble with the whole flag thing (never mind guns), let’s remind them how it’s done properly:

Hot Flag copy

Egyptian Christians Under Attack [Wizbang]

Egyptian Christians are under attack. From the news: “The leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christian church is warning of increased attacks on Christians, saying national unity is being “defaced.” In a Monday meeting with lawmakers, Pope Tawadros II said that since 2013 there have been 37 sectarian attacks on Christians — nearly an incident a month.” “The pope made his comments after he met with a parliamentary delegation which was composed of members of parliament’ Committee on Religious Affairs and the Support Egypt bloc at Cairo’s Al-Abbasiya Cathedral. The pope cited a report compiled by the church showing that in the

Now is the summer of our discontent… [Wizbang]

These are the interesting times in which we live.

Trump Asks Russia to Hack Hillary’s Emails [Guido Fawkes]

The post Trump Asks Russia to Hack Hillary’s Emails appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

New Transport PPS “Strongly Opposed” to HS2 [Guido Fawkes]


HS2 may have hit another rail bump. The new Transport PPS, Victoria Prentis, is “strongly opposed” to building the high-speed rail link. Prentis, whose picturesque rural constituency of Banbury would see HS2 run through its eastern edge, says on her website:

“While I recognise the importance of investment in our transport network, I am strongly opposed to the building of HS2. I will continue to oppose it in principle, as I do not think it represents value for money for our taxpayers, and that the environmental costs are too high.”

Prentis, who is neighbouring MP to both David Cameron and Andrea Leadsom, will be serving under John Hayes, who has previously spoken against holding a referendum for locals to decide on HS2. This is going to be a tough square to circle…

The post New Transport PPS “Strongly Opposed” to HS2 appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Owen Smith: I’m Sorry [Guido Fawkes]


Owen Smith has apologised via his spokesman for saying he wanted to “smash” Theresa May “on her heels”:

“It was off script and, on reflection, it was an inappropriate choice of phrase and he apologises for using it.”

He hasn’t commented himself other than to stand by his comments

He’s had a full spanking from Jess Phillips, who is one of his supporters:

Starting to look like Oily has a women problem…

The post Owen Smith: I’m Sorry appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Smith Campaign Chief Insists He’s “Not a Sexist” [Guido Fawkes]

Not what Owen Smith’s team wanted to be talking about today…

The post Smith Campaign Chief Insists He’s “Not a Sexist” appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Canadian “Hot” Lesbian Oil Advert Pulled [Guido Fawkes]


An advert for Canadian oil showing a steamy lesbian kiss was pulled after killjoys lashed out. The ad, fronted by the Canada Oil Sands Community Facebook page, featured a raunchy tryst with the caption “In Canada lesbians are considered hot! In Saudi Arabia if you’re a lesbian YOU DIE!”

canada oil sands community

While the page has removed the advert, it today uploaded a new one depicting two men being hanged, with the text:

“Did you know it’s against the law to be gay in Saudi Arabia? If you get caught being gay you die. Why is Canada importing oil from places like this when we have our own?”

Pro-fracking groups in Lancashire should listen and learn…

The post Canadian “Hot” Lesbian Oil Advert Pulled appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Smith Standing By “Smash” May Comment [Guido Fawkes]

Sky’s Sophy Ridge has asked Owen Smith to clarify his off-script comment that he wants to “smash” Theresa May “on her heels“. Smith is doubling down:

“They love a bit of rhetoric don’t they? We need a bit more robust rhetoric in politics. I absolutely stand by those comments. I don’t literally want to smash Theresa May back. I’m not advocating violence in any shape or form.”

You know your speech has gone badly when you’re having to deny you’re in favour of violence against women…

The post Smith Standing By “Smash” May Comment appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Smith Wants to “Smash” May “Back On Her Heels” [Guido Fawkes]

Owen Smith has gaffed awkwardly at his campaign event today by saying he wants to “smash” Theresa May “back on her heels”. Probably not sensible for Smith to talk about “smashing” women politicians give he was forced to apologise for a tasteless domestic violence analogy in 2010. And presumably female Labour MPs will be outraged at him talking about Theresa May’s heels. Everyday brocialist sexism…

The post Smith Wants to “Smash” May “Back On Her Heels” appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Juncker Appoints Hardline Britain Basher as EU Brexit Negotiator [Guido Fawkes]


Who is Michel Barnier, the man appointed by Juncker to be the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator? An ultra-interventionist, dirigiste Frenchman with a history of bashing Britain and getting into fights with UK governments. This FT article from 2011 gives a taste of what he is like:

“Sir Mervyn King is not known as a man given to shouting. But during a meeting this summer in the genteel surroundings of London’s Threadneedle Street, the Bank of England governor let fly. The visitor sitting across from him was threatening to rein in the governor’s new powers to set capital rules for Britain’s banks. Sir Mervyn was having none of it. As his voice rose, his interpreter grew increasingly startled – particularly as the Frenchman refused to back down. An hour later, Sir Mervyn’s hands were still shaking when he sat down for lunch with George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer.”

When barmy Barnier was appointed to his role as EU financial services chief, Nicolas Sarkozy boasted that France had achieved a victory over “Anglo-Saxon capitalism”. In 2009 Gordon Brown flipped out when Sarkozy said Barnier’s appointment meant Britain were “big losers”. In 2010 the Telegraph described him as “the most dangerous man in Europe”. In 2013 Barnier told Britain to accept punitive regulation of the City or leave the EU. This appointment is a an act of war…

The post Juncker Appoints Hardline Britain Basher as EU Brexit Negotiator appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Everybody’s Investing in Brexit Britain [Guido Fawkes]

dbg uk gsk city airport

Three huge businesses have announced major UK investments in the space of 24 hours – in some cases contrary to what their officials claimed prior to the referendum vote. GlaxoSmithKline has announced £275 million of fresh investment, London’s City Airport is getting a £344 million expansion, and Deutsche Börse’s shareholders overwhelmingly approved its merger with the London Stock Exchange. A vote endorsing London as the enduring financial capital of the world post-Brexit…

All three firms contributed to Project Fear. GSK CEO Sir Andrew Witty signed a letter to the Observer in May that claimed “Leaving the EU would bring added complexity and uncertainty, which is bad for business and research.” London City Airport’s CEO Declan Collier claimed Brexit would  “undermine the free flow of trade and travel.” The Financial Times warned of “advisers familiar” with the Stock Exchange merger claiming the day after the vote “The deal is dead. The German’s won’t allow it.” Willkommen in Großbritannien!

The post Everybody’s Investing in Brexit Britain appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Shami’s Bad Tempered Peerage Non-Denial [Guido Fawkes]

Shami Chakrabarti was asked once again if Corbyn had offered her a peerage on Newsnight, her response to Kirsty Wark’s question is bad tempered to say the least:

Chakrabarti: “Well I don’t know Kirsty, are you going to take one?”

Wark: “Well I haven’t been offered one, have you?”

Chakrabarti: “Many times”

Assume that’s a yes then…

The post Shami’s Bad Tempered Peerage Non-Denial appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Kinnock ‘Hid Daughter’s £29,000-a-Year Private School’ During Selection [Guido Fawkes]


Stephen Kinnock has been accused of hiding his daughter’s private education during his selection process for his seat. In 2014 Kinnock told Wales Online that “it is highly misleading to say that our daughter attended a private school”. Except Johanna Kinnock did attend a private school from 2013 to 2015, the prestigious £29,000-a-year Atlantic College in the Vale of Glamorgan. So it wasn’t “highly misleading”, it was the truth…

Kinnock is now spinning that he was talking about private schools in Denmark rather than Britain, and claims he wasn’t asked about her schooling here so he wasn’t telling porkies. If you believe that Guido has a Welsh valley to sell you. Atlantic College is located at the 12th century St Donat’s castle, where students enjoy the gothic dining hall, 25,000 book library, surrounding gardens and woodland, tennis courts and boat-building facilities. Can’t think why Labour’s Red Prince didn’t want to mention that to his CLP…

UPDATE: The BBC quote a Labour source in Kinnock’s Abevaron constituency as saying the revelation would have cost him the seat:

“It would have changed people’s perception, it would have made the difference. There was only one vote in it.”

H/T @jacothenorth

The post Kinnock ‘Hid Daughter’s £29,000-a-Year Private School’ During Selection appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

ArchStrike Ethical Hacking Linux Operating System Gets Its First ISO Builds [Full Circle Magazine]

The ArchStrike developers have announced that their Arch Linux-based operating system designed for ethical hackers now has official installation mediums as ISO images.
For those not familiar with all this, ArchStrike was previously known as ArchAssault, of course, still based on the renowned, lightweight and highly customizable Arch Linux distribution. However, the goal of the project is to be a security layer to Arch Linux, offering a collection of over 1,200 security-oriented tools to ethical hackers and security researchers.
The ArchStrike 2016.07.21 ISOs are available for download, distributed for 64-bit (x86_64) and 32-bit (i686) hardware architectures, and are the first of their kind, which means that the ArchStrike team could make a habit of releasing monthly updated ISOs with new tools and up-to-date software components.
Under its new umbrella brand, the ArchStrike project is promising users a bleeding-edge penetration testing operating system that is open source and free to use by anyone who wants to test and secure their infrastructure, as well as for anyone else interested in carrying out other pentesting or security auditing operations.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/archstrike-ethical-hacking-linux-operating-system-gets-its-first-iso-builds-506612.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.7.2, Qt 5.7 and KDE Applications 16.04.3 [Full Circle Magazine]

Chakra GNU/Linux developer Neofytos Kolokotronis has announced the release of the latest KDE and Qt technologies, along with new software versions in the main repositories of the Linux kernel-based operating system.
Following a half-rolling release model and using some of the best Arch Linux technologies, Chakra GNU/Linux focuses on delivering the newest KDE software releases to its user base. Therefore, today we would like to inform our readers using Chakra GNU/Linux that they have received new goodies.
Mr. Kolokotronis and his team have managed to once again bring out the latest KDE Plasma desktop environment. Version 5.7.2 is included in this update, as are other components released this month, such as the KDE Applications 16.04.3 software suite and KDE Frameworks 5.24.0 collection of add-ons for the Qt 5.7.0 GUI toolkit, which is also available in today’s refresh.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/chakra-gnu-linux-users-get-kde-plasma-5-7-2-qt-5-7-and-kde-applications-16-04-3-506619.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Probably my favorite exchange so far in Stranger Things.... [Conor Lastowka]

Probably my favorite exchange so far in Stranger Things. Powerful nostalgia bomb. #childhood

Good enough to make a Man of the Cloth throw down his Holy Book,... [Lint]

Good enough to make a Man of the Cloth throw down his Holy Book, dump the cookies in his hat and run away

Later he despaired of his sin, but remembered how St. Augustine had that problem with the pears.

The Future of the Past: Modernizing the New York Times Archive [LISNews:]

While our original goal was to modernize our digital archive, the migration project has led to opportunities for future projects to engage our readers in our treasure trove of historical news data.
From The Future of the Past: Modernizing the New York Times Archive - The New York Times

Spamferences thrive; junk journals prosper [LISNews:]

Spamferences are conferences with no academic value that accept every paper offered and charge high enough fees to make serious commercial profit provided at least some people turn up to present their papers. You book a block of space in a huge hotel in a pleasant place, send out a few million invitation-to-submit emails to scholars in a slew of popular fields, automate the business of accepting and listing all papers submitted, and charge the credit cards of the vain, gullible, deluded, or corrupt academics who decide to attend.
From Language Log » Spamferences thrive; junk journals prosper

Turns out the ice bucket thing worked out for ALS researchers. [Moe Lane]

This is nice:

The ALS Association says the money raised by the ‘ice bucket challenge’ craze has helped researchers identify a gene that contributes to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. That could provide a new route for providing therapy for the incurable disease.

Not a magic bullet, by any means. But I doubt that there was ever going to be a magic bullet. What there could be would be a promising new line of research that only needed some dedicated funding, and that’s what we apparently got out of the deal. …Cool.

Uncle Moe Lane’s 1-minute Emergency Chicken Noodle soup. [Moe Lane]

Because when you’re sick you need something that’s dead easy.  So… take some chicken broth.  Take some precooked pasta. Dump a bunch of the broth into a microwaveable bowl.  Dump in onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Yes, the broth is already salted. Add more.

Nuke broth for 45 seconds or so.  Pour over the noodles.  Eat while it’s still hot. You get the salt, strong flavor, easy carbs,  and calories that your body is craving right now, but not so much the grease that your stomach may not like.

Well, *I* was knocked back today by this cold. [Moe Lane]

Spent most of the day asleep.  Will probably do the same tomorrow. Hopefully will feel better by Friday.

Germans Fear Racist Backlash After Suitcase Bomb Explodes Near Immigration Center [The Jawa Report]

Germans are mostly peaceful. It would be wrong to jump to conclusions about them based on the actions of a few bad apples. We should reserve judgement about this until all the facts are in.

A SUSPECTED suitcase bomb has been detonated outside an immigration office near the German city of Nuremberg this afternoon.

German media said the explosion occurred near the Federal Office for Migration in Zirndorf, Bavaria, where newly arrived refugees are processed.

According to media reports, a suitcase packed with highly flammable aerosol cannisters was detonated around 200 yards away from the building.

Although there has been reports of Neo Nazis in the area most Germans reject the Nazi ideology.

Officials fear a backlash after reports of an uptick in reports of Anti-German hate incidents over the last few years. Saying, "Nazism is a Religion of Peace".

Sandcrawler PSA: Vaginal Atrophy And You [The Jawa Report]

If you're like Rusty's wife and suffer from um, you know, intimate atrophy don't use Vitamin E on your most sensitive areas.

And now, thanks to Khloé Kardashian women can feel confident in talking openly about Vaginal Atrophy,


No joke: Vitamin E may strengthen vaginal lining! Moisturize your labia and vagina with Vitamin E oil to combat dryness and soothe irritation.

Um, don't really do that. Let Jawa Report do it for you.

That's right we're starting a new therepetic service to our younger and hotter lesbian readers. Avoid the discomfort and pain of Vaginal Atrophy. Call today!

To Troll And Troll Again [The Jawa Report]

DNC live day two. Live Troll Slick Willie!

Update: Slick Willie's full speech, to take you back to the good old days I must say that latex stuff, he looks almost young, Don't worry if you missed anything Bill Clinton's was the only half decent lie, I mean speech of the night.

Live from SDCC 2016 with Tatiana Maslany, Danny McBride, Walton Goggins and Jody Hill [The Nerdist]

It's the first show from SDCC 2016 at the Balboa Theater! First Tatiana Maslany talks to Chris, Matt and Jonah about being on Orphan Black, what shows she likes and she takes some questions from the audience. Then Danny McBride, Walton Goggins and Jody Hill chat with the guys about their new show Vice Principals, having southern accents and they take some questions from the audience as well!

Police Prosecutions in Freddie Gray Death Come to a Merciful End [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by JVW]

Faced with their dismal record in court thus far, the Baltimore’s State Attorney’s Office has dropped all charges against the last three officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Trials of the four officers that had previous taken place ended in one mistrial and three acquittals.

Beleaguered State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby played the feminine card at a news conference earlier today, telling reporters that “as a mother” this decision to halt the prosecutions greatly affected her. She also once again accused the police of protecting their own, claiming that there was “a reluctance” on the part of police to investigate and “an obvious bias” that they brought to the investigation. Standing next to Ms. Mosby, Gray’s mother Gloria Darden accused police of lying, claiming “I know they lied, and they killed him.”

After having 211 homicides for the entire year in 2014, Baltimore’s number rose to 344 last year and stands at 167 year-to-date for 2016. Gray’s arrest and death took place in April 2015.

The Baltimore Sun has an interesting run-down of reaction to these developments. It would appear that Ms. Mosby retains significant support in Baltimore’s African-American community, notwithstanding the wasted resources devoted to these prosecutions. Ms. Mosby declined to answer questions at her news conference, citing civil lawsuits that have been filed against her.

Previous posts concerning the sad Freddie Gray situation can be found here.


John Hinckley to Go Free [Patterico's Pontifications]

Not to worry. He’s all better.

Report on The Perl Conference 2016 [Perlsphere]

In June, I traveled to Orlando, Florida to attend the event formerly known as Yet Another Perl Conference (or YAPC::NA), now known as The Perl Conference. This was my second time in a row to attend this conference (after my first attendance back in 2007).

Conferences are a great place to learn how others are using various tools, hear about new features, and interact with the community. If you are speaking, it's a great opportunity to brush up on your subject, which was true for me in the extreme, as I was able to give a talk on the PostgreSQL database, which I hadn't used in a long time (more on that later).

The conference name

The event organizers were able to license the name The Perl Conference from O'Reilly Media, as O'Reilly doesn't hold conferences by this name anymore. This name is now preferred over "YAPC" as it is more friendly to newcomers and more accurately describes the conference. More on the name change.

Notes from the conference

Over the three days of the conference, I was able to take in many talks. Here are some of my more interesting notes from various sessions:

  • MetaCPAN is the best way to browse and search for Perl modules. Anyone can help with development of this fine project, via their GitHub.
  • Ricardo Signes says "use subroutine signatures!" They are "experimental", but are around to stay.
  • Perl6 is written in Perl6 (and something called "Not Quite Perl"). This allows one to read the source to figure out how something is done. (There were many talks on Perl6, which is viewed as a different programming language, not a replacement for Perl5.)
  • jq is a command-line utility that can pretty-print JSON (non Perl, but nice!)
  • Ricardo Signes gave a talk on encoding that was over my head, but very interesting.
  • The presenter of Emacs as Perl IDE couldn't attend, so Damian Conway spoke on VIM as Perl IDE (photo above)

From John Anderson's talk:

  • Just say "no" to system Perl. Use plenv or the like.
  • There's a DuckDuckGo bang command for searching MetaCPAN: !cpan [module]
  • Use JSON::MaybeXS over the plain JSON module.
  • Use Moo for object-oriented programming in Perl, or Moose if you must.
  • Subscribe to Perl Weekly
  • Submit your module on PrePAN first, to receive feedback before posting to CPAN.

Lee Johnson gave a talk called Battling a legacy schema with DBIx::Class (video). Key takeaways:

  • When should I use DBIC?
  • Something that has grown organically could be considered "legacy," as it accumulates technical debt
  • With DBIC, you can start to manage that debt by adding relationships to your model, even if they aren't in your database
  • RapidApp's rdbic can help you visualize an existing database

D. Ruth Bavousett spoke on Perl::Critic, which is a tool for encouraging consistency. Basically, Perl::Critic looks at your source code, and makes suggestions for improvement, etc. These suggestions are known as "policies" and can be configured to enable or disable any of them, or to even write new policies. One suggestion was to create a Git hook to run the perlcritic command at the time code is committed to the source code repository (possibly using App::GitHooks). End Point has its own perlcritic configuration, which I have started trying to use more.

Logan Bell shared Strategies for leading a remote team. Some of the tools and techniques he uses include:

  • tmate for terminal sharing
  • HipChat, with a chat room just for complaining called "head to desk"
  • Holds one-on-one meetings every Monday for those he works with and directs
  • Has new team members work on-site with another team member their first week or so, to help understand personalities that don't often come across well over chat
  • Tries to have in-person meetings every quarter or at least twice a year, to bring the team together

My talk

Finally, my own talk was titled Stranger in a Strange Land: PostgreSQL for MySQL users (video). I hadn't used Postgres in about seven years, and I wanted to get re-acquainted with it, so naturally, I submitted a talk on it to spur myself into action!

In my talk, I covered:

  • the history of MySQL and Postgres
  • how to pronounce "PostgreSQL"
  • why one might be preferred over the other
  • how to convert an existing database to Postgres
  • and some tools and tips.

I enjoyed giving this talk, and hope others found it helpful. All in all, The Perl Conference was a great experience, and I hope to continue attending in the future!

All videos from this year's conference

Steinar H. Gunderson: Nageru in Debian [Planet Debian]

Uploading to ftp-master (via ftp to ftp.upload.debian.org):
Uploading nageru_1.3.3-1.dsc: done.
Uploading nageru_1.3.3.orig.tar.gz: done.
Uploading nageru_1.3.3-1.debian.tar.xz: done.
Uploading nageru-dbgsym_1.3.3-1_amd64.deb: done.
Uploading nageru_1.3.3-1_amd64.deb: done.
Uploading nageru_1.3.3-1_amd64.changes: done.

So now it's in the NEW queue, along with its dependency bmusb. Let's see if I made any fatal mistakes in release preparation :-)

Wouter Verhelst: DebConf16 low resolution videos [Planet Debian]

By popular request...

If you go to the Debian video archive, you will notice the appearance of an "lq" directory in the debconf16 subdirectory of the archive. This directory contains low-resolution re-encodings of the same videos that are available in the toplevel.

The quality of these videos is obviously lower than the ones that have been made available during debconf, but their file sizes should be up to about 1/4th of the file sizes of the full-quality versions. This may make them more attractive as a quick download, as a version for a small screen, as a download over a mobile network, or something of the sorts.

Note that the audio quality has not been reduced. If you're only interested in the audio of the talks, these files may be a better option.

Norbert Preining: TUG 2016 – Day 2 – Figures to Fonts [Planet Debian]

The second day of TUG 2016 was again full of interesting talks spanning from user experiences to highly technical details about astrological chart drawing, and graphical user interfaces to TikZ to the invited talk by Robert Bringhurst on the Palatino family of fonts.


With all these interesting things there is only one thing to compain – I cannot get out of the dark basement and enjoy the city…

After a evening full of sake and a good night’s sleep we were ready to dive into the second day of TUG.

Kaveh Bazargan – A graphical user interface for TikZ

The opening speaker of Day 2 was Kaveh. He first gave us a quick run-down on what he is doing for business and what challenges publishers are facing in these times. After that he introduced us to his new development of a command line graphical user interface for TikZ. I wrote command line on purpose, because the editing operations are short commands issued on a kind of command line, which will give an immediate graphical feedback. Basic of the technique is a simplified TikZ-like meta language that is not only easy to write, but also easy to parse.

While the amount of supported commands and features of TikZ is still quite small, I think the basic idea is a good one, and there is a good potential in it.

Matthew Skala – Astrological charts with horoscop and starfont

Next up was Matthew who introduced us to the involved task of typesetting astrological charts. He included comparisons with various commercial and open source solutions, where Matthew of course, but me too, felt that his charts came of quite well!

As an extra bonus we got some charts of famous singers, as well as the TUG 2016 horoscope.

David Tulett – Development of an e-textbook using LaTeX and PStricks

David reported on his project to develop an e-textbook on decision modeling (lots of math!) using LaTeX and PStricks. His e-book is of course a PDF. There were a lot of very welcoming feedback – free (CC-BY-NC-ND) textbooks for sciences are rare and we need more of them.

Christian Gagné – An Emacs-based writing workflow inspired by TeX and WEB, targeting the Web

Christian’s talk turned around editing and publishing using org-mode of Emacs and the various levels of macros one can use in this setup. He finished with a largely incomprehensible vision of a future equational logic based notation mode. I have used equational logic in my day-in-day-out job, and I am not completely convinced that this is a good approach for typesetting and publishing – but who knows, I am looking forward to a more logic-based approach!

Barbara Beeton, Frank Mittelbach – In memoriam: Sebastian Rahtz (1955-2016)

Frank recalled Sebastian’s many contribution to a huge variety of fields, and recalled our much missed colleague with many photos and anecdotes.

Jim Hefferon – A LaTeX reference manual

Jim reported about the current state of a LaTeX reference manual, which tries to provide a documentation orthogonally to the many introduction and user guides available, by providing a straight down-to-earth reference manual with all the technical bells and whistles necessary.

As I had to write myself a reference manual for a computer language, it was very interested to see how they dealt with many of the same problems I am facing.

Arthur Reutenauer, Mojca Miklavec – Hyphenation past and future: hyph-utf8 and patgen

Arthur reports about the current statue of the hyphenation pattern project, and in particular the license and usage hell they recently came into with large cooperations simply grabbing the patterns without proper attribution.

In a second part he gave a rough sketch of his shot at a reimplementation of patgen. Unfortunately he wrote in rather unreadable hand-writing on a flip-chart, which made only the first line audience to actually see what he was writing.

Federico Garcia-De Castro – TeXcel?

As an artist organizing large festivals Federico has to fight with financial planning and reports. He seemed not content with the abilities of the usual suspects, so he developed a way to do Excel like book-keeping in TeX. Nice idea, I hope I can use that system for the next conference I have to organize!

Jennifer Claudio – A brief reflection on TeX and end-user needs

Last speaker in the morning session was Jennifer who gave us a new and end-user’s view onto the TeX environment, and the respective needs. These kind of talks are a very much welcomed contrast to technical talks and hopefully all of us developers take home some of her suggestions.

Sungmin Kim, Jaeyoung Choi, Geunho Jeong – MFCONFIG: Metafont plug-in module for the Freetype rasterizer

Jaeyoung reported about an impressive project to make Metafont fonts available to fontconfig and thus windowing systems. He also explained their development of a new font format Stemfont, which is a Metafont-like system that can work also for CJK fonts, and which they envisage to be built into all kind of mobile devices.

Michael Sharpe – New font offerings — Cochineal, Nimbus15 and LibertinusT1Math

Michael reports about his last font projects. The first two being extensions of the half-made half-butchered rereleased URW fonts, as well as his first (?) math font project.

I talked to him over lunch one day, and asked him how many man-days he need for these fonts, and his answer was speaking a lot: For the really messed up new URW fonts, like Cochineal, he guessed about 5 man-months of work, while other fonts only needed a few days. I think we all can be deeply thankful to all the work he is investing into all these font projects.

Robert Bringhurst – The evolution of the Palatino tribe

The second invited talk was Robert Bringhurst, famous for his wide contributions to typpography, book culture in general, as well as poetry. He gave a quick historic overview on the development of the Palatino tribe of fonts, with lots of beautiful photos.

I was really looking forward to Robert’s talk, and my expectations were extremely high. And unfortunately I must say I was quite disappointed. Maybe it is his style of presentation, but the feeling he transfered to me (the audience?) was that he was going through a necessary medical check, not much enjoying the presentation. Also, the content itself was not really full of his own ideas or thoughts, but a rather superficial listing of historical facts.

Of course, a person like Robert Bringhurst is so full of anecdotes and background knowledge still was a great pleasure to listen and lots of things to learn, I only hoped for a bit more enthusiasm.

TUG Annual General Meeting

The afternoon session finished with the TUG Annual General Meeting, reports will be sent out soon to all TUG members.

Herbert Schulz – Optional workshop: TeXShop tips & tricks

After the AGM, Herbert from MacTeX and TeXShop gave an on-the-spot workshop on TeXShop. Since I am not a Mac user, I skipped on that.

Another late afternoon program consisted of an excursion to Eliot’s bookshop, where many of us stacked up on great books. This time again I skipped and took a nap.

In the evening we had a rather interesting informal dinner in the food court of some building, where only two shops were open and all of us lined up in front of the Japanese Curry shop, and then gulped down from plastic boxes. Hmm, not my style I have to say, not even for informal dinner. But at least I could meet up with a colleague from Debian and get some gpg key signing done. And of course, talking to all kind of people around.

The last step for me was in the pub opposite the hotel, with beer and whiskey/scotch selected by specialists in the field.

YaST Team: Highlights of YaST development sprint 22 [Planet openSUSE]

openSUSE Conference’16, Hackweek 14 and the various SUSE internal workshops are over. So it’s time for the YaST team to go back to usual three-weeks-long development sprints… and with new sprints come new public reports!

With Leap 42.2 in Alpha phase and SLE12-SP2 in Beta phase our focus is on bugs fixing, so we don’t have as much fancy stuff to show in this report. Still, here you are some bits you could find interesting.

Installer memory consumption reduced

For our SLE customers we promise installations on machines with as little as 512MB of RAM. For Tumbleweed, 1GB is required – so the situation is more relaxed there.

But look at the total size of filesystem images that must be kept in memory during installation: 176MB for SLE12 (Tumbleweed: 224MB). This is leaving not much room to run programs.

The size has grown considerably over time, and we had to look for places to save space. We came up with some major areas for improvement.

The initrd and the installation system (the file system image containing the installer) share many files (mainly libraries). By removing any overlap, we were able to reduce the image size by 17MB for SLE12 (Tumbleweed: 30MB).

After the package installation starts, kernel modules and some raw libzypp cache data are no longer needed. By deleting zypp data we save another 3MB and kernel modules occupy even 29MB in SLE12 (Tumbleweed: 50MB). But we do this only on systems with less than 1GB memory.

So, compared to the available 512MB, these savings are quite substantial and will hopefully keep us going for a while…

Storage reimplementation: another step to an installable system

It’s time for our reimplementation of the storage layer to prove it can do the real work. Thus, we have integrated the new code in a set of modified Tumbleweed ISO images automatically generated in OBS. They cannot still be used to install a system, but the installer is already able to boot and reach the language selection screen (the first milestone we were aiming for).

We already had code that works in a simulated test environment (unit tests) and now we have a way to use that code in a real installer. Stay tuned for exciting news!

Make many extensions fit on the screen properly

For SUSE Linux Enterprise we offer so many optional modules that their listing did not fit on lower resolution screens. Below you can see how the screen looked before the fix – checkbox widgets and their labels do not fit so their bottoms are cropped.

Old interface with cropped extensions

We have to make sure YaST works across different interfaces, including text-based ncurses. That limits the set of widgets we can use when designing interfaces, so finding a solution to that kind of problems is not always easy. We also took the opportunity to add a filter for beta extensions, as you can see in the following screenshot.

The beta extensions filter in action

And finally you can see how it looks like with all the extensions, including beta ones. Instead of cropping elements we now have a scroll-bar in the right.

The new extensions UI in all its glory

Storage reimplementation: LVM unit testing

The next step in the storage layer reimplementation is adding support for LVM, since right now only regular partitions are supported. We always write a lot of unit tests to make sure the different pieces work in isolation before integrating everything together into the installer. During this sprint we created all the infrastructure for testing LVM at such level. Armed with that, we can start writing reliable code to handle LVM (something we have already started to do).

Improved patterns handling for system roles

We recently introduced the concept of system roles during installation. The chosen role affects the selection of package patterns. But we realized that the roles were not completely overriding the default selection of packages. Before the fix introduced in this sprint, desktop related patterns were included for a KVM server role and, thus, the systemd target was graphical.

The KVM Server role before the fix

Now, only the 3 patterns explicitly intended for the KVM role are selected, with no desktop related patterns. Accordingly, the system boots to text mode.

Fixed KVM Server role

Storage reimplementation: the future of booting

We have explained in several previous posts how we are collaborating with Grub and hardware architecture experts to make sure the new storage layer makes always sensible partitioning proposals. For that purpose RSpec has proven to be an excellent tool. It does not only allow us to have full unit test coverage or our code, but also the generated output has become the perfect base to discuss the expected behavior of the system in every possible scenario.

During this sprint, we spent quite some time together with SUSE’s Grub genius Michael Chang defining the best possible partitioning schema in x86 architectures. Once we had a human-readable and non-ambiguous specification, we modified our code to make sure the associated RSpec tests generated exactly the same specification as output. This way we make sure that our code works and that it fits 100% the experts expectations.

Kudos to Michael for his infinite patience with our questions and for coming up with an innovative way of using Grub2 that will allow us to boot in many tricky scenarios, eliminating the need of introducing a separate /boot in almost all cases.


As said, most of the sprint was invested in chasing bugs… and we don’t expect next sprint to be different in that regard. Even though, we hope this post to contain enough new stuff to keep you entertained and informed about what is going on in the YaST trenches.

See you in three weeks!

Danny Al-Gaaf: OpenStack Summit Barcelona: Vote for Presentations [Planet openSUSE]

The next OpenStack Summit takes place in Bacelona (Spain) in October (25.-28.10.2016). The "Vote for Presentations" period started on 26.07.2016. All proposals are now up for community votes. The period will end August 8th at 11:59pm PDT (August 9th at 8:59am CEST).

I have submitted this time two proposals:
  • OpenStack and Ceph @ Converged Microservers - On the Austin Summit the Ceph Community and WDLabs presented about running a 4 Petabyte Ceph cluster on ethernet attached Converged Microserver He8 drives. WDLabs provided access to early production devices for key customers for early adoption and feedback. This talk will provide insight into our experience with running a Ceph cluster on these devices as a storage provider for our OpenStack environment.
  • Vanilla or distributions: How do they differentiate? - If it comes to OpenStack there is always the question: vanilla or a distribution. You have the agony of choice, it will highly depend on your usecase and organization. We will take a look behind the curtain of the OpenStack products. What should you know about the offerings? Is there anything you may should evaluate before you choose a solution? There is more to take a look at than only the OpenStack product itself if you include also e.g. KVM and Ceph. What about the base distributions and support?
This period the voting process changed slightly. Based on community feedback, unique URLs to proposals are no longer available. So if you would like to vote for these talks, you have to search for them (e.g. use the title from above or search for "Al-Gaaf"). As always: every vote is highly welcome. I recommend also to search for "Ceph" or what ever topic your are interested in. You find the voting page here with all proposals and abstracts. I'm looking forward to see if and which of these talks will be selected.

openSUSE News: Newest Tumbleweed snapshot updates KDE Applications [Planet openSUSE]

Tumbleweed-black-greenThe latest openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshot has updated KDE Applications in the repositories to version 16.04.3.

Snapshot 20160724 had a considerably large amount of package updates for Tumbleweed KDE users, but other updates in the snapshot included updates to kiwi-config-openSUSE, Libzypp to version 16.1.3, yast2-installation to version 3.1.202 and Kernel-firmware to 20160712.

Btrfsprogs also moved to version 4.6.1 in the snapshot, which fixed a long-standing bug that led to mixing data blocks into metadata block groups, according to the change log.

There were two Tumbleweed snapshots this week due to some infrastructure issues that slowed the normal Tumbleweed processes.

However, things are continuing to build and be tested and the next snapshot is expected to provide an update to TeXLive 2016. Linux Kernel 4.7 will not be in the next snapshot since it is still going through testing.

The previous snapshot from earlier in the week, snapshot 20160720, had relatively few updates. Gnome-sessions updated to 3.20.2, python-lxml to 3.6.0, purpose to 1.1, and there was one major version update for Virt-viewer to 4.0.

Uzair Shamim: Cloud Encryption Threat Map [Planet openSUSE]

The Cloud has gained quite a bit of popularity within the past decade such that many companies can roll out their own or one hosted by a…

Jono Bacon: Bacon Roundup [Planet Ubuntu]

In my work I tend to create a lot of material both on my website here as well as on other websites (for example, my opensource.com column and my Forbes column. I also participate in interviews and other pieces.

I couldn’t think of an efficient way to pull these together for you folks to check out. So, I figured I will periodically share these goings on in a post. Let’s get this first Bacon Roundup rolling…

How hackers are making products safer (cio.com)
An interview about the work I am doing at HackerOne in building a global community of hackers that are incentivized to find security issues, build their expertise/skills, and earn some money.

8 ways to get your swag on (opensource.com)
A column about the challenges that face shipping swag out to community members. Here are 8 things I have learned to make this easier covering production, shipping, and more.

10 tips for new GitHub projects (opensource.com)
Kicking off a new GitHub project can be tough for new communities. I wrote this piece to provide 10 simple tips and tricks to ensure your new GitHub project is setting off on the right path.

The Risks of Over-Rewarding Communities (jonobacon.org)
A piece about some interesting research into the risks of over-rewarding people to the point of it impacting their performance. This covers the research, the implications for communities, and some practical ways to harness this in your community/organization.

GC On-Demand Podcast Interview (http://podcast.discoposse.com/)
I had a blast chatting to Eric Wright about community management, career development, traversing challenges, and constantly evolving and improving your craft. A fun discussion and I think a fun listen too.

Taking your GitHub issues from good to great (zenhub.com)
I was invited by my friends at ZenHub to participate in a piece about doing GitHub issues right. They wrote the lions-share of this piece but I contributed some material.

Finally, if you want to get my blog posts directly to your inbox, simple put your email address into the box to the right of this post. This will ensure you never miss a beat.

Jonathan Riddell: Neon Updates – KDE Network, KDE Applications [Planet Ubuntu]

Not a great week for Neon last week.  I server we used for building packages on filled up limiting the work we could do and then a patch from Plasma broke some people’s startup and they were faced with a dreaded black screen.  Apologies folks.

But then magically we got an upgrade to the server with lots of nice new disk space and the problem patch was reverted so hopefully any affected was able to upgrade again and recover.

So I added some KDE Network bits and rebuilt the live/installable ISO images so they’re all updated to Applications 16.04.3 in User Edition.  And Applications forked so now Dev Edition Stable Branches uses the 16.08 Beta branches and you can try out lots of updated apps.  And because the developer made a special release just for us and wears cute bunny ears I added in Konversation to our builds for good old fashioned IRC chit chat (none of your modern Slacky/Telegram/Web2.0 protocols here).

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Ddorda: Awesome!! [Planet Ubuntu]

Hey guys (and girls),

For a long while I’ve been happily using Fluxbox, and actually I must say, that I started to get a little bored. The reason I moved to Fluxbox is to stay away from limiting-WM, like Unity or GNOME3. but after a while using Fluxbox, I felt I want something even more hardcore, that will give me even more control on my computer.

After a talk with my roommate (which just recently installed Linux, and quite quickly became a Linux master :D), We decided both to switch to Awesome WM, which from the current point of view, seems like a great decision!

Awesome is acutally named after Barney Stinson!

Awesome is acutally named after Barney Stinson!

Few words about Awesome and what makes it so awesome:
Awesome is a very lightweight, dynamic WM, in which you are able to modify just about anything. You have one (very long) configuration file named rc.lua, and yes, all the configuration is in Lua. actually the configuration is way more than just configuration, it’s the whole WM: widgets, toolbars, the way windows work, act and move, shortcuts, mouse actions, menus and more and more and more – everything is lua scripts, extremely configurable.

As I mentioned above, the configuration is huge lua file, containing just about anything in the wm, which makes it hard to read, and easy to mess. for that reason one of the first things I did after installing Awesome, is to split the configuration to several files, and by that making it very easy to understand and modify.
Of course that if I can think of something, probably it’s already in the internet, so after some googling I found phyber’s splitted rc.lua, which gave me a great something to start with  :)

Some more stuff I wrote for my configuration:
Language switcher (which made me write a patch for xkb-switcher)
– extremely generic startup autorun
– hacked Calendar35 a little bit to work with my local configuration

might wanna have a peek in my Github repository.

Anyways – any awesome users out there? I’m looking for tips, ideas, and mostly people for showing off from time to time (my gf isn’t impressed too much from my geeky shit :P)

Dor :)

Not to be immodest but I believe my reboot of Eragon vastly... [Join me, won't we?]

Not to be immodest but I believe my reboot of Eragon vastly improves on the original.

lastowka: thehungryhungryreader: I’ve got something... [Join me, won't we?]



I’ve got something interesting and experimental planned for Thanksgiving this year, and it uses this exciting new app called @squishtoon! Here’s a test animation I did featuring the uncompensated likeness of @kwmurphy, who may or may not feature prominently in this project… but it’s not like anyone associates him and his friends with Thanksgiving, right?

This is literally what Kevin does every time we rehearse something

Training and examination information [Radio Society of Great Britain – Main Site]

Three documents relating to training and examinations have been published on the RSGB website. An examinations announcement relating to the recent IARU Bandplan changes is available from rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/examination-announcements The latest edition of the Tutors’ Newsletter is available from rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/tutor-resources-2/newsletters Updated Guidelines for Practical Assessments is available from thersgb.org/services/training/guidelines-for-practical-assessments  

Great Red Spot makes Jupiter hot, study suggests [CBC | Technology News]

Great Red Spot

Why is distant Jupiter as warm as Earth? The answer may be The Great Red Spot, an enormous storm big enough to swallow three Earths that has been raging on Jupiter for at least three centuries, a study showed on Wednesday.

New whale species discovered in Bering Sea [CBC | Technology News]

Scientists have made the rare discovery of a whale species, which lives in the Bering Sea between Japan and Alaska.

You have 2 more days to update to Windows 10 for free, if you want it [CBC | Technology News]


PC users still on the fence about upgrading their Windows operating system only have a couple of days to make the jump to Windows 10 for free.

Why blood, gore and nudity end up in your newsfeed [CBC | Technology News]

Scroll down your newsfeed and chances are you will see some pretty graphic content — shootings, blood, gore. So just how does this content end up there?

Tesla opens $5B car battery 'gigafactory' [CBC | Technology News]


Tesla has officially opened its Gigafactory, a massive, $5 billion US plant in the Nevada desert that could nearly double the world's production of lithium-ion batteries.

Good-bye, Philae. Comet lander's radio link cut off for good [CBC | Technology News]

Philae touchdown

The European Space Agency says it is switching off its radio link to the probe that landed on a comet, after receiving no signal from the lander for a year.

Hutterite egg farmers use solar power for zero-energy barn [CBC | Technology News]

Brant Colony egg farm

The Brant Hutterite Colony in southern Alberta aims to produce roughly 13,000 eggs a day while creating no net greenhouse gas emissions.

Election law needs update to deal with Twitter, Facebook, watchdog says [CBC | Technology News]

Yves Cote

Parliament must update Canada's election law to respond to new concerns linked to social media like Facebook and Twitter, the country's election watchdog says.

Camera drone captures stunning views of dolphins in Bonavista Bay [CBC | Technology News]

Bonavista Bay Dolphins

A Newfoundland and Labrador photographer has captured some incredible video of a family of dolphins swimming in Bonavista Bay using a camera drone.

Streetcar tracks major cause of serious downtown cycling crashes, new study finds [CBC | Technology News]

A cyclist was brought to hospital after a collision with a car on Thursday morning.

Researchers in Toronto and British Columbia have discovered something that a lot of Toronto cyclists have found out the hard way: Streetcar tracks can be a serious hazard to your health.

'Big plumes' in northern N.B. likely spruce budworm moths [CBC | Technology News]


Rob Johns, an insect ecologist with Natural Resources Canada, says the moth influx is a migration of spruce budworm moths due the current weather conditions.

Edward restores a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 portable receiver [The SWLing Post]

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_2Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who writes:

This is a “mystery brand” radio that I picked up at a swapfest for a buck, I never heard of a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 by the HOKUYO MUSEN KOGYO CO in Japan. This portable behemoth is not “lite”, It is heavy (13 pounds).

The only thing I came up with is Sam’s photofact that refer to radio. (I am not about to buy a service manual for something that is not broken). There is a Chrysler Town & Country station wagon, which is also a behemoth that swamps out all Google searches. This set appears to be made in the mid sixties. I was told that is was on a fishing boat as evidenced by its condition it was very dirty with a lot of corrosion on the bezel and missing a tuning knob.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_3

I fabricated a tuning knob on a lathe, which was a 2-piece affair. The outer knob is tuning and the inner knob is the fine tune. It cleaned up well and I had to repaint the bezel. The auto parts store said that the Chrysler of that area did not use metal flake paints but they matched a touch-up spray can of a Toyota millennium silver.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_5Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_4
This radio has 8 push-button bands: long-wave, AM, short-wave 1.6 to 26 MHz, and FM along with tone controls. The sound is surprisingly good it is a 6-cell battery only (no AC). It has reasonably good short-wave drift-free performance. The paint job looks good, there is a rusty chrome bumper next to the push-buttons. I decided to to restore this part. It is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumpers.

While you would not take your Panasonic RF9000 your Transoceanic or Grundig, This radio is my “beater” to take to the beach.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_1

Does anyone know about the Star-Lite brand?

Thank you, Ed, for sharing this.  I am not at all familiar with this make and model of radio. I must say…I’m most impressed that you were able to fabricate a tuning knob! It would have been a challenge to find a replacement knob otherwise.

I bet she plays well, too–looks like a decent ferrite bar inside and a substantial telescoping antenna.

And you’re right, Edward, it is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumper! Now take that girl to the beach! 🙂

Post readers: please comment if you’re familiar with the Star-Lite brand!

C.Crane CCRadio-SW and CCRadio-SWP discontinued [The SWLing Post]


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Marla, who writes:

Perhaps you already know that the Crane CCRadio-SW has been discontinued. I spoke with their customer service today and learned that they can no longer get parts, so the SW is not repairable. Neither Crane nor Amazon has any.


The C.Crane CC-Radio SWP

Thank you, Marla! I was not aware of this.

After looking at the C.Crane website, it appears both the CCRadio-SW and CCRadio-SW Pocket have been discontinued.

Both of these radios have enjoyed a very long market life.

The CC Skywave is essentially an upgraded replacement for the CC-Radio SWP.

I am very curious if C.Crane plans to replace the CC-Radio SW with another large shortwave portable. I’ll contact C.Crane and see if they can share more information.

Can Barry make Eobard Thawne an ally? Find out on the latest... [The Flash]

Can Barry make Eobard Thawne an ally? Find out on the latest episode of The Flash: on.cwtv.com/FLA217tb

Furious Sanders Delegates Coordinate DNC Walkout With Protesters Outside [The FederalistThe Federalist]

On the second day of the Democratic National Convention, peaceful but aggressive protests continued outside Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. Inside, hundreds of Bernie Sanders delegates staged a walkout, which culminated in occupying the media tent. At a press conference Wednesday morning, delegate Karen Bernal of the Bernie Delegates Network confirmed that delegates objecting inside had coordinated with protesters outside. She gave no indication Sanders had anything to do with it.

Tuesday’s protests were larger and more vigorous than they had been on the first day of the convention. The harsh level of vitriol against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee remained widespread. Chants of “Lock her up” echoed the same at last week’s Republican convention. Demonstrators also carried signs reading #DemExit, a reference to the Brexit vote, indicating they are finished with the Democratic Party.

There were a few tense moments as some militant protesters scaled the barricades separating them from the convention. Those behind them began shaking the fences, and someone threw at least one water bottle at police. Pepper spray wafted through the air, but things calmed quickly as protest leaders regained some control over the crowd.


A pro-Sanders protester scales the barricade.

A Scene of Controlled Chaos

As night began to fall, word of the delegate walkout spread outside quickly. It seemed protesters were getting reports of the delegates taking over the media tent before that had been reported. Bernal, who was present, said the next day that “millennial” Sanders delegates were texting their movements to friends in the protests outside. Bernal described a generational divide, with younger delegates favoring a move to FDR Park to join the protests, and older ones urging more caution.

Eventually word spread that some delegates had joined the protests and were marching north on Broad Street away from the convention. About 15 minutes later, they met a well-organized southbound Black Lives Matters march at Oregon Avenue, a few blocks away. Here the marches converged, with some white protesters urging BLM to lead the way back to the convention. It was a scene of controlled chaos handled expertly by the Philadelphia police, many of whom were on bikes flanking the march.

After returning to the convention, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a favorite among the demonstrators, appeared and attempted to address the crowd. Chants of “mic check” meant to quiet the crowd rang out, and Stein was given a megaphone. But she was more or less inaudible amid the screaming crowd.


Green Party candidate Jill Stein attempts to address protesters.

Interestingly, Stein had also been present during the delegate occupation of the media tent. This presents the possibility that the Sanders delegates coordinating with protesters outside were also coordinating with Stein, who has emerged as the favorite progressive alternative to Clinton.

Tell Us What You Really Think of Hillary Clinton

Last night’s events come amid Hillary Clinton’s scramble to shore up her left by appeasing Sanders supporters. Despite some significant concessions in the Democratic platform and rules, many Sanders supporters remain skeptical, if not downright derisive of Clinton’s promises to implement progressive policies.

It’s not just the masses outside who have been unimpressed by the convention so far. Bernie Delegates Network is an organization of Sanders delegates who have been surveying delegates. Today they offered some results that look very bad for the Democratic nominee.

BDN asked delegates: “Having heard the speeches at the convention, are you more enthusiastic, less enthusiastic, or unchanged about the Democratic ticket?” Fifty-five percent of delegates reported they were less enthusiastic, with a mere 21 percent saying their enthusiasm had increased. This number has to disappoint a Clinton campaign that feels it bent to Bernie on the platform and filled the stage with a number of progressive speakers.

If there was glimmer of hope for Clinton and the DNC in today’s press conference, it was that Sanders delegates seem unsure of where to go from here. They plan no specific actions, and there appears to be no agreement on whether to accept Clinton’s nomination.

Protesters are protesters—they are by definition more angry and extreme in their views than an average Sanders voter. But the delegate walkout coordinated with protests suggests disaffection with Clinton may be more widespread than mere protesters alone might indicate.

As Tim Kaine, who is deeply unpopular with Sanders supporters, takes the stage to accept the vice presidential nomination he will have to work hard to win back some Sanders folks. Bernal suggested walking back some previous statements about the Trans Pacific Partnership and support for big banks could move the needle. But for now, the schism in the Democratic Party is very real and very wide. Clinton must change that before Americans go to the polls in November.

Stop Pretending Women Automatically Support Hillary [The FederalistThe Federalist]

American women have fought long and hard over the past century and a half to take a stand in the public square. The original suffragists fought for voting rights for all women, as they do have opinions distinct from men and should have a right to voice those opinions in the public square and at the ballot box.

On Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention that thought process was turned on its head. Woman speaker after woman speaker assumed that all American women stand with Hillary Clinton (mostly because of fertility issues), and even offered a “woman card” from NARAL to celebrate this fact—as if being a woman was a primary reason for presidential electability. So women, at least in the Democratic Party, have gone from wanting to have the opportunity to vote their conscience to differentiate themselves from men’s group-think to voting lock-step on progressive ideology, trading one lack of diversity for another.

The new leftist, group-think feminists attack anyone who disagrees with them, using serious subjects like rape to defame their opponents. These same feminists paint conservative women as crazy, stupid, and backward, attacking them and their families personally.

Note to radical feminists: Not all women stand with you. Not all women stand with Hillary. And not all women need a “woman card” to show they are woman enough to make their own decisions. Women do not vote for a candidate based on sex, but on policy and experience. Yes, diversity of opinion on this subject is okay; in fact, it is vital to a flourishing society.

Many Women Disagree with Hillary

A majority of American women disagree with Clinton’s extreme position on abortion. Her position, backed by the abortion lobby and Democratic platform, advocates for abortion on demand at any time—even moments before birth—in any facility conditions, paid for by taxpayer dollars yet unaudited by the government.

There are women who disagree with her foreign policy: giving up on our ambassador and men protecting him in Benghazi matters. It matters a lot. The rise of ISIS and the Iran debacle also matter a lot—especially when Catholic priests are getting their heads cut off during morning Mass in France and terrorist attacks are on the rise. Many women do not trust Clinton as commander-in-chief and do not want to entrust their sons and daughters to her command in battle.

The rise of ISIS and the Iran debacle matter a lot—especially when Catholic priests are getting their heads cut off during morning Mass in France and terrorist attacks are on the rise.

Many women disagree with Clinton’s economic policies. Attacking the rich and leveling the playing field for businesses creates an environment where only certain big banks and big companies can succeed, a disincentive for success. In addition, women who are drowning from college debt have seen no relief from eight years of a Democratic presidency—what makes four more years any different?

A substantial amount of women in this country also do not want government intrusion into education with Common Core, or in early childhood sex education. Many mothers want to be able to choose when and where their children learn about these matters.

In addition, American women still believe in the First Amendment—in religious freedom and freedom of speech. Contrary to progressive belief, conscience rights still matter in twenty-first-century America.

There are also some American women who still believe in the Second Amendment and actually own guns—shocking to most DNC convention-goers.

In short, whether radical feminists like it or not, not all women stand with Hillary; we do not need a Hillary Clinton “woman card” from NARAL to prove our femininity. When sex is all a candidate is running on, that’s a problem. Women deserve better representation than that.

Dumb Media Play Right Into Trump’s Hands On Russian Hacking [The FederalistThe Federalist]

There is a lot to worry about with regard to Donald Trump’s posture toward Russia. In a campaign where he has flipped and flopped on nearly every policy issue around, he’s been stridently consistent on his support for Russia. He has praised Vladimir Putin repeatedly. He got the Republican Party to change their platform positions challenging Russia’s treatment of Ukraine.

Trump says he wouldn’t honor our NATO obligations, a position Russia has advanced. He would honor Russia’s seizure of Crimea, rejects criticisms of Russia’s targeted assassinations of journalists, and so on and so forth. Apart from these policy positions, conservatives have been sounding the alarm about possible Russian involvement in the election for months.

Support for Russia may be one of the few consistent policy positions Trump holds, and he holds it strongly.

The media should be on top of this, as Americans might have legitimate concern with his friendliness to the hostile state actor. But their collective freakout over his press conference earlier today shows how ill-suited they are to handling this topic.

In his press conference, during which he spoke at length with the media, he said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Immediately the press responded with outrage, saying he had “called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email, in an unprecedented request for a rival power to influence a presidential election though cyber attacks.”

Afterwards he doubled down on his message, “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”

1) Hitting The Fainting Couch Too Quickly

The media all agreed Trump was calling on Russia to commit espionage in order to influence a U.S. election.

Here’s how the New York Times blared out the news:

The top story at the Washington Post right now is headlined, “Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton’s emails and release them publicly.” CNN went with, “Donald Trump encourages Russia to hack Hillary Clinton.”

Here’s what he said after the original mention of the 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from the server she set up to avoid the U.S. government’s secure email system. Clinton has previously said the emails were about yoga, wedding planning, and other unimportant matters:

‘They probably have them. I’d like to have them released. It gives me no pause, if they have them, they have them,’ Trump added later when asked if his comments were inappropriate. ‘If Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see them.’

Trump’s communication style is one that works well on many voters, and is not known in any way, shape, or form for its specificity. First he says he hopes Russia finds the emails. Then he says “they probably have them” and “if they have them, they have them.”

What too few journalists covering this man understand is that his style is to throw something out there and not really stand behind it. See if it floats. It is entirely legitimate to read his words as saying he’d like Vladimir Putin to personally go out there and hack Hillary’s server, except that can’t be exactly what he’s saying, since that server is now not in a hackable situation. Sure, Hillary Clinton exposed national interests to such hacking for years upon years, but that’s not the real threat now. They either have them or they don’t. At this point, what difference does it make, amiright?

But the point is that his jokey highlighting of Hillary Clinton’s claim that she deleted 30,000 personal emails about yoga is not really the same thing as calling on Russia to currently hack information that they in all likelihood took years ago. Perhaps a tempering of the headlines and framing is in order. This is particularly a good idea when Trump — and voters who support him or lean toward supporting him — find it so easy to dismiss breathless reports when they seem overwrought.

Missing the Actual Message(s) Trump Conveyed

By focusing on this idea that Trump wants Russia to spend the next few days hunting down 30,000 personal emails with no national security implications, the media are missing what is actually going on.

Most media are immune to it, but Trump is actually pretty good at sending out top-level messaging. Here’s some of what an average listener might hear today while the media heard Trump asking for Russian control of the country:

It’s not safe for Hillary Clinton to be briefed on national security. That’s actually exactly what Trump said in this press conference: “I don’t think that it’s safe to have Hillary Clinton…be briefed on national security.” She is not secure with her information. Then her own people went out and elevated the idea that 30,000 emails about yoga weren’t really about yoga but that her mismanagement of same constitutes a national security threat. What a bunch of amateurs! That so plays into Trump’s message, it’s not even funny.

The system is rigged to favor Hillary Clinton. When FBI Director James Comey laid out a detailed case for how Hillary Clinton had mishandled classified information and then announced he was going to let her get away with it, many people thought he’d done her a favor. He may have sealed her fate, though. Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe Clinton acted unethically and 56 percent say she broke the law. And she got away with it. The media may be fine with that, but Americans are not. This topline message serves Trump, not Clinton.

How bad are the things Hillary Clinton is hiding, exactly? Comey showed that everything Clinton had said about her private server was false. Sean Trende noted that average Americans listening to the press conference would have their curiosity piqued. As he put it, “What lots of people heard: “Don’t *you* want to know what are in those e-mails/If Russians hacked her here, where else?” The freakout by those on the Left only confirms people’s suspicion that Clinton didn’t delete yoga emails, but emails that contained far more sensitive information. Otherwise, why would they care so much if Russia released them?

Man, does Hillary Clinton have bad judgment. A freakout about 30,000 yoga emails only highlights all the time that has to be wasted to cover up for Clinton’s legendarily bad-decision making processes. If she can’t handle emails about yoga — if they are even about yoga — what else can’t she handle? She sure can’t handle the Russian Reset.

Media Too Partisan, Unevenly Outraged

During his press conference, Trump called out Katy Tur of MSNBC. Here’s how Politico described the scene:

Tur asked Trump whether he has ‘any qualms about asking a foreign government … to hack into a system of anybody’s in this country’ after Trump said he hoped Russia would find more emails from Hillary Clinton or the DNC.

‘Hey, you know what gives me more pause, that a person in our government, crooked Hillary Clinton — here’s what gives me more pause,’ Trump said, as Tur tried to ask follow-ups. ‘Be quiet, I know you want to, you know, save her. That a person in our government, Katy, would delete or get rid of 33,000 emails. That gives me a big problem. After she gets a subpoena. She gets subpoenaed, and she gets rid of 33,000 emails. That gives me a problem.’

Even apart from the fact that trust in media is at historic lows, this is what happens after decades of hyperpartisan coverage. The reason saying “I know you want to save Hillary Clinton” stings is because everyone knows it’s true. It’s not just true of Clinton, it’s true of nearly every Democratic officeholder in the land. There are consequences to unfair coverage, and one of them is that it’s hard to take media freakouts seriously anymore.

The media have spent the better part of the last 40 years crying wolf about every single conservative office seeker in the land, painting them as “successors to George Wallace.” The dog doesn’t hunt anymore, and just at the time it might be needed.

If the media had been even a fraction as outraged by Hillary Clinton’s server, her shady lies, her foundation’s solicitation of funds from oligarchs and dictatorships while she served as secretary of State, the revelation that foreign governments had almost certainly hacked her information, this freakout by the media would come off very differently.

If the media had not spent 2012 mocking Mitt Romney for his “gaffe” of saying that Russia was our biggest geopolitical threat, if they had cared when Ted Kennedy asked the Soviets to intervene in the 1984 Democratic primary, if they briefly interrupted worship at Barack Obama’s feet when he made hot-mic promises to Russians, and so on and so forth, this would be a different story.

The media may be more outraged by calls for Russia to release emails about yoga, but for many people it’s just a reminder of how Hillary Clinton’s willful mishandling of classified information threatened national security.

Liberals Don’t Care About Russia. They Care About Protecting Hillary [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Donald Trump said something offensive, stupid, and vaguely un-American today. Democrats responded with feigned indignation and mass hypocrisy. So, Wednesday.

“It would be interesting to see, I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump explained at news conference in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

It is reprehensible for any American to exploit a foreign cyber attack for political gain. Trump is unfit for the presidency. Intelligence agencies reportedly have “high confidence” that Russia was behind the Democratic National Committee hacks; so we have a situation any decent candidate would condemn and distance himself from rather than embrace.

If this is so, however, Hillary Clinton is also unfit for the presidency. Even in this partisan atmosphere, it’s astounding that liberals in the media can act this dismayed about Trump’s vulgarity, but show absolutely no outrage over the fact that it was the DNC’s own carelessness and Hillary’s ongoing dishonesty that made all these servers vulnerable to the Russians in the first place. And more.

Only a couple of weeks ago, the FBI told us that Hillary Clinton — a nominee who rests her case on deep experience and competence — had sent 110 emails containing clearly marked classified information through her unsecure email account. Thirty-six of these contained secret information. Eight of these email chains contained “top secret” information. The FBI said it’s likely “hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”

Hillary’s negligence (and subsequent dishonesty) probably allowed our enemies to gain access to state secrets. Yet today we’re more offended by vulgarity than dangerous disregard for process. (On the bright side, Hillary promises us the more than 30,000 emails she erased to hide from the FBI were all personal in nature — grandkids and yoga, and whatnot — so thankfully the hackers have nothing to show anyway. Right?)

“The Russians do have a history of interfering with Democratic elections in Europe,” Hillary’s campaign chair John Podesta says. “I think it would be unprecedented in the United States.”

True. Which European countries? The ones Barack Obama assured then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev on a hot mic he would have “more flexibility” to undermine after being elected? Hey, John Podesta, “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Also, let’s not forget that to some extent this is the Democratic National Committee’s fault. Federal investigators had warned the DNC about a potential intrusion in their computer network months before the party moved to try and fix the potential problem. Trump did not hack their emails and hand them to the Russians, they were arrogant about their own security.

Let’s also not forget that during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State she failed to disclose that regimes across the world contributed unknown millions of dollars to the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation (the name until 2015). What kind of access did that buy? We do know that if you’re a major Clinton Foundation donor with absolutely no experience you can buy yourself a place on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board. We do know that 130 million bucks to the Clintons might get you a lucrative mining contract with Vladimir Putin’s buddies in Kazakhstan and more.

Per The New York Times:

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.

Thanks to Hillary, Russia now controls one-fifth of uranium production capacity in the United States. Worth talking about? Trump won’t because he’s a Putin admirer or worse. But the media, which has already reported these things, only seems to have selective outrage. It’s unethical. And it’s helping create an intractably dangerous political situation in this nation.

What Motivates Jihad And What Is America’s Plan To Defeat It? [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, writer and expert on national security and terrorism, joined the Federalist Radio Hour to explain how America can attack the jihadi movement and defeat the war on terror. He is author of the new book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, now a New York Times Best Seller.

ISIS is more powerful than Al-Qaeda ever was and is the most significant jihadi resurgence since the Caliphate was dissolved said Gorka. “What we are seeing–the murder of this priest, the murder of this pregnant woman–this is executed by people who are the incarnation of evil,” he said. “These aren’t random acts. These aren’t psychologically disturbed. This is evil incarnate and we must recognize that.”

Gorka explained the origins of ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the strategists behind jihad. “These people aren’t crazy…they have a plan. They’re not capricious and they’re not making it up as they go along,” he said.

Our national security is cross-wired with a political agenda that is endangering Americans. “These things have become hot button issues inside the intelligence community, and you touch upon them, you discuss them at your own peril and at a risk to your career.

Listen here:

Do The Democrats Realize They Could Lose? [The FederalistThe Federalist]

What the Democratic Party needed to do in Philadelphia was simple: they needed to depict themselves as being at the center of the American political scene. They could do this by highlighting the big tent aspects of their party, focusing on economic issues, and going hard against Donald Trump in all the aspects of his oddities – with a running critique of his past failures related by those damaged by his schemes, depicting him as a draft dodging conspiracy theorist dripping with cronyism and surrounded by Putin allies. They could cement themselves as the American Tory Party and highlight all the ways Donald Trump is a risky choice in an unstable world. It should be easy as pie.

But that’s not what they’re doing. Instead, just as Jonathan Last predicted a few days ago, they are going full virtue signaling.

The problem is, while most Democratic elites might find the above indictment damning, that’s not the stuff they really care about. They’re intent on fighting the culture war, not only because it’s the subject that matters most to them, but because it’s a form of their favorite pastime: virtue signaling. So instead, expect the DNC to be heavy on Shout Your Abortion, as though Trump, a guy who once suggested his mistress get an abortion, has any interest in the subject beyond supporting Planned Parenthood. They’ll talk about how Trump and the Republicans want to take away contraceptives—as though anyone, anywhere in America believes either that Trump would ever, under any circumstances, touch the subject. They’ll roll out Black Lives Matter, unaware that the juxtaposition it creates puts Trump on the side of the police and Clinton on the side of Michael Brown. They’ll harp on Trump’s Muslim ban, which creates another unhelpful juxtaposition.

And so on and so forth. They are making a similar mistake to those of Trump’s primary opponents – they don’t realize that Trump is a different kind of candidate, and the normal anti-Republican playbook just doesn’t work on him.

The longer this convention goes on, the more it seems that the success of the left in the culture wars is blinding them to the concerns of the moment in America, which have very little to do with bathroom policies and paying for the pill. An exception was Bill Clinton’s speech last night, which was at least an attempt to humanize the distant person who is Hillary Clinton. It can be a pleasant bit of nostalgia to hear Bill’s speech patterns – he speaks in cul de sacs, branching off to tell a story, looping around again in a long circle, then rejoining the main. But he has been doing this for a long time, and last night it seemed that he had lost a good bit of his bite.

What Bill Clinton’s speech suffered from is the cognitive dissonance at the heart of his party – a clash between his brand of 90s nostalgia and futurist optimism and a progressive core that feels disappointed and betrayed by the party leadership.

What the DNC hoped would be an historic night focused on uniting around the nominee instead highlighted the deep philosophical schism in the Democratic Party. There’s no getting around it: millions of Democrats have a dark, pessimistic view of the country. They’re angry and they want a revolution, not four more years of the Obama administration under Clinton. ‘We’re sick of incrementalism!’ one riled-up activist told me earlier in the day at a demonstration outside City Hall… ‘Incrementalism just means going along with the corporate, rigged system, and we’re done with that,’ she said. Like most Sanders supporters I’ve talked to, she voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but feels disillusioned and betrayed. In November, she plans to vote for Jill Stein.

Listening to Democrats explain why they’re protesting their own convention, you realize the divides here may be even more significant than the ones in the GOP. The trouble for the party: for Hillary Clinton, the tricky act of unification has never been a major part of her skillset.

Donald Trump Just Got Hillary Clinton To Admit Her E-mails Are A ‘National Security Issue’ [The FederalistThe Federalist]

After taunting Hillary Clinton by asking Russian hackers to release 30,000 e-mails she deleted, Donald Trump finally forced Clinton’s campaign to admit that her unsanctioned e-mail server scheme was a “national security issue.”

Trump’s comments about Russian hacking followed numerous reports this week that Russian hackers compromised the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) servers and then leaked thousands of e-mails sent by top Democratic staffers. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign her position as a result of the leaks.

On Wednesday morning, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump asked Russia to turn over the tens of thousands of e-mails deleted by Hillary Clinton. The scandal-plagued former Secretary of State maintained for months that the e-mails were personal, not work-related, and that they were in no way classified.

But in a press release issued on Wednesday, Clinton’s top campaign spokesman suddenly declared those e-mails to be a “national security issue”:

This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security.

Sullivan did not explain how the e-mails, which Clinton said were about nothing more than her “yoga routines” and wedding planning for her daughter, could possibly pose a national security risk to the United States. Sullivan also failed to explain how unclassified e-mails “private personal e-mails” wholly unrelated to her work as Secretary of State — Clinton declared in an infamous 2015 press conference that she “did not email any classified material to anyone on my email” — could compromise American security.

Contrary to Sullivan’s assertion about the unprecedented nature of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) begged the Soviets to help him get rid of President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

If David Duke Won, Wouldn’t Republicans Have To Vote For Him? [The FederalistThe Federalist]

When David Duke announced in the Louisiana last week that he would be running for Senate, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus swiftly sent out a tweet assuring America that the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard’s “hateful bigotry [has] no place in the Republican Party; the RNC will never support his candidacy under any circumstance.”

No major party should ever consider supporting a candidate with a long history of vile bigotry — even if the candidate had a shot at winning his or her race. But the argument itself, doesn’t really mesh with what Priebus and others have been telling me this cycle.

What if there were a large field of GOP presidential candidates and, due to a confluence of events, someone like Duke fairly captured the Republican nomination; would conservatives cast their votes for him in the general over someone as disagreeable as Hillary Clinton? I mean, you all know how terrible she is!

What if Duke promised to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices? Let’s say he drew up an extensive list of Federalist Society-approved justices that conservatives simply loved? Would they then vote for him then? Sean Spicer says no. Please don’t tell me you’re willing to surrender the court to a progressive agenda for a generation. If you don’t vote for Duke, it would be tantamount to abandoning law and order. As pro-Trump Republicans often stress, national elections are a binary choice.

It’s not just about justices, either. Duke would almost certainly build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border to stop the flow of illegal immigration. Duke would promise to dismantle “sanctuary cities.” This would, I’ve been assured, save American lives and livelihoods. Polls show that most Republicans desire a more secure border. So what if he says some shocking things about Jews and African-Americans from time to time?

Duke would also limit Islamic immigration to keep America safe again. Duke would shut down “unfair” trade agreements with Mexico, China, and others; deals that purportedly cost millions of American jobs and destroy our manufacturing base. Duke might even pull out of the unfair World Trade Organization and punish unpatriotic companies that move their headquarters abroad.

On foreign policy, he would demand Baltic states pay up. If not, he would leave their fate to the whims of an autocratic Russia. Duke would rein in American involvement in the Middle East and Asia. Duke opposed the Iraq War, which, according to Trump, makes him one of the leading foreign policy experts in the nation.

These issues are the main thrust of Trumpism; the positions that rouse the base and distinguish the billionaire from a lily-livered GOPe that’s failed its constituency for the past 30 years.

You know elitists would simply hate Duke. Probably because the Klansman refuses to be constrained by political correctness. And if shunning political correctness is, in and of itself, a position worth celebrating in a candidate, Trump is a mere piker in comparison. Why not put the resources of the RNC behind someone who can discuss white working-class struggles in even starker terms? Americans are mad. They are scared. Duke will fight for them.

Let’s also not forget that Duke is not indebted to Wall Street or big donors like Mitt Romney. He does not answer to lobbyists like Jeb Bush. He is not an ordinary politician like Marco Rubio. He does not play by the rules. Shouldn’t this be enough?

Duke also won the primary process fair and square. Wouldn’t Republicans be obligated to support him? Doesn’t the “will of the people” transcend the piddling concerns of the sore losers? Isn’t opposing the will of the majority tantamount to being a traitor to your cause? According to some of Trump’s greatest allies in the Republican Party, imploring people to vote their conscience is now a “chilling” display of nonconformity. What could possibly be more important than unification of a political party?

No, I’m not arguing that Trump’s aims and positions are indistinguishable from Duke’s. The Republican nominee has already rebuked Duke “as quick as you can say it.” If Trump’s positions and disposition please you, feel free to support him. What I am contending is that arguments made by Trump’s Republican allies meant to convince recalcitrant conservatives to vote for him are vacuous logical fallacies.

As a Duke candidacy proves, it’s possible to find people morally reprehensible, even if their views happen to intersect with yours on various issues. It is possible to sporadically agree with someone and also believe that this person undermines your cause in the long run. It is possible to believe that a candidate who confuses vulgarity and fury with political incorrectness will corrode the idealism of your movement and push away voters who might one day see it your way. It is possible to find candidates from both parties unpalatable at the same time.

Is David Duke preferable to Hillary Clinton? At this point — although I’d be somewhat nervous to hear the polling results — I suspect a large majority of Republicans would contend that he’s not. If this is true, it’s because, to one extent or another, even partisans are forced to make moral calculations about the worthiness of candidates. In scale, Trump is not David Duke. But let’s stop pretending that an election is always a simple choice.

4 Ways Donald Trump Is Living Rent-Free In The DNC’s Head [The FederalistThe Federalist]

In the 1980s, Dry Idea anti-perspirant had a series of commercials where celebrities gave advice, always culminating with “Never let them see you sweat.” Here’s one featuring fashion designer Donna Karan:

She ends with, “Feeling tense is understandable. Looking tense is unfashionable!”

Someone needs to share this advice with the Democratic National Committee, whose convention is sending a message that Donald Trump is making them sweat.

Here are a four examples.

(1) They Changed Hillary’s Tagline

In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Donald Trump said,

My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: ‘I’m With Her.’ I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: ‘I’m with you — the American people.’

He went on to describe the ways he would be with voters. It was a really smart line that made Clinton’s tagline seem cold and entitled, out for herself. It made Trump seem like he was for the common man. “I’m with her” was used to great effect during the campaign. But all of a sudden the line conjured up negative feelings.

The Clinton campaign responded by changing her slogan. Or not changing it so much as adding to it. Now, on the backside of signs that say, “I’m with her,” there’s an additional tagline: “She’s with us.”

His criticism got to the campaign.

(2) Their Mockery of Trump Is Obsessive

There are advantages to being the second party to hold a convention.

You get to react to the first convention by presenting a more appealing message. You get to react to things you thought were negative.

But at no time should you build an entire joke or lengthy bit around something as narrow as the way your opponent … walked onstage.

Somehow that’s exactly what happened when Elizabeth Banks took the stage on Tuesday night.

Here’s another angle:

How many people watching this entrance even understood that it looked similar to Trump’s entrance last week? Are many Americans watching both conventions that carefully? Unlikely.

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but this does nothing other than look like obsession with unimportant details. And that’s a sure sign someone is in your head.

(3) Policy Changes

Here’s yesterday’s lede from the Detroit Free Press:

PHILADELPHIA — UAW President Dennis Williams reiterated Tuesday that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has promised him that she will try to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to better protect workers.

Promised him she’d rewrite one of her husband’s signature policy achievements.

Also, when Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said yesterday that Hillary Clinton actually supported the Trans Pacific Partnership, Hillary for America chair John Podesta shot back:

That could be seen as nothing more than an attempt to tamp down the Bernie Sanders troops, but Politico Pro reported that Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell is crediting Trump’s attacks on trade agreements. He says Trump’s trade message is resonating in the important swing state of Pennsylvania:

Trump’s attacks on trade agreements and promises to uphold ‘law and order’ are attractive to many Pennsylvania voters, putting the state’s 20 electoral votes in play in the upcoming presidential election, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (2003-2011) said today.

‘It resonates. There’s no question about it,’ Rendell, a Democrat, said during an interview with POLITICO Playbook hosts Mike Allen and Anna Palmer.

Rendell said the amazing thing to him is Trump’s practice of outsourcing jobs to manufacture his brand name products ‘doesn’t seem to matter’ to many older white voters drawn to his message.

‘The toughest task is to get those voters to listen,’ Rendell said, adding that even attempts to tie Trump to unpopular policies of the Republican Party have not been particularly effective in changing minds.

(4) The Change-Maker?

During his acceptance speech, Donald Trump sold a message of the need for radical and urgent change.

Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place.

They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.

That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change — and they have to change right now.

So what was the big takeaway from last night’s keynote address by former President Bill Clinton? He said that his wife would be a “change-maker.” Over and over and over again, that’s what he said.

Trump says, “Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change,” and Clinton’s response is “she’s a change-maker”?

This has the feel of George H.W. Bush in 1992, who responded to Bill Clinton’s call for change by saying he wanted change, too. As Twitter user David Held pointed out, he even put it into his TV advertisements:

Everything about the Democratic convention seems to be a response to Trump. They’re trying to position him as immoral, his positions as extreme, and his style as gauche. They’re listening to his criticisms and letting them get in their heads.

No Matter How Many Priests ISIS Kills, They Can’t Win [The FederalistThe Federalist]

“What is a pastor’s job?” When you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s hard to understand why agents of ISIS would want to murder an 84-year-old priest. Sure, ISIS enjoys terrorizing people at random. But why target such a small group of people when larger crowds were available all over Normandy?

Sure, ISIS wants to conquer the world, but how much earthly glory could they possibly gain by taking the life of a frail octogenarian? When you don’t fully understand what God called Father Jacques Hamel to do, the answers to these questions don’t come easily.

Some people grew up in churches with Pastor Dweeb, who walked into the pulpit each week to tell us, golly-gee, how great it was that we are all so nice to each other and, gee-golly-gosh, how happy Jesus would be if we could all try being just a little bit nicer from now on. Every Sunday, Pastor Dweeb gave people the impression that a sermon was nothing but a slightly churchier version of your mom’s annual “I love you all, now please get along” Thanksgiving dinner toast.

Through his words and deeds, Pastor Dweeb taught his parishioners that a pastor’s job was to use a heavy diet of saccharine stories, bad jokes, hugs, and noogies to mold us into better people. For those who believe him, it’s hard to understand why ISIS would bother wasting its time on a man who was no more of a threat to them than a suburban woman in mom jeans and a tacky sweater.

Others grew up in churches with Pastor Hip, who bounced around an altar-less stage while singing promises of financial abundance and victorious living. Pastor Hip taught Christ’s sheep that a pastor’s job was to be a prosperity guru, to be the guy who uses Jesus-words to propel us down the path of health, wealth, and happiness.

Still others had their understanding of a pastor’s job formed by Pastor Justice, who would praise Jesus as a social reformer, rattle off a list of contemporary societal ills, and then implore his people to follow Christ’s example and tear down the institutions of oppression—in all of this, teaching his hearers that a pastor’s job is to sic Christian soldiers on the purveyors of modern injustice. For those who believe these teachings, it’s hard to understand why ISIS would look past bigger targets to silence the voice of a man who was simply telling people how they could end their own poverty or the poverty of their neighbors.

Father Hamel Was Murdered Because of His Confession

But despite the false impressions given by Pastors Dweeb, Hip, and Justice, Martin Luther’s Small Catechism offers a far more biblical answer to the question “What is a pastor’s job?” Speaking about the office of the keys, the catechism states, “the Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.”

What is a pastor’s job? His job is to exercise the office of the keys. His job is to do what Christ commanded in John 20, to show those who won’t repent their need for forgiveness, and to say to those who fear God’s judgment, “Fear not, because God has now covered you in the sin-killing blood of His Son and judged you to be worthy of eternal life.”

A pastor’s job is to stand before Christ’s bride, the church, and speak the words Christ has put onto his lips: words of pardon, words of mercy, words that cast out fear, because those words cover us in the perfect love Christ made manifest on the cross. Whether his parishioners call him father, reverend, or any other title, forgiving sins is what Christ has called all pastors to do. That’s why Father Jacques Hamel was murdered by apparent agents of ISIS on Tuesday morning.

I didn’t know Father Hamel, the content of his preaching, what he personally believed or taught his congregation. I imagine the men who murdered him didn’t know these things either. But what both his killers and I know about him is that Father Hamel had a job: to speak Christ’s forgiveness. His job was to tell people they were at peace with their Father in heaven because Christ drowned their transgressions in his blood.

Christians, who believe God’s love is a free gift, look in fondness towards those like Father Hamel who occupy the office that administers the gift. But agents of ISIS, who believe that their god’s forgiveness, favor, love, and kingdom must be earned through rigid obedience, see men like Hamel as an arrogant thief who has raided the king’s treasury and is handing out for free the bright, shining rubies that can only be earned through a lifetime of service.

So, hoping to win the favor of their god, these men stormed into the thief’s house, slit his throat, and offered his blood as a sacrifice to the king who requires death for anyone who proclaims salvation in the blood of Christ. Quite simply, God sent Father Hamel to forgive sins, and these satanically inspired agents of ISIS sent themselves to stop him.

We Should Expect Murders Like This

Once upon a time, Christians regularly faced threats of murder. But the more the world tried to rip the gospel jewel out of their hands, the more they saw its worth, the more tightly they clung to that jewel, and the more the church grew, eventually wielding so much influence over society that governments began to protect Christians from persecution. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” Tertullian once said.

While this is certainly true, it seems that many western Christians have enjoyed so much comfort in the field the martyrs gave us that we’ve forgotten both what it means to be persecuted for Christ’s name and what it means to belong to him. Because our church-influenced governments kept us safe from those who wanted to kill us, we started viewing persecution the way we view leprosy—as an outdated, nearly extinct affliction from a bygone era.

Because we also lived in a world where no one was trying to pry the shining gospel from our cold, dead fingers, we stopped looking at its luster and became convinced that moralism, prosperity promises, or social justice teachings must have been of equal value. Enter Pastor Dweeb, Pastor Hip, and Pastor Justice, all of whom left us equally unequipped to understand why ISIS would target such a seemingly insignificant man in Father Hamel.

But just as the Israelites shouldn’t have forgotten what God said about his covenant after he delivered them into the Promised Land, so we shouldn’t forget what God has said about persecution even when he blesses us to experience so little of it. So while Father Hamel’s murder is certainly tragic, for Christians it shouldn’t be surprising.

Christ sent him to preach the gospel, and the world responded by doing exactly what Jesus said it would do to preachers of the gospel. Christ sent Father Hamel to tell sinners that the Son had set them free from the power of the devil, and the devil responded by doing what Jesus promised Satan would do, by screaming the opposite amidst violence and bloodshed. Christ sent him to give God’s love, his mercy, his kingdom and power and glory to all who believe, and the devil responded by spilling that priest’s blood to frighten people away from the faith.

They Can’t Take Our Lives No Matter What They Do

But just as Christ has promised that His faithful will experience persecution, he’s also promised that no persecutor of the church can take his sheep out of his hand. So even if we’ve never experienced more than a whiff of persecution, a faithful pastor will always prepare his sheep to stand firm in the face of the most wicked manifestation of persecution imaginable.

Just as Christ has promised that His faithful will experience persecution, he’s also promised that no persecutor of the church can take his sheep out of his hand.

When a faithful pastor baptizes, he is telling those clothed in the waters of regeneration, “You are no longer under the power of the devil, his murderers, or his terrorists. You are now under the protection of Christ, and no one can take you away from him.” When a pastor faithfully administers Holy Communion, he says to those who gather at the altar, “Here with his body and blood, Christ covers you in his righteousness, and no knife or bullet can pierce through that armor.”

When a pastor faithfully speaks the word of forgiveness, he is saying to all who hear and believe his words, “Look in your hands and see the bright, shining jewel of the gospel. That treasure is now yours forever and if anyone tries to take it away from you by taking your life, rejoice that they will only succeed at marking you as worthy to suffer dishonor for the name and at delivering you into my arms.”

I don’t know if Father Hamel had the chance to speak any last words to his flock as the terrorists stormed into his sanctuary. But I do know that any faithful pastor wouldn’t need to say much in his final benediction. To fulfill the final task of his job, all he’d need to do was look at the sheep he’d forgiven throughout the years and tell them, “Don’t be afraid. These men have come here to take our lives, but they’re too late. Our lives already belong to Christ.”

What It’s Like To Be A Black Cop In The Age Of ‘Black Lives Matter’ [The FederalistThe Federalist]

I am a three-time Army veteran of Afghanistan and a former law enforcement officer. I am also black. Every male in my biological family has been to jail or prison at least once. I’m the sole exception, unless you count the many times I’ve escorted others to jail.

On my mom’s side—the ones I grew up with—that’s all four of my uncles and my two younger brothers. On my dad’s side—the ones I met later in life—that’s my dad (jailed once as a teenager for taking wood pallets from dumpster areas behind commercial buildings and selling them), at least two older half-brothers, and the youngest, my step-brother. Every one of them has experienced some degree of overreach with law enforcement officers they’ve encountered, from unlawful entry of residence to unlawful search and seizure to false charges to physical brutality.

As a black police officer, I found myself stuck in a balancing act from the start, like walking a tightrope right between two perennially warring foes. I belonged to both sides, but being in the middle put me at odds with each.

We Feel Racism in Our Souls

One motivation for choosing to become a state law enforcement officer was the poignant memory of my younger brother being pistol-whipped in the head by local law enforcement and knocked unconscious after he refused an officer’s demands (in front of other officers) to engage him in a fist fight. As the oldest brother I was accustomed to being the responsible one and the one to call on when my brothers needed me. It was the first time I encountered a blatant wrong and injustice, and I felt utterly powerless to help remedy it. Who could I call—more police? I cannot articulate the depths at which that kind of wrong hurts a person. It is felt in the soul.

My initial response and warning to my younger brothers was the same I see from so many today: “If you don’t break the law, you won’t encounter the cops in the first place and none of that would happen to you.” I had little empathy. I didn’t fully buy into racism at the time because I had been largely insulated from it, thanks to well-integrated schools, so I believed instead that the odds were against me because I was Christian and God was watching. What racism I did witness seemed largely avoidable by doing the right thing and was mostly from people raised on the black side of town.

My response was practical, and it addressed the way things are. Yet it simultaneously dismissed and therefore permitted the wrong in the way things are. I lived my own life by that same code. Be at least twice as clean as the other person in order to get the same treatment as that person. Be so clean that your reputation for it precedes you. That was normal survival for me, and it was effective. But that doesn’t make it right.

For example, a few years ago, one of my uncles robbed a bank and got away. Later he decided to turn himself in, and sought me out to escort him to do so. He was prepared to be justly punished for his crime but he was also prepared to be unjustly punished, via an officer’s personal vengeance, without my presence. When you live in this world where this is your common experience with the ambassadors of the law, it affects your incentive to respect and obey the laws—the same ones that don’t protect or respect you.

A Vicious Cycle of Disrespect for Law

It is clear how this quickly devolves into a self-destructive cycle. Lost respect for the law increases the likelihood of breaking it and disrespecting its ambassadors (cops), which increases the likelihood they will act harshly and outside the scope of justice, which reaffirms and increases loss of respect for the law, and so downhill it goes. No members of my family expected justice, at least not at first contact with the law. Similarly, I knew I was more likely to be treated harshly during encounters with law enforcement if I was on “the black (or impoverished) side” of town. This is the crux of the problem, and it eludes many who have never witnessed this alternate but very real world, and therefore it is difficult for them to conceive.

In fact, I told none of my biological family when I applied for the law enforcement job, and told none when I joined the academy. I knew what their reactions would be. When I graduated (with top honors), I told my grandmother that I was a police officer. With no emotion on her face and in a tone of thinly veiled disappointment, almost under her breath she replied, “I don’t know why you wanna go do that for.”

My brothers showed little reaction but wanted to be happy for me. My mother was more ambivalent. I broke the news to my father by raiding his house one night with the blinding lights of my patrol car flashing out front as I banged on his door, demanding in my disguised voice that he come outside. I had intended to tackle him to the ground as soon as he opened the front door before he could realize it was me, but when I saw the defeated look in his eye and in my stepmother’s face as he opened the door I immediately lost heart and just hugged him instead.

My adoptive family, who is white, by contrast was ecstatic and celebratory, along with my friends who did not grow up on the “black” side of town. Friends bragged about my achievement to other friends, wanted to see my badge when we went out to eat, and paid for my meal. The party was on that side of my dual universe. I understood both reactions. In this side of the universe, uniformed officers are highly esteemed daily heroes out battling the dark forces on behalf of the greater good. That is the version of law enforcement they regularly encounter.

The prank night-raid I pulled on my biological dad would never begin to succeed with my adoptive dad and family. I knew that, otherwise I would have pranked them, too. If officers came beating on their door at night, my adoptive family would be concerned but eager to open the door and welcome the officers in to figure out what the mix-up was. They would rest fully confident that their innocence would quickly exonerate them before any harm came to them.

My biological dad, despite being equally aware he had done nothing wrong, informed me later that he fully expected to be tackled to the ground, roughed up, and hauled off to jail before his innocence would prevail and exonerate him. This difference, difficult to articulate across sides, is what people miss when they make comparisons on what they see, often heard in statements that sound like, “If they would just do what I do in that scenario, there would be no problem.” I know because I am guilty of it.

Walking Around in My Skin

It took me a long time to understand my biological family’s point of view. I have worked hard to overcome the circumstances of my life and to succeed, and therefore am unlikely to turn around and act like a victim or perceive slights when there are none. Not only did I think police overreach was a serious issue, I also did not really experience racism.

Unfortunately, my experiences in Army boot camp permanently removed my racism blinders forever. It was only the beginning of continual exposure to racism that slapped me in the face no matter how hard I or other people around me wanted to deny it. I might be writing for the better part of this summer if I attempted to summarize all the accounts of racism and perceived racism I encountered between graduating high school and becoming a law enforcement officer and since. It reared its ugly head even during the law enforcement academy. I wish I had the time and space to share, because it was all meaningful and illuminates the realities of the alternate world where racism thrives.

The wonderfully integrated world I lived in prior to that point in my life was sadly a dream not yet realized. Walking around in my skin denies me the luxury of living in that world anymore. While racism happens primarily as headlines to those raised in the world of my adoptive family, it happens to me as small, not uncommon, often subtle acts that directly affect the course of my daily life and life at large. It colors the lens through which I must view the world around me, for better or worse.

The Media Keeps Airbrushing Democrats Like Debbie Wasserman Schultz [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Pride comes before the fall, and for Debbie Wasserman Schultz that moment was last week when she gleefully taunted Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

Five days later, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman was booed roundly by her own party after being forced to resign when a pack of leaked emails indicated she and other DNC officials had tipped the scales for Hillary Clinton’s primary opponent, Bernie Sanders.

Who could blame her for that long streak of unearned arrogance, when the media has been doing her heavy lifting for years? Wasserman Schultz has hardly been a congenial face for the DNC or a particularly popular one. Let’s rewind to 2012 to see how Vogue packaged her for general consumption.

That woman in the photos bears little resemblance to DWS, but Vogue wasn’t just airbrushing her photos. They were doing what the entire media has been doing: packaging a whole image that simply does not hold up once you look closely. This woman worked to disenfranchise large swaths of progressive voters at the behest of Hillary Clinton.

Wasserman Schultz is no hero to women. When faced with evidence of her own culpability, her first instincts were to find a staffer to blame. She further had the audacity to say, when meeting boos while speaking to the delegation from her home state to the Democratic convention: “We know that the voices in this room that are standing up and being disruptive, we know that is not the Florida we know.” The room responded with “Shame, Shame, Shame,” and the Cersei Lannister of the DNC departed quickly.

Her removal from her DNC position is as superficial as the Vogue photo shoot. She’s moving on to work directly for Hillary Clinton, which is pretty much what she was doing before she made it official. This story will fall off the front pages before Hillary steps on the stage at the convention, especially given that the airbrushing works both ways, with reporters giving their articles to the DNC to approve pre-publication.

Wasserman Schultz wasn’t the only one to catch the ire of Democratic delegates. Sanders came out mid-afternoon to tell his fans that the revolution was over, and was booed whenever he mentioned Hillary’s name. Elizabeth Warren came out and gave a rambling speech that was interrupted by chants of “We trusted you” and “Goldman Sachs,” despite administering her standard bromides against people who make money and how the system is rigged.

One realizes that all these speeches are a variant of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” Elizabeth Warren is what happens when Jan Brady grows up.

Regardless, the media remains fascinated with Warren, despite a retread of her last lackluster performance at the convention. There is almost zero interest in ever reporting how she bent the rules at Harvard University by leveraging its affirmative action policy to get hired. Nor do reporters push back even gently on any of her nonsensical statements that describe America as such a horrible and crooked place. There’s not one comment about how the dark country both Warren and Sanders describe contrasts so sharply with Michelle Obama’s “right now, this country is great.” The lack of curiosity over this is the living embodiment of shruggy guy: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

The media isn’t interested in reporting on those deep differences. Nor can they find bipartisan common ground. One week ago, folks at the Republican convention chanted “Lock her up” in reaction to Hillary’s name, and the collective pearl-clutching gasp of the media was almost too much to bear. Fast-forward five days, and the same thing happens but this time it’s Democrats chanting “Lock her up ,” so now it’s free speech.

This might have something to do with Hillary being implicated as “extremely careless” about protecting classified information and the strange idea that she should be held to the same standard as anyone else in that situation. Despite the shadow this latest Hillary scandal casts on her trustworthiness and ability to put the nation’s best interests above her own, by Thursday evening the press will have coronated her as a candidate on the cusp of making history.

You won’t see the media share Hillary preparing with the Teleprompters like they did here.

There will be no strange new respect for Ivanka Trump despite her pandering on a key issue for them—women’s pay and family leave. The message on the Left is “don’t be fooled by Ivanka,” despite her very clear and public statement at the convention for some of their favorite policies. This is never about getting agreements, it’s about winning.

CBS already was starting to “move on” by the end of the night Monday by papering over a strikingly divided convention floor. CBS News’ Scott Pelley was succinct: “Bernie Sanders heals the breach.” That was his analysis after Sanders’ speech to the convention Monday, after a raucous first day filled with restive supporters of the Vermont senator and the controversy over leaked emails from the DNC. The pundit class largely echoed Pelley’s words. ABC’s David Muir and CNN’s John King both said they noticed more cheers and fewer boos than Sanders drew when talking about Hillary Clinton earlier in the day.

“As a Hillary guy, I could not have asked for more from Bernie Sanders,” said CNN’s Paul Begala. His colleague Van Jones called it a “really, really incredible act of leadership.”

One expects by Thursday the media will have airbrushed away the discord from earlier in the week and present a fully unified media front behind Hillary. Meanwhile, the real unrest lies just beneath the surface, waiting for its next cult leader.

The DNC Is A Chaotic Exercise In Cognitive Dissonance [The FederalistThe Federalist]

PHILADELPHIA – No one ever accused the political Left of being intellectually consistent, but the cognitive dissonance on display this week at the Democratic National Convention takes it to a new level. Depending on which speaker you were listening to on which day, America today is either the greatest country in the world or a grotesque oligarchy stuck in a decades-long decline.

On Monday night, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren warned of the plight of the middle class and the dark days ahead unless we have a political revolution that ushers in European-style socialism. By contrast, Michelle Obama gave a moving tribute to American progress, delivering one of the best lines of political rhetoric in recent memory: “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.” In a shot aimed at Donald Trump, she said, “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country is not great. That somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on Earth.” Someone should tell Bernie.

The First Lady might have meant those lines for Trump, but they exposed the Democratic Party’s predicament as clearly as the booing Sanders delegates have done every night of the convention so far. Is America getting better or is it getting worse? Depends on which Democrat you ask.

On Tuesday night, Bill Clinton made it clear he’s in the optimistic camp, which makes sense. After all, if the American middle class is in the throes of a 40-year decline, as Sanders claimed, that would include the administration of Bill Clinton. The DNC wanted to be clear: you should associate the Clintons with good times. So it made a video introduction for Bill that was an extended paean to the Clinton era’s booming economy of the 1990s. Millions of jobs created! Millions of new homeowners! Millions of acres of forests protected! Unions! We never had it so good.

For his part, the Big Dog didn’t disappoint. Much of his speech was a sentimental stroll down memory lane, year by year. How he met Hillary, how she inspired his interest in public service, how she’s been making the country better since the early 1970s. “This woman has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything, she always wants to move things forward,” he said, with feeling. “That’s just who she is.”

It wasn’t just Bill’s very long speech. The whole evening was a celebration of progress under Hillary’s dogged devotion and hard work. According to the DNC’s official narrative, her entire political career has been a story of progress, for her and the nation. Now a major political party has nominated her for president—a woman! It doesn’t get any more progressive than that! So speaker after speaker dutifully praised the Democratic Party and its nominee for the historic achievement. Yay progress.

But not everyone joined in the celebration. Earlier in the evening, after a roll call of states that ended with Sanders himself making the motion to nominate Clinton, Sanders delegates walked out. Some of them had threatened to do it on Monday, but denied there was any organization or agreement beforehand. Even after they walked out, they claimed it was spontaneous.

In any case, they walked directly over to the media tent next to the stadium and staged a sit-in, which the media was happy to cover. The ones who couldn’t get inside the tent amassed outside, waving signs and chanting and giving interviews for the cameras. Later, the Green Party’s candidate Jill Stein showed up and then they all walked over to the much larger protests underway at FDR Park, where Sanders supporters have gathered every night since Sunday.

You Say You Want A Revolution

What the DNC hoped would be an historic night focused on uniting around the nominee instead highlighted the deep philosophical schism in the Democratic Party. There’s no getting around it: millions of Democrats have a dark, pessimistic view of the country. They’re angry and they want a revolution, not four more years of the Obama administration under Clinton.

“We’re sick of incrementalism!” one riled-up activist told me earlier in the day at a demonstration outside City Hall. She had traveled to Philadelphia all the way from Dallas, Texas, to protest Clinton and express solidarity with Sanders, which she did in part by wearing a “Bernie Fucking Sanders” T-shirt. “Incrementalism just means going along with the corporate, rigged system, and we’re done with that,” she said. Like most Sanders supporters I’ve talked to, she voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but feels disillusioned and betrayed. In November, she plans to vote for Jill Stein.

Another activist, who runs a Facebook page with more than 30,000 followers called “Bernie or Bust the DNC,” and who drove here from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told me there’s no way Sanders supporters could vote for Clinton in light of the DNC email scandal. The email hack—“leak” isn’t quite the right word given the strong evidence of Russian involvement—has revealed the extent to which DNC staff worked to undermine the Sanders campaign and ensure a Clinton victory.

“How could we support her and keep our integrity?” the Bernie or Bust guy said. “Everything we suspected about her and about the party turned out to be true. And now they want us to fall in line? I don’t think so.”

Not that I was surprised to hear it, but he’s also planning to vote for Stein.

With DNC Hack, Russia Wins By Showing Up [The FederalistThe Federalist]

The Democratic National Convention opened in turmoil thanks to a collection of internal e-mails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, which show (among other things) just how heavily the party establishment put its thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton. The revelations have fueled ongoing protests within the convention hall by unreconciled Bernie Sanders supporters and caused the DNC’s chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to resign and make herself scarce from her own party’s convention.

But that, believe it or not, isn’t the real story. The real story is who did the hacking: two units from the Russian intelligence services. See an in-depth description of the evidence that the data thefts were carried out by two teams of Russian hackers under control of the GRU (Russian army intelligence) and the FSB (the rebranded KGB; new name, same friendly service). The conclusion:

This tactic and its remarkable success is a game-changer: exfiltrating documents from political organizations is a legitimate form of intelligence work. The US and European countries do it as well. But digitally exfiltrating and then publishing possibly manipulated documents disguised as freewheeling hacktivism is crossing a big red line and setting a dangerous precedent: an authoritarian country directly yet covertly trying to sabotage an American election.

Actually, this is not without precedent. The Russkis interfered plenty in American politics back in the day, and you don’t need to teach them anything about using leftist activists in the West, like Julian Assange and Wikileaks, as the witting or unwitting tools of Moscow. It’s just that the Russians haven’t really done this since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and we had all assumed that the Cold War is over, right?

I mean, it’s not like Russia is run by some revanchist former KGB colonel who thinks the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.

Oh, wait.

So here we are, fully back in a Cold War II. But the most ominous part of this story is that only one side is fighting that war. What struck me most about Putin’s interference in this year’s election is how unnecessary it seems. Russia is picking favorites precisely at a point when neither party’s candidate seems all that fussed about opposing Russia. Donald Trump could be seen as more sympathetic toward Moscow. He has been openly admiring of Putin and has supported the idea of giving Putin a free hand in places like Syria. Yet Trump is merely embracing the actual, de facto policy of the current administration.

Yes, Hillary Clinton reportedly argued for more active intervention in Syria, but given the scorn she an other Democrats heaped on Mitt Romney for regarding Russia as a threat, it’s hard to believe there would be much support among the Democratic base for a harder line against Putin. Indeed, this intervention could be self-defeating. I have long suspected that the only enemies Democrats are prepared to take seriously are internal political enemies. By backing Trump, Putin might finally get on their radar screens as a serious bad guy. (So don’t worry, they’ll send Jon Stewart to destroy him.)

You could argue that supporting Trump advances Putin’s interests on a deeper level by ideologically undermining the most hawkish American political party. By backing Trump, Putin may hope to reshape the Republican Party in the image of his preferred politics: authoritarian, nationalist, propagandistic, and focused on the circle of family and sycophants gathered around a single strongman. Putin has already had some success in courting this kind of putatively “right-wing” movement in Europe. So why not try to extend that system here?

Yet it seems like an awfully big risk for a nebulous and speculative reward. Unless Putin thinks there really isn’t much risk. That leads me to the conclusion that he is interfering in American politics precisely because neither party is focused on him. He’s doing it because he can, and he doesn’t expect to suffer any particular consequences.

There’s an old saying that 80 percent of life is just showing up. In the rough contest of international politics, the side that actually puts in some effort is likely to impose its strategic goals on those who are indecisive, unmotivated, and directionless.

Our political leaders, reflecting the public mood of the moment, have decided to withdraw from the tumult of world affairs and look inward. But this case is a reminder that when we give up, we don’t get to be left alone. We may not want to stick our noses into Putin’s affairs, but he has no compunctions about sticking his nose into ours.

Putin is no super-genius, and I have argued that he certainly isn’t advancing his country’s true interests. But in today’s foreign policy, he is showing up, and the people who are vying to become Leader of the Free World are not.

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Prince Harry Finally Opens Up About His Mother’s Death [The FederalistThe Federalist]

One of the most iconic moments of Princess Diana’s funeral, and perhaps the most moving, was the image of princes William and Harry slowly and solemnly walking behind their mother’s coffin, with a handwritten note addressed to “Mummy” written by her son Harry sticking out of a flower arrangement on top of the coffin.

While many in the media and public mourned the public persona of Diana, who had just unexpectedly and tragically passed, that moment many realized the deeply personal loss the handful of people in her family had felt. No matter their fame or fortune, the princes were still just two young boys robbed of their beloved mother.

Just as their mother was famous for championing causes society deemed taboo like leprosy and AIDS, Princess Diana’s kids William and Harry, in addition to William’s wife Kate, have made mental health a centerpoint of their outreach efforts as members of the royal family.

Recently Prince Harry brought together other high-profile British personalities to discuss mental health. Harry made some of his first comments about what life was like after his mother died when he was 12 years old. The event, a barbecue, was filmed by the BBC and included a conversation between Harry and former soccer player Rio Ferdinand, who recently lost his wife and the mother of his young children to cancer.

‘I Really Regret Not Talking about It’

They discussed what it’s like for kids to lose a parent and what each stage of life might bring for Ferdinand’s children without a mother. Harry told Ferdinand, “You know, I really regret not ever talking about it.” While the card on top of the coffin was a famous expression of grief from the prince, it was one of the only times he has shown the impact of his mother’s death. During the BBC special, Harry said he had only begun to really discuss his loss (presumably both in public and in private) in the last three years.

When my mother died 14 years ago, a relative told me “There’s no right way to grieve.” Another valuable piece of advice from this wise older relative was this: “Don’t stop talking about her, even if it makes everyone around you uncomfortable.”

They say there are two things you should never discuss socially: politics and religion. Even more taboo than these two topics, however, are dying, death, and grieving. Recently, when a friend who shares my dark sense of humor had a death in the family, I suggested she write down all of the most ridiculous things people said to her in the aftermath of the funeral, because nothing brings out the worst in people quite like death does.

The inappropriate things that tend to come out of the mouths of the well-meaning aren’t said with malice, but due to a total inability for most in our culture to cope with death. One of the only ways I was able to laugh after my parents died when I was 16 and 19, respectively, was remembering all of the crazy things people said to me in the aftermath.

Another friend who had a tragic loss in her family noticed that as soon as the immediate mourning period was over, her family’s social life ground to a halt. Lunch and dinner invitations dried up, playdates for their kids became elusive, and soon she was feeling as though many in her social circle thought tragic death must be contagious.

One of the ways this friend coped, and that made many so uncomfortable, was that she still spoke of her dead relative, frequently and in everyday conversation. Just because he died doesn’t mean he never existed, although that’s how she felt most of the people around her expected she should behave. She told me once that she knew it made everyone around her uncomfortable, but that talking about her relative was the best way she did her grieving. She was the only one in her social circle who knew this fundamental truth about grief.

Don’t Grieve Alone

For better or for worse, our society looks to celebrities like the royal family to set the tone on cultural issues. To their credit, the British royal family have always taken this responsibility seriously and to heart. Especially in the case of Princess Diana and her sons, they decide to tackle issues that most speak to them, even if they aren’t the most comfortable areas of focus. While American first ladies focus on health and reading, on the other side of the pond the royals are taking on far more dark and pressing concerns.

That Harry may have struggled with his mental health following the untimely death of his mother as a child is unsurprising, although it is critically important for others to hear him say. In the BBC special, Harry said of Ferdinand’s, and perhaps his own, struggle: “A lot of people think if you’ve got a job, if you’ve got financial security, if you’ve got a family, you’ve got a house, all that sort of stuff, everyone seems to think that is all you need and you are absolutely fine to deal with stuff.”

The Western world has a hard time dealing with death. We are unable to appropriately comfort the mourning because we are so out of practice discussing death, and the emotional and mental health fallout after for those surviving openly and honestly. Given the benefit of the passage of time, Harry has learned that grieving is best accomplished openly, instead of pushing feelings of loss and loneliness inward. Hopefully more open and honest conversations about death like Harry’s on the BBC can change the way our society deals with grief, for the better.

Michelle Obama’s Speech Shows Democrats Only Love America To Spite Trump [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama said America is “the greatest country on earth.” In 2008 at a campaign stop for her husband, however, she said it was the first time in her adult life she was really proud of her country. These are logically compatible statements—maybe Barack really is the original author of American greatness—but Michelle sounded more like a woman offended at any possible suggestion to the contrary, by anyone, at any time: “Don’t let anyone tell you America isn’t great!”

Yet this is precisely what the Left has been telling us for decades, and has been doubling down on with particular fervor since Donald Trump’s campaign. From “America Was Never Great” hats to the common rhetorical question “When was America ever great?” the Left has roundly criticized and rejected his slogan. From the country’s racist, sexist, and homophobic beginnings, it has never fundamentally changed, we are told, despite—for instance—the complete legal and political equality of women and blacks, and the election of a black president.

So when was America ever great? Some moderate voices on the Left tell a more nuanced story about America as a place that was in fact great. It was perhaps not always great at embodying the principles of its founding, but in expressing those lofty ideals about the dignity of humanity, striving mightily to live up to them—and even partially succeeding at times, such as in the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and the civil rights movement.

Most Can Agree We Were Great Once

This scene from the first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s 2012 “The Newsroom” embodies this somewhat more moderate take. Since its release, this scene has been perpetually viral. You will see it shared widely, die out, then come back and make the rounds once again. The linked version of the scene has four million views, and there are others with millions more. Clearly Sorkin struck a nerve in declaring that America used to be great, and we once “stood up for what was right, we fought for moral reasons… we waged wars on poverty, not poor people.”

But the most emphatic part of the video is the beginning, which insists we are no longer great, have lost these things that distinguished our nation, and are failing to even strive toward those higher ideals that defined our greatness. Sorkin even marshals an impressive array of statistics to substantiate his point.

If you’re of a more conservative bent, you’ll likely agree with the scene that the country was once great, but disagree with the liberal presentation of what made it so. You’d likely also agree that something has been lost, but not about what that is. Nevertheless, there are at least grounds for conciliation.

Donald Trump Revealed Their Hypocrisy

Last night Michelle Obama declared America the greatest country in the world without qualification, and the Left fell over itself fawning over the speech in effusive agreement. But these are the same liberals who loved “The Newsroom” and spread the flagship scene of the series to the far corners of the Internet. Some are the very same liberals who declared “America Was Never Great.” Your liberal friends who think Michelle’s line was a brilliant assault on the Trump campaign are the same people who all clicked “like” and “share” and “retweet” every time Sorkin’s vid made another pass. What was the message of that scene? Make America Great Again.

How to explain this? It can really only be chalked up to seething hatred of Donald Trump. When Sorkin delivers the message, it’s received enthusiastically; when Trump delivers an identical message, it’s rejected vehemently. They forget they ever liked Sorkin’s take on America in the first place and turn instead to Michelle Obama’s alternative: America is currently great.

This in turn shows the brilliance of Trump’s campaign slogan. If you’re a far-left ideologue, you can respond that “America was never great,” but most Americans, even on the Left, know that isn’t quite right. You can say America is great now, as Michelle Obama did almost without any qualification, but that undermines the common critiques of America as imperialistic, xenophobic, racist, sexist, et cetera, ad infinitum.

It also conflicts with the lived experience of most Americans, who are suffering economic hardship, the ravages of terrorism and war, disintegration of the family, severely strained relations between the sexes, racial tensions, and the erosion of institutions like the church, which traditionally mitigated the extent and effects of those problems. People know that America, if it is great in its ideals or has been great at times, is experiencing a period of social and political turmoil and upheaval. No amount of soaring rhetoric will convince them otherwise.

But there is a bipartisan alternative to the naively sunny optimism that papers over the darkness we encounter daily. From the pen of Aaron Sorkin or the jaws of Donald Trump, the path before us is the same: Make America Great Again.

Sorry, Peter Thiel: We Can’t Go To Mars Instead Of Iraq [The FederalistThe Federalist]

As the dust settles from the Republican convention with the GOP remarkably intact, it’s clear the most interesting and important speech belonged to Peter Thiel. He came off as a man from the future at an event thoroughly organized around nostalgic vengeance. But even Thiel took a moment to cast his agenda in terms Donald Trump and company would recognize.

“Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East,” he said. “On this most important issue, Donald Trump is right. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.” The nation that gave us the Manhattan Project has been thrown off track by wading into realms where creating a destiny of our choosing is far too costly, risky, and difficult. We must Make America’s Future Great Again.

This assessment is a perfect example of how Thiel’s vision complements but challenges prevailing Republican views. Even some conservative critics of the Iraq War are uncomfortable with the rhetoric of militaristic ignorance, with the all-too-pat rallying cry of nation-building at home rather than nation-building abroad.

But if Thiel is apt to invoke very complex human problems with very concise provocations, Republicans (like others) should avail themselves of the opportunity to take advantage of his challenges. Regardless of how fully they come to embrace the judgments packed inside, Thiel’s now-uncertain partymates will find themselves much more confident about what they believe and why. Thiel’s case against stopping endless dumb wars is a perfect place to start.

You Can’t Always Fight on Uncrowded Fields

Begin with another one of Thiel’s seemingly counterintuitive pronouncements, that competition is hostile to capitalism, which is all about monopolies. The intuition behind this strange idea is practical enough: take a minute to understand our anthropology, and you’ll realize that seeking out competition is unwise and debilitating, touching off spiteful and wasteful conflict over wildly trivial, merely symbolic, and often just illusory gains. While fools rush into, say, the Brooklyn cronut market, sages avoid crowded fields teeming with the pathologies of competition, opting instead to declare a specific, original future into being and to execute on it in a clearing devoid of other people’s mania, anxieties, and vices.

Against this conceptual backdrop, the Iraq War looks like it was a surefire loser. Thiel’s latent critique of “stupid wars” in general and Iraq specifically is that they pull us into areas so aggressively competitive that even our huge outsized advantages are squandered. Nobody, by contrast, is fighting over Mars, or other, more earthbound areas of big new advancements that offer a canvas to paint big but specific futures. There we have open field—an ever-unfolding frontier.

This is a fresh and compelling and fundamentally different critique of present-day militarism than the one, say, Oliver Stone has advanced. But it does invite us to consider its drawbacks. We do not, for instance, enjoy much evidence that every area of competitive or intractable “stupid” conflict can just be skirted or ignored. The Mideast is not the Brooklyn cronut market. Despite the disadvantages and perils, there are probably several parts of the world that are so pivotal to America’s national security interests that it’s imprudent to bypass them. (This could be true even if fossil fuels are totally obsolete!)

We Need a New Normal

So one reason it’s wise for Republicans to take Thiel’s provocation for a spin is the difficulty level of the obstacles thrown at them on the test drive. What is to be done about metastasizing conflicts created by crowded security competition? If Trump and the new populists are to be believed, the answer is simple: abandon forward positions, dress lines, circle wagons, and build walls. As unconvincing as many conservatives find this proposition to be, Thiel knows well how much digital security measures can augment strictly analog ones. Imagine the concept of “border security” as it would emanate from Palantir’s mores and habits, not the Minutemen’s.

But maybe more digital security requires more meatspace activity in absolute terms, even if its share of conflict work decreases, or its rate of growth slows, relative to digital’s. That’s likely to be the case especially if the next best power at physical force projection is a country like Russia that’s dramatically leveraging its presence in cyber.

Thiel’s Mars-versus-Iraq worldview is probably designed to inspire some Republicans and annoy others, in the service of fruitfully unsettling people in both camps. Intuition suggests the aim is simple enough: to push out in the open pregnant security questions that burden a GOP still feeling its way—without ceding the microphone to the nativists and nationalists with the crudest of answers.

Democrats Explain Why They’re Protesting Their Own Convention [The FederalistThe Federalist]

When I told people I was going to Philadelphia to cover the protests at the Democratic National Convention, they asked the same question over and over: Why do liberals protest aggressively at Democratic conventions, and hardly at all at Republican conventions? Many people assume almost any candidate on the Democratic side should be preferable for progressive protesters to Donald Trump or any other Republican. So why make the party closer to their own interests look so bad?

I decided to ask a cross-section of protesters that question on day one of the convention. The answers I received varied, but also overlapped in some important ways. Almost everyone I talked to mentioned the recently leaked Democratic National Committee emails as a big reason for raising their voices against Hillary Clinton. But most said they had planned on protesting even before those revelations. They assured me the leaks had only confirmed their already deep suspicions.

Nobody I spoke to had anything very nice to say about Trump, but they did not have the same fear of a Trump presidency that many more moderate Democrats, or even anti-Trump conservatives, share. Make no mistake: they viewed Trump as a bad person, but not as the symbol of systemic oppression and corruption they feel Clinton is.

‘They Were Cheating’

Before getting into specific responses, it is important to note this year is not an anomaly. Ever since the 1960s, Democratic conventions have been protested more vigorously than their GOP counterparts. Also, of note this year is the geography. Philadelphia is easily reached by many more people than Cleveland, where Republicans held their convention, and is a more popular destination. Some people I talked to even suggested Cleveland’s gun laws allowing armed protesters may have tamped down participation.

Mary from Washington DC and her friend Ed from Columbia, Maryland, were fairly typical of the older, calmer contingent at the protests. Both were clad in Bernie Sanders T-shirts, and Ed was puffing away on his vape. Mary had volunteered and donated to Sanders throughout the past year and felt the DNC had ill-used her and Sanders.

“We had a candidate and they were cheating,” she said. But she added that her protest was “not about one candidate or the other, but about a revolution.” As is often the case in such matters, Mary was a bit vague about what that revolution would look like exactly, but it clearly included a system less rigged by those in power.

Ed answered my question more directly. “If we had gone to Cleveland,” he said, “it just would have been negativity. This can be more positive.” Both of them agreed that Democrats and the protesters were their “family.” But they also agreed Hillary Clinton is actually a Republican.

This idea that Democrats would be more receptive to protesters’ complaints was a common theme in the answers to my question. It makes sense: while Republicans could simply laugh off their ideas about income inequality and climate change, their demands paint Democrats in more of a corner. Like Hillary Clinton nodding nervously while being lectured by Black Lives Matter protesters several months ago, Democrats must give some level of credence to the causes of the protests.

No Regrets Despite Trump

A group of young women in their twenties who had travelled to Philly from St. Louis for the protests struck a different chord. They held a large red flag, a common sight at the protests, and had a much more defiant view. One sensed their vision of revolution was less metaphorical.

I spoke to Julie and Erin, who both said leftists’ real frustration was with the Democrats, not the Republicans. It wasn’t that they have any positive feelings about Republicans, more that the GOP is so heinous as to be beyond redemption. But when Trump came up, things got interesting.

Julie told me, “Trump is a fascist, but he’s not a politician. Hillary represents neoliberalism.” There was a sense of betrayal in her eyes and voice, as if a perversion of liberalism was a deeper sin than fascism. She went on to accuse Hillary of supporting coups in Central America and committing “femicide.” As we finished up, I asked Erin if she thought Trump could win. She said she did. I asked if that gave her any mixed feelings about protesting Hillary. Both assured me it did not — the same answer I had received to that question from Mary and Ed.

This no-regrets attitude in the face of a potential Trump presidency was common, but not universal. Earlier in the day, I chatted with Del and Michele from Kansas, outside of Philadelphia’s towering City Hall, where a Sanders protest was being held. He sported a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, while hers commemorated the march on Selma.

“The big shots need to hear us and think critically about what we are saying,” Michele told me. “That’s what we need to be a united front.” Del added, “People need to vent.” When I asked if they worried their participation in the protests might help Trump, I got a different reply. Michele winced a bit and began nodding her head. I could see the multitude of implications playing out in her mind. When she stopped nodding, she looked at me and said, “I do, I really do.”

Keeping Their Own Team Honest

Clearly, Hillary Clinton has to hope that in spite of their frustrations, most Sanders supporters take Michele’s balanced approach. Interestingly, unlike the more strident protesters I spoke with, Del and Michele had been in Philly for a different occasion. They were not veteran protesters, and perhaps might better reflect Sanders supporters on the whole.

In the end the question about why liberal protesters are so much more vociferous at Democratic conventions boiled down to the idea that these are the people who are supposed to care.

These are the people who are supposed to be on their team. It would be a mistake to confuse a few thousand dedicated protesters with the millions of Sanders supporters across the country. Many, likely most, will make peace with Clinton’s candidacy. But for the next few days, right across the street from her coronation the masses will be pushing back. How many do they speak for when they chant “Hell, no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary” nobody knows. But for a candidate as deeply unpopular as Hillary Clinton, none of this is a good sign.

Houston AMSAT Net #1164 - 26 Jul 2016 [Houston AMSAT Net Podcast]

In this edition:

01. AMSAT-UK Shop
02. AMSAT-UK Colloquium
03. AMSAT-UK Colloquium Program
04. AMSAT Symposium Registration
05. 70cm NL WebSDR
06. LibreCube CubeSat Info
07. National Parks on the Air
08. NPOTA July Newsletter
09. NP4JV on Twitter
10. Sandringham School Presentation
11. Tim Peake - Sandringham School QSO
12. More China FAST Dish
13. PA3GUO ISS-Dragon Pix
14. FO-29 Interference
15. North Pole Flights
16. Austin Summerfest
17. and more.

“Cows” DXpedition Now Active from Tuvalu [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

The “Cows Over the World” branded round-robin DXpedition by Tom Callas, KC0W, continues from Tuvalu as T2COW until August 18. He will be on CW only on HF through 6 meters, running 500 W into vertical antennas over salt water.

KC0W plans to be active in all major CW contests, and he updates his operating schedule on his QRZ.com profile site. His next stop after Tuvalu will be Vanuatu, August 20-S...

The Gravest Threat to America is the Democratic Party [Blazing Cat Fur]

The world is cascading into oblivion and the Democratic Party nominee is a woman whose policies helped create ISIS, whose policies created chaos in Libya and Egypt and Syria and in Iraq. The Democratic Party nominee is a woman responsible for the “Russian Reset”, which ignited a new Cold War.

Yesterday, 61 people spoke at the DNC. Not one speaker discussed the worldwide cancer of ISIS. Not one. Instead, there were incessant calls for gender neutrality, open borders, unlimited immigration and destroying Wall Street, even though their criminal nominee is Wall Street’s biggest ghost payroller.

As of tonight, there has been no talk about strengthening the military, much the military at all. There has been no discussion of national security. Instead, the Democrats parade a lineup of Hollywood liberals to the podium like Elizabeth Banks and Eva Longoria, who said that “Her family never crossed the border. The border crossed us.” What the hell is she talking about? Is that some kind of La Raza double speak? Instead, the Democrats parade a lineup of female speakers who look like escapees from a public school administration and who hammer the audience with the traditional nauseating plate of women’s rights issues that the world has heard for 45 years.


BREAKING NEWS: German shopping centre evacuated after ‘teen with links to terrorists’ seen [Blazing Cat Fur]

The 19-year-old Algerian suspect is believed to have fled a psychiatric facility before being seen at the mall in Bremen.


Video: Celebrities lampoon Donald Trump and back Hillary Clinton at DNC [Blazing Cat Fur]

Lena Dunham, America Ferrera, Elizabeth Banks and Meryl Streep speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

It’s hilarious but not for the reason they think.


Ugly: “Why climate denial should be a criminal offence” [Blazing Cat Fur]

There is no greater crime being perpetuated on future generations than that committed by those who deny climate change. The scientific consensus is so overwhelming that to argue against it is to perpetuate a dangerous fraud. Denial has become a yardstick by which intelligence can be tested. The term climate sceptic is now interchangeable with the term mindless fool.


Islam: The Religion of Genocide, Over 670mil non-Muslims massacred since the birth of Islam [Blazing Cat Fur]

These numbers keep increasing all the time when more forgotten figures from history keeps being added.

To the total numbers we have updated over 80 million Christians killed by Muslims in 500 years in the Balkan states, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia.

We are missing numbers on the Islamic genocide of Jews, a continuous goal in Islam for 1,400 years.

Then we have India. The official estimate number of Muslim slaughters of Hindus is 80 million. However, Muslim historian Firistha (b. 1570) wrote (in either Tarikh-i Firishta or the Gulshan-i Ibrahim) that Muslims slaughtered over 400 million Hindus up to the peak of Islamic rule of India, bringing the Hindu population down from 600 mil to 200 million at the time.

With these new additions the Muslim genocide of non-Muslims since the birth of Mohammed would be over 669 million murders.


BBC, Reuters paint jihad suicide bomber as “Syrian Migrant Killed in German Blast” [Blazing Cat Fur]

The mass murderer as victim, either of an accident or of “right-wing” “Islamophobia.” This is how the BBC and Reuters, and the rest of the mainstream media, attempt to manipulate public opinion. They’re doing everything they can to keep people ignorant and complacent about the threat posed by Muslim migrants, and about the jihad threat in general.


Oh, NOES, showing their CAIR roots, Muslim group in Canada starts their own whine fest about “Islamophobia” [Blazing Cat Fur]

Formerly known as designated terrorist group CAIR, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) ignores the real reasons for the rise in anti-Muslim backlash, which they incorrectly label “Islamophobia.” There’s nothing phobic about not liking people who want to kill you and take over your country.


Welsh schoolgirl was ‘kept in a cage by her father for four years in Saudi Arabia after he accused her of un-Islamic behaviour’ [Blazing Cat Fur]

A Welsh schoolgirl has been kept prisoner in a cage by her own father for more than four years after she was accused of un-Islamic behaviour, a court heard yesterday.

h/t Brenda


Anti-Christian bigots lose a round for once [Blazing Cat Fur]

From Ezra Levant: (Look, you do not need to be a Christian. Have you ever had a non-progressive, non-Islamist, non-Orwellian thought in your entire life?)

Dear Gerty,

I am thrilled to report to you that five judges on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled unanimously in favour of Trinity Western University, and their right to set up a law school.

As you know, three “law societies” across Canada — the senior lawyers who govern the profession — had voted to blacklist any future graduates of Trinity Western’s law school, because of their Christian student code of conduct. Those law societies couldn’t have been any clearer: it was pure anti-Christian bigotry.

Trinity Western is fighting back, and we’re helping — over the years, we’ve raised thousands of dollars for the lawyers at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, led by John Carpay. They’re intervenors in court, in all three provinces where Trinity Western was blacklisted.

Click here to see my conversation with John yesterday — and to see me announce the results of our latest fundraising campaign to help cover John’s costs: $5,100!


I’m so pleased that we beat our goal of $5,000. If you haven’t yet made a contribution to this fight — or if you’ve already contributed, but want to give John a “congratulations” donation for a fight well fought — please click here.

This fight isn’t over of course; it’s surely heading to the Supreme Court. But we’ve managed to keep freedom of religion and freedom of association for Christians alive so far, in part due to your generosity.

Thank you!

Yours truly,

Ezra Levant

P.S. Please share this e-mail with your friends, to tell them about the anti-Christian discrimination in Canada’s law societies, and our plan to fight back. Invite them to donate too, by clicking here. And post www.TheRealBigots.com as your Facebook status — that’s our page with all the information on this project!


Obama’s America: Black Lives Matter Punk Tears Down Ribbons Supporting NYPD: “F–k Blue Lives” [Jammie Wearing Fools]

We’d like to curbstomp this hippie maggot and then see if he calls the police.

This troubling video shows a Black Lives Matter supporter saying “f–k blue lives” as he tears down blue ribbons put up in Staten Island in support of the NYPD.

The angry man can be seen ripping off four ribbons tied around street poles and trees, in the one-minute cellphone video taken Tuesday by 54-year-old Staten Island native Steve Worona.

Worona, a local businessman, told The Post he was driving along Victory Boulevard in Castleton Corners at around 5:45 p.m. when he noticed the man pulling off the ribbons.

“At first I thought he was fixing them, but when I saw him doing it again and again, I pulled over and said I have to record this. It got to the point where I had to say something,” said Worona, who wound up getting into a heated back-and-forth with the man.

When Worona tried to confront the man from inside his car over why he was tearing down the ribbons, the man yelled out, “Black lives matter!” the video shows.

Worona fires back at the man saying, “All lives matter. Blue lives save all lives” and the man replies, “Whatever, bro,” prompting Worona to call the man “disgusting.”

As the two clash between “all lives” and “black lives,” the man continues to rip off the ribbons, saying “We’re not talking about all lives right now…All lives are not being persecuted right now. Black lives are.”

“F–k all lives. F–k blue lives,” the unidentified man can be heard saying.

Worona said that during the man’s tirade on police he even spit at the ribbons after he threw them to the ground.

“It was very disrespectful what he was doing,” Worona told The Post. “I couldn’t believe what was going on.”

Couldn’t believe it? These people are deified by the Obama White House and Democrat Party, so they’re emboldened. But this putrid maggot will forever be a zero, so he should be treated like shit on your show.

The Ship is Sinking: Corrupt Clinton Getting Negative Bounce During ‘Historic’ Convention, Trails Trump 47-40 [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Can you just imagine how bad things would be if she had an opponent actually interested in beating her? This trend is just brutal:

This chart tracks our best estimate, over time, of how America plans to vote in November

The final blue and red figures on the right side of the chart represent our most recent estimates of Hillary Clinton’s vote (blue squares) and Donald Trump’s (red diamonds). These estimates represent weighted averages of all responses in the prior week. The gray band is a “95-percent confidence interval”. Figures lying outside the gray band mean that we are at least 95% confident that the candidate with the highest percentage will win the popular vote.



Trump going straight up, while the “historic” candidate is heading downward, and fast.

Maybe the Democrats should bring out more celebrities and parents of thugs to entertain the nation. That would really help.

Bill’s desperate bid to humanize Hillary shows fear she might lose [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Here’s a fact to chew on: Much of Day Two at the convention was spent trying to humanize Hillary Clinton. After 25 years in public life, she feels the need to tell us she cares.

A parade of speakers warmed up the crowd by telling stories about her compassion, some of it very long ago. Getting money for New Yorkers after 9/11, helping children get health insurance, securing health care for veterans.

This being a coronation, the circumstances grew in grandeur with each telling, until they made her sound like Mother Teresa. She’s so profoundly kind and tireless and honest and so full of grace, “she defies gravity.”

But wait, there’s more — she’s tough, too. Single-handedly, she practically made peace in the Mideast, forged progress on climate change, and forced Iran to the negotiating table.

If that superhuman doesn’t sound like the Hillary you know, or the world as you know it, well, Bill Clinton showed up to to swear it was all true, and then some.

Full story.

Historic! Another Top Clinton Supporter is Under Federal Investigation [Jammie Wearing Fools]

It’s really weird how all these Democrats mysteriously find themselves under federal investigation during a Democrat administration. It’s almost as if they think they’re above the law.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is under federal investigation for his role in the $240 million sale of the Long Island College Hospital in 2014, according to sources cited by the New York Daily News.

US Attorney Preet Bharara has reportedly subpoenaed the hospital’s owner, the State University of New York, for its emails and other records of communication with City Hall — specifically with de Blasio and five of his top aides.

A source close to SUNY told the Daily News that de Blasio seems to be “the clear target.”

Bharara, we’ll remind you, is the guy who put away another top Clinton supporter, Sheldon Silver.

During his mayoral campaign in 2013, de Blasio had fought to keep the state-run hospital open, despite SUNY’s efforts to close and sell it. But shortly after taking office, de Blasio struck a deal that left the property with some guaranteed healthcare services, but not enough to make it a full hospital.

Later, de Blasio backed a plan by the Fortis Property Group to demolish the hospital buildings and redevelop the site into low- to middle-income apartments, according to The Real Deal.

Bharara’s office is now searching for evidence of malfeasance within de Blasio’s administration regarding the hospital’s sale, the New York Post reported. The subpoena also seeks communication records dating back to de Blasio’s tenure as the city’s public advocate, when he first began campaigning to keep the hospital open.

De Blasio’s spokesman Eric Phillips told the Daily News the mayor’s office is unaware of an investigation by Bharara into the hospital’s sale.

Perhaps this latest criminal investigation is why Big Bird was relegated to an afternoon speaking slot today, when nobody will see him.

Weird: ‘Change Maker’ Nowhere to be Found in Hillary Clinton Word Cloud [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Be honest, before last night’s “historic” nomination of the Gangster Grandma, you never once associated the words “change maker” with the loathsome Hillary Clinton.  Words such as “criminal,” “liar,” “untrustworthy,” “phony,” and “deceptive” are much more descriptive of the first presidential nominee under a cloud of FBI investigations.

So along came her husband, the guy who’s slept with hundreds of women while married to her, to call her a “change maker” during his long-winded speech.

The staff at the Democratic National Convention is very good at handing out props. Is Michelle Obama about to speak? Hand out the big cardboard sticks with MICHELLE in vertical letters. Is Meryl Streep about to congratulate the audience on making history? Make sure everybody has a HISTORY sign. Did anyone say STRONGER TOGETHER? Of course there’s a sign for that. And is Bill Clinton about to attempt to sell his wife, in national office or the national spotlight for a quarter-century, as a “change maker”? Distribute the CHANGE MAKER signs.

But convincing voters that Hillary Clinton is a CHANGE MAKER could be a lot harder than handing out placards.

The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll asked respondents which of the following two descriptions of a candidate came closest to their preference. The first was “Someone who will bring major changes to the way government operates even if it is not possible to predict what the changes may be.” The second was “Someone who will bring a steady approach to the way government operates even if it means fewer changes to how things are now.”

It’ll take some doing on the part of Democrats to convince America she’s a so-called change maker. Besides, haven’t we just experienced eight years of change?

A couple of words we didn’t hear from The Slickster Tuesday evening: Juanita Broaddrick:

Here’s a closer look at some of the words associated with the historic criminal nominee. Click to enlarge.


Maybe if you piece some letters together you can come up with change maker. Start with the “c” in criminal.

36 senators, including Tim Kaine, press to add $320M for Israeli missile defense [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

An Iron Dome Missile Defense battery firing near the Southern israeli town of Ashdod, July 16, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

An Iron Dome Missile Defense battery firing near the southern Israeli town of Ashdod, July 16, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

(JTA) — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators that includes Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, is calling on Congress to add $320 million for Israeli missile defense to the Senate version of a defense appropriations bill.

Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are leading the effort, which would bring the Senate version in line with one from the House of Representatives. Kaine, D-Va., is among the 36 senators who have signed on, The Hill reported Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has threatened to veto legislation with that level of funding.

In a letter to the Armed Services Committee chairmen and obtained by The Hill, the senators wrote: “Amid growing rocket and missile threats in the Middle East, it is prudent for the United States and Israel to advance and accelerate bilateral cooperation on missile defense technologies.”

The proposed increase in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act would go toward three U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs and more purchases of Iron Dome systems, according to The Hill.

In June, when the House passed its appropriations measure, the White House released a six-page statement detailing over a dozen points of opposition, including the expanded funding for Israel’s missile defense system, to the tune of $455 million more than requested by the White House.

The statement threatened a veto if the bill survives the reconciliation process with the Senate unaltered, but administration officials would not say if that would apply should some of its objections be resolved, or if it was a blanket veto threat applying to every objection.

The administration “opposes the addition of $455 million” for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs, the statement said, while noting that the bill cuts $324 million from non-Israel related defense systems.

Brooklyn eruv vandalism being investigated as hate crime [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Orthodox Jewish men walking near Chabad international headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, May 12, 2008. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

Orthodox Jewish men walking near Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., May 12, 2008. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating repeated vandalism of a new eruv in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.

The NYPD announced the investigation Wednesday concerning the Jewish ritual boundary, which was erected in mid-June by members of the modern Orthodox Kol Israel synagogue, DNAinfo reported.

Leaders of the haredi Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement oppose the eruv, which enables observant Jews to carry items and push strollers on Shabbat. The one in Crown Heights, made of fishing line strung between walls and lampposts, has been cut several times.

As of Wednesday, no suspects have been identified in the case, police said. The eruv vandalism took place in multiple locations on July 8 and 14, according to DNAinfo.

Chabad, a Hasidic movement that has its world headquarters in Crown Heights, says the new eruv does not comply with its guidelines. In June, the Chabad rabbis of Crown Heights issued an edict to void the eruv. Chabad leaders also posted fliers forbidding its use and, according to DNAinfo, harassed Chabad members who supported the eruv.

Chabad has long been the dominant Jewish group in Crown Heights, which also has long been home to large numbers of Caribbean-Americans and African-Americans. In recent years, however, the neighborhood has attracted growing numbers of modern Orthodox Jews, along with other middle-class and affluent white professionals who cannot afford other increasingly pricey Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Naftali Hanau, a member the Kol Israel synagogue eruv committee, told The New York Jewish Week in June that he has no intention of defending the eruv to its critics.

“We’re trying not to engage,” he said, stressing that anyone who does not approve of the eruv does not have to use it. “If you don’t like it, don’t carry.”

Ban on women singing at South Africa Holocaust memorial ceremony dropped [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Women will no longer be banned from singing at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa.

The South African Center for Religious Equality and Diversity, or SACRED, agreed to drop the complaint it filed in April in the Equality Court of the Western Cape High Court against the Cape Town chapter of the South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies. In exchange, the board promised to restructure future ceremonies in order to include women singing, SACRED and the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies announced Wednesday in separate statements on Facebook.

The Cape SA Jewish Board said it will “restructure future ceremonies so as not to exclude a woman singing solo, while still ensuring that the event is inclusive for the entire community, including those observing Kol Isha.”

Kol Isha is a practice observed by many Orthodox Jews prohibiting men from hearing a woman singing because it is immodest.

In the SACRED statement, Rabbi Julia Margolis, the group’s chair, said, “We are glad to know that all future SA Jewish Board of Deputies ceremonies and events will be infused with respect for the equal treatment of all on grounds of sex and gender and that no members of the community will be treated as second class Jews. SACRED became involved in this issue as it is deeply committed to the values of our Constitution and ensuring the elimination of unfair discrimination within the Jewish community of South Africa (and beyond).”

Although the agreement has been reached only with the Board of Deputies in the Western Cape, Margolis said her group “expects all chapters of the Board of Deputies across South Africa to include women singing in their Holocaust memorial ceremonies.”

James Lomberg, executive director of SACRED, said in the Facebook statement: “It is our fervent hope that young people, women and others who were alienated from the Holocaust Memorial due to the recent ban will once again feel able to participate in a manner which reflects their values and the lessons of the Shoah. We also have affirmed that our Jewish communal structures must affirm in all their actions the key constitutional value of equality – which is also a foundational principle of Jewish tradition.”

Hamas digging 6 miles of terror tunnels per month, Israeli officials say [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

The Israel Defense Forces uncovers a terror tunnel running from the southern Gaza Strip to Israel on May 5, 2016. (Photo courtesy of the Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli army uncovering a terror tunnel running from the southern Gaza Strip to Israel, May 5, 2016. (Courtesy of the Israel Defense Forces)

(JTA) — Hamas is digging more than six miles of tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel each month and some are undetectable, Israeli defense and diplomatic officials said.

Citing a Channel 2 news report quoting unidentified officials, The Times of Israel reported the estimate on Wednesday.

“We have no perfect solution” to the threat, the officials were quoted as telling Channel 2, “and neither does any other country.”

While there have been numerous reports in recent months of ongoing tunnel digging — and of Israel destroying some tunnels — this appeared to be the first public estimate quantifying the threat.

In May, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said it had acquired “extensive information” on terror tunnels from Gaza terrorists it has detained.

Investigators also learned about the tunnel excavators’ work methods, tools and procedures. For example, diggers use several methods to disguise their activity, such as a prohibition on exiting tunnels in work clothes. Excavators are required to shower and change clothes inside the tunnels, the Shin Bet said.

The Shin Bet also said last August that Hamas is monitoring Israeli activity to locate the tunnels while building them.

The Channel 2 report on tunnels came amid claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mishandled the 2014 Gaza war and that the scope of Hamas’ tunnel network had caught him by surprise.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu’s office responded to the allegations with a statement saying they are “without foundation” and “false.” The statement said that from Nov. 11, 2013 to July 3, 2014, “the tunnel threat was presented, in its full severity, at nine separate Cabinet meetings. The protocols show this beyond all doubt.”

According to the statement, six months prior to Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s military operation in Gaza in 2014, from Jan. 16, 2013 to July 9, 2014, Netanyahu “convened six professional discussions on the issue of the tunnels.” The defense minister, the army’s chief of staff, GOC Southern Command, heads of the IDF’s engineering and technology branches, and field commanders were among the participants in the meetings, it said.

At the discussions, the statement said, “the prime minister directed that operational and technological solutions be advanced to meet the tunnels threat.”

Israel has had success against ‘lone wolf’ terrorists — here’s how [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Israeli soldiers checking Palestinian ID's at the Qalandia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, July 1, 2016. (Flash90)

Israeli soldiers checking Palestinian ID’s at the Qalandia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, July 1, 2016. (Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — “Lone wolf” terrorism in Europe is making headlines around the world. But in Israel, the phenomenon of angry or troubled individuals taking up arms is old news.

Since October, Israelis have endured a wave of violence that has been carried out largely by individual Palestinians without backing from terrorist groups — so much so that some have called this the “lone wolf intifada.”

As of the end of June, 38 people had been killed and 298 injured by attackers, according to the Shin Bet security service.

Yet the violence appears to be winding down, at least for now. In October, when the wave of violence is said to have started, the number of attacks against Israelis spiked to 620. In June, there were 103 attacks, lower than in September, before the wave of violence began.

A large majority of the attacks — some 1,500 out of 2,000 — were in the West Bank, where the Israel Defense Forces is responsible for protecting Israelis. Here are five key methods the army used to turn the tide of violence.

Keep the terrorist groups out of it

The wave of violence may be considered a lone wolf intifada, but that’s because the army has put a lid on the terrorist groups, a senior IDF officer told reporters during a briefing this week. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of his job.

Since the second intifada, the last major Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, the Israeli army has managed to largely dismantle the networks run by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the West Bank, according to Shlomo Brom, a retired brigadier general and an analyst at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies think tank. 

“Basically the terror networks are dismantled, and basically the security forces are dealing with maintenance,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean terrorist groups have stopped trying to launch attacks against Israelis. In the past three months, the army has thwarted dozens of attempted attacks by Hamas alone in what the senior official called the “old war” against organized terror. 

“We’re still having day-to-day indications of them trying to find people in the West Bank, fund them, give them weapons, give them explosives and tell them to shoot Jews,” he said. “This hasn’t changed.”

Predict the unpredictable

A new war is being waged against the lone wolves. Their attacks started last fall in Jerusalem, sparked by Palestinian fears of Jewish encroachment on the Temple Mount. But the center of the lone wolf intifada quickly shifted to the West Bank city of Hebron, with attacks on soldiers and settlers in the area, as well as across Israel.

Around that time, at the end of last year, the army began building a system to deal with the new threat that was emerging, the senior officer said. The goal was to predict the unpredictable: when, for example, a particular Palestinian youth might grab a knife from his mom’s kitchen and take to the streets to spill Israeli blood. Motives can range from nationalism to family problems, he said.

“Unlike terrorists who belong to Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, if you get to their house the week before the attack, the kid doesn’t know that he’s a terrorist yet,” the senior officer said. “So that’s the main challenge.”

Based on what was known about previous attackers, the army created an alert system that is constantly being tweaked. These days, army analysts feed huge amounts of intelligence information into that system — a combination of “social media, human intelligence, signal intelligence,” according to the senior officer, who declined to provide further details about intelligence gathering. In return, he said, the system produces a small number of alerts about potential future attacks.

“One of the ways you produce an alert is, what are the last actions that a specific individual did,” the senior officer said. “For example, if he’s exposed to incitement and right afterwards he rents a car, maybe an unregistered car, this raises questions.”

In response to an alert, options include arresting a suspect, monitoring his or her actions, intervening through the family or deploying troops to a potential target area. When attackers are arrested or killed without managing to cause carnage, future attackers are thought to be deterred.

“The attacks are decreasing because of their ineffectiveness, because most of them fail,” said Brom, the Institute for National Security Studies analyst. “There is a limit to the number of even frustrated young people who are willing to give their life and to achieve nothing. So it makes sense that over time, the numbers of attacks are fewer and fewer.”

Go after the inciters

Incitement to violence can occur in person, through traditional media or over social media. Hamas is responsible for a large portion of the incitement of Palestinians against Israel, the senior officer said.

“They create some of the memes of the high-level incitement, or the incitement which is very powerful that you see on the web,” he said. “So when you handle most of the Hamas incitement, or when you stop some of the incitement from getting to social media, you also have less incitement by private people that are just sharing a specific post or adding incitement.”

Get guns off the streets 

Despite Israel’s control of the West Bank’s borders, weapons manufacturing in the territory has “increased drastically” in the past couple years, according to the senior officer. He estimated there are hundreds of production centers there.

In recent months, he said, the army has launched an organized crackdown, including closing some 20 locations producing homemade Carl Gustav submachine guns, or “Carlos,” like those used last month by two Hebron-area cousins in a deadly shooting at the upscale Sarona market in Tel Aviv.

“They paid for their suits more than they paid for the weapons,” the officer said of the Sarona shooters, who wore dress suits during the attack. “And our logic is very simple … If not everyone can get a weapon with 2,000 shekels [about $500], the price will go up and they’ll have to make all sorts of arrangements and meet more and more people in order to get the weapon they want, we will see fewer attacks with weapons because people will make more mistakes.”

Israeli soldiers guarding the home where Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, was stabbed and killed in a terror attack in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank June 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers guarding the home where Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, was stabbed and killed in a terror attack in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank June 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Limit blowback

At the same time, the army tries to minimize its footprint on Palestinian society. That starts with trying to arrest rather than kill attackers and would-be attackers, the senior officer said.

According to Brom, the army also pushes to limit collective punishment, like the withholding of taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank, or revoking permits to work in or visit Israel.

“The more you can separate between the public from the perpetrators, the better,” he said.

When the army does implement measures with punitive effects, like refusing to return the bodies of Palestinians killed during attacks or destroying attackers’ homes, it aims only to target the attackers’ supporters, according to Brom.

Col. Ido Mizrachi, the head of engineering in the Central Command, which is responsible for the West Bank, acknowledged in another briefing with reporters that demolishing Palestinian homes causes resentment, but said he thinks the deterrent effect is stronger. To maintain that balance, he said, his engineers work quickly and use techniques to ensure that surrounding homes, or even adjoining apartments, are not damaged.

While the senior officer downplayed the Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation with Israel, Brom said the partnership is one of the main factors that enables the army to limit wider tensions.

“If the Palestinian Authority stopped cooperating, the Israeli security services would be in a situation in which they would have to do themselves what the Palestinian Authority is doing,” he said. “The problem is, that would create much more friction with population at large. And more friction with population at large means more motivation for more youngsters to join terrorist groups.”

Overall, the army believes this combination of tactics has helped to change the mentality of Palestinians in the West Bank, reducing the number of people willing to risk their lives to attack Israelis.

“We saw more and more people not becoming pro-Israeli or pro-Zionist, but understanding that they don’t achieve anything from this escalation, that it hurts them economically, that it doesn’t help the life conditions, that it doesn’t achieve anything on the national level,” the senior officer said.


Peter Beinart joins US Jews for civil rights-style protest in West Bank

Israel’s right-wing laws: A threat to democracy or much ado about symbolism?

‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot attacked as ‘Zionist’ on Twitter [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Gal Gadot posing for photographers during the premiere of the movie "Fast and Furious 5" at Cinepolis Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 15, 2011. (Buda Mendes/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Gal Gadot posing for photographers at the premiere of “Fast and Furious 5” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 15, 2011. (Buda Mendes/LatinContent/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who will star in the upcoming “Wonder Woman” feature film, is being attacked on Twitter for being a “Zionist.”

Gadot, who was a fashion model and actress in Israel, and was Miss Israel 2004 before she broke into films, performed two years of compulsory service in the Israel Defense Forces.

Warner Bros. released its first official trailer for “Wonder Woman” over the weekend, leading to a great deal of social media chatter about the film and the actress.

“I wanted to like gal gadot so bad she seemed so cool and nice until I found out she’s a Zionist,” read one tweet.

“I wish Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) wasn’t a Zionist who supported the occupation of Palestine thru her IDF work, I would enjoy DC more :/,” read another anti-Gadot tweet.

“Gal Gadot stans: SHES NOT A ZIONIST SHE JUST SUPPORTS HER COUNTRY AKA THE MURDER OF INNOCENT PALESTIANS,” read another of dozens of such tweets. A stan is an avid fan in Twitterspeak.

“please dont go around conflating zionism w/ judaism. i cant stand gal gadot bc she’s a zionist & im an israeli jew,” read another tweet.

“This woman isn’t responsible for what Israel does or doesn’t do, she’s just a person, and should be treated thusly,” read a reply.

Gadot has not responded to the tweets.

“Wonder Woman” is scheduled to open in theaters in June 2017. The character was introduced in DC Comics movies several months ago in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Gadot is also scheduled to appear in the superhero film “Justice League,” which comes out in November 2017.

Taking place during the World War I era, “Wonder Woman” will introduce the hero’s alter ego, Diana Prince, and her origins on the Amazonian island of Themyscira.







Religious Zionist rabbi clarifies statements about gays [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The rabbinic head of a religious Zionist pre-military yeshiva in the West Bank who called homosexuals “perverts” sent a letter clarifying his statements to the Defense Ministry but did not retract them or apologize.

Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, who runs the Bnei David academy in the Eli settlement, wrote to the ministry’s director, Udi Adam, that what he was saying in his speech to a conference of rabbis and educators from the National Religious sector was that the army should stay out of disputes in general society.

“I claimed, and I still claim, that the proper place for these disputes is in civil society and not in the army, which is precious to us all,” he wrote this week.

“I have dedicated all my life to strengthening the army, in trust and dialogue. This is the path I believe in, and in this spirit I will continue to educate my students.”

Levinstein met last week with Adam after a video of his controversial statements from the conference was posted on the haredi Orthodox Hebrew-language website Kipa. The conference, titled “Zion and Jerusalem,” was convened to deal with the perceived Reform movement influence on Israeli society.

“There’s an insane movement here whose members have lost the normalcy of life,” he said at the conference, which reportedly attracted some 700 rabbis and educators. “This group makes the country mad and has now penetrated the IDF in full force – and no one dares open their mouth and speak out against it.

“At Bahad 1, there are lectures by perverts,” Levinstein said, referring to the main training base for Israeli army officers, with perverts meaning homosexuals.

He added: “Under the framework of pluralism, soldiers and officers are taught to refer to [LGBT people] as ‘proud,’ but I don’t dare call them that … ‘perverts’ is what I call them.”

In his letter, Levinstein said everyone should serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

“Everyone has a place in the army, no matter what their background, worldview or personal tendencies,” Levinstein wrote, according to Ynet.

Ted Cruz aide not a candidate for Yeshiva U president, school says [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A senior adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz who met with a committee in search of Yeshiva University’s next president is not a candidate for the position, according to a statement from the school.

Earlier this week, JTA reported that Nick Muzin had been considered for the post, now held by Richard Joel. Muzin met multiple times during the search with Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, head of the search committee, as well as with members of the Y.U. faculty, JTA learned.

But in a terse statement issued Wednesday, the chairman of Y.U.’s board of directors said Muzin was not being considered.

“Nick Muzin is not a candidate for the position of President of Yeshiva University,” said the statement from Moshael Straus.

Joel, who will be stepping down by 2018, has held the position since 2003. In recent years the university has experienced financial difficulties due in part to losing money in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Yeshiva’s bond rating as a result of the troubles.

Muzin, who served as deputy chief of staff to Cruz’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, is a graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yale Law School, as well as Y.U.

At DNC, rabbis (and a 14-year-old) draw from scripture to rebuke Donald Trump [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbincal Assembly, delivers the closing benediction Monday July 25 2016, the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Ron Sachs)

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbincal Assembly, delivers the closing benediction Monday, July 25, 2016, the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Ron Sachs)

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — Three rabbis and a Jewish girl want Donald Trump to know: This is how God does great.

Four Jewish moments at the Democratic National Convention and surrounding events have included veiled – or not so veiled – scripture-based rebukes of the Republican nominee’s rhetoric or positions.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, closed out the first night with an unmistakable take on the Trump-Pence campaign’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Alluding to the passage in Deuteronomy describing God as “great, mighty and awesome,” she said in the benediction from the podium at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia:

“God who is Great, Mighty and Awesome, in a season so filled with chatter of Who is Great and What is Great and What Shall Be Great, let us remember Scripture’s clear, simple explanation of greatness,” she said. “God is the great, the mighty and the awesome, for God defends the cause of the widow and the orphan, and loves the stranger residing among you. This is God’s greatness and this is the greatness the American people must strive to imitate.”

If the reference to greatness, protecting the widow and orphan and loving the stranger wasn’t clear enough, Schonfeld followed immediately: “God of history, help us to understand that this is the most important election of our lives.” Schonfeld has said she was speaking in a personal capacity, and not as  head of the RA or member of any other group.

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, the director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, also nodded toward the widow and the orphan, opening up the convention’s “Jewish Roundtable Meeting” on Tuesday with a lesson based on a 19th-century Hasidic reading of the commandment, “Remember what Amalek did to you.”

Leaving the vulnerable behind endangers everyone, the reading teaches. The commandment is in the singular, suggesting the targeted sinner had drifted from his community.

“The core teaching is that it wasn’t Amalek who was at fault, it was us, because we, the community allowed there to be stragglers to fall behind at the rear,” Pesner said. “The test of a community, the challenge to a nation, the mandate for humanity is to never allow there to be stragglers.”

Rabbi Jack Moline (right) joins Rev. James Forbes (left) and Imam Suetwedien Muhammad at an interfaith gathering on Sunday July 23 2016 on the eve of the Democratic National Committee in Philadelphia (Ron Kampeas)

Rabbi Jack Moline (right) joins Rev. James Forbes (left) and Imam Suetwedien Muhammad at an interfaith gathering on Sunday, July 23, 2016 on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (Ron Kampeas)

Rabbi Jack Moline, the Conservative rabbi who leads the Interfaith Alliance, joined an imam, a priest and a minister on Sunday, the day before the formal convention, at a prayer session called “Stronger Together: In Pursuit of Love and Kindness.”

He offered an explanation of why Jewish congregations pray for wise governance, with a startling punchline:

“Where there is no respect for government, where the rule of law is replaced by the anger of the mob, our opponents become our enemies, our enemies become our demons, our demons become our leaders,” he said.

Zoey Bailkin, 14, reads a passage from Isaiah at an interfaith gathering on Sunday July 23 2016, the eve of the Democratic National Convention. (Mikki K. Harris)

Zoey Bailkin, 14, reads a passage from Isaiah at an interfaith gathering on Sunday, July 23, 2016, the eve of the Democratic National Convention. (Mikki K. Harris)

Moline is the former director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Zoey Bailkin, 14, from the Philadelphia area, joined other children in reading passages from an array of holy writings. She chose Isaiah, closing with a note of hope: “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain.”

Hillary Clinton personally ensured pro-Israel platform, says adviser [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Hillary Clinton smiling while speaking during a campaign event in Hartford, Connecticut, April 21, 2016. (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Hillary Clinton smiling while speaking during a campaign event in Hartford, Connecticut, April 21, 2016. (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — Hillary Clinton personally asked an adviser, Wendy Sherman, to make sure the Democratic Party platform remained pro-Israel, Sherman said.

“I had very direct instructions from Secretary Clinton that there would be clarity about this issue and there would be no space,” Sherman, a member of the committee drafting the platform, said Tuesday at an event hosted by the American Jewish Committee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

A debate broke out during the drafting of the platform last month over mentioning Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Israeli settlements. Philosopher Cornel West pushed for the provisions to be added, but the effort failed.

The Republican Party platform’s Israel section did change this year. It no longer includes support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and opposes “any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms.”

At the AJC event, Sherman said that “continuing to secure our bond with Israel” was one segment of enhancing America’s role in the Middle East and fighting the Islamic State terror group. Sherman, who was under secretary of state for political affairs for part of the time Clinton was secretary of state, said cooperating on intelligence with Israel is a priority.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 20:01 (JST), July 27 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Donald Trump Invites Russia To Commit Espionage To Help His Presidential Campaign [Outside the Beltway]

Donald Trump Shrug

At a news conference today, Donald Trump essentially called on Russia to commit espionage to help his Presidential campaign, although his campaign moved fairly quickly after he spoke to try to backtrack from his initial comments:

DORAL, Fla. — Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power to cyberspy on a secretary of state’s correspondence.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras during a news conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the United States’ presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which American intelligence agencies have told the White House they have “high confidence” was the work of the Russian government.

Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least interfere in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally saying “be quiet” to the female questioner. “Let the president talk to them.”

The Clinton campaign immediately accused Mr. Trump of both encouraging Russian espionage against the United States and meddling in domestic politics.

“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

And a spokesman for Speaker Paul D. Ryan, a Republican, responded to Mr. Trump’s remarks by criticizing Russia’s behavior.

“Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” said Brendan Buck, the spokesman. “Putin should stay out of this election.”

Mr. Trump has largely dismissed assertions that Russia was behind the Democratic committee breach as conspiracy theories — a view he reiterated again when he said the hack was “probably not Russia.”

But at one of his Florida golf courses, as the third day of theDemocratic National Convention was set to begin in Philadelphia, the Republican presidential nominee refused to unequivocally call on Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s president, to stay out of the election.

“I’m not going to tell Putin what to do,” Mr. Trump said. “Why should I tell Putin what to do?”

He added that if Russia, or any foreign government, was, in fact, behind the hack, it simply showed just how little respect other nations have for the current administration.

“President Trump would be so much better for U.S.-Russian relations” than a President Clinton, Mr. Trump said. “I don’t think he respects Clinton.”

In a series of Twitter messages, Jason Miller, a campaign spokesman, tried to clarify Mr. Trump’s comments.

“To be clear, Mr. Trump did not call on, or invite, Russia or anyone else to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails today,” Mr. Miller wrote.

In a Twitter post of his own, Mr. Trump added: “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!

While Trump’s campaign is trying to say otherwise, it seems fairly clear that he is asking a foreign power to commit cyber espionage, which itself is potentially an act of war and at the very least not the act of a friendly nation, in order to help his campaign. There is no other way to parse what Trump said in his initial comments, and the follow-on efforts of his campaign to change the subject would seem to make it clear that they realize that he made a mistake. On some level, I tend to think that this is another example of Trump playing with the media and with his opponents by making outrageous comments without regard to the consequences, but given his past comments about Vladimir Putin, in which he sometimes seems to be virtually begging for the Russian dictator to see him as a potential friend, one does have to wonder about Trump and his odd obsession with impressing Putin. There have been some suggestions that the reason for this is rooted in the fact that at least some of the financing for recent Trump real estate ventures has come from Russian banks and oligarchs, but there’s been no proof of that claim and it’s not clear how one would go about proving or disproving such a claim to begin with since it’s likely to be hidden somewhere deep within the financing arrangements for the projects themselves, which is not something that would be included in Trump’s personal tax forms even if he did make them public. In any case, the fact that Trump seems eager to please Putin is quite odd, and perhaps something that enterprising investigative reporters ought to be pursuing.

Given Donald Trump’s long history of controversial statements just during the course of his Presidential campaign, it’s almost come to the point where it’s difficult to get worked up about yet another such comment on his part. This is especially true when the media uses the comment as yet another opportunity to bring up the question of whether or not Trump has ‘gone too far’ this time and whether he will end up paying a price for his comments in the polls. As we know from the race for the Republican nomination, there really doesn’t seem to be anything that Trump can say that will get him in trouble with his supporters. The answer to that question is, quite obviously, an emphatic no. Whether it’s been disparaging comments about Mexicans and Muslims, mocking disabled people, attacking women like Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina in the most crass and demeaning manner, encouraging his supporters to engage in violenceagainst supporters, or demonstrating utter disdain for the Rule of Law and Freedom of the Press, virtually nothing that Trump has said that has been seemingly outrageous or controversial has done much to diminish his rising star, and it seems unlikely that this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, at least among the Trump true believers. What impact it will have with the rest of the electorate is something we’ll have to wait until we get more polling to try to figure out.

Charges Dropped Against Remaining Officers In Freddie Gray Case [Outside the Beltway]

Baltimore Police

After failing to obtain convictions in four consecutive cases, Baltimore prosecutors announced today that they were dropping all charges against the remaining officers associated with the incidents that led to the death of Freddie Gray:

The state’s attorney in Baltimore on Wednesday dropped all remaining charges against three city police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, ending one of the most closely watched — and unsuccessful — police prosecutions in the nation.

The decision brought to a close a sweeping prosecution that began with criminal charges against six police officers last May, announced with the city still in the grips of violent protest after the death of Mr. Gray, who was found unresponsive and not breathing after he rode unsecured in a police transport wagon after his arrest on a bright morning in April 2015. Mr. Gray later died of a spinal cord injury.

But prosecutors were unable to secure a single conviction during the first four trials, the first of which, for Officer William G. Porter, began in December and ended in a mistrial that led to months of delays. Officer Edward M. Nero, who participated in the initial arrest, was acquitted in May; Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the vehicle in which Mr. Gray was transported, was acquitted in June; and another officer present early in the arrest, Lt. Brian Rice, was acquitted earlier this month.

The extraordinary turn of events put in sharp relief the wrenching national debate over race and policing. But in Baltimore, a majority black city, that debate is playing out with great nuance. The Freddie Gray case featured a black victim, but it also had a black judge who once worked as a civil rights lawyer investigating police misconduct and a black prosecutor. And three of the six officers are also black, as is the defense lawyer who spoke on their behalf Wednesday.

At the end, there were no convictions, and there were more questions than answers, with still no clarity on how Mr. Gray died.

On Wednesday, the state’s attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby — released from the gag order that had kept her from commenting — fiercely defended the prosecutions. “We do not believe Freddie Gray killed himself,” she said.

Ms. Mosby also said the prosecutions had led to changes to police practices and pushed the Baltimore Police Department, long plagued by accusations of racial bias and under investigation by the Department of Justice, “one step closer to equality.”

Ms. Mosby’s move caused ripples on the presidential campaign trial, as Donald J. Trump, who has cast himself as the law-and-order candidate, sharply criticized her.

“I think she ought to prosecute herself,” Mr. Trump told reporters traveling with him. He added, “I think it was disgraceful what she did and the way she did it and the news conference that she had where they were guilty before anybody knew the facts.”

Critics of Ms. Mosby have long raised questions about whether she overcharged the officers. She insisted Wednesday that she had not.

Instead, appearing before television cameras in front of a mural in the West Baltimore neighborhood where Mr. Gray grew up, was arrested and died, she was every bit as passionate as she was when she first announced the prosecutions. And she issued an urgent call for criminal justice reform.

Ms. Mosby said the decision to drop the charges had been “agonizing.” But she said had had no choice given the realities of the case — including the lack of an independent investigatory agency to help prosecutors and the officers’ right to opt for bench trials. The judge, Barry G. Williams Jr., made clear he did not agree with prosecutors’s theory of the case.

“Without real substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system, we could try this case 100 times and cases just like it, and we would still end up with the same result,” Ms. Mosby said.

As Ms. Mosby defended herself and her prosecution team, a starkly differing version of events emerged from the president of the police union — who branded Ms. Mosby’s criticisms of police as “outrageous” — and a lawyer for one of the officers, four of whom are back on the job.

“Baltimore, it’s time to heal,” the lawyer, Ivan J. Bates, who represented Sgt. Alicia D. White, told reporters, speaking on behalf of all the other lawyers and defendants. He extended condolences to the Gray family and said, “None of these officers woke up wanting to do anything negative to anyone.”

Mr. Bates said Judge Williams, who investigated police misconduct as a civil rights lawyer with the Justice Department, had followed the evidence — even if Ms. Mosby did not like where it led.

“You can get a conviction against the police, whether a bench trial or a jury trial, if you do an investigation,” the lawyer said. But, he said, if “you quickly want to automatically say that the officers are guilty because they’re the police, then you perpetrate that fear that’s already there and that’s dividing our country.”


Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — who decided not to seek re-election in the aftermath of last spring’s unrest — asked residents to be patient as they absorbed the news. On Tuesday night, in Philadelphia, the mayor called the roll that resulted in the nomination of Hillary Clinton for president, part of her duties as secretary of the Democratic National Committee.

“The eyes of the nation, indeed the world, have been on Baltimore for a very long time,” she said in a statement from Philadelphia, “and I thank the citizens of our city for their patience during these trials.”

To Black Lives Matter activists, the outcome was a clear disappointment — though perhaps not a surprise. DeRay Mckesson, a leader of the movement who later ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Baltimore, echoed Ms. Mosby’s call for criminal justice reform, saying “someone should be held responsible” for Mr. Gray’s death.

“The dismissals are a reminder that the laws, practices and policies justify the actions of the police at all costs,” Mr. Mckesson said in a text message. “Freddie Gray should be alive today and someone should be held responsible for his death.”

More from The Baltimore Sun:

Prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against three Baltimore police officers accused in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in a downtown courtroom on Wednesday morning, concluding one of the most high-profile criminal cases in Baltimore history.

The startling move was an apparent acknowledgment of the unlikelihood of a conviction following the acquittals of three other officers on similar and more serious charges by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who was expected to preside over the remaining trials as well.

It also means the office of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby will secure no convictions in the case after more than a year of dogged fighting, against increasingly heavy odds, to hold someone criminally accountable in Gray’s death.

Officer William Porter’s trial ended with a hung jury and a mistrial in December, before Williams acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson and Lt. Brian Rice at bench trials in May, June, and July, respectively.

In a hearing Wednesday meant to start the trial of Officer Garrett Miller, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow told Williams that the state was dropping all charges against Miller, Porter and Sgt. Alicia White.

Porter had been scheduled to be retried in September, and White had been scheduled to be tried in October.

“All of our clients are thrilled with what happened today,” said Catherine Flynn, Miller’s attorney, outside the courthouse.

The officers still face possible administrative discipline. Internal investigations, with the help of outside police agencies, are underway.

At a news conference in West Baltimore, near where Gray was arrested, Mosby defended her decision to bring the charges against the officers, and said that “as a mother,” the decision to drop them was “agonizing.”

But, given Williams’ acquittal of Nero, Goodson and Rice and the likelihood that the remaining officers would also choose bench trials before him, Mosby said she had to acknowledge the “dismal likelihood” that her office would be able to secure a conviction.

“After much thought and prayer it has become clear that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election of whether cases proceed in front of a judge or jury, without communal oversight of police in this community, without substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system, we could try this case 100 times and cases just like it and we would still end up with the same result,” she said.

She said there is an “inherent bias” whenever “police police themselves.” She said the charges she brought were not an indictment of the entire Baltimore Police Department, but she also broadly condemned the actions and testimony of some officers involved in Gray’s arrest or in the department’s investigation of the incident — alleging “consistent bias” at “every stage.”

She said she is not “anti-police,” but “anti-police brutality.” She also noted the “countless sacrifices” of her prosecutors in the case, including Schatzow and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe, and said her office will continue to “fight for a fair and equitable justice system for all.”

Gray’s stepfather, Richard Shipley, said family members “stand behind Marilyn and her prosecuting team, and my family is proud to have them represent us.” He said the prosecutors did the “best to their ability.”

Given the way that the previous four cases have turned out, with one hung jury and three consecutive acquittals in cases that were tried before a Judge, it was somewhat inevitable that we would reach this point. As a matter of law, the prosecution likely still had a sufficient legal basis upon which to argue that they had sufficient evidence for a fact-finder to find the remaining Defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but the losses in four straight trials in which basically the same evidence was used made that reed far thinner than it was when the process started and charges were first brought. So, while prosecutors most likely would not have been violating their ethical duties if they continued to pursue the remaining cases, they would have been walking a very thin line to say the least and, arguably, merely wasting taxpayer resources on trials where the outcome seemed to be foreordained. Given all of that, they can’t really be blamed for wishing to cut their losses at this point and move on from a case that proved to be far less promising than it appeared to be at the beginning when the evidence seemed to show rather clearly that Gray was allowed to suffer from his injuries without medical treatment for an extended period of time, especially considering the fact that those injuries appeared to be directly attributable to the fact that he was unsecured inside a police van as it drove through the streets of Baltimore at an allegedly high rate of speed. As it turned out, the cases were far more complicated than that and, as a result, we ended up where we are today.

Going forward, it’s possible that there could be Federal charges against all or some of these officers, but the status of any such investigation is unclear at this point. Proceeding with such charges, of course, would require at least some evidence of either racial bias on the part of the police officers involved in the case or an intent to deprive Gray of his civil rights. If such charges are brought, the cases could end up being fundamentally different for a number of reasons, including the fact that the defendants would be unable to waive the jury in the trials as easily as they did in the state court since Federal rules require that the prosecution consent to any jury trial waiver in a criminal case. Given what has happened in each of the cases tried before a Judge at the start level, it seems unlikely that Federal prosecutors would agree to such a waiver. Any such charges are purely hypothetical, though. For the moment, the six Baltimore cops involved in the death of Freddie Gray are free men and women, although they do face potential administrative punishment that could mean they never actually work in the streets as police officers ever again. That would seem to be the least we can ask for.

Judge Orders John W. Hinckley Jr. Freed [Outside the Beltway]

Reagan Assassination Attempt

A Federal District Court Judge has ordered President Reagan’s would-be assassin freed from the mental hospital where he has lived for the thirty five years since the shooting:

WASHINGTON — John W. Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, will be allowed to leave a government psychiatric hospital, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

Judge Paul L. Friedman of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in his opinion that Mr. Hinckley no longer posed a danger to himself or others. The release should begin no sooner than Aug. 5, the judge said.

Mr. Hinckley, 61, will be “permitted to reside full time in Williamsburg, Va., on convalescent leave,” the court ruled.

But Judge Friedman put restrictions on Mr. Hinckley. He will have to work or volunteer at least three days a week, and if he fails to show up, his absence must be reported to the authorities. He must live with his mother for at least the first year and carry a cellphone that tracks his movements.

The judge forbade Mr. Hinckley from speaking to or contacting the news media, and he can drive unaccompanied only within a 30-mile radius of Williamsburg, although he can also drive by himself to monthly hospital appointments in the Washington area.

On March 30, 1981, Mr. Hinckley opened fire with a revolver outside the Washington Hilton hotel, where Reagan had just addressed labor leaders. He wounded the president; his press secretary, James S. Brady; a Washington police officer; and a Secret Service agent. Mr. Brady suffered permanent brain damage and eventually died from his injuries in 2014.

The assassination attempt was the culmination of Mr. Hinckley’s obsession with Jodie Foster, which arose from her role as a child prostitute in the 1976 film “Taxi Driver,” in which a disturbed man plots to assassinate a presidential candidate. Mr. Hinckley began to identify with the main character in the film, Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro.

After Ms. Foster entered Yale University, Mr. Hinckley moved to New Haven to be close to her and left notes, letters and poems at her dormitory. Failing to win her affections, Mr. Hinckley stalked President Jimmy Carter and was eventually arrested on firearms charges. After the 1980 election, Mr. Hinckley stalked the newly elected President Reagan in an attempt to impress Ms. Foster.

Judge Friedman ordered that Mr. Hinckley have no contact with Ms. Foster, or any member of Reagan’s family, Mr. Brady’s family or those of his other victims. He is not allowed to be in the same area as current presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress or other senior members of an administration, and he is not allowed to have Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts without the unanimous consent of his treatment team.

More from The Washington Post:

John W. Hinckley, Jr., will be released from a government psychiatric hospital more than 35 years after he attempted to assassinate president Ronald Reagan and shot three others outside the Washington Hilton on March 30, 1981, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Hinckley, 61, no longer poses a danger to himself or others and will be freed to live full-time with his mother in Williamsburg, Va., effective as soon as Aug. 5 subject to dozens of temporary treatment and monitoring conditions, U.S. District Judge Paul L Friedman of Washington wrote.

If Hinckley adheres to all restrictions, they could begin to be phased out after 12 to 18 months, removing him from court control for the first time since he was confined to St. Elizabeth’s hospital after the shooting, according to the order.

Hinckley lived at hospital full time until the 1990s, when he was permitted supervised visits with family members that gradually have been extended to 17 days a month at the home of his 90-year-old mother in a gated golf course development.

“After thirty-four years as an impatient at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and in view of the foregoing findings, and the successful completion of over 80 … visits to Williamsburg over the last 10 years, the Court finds that Mr. Hinckley has received the maximum benefits possible in the in-patient setting,” Friedman wrote in a 103-page opinion. “The court finds by the preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Hinckley will not be a danger to himself or to others if released on full-time convalescent leave to Williamsburg under the conditions proposed.”

If Hinckley relapses or violates the terms of his release, he could be returned to St. Elizabeth’s, the judge ordered.

The order limits Hinckley to a 50-mile radius of Williamsburg, Va., requires him to turn over information about his mobile phone and vehicles he will be driving, and bars him from tampering with the browser history of his computer, uploading any content to the internet, or accessing social media without unanimous approval of his treatment team. It does not order him to wear an ankle-monitoring device.

The ruling ends the institutionalization of the one of the nation’s most notorious mental health patients, whose case marked a watershed in the criminal justice system’s handling of mental illness and gun violence. His case came at a crossroads of presidential history, violence and celebrity, with extraordinary footage of the attack on the 40th President beamed into the homes of Americans in television news accounts.

Hinckley was 25 when he wounded Reagan, press secretary James Brady, U.S. Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty with six exploding “Devastator” bullets from a .22-caliber pistol. All survived the attack but Brady was left paralyzed by a shot to his head and spent years before his death in 2014 advocating for gun control.

Hinckley said he shot Reagan to try to impress Hollywood actor Jodie Foster, an object of his obsession after repeated viewing the film, “Taxi Driver.”

[Reagan Wounded by Assailant’s Bullet; Prognosis Is ‘Excellent’; 3 Others Shot]

After an eight-week trial, a federal jury in Washington found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity in June 1982 of all 13-counts against him, setting off a sharp public backlash. The federal government and 38 states subsequently rewrote laws to raise the standard of proof required for the insanity defense, which is now rarely used and is even more rarely successful.

Over the decades, the federal court has received reports on the state of Hinckley’s mental health, and the Secret Service continued to watch him closely as he spent more time outside the hospital, tracking him on more than 200 occasions in 2013 and 2014, according to information presented in court last year.

Since 2003, Hinckley’s longtime attorney, Barry Wm. Levine has argued to lift Hinckley’s confinement citing evaluations by St. Elizabeth’s officials that he no longer posed a threat.


“Mr. Hinckley recognizes that what he did was horrific. But it’s crucial to understand that what he did was not an act of evil. It was an act caused by mental illness,” Levine said. “He is profoundly sorry and he wishes he could take back that day, but he can’t. And he has lived for decades recognizing the pain he caused his victims, their families, and the nation.”

Bill Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of Washington, said the office was reviewing the judge’s opinion and had no comment.

The Secret Service did not immediately comment.


On March 20, 2015, hospital officials recommended Hinckley’s full-time release. Prosecutors did not oppose it outright, but sought tighter monitoring and reporting requirements and contingency planning for his family’s support, warning than having “no plan B” could lead to a relapse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen M. Kennedy argued over seven days of hearings that Hinckley should “have no expectation of privacy” regarding his use of the internet or wireless devices. Prosecutors insisted that Hinckley, who plays the guitar, paints and expressed an interest in photography, not publicly display or perform his work.

Friedman barred Hinckley from performing music in public, or from exhibiting or publishing any material without explicit approval from his treatment team. While the judge’s new order continues to require Hinckley to carry a trackable phone and keep a daily log, it does not order him to wear a tracking device, sticking to a position Friedman took last year when he sided with hospital officials who “adamantly” opposed such a tracker, calling it “stigmatizing… for no reason” given Hinckley’s low risk of flight.

“Mr. Hinckley has gone bowling, attended several lectures, attended outdoor musical concerts, and joined a local community center to exercise and take classes offered,” Friedman noted in his order, adding that Hinckley was recently offered a paid job at a church and “also has made significant strides towards developing friendships in the community and displayed improved self-initiative.”

The Justice Department has the option of appealing this decision to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but it’s unclear at this point if they will do so. As it stands, such an appeal most likely does not stand a very good chance since it would require the appeals court to find that Judge Friedman’s factual findings about Hinckley’s treatment and condition, which are detailed in the more than 200 page opinion embedded below, are clearly incorrect or that he has abused his discretion in some other way. It is incredibly rare for appellate courts to make this kind of ruling, and even less common for appellate judges to overturn the factual findings of a District Court Judge. This is especially true in this case given the fact that Friedman has exercised jurisdiction over Hinckley’s case for the better part of the past twenty years, something which likely makes Friedman far more familiar with Hinckley’s treatment than the appellate court. In any case, as of right now the Justice Department has not announced its intentions regarding appeal and still has some time before it has to make a decision, although they would presumably move for a stay of the ruling while they consider the matter.

From the moment that Hinckley was found not guilty be reason of insanity at his trial for the attempted assassination of President Reagan and the attempted murder of three others, there was always the possibility that this day would come. At the time, and even under the law as it has changed since that day, if Hinckley ever reached the point where his psychiatrists believed that he was no longer a threat to himself or others then the legal justification for continuing to hold him in the mental facility would no longer exist and it would arguably be a violation of Hinckely’s rights to continue to hold him under such circumstances. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he is completely ‘cured,’ of course, and it does appear from glancing through the Judge’s Opinion, which I’ve embedded below, it does appear that he will be required to continue to meet with doctors in the coming years for the purpose of judging how well he is adjusting to life outside the hospital and whether or not their has been a setback. No doubt, this will be an area of particular concern in coming years given the fact that Hinckley’s mother is 90 years old, obviously not long for the world, and possibly not entirely able to monitor and control him going forward. Hinckley does have two siblings who are also apparently involved in his post-treatment care, but it’s not clear if they have the same responsibilities as his mother presently does. Given the fact that Hinckley himself is only 61, though, some arrangements will have to be made for his later life.

This day has also been seemingly inevitable in recent years as Hinckley has been slowly but surely been given more freedom to live and move beyond the walls of St. Elizabeth’s at the recommendation of his doctors. It started with allowing him to spend short amounts of time with his parents outside the facility and, since then, has gradually expanded to allowing him some limited time alone outside the facility and, most recently, allowing him to spend the majority of the month with his mother in Williamsburg, which is located nearly three hours driving time away from the hospital in Washington, D.C. As noted above, there have been a few occasions where he’s had setbacks that basically involved not staying within the boundaries of where he told officials he was going to be, but for the most part this unsupervised time away appears to have gone relatively smoothly. Given that, and assuming continued progress on his part, it was inevitable that the day would likely come when Hinckley would be freed. At this point, the only question is whether or not he is able to live up to the conditions of his release and put together something resembling normalcy for the remainder of his life. If he can, then Judge Friedman’s decision will have been vindicated. If not, then one can only hope that any relapse is noted in time to get him back into treatment as needed.

Under current law, of course, Hinckley’s case would be treated quite differently. Primarily, that’s because his acquittal in 1982 led to massive changes to the way that criminal insanity is treated under the law that have made it far more difficult for criminal defendants to successfully assert insanity as a defense in a criminal trial. Prior to Hinckley’s acquittal, for example, the law in Federal Courts and in most states provided that when a Defendant invoked an insanity defense, the burden would shift to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant was sane at the time of the criminal offense. In 1984, though, Congress adopted the Insanity Defense Reform Act, which shifted the burden to require the defense to prove insanity with, at the very least, “clear and convincing evidence.” Similar laws were also passed at the state level. Additionally, the definition of what constituted legal insanity to provide that the defense must show that the defendant did not know that his act was wrong and/or did not understand the ‘nature and quality’ of his actions. What this means is that the insanity defense has largely been limited to defendants who are so mentally ill as to have been essentially deluded at the time they acted. Additional reforms include limiting the use of psychiatric testimony at criminal trials to prevent doctors from expressing an expert opinion on matters that are supposed to be within the purview of the jury and creating a finding that essentially amounts “guilty but insane” that provides that a Defendant who is eventually cured like Hinckley would not have to released into the public. With all these reforms, it’s unlikely that Hinckley would have been acquitted under the law as it was reformed because of his acquittal, but, of course, that’s not relevant to Hinckley’s case and he continues to be judged under the law as it existed in 1982. Based on that, it’s hard to say that Judge Friedman is wrong here, notwithstanding the fact that there it does feel like there is something deeply wrong with the idea that a Presidential attempted assassin is essentially now a free man.

Here’s the opinion:

United States v. John W Hinckley Jr by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

Hillary Clinton Makes History As Convention Tone Changes [Outside the Beltway]

2016 Democratic Convention

After Monday’s session of the Democratic National Convention opened amid discord rooted in both the long primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and disdain toward outgoing Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Tuesday’s session began and ended on a much more unified note and seemed to set the stage for a remainder of the convention that will set the groundwork for Clinton’s campaign to move forward. First up, of course, was the roll call of the states, a tradition in both major parties that seems in current times to serve as as an opportunity for state and local political leaders to appear on national television for a few minutes. The result, of course, was completely expected but that didn’t remove the sense of history that was apparent in the room:

PHILADELPHIA — The Democratic convention formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday, making history by choosing a woman to be the first standard-bearer of a major political party, a breakthrough underscored by a deeply personal speech by Bill Clinton calling her “the best darn change-maker I have ever known.”

At 6:39 p.m., the hall erupted in cheers and joyful tears as South Dakota cast the decisive 15 votes to put Mrs. Clinton over the threshold of 2,382 delegates required to clinch the nomination.

A sea of delegates waved multicolored signs with Mrs. Clinton’s “H” campaign logo, while others fell into hugs and several women jumped up and down with elation.

Vince Insalaco, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, where the Clintons built their public profile over two decades, said the choice of the first female presidential nominee was a historic moment.

“I’m so proud to be a Democrat tonight,” Mr. Insalaco said, “and so proud that we can call this woman one of our own.”

Mrs. Clinton’s primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, played a symbolic role in hopes of unifying the party behind her. After Vermont arranged to go last in the roll call, Mr. Sanders joined its delegation to roars of “Bernie, Bernie” and called on the party to rally behind Mrs. Clinton.

But it was the appearance of Mr. Clinton, shortly after 10 p.m., that stirred the crowd most, as he set out to share a more personal side of the sometimes-reserved former secretary of state.

Unspooling memories of their 45 years together, Mr. Clinton used warm and detailed anecdotes to argue that the couple’s political enemies had spent decades creating a “cartoon” of his wife that he was now determined to puncture. Mrs. Clinton is among the most unpopular presidential nominees in modern history, and the former president appealed to the audience to see through the political attacks on her.

“One is real,” Mr. Clinton said of the divergent portrayals of his wife, “the other is made up.” He recalled the affection of Mrs. Clinton’s old friends, her empathy for those in need, and the praise she had won from Republicans as a senator and as secretary of state.

“You nominated the real one,” Mr. Clinton said to a long burst of applause. Seeming to realize that he had been speaking for 38 minutes, he added in classically loquacious Bill Clinton fashion, “We have to get back on schedule.”

Mr. Clinton’s testimony was so personal that he even appeared to obliquely invoke problems in the couple’s marriage.

“She’ll never quit on you,” he said. “She never quit on me.”


Mr. Clinton’s task was clear: to humanize his wife but also energize Democrats by flattering those in the hall and villainizing Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee.

“She never made fun of people with disabilities,” Mr. Clinton said, referring to Mr. Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter last year. “She tried to empower them based on their abilities.”

Yet as Mr. Clinton recounted his wife’s well-chronicled professional accomplishments, he also tried to paint a portrait of a mother who is not as well known. Recounting the day they moved their daughter, Chelsea, into her freshman dorm at Stanford University, Mr. Clinton recounted how Mrs. Clinton kept looking for “one more drawer to put that liner paper in,” reluctant to say goodbye to her only child.

The speech was extraordinary in its intimacy and in Mr. Clinton’s willingness to use their much-scrutinized marriage as a testament to her character. He began by recalling how he first met his future wife in 1971 at Yale Law School — he so nervous, she full of confidence — and spent almost 15 minutes describing courting her and proposing marriage three times before she said yes. At one point, trying to play a mind game, Mr. Clinton told her that she should move to Illinois or New York and run for office rather than marry him and have other young Democrats eclipse her.

“They mean well, and they speak well, but none of them are as good as you are,” Mr. Clinton told her about their political generation. “She said: ‘Are you out of your mind? Nobody would ever vote for me.’ “

Clinton’s speech, of course, was evocative, of course, of the former President’s speech at the 2012 Democratic Convention in which he held the stage for more than a hour and gave a forceful, enthusiastic defense of the first four years of Barack Obama’s Presidency that many considered to be the highlight of the convention. This time, the speech was both more muted and, in some ways, more more subdued than what we heard four years ago, but that seems to be a deliberate strategy on the former President’s part as he seeks not to overshadow his wife while still doing what he can to advance her candidacy among the audiences that he’s best suited to speaking to. Based on the reactions to the speech this morning, it would seem that he succeeded once again, especially in the sense that he helped to refocus the convention away from the discord of Bernie Sanders supporters venting their last bit of frustration tied to a long and emotional campaign and toward the final two nights of the convention, which will apparently be focused on laying the groundwork for Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night and the long campaign to follow.

Before getting there, though, there was much discussion during the roll call of the states of the historic nature of what the party was doing, Eight years ago, Democrats set in motion the process that led to the election of the first African-American President in American history. Yesterday, they selected the first woman nominated by a major party for President, a woman who stands a reasonably good chance of winning the election in November. As I said when Barack Obama was nominated and elected, regardless of how one feels about the political positions of the candidate in question, it’s hard to deny the historical importance of breaking through such barriers and what it’s likely to mean for the future of American politics in both political parties and what it’s likely to mean going forward, While there will no doubt be those who resist, as we have certainly seen from some quarters over the past eight years, it seems fairly clear that the American people as a whole have becoming accepting of the idea that we really do live in an era where anyone can become President, regardless of race or gender. That doesn’t mean that prejudice based on these and other criteria suddenly disappears, of course, but it does mean that not every example of opposing a President is an example of racism, and that not everyone who happens to think that President Obama has been, at best, a fair to barely adequate President, believes that for reasons based on his race. Similarly, if Clinton wins in November, it should be remembered that not everyone opposed to her will be doing so because she is a woman. Along with the achievement of becoming President will come the inevitable criticism, and it is as illegitimate to say that the critics are basing their opinions on race or gender as it is to say that someone of a certain race or gender can’t be President. Hillary Clinton made history just as Barack Obama did, and she deserves some credit for that. That doesn’t means she is immune from criticism now, or that it will be legitimate to use the bias card against those who criticize her should she become President.

With the official work of nominating a candidate behind it, the convention now switches into campaign mode starting tonight with the selection of the Vice-Presidential nominee, along with speeches by Vice-President Biden, President Obama, and running mate Senator Tim Kaine. Biden and Obama are expected to use their time to both boost Clinton’s candidacy and attack Donald Trump, something that Obama is reportedly very eager to do as he gets out on the campaign trail on behalf of his party’s nominee in a way that few recent incumbent Presidents have done. Kaine, on the other hand, will be tasked with making his first impression on a public that largely doesn’t know much about him. It will be his first big appearance on a national stage as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, and it will set the tone for how he is perceived going forward. All of that will set the stage for Thursday night and what will arguably be the most important speech of Hillary Clinton’s political life. How it comes off will go a long way toward defining what kind of election we have going forward, and whether there’s a battle to the end with the most unlikely rival ever or a campaign that turns into rout.

Radio Station Visit #109 – College Radio Station KCSU at Colorado State [Radio Survivor]

Radio station road trips are a highlight of any vacation for me and I was lucky to take a few while visiting Denver earlier this month. On Tuesday, July 12, I drove north to Fort Collins in order to check out Colorado State University’s college radio station KCSU-FM. After a quick stop for breakfast in […]

The post Radio Station Visit #109 – College Radio Station KCSU at Colorado State appeared first on Radio Survivor.

At Least One of the Bush Family Has Officially Endorsed Gary Johnson for President [RedState]

Not long ago, rumors began flying that Jeb Bush was considering taking his vote out of his party, and handing it to the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. While nothing has come of that news yet, one Bush has decided to throw in with the Libertarians.

Marvin Bush, the youngest son of George H. W. Bush, has declared that Johnson is the President for him.

“I’m voting libertarian, 100 percent, these two guys — and nobody knows about them, people think it is sort of a wasted vote — but, both Gary Johnson and Bill Weld were each successful, two-term governors who balanced their budgets,” said Marvin on a DC radio show. “So they’re fiscally conservative and their essential message is get bureaucracy off our backs. It used to be a part of what the Republicans believed.”

He's especially not buying the lie that a vote for Johnson is only going to hurt Trump.

“I don’t necessarily buy it, first of all, I want to have a conscience,” said Bush. “I want honest leadership. I want proven effective people running this country and so, I want to be able to go to bed at night and so I don’t really care about that.”

You can listen to the interview below.

With one Bush brother backing the Libertarians, this might be the push needed to put Jeb over the edge. If that does happen, it may not result in too many following him into Gary's camp, but it will result in a ton of publicity for Johnson.

If Marvin's announcement generates the amount of buzz it has, who knows how much Jeb's endorsement will net?

Johnson continues to rack up the endorsements from high profile names, including recently Glenn Beck, Drew Carey, and the now former vice chair of the DC GOP.

The post At Least One of the Bush Family Has Officially Endorsed Gary Johnson for President appeared first on RedState.

Rudy Giuliani Has Some Astonishingly Fascist Ideas [RedState]

One of the liberating things about not feeling the need to defend the GOP is that I can confront some of the appalling (and stupid) authoritarianism that has been allowed to flourish for too long in our party and that I credit in no small part for the rise of Trump.

Maybe two weeks ago, Republicans fought a fierce battle against prevailing public opinion for the idea that people on the Federal governments terror watch list shouldn't be allowed to own guns. Republicans pointed out, correctly, that the executive branch (currently controlled by Obama and pretty likely to be soon controlled by Hillary) puts you on this list unilaterally and without due process. If you want to get off of it, it takes years and the process for doing so is murky and not easily navigable even by intelligent people.

Now here comes Rudy Giuliani expressing the stupid (and alarmingly authoritarian) belief that if you are on this list, the government ought to be able to put an electronic tag on you and constantly monitor where you go:

PHILADELPHIA — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday said he would be in favor of forcing Muslims on the federal government's terrorism watch list to wear electronic monitoring tags or bracelets for authorities to track their whereabouts.

"I would think that's an excellent idea," said Giuliani, an adviser to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. "If you're on the terror watch list, I should you know you're on the terror watch list. You're on there for a reason."

Giuliani, who is advising the Trump campaign on terrorism and national security issues, told NJ Advance Media he would recommend that Trump undertake the same measures being used in France if he's elected.

Now look, I don't even know the context of the question. Maybe they didn't specifically single out Muslim terrorists, so Giuliani might well have meant to include, say Real IRA terrorists in this program as well (although, ha ha, Peter King (R-NY) would be sure to prevent that from happening, if the issue ever came up).

But whatever. Forget who the program is ostensibly targeting, if you happen to believe for some reason it would be okay as long as only Muslims are getting singled out for the wearing of ankle bracelets (or maybe we could instead use a tasteful unobtrusive garment pin, maybe a yellow star?). If you think such a program wouldn't eventually be used by a President to single out fundamentalist Baptist preachers who oppose same sex marriage then how on earth are you reading RedState because clearly you have lacked the ability to get news from literally any source over the last six years.

But wait! There's more! This particular system has been in use in France and has been subject to exactly one field test, which it failed miserably:

One of two suspects who murdered a priest during an attack on a Catholic church in Normandy Tuesday morning was wearing just such a monitoring device during the attack.

So, to recap, such a device would not prevent a terror attack (and how would it? terror attacks can be committed anywhere) but it would provide authorities information about the movements of literally anyone they wanted track without a warrant, just through the simple expedient of putting them on the terrorism watch list.

Is there somewhere I can go to find a candidate who believes that radical Islam is a problem but that giving the government a bunch of broad, indiscriminate, invasive power over my life for stupid and ineffective reasons is not the answer? Because it seems like neither of the two major parties is even attempting to address this problem with any level of actual thought whatsoever.

The post Rudy Giuliani Has Some Astonishingly Fascist Ideas appeared first on RedState.

Watch As a Bunch of Celebrities Alienate Fans by Shilling For the Least Trusted Woman In Politics [RedState]

Politics is downstream of culture, and sometimes the celebrities that drive the culture do some nasty things to pollute the stream. What washes up on politic's banks is oftentimes pure crap.

Speaking of banks, Hunger Games star Elizabeth Banks decided to get together with a few of her fellow celebrities and create a piece of propaganda that's sure to win over the hearts and minds of easily deceived people everywhere.

Using Rachel Platten's "Fight Song," which can be heard at the end of every Clinton rally, the likes of Mandy Moore, Idina Menzel, and a bunch of other celebrities I don't recognize do an acapella version of the tune.

"This is for Hillary," says Banks before the song begins. What follows is sycophantic musical ad that even throws in a little rap break that reminds us that Hillary is a woman...ya know...in case you forgot.

I'm actually saddened that Mandy Moore and Idina Menzel - two women I actually love to hear sing - decided to throw their voices behind this, and if Bank's Facebook comments are any indication, I'm not the only one.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.34.36 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.34.48 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.35.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.35.23 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.36.49 PM


The punchline to this joke of a video is that these celebrities just stood up and backed a woman that 68% of American's find untrustworthy. She likes to use the fact that she's a woman as a tool to silence people, and who just recently was discovered to be helped along in her campaign because the DNC rigged the primary in her favor. That's a bunch of Democrats who essentially just found out that their party stabbed them in the back.

Essentially, these celebrities gave a thumbs up to all of the corruption, hypocrisy, and backstabbing, and for a very shallow reason.

Well done, folks. You just alienated a LOT of people.

Still, this isn't the worst musical propaganda we've seen today. This guy who wrote this song for Trump takes that prize.

The post Watch As a Bunch of Celebrities Alienate Fans by Shilling For the Least Trusted Woman In Politics appeared first on RedState.

Remember When the Democrats Asked the USSR to Help Elect Walter Mondale? [RedState]

Hillary Clinton and her stooges in the press are going crazy over leak of some 20,000 DNC emails allegedly obtained from the DNC's email server by Russian hackers. This, according to the narrative, is an unprecedented case of a foreign country intervening in a US election, in this case to aid Donald Trump and harm Hillary Clinton.

Unprecedented? Hardly. During the Cold War, the Democrats routinely asked communists dictators around the world to take specific actions in order to help the Democrats win elections at home. For instance, Democrat Speaker of the House Jim Wright sent a letter signed by nine other Democrats to Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega assuring him that the House Democrats had his back against the policies of the Reagan administration.

But that wasn't the worst case. Let's look at the antics of Fat Teddy Kennedy (D-Chivas), courtesy of Sean Davis of The Federalist:

Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow.” (Tunney was Kennedy’s law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.”

Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”

Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers.

First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.

Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. “A direct appeal … to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. … The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side.”

Kennedy would make certain the networks gave Andropov air time–and that they rigged the arrangement to look like honest journalism.

This is what actual collusion with a foreign power looks like. It looks like engaging in a quid pro quo negotiation for actual actions to influence an election. And releasing unflattering emails about Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her merry band of bigots doesn't rise to that level.

The post Remember When the Democrats Asked the USSR to Help Elect Walter Mondale? appeared first on RedState.

Marco Rubio Hangs GOP Hopes on Trump’s Ability to Learn on the Job (Audio) [RedState]

Yes, we know Hillary Clinton is vile, corrupt, and absolutely should not be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office, under any circumstances.

She has managed to wriggle out of many nooses that would have already trapped any other politico, not named Clinton.

That being said, “At least he’s not Hillary” isn’t really a confidence-builder, as far as choosing who should be the next president.

Senator Marco Rubio, speaking with WGN radio today, is embracing the “At least he isn’t Hillary” mantra. He went on to suggest that Trump could learn on the job.

Said Rubio:

“And that’s my sense of it, as he settles into this role as the nominee and ultimately the president, access to these issues is going to begin to, in some ways, kind of shape some of the policy positions given reality versus perhaps what you might read about on a blog somewhere.”

“I view the Senate as a place that can always act as a check and balance on whoever the next president is,” Rubio said on WGN radio on Wednesday. “I also think there’s something to be said for, once you’re actually in that position, once you’re actually working at this thing, and you’re in there, and you start to have access to information that perhaps you didn’t have before, especially for someone that’s never been in politics, I think it starts to impact your views a little bit.”

“And that’s my sense of it, as he settles into this role as the nominee and ultimately the president, access to these issues is going to begin to, in some ways, kind of shape some of the policy positions given reality versus perhaps what you might read about on a blog somewhere. So I think that’s gonna be a real factor,” Rubio said.

Rubio, when pressed, refused to say that he was supporting Trump because he thought he would be a competent or effective president. He, like many other captives to party loyalty, danced around the suggestion, choosing instead, to point out just how bad a Hillary Clinton presidency would be.

You can listen to the audio of the interview with Senator Rubio here.

If you’re like me, you’ll be listening to hear coded language – a secret S.O.S.

Somebody go check on Senator Rubio. I think he’s having a bad day.

The post Marco Rubio Hangs GOP Hopes on Trump’s Ability to Learn on the Job (Audio) appeared first on RedState.

Sheldon Adelson’s Losing Campaign Out of GOP Platform [RedState]


Not long ago Sheldon Adelson’s campaign to ban internet gaming appeared to have significant momentum. Just last year, two U.S. Senators running for president – Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham – sponsored legislation inspired by his lobbyists or perhaps Adelson’s pledge to “spend whatever it takes” to accomplish his goal. In 2014 a Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling was led by two former politicians-turned-lobbyists, former New York Republican Gov. George Pataki and former Denver Democrat Mayor Wellington Webb. There also appeared to be a deal between Adelson and then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to ban online gaming.

Indeed, entire GOP seemed to oppose internet gaming, at least on paper. In 2012, the Republican platform specifically called for a federal ban of Internet gambling in a plank titled, “Making the Internet Family-Friendly.” It declared:

Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting.

However, much has changed in the past 12 months. Neither Sens. Rubio nor Graham are factors in the presidential campaign any longer and their legislation has gone nowhere.  Adelson's ruse to co-opt the National Association of Convenience Stores was a bust. And Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz's effort to pass the Graham/Rubio Restoration of America's Wire Act  failed.

This year the Republican platform is completely mum on internet gaming. Instead, early in the platform, the party reaffirms its understanding of federalism in the strongest manner possible:

Federalism is a cornerstone of our constitutional system. Every violation of state sovereignty by federal officials is not merely a transgression of one unit of government against another; it is an assault on the liberties of individual Americans.

Gaming has always been a state issue. It should remain a state issue. Good for the Republicans for removing the prohibition on internet gaming from the GOP platform.

The post Sheldon Adelson’s Losing Campaign Out of GOP Platform appeared first on RedState.

The Majority of America Thinks Clinton Is Dishonest, but Apparently That’s Just Our Sexism Talking [RedState]

We're all sexists now.

Not that it was that hard to predict, but the moment Clinton jumped into the race we knew what was coming down the line as far as defending her from criticism or failures go. It's the same thing we expected when Obama came out as the favorite to win his elections...and also used every moment he was President.

Identity politics is the left's go to defense, and Hillary Clinton and her supporters do so love whipping out that woman card to accuse her detractors of sexism. A quick google search brings up tons of examples of supporters claiming she's suffering at the hands of anti-woman biases. It even pops up in her children's book.

The most recent person to use the glorious "S word," was CNN political analyst, Peter Beinart.

“You're not going to like this,” said Beinart to CNN Tonight's Don Lemon. “But I don't think you can explain Hillary Clinton's unfavorable ratings without understanding the way that men, and some women, who are traditionally minded respond to women when they start to take traditionally male roles.”

“This is a massive cultural change that is threatened because women are not playing the traditional role that some Americans including some women would like them to continue to play,” he went on to say.

As far as political analysis goes, this is either horribly lazy, or downright dishonest. A CNN poll showed that a whopping 68% of Americans think that Hillary Clinton is dishonest. And why shouldn't they? Hillary Clinton has been a snake almost her entire professional political career, and even far before that.

While I've no doubt that there are people out there that would instantly reject Clinton based on her anatomy, to say that the majority of Americans are sexist for reaching the conclusions they have about her is completely out of line. People sit back and watch Clinton blunder her way through the campaign faster than her handlers or the media can cover for her, and their main gun is to completely depart from reality like a Tumblr user, and blame her failures as our sexism.

If I was on the fence, Clinton accusing me of viewing women as something less because I'm not giving her a pass for her transgressions would seal me in with another party.

The fact is, America's distrust of Hillary doesn't stem from a social justice's favorite villain. It comes from our continuously confirmed notion that Hillary is incompetent. She went for months convincing the world that her emails were of no threat, yet in one statement, her campaign admitted that Clinton's emails were a "national security issue."

As Sean Davis writes at The Federalist:

Sullivan did not explain how the e-mails, which Clinton said were about nothing more than her “yoga routines” and wedding planning for her daughter, could possibly pose a national security risk to the United States. Sullivan also failed to explain how unclassified e-mails “private personal e-mails” wholly unrelated to her work as Secretary of State — Clinton declared in an infamous 2015 press conference that she “did not email any classified material to anyone on my email” — could compromise American security.

She lied about landing under Sniper fire in Bosnia. She lied about the cause of Benghazi, and stood by while Americans needlessly died there. She worked to destroy the women who were sexually involved with her husband in his infidelity.

And that last point is where the sexism accusation falls completely flat. Clinton is a woman who will giddily claim she's a feminist on camera, but when rubber meets road, Clinton is ready to throw anyone with a uterus under the bus, and run them over if it means a political plus.

There are plenty more examples of Clinton's unwavering ineptitude and dishonesty that would lead a standard American voter to look at her with a wary eye, and he or she would be right to do so. To paint the public's honest concerns as a character flaw we're not guilty of says more about the Clinton campaign than it does the voter.



The post The Majority of America Thinks Clinton Is Dishonest, but Apparently That’s Just Our Sexism Talking appeared first on RedState.

POLL SHOCK. Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Engaged In A Sprint To the Bottom [RedState]

A new Gallup poll shows that for the first time Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tied for last place in the eyes of the American public who voted to nominated them as their party's candidate.

The average American's views of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have converged for the first time in Gallup's yearlong tracking of the images of the two candidates, with Americans giving each exactly the same favorable and unfavorable ratings. The numbers for both candidates, based on interviewing conducted July 18-25, are 37% favorable and 58% unfavorable. In all previous Gallup updates stretching back to last July, Clinton's net favorable has been higher than Trump's.

trump clinton view

I don't think we've ever seen this kind of presidential race before. Nearly two-thirds of the nation dislikes and distrusts both of the candidates. The real question is who will be the most unlikable as the nation sees more of them? The fact that Trump actually improved in favorability during the GOP convention can't be going unnoticed in Philadelphia.

The post POLL SHOCK. Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Engaged In A Sprint To the Bottom appeared first on RedState.

Watercooler 7/27 Open Thread: DNC Convention Chaos, Boeing Gets One Right, Weird But Heartwarming [RedState]

#NeverTrumpNeverHillary #NotInMYNamewatercoolerWelcome back to another installment of the Watercooler, RedState's daily Open Thread! Today, we've got...


Is the Bolshie Bloodbath Just Beginning?

Yes, if DNC vice-chair R.T. Rybak has his way.

The Hill did add that Rybak had been critical of Schultz’s leadership for quite a bit of time prior to her resignation that is to take effect immediately after the Democratic National Convention is over. At the same time, he’s right. There needs to be some house cleaning at the DNC. And while more heads should roll, they’re probably not going to, or like Schultz—there may be a slew of resignations only to end with these ex-DNC staffers being picked up by other campaigns, possibly Clinton’s. Hey, friends who have similar email problems stick together, huh?

And he's not alone--Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and several other superdelegates are joining the cannibalistic chorus, Claire McCaskill even calling for the mass dismissal of all DNC staffers.

“Yeah, and again, no one’s apologizing for that, and I hope, you know, those people, whoever participated or made those comments, are gone," Ryan said. "They need to be cut. You need to get rid of them immediately. And it’s not making an excuse. They should leave. It’s inappropriate.”

Seriously, handed an election like this that should have been a Reagan Level Landslide and the GOP has to blow it by nominating a Cheeto-Covered Pile of Fecal Matter? YGBSM!


Healthcare Innovation from... Boeing?!

Seems that for all their faults, the douchebags in Chicago got one right, getting around ObamaCare headache by cutting out the crony insurance middlemen and negotiating directly with service providers. (Sorry, folks, I don't like Faux News any more than you do, but they were the best source Orbusmax had.)

Enthoven says by allowing more companies to compete, competition will give birth to new initiatives aimed at improving managed care and lowering costs.  He says it is already happening. Boeing (BA), for example, is negotiating directly with some medical service providers to offer healthcare to its employees, bypassing insurance companies. In California, the aerospace giant has teamed up with MemorialCare Health Systems to provide healthcare to its 15,000 employees in the state.   If employees choose the plan, they can expect smaller paycheck deductions, full coverage for generic drug prescriptions and zero co-payments for primary care visits.  Boeing, meantime, can negotiate better pricing and bring down healthcare expenses.

Of course, with them launching this in the DemoKKKratic Fascist Thugocracy of KKKommiefornistan I don't have high hopes of it lasting, but hopefully it'll inspire employers in saner states...


Quick Hit of Weird But Heartwarming

Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, feeling is mutual, story as old as time. It takes a Weird Files turn when the couple are circus acrobats... so where's the wedding? On the High Wire. Congratulations to Ringling Bros. performers Mustafa Danguir and Anna Lebedeva. (Thought with all the bleak news, this might work to slide in a warmer-and-fuzzier note.)


This Week In History

  • Sunday, Jul 24: Jacob Brown's invasion of Canada turned back, 1814; Young's Mormons reach site of Salt Lake City, 1847; first launch at Cape Canaveral, 1950; SCOTUS orders Nixon to turn over tapes, 1974
  • Monday, Jul 25: Wyoming Terr. established, 1868; Martin & Lewis's first comedy double-act, 1946; "Vietnamization" begins, 1969; Viking 1 orbiter takes "Face on Mars" photo, 1976
  • Tuesday, Jul 26: McClellan takes command of Army of the Potomac, 1861; Potsdam Declaration, 1945; Korean armistice signed, 1953
  • Wednesday, Jul 27: US Army Medical Dept. established, 1775; Bugs Bunny debuts in A Wild Hare, 1940; House votes to impeach Nixon, 1974
  • Thursday, Jul 28: Last American sail warship commissioned, 1854; B-17 Flying Fortress first flight, 1935; Kennewick Man discovered, 1996
  • Friday, Jul 29: CSA spy Belle Boyd arrested, 1864; Ike signs NASA Act, 1958; USS Forrestal fire, 1967
  • Saturday, Jul 30: Baltimore, MD, founded, 1729; Brother Jonathan and USS Indianapolis disasters, 1865 and 1945; Medicare and Medicaid established, 1965

Today's Birthdays: D&D creator Gary Gygax, 1938; skater/sportscaster Peggy Fleming, 1948; drummer Bobby Rondinelli, 1955; actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta, 1968; golfer Jordan Spieth, 1993

This Week In History is compiled with assistance from History.com and Wikipedia. Something interesting not listed here? Please share in the Comments section--this is an Audience Participation Encouraged featurette.

Gratuitous Gun Giveaways

Quote of the Day

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.--George Santayana

As always, the Watercooler is an Open Thread. Something on your mind? Sound Off here!

#NoQuarter #TheParty'sOver

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="600"]By WarX, edited by Manuel Strehl (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons (Image by WarX, edited by Manuel Strehl at Wikimedia; used under Creative Commons Attribution license)[/caption]

The post Watercooler 7/27 Open Thread: DNC Convention Chaos, Boeing Gets One Right, Weird But Heartwarming appeared first on RedState.

BREAKING. Clinton Campaign Claims Hillary’s Yoga Schedule Is A National Security Matter (VIDEO) [RedState]

Eager to draw attention from the smolder dumpster fire in Philadelphia, Donald Trump was out in public making a spectacle of himself. During a press conference the subject of the alleged Russian hack of the DNC and the subsequent release of their emails to Wikileaks came up.

Just after denying he had colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to leak Democratic National Committee emails, Donald Trump on Wednesday expressly asked Russia to find “missing” emails belonging to Hillary Clinton.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he told reporters in Doral, Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That will be next.”

This is stupid and juvenile. In other words, it is quintessential Donald Trump.

However, Trump does not have a monopoly on either stupidity or overreaction.

The 30,000 emails that Trump is referring to are those emails on Hillary Clinton's personal server that her minions determined were not "work related" and deleted. This is the official story line from Hillary Clinton on those missing emails

During the news conference, Clinton did not go into the details of how the review was conducted, but said it was “thorough” and that she went “above and beyond” what she was required to do in turning over many of her emails to the State Department.

"We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department," she said, adding that all other emails were personal and pertained to matters such as "yoga routines," "family vacations," and "planning Chelsea's wedding."

So how does the Clinton campaign react?

Hillary Clinton's campaign on Wednesday said Donald Trump's suggestion that Russia should hack the Democrat's email system was an unprecedented move that has become a national security issue.

"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent," said senior policy aide Jake Sullivan. "That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."

The first sentence, of course, is just stupidity of the kind you expect from POLITICO where reporters clear their copy with the Democrats in advance. Trump clearly is not encouraging a hack. Clinton's private email server has been shut down and the bones picked by the FBI. He's insinuating, rightfully, that the Russians a already in possession of the 30,000 missing emails from that server.

The campaign's response is the most interesting. Hillary has said that the only missing emails from her server are personal. Now Jake Sullivan... who, by the way, was one of Hillary's State Department minions who sent classified information to her via her unclassified email system and who should be indicted under the Espionage Act... is claiming that these emails are a matter of national security. How can that be the case as we "know" that the emails were personal and that her email system was not cleared for classified information?

The post BREAKING. Clinton Campaign Claims Hillary’s Yoga Schedule Is A National Security Matter (VIDEO) appeared first on RedState.

Trump Abandons Traditional Republican Positions in Outreach to Everybody Else [RedState]

He may be the most unelectable candidate in Republican party history, but at least he’s breaking records.

First Republican candidate to suggest cradle-to-grave, big government care.

First Republican candidate to suggest pulling out of NATO and allowing Russia to take a bigger role on the world stage.

First Republican candidate who knows absolutely nothing about any of the traditional platforms of American conservatism.

And now, from the Washington Examiner:

Donald Trump's outreach to the gay community during his prime time acceptance speech in Cleveland last week could win him the most LGBTQ votes in Republican presidential election history, according to the head of a GOP gay organization.

"My prediction is that Donald Trump will win this election," said Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo. And, referencing a prediction by liberal movie director Michael Moore, he added, "Trump is going to win in a landslide."

In fact, Trump was sure to pack the GOP convention with plenty of speakers who scoffed at issues that have previously been of importance to conservatives and evangelical voters.

Daughter Ivanka pushed the debunked issue of gender pay disparity. PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, attacked the culture wars as a “distraction,” even as his company was responsible for beginning the boycott of North Carolina for not bowing to his side of the culture wars (allowing men in women’s bathrooms), rather than letting business be business.

So who’s distracted, actually?

The Log Cabin Republicans, while they haven’t formally endorsed Trump, pending a meeting with him, will likely give him their approval soon.

"What the Trump campaign has done at least in so far as it has engaged in LGBTQ issues, and done so explicitly, it has jettisoned a lot of the more fiery rhetoric that we see around social issues, rhetoric that in previous election cycles, even only four years ago, included the Republican Party nominee not just saying that he doesn't support marriage equality, but going so far as to sign a pledge and saying he would support a constitutional ban on marriage equality," he said after the event which took place across the street from the Liberty Bell.

Translation: Christians and supporters of traditional marriage have no place in Trump’s Republican party.

Angelo went on to point out that gay Republicans aren’t all single issue voters. That being said, no one can call them mainstream Republicans, either, just by virtue of the fact that they have segregated themselves from the mainstream by feeling it necessary to start a separate movement, based on their sexuality.

Whether Trump’s outreach is to pander for those votes or to actually bring them into the fold, there's little dispute that their vision for the future of the GOP is decidedly out of step with those who came into the Republican party on the basis of God, country, and family.

The post Trump Abandons Traditional Republican Positions in Outreach to Everybody Else appeared first on RedState.

Bill O’Reilly Slams Michelle Obama for Pretending that Slavery Was Bad [RedState]

I do not really know what to make of this. During her speech on Monday night, Michelle Obama made reference to the fact that she slept every night in a house (the White House) that was "built by slaves," but that now her two beautiful, intelligent black daughters get to play on the White House lawn, and this is evidence of progress in our country. I dunno, I definitely don't agree with most everything Michelle Obama says but this seems like a relatively solid point.

Now, was the White House constructed entirely out of slave labor? No. Did slave labor play a major role in it? Yes. I don't really think anyone should have a huge nit to pick with the fact that Michelle Obama didn't take the time to point out that some non-slave labor was also used to construct the White House, but then, I forgot to take Bill O'Reilly into account. If O'Reilly had merely pointed out that some non-slaves also participated in the construction of the White House, he would have been making a non-offensive, if irrelevant, point. But being Bill O'Reilly, he could not help himself, and went on to "explain" to Michelle Obama that slavery wasn't as bad as she was making it out to be:

Political commentator Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday defended the working conditions for the slaves who built the White House, attempting to fact-check Michelle Obama’s speech from the night before.

"Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802," said the host of Fox’s “The Factor."

Oh, well, the government gave you food. And shelter. Just like every other master who owned slaves and wanted his slaves to actually work instead of die. So why is everyone pretending that slavery was so bad?

But wait, there's more: O'Reilly went on to say, sure, slaves were used to build the White House, but at least it wasn't illegal immigrants:

O’Reilly continued his history lesson: “In addition, free blacks, whites, and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here.”

O'Reilly went on to say that he just couldn't stop letting his inner history teacher out, which, I think I can speak for everyone except for the denture-wearing racists who enjoy Bill O'Reilly's particular brand of makeup-covered hogwash, we all are thankful that he isn't doing in an actual place that purports to teach history.

The post Bill O’Reilly Slams Michelle Obama for Pretending that Slavery Was Bad appeared first on RedState.

Guess Which Year Is Missing From Bill Clinton’s Canonization Speech For Hillary Clinton [RedState]

Last night, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech at the DNC convention which was intended to 'introduce' a near-septuagenarian harpy to America. It was a fool's task. We were 'introduced' to Hillary Clinton in early 1993 when she illegally fired White House travel office staff to make room for Clinton loyalists. We were introduced to her time and again via "bimbo eruptions" and Whitewater and Hillary-Care. Since then we've been "introduced" to her, time and again, as she peddled Obama birther stories, presided over the turning over of Libya and Egypt to radical Islamists, intiated a regional civil war for grins, lied about the sacking of the US consulate in Benghazi and about her mishandling of highly classified information. In fact, Hillary's biggest problem in this election is that the American people know her all too well for what she is: a greedy, self-serving, dishonest, lying, opportunistic, incompetent hag-box.

Be that as it may, according to former RedStater, Erick Erickson, it was not a bad speech... if you found yourself nostalgic for the days of Chinese Communist money funding Democrat candidates, the chaos of the internet bubble, etc. It was a highly romanticized version of a truly abysmal simulacrum of marriage.

For instance

The evidence against Ms. Clinton is strong. According to Hillary's admiring biographer Gail Sheehy, author of Hillary's Choice, one of the domestic assaults upon Bill Clinton occurred in 1993, when Hillary slashed Bill Clinton's face with her long fingernails, leaving a "mean claw mark along his jawline."

The incident was first explained as a "shaving accident" and a subsequent attempt was made to pin the blame on Socks the cat. Because of the gouge's size, neither explanation was accepted by observers. Dee Dee Myers, the White House spokeswoman at the time, later explained to Sheehy that it had been singer Barbara Streisand's visit to the White House that had sparked Hillary's jealous, violent rage.

According to Christopher Andersen, author of Bill and Hillary, Hillary also assaulted Bill on August 13, 1999, after the Monica Lewinsky revelations. Andersen writes:

"...the President...weeping, begged her forgiveness. Much of what transpired next between Bill and Hillary Clinton was plainly audible to Secret Service agents and household staff members down the hall. In the past, Hillary had thrown books and an ashtray at the President -- both hitting their mark...Hillary rose to her feet and slapped him across the face -- hard enough to leave a red mark that would be clearly visible to Secret Service agents when he left the room.

" 'You stupid, stupid, stupid bastard,' Hillary shouted. Her words, delivered at the shrill, earsplitting level that had become familiar to White House personnel over the years, ricocheted down the corridor."

Sheehy's account of the incident is similar, adding that Hillary's friend Linda Bloodworth-Thomasen, who was staying with her husband in the private quarters nearby, "thought it was great that Hillary 'smacked him upside the head.' "

And that sham marriage continues until this very day.

What was more interesting was the way Bill Clinton edited his marital history. He gives nearly a year by year account of their relationship until this:

Now, when you are doing all of this, real life does not stop. 1997 was the year Chelsea finished high school and went to college. We were happy for her but sad for us to see her go. I will never forget moving her into her dorm room at Stanford. It would have been a great little reality flick. There I was, in a trance, just staring out the window trying not to cry and there was Hillary on her hands and knees, desperately looking for one more drawer to put that liner paper in. Finally, Chelsea took charge and told us ever-so-gently that it was time for us to go. So, we closed a big chapter in the most important work of our lives. As you will see Thursday night, when Chelsea speaks, Hillary has done a pretty fine job of being a mother. And as you saw last night beyond a shadow of a doubt, so has Michelle Obama.

Now fast forward, in 1999, congressman Charlie Rangel and other Democrats urged Hillary to run for the seat of retiring senator Pat Moynihan.

Whoa. Slow down. Didn't something significant happen in 1998.

1997 tweets

1997-2 tweets

Bill Clinton's version of his marriage, such as it is, to Hillary is a grotesque mockery of that institution... though, in fairness, no moreso than Donald Trump's third and trophy wife. It is hard to see how his longwinded speech on a subject that is very well known in political circles is going to do much more than cause people to remember why they like Bill Clinton and why they always detested Hillary.

The post Guess Which Year Is Missing From Bill Clinton’s Canonization Speech For Hillary Clinton appeared first on RedState.

As Both Parties Are Losing Voters, Gary Johnson Is Winning Them [RedState]

The exodus continues from both parties in such large numbers that pollsters are making it a point to take note of it.

The latest polls from a combined WaPo/ABC poll show that people are leaving the Democratic party in droves due to the treatment of Bernie Sanders at the hands of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC.

But while they're leaving the party, they aren't necessarily going with Trump. As WaPo states, that occurrence is actually quite rare. Only 9% of the ex-Sanders vote is going to Trump.

No, like former Republicans, most of the voters departing from Clinton are heading to the proverbial political frontier to seek the 3rd party options, and waiting for them there are the Libertarians and Green party by a whopping 21%.

According to the WaPo/ABC poll, the Libertarian and Green parties are neck in neck in picking up Sanders' wayward supporters by a 10% to 11% margin, with the Green party just ahead by 1%.

The Green Party being so close to the progressives in ideas, it's not a wonder that the Green party candidate, Dr, Jill Stein, is eking out a victory when it comes to picking up former Dem voters. However, that lead disappears when the apostate Republican vote is added.

Those leaving the GOP due to Trump's nomination are heading toward Johnson in large numbers. According to the poll, 17% is heading away from the Republican party, and 13% of that is finding their new political home with Gary Johnson. Compare that to only 4% going to Stein.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.52.18 AM


Source: Combined data from June and July Washington Post-ABC News polls

The post As Both Parties Are Losing Voters, Gary Johnson Is Winning Them appeared first on RedState.

SENIOR MOMENT? Trump Confuses Tim Kaine for Tom Kean (VIDEO) [RedState]

This one I guess goes more under the category of "amusing" than damning, but it is sort of hilarious how clueless Trump gets when discussing anything that occurs more than 50 miles or so from Manhattan. Trump was doing a presser today and decided to take a tangent to attack Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's VP choice. Kaine is relatively high profile if you follow politics even a little bit - he was governor of Virginia, Senator of Virginia, former DNC chair - the guy has been around. And since becoming Hillary's VP choice, his record has come under even more public scrutiny.

That did not, however, stop Donald Trump today from confusing him with for, I guess, former New Jersey governor Tom Kean.

The reporter who corrected Trump about 20 seconds into his rant did the world a giant disservice today. He could very easily have played along for hours, letting Trump go on about Tim Kaine's awful record in "New Jersey." Instead, this jerk, who probably sat in the front row and answered every question in class, robbed the country and the world at large  of several minutes of Trump related hilarity. Way to go, random reporter jerk. Everyone hates you.

The post SENIOR MOMENT? Trump Confuses Tim Kaine for Tom Kean (VIDEO) appeared first on RedState.

VIDEO: Trump Openly Asking for Russia to Breach American Sovereignty [RedState]

You may have heard that Trump is the "law and order candidate." If you haven't, here's a highlight reel showing exactly that, as part of the roll-out for our new crowd-funded documentary.

You may have also heard that Trump is all about national sovereignty. So much so, that he's promised above all else to build a wall at the border. Because our national sovereignty is the single most important thing to getting America back on track.

As such, you'd be forgiven if you were confused as to how the Law & Order candidate is openly hoping for his pals in Russia to continue to leak hacked emails from his political opponents. In fact, in a press conference today (where he also discussed the need to "renegotiate" the Geneva Conventions) he flat out asked Russia to do it.

He doubled-down later on twitter, this time asking for Russia to hand the emails to the FBI as opposed to journalists as he had originally recommended.

Hey who needs a secure digital border, right? It's not like money and records and computer things can hurt anyone. Right?

The post VIDEO: Trump Openly Asking for Russia to Breach American Sovereignty appeared first on RedState.

The Best/Worst Trump Fan Video on This or Any Other Internet [RedState]

The internet is a place of glory and wonder...sometimes. Most of the time it's host to the most awful proverbial train-wrecks humankind has to offer. Some of the best(worst) cringeworthy occurrences on the interwebs come in the form of political music videos.

Apparently some people garner so much love in their heart for a specific candidate that they have to debase themselves by creating shameless propaganda in the form of song and dance.

And I stumbled upon what I think is one of those no survivors, crash and burn, "oh the humanity" music videos that makes the internet such a fun place to be.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you..."Trump Knows the Way" by Pitchy! at the Keyboard.

If you made it all the way through, you've a strong constitution. If not, post how long you made it in the comments. My first go round, I only made it 10 seconds in.


The post The Best/Worst Trump Fan Video on This or Any Other Internet appeared first on RedState.

PATHOLOGICAL LIAR: Trump Suddenly Remembers that He Never Met Putin, After All [RedState]

Donald Trump’s relationship with the Russians has come under scrutiny this week as the Democrats try to make their case that the Russians are purposely trying to throw the election to Trump.  Unsurprisingly, the connections make a lot of sense when you consider all the facts surrounding the situation. As streiff has noted, the Russians have been the only thing keeping Trump afloat for years and years in his private business enterprises.

Consider also that Donald Trump has suddenly changed his tune when asked about his general relationship with Putin.

Remember back in November when Trump referred to Putin as his “stablemate?”

The implication is that they’re buddies, right?  He even elaborated in a presidential debate at the time, “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that day.”

Now this was quickly debunked by the internet- Trump never met Putin that day because they had filmed from completely separate locations. Also note that the 60 Minutes interview had just occurred three weeks before, so he hadn’t forgotten.  But Trump felt it was advantageous for him to be Putin’s pal at the time, and he made it so.

Well with the Democrats now sniffing around in his dealings with Russia, it isn’t so advantageous for him to be buddies with Putin, we find him reverting back to the story that he has never met Putin after all.

In an interview with CBS in Miami, Trump not only denied ever meeting Putin now, but denied that he has ever had any business dealings with him:

I guess Junior was lying when he said they see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. It must be quite difficult for all Trump’s children to keep up with his lies and remember what it is they are supposed to say on any given day.

But Trump doesn’t deal in truth and facts.  He simply spouts out what he believes to be advantageous at the time he is speaking, and doesn’t worry about being called out for lying more often than he changes underwear.  And why would he?  The American people are rewarding him for it.

The post PATHOLOGICAL LIAR: Trump Suddenly Remembers that He Never Met Putin, After All appeared first on RedState.

Rush Limbaugh Diminishes Himself Defending Donald Trump. Again. (Full Audio) [RedState]

As sure as night follows day, self-beclowning follows any defense of Donald Trump.

As background, some 20,000 DNC emails were released by Wikileaks. These emails, astonishingly (okay, not astonishingly) revealed a corrupt, bigoted organization slavishly devoted to securing the Democrat presidential nomination for Hillary Clinton. Since this past weekend the DNC has tried to change the narrative on the emails from one of endemic corruption and self-dealing to one of Russian interference in the US election. The reason they want to change the narrative is because of Donald Trump's close relationship with the various oligarchs who form Vladimir Putin's inner circle. The implication being that the Russians desperately want Trump to be the next president and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.

The sad addition today is conservative talker and icon Rush Limbaugh. Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh tried to knock that story down.


Now people are trying to figure out what is really going on here and how did this happen and who did it. And the Democrats are really focusing on the “who did it”. The Democrats have yet to deny anything in these documents is authentic. Because they can’t. They were hacked and what’s on their server is obviously what was on their server. It’s real. They’ve been snookered. They’ve been hacked. So they can’t run out and claim it is a bunch of lies. They can’t claim… they can’t… well, they could, actually. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

What they’re doing is trying to discredit what is authentic by criticizing the motivations of those who did the hack. And that, everybody is being led to believe, is the Russians. And the Democrats and the media have trotted out one cyber expert after another claiming they have studied this, they’ve done their forensic analysis, and they’ve found… I’ve read three or four different super elite cyber blogs on the thing, they all say that there were two different Russian hacker units, cyber units, intel, that neither knew the other were there, meaning inside the DNC server. Two separate efforts leaving telltale signs. They tried to cover their existence but because they don’t speak English and because one of them screwed up and used a Cyrillic keyboard instead of an English language keyboard. Things like this, that it has become very apparent that the Russians did this. Which has then led to the following questions.

Well, why, why would the Russians do this? Why would the Russians want to destroy Hillary Clinton? Because, folks, let me give you another thing that's pretty safe bet : a) this is by no means the end of it. There is going to be a whole lot more if they hacked the DNC servers then they've got everything and who knows what else is on the… Who knows what else is on that… What if there's email evidence on that server that they were colluding with Hillary? That Debbie Blabbermouth was colluding with Hillary? You know Hillary's out there denying it right now but she's got to be sweating bullets over this. But it's not just that. If they were able to hack the DNC server, then they no doubt hacked her Chappaqua server. And so the thinking goes like this: if the Russians know everything that was on Hillary's private server and if they have everything on the DNC server, why destroy her at all? Why not see to it she's elected and then blackmail her every day and get what you want out of her? Because if this is all true, the theory goes, they could have a puppet as president of the United States. Why would they don't use this stuff to take her out even if Trump thinks that he's a good buddy with Putin? Why in the world with the Russians rather have Trump as president, who is a wild card, who they haven't hacked, because there's nothing to hack, because he doesn't use email, when you can own the American president? Especially when everybody else owns the American president because they've paid her, But the Russians don't have to pay her because they've got blackmail-able evidence, that they can get out of her whatever they want or else they destroy her.

So people are trying to figure out why would the Russians do this? And why now? And what's next? And when are we going to learn what was on her private server? Or will they hold that back and use that to blackmail her if she wins the election? And then there's something even beyond this. Some of the cyber specialists are really, really worried, and I think this is a bit of naiveté, but they are really… remember who these people are. These are young millennial tech wizards, some of them older than millennial, but they're still, they’re still of this naive young leftist generation, New Age touchy-feely, and they are writing about ‘this is unacceptable to allow, to not do anything about, to have a foreign government actually intercede in a US political election and take action that will affect the outcome. Why this is unacceptable and the US has got to retaliate. We've got to do something because we can't allow this.’ I got a clue for you, the same thing happened on 9/11. They cancelled some elections in New York City on that day, but this is by no means the first time anything like this has happened. I mean that ChiComs and the Russians are hacking things left and right now in terms of affecting the outcome of an election this is maybe the most brazen public effort to affect the outcome but it's by no means the first. It's just the first one we know about…

To me, the hack seems too sloppy to be a direct effort by Russian security services to hack the DNC. FBI Director James Comey said, in regards to Hillary's server, that there was no evidence that it had been hacked but if it had been hacked by a foreign intelligence service he wouldn't expect to find evidence. The leak of the emails can easily be explained as the product of effort by Russian hacker groups that are not affiliated with the government but who have been influenced both by the Kremlin's anger at Clinton's comments on the honesty of Russian elections and the hot bromance between Trump and Putin.

Where Rush goes off the rails and into the swamp is in his reasoning. Even though it is true that Trump doesn't use email... in fact, we really don't even know if he can write... there is a great deal of evidence that the Russians own Trump in a way they could never hope to own Hillary Clinton. Since his wave of serial bankruptcies beginning in the 1980s, he has been kept afloat by cash from Russian investors. These investors can't be making those investments without the knowledge of Putin and this gives them leverage over Trump in a very real sense. If they pull his financing, virtually overnight he becomes a homeless wino yelling at tourists in Times Square. From a motivation point of view, wouldn't Putin rather have an ideological ally in the White House... that would be Trump who loathes NATO and American power as much as Putin... than someone he had to blackmail for cooperation?

This is not to say that Putin does not have blackmail material that would embarrass and damage Clinton. Obviously her email server was copied by the Russians and any other intelligence service with sufficient ambition to pull its pants on in the morning. The same goes for the festering pustule of pay-to-play corruption that is the Clinton Foundation. Do we really think that there are no videos of self-confessed "sex addict" Bill Clinton cavorting with pre-or-barely-pubescent hors d'oeuvres provided by his pal, convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein? Or imagery of Hillary Clinton engaging in monkey-sex with her paramours? All of this is damaging but it is different from the hold the Russians have over Trump. They have leverage that goes directly to Trump's self-image. Where Hillary could do a Richard Nixon-style Checkers speech and admit a grievous lapse in judgment and weather a storm of revelations -- her husband, Bill Clinton, is the textbook case in how that is done -- Trump would be broke.

The fact is that both assertions are equally true and just because Hillary Clinton has made herself vulnerable to blackmail by virtually every nation on the planet does not in anyway take away from the fact that Donald Trump is undoubtedly Putin's favored candidate and Vladimir Putin will suffer from the embarrassment of riches that is having both candidates for president of the United States willing to do his bidding.

The post Rush Limbaugh Diminishes Himself Defending Donald Trump. Again. (Full Audio) appeared first on RedState.

All Charges Dismissed Against Remaining Baltimore PD Officers in Freddie Gray Death [RedState]

This was only a matter of time, but it looks like this ugly chapter is closed, at least as far as the public record is concerned. Baltimore prosecutors, some of whom are facing professional discipline for their handling of the case, have announced that they are dropping all charges against the remaining officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

Meanwhile, as far as the non-public record is concerned, this case will likely continue to fester in the Baltimore area and beyond. Some will view it as evidence that claims of police brutality are widely overblown, while others will view it as evidence that juries and the legal system will never convict police of brutality, and around and around we will all go.

Either way, it's clear that chasing this particular case down the rabbit hole was not the right decision from the legal perspective, even if lingering questions will always remain.

The post All Charges Dismissed Against Remaining Baltimore PD Officers in Freddie Gray Death appeared first on RedState.

Look On My Works, Ye Mighty [Small Dead Animals]

Duke Pesta on the leftist chokehold on higher education - and its consequences:

I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test... just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students - I'm talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years - they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They're 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention... How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that's what they think of their own country - that America invented slavery? That's all they know.

One of these.

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

Another installment of our week of Drinking Songs: Billy Cunningham, Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer.

Crack open a tip or two.

The Left Discovers Russia [The DiploMad 2.0]

I have written quite a bit about Russia (the Diplomad archives will so reveal). Back when I was somebody doing something useful, I dealt a lot with the Russians when they were under their USSR disguise. I respect and admire Russia and Russians. As somebody pulling for America, I don't always like what they do on the international stage, but they are smart, tough, practical patriots who live and die for Russia and want to see their country as a great power. As a country also a great power, we Americans can and should deal with that in a smart, tough, practical way. One of the greatest blunders  the West made after the collapse of the USSR was how we treated Russia. There was a palpable condescension, and even disdain for Russia. We treated them as though they would always remain a collapsed joke of a country, full of gangsters and prostitutes; Hollywood, of course, made "Russian" synonymous with "Villain," and regaled us with films about Russian/Serbian terrorists posing an existential threat to our nation. They, of course, could not get this worked up about the previous Soviet threat, but that's another topic.

During the election campaign of 2012, Governor Romney recognized that Russia had recovered considerably from the collapse of the USSR. He noted that Russia had become our number one geo-political foe. Well! You'd have thought he said FDR was not the greatest president since the beginning of time! The snickers and derision from the left were quite something. Obama, of course, uttered his incredibly clever riposte, "The 1980s are calling; they want their foreign policy back." So clever!

How the blini flips, eh?

We now see the Hillary campaign and its media echo chamber up in arms over supposed Russian hacking of the DNC servers and the subsequent release of some 19,000 emails by WikiLeaks which show the DNC, to say the least, in a highly unfavorable light. So bad, in fact, that the despicable Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Chair and Clinton Crime Family confidant, had to resign her post and flee the Democratic Party convention with jeers and boos ringing in her ears. It's Putin's fault! He is in alliance with Trump! The party that denied the existential threat from the USSR and its espionage, now sees Slavs under every slab.

Trump, of course, knows how to rub it in. He just gave a press conference in Doral, Florida (Full disclosure: I own two condos there; hope Trump makes the value go up) in which he, brilliantly, stole the limelight that normally would have gone to Bill Clinton in the wake of his bloated, silly speech last night at the convention. Trump is willing to face the press, unlike Hillary Clinton. Trump, of course, makes headlines. He made, what I took to be a joke, a "plea" to Russia to find Hillary's missing 30,000 emails. OMG! The progressives have gone mad! Look it up. The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, etc., not to mention the broadcast networks and the other donkey kissers, have gone full pecksniffian. We see them full of patriotic outrage over Trump calling for a foreign country to hack Hillary Clinton's emails!

First, of course, Trump was making a joke--and one can argue over whether politicians should make jokes, but that's what it was. Second, Hillary no longer has that "private server/servers," and it/they presumably sits/sit in some dusty FBI lock-up. Trump was kidding the Russians by saying if you hacked her server arrangement, then do us a favor an send us the missing 30,000 emails. It was NOT a call for hacking by the Russians.

On Russia. Trump is right.

There is no reason for inevitably bad relations with Moscow. Trump is right that NATO is a joke, at least the way it is presently organized and funded. We need to rethink NATO and come up with a new security alliance that includes, yes, horrors!, Russia. Yes, Russia should be our ally. Let's be blunt. There's nothing wrong with having this large powerful Christian (Oops! Said the "C" word) country with a skillful military on our side when fighting the 1400-year war with Islam. The Russians understand invasions and the threat from Islam pretty well.

Meanwhile, of course, the progs will scream about their own patriotism and promote the liars of Black Lives Matter . . .

Australian Banks ask permission to form anti-Apple cartel [The Register]

iPhones' NFC chips sought for own transaction tech, rather than ApplePay alone

You can't make it up: the last industry in Australia to enjoy the privileged status of “protected and guaranteed by government”, the banks, want the country's competition regulator to rubber-stamp it acting as a cartel against Apple.…

Australian maps and GPS will align by 2020 [The Register]

The Earth moved for all of us but spatial wonks got out of bed and did something about it

Geo-boffins are getting ready to nudge Australia to the north, so its national map data agrees with the new world of GPS.…

Couple in the cooler for sucking $1m out of Uncle Sam via IRS 'Get Transcript' scam [The Register]

DoJ says pair exploited web tools to file fake returns

Two people have been jailed for their involvement in a scam that exploited the US IRS "Get Transcript" website to defraud the American government.…

Did Donald Trump really just ask Russia to hack the US govt? Yes, he did [The Register]

And now denies it. But hey: News cycle!

In the latest of a series of implausibly appalling statements, Republican presidential nightmare Donald Trump encouraged the Russian government to hack into the servers of US government officials in order to provide him political ammunition against his Democratic rival.…

Microsoft blames dying Surface Pro 3 batteries on software bug [The Register]

Device life measured in minutes

Microsoft has admitted that the battery problems hitting some Surface Pro 3 owners aren't down to hardware failure, but rather a software issue.…

Ex-Citibank IT bloke wiped bank's core routers, will now spend 21 months in the clink [The Register]

Performance review sparks deletion, 110 offices knackered

A former employee of Citibank has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for crippling the bank's internal network.…

Jacob Appelbaum is a bullying sex pest, says ex-employer Tor Project [The Register]

Anonymizing tool team concludes investigation and fires two others

Web activist Jacob Appelbaum humiliated, intimidated, bullied and frightened numerous people in the internet community and subjected others to "unwanted sexually aggressive behavior."…

NASA peers through its SpeX: Aha! Jupiter's globe-warming hotspot [The Register]

You can't get internet there, but Giant Red Spot is clue to 'energy crisis'

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot may be responsible for stirring an atmospheric hotspot into a frenzy, causing it to be hundreds of degrees warmer than anywhere else on the planet.…

Cats, dogs starve as web-connected chow box PetNet plays dead [The Register]

Failure forces humans to 'manually' feed ravenous pooches and pussies

Outage  Humans have been forced to temporarily interact with their dogs or cats – perhaps both – after PetNet’s internet-controlled smart feeder system suffered a blackout.…

NATO holds up £2.5bn platter of IT procurement deals: Help yourselves [The Register]

Alliance is to splurge cash on plethora of new hardware and software

Anti-Soviet defence pact NATO's IT division wants to award €3bn (£2.5bn) worth of “cyber, air and missile defence” contracts, spanning everything from buying new keyboards to improving space satellites.…

Church organist nabbed for playing glory hole in excelsis [The Register]

One gift from God (a) man did not want to see

A church organist is due before the beak next month after he allegedly thrust his pink pipe through a glory hole in excelsis and “waited” for someone to make sweet music.…

Oh deer.io: Cyberpunks using one-stop DIY web biz shops [The Register]

You don't even need to know web design to be a baddie

Cybercrime miscreants seem to be flocking to a one-stop online web business shop.…

Lowland Scots plunged into panic by marauding ostrich family [The Register]

Nicola Sturgeon’s home county stalked by angry Struthionforme

Residents of Ayrshire are living in fear of a marauding family of ostriches that have mysteriously appeared in the usually quiet Scots region.…

Gullible Essex Police are now using junk science lie detectors [The Register]

And sent Constable Ned Kelly on an 11-week training course to use the things

Police in Essex, UK, are using polygraph tests on convicted criminals – in its own words, “to help manage the risk posed by convicted sex offenders.”…

Heart Internet goes TITSUP again [The Register]

Total Inability To Support Usual Per... one server?

UK-based web host Heart Internet has restored service to customers whose email has been titsup since Monday. Users were unable to use the service due to a single server failure.…

Boo hoo. Brexit to hit Capita's bottom line [The Register]

Don't worry, outsourcing giant is still doing a roaring trade

Outsourcing giant Capita has hinted that the UK's decision to leave the EU will have an impact on its bottom line, while recording a sales increase of 5 per cent to £2.4bn for its first half-year results.…

Microsoft adds useful feature to PowerPoint. Seriously [The Register]

New non-linear view poses threat to cosmic order

Some crazy and terrible things have happened in 2016, but none can be more shocking than Microsoft PowerPoint adding a quite useful new feature for presenters. The ubiquitous slide presentation software has finally made a break with linearity.…

Brit chip bods ARM quietly piling up cash. Softbank will be happy [The Register]

Processor design nets £100m in last quarter for Cambridge-based biz

Cambridge-based processor design business ARM has posted substantial revenue and profit increases for the months in the runup to the Brexit vote.…

Saved from ransomware thugs... by rival ransomware thug [The Register]

Chimera cybercrook competitor hands victims the keys

Private keys of the Chimera ransomware have been leaked by a rival cybercriminal.…

QLogic boosted profits 700% in a year. What's that chomping sound? [The Register]

Last quarterly results before the great Cavium slurp commences

In its last quarter as an independent company, QLogic grew revenues 2.6 per cent and profits by 700 per cent in a year. Its future lies inside Cavium and it has to deal with a declining Fibre Channel business.…

Getting comfortable with cloud-based security: Who to trust to do what [The Register]

You don’t always have to do everything yourself. Really

There are some bits of computing that you just don’t want to trust other people with. They’re just too sensitive. But at the same time, there are some things that people can do as well or better than you, for a lower cost.…

Speaking in Tech: Just expense it! You know you want to... [The Register]

Yahoo, DNC emails and, er, business cards

Why Agile is like flossing and regular sex [The Register]

The difference between doing it and saying you're doing it

After roughly 20 years, agile software development has wheedled its way into most every developer's mind as The Way Good Software Is Done. Like flossing, while we can all agree agile is a good idea, we're not quite up to snuff on keeping all our teeth in our heads, so to speak.…

Get yer gnashers round 64-layer 3D NAND, beam WDC and Toshiba [The Register]

Layered chippery leading to potential SSD capacity doubling

Western Digital, via its acquired firm SanDisk, along with Toshiba, has started pilot production of 64-layer 3D NAND.…

MPs reiterate risks of mega £10bn Aspire contract overhaul [The Register]

Sure you want to rely on 'digital' to plug slashed jobs?

UK MPs have warned that HMRC (HM Revenues and Customs) may struggle to overhaul its expensive £10bn IT systems with Capgemini, and that further cuts could ultimately waste more taxpayers' cash.…

Explo-Xen! Bunker buster bug breaks out guests from hypervisor [The Register]

Explo-Xen ... it rhymes with explosion

Code dive  A super-bug in the Xen hypervisor may allow privileged code running in guests to escape to the underlying host.…

NASA puts lenses through a different drill to stare at the Sun [The Register]

19th century optics gets the 21st century treatment

NASA Goddard boffins and engineers have taken inspiration from the Fresnel lens to craft a “photon sieve” they hope will help them observe the processes that heat the sun's corona.…

Zero-day hole can pwn millions of LastPass users, all that's needed is a malicious site [The Register]

Remote 'complete account compromise' possible, Google hacker finds

Updated  A dangerous zero-day vulnerability has been found in popular cloud password vault LastPass, which The Register has been told can completely compromise user accounts.…

Osram's Lightify smart bulbs blow a security fuse – isn't anything code audited anymore? [The Register]

Four unpatched bugs remain after nine found

Nine security holes, four of them still unpatched, have been found in the Osram smart light bulb system, potentially giving attackers access to a home or corporate network.…

Cisco busts ransomware rodent targeting bitcoin, cryptocoin subreddits [The Register]

VXer mass posts to Reddit in sorrowful bid to make a living

The eager-but-pwned net menace behind the JigSaw ransomware has been found targeting Reddit users with multiple malware in a bid to snare victims.…

Cisco warns responders: Drop ego, assimilate with the IR playbook [The Register]

Pay your dues, noob, or talk to Dunning and Kruger

Cisco wants incident responders to be more self-conscious.…

VW's first US settlement nearly settled [The Register]

Nearly US$15 BEEELION set down for 2.0 litre 'dieselgate'

Volkswagen's “dieselgate” part-settlement has received preliminary approval from a US judge.…

Facebook Surround360 design lands at GitHub [The Register]

DIY VR cam: only US$30k

Facebook needs VR content for its Oculus Rift VR headset, so it's made good on its March promise to publish its Surround360 camera design and software.…

Did the Russians really hack the DNC or is this another Sony Pictures moment? You decide [The Register]

You're Putin me in a tough spot, here

Poll  Security intelligence firm ThreatConnect thinks it has found a smoking gun that links the leaked US Democratic Party emails to Russian hackers.…

Services income helps Juniper keep Q2 from collapse [The Register]

Switches moving, routers and security decline

The tough networking market continues to make growth difficult for the big names: Juniper Networks has reported flat year-on-year Q2 2016 revenue and has warned of a flat outlook.…

Captain Piccard's planet-orbiting solar aircraft in warped drive drama [The Register]

505-day trip won't engage much commercial interest

An airplane powered by nothing more than the Sun's rays has completed its 42,000-km (26,098-mile) journey around the world after landing in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.…

Pokemon GO-ZILLA: Safety fears after monsters appear in Fukushima danger zone [The Register]

What is it with the Japanese, radiation and made-up creatures?

Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Co is upset that Pokemon Go players on the hunt for monsters are being lured into the Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion Zone.…

3D print biz Shapeways hacked, home and email addresses swiped [The Register]

Hashed passwords exposed, too

Custom 3D model printing biz Shapeways has been hacked, who gained access to customers' shipping and email addresses, usernames and hashed passwords.…

What's losing steam at Apple? Pretty much everything [The Register]

Cook: Hey, we thought it was going to be even worse

Apple is trying to put the best face on another bad quarter by saying it has exceeded its own meager expectations.…

Oz regulator eyes broadband marketing [The Register]

ISPs fudging performance claims in ads? Say it isn't so!

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is setting its sights on broadband speed claims, again.…

Self-proclaimed socialist who owns ClintonKaine.com sets price at $90,000 [The Verge - All Posts]

For a self-proclaimed socialist, Jeremy Peter "Pegg" Green knows how to game capitalism. The New York-licensed attorney and artist purchased the domain ClintonKaine.com for $8 in 2011, according to a report from ABC affiliate KSAT, and is willing to sell it to the Democratic nominee for president. It won’t be cheap, though. Pegg has set the price at $90,000.

As Donald Trump might say, the markup is yuge.

Pegg, who originally supported Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, currently uses the site to host "Hillary Potter" comics, an election-tinged Harry Potter parody. Bizarrely enough, the webcomic is also Pegg’s trademark claim. According to him, the domain doesn’t contain Hillary Clinton’s trademark, because ClintonKaine.com...

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Eddie Redmayne will star in historical thriller The Last Days of Night [The Verge - All Posts]

Eddie Redmayne has just signed on to star in the upcoming adaptation of The Last Days Of Night. The film with the same name is about the epic clash between industry titan George Westinghouse and inventor Thomas Edison over one question: who invented the lightbulb?

It's set to be released sometime in late 2017, according to Deadline and will be directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game, Passengers). It’s based on a historical thriller by Graham Moore, who authored the screenplay for The Imitation Game and the bestselling novel The Sherlockian, that’s set to be released on August 16th from Random House. Moore will be writing the screenplay for his novel.

Westinghouse and Edison famously clashed in a series of escalating lawsuits over...

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Netflix renews Lady Dynamite and a bunch of other stuff [The Verge - All Posts]

Netflix has just renewed a big handful of shows, and announced a smaller handful of new ones. The most exciting renewal is probably Maria Bamford's Lady Dynamite, a sitcom that's not only funny and absurd, it also offers a sharp and vulnerable portrayal of mental illness. Netflix hasn't announced how many episodes the second season will get — only that it will arrive sometime in 2017.

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Netflix will be releasing new episodes of Black Mirror on October 21st [The Verge - All Posts]

One of the best and darkest science fiction shows ever created is coming back — soon. Netflix announced today that it will be releasing a new, six-episode season of Black Mirror on October 21st.

Netflix announced the release date with a cryptic tweet from the show’s official Twitter account:

Variety has also confirmed that new episodes would arrive on October 31st.

Black Mirror is a Twilight Zone-esque anthology show originally produced by the UK’s Channel 4 which takes a dark view of the modern world and our use of technology. The show was created by British writer Charlie Brooker, and originally aired in 2011 and 2013, with a Christmas special in 2014. Each episode...

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Beyerdynamic's new Byron earbuds are designed to take on the go [The Verge - All Posts]

High-end audio company Beyerdynamic announced three new earbuds this week that it imagines will be affordable and reliable options for people who use their phones to listen to music. The cheapest pair in the Byron series will sell for $54, and the most expensive model — the BTA — will sell for $219. That's way more accessible than the company’s $1,299 T5p.2 headphones from earlier this year.

The cheapest pair connects through a traditional headphone jack, whereas the two more expensive models — the BT and BTA — connect to a phone through Bluetooth. Those pairs connect the left and right earbuds through a cable that also functions as a remote, so you can skip tracks and play / pause without taking our your device. But even with that...

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Facebook continues to thrive, closing in on 2 billion monthly users [The Verge - All Posts]

Facebook posted its second quarter earnings for investors today. The social media giant reported $6.44 billion in revenue and $2.05 billion in profit. That’s a 59 percent increase over the $4.04 billion in revenue during the same period last year. Its monthly active users now number 1.71 billion, a 15 percent increase from this same period last year, and it has more than 1 billion daily active users on mobile, where 84 percent of its revenue is generated. If Facebook continues growing at this pace, it will have over 2 billion monthly active users by the end of next year.

Since its IPO four years ago, Facebook’s stock price has more than tripled. With Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp each being used by over 1 billion people, the company...

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Apple has sold over 1 billion iPhones [The Verge - All Posts]

Apple recently sold its billionth iPhone, the company announced today. During a meeting at Apple's Cupertino headquarters this morning, CEO Tim Cook made an appearance to celebrate the major milestone. "iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history," Cook said. "It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day." The iPhone debuted in 2007, so it took under a decade for Apple to cross the one billion figure.

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The RedMi Pro is Xiaomi's first dual-camera smartphone [The Verge - All Posts]

Xiaomi has announced the RedMi Pro, its first smartphone with a dual-camera setup. The RedMi Pro features a 13MP Sony IMX258 sensor along with a 5MP Samsung sensor on the rear of the device, which Xiaomi says will produce DSLR-quality photos.

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Amazon is giving period drama The Last Tycoon a series order [The Verge - All Posts]

Amazon is ordering its starry F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation The Last Tycoon to series after a successful June pilot run, according to Deadline. The '30s period piece stars Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahl, a fictionalized version of the real-life precocious movie mogul Irving Thalberg. Kelsey Grammer plays his mentor and rival, Pat Brady; Rosemarie DeWitt plays Brady's wife. (It's not the first adaptation of Fitzgerald's final, unfinished novel — Elia Kazan and Harold Pinter headed up a movie version starring Robert De Niro in 1976.)

The full series doesn't have a premiere date yet, but it's joining shows like the feminist '60s drama Good Girls Revolt, the Bryan Cranston-produced Sneaky Pete, and Tig Notaro's One Mississippi on Amazon's...

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Starz is making an American version of the UK's Peep Show [The Verge - All Posts]

Peep Show, the weird, cynical British comedy starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, will return in a new form on American TV. Variety reports that Starz is developing an American version of the show stateside. Like the US version of The Office, Starz's Peep Show will be an entirely different series than the one that ran for nine seasons on the UK's Channel 4. But the tone will likely be similar: Peep Show's original creators, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, will serve as consulting producers for the new version, according to Variety. Eli Jorne (Wilfred, Blunt Talk) will executive produce.

"We are hugely relieved to hand over the responsibility of coming up with the dark and twisted thoughts of two terrible men to the extremely funny,...

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California’s Pension Bomb [Transterrestrial Musings]

…grows more explosive. As I’ve often said, you can get a federal bailout, or remain a huge state. Those would be my conditions.

Black Vietnam War Veteran Shot For Being A Trump Supporter [Weasel Zippers]

Thankfully, he should make a full recovery. CLEVELAND – A discussion over the upcoming presidential election ended with a Cleveland man in the hospital, shot in the thigh, and the gunman on the loose. Paul Jones, Jr., 60, was at his neighborhood bar Winston’s Place near E. 131st Street and Miles Avenue around 6 p.m. […]

France Priest Killer Was Already Convicted Terrorist On Electronic Tag Curfew Living With His Parents [Weasel Zippers]

He attacked the people in the church and killed the priest in his ‘unsupervised’ window of time. Via Mirror: One of the Normandy church murderers was a convicted terrorist who was meant to be living with his parents with an electronic tag on his ankle, according to security sources. The astonishing revelation – made to […]

No, Black Lives Don’t Matter To Bill And Hillary, Especially Haitian Lives… [Weasel Zippers]

Via Breitbart: Despite what the Mothers of the Movement believe, black lives don’t matter to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Just ask the Haitians who’ve spent years trashing the Clinton’s for screwing them over and turning the tragic earthquake that rocked the tiny Caribbean country in 2010 into a lucrative venture for their closest allies. Indeed, […]

‘Hillary For America’ Tweets Pic Of Muslim Woman Seemingly Crying In Happiness For Hillary Nomination, Except Not So Much… [Weasel Zippers]

The woman is Nida Allam who is a Bernie supporter and delegates who was not crying in happiness for Hillary, but upset. Allam also was a bit peeved, feeling that Hillary was ‘using her hijab and ethnicity’ to advantage. But hey, that’s just the Hillary crew manipulating reality for their own purposes.

BREAKING: John Hinckley To Be Released… [Weasel Zippers]

Via CNN: A federal judge on Wednesday granted John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, “full-time convalescent leave” from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. The order allows Hinckley, Jr. to live full-time in Williamsburg, Virginia, but still under certain restrictions. Hinckley and his lawyers appeared in federal court in April 2015 and […]

Dem Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: Trump The “Man Of Fear”… [Weasel Zippers]

Trump is The Man? I knew it! Rep. @JacksonLeeTX18: "The Republican nominees of fear are not for our America" pic.twitter.com/c6C34zPqLM — POLITICO (@politico) July 27, 2016

Planned Parenthood Uses Virtual Reality to Promote Abortion At DNC… [Weasel Zippers]

Via Daily Signal: Steps outside a women’s caucus meeting at the Democratic National Convention, Planned Parenthood’s lobbying arm got techy with attendees, using computer-generated imagery to give people a first-hand look at the protests some women face when walking into abortion clinics. “Planned Parenthood Action Fund is here sharing a virtual reality film called ‘Across […]

San Diego Unified School Board Approves Creation Of “Anti-Islamophobia Plan”… [Weasel Zippers]

Even worse, CAIR created the plan. Video: #CAIR-San Diego Lays Out Plan to Address Bullying of Muslim Students https://t.co/C9hHoAGKvD — CAIR National (@CAIRNational) July 27, 2016 Via KPBS: San Diego Unified School District board members voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of creating a plan to address Islamophobia and bullying of Muslim students. More than 200 […]

Video: Bernie Sanders Backers Rail Against Hillary From Their DNC “Free Speech” Cage… [Weasel Zippers]

Nice to see the DNC treats its base like they’re caged animals. Watch Bernie Sanders Fans Rail Against Hillary… by DailyPolitics

Trump: Anthony Weiner “Is A Sleazeball And A Pervert”… [Weasel Zippers]

Even Anthony Weiner wouldn’t disagree with that assessment. .@realDonaldTrump: Anthony Weiner "is a sleazeball and a pervert." pic.twitter.com/MarSS94Quf — Fox News (@FoxNews) July 27, 2016

LA Times Poll: Trump Now Leading Clinton By 7 Points… [Weasel Zippers]

Thanks, Debbie! Via Daily Caller: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump now has a seven point lead over Hillary Clinton nationally, according to a USC Dornsife/LA Times Presidential Election Daybreak poll released Wednesday. The poll, which is updated daily, showed Trump leading Clinton 47 percent to 40 percent. The lead is outside the poll’s margin of […]

DNC “Interfaith Prayer Room” Has No Sign Of Any Religion Except Islam… [Weasel Zippers]

Shock factor = Zero Via Daily Caller: The Democratic National Convention has curtained off several “interfaith” spaces for prayer, but the only sign of religion in any of the spaces is Islam. Convention goers looking to get in touch with the god of their choice can visit the “Interfaith Prayer Room” on the first floor of […]

“Kill More Cops” Graffiti Mural Spray Painted On Major L.A. Freeway… [Weasel Zippers]

Black Lives Matter’s latest “art” project. Via Breitbart: A reader has e-mailed Breitbart News an image showing a graffiti mural reading “KILL MORE COPS” along Interstate 5 in Los Angeles, a major commuting route in the San Fernando Valley just north of Burbank and Hollywood. According to an e-mail from the reader, who took a photo […]

Hillary’s Creepy ‘1984’ish ‘Breaking The Glass Ceiling’ Video [Weasel Zippers]

Hillary Clinton Breaks Through "Glass Ceiling" of Montage of Past Presidents https://t.co/Jr68FJzmpy #DemsinPhilly https://t.co/rWpuHeA6Yi — Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 27, 2016 It makes you realize in the context of all past presidents, including some great ones, while having a woman would be great, how much you don’t want it to be her.

What A Strange Trip It’s Been [According To Hoyt]

So, the Hoyts are back in town.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that I wrote at most 1k words while out of town.  Mostly because of heat.  We were clocking in the eighties and nineties.  Okay, nothing weird for CO at this time, but 50% humidity or better, and local culture hates fans.

We actually don’t have air conditioning in the new house.  This will be fixed once I finish Revenge and get paid.  It will go to that, mostly.  BUT even without air conditioning, we’re a mile high, which means we can open all the windows at night.  And we have frigging airplane-sized fans moving the air, so even in the heat of day it’s not that bad.

With nineties, high humidity and no air movement, I was sweating like being in a shower CONSTANTLY and at night, I just couldn’t sleep.  My own skin touching my skin HURT.  I was in a constant state of sleep deprival.

Maybe that’s why this trip was sort of a midlife crisis rolled into two weeks.

I know this will sound daft, but I didn’t realize that when I moved away to pursue… well, my life, I was cutting drastically down on the amount of help and support I could give my parents as they aged.  They don’t really need it yet — not really — rather they’ve felt stymied by not being able to help me, at least to the extent of taking the kids so I could work on my career when I was younger.

You see, Portugal is … tribal?  Clannish is more like.  Tribal too, but not as much as other societies.  It was part of my parents’ duties to further my progress in my chosen career and they really couldn’t do that, except by sending us gifts which sometimes kept their grandkids fed, but which to them is neither enough nor the form they would have chosen.

I’ll confess part of me wishes I could have sent the kids over in Summer when they were late elementary through high school.  I probably would have done it, if it weren’t for 9/11.  9/11 meant I’d have kitten fits putting the kids on a plane without me.  I’m also not sure how either of my independent-minded not great at reading different cultures kids would have done.  I think my older son would have got it, but the younger would have spent a lot of time speaking the unspeakable, so to put it.

Anyway, what’s done is done, and can’t be undone, and regrets won’t mend anything.

Weirder and more revealing was my realizing — now I’m about the age she was when I left — that my mom does love me.  She just has issues of her own, which makes expressing that very hard.  She spends a lot of time talking through forcing me to accept gifts and buying me inadvisable food.  If you’re sitting there saying “Duh, of course your mother loves you” you don’t understand.  I spent most of my life there fighting mom, and absolutely convinced she loathed me.  There’s reasons for that and issues I will not go into in a public blog.  BUT … yeah, she loves me.

And we still can’t live together.  Give me another week there, and we’d be at each other’s throats just like when I was a teen.  Part of it is that mom lives within certain parameters and that I was born with fists clenched and disposed to ask “You and whose army?” even at sensible solutions, much less at weird, culturally dictated ones.  Just an example, before the big family party, I was cautioned not to talk to anyone about my work.  Now, look, mom has done this before, where she threw herself across a big room when someone asked “so what do you do for a living?” and yelled “she’s a housewife” before I could open my mouth.  This time — I’m 53, and I have very little space for nonsense in my life anymore — I said “WHY?”  And she looked confused and blinked and said, “They’ll say your husband doesn’t make enough to support you.”  I appreciate her attempts at protecting my husband’s honor, and hell, she might even be right for the village grapevine, but gods above, she’ll never get that “we won a million dollars in the lottery” would be followed by “cool, more time to write.”

So, my internal parameters have shifted (it’s nice to know she loves me) but it doesn’t change anything.

The whole mid-life crisis bottomed out on the plane home, probably because I hadn’t slept in 20 hours and had slept no more than 4 hours a night for two weeks before that.  I went into this big depression because I felt like I had — to put it in a  weird but the only way I can — “lost me.”

I don’t know how to explain this.  I didn’t regret moving.  I didn’t regret my marriage, and I’ll never regret the boys, but I felt like I was holding two halves of me, and I couldn’t make them meet in the middle.

Part of this is that I met a lot of me in airports.  Slim Portuguese girls with adidas bags on their shoulders, rushing along.

But understand 99.9% of them will go back and live quietly wherever they came from, in the expected path.

Portuguese immigrate, sure, but usually as couples.  And there the big thing is “don’t let the kids marry abroad or you can never return.”  And if single males immigrate, they usually come back, marry a local girl, settle down.  Or at least (like a cousin of mine who married an Englishwoman) they send their kids back.

It’s not a normal thing for Portuguese Women to go away and not return, and it’s even less normal to BECOME something else.

And on the plane, in the midst of a depressive crisis I couldn’t figure out how to reconcile the two halves.  It took older son noticing I was crying and starting with twenty questions, until he elicited that I could FAKE fitting in Portugal when I was young, not now, but I always felt like an exile.

He says the way to reconcile it is simple.  I just was an American born tragically abroad.  If that requires pre-existence of the soul, so be it.  If it requires my being a genetic freak, so be it.

He says I am what I am and shouldn’t feel the need to justify it.  And perhaps he’s right, even if I still feel guilty I couldn’t be what family and tribe wanted of me.

As for the more material regret: My parents are well, but I can see the bend in the road.  I’d like to be able to visit them every year for the next ten years.

Yes, you know it, that means I must make a lot more money.

So, I’ll go unpack bags, then unpack boxes.  And then work.

I guess this midlife crisis ends where they all do: I am what I am.  I don’t regret my major decisions (Oh, some of the details, but who doesn’t?)  Now I’ll make the best of what I have.

It is perhaps symbolic that we returned home on the day of my civil ceremony anniversary, when Dan and I got legally married in York County Courthouse in South Carolina, so it would make getting religiously married back in Portugal six months later, easier.

Those promises I made?  Best thing I ever did, even if it send me careening down a path my younger self would not be able to understand.

All is as it should be.


Erratum - Use of Spectrum Bands Above 24 GHz for Mobile Radio Services et al [FCC Recent Releases]

Issued an Erratum correcting Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 16-89, released July 14, 2016

AT&T-USCC Transaction AT&T Information Request [FCC Recent Releases]

AT&T-USCC Transaction AT&T Information Request

AT&T Inc. [FCC Recent Releases]

Applications of AT&T Inc. and United States Cellular Corporation for Consent To Assign Licenses

Applications of AT&T Inc. and United States Cellular Corporation for Consent to Assign Lower 700 MHz, Advanced Wireless Services, and Personal Communications Service Licenses [FCC Recent Releases]


Applications of AT&T Inc. and United States Cellular Corporation [FCC Recent Releases]

Adopted procedures to limit access to proprietary or confidential information that may be filed in this proceeding, and more strictly limit access to certain particularly competitively sensitive information

Satellite Communications Services [FCC Recent Releases]

re: Satellite Radio Applications Accepted for Filing

Masochism Exercise, Part I: Reviewing the Democratic Platform [International Liberty]

It’s very risky to trust the promises made by politicians.

But at least there’s a potential downside when they break their word. President George H.W. Bush lost the 1992 election, for instances, after violating his read-my-lips, no-tax-hike promise.

So I think it’s useful to get politicians to explicitly commit to good policies, such as the no-tax-increase pledge.

But what about getting language in a party platform? Is that a vehicle for getting good policy, or at least is it a way of blocking bad policy?

For the most part, I don’t think party platforms bind politicians or constrain their behavior. To be sure, I’m happy when platforms embrace policies that I like, but I’m not foolish enough to think that this automatically will translate into better policy after politicians get elected.

For the most part, platforms are a way for politicians to appease the more philosophically inclined people in their parties. So the Democratic platform is generally farther to the left than Democratic politicians and the GOP platform is generally farther to the right than Republican politicians.

With these caveats taken care of, let’s review the proposals and policies in the Democratic platform (I’ll assess the Republican platform tomorrow). I’ve excerpted the items that are noteworthy and I follow each item with a brief observation.

Let’s get started.

Democrats will expand Social Security…[and] will achieve this goal by taxing some of the income of people above $250,000.

This is like stepping on the accelerator while approaching a cliff. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the program’s unfunded liability is a staggering $37 trillion, yet Hillary and her friends want even more spending. And they want to compound the damage with a huge tax increase on investors, entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

Democrats will also create an independent, national infrastructure bank.

This is a recipe for cronyism that will further expand the federal government’s role into an area that should be reserved for states, local governments, and the private sector.

Democrats will defend the Export-Import Bank.

Bernie Sanders was good on this issue, so this platform language means Hillary Clinton’s support for corporate welfare prevailed.

Democrats will provide direct federal funding for a range of local programs that will put young people to work and create new career opportunities.

Since job-training programs have a long track-record of failure, too bad they didn’t suggest repealing job-killing minimum-wage laws.

Democrats will not hesitate to use and expand existing authorities as well as empower regulators to downsize or break apart financial institutions when necessary to protect the public and safeguard financial stability, including new authorities to go after risky shadow-banking activities.

Other than pointing out that big isn’t necessarily bad, I don’t really have any policy reaction. I’m only sharing this blurb since I imagine you’ll also laugh out loud at the platform’s implicit assertion that Hillary Clinton somehow will crack down on her friends and donors at Goldman-Sachs. Yeah, I’m sure that’s high on her list. Right after putting inner-city schoolkids before the teacher unions.

We will ban golden parachutes for those taking government jobs.

Will that rule apply retroactively to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew?

Democrats will claw back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, eliminate tax breaks for big oil and gas companies, and crack down on inversions and other methods companies use to dodge their tax responsibilities.

There are no “tax breaks” for companies that invert.

We will end deferrals so that American corporations pay United States taxes immediately on foreign profits and can no longer escape paying their fair share of U.S. taxes by stashing profits abroad.

The “fair share” should be zero for income that is earned (and therefore already subject to tax) in other nations.

We will ensure those at the top contribute to our country’s future by establishing a multimillionaire surtax to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.

Even the IRS admits the tax system is very biased against the so-called rich.

…we will shut down the “private tax system” for those at the top, immediately close egregious loopholes like those enjoyed by hedge fund managers, restore fair taxation on multimillion dollar estates, and ensure millionaires can no longer pay a lower rate than their secretaries.

Wow, endorsing higher capital gains taxes, higher death taxes, and dishonest math in one sentence fragment.

We will work to crack down on tax evasion.

Unfortunately, they want higher compliance by expanding the power of the IRS, not by lowering tax rates.

…we will make sure that law-abiding Americans living abroad are not unfairly penalized by finding the right solutions for them to the requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

This language is vacuous, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy that even the Democrats feel compelled to say bad things about one of Obama’s worst laws.

Democrats believe it is long past time to close this racial wealth gap. Disparities in wealth cannot be solved by the free market alone, but instead, the federal government must play a role in eliminating systemic barriers to wealth accumulation for different racial groups and improving opportunities for people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to build wealth.

More vacuous language, though it’s disappointing that the platform doesn’t endorse personal retirement accounts, which would fix one of the ways minorities are hurt by government policy.

We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize it or provide access to medical marijuana should be able to do so.

Easily the most pro-liberty part of the Democratic platform.

Democrats will develop a national strategy, coordinated across all levels of government, to combat poverty. We will direct more federal resources to lifting up communities that have been left out and left behind.

Anyone think this will work any better than all the other failed anti-poverty schemes from Washington? I didn’t think so.

Democrats will protect proven programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—our nation’s most important anti-hunger program—that help struggling families put food on the table.

The only thing “proven” about the food stamp program is that it’s riddled with fraud and it creates dependency.

We will dramatically increase federal infrastructure funding for our cities.

It’s not the role of the federal government to pave roads and and build bridges and corrupt big-city political machines shouldn’t be offloading their responsibilities onto taxpayers in the rest of the country.

We will continue to support public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for programs providing art and music education in primary and secondary schools.

If I want to listen to cowboy poetry, I should pay for it myself.

We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century. We will take bold steps to slash carbon pollution.

Mostly vacuous rhetoric, but it could lead to “bold steps” to undermine prosperity.

Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals.

You don’t have to read between the lines to recognize that “should be priced” is DC-speak for a big energy tax.

All corporations owe it to their shareholders to fully analyze and disclose the risks they face, including climate risk. Those who fail to do so should be held accountable. Democrats also respectfully request the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies accused of misleading shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.

This is probably the most reprehensible part of the Democratic platform. America is not a banana republic and people shouldn’t be attacked with “lawfare” for disagreeing with the political establishment.

Democrats are unified in their strong belief that every student should be able to go to college debt-free, and working families should not have to pay any tuition to go to public colleges and universities.

A plan that unambiguously will increase the cost of college.

Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits. …Americans should be able to access public coverage through a public option, and those over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare.

For those who think the Obamacare boondoggle didn’t go far enough.

Democrats will fight any attempts by Republicans in Congress to privatize, voucherize, or “phase out” Medicare as we know it. And we will oppose Republican plans to slash funding and block grant Medicaid and SNAP.

Let’s bury our heads in the sand and pretend there’s no entitlement crisis.

Democrats believe that global institutions—most prominently the United Nations—and multilateral organizations have a powerful role to play

A powerful role is not the same as a productive role or positive role. Though the United Nations is mostly feckless. The real damage is caused by the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

I could analyze additional planks, but there’s a limit to have much statist claptrap I can endure.

If I had to give a grade to the Democratic platform, it would be “L” for leftist. Just like the Party’s nominee.


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