Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Hillary's Corruption Is Overwhelming

Ben Shapiro
Posted: Aug 24, 2016 12:01 AM
Hillary's Corruption Is Overwhelming
After over two decades in the heart of America's spotlight, Hillary Clinton is still an unknown quantity for most Americans. That's thanks to one factor and one factor only: the love and worship of the mainstream media.
Over the weekend, no less than six terrible stories broke that would have crippled anyone else's campaign. First, we learned that Clinton aide and confidante Huma Abedin acted as assistant editor on the radical Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, where she greenlit pieces that stated that "pushing (mothers) out into the open labor market is a clear demonstration of a lack of respect of womanhood and motherhood," among other things.
Next, we found out that Clinton had blamed former Secretary of State Colin Powell for giving her the idea to set up a private email server at a dinner party, and that Powell not only denied giving her the idea but also denied ever having a dinner conversation with her on the topic. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who Clinton claimed was present for the conversation, has also denied the story.
Then we discovered that the Clinton State Department oversaw some $6 billion in mismanagement, fraud and incompetence.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that Clinton's pay-for-play -- Clinton Foundation donations in exchange for access to the State Department -- ran deeper than originally thought.
And we learned that the FBI and Justice Department are investigating the Podesta Group -- co-founded by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta -- over its ties with former Ukrainian President and Vladimir Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych.
Finally, we found out that the FBI uncovered some 15,000 emails that Clinton failed to disclose to the State Department. Presumably, they do not all concern yoga and Chelsea Clinton's wedding plans.
So, what was the media's response to this tidal wave of incompetence and corruption?
They focused on the Trump campaign's internal mess, naturally. That's what they always do.
And that's why Trump became the Republican nominee.
The media once painted former Gov. Mitt Romney the way they paint Donald Trump, and they excoriated anyone who dared to ask about President Barack Obama's botched Benghazi policy. They scoffed at Romney's suggestion that Obama's Russian policy had emboldened Moscow. They castigated legislators like former Rep. Michele Bachmann for connecting Huma Abedin to Islamic radicalism via the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.
By the time Trump came along, the American people had already rejected the media's capacity for truth-telling. So when the media targeted Trump and Trump refused to be cowed by them, many Republicans resonated to Trump's call. They believed that Trump would hit Clinton with all the material the media covered up and ignored.
So far, that hasn't panned out. Trump's been far too distractible to focus on Clinton. But that doesn't mean that he couldn't. If Trump were to target Clinton, he'd be doing the job Americans thought they elected him to do: exposing the empress who's protected by the media Praetorian Guard.
If he doesn't, Clinton will become president, scandals and all. The media are still the gatekeepers, and they still have no intention of allowing Clinton to become the story when Trump's tweets can be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I Know Trump's New Campaign Chairman, Steve Bannon. Here's What You Need To Know.
Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, FileSteve Bannon
August 17, 2016
On Wednesday, the Trump campaign shifted top campaign staff: the new CEO of the campaign is, predictably and hilariously, Steven K. Bannon, the current chairman of Breitbart News. I have a bit of experience with Bannon, given that I was the editor-at-large of Breitbart News for four years, and worked closely with Breitbart and Bannon.
Here’s what you need to know about Bannon, as well as new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
1. Steve Bannon Turned Breitbart Into Trump Pravda For His Own Personal Gain. Back in March, I quit Breitbart News when it became clear to me that they had decided that loyalty to Donald Trump outweighed loyalty to their own employees, helping Trump smear one of their own reporters, Michelle Fields, by essentially calling her a liar for saying that she had been grabbed by then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
Andrew Breitbart built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed. Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda…the facts are undeniable: Breitbart News has become precisely the reverse of what Andrew would have wanted. Steve Bannon and those who follow his lead should be ashamed of themselves.
Not to say "I told you so," but I did tell you so.

2. Bannon Uses Celebrity Conservatives To Elevate His Personal Profile. Bannon began receiving conservative media attention for his documentary Generation Zero. And he began elevating his profile by latching onto Michele Bachmann with his documentary Fire From The Heartland. But he truly insinuated himself into the circles of conservative power by making a 2011 documentary about Sarah Palin, The Undefeated. His connection with Palin upped his brand in the movement significantly. He soon began appearing on Fox News with Sean Hannity fairly regularly, became personal friends with Hannity, and met Andrew Breitbart. He insinuated himself into Breitbart’s business by lending him office space, then made a documentary starring Breitbart, Occupy Unmasked. When Breitbart died, his business partner Larry Solov offered Bannon chairmanship of the company. Bannon then turned Breitbart into his personal domain, making himself a regularly bylined columnist (certainly rare for a major media company) and installing himself as a radio host on Breitbart Radio on Sirius XM. Finally, he used his role as Breitbart CEO to turn the outlet into Trump Pravda, creating a stepping stone to close connection with Trump. Breitbart publicly burned bridges with everyone to maintain its Trump loyalty. That was Bannon, a scorched-earth personal opportunist.

3. Bannon Took At Least One Major Breitbart Investor For A Serious Ride. One of the main investors in Breitbart News is Robert Mercer. The Mercer family put millions of dollars into a Ted Cruz super PAC during this election cycle, even as Bannon manipulated Breitbart News into a Cruz-bashing Trump propaganda outlet. The spokesperson for the Mercer family was Kellyanne Conway, who has now been installed as Trump’s campaign manager. I have been reliably informed by sources associated with the pro-Cruz super PAC that for months, as Bannon was using Breitbart News to promote Trump, the Mercers were defending Bannon’s neutrality to other Cruz supporters worried about Breitbart’s dishonest coverage about Cruz.

4. Breitbart’s Staff Lusts After Trump Involvement. Long before the billionaire officially entered the presidential race, Bannon was close to him; in April 2014, the Trump offices described Bannon thusly: “MAJOR SUPPORTER OF MR. TRUMP.” The new team at Trump headquarters will undoubtedly include all the Breitbart staffers who openly lusted after power within the Trump campaign: Joel Pollak, the Breitbart lawyer who desperately wanted to be a Trump speechwriter, and wrote a disgusting hit piece about me personally when I left and accurately accused the website of becoming an adjunct to the campaign; Matthew Boyle, the pseudo-journalist who reportedly bragged about becoming Trump’s press secretary; Milo Yiannopoulos, the Trump-worshipping alt-right droog stooge. They’re all in with their Godking, now.

5. Under Bannon’s Leadership, Breitbart Openly Embraced The White Supremacist Alt-Right. Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.

6. This Is Precisely The Sort of Corrupt Media Relationship Breitbart Used To Abhor. Andrew Breitbart used his memoir, Righteous Indignation, to target one thing above all else: what he called the Democrat-Media Complex. He hated the merger of the Democrats and the media, and particularly despised their lie of objectivity. Breitbart News never claimed to be objective. But until Trump won the nomination, leadership at Breitbart News maintained that they had not become a loudspeaker for Trumpism. That was obviously a lie, and one Breitbart would hate. HATE. Now, it’s clear that Breitbart News is indeed and Trumpbart News. That’s pathetic and disgusting.

7. Trump’s Campaign Strategy Could Be The Launch Of A New Media Outlet. Because Bannon’s ambitions extend to Steve Bannon, he’ll tell Trump he’s doing a fantastic job even if he isn’t. That’s how Bannon Svengalis political figures and investors – by investing them in his personal genius, then hollowing them out from the inside. There’s a reason Sarah Palin went from legitimate political figure to parody artist to Trump endorser, with Steve Bannon standing alongside her every step of the way. There’s a reason Breitbart News went from hard-charging news outlet to drooling Trump mouthpiece. Bannon emerges from all of this unscathed. So what’s next on his agenda? If Trump wins, he’s in a position of high power; if Trump loses, Bannon could head up a new media empire with Trump’s support and the involvement of new Trump supporter and ousted former Fox News head Roger Ailes. Look for Sean Hannity to be a part of any such endeavor.

8. Bannon Is A Legitimately Sinister Figure. Many former employees of Breitbart News are afraid of Steve Bannon. He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies. Bannon is a smarter version of Trump: he’s an aggressive self-promoter who name-drops to heighten his profile and woo bigger names, and then uses those bigger names as stepping stools to his next destination. Trump may be his final destination. Or it may not. He will attempt to ruin anyone who impedes his unending ambition, and he will use anyone bigger than he is – for example, Donald Trump – to get where he wants to go. Bannon knows that in the game of thrones, you win or die. And he certainly doesn’t intend to die. He’ll kill everyone else before he goes.

Bannon’s ascension is the predictable consummation of a romance he ardently pursued. I joked with friends months ago that by the end of the campaign, Steve Bannon would be running Trump’s campaign from a bunker. That’s now reality. Every nightmare for actual conservatives has come true in this campaign. Why not this one, too?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Why Is The Most Corrupt Candidate In History Winning Big?

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
August 15, 2016
The most corrupt candidate in the history of the presidency, Hillary Clinton, is cruising toward victory. If the election were held today, she’d win in excess of 360 electoral votes. She’s currently leading in Pennsylvania (+9.2 percent), Michigan (+6.6 percent), Ohio (+2.6 percent), Virginia (+8 percent), New Hampshire (+8.2 percent), Georgia (+0.3 percent), Florida (+3.6 percent), Iowa (+0.4 percent), Wisconsin (+9.4 percent), Colorado (+11 percent), North Carolina (+2 percent), Nevada (+2.3 percent). Trump’s barely ahead in Arizona (+0.3 percent) and Missouri (+5.3 percent).
How in the world is she winning?

In the last three months, the head of the FBI has said she was “extremely careless” with classified material and came whisker-close to indicting her. Every day, new headlines break about the cozy and likely illegal relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. She’s unlikable, she’s nasty, and she’s boring.
How can she be blowing out anyone, even Donald Trump?
The answer lies in what economist George Gilder might call the “information theory” of politics. Gilder says that the economy runs on new information changing the equilibrium. In essence, there is a steady drone of old information in the economy – and that’s what creates an economic status quo. Both entrepreneurial successes and devastating depressions add new information to the economy, which is why you see movement in the markets.
But old information doesn’t change anything.
This is the problem with Hillary: she doesn’t add any new information to the system. We already knew Hillary was deeply corrupt from her time in the White House. From Whitewater to Chinagate, from Travelgate to leading up the coverup for Bill’s sexual harrassments, Hillary’s corruption has been top of mind for well over two decades.
And her threats to national security have been well known for years, too. In 1996, the Clinton campaign allegedly took Chinese donations in return for declassifying sensitive missile technology, which the Chinese then used for their weaponry. So it’s no surprise to find out that she’d willingly sell access to foreign nations in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation slush fund.
In other words, she’s been so dirty for so long that it’s almost impossible to add new information to the system. All she has to do is continue to be the same old kind of dirty we already knew she was, and she’ll waltz her way to the White House.
Trump promised to expose Hillary to criticism she’d never felt before, but he hasn’t done it. Instead, Trump has provided new information to the system every day. While we’ve known Trump for as long (longer!) than Hillary, we didn’t know him on a political level in any serious way. We knew him as an entertaining business magnate and personal branding specialist. But nobody had any real perspective on his view of disabled reporters and Mexican judges. While Hillary refuses to add any new information to the system, Trump’s adding new information every day. That’s why Hillary’s campaign continues to maintain stability while Trump’s seems to bump up and down, nearly at random.
This means that if Trump wants to win, he’ll have to somehow reverse that polarity. He’ll have to force Hillary off her game – he’ll have to give us new information, a new angle about her. We already knew Hillary was Crooked Hillary; labeling her that doesn’t change the background noise. And we didn’t know that Trump was as volatile as he’s proven to be.
Trump needs to stabilize, of course. And then he needs to punch at Hillary, expose information about her most people don’t know. That’s tougher than it looks. We now live in an era where politicians benefit from surviving years of corruption – it makes them seem stable by comparison with newbies who make lots of mistakes and commit lots of sins. That’s Hillary’s major advantage, even more than the media that licks her boots. And that’s the advantage Trump will have to overcome.

Monday, August 15, 2016


Libertarians Are Blowing The Opportunity Of The Century

This is the one year I'm considering voting for the Libertarians. Too bad Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are blowing it.
Robert Tracinski 
This is the one year I am vaguely considering voting for the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson. I’m sure I’m not the only regular Republican voter to do so. Too bad Gary Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld are kind of blowing it.
I normally wouldn’t vote Libertarian because they’re a small splinter party with no hope of winning and have no real impact on the election, and because, as a result of being a small splinter party, they tend to attract a lot of crackpots and repel the best political talent. (Libertarians with real political prospects, like Rand Paul or my own congressman, Dave Brat, bolt for the Republican Party when they can.) Then there’s the Libertarians’ dogmatically anti-interventionist foreign policy, complete with Ron-Paul-style rhetoric about how we were asking for 9/11. That is not exactly what you want to hear from the commander-in-chief.
But the offerings this year from the two big parties are so dreadfully bad, so clearly below the minimum level of acceptability, that I am willing to cast about for alternatives. It’s highly unlikely the Libertarian candidate could win outright, particularly in a year when the political Right is badly divided. There’s a slightly less slim hope that he could get enough electoral votes to throw the election to the House of Representatives and prevail there with the support of disgruntled anti-Trump Republicans. But at the very least, a Libertarian candidate who gets 20 percent or 25 percent of the vote, or more, would serve as an effective way to register a protest vote against both of the major parties, rob the actual winner of any kind of mandate, and give those of us who just can’t bring ourselves to pull the lever for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton a way to vote our conscience.

All the Libertarian Party had to do was to put forward a candidate who could take relatively sane and defensible positions, particularly on the kinds of issues—like civil liberties and free markets—where you can usually expect a prominent Libertarian to think clearly and take a position in line with a commitment to liberty. Because that’s kind of what the Libertarian Party exists for, right?
Yes, well, those of us who have followed the Libertarian Party over the years know they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. So it’s no surprise that Johnson and Weld are doing their best to drive us away—and they’re doing it by not even being good at being Libertarians.
Johnson badly flubbed a question about religious liberty, for the second time, coming out in favor the state’s right to coerce you into compliance with its notion of what your religious values ought to be. He wrapped up by declaring, “I just see religious freedom, as a category, as just being a black hole.” This sort of thing is Libertarianism 101, and Johnson just flunked it.
Then in the past few days, we got Weld sounding like a Massachusetts liberal on gun control (which he basically is), making hysterical claims about imaginary gun parts like “clips” and “pins” and calling the AR-15 a “weapon of mass destruction.”
Again, this is Libertarianism 101.

Libertarians Are Basically Flower Children

So what went wrong? Actually, none of this comes out of the blue, and it reflects a basic problem with the libertarian movement going back to the beginning.
When the Libertarian Party was first formed in 1971, the free-market firebrand Ayn Rand dismissed them as “hippies of the right,” and there was definitely something to that. While some libertarians saw themselves as taking inspiration from Rand’s political ideas, there was also a large strain in the movement that saw itself as ideologically and culturally aligned with the Left, as an offshoot of the counterculture. Libertarianism wasn’t about reasserting an American tradition of liberty and constitutionally limited government. It was about smashing the system, man.
Did you notice how, in the last election, Ron Paul kept billing his campaign as the “Ron Paul Revolution,” with the “evol” flipped backward so it read “LOVE”?

This was pure hippie flower-child nostalgia.
That’s why the Libertarians have been wasting so much effort in this election trying to appeal to disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters by railing against social conservatives and the military-industrial complex and a whole bunch of other lefty bogey-men. They cling to the illusion that they can convert a bunch of utopian socialists to libertarianism, if only they make clear that they’re opposed to religious nuts discriminating against gays, and that they don’t like guns. That, and the part about being allowed to smoke pot
Meanwhile, they’re letting the political opportunity of a century pass them by. A sizeable chunk of the Republican Party is there for the taking. They may not agree with the Libertarians on everything, but they would be open to a ticket that can emphasize areas of agreement on a few core issues, while presenting themselves as the sane and normal alternative in this insane election year. You know how, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king? This is the year when just being minimally acceptable is enough to snap up millions of grateful voters. It could also be done without having to compromise actual pro-liberty principles, for example, by actually defending religious liberty and Second Amendment rights.

Even on foreign policy, a candidate who presented himself as skeptical about overseas intervention but not eager to blame America first—the kind of balancing act Rand Paul has been working on—could, in this year, seem a reasonable alternative even to the hawks.
This is an opportunity that any sensible, pro-free-market libertarian should be able to run away with. But in a year when Republicans have chosen a candidate who is indifferent to their own party’s ideological roots, Libertarians have allowed themselves to be held back by their ideological history. They just have not been able to bring themselves to change course to meet the requirements of this unprecedented political moment.
They haven’t missed this opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Follow Robert on Twitter.


15 August 16

One of the more remarkable aspects of the level of Russian activity in support of Donald Trump during the primary was how unwilling anyone was to talk about it openly. It was dismissed as conspiratorial craziness in so many corners that very few serious journalists seemed willing to engage in the idea, or to do the basic research required to reveal that something was very definitely off about the social media surrounding Trump – something that seemed very much in common with the way Russia has leveraged social media propaganda in other instances. 

The comparisons between their activity in favor of Trump and particularly in the methods used to target critics were clear, and the language barrier that created the hackneyed form of English used in their posts was easy to spot. But for some odd reason, this was never really investigated until after Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee. Odd, that. But then, as with so many other troublesome aspects of Trump, what was clear in January didn’t become a story until August.

The conversation about Paul Manafort’s ties to the dark side of political activity has finally begun.  “On a leafy side street off Independence Square in Kiev is an office used for years by Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, when he consulted for Ukraine’s ruling political party. His furniture and personal items were still there as recently as May.

“And Mr. Manafort’s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

“Handwritten ledgers show 12.7 million dollars in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

“In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

“Mr. Manafort’s involvement with moneyed interests in Russia and Ukraine had previously come to light. But as American relationships there become a rising issue in the presidential campaign — from Mr. Trump’s favorable statements about Mr. Putin and his annexation of Crimea, to the suspected Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails — an examination of Mr. Manafort’s activities offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev.

“Anti-corruption officials there say the payments earmarked for Mr. Manafort, previously unreported, are a focus of their investigation, though they have yet to determine if he actually received the cash. While Mr. Manafort is not a target in the separate inquiry of offshore activities, prosecutors say he must have realized the implications of his financial dealings.” Corey Lewandowski eagerly retweeted the link to the New York Times story, the better to get back in the good graces of his former master.

The fact that reports like this are only coming now supports those analysts who claim Vladimir Putin has already won our election.  “Alarming evidence of how deep the Kremlin’s got its tentacles in Washington mounts by the day. Large-scale hacking by Russian cyber-warriors didn’t just hit the Democratic National Committee, it stole emails from a wide array of top power-players, including the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO’s military boss.

“Systematic Russian cyber-attacks on the DNC and related political targets in Washington were detected over a year ago by the National Security Agency, which monitors foreign cyber shenanigans, but the highly classified nature of this intelligence made it difficult to alert Congress about Kremlin espionage. That the Russians stood behind this operation, using well-known hacking cut-outs, was established early by NSA. “It was the Kremlin, we had them cold,” explained an NSA official with direct knowledge of the case: “Moscow didn’t care we knew, they were unusually brazen.” Because, in a way, it only helps them for some members of the public to know what they did, and remain aghast that they were able to do it so easily.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Here are the latest, most damaging things in the DNC’s leaked emails

Why DNC chairwoman Wasserman Schultz is resigning

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee said she will resign this week in the aftermath of the release of thousands of internal email exchanges among Democratic officials. (Thomas Johnson, Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)
This post has been updated.
Thousands of leaked emails have sealed the fate of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's uneven five-plus-year tenure as DNC chair.
Wasserman Schultz's resignation announcement Sunday afternoon comes as a bad situation just keeps getting worse -- and appears as though it might continue to do so. That's because WikiLeaks has so far released nearly 20,000 emails, new details are still being discovered, and there is still the prospect of additional, damaging emails coming to light.
Many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign. Basically all of these examples came late in the primary -- after Hillary Clinton was clearly headed for victory -- but they belie the national party committee's stated neutrality in the race even at that late stage.
Below is a running list of the most troublesome findings for Wasserman Schultz and her party. As new revelations come out, we'll update it.
1) Targeting Sanders's religion?
On May 5, DNC officials appeared to conspire to raise Sanders's faith as an issue and press on whether he was an atheist -- apparently in hopes of steering religious voters in Kentucky and West Virginia to Clinton. Sanders is Jewish but has previously indicated that he's not religious.
One email from DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall read: “It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."
Marshall added in a later email: “It’s these Jesus thing.”
In response, CEO Amy Dacey said: "Amen."
2) Wasserman Schultz calls top Sanders aide a "damn liar"...
On May 17, after controversy erupted over the Nevada state Democratic convention and how fair the process was there, Wasserman Schultz herself took exception to Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver's defense of his candidate's supporters.
"Damn liar," she wrote. "Particularly scummy that he barely acknowledges the violent and threatening behavior that occurred."
3) ... and says Sanders has "no understanding" of the party
That wasn't the only time Wasserman Schultz offered an unvarnished opinion about the Sanders operation. And in one late-April email, she even questioned Sanders's connection to the party.
"Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do," she said in response to a Politico story about Sanders saying the party hadn't been fair to him.
Sanders, for what it's worth, wasn't a Democrat before entering the Democratic primary. He caucused with the party but has long been an independent.
In that way, Wasserman Schultz's comments could be read simply as her defending her party; Sanders was attacking the party, after all. But her comment also suggests a particularly dim view of Sanders that she didn't feel the need to obscure in conversations with other DNC staff.
4) A Clinton lawyer gives DNC strategy advice on Sanders
When the Sanders campaign alleged that the Clinton campaign was improperly using its joint fundraising committee with the DNC to benefit itself, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias offered the DNC guidance on how to respond.
"My suggestion is that the DNC put out a statement saying that the accusations the Sanders campaign are not true," Elias said May 3 in response to an email about the issue sent by communications director Luis Miranda to other DNC stuff that copied Elias and another lawyer at his firm, Perkins Coie.
Elias continued: "The fact that CNN notes that you aren’t getting between the two campaigns is the problem. Here, Sanders is attacking the DNC and its current practice, its past practice with the POTUS and with Sec Kerry. Just as the RNC pushes back directly on Trump over 'rigged system', the DNC should push back DIRECTLY at Sanders and say that what he is saying is false and harmful the the Democratic party."
Elias's guidance isn't perhaps all that shocking; he's Clinton's lawyer, after all. But the fact that he was talking to the DNC about how to respond would appear to suggest coordination between the DNC and Clinton campaign against Sanders in this particular case.
5) Plotting a narrative about how Sanders's campaign failed
On May 21, DNC national press secretary Mark Pautenbach suggested pushing a narrative that Sanders "never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess."
After detailing several arguments that could be made to push that narrative, Paustenbach concludes: "It's not a DNC conspiracy, it's because they never had their act together."
Paustenbach's suggestion, in that way, could be read as a defense of the committee rather than pushing negative information about Sanders. But this is still the committee pushing negative information about one of its candidates.
6) Mocking Sanders for his California debate push
One of the chief complaints from Sanders and his supporters was a lack of debates. They said the fact that there were so few was intended to help Clinton by reducing her opponents' exposure and their chances to knock her down.
After the Sanders campaign presumptuously declared that an agreement for an additional debate in California had been reached, Miranda responded to the Sanders campaign's release on May 18 simply:
As noted, the release from the Sanders campaign was presumptuous in declaring that an agreement had been reached. Miranda could simply have been responding to the somewhat-silly tactic. But the debate never actually happened, as the Clinton campaign later opted not to participate.
7) Wishing Sanders would just end it
Many of these emails came as it was clear Clinton was going to win -- which makes the apparent favoritism perhaps less offensive (though Sanders supporters would certainly disagree).
But it's also clear that there was plenty of cheerleading for the race to simply be over -- for Sanders to throw in the towel so that Clinton could be named the presumptive nominee. The party, of course, was still supposed to be neutral even though the odds and delegate deficit for Sanders looked insurmountable.
On May 1, in response to Sanders again saying he would push for a contested convention, Wasserman Schultz said, "So much for a traditional presumptive nominee."
8) Calling an alleged Sanders sympathizer a "Bernie bro"
The term "Bernie bro" -- or "Berniebro," depending on your style -- over the course of the campaign became a kind of shorthand for the worst kind of Sanders supporter. These were the supporters who couldn't be reasoned with and verbally assaulted opponents, sometimes in very nasty ways.
Some in the DNC apparently used the pejorative to refer to one particular radio host seen as overly sympathetic to Sanders, Sirius XM's Mark Thompson.
"Wait, this is a s––– topic," Miranda wrote on May 4 after Thompson's program director, David Guggenheim, requested an interview on a Clinton fundraising controversy. "Where is Guggenheim? Is he a Bernie Bro?"
"Must be a Bernie Bro," DNC broadcast booker Pablo Manriquez responds. "Per Mark’s sage, I turned him down flat (and politely) and inquired into opportunities next week to talk about something else.
9) Criticizing Obama for lack of fundraising help -- "That's f---ing stupid"
While the Sanders emails have gained the most attention, some of the more interesting emails involve a peek behind to curtain of how party officials talk about fundraising and major donors -- and even President Obama.
In one email on May 9, DNC mid-Atlantic and PAC finance director Alexandra Shapiro noted that Obama wouldn't travel 20 minutes to help the party secure $350,000 in donations.
"He really won’t go up 20 minutes for $350k?" Shapiro wrote. "THAT’S f---ing stupid."
DNC national finance director Jordan Kaplan responded: "or he is the president of the united states with a pretty big day job."
10) Flippant chatter about donors
In a May 16 exchange about where to seat a top Florida donor, Kaplan declared that "he doesn’t sit next to POTUS!" -- referring to Obama.
“Bittel will be sitting in the sh---iest corner I can find,” responded Shapiro. She also referred to other donors as "clowns."
Here are some other things Kaplan and Shapiro said about donors, via Karen Tumulty and Tom Hamburger:
Kaplan directed Shapiro to put New York philanthropist Philip Munger in the prime spot, switching out Maryland ophthalmologist Sreedhar Potarazu. He noted that Munger was one of the largest donors to Organizing for America, a nonprofit that advocates for Obama’s policies. “It would be nice to take care of him from the DNC side,” Kaplan wrote.
Shapiro pushed back, noting that Munger had given only $100,600 to the party, while the Potarazu family had contributed $332,250.
In one email attachment from Erik Stowe, the finance director for Northern California, to Tammy Paster, a fundraising consultant, he lists the benefits given to different tiers of donors to the Democratic National Convention, which starts next week in Philadelphia. The tiers range from a direct donation of $66,800 to one of $467,600 to the DNC. The documents also show party officials discussing how to reward people who bundle between $250,000 to $1.25 million.
Correction: This post initially referred to Guggenheim as the host of a Sirius XM show. He is program director for Sirius XM host Mark Thompson.

Friday, July 22, 2016


It has never ceased to amaze me that the geniuses who founded our Nation by publishing that magnificent document of human liberty, The Declaration of Independence, and who then proceeded to craft the world's first authentic and viable Constitution which enabled our Federal Republic to be born failed so miserably in devising a system for selecting the President of the United States.

From the beginning, after the virtually unanimous selection of George Washington to be the first President, the selection of the person to occupy the highest office in the new Republic degenerated into petty partisan politics controlling the process of selecting a President.

One would have thought that the eventual creation in the mid 19th Century of a two-party system of political organization would have facilitated a smooth process.  But what we have witnessed in the primaries of 2016 is proof that we do not have a real primary system, we have organized chaos.

The problem has its origin in the fact that there is not really a national system of primaries, there is a chaotic delegation of the control of presidential primaries to the separate party organization each of the 50 states.  The result of such delegation is true chaos.

Here is what the National Conference of State Legislatures has to say about the chaos:

The laws governing state primaries are complex and nuanced to say the least, and state primary laws have been a cause of confusion among voters and election administrators alike.The manner in which party primary elections are conducted varies widely from state to state. 
Primaries can be categorized as either closed, partially closed, partially open, open to unaffiliated votersopen, or top-two.

Closed Primaries

In general, a voter seeking to vote in a closed primary must first be a registered party member. Typically, the voter affiliates with a party on his or her voter registration application. This system deters “cross-over” voting by members of other parties. Independent or unaffiliated voters, by definition, are excluded from participating in the party nomination contests. This system generally contributes to a strong party organization.
Delaware Nevada Pennsylvania
Florida New Mexico
Kentucky New York
Maryland Oregon


Partially Closed

In this system, state law permits political parties to choose whether to allow unaffiliated voters or voters not registered with the party to participate in their nominating contests before each election cycle. In this type of system, parties may let in unaffiliated voters, while still excluding members of opposing parties. This system gives the parties more flexibility from year-to-year about which voters to include. At the same time, it can create uncertainty about whether or not certain voters can participate in party primaries in a given year.
Partially Closed Primary States
Alaska Oklahoma
Connecticut South Dakota
Idaho Utah
North Carolina

Partially Open

This system permits voters to cross party lines, but they must either publicly declare their ballot choice or their ballot selection may be regarded as a form of registration with the corresponding party. Illinois and Ohio have this system. Iowa asks voters to choose a party on the state voter registration form, yet it allows a primary voter to publicly change party affiliation for purposes of voting on primary Election Day. Some state parties keep track of who votes in their primaries as a means to identify their backers. 
Partially Open Primary States
Illinois Tennessee
Indiana Wyoming


Open to Unaffiliated Voters

A number of states allow only unaffiliated voters to participate in any party primary they choose, but do not allow voters who are registered with one party to vote in another party’s primary. This system differs from a true open primary because a Democrat cannot cross over and vote in a Republican party primary, or vice versa. Some of these states, such as Colorado and New Hampshire, require that unafilliated voters declare affiliation with a party at the polls in order to vote in that party’s primary.
Open to Unaffiliated Voters Primary States
Arizona Massachusetts West Virginia
Colorado New Hampshire
Kansas New Jersey
Maine Rhode Island

Open Primaries

In general, but not always, states that do not ask voters to choose parties on the voter registration form are “open primary” states. In an open primary, voters may choose privately in which primary to vote. In other words, voters may choose which party’s ballot to vote, but this decision is private and does not register the voter with that party. This permits a voter to cast a vote across party lines for the primary election. Critics argue that the open primary dilutes the parties’ ability to nominate. Supporters say this system gives voters maximal flexibility—allowing them to cross party lines—and maintains their privacy.
Open Primary States
Arkansas Minnesota North Dakota Virginia
Georgia Mississippi South Carolina Wisconsin
Hawaii Missouri Texas

Top-Two Primaries

California, Louisiana, Nebraska (for state elections) and Washington currently use a “top two” primary format. The “top two” format uses a common ballot, listing all candidates on the same ballot. In California and Louisiana, each candidate lists his or her party affiliation, whereas in Washington, each candidate is authorized to list a party “preference.” The top two vote getters in each race, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Advocates of the "top-two" format argue that it increases the likelihood of moderate candidates advancing to the general election ballot. Opponents maintain that it reduces voter choice by making it possible that two candidates of the same party face off in the general election. They also contend that it is tilted against minor parties who will face slim odds of earning one of only two spots on the general election ballot.
Top-Two Primary States
California Nebraska (for nonpartisan legislative races only)
Louisiana Washington

Presidential Primary Rules

States may have radically different systems for how they conduct their state and presidential primaries: some states hold their state and presidential primaries on the same day, some hold them weeks or even months apart, and some hold the two primaries on the same day but have different rules for each primary. See NCSL's State Primary Types Table for which state primary rules also apply to presidential elections.

The best example to prove that this is a chaotic system of presidential primaries in the 50 states is that it has produced the present insane situation of the Republican nomination of Donald Trump and imminent nomination of Hillary Clinton.

I will use Texas as an example to show how this came to pass since it is the State in which I reside.

Texas is an open primary State.  That means that anyone who is registered to vote, regardless of their past voting in one or another of the parties, could cast a vote in either the Republican or the Democrat primary.

In the Spring of 2016 when the primaries were held, Donald Trump was leading in the polls for the Republican nomination.  Similarly Hillary Clinton was leading in the polls for the Democrat nomination.  Since it was obvious at that time (before the email scandal really broke) that Hillary was a shoe-in for the Democrat nomination, some of the Democrat party leaders in Texas urged Democrats to cross over and vote for Donald Trump in the Republican Primary since it was their belief that Hillary would easily defeat Donald Trump in the General Election in November; more easily than having to defeat Ted Cruz or one of the other Republican candidates.  So what happened?

In the Texas Republican primary in 2012 there were 1,449,477 votes cast.  In the same Primary in 2016 there were 2,836,488 votes cast - an increase of 95.69% in the total number of votes cast.  There can be no doubt that many if not most of those additional votes were the votes of Democrats wanting to make sure that Donald Trump would do well in the primary.   And he did.  Trump got 26.7% of the vote, not enough to totally defeat Ted Cruz, a popular Senator from Texas, but enough to weaken Cruz's appeal in the other primary states.  Cruz got 43.8% of the votes in Texas.

If this could happen in Texas where Trump was pitted against native-son Cruz, it is easy to imagine how easily Trump won the majority of votes in the other fifteen states that allow open voting which permitted Democrats to pick Hillary's opposition in the General Election in November.

The widespread crossover voting that occurred in so many states in the Spring Primaries of 2016 enabled the Democrats to pick the Republican Nominee who they believe Hillary could most easily defeat.

The mantra heard so often during the days before the Republican Convention that the delegates would not be allowed to vote their consciences but had to vote for the candidate they were pledged to in the primaries was the death knell of the Republican Party in 2016.

Leo Rugiens


Donald Trump:  "I am your voice!"

Adolf Hitler:  "Ich bin deine stimme!"

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Posted: 20 Jul 2016 01:01 PM PDT

New York Daily News Eulogy for the Republican Party
Bill Kristol, the editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard, introduced as his thesis the dire observation that “Hillary Clinton may or may not be the all-around worst presidential nominee in the history of the Democratic party.” But after nearly 188 years of providing the electorate “some pretty unappealing characters” — candidates like James Buchanan and Jimmy Carter, George McClellan and George McGovern, whose policies might have or actually caused “great harm to the nation” — it is not untrue to acknowledge how the GOP has been stained by candidates like Warren G. Harding, Richard Nixon and now Donald Trump, for whom no historically conscious Republican would wisely ignore how many times “it was perhaps as well that the Republican nominee did not prevail in the general election.”
Matt Bai yesterday observed that Trump “doesn’t represent the majority of Republican voters,” nor has he “exposed the true nature of the Republican Party as liberals always portrayed it to be.” However, Trump “does represent the party’s most aggrieved and motivated supporters right now.” And because of these indisputable facts, because he has stifled the better judgment of the majority by applying the traditional Alinsky-esque tactic of mobilizing those marginalized along the Alt Right periphery straddling both parties, Bai is correct: “he’s actually taken the party over and made it reflect his own persona.” 
GOP Committing Suicide
My conservative and Christian values are my rock; my principles that guide me which are forever grounded by the best intentions. And because of this, I may well vote now for Hillary Clinton. Not because she is the lesser of two evils, but due to her being the most conservative candidate of the two remaining. I do not need a messiah; I already have Jesus in my life.
From my angle, Mrs. Clinton has already met the criteria for what traditionally is described by conservatives as “The Buckley Rule” – that is, Republicans should always support the most conservative candidate possible. A general rule I adopted last year which Margaret Thatcher wrote in her last autobiography is the understanding that I am ideologically married to my principles; I vote based on my convictions, never the consensus even in the face of death threats, physical coercion or intimidation. But Mrs. Thatcher was far more succinct in her explanation as I segue into explaining my opposition to a Trump presidency at any cost so long as the republic is conserved.

“For my part, I favour an approach to statecraft that embraces principles, as long as it is not stifled by them; and I prefer such principles to be accompanied by steel along with good intentions.”
— Excerpt from Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World. p. xxii

My principles are my bedrock, my impenetrable fortress in solitude; they are my foundation grounded in steel. But I will not stand by and allow them to erode by permitting them to deter my ability to protect them at any cost. While I am an arch-conservative, I am also a pragmatist in protecting mine and my family’s safety and interests. Donald Trump represents the greatest existential threat to the life of the conservative rubric.
Hillary Clinton is indisputably the most conservative candidate remaining. Because Trump has openly refused to be my knight as a true conservative repudiating seven devastating years of the Obama presidency, Hillary Clinton will now become my pawn. She can be controlled easily by her donor class handlers on the merits of her possessing absolutely no ethical or moral principle. Show Hillary Clinton the money, and she will do anything: she can engage in just enough or nothing at all to maintain the status quo if nothing else. And while true how Trump also possesses neither ethical or moral standards, he is now a politician who for years funded the elitists in American politics. He cannot be controlled by either party, much less constrained by our own Constitution any more so than Barack Obama. And unlike Hillary Clinton, Trump will force through legal and physical coercion both parties to pass any bill he demands, if not entirely bypass Congress altogether.
David French today published in National Review the observations that conservatism “is invested in the long game — our own “long march” through American cultural institutions.” We would therefore be loathe to discard “years of influence for the sake of four months of intraparty peace.” And make no mistake that Trump will crash and burn while either campaigning or if we are so unfortunate in trusting our countrymen’s stupidity, in the Oval Office — and the American people will not soon look to his partisans and defenders to “rebuild from the wreckage.” This is why for the sake of the nation, “those other voices” who are conservative and untainted by alliance or association with the “newly minted Republican nominee” must place their egos and thirst for absolute power aside if for no other reason than to salvage what little opposition to the rise of left-wing socialism remains by not supporting its nationalist Alt Right cousin..
This is why Hillary Clinton is now a marginal threat by all objective, moral assessments. It is therefore Donald Trump who must lose as he is the least conservative of the two candidates. This is why I may break with my first decision to vote for neither candidate if in fact, Trump surpasses Hillary in the polls late in the race. And, as French assessed, it is true that Trump represents the dirth in integrity the American people need in their leaders, not to mention a woman “of low morals” in Mrs. Clinton. But to those too blind to avoid not approaching this election as a choice between the lesser of two evils, I can find a more pragmatic approach to achieving stability by dragging out the cancer represented by Hillary Clinton as opposed to an instant death by way of the massive Trump heart attack.
Now, more than ever, the #NeverTrump movement must rise to the occasion one last time during our nation’s darkest hour now that Trump is officially the nominee. The Republican Party is now a direct reflection of Donald Trump. If elected, he will become synonymous with Louis XIV — the most consequential monarch in French history — by declaring himself “the state”, and we will be told to simply “eat cake”. Only in Trump’s case, there will be no Cardinal Jules Mazarin to either train him, temper or constrain his ambitions — and a matter of time before the far left-wing extremists finally topple his American Bastille.