The Phony Campaign

2019-06-16 Update

[Amazon Link]

Ah, all is once again right with the world. Donald Trump is on top of our phony candidates' Google hit counts:

Candidate WinProb Change
Since
6/9
Phony
Results
Change
Since
6/9
Donald Trump 46.5% unch 2,170,000 +320,000
Pete Buttigieg 6.8% -1.2% 1,800,000 -370,000
Bernie Sanders 6.6% -1.7% 840,000 +376,000
Joe Biden 16.5% +1.1% 681,000 +406,000
Elizabeth Warren 7.1% +2.0% 223,000 +22,000
Kamala Harris 5.3% -1.0% 90,000 -12,000
Beto O'Rourke 2.2% +0.1% 66,600 +500
Andrew Yang 2.7% +0.4% 23,700 +2,100

"WinProb" calculation described here. Google result counts are bogus.

The Betfair bettors seem to have bought into a Strange New Respect for Elizabeth Warren. She now has better winning odds than any other Democrat not named Joe. It was only a few weeks ago that she seemed to be circling the drain. Now it's Beto! who seems to be on his way to dipping below our 2% WinProb inclusion criterion.

The Democrats announced their debate lineups for later this month, with twenty phonies meeting their inclusion criteria. That's thirteen candidates not in the table above. Specifically: Michael Bennet ( Betfair-derived WinProb: 0.26%); Eric Swalwell (0.40%); Kirsten Gillibrand (0.40%); John Hickenlooper (0.48%); Cory Booker (0.77%); Amy Klobuchar (0.77%); John Delaney (0.27%); Tulsi Gabbard (1.54%); Julian Castro (0.50%); Tim Ryan (0.71%); Bill de Blasio (0.22%); and Jay Inslee (0.31%).

Oh, and also Marianne Willamson, who Betfair doesn't even bother to include. Notice that they do include folks like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Kanye West, Oscar De La Hoya, and other unlikely winners. That has to hurt a little, Marianne.

In last week's phony news:

  • The Washington Examiner reported: Cory Booker says elementary school yoga can help end the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’.

    Cory Booker endorsed an elementary school program that sends children that cause disruptions to yoga classes instead of detention.

    Fort Worthington Elementary School in Baltimore hired an instructor to teach children meditation and yoga. Instead of punishing children that cause problems with detention, teachers send the children to yoga class, according to a viral video posted by NowThis on Monday.

    "This is amazing. When we talk about ending the school-to-prison pipeline, this is exactly the kind of thoughtful, innovative and commonsense practice to we need to adopt," Booker, a Democratic candidate for president, tweeted Tuesday.

    Hire more yoga teachers, problem solved! It's obvious when you think about it for a few seconds!

    "Commonsense" takes on an entirely different meaning when uttered by politicians, doesn't it?


  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes at Reason, and Kamala Harris really sticks in her craw, in an amusing way: Kamala Harris Tries (Again) to Rewrite Her History as a Prosecutor of Petty Crimes.

    Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) is "leaning into" her history as a prosecutor, some observers noted after the 2020 presidential candidate gave a speech Saturday in South Carolina. Rewriting her history would be more accurate.

    "In this election, regarding my background as a prosecutor, there have been those who have questioned my motivations, my beliefs, and what I have done," Harris said at an event organized by the South Carolina NAACP. "But my mother used to say, you don't let people tell you who you are. You tell them who you are. Let me be clear, self-appointed political commentators do not get to define who we are and what we believe."

    But if we're to rely on Harris' own words and writing about who she is and what she believes, we're left with a whole lot of contradictions and all sorts of major gaps—as I note in Reason's latest print issue. Throughout her political career, Harris has been prone to playing up her progressive bona fides when it suits her and her carceral-centric side at other times. But her actions as a prosecutor almost always fell in the latter camp.

    Perhaps, as David French notes at National Review, Kamala is running for Queen.


  • In our occasional "If We Didn't Have Double Standards, They'd Have No Standards At All" Department, Legal Insurrection notes: Media Declares Speculation About Biden's Health Off-Limits After Speculating About Trump's Mental Health. Specifically, quoting a finger-shaking Daily Beast article on occasional Fox News conjectures about Wheezy Joe:

    In the news business, it is considered irresponsible to spread baseless, potentially damaging rumors about public figures.

    LI points out, among many examples, a 2018 Daily Beast article headlined "How Close Is Donald Trump to a Psychiatric Breakdown?"


  • Speaking of irresponsibility, it would be irresponsible if we didn't note Authenticity when it's observed, as it was by the Daily Wire: Joe Biden Didn’t Campaign In Iowa Last Weekend. His Reason Why Is The Most Authentic Thing He’s Said This Election..

    At a fundraiser Monday night in Washington, DC, Biden said, “I got criticism from one of my competitors because I didn't show up in Iowa to speak for five minutes with 19 people," according to the Associated Press.

    New York Times reporter Katie Glueck tweeted Monday night that a pool reporter said Biden continued, “My granddaughter was graduating. It was my daughter’s birthday. I would skip inauguration for that.”

    The AP reported Biden actually said “I would skip the damn inauguration for that.” (Emphasis added.)

    One cheer for Joe. But one can only hope he'll be skipping the damn inauguration for some other good reason. Specifically, losing.


  • … because it was right back to phoniness after that brief outbreak of honesty. As reported by Jim Geraghty at the NR Corner: Joe Biden Promises He Will Cure Cancer if Elected.

    Yesterday in Iowa Joe Biden declared, “I’ve worked so hard in my career that, I promise you, if I’m elected president, you’re going to see the single most important thing that changes America: We’re going to cure cancer.”

    Geraghty goes on to recall VP candidate John Edwards promising in 2004 that the Kerry/Edwards Administration would use stem cells to insure that "people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

    And now Joe says that all we have to do to cure cancer is to elect him. Perhaps via yoga classes.


URLs du Jour

2019-06-15

[Amazon Link]

  • I believe there may be sarcastic content in Drew Cline's post at the Josiah Bartlett Center: Our legislators must be scientific super geniuses.

    For years, legislators have been on a relentless quest to raise electricity rates for Granite Staters. Because unlike the rest of us, they are geniuses.

    None of us knows exactly what New Hampshire’s energy mix should be. None of us could say precisely how much of the state’s energy should come from solar or biomass.

    But they know.

    Bottom line: consider our high electric bills to be "the price we pay for living under the benevolent guidance of brilliant elites who know best how to spend the money we earn."


  • At Reason, Peter Suderman reports: Democrats Are Fighting Over Socialism, and the Socialists Are Winning.

    On Wednesday, Bernie Sanders, the independent senator and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, delivered a major speech on socialism. Titled, "How Democratic Socialism Is the Only Way to Defeat Oligarchy and Authoritarianism," the speech sought to give us Sanders' own definition of socialism. But the address left enough lingering questions that it might better be understood as a declaration simply that Sanders is a socialist, whatever that is.

    Socialism—what it is, whether it's any good, and who counts as a socialist—has become a major divide in the Democratic primary and is likely to play a role in the 2020 general election, no matter who is on the ticket.

    As others have pointed out: the difference between Sanders and Warren and Biden and O'Rourke and … are not so much in their (invariably statist, expensive, prosperity-destroying) policy proposals, but in the (invariably dishonest) labels they use to describe themselves.


  • Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt newsletter is usually an entertaining hodgepodge of stuff, and yesterday's was no exception, but I especially liked this bit, about President Trump's latest "outrageous" statement:

    […] why is there surprise that Trump said he would accept opposition research or dirt from a foreign government if offered in the 2020 cycle? He never apologizes. He never admits mistakes. In his mind, something or someone who helps him is good, regardless of all other factors, and something or someone who criticizes him is bad, regardless of all other factors. This is why he keeps talking about how nice those letters from Kim Jong Un are. He cannot assess the quality of someone or something outside of the context of self-interest.

    Trump will say whatever pops into his head in response to any question, and he’s demonstrated time and time again that he does not care where he is — whether it is in front of the wall of stars at CIA headquarters or whether he’s sitting in front of the graves at Normandy.

    He is who he is, he will not change, he will not modify or adapt, and most of us figured that out a long time ago. This is why the “You won’t believe what Trump said” coverage gets tuned out after a while. Yes, we will believe it.

    As Paul Hollywood occasionally comments when a brilliant contestant has committed some sort of baking blunder: "It's a shame, really."


  • The Google LFOD News Alert brings us The Day columnist Steve Fagin advising us: Don’t be a loser on the trail. After relating the embarrassing (and expensive) rescues of wannabe outdoorsmen, he notes that we do it different here in New Hampshire:

    The Granite State is one of few to demand reimbursement from hikers, hunters and others whose negligence resulted in a need for rescue services. This gives new meaning to the state motto, "Live Free or Die."

    Steve advertises our state's Hike Safe Card, a revenue-raising scheme for NH's Fish & Game Department. It's a mere $25 for individuals, and your rescue is free even if you "acted negligently" in getting into that situation.

    Unless (this gets complicated) you've "done any of the actions in RSA 153-A:24, I: being Under the Influence; take one or more people hostage; threaten yourself or others; create a said situation "Recklessly or intentionally".

    Just to be safe, you might want to take printed copies of the RSAs and the State Constituion on your next hike.


  • I went to see Neal Stephenson at the Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth last night. Got a personally-signed copy of his latest novel Fall, and exchanged a few words about Iowa, our common state of origin. He's got a very dry sense of humor.

    But our LFOD alert was triggered by this story in our local paper's "EDGE" entertainment guide: Lucette [Lauren Gillis] to the Music Hall Loft June 15. It's an interview:

    EDGE: You’re heading to New Hampshire for a gig at the Music Hall Loft on Saturday, June 15th. What are you most looking forward to when you visit us here?

    Gillis: I have played at the Loft a few times! It’s always such an enjoyable venue with great people.

    What else am I looking forward to? Honestly, eating seafood. I go to Row 34 every time I’m there and get a lobster roll, usually for breakfast. It’s a definite splurge, but I always look forward to it. I also love the state motto “Live free or die.” It sounds like a song (laughs).

    Well, it is a song.

    Well, I'm doin' ten to twenty
    In the frozen granite state
    And every day I go to work
    To stamp out license plates
    Everyday I got to work
    And every night I cry
    Cause every license plate I make tells me to
    Live Free or Die
    
    [Chorus]
    Live free or die
    Oh Lord tell me why
    Can't they say seat belts fastened
    Or Oklahoma is okay
    Vacation land sounds mighty great
    I wouldn't mind stampin' out the Garden State
    It's enough to make me cry
    Live free or die
    
    Well I didn't mean to shoot that man
    Why the gun just went off in my hand
    I caught him with my wife
    And it cost that man his life
    I'd just got home from the factory
    And that man was sittin' where I'm supposed to be
    Now he's up there in the sky and I'm stuck with
    Live free or die
    
    [Chorus]
    
    So let this be a lesson
    To all you married men out there
    That patience is a virtue
    So make your plans with care
    So if you catch your wife with another man
    It's best to hold off as long as you can
    Then shoot him in another state where they got
    A different license plate
    

    That is… kinda brilliant.

URLs du Jour

2019-06-14

[Amazon Link]

Administrative note: Readers may have noticed that I occasionally embed the genius cartooning of Michael P. Ramirez, using one of two methods: (1) the 'embed.ly' service; (2) embedding the tweet that Mr. Ramirez composes.

Neither is that great. The embed.ly method clips the cartoons, and (worse) occasionally fails altogether. And the tweet method displays a lot of extra junk.

So I'm going back and redoing things, rewriting a few embeds each day. I'm uploading the cartoons to my Google Drive and embedding from there. It's a little tedious, but the result seems more reliable and looks better.

Hope I don't get sued.

  • At the Library of Economics and Liberty, Dan Klein writes on how members of a small, unimportant, impotent fraction of the political scene should refer to themselves: Classical Liberal > Libertarian?.

    Increasingly, the political left is being accused of being illiberal. Meanwhile, “classical liberal” gains usage (see 1, 2). Some of those who call themselves classical liberal are quick to distinguish that from “libertarian” (for example, Stephen Davies here, Charles Cooke here).

    The rise of “classical liberal” might be built on putting down “libertarian.”

    What’s the difference? And what about conservatives? Can they be classical liberals?

    An interesting taxonomic discussion. I'm not a fan of labels, because you'll invariably wind up sharing your label with some people with whom you'd rather not be 100% associated.


  • National Review's Kevin D. Williamson takes on a recent Nicolas Kristof column in which he contrasted Guatemalan immiseration with (specifically) the $295 hamburger you can get at a trendy NYC restaurant. Kevin asks the relevant question: But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?.

    Kristof never gets around to saying what he believes to be the relationship between the $295 hamburger and the hungry kids in Guatemala. All he offers is: “Something’s wrong with this picture,” i.e., cheap moralizing. Guatemala’s hungry children deserve more than posturing.

    The lesson we usually are meant to take from these juxtapositions is that the luxury of the rich causes the deprivation of the poor, that we should “live simply that others may simply live.” But that does not really stand up to five seconds’ critical thinking: Do you know what they do not have very much of in Guatemala? Restaurants selling $295 hamburgers. And do you know what they do not have very much of on the Upper East Side? Children stunted from starvation.

    There is a lesson in there.

    If there's the slightest doubt in your mind about the lesson, or even if there isn't, click on through.


  • In our occasional 'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means' department, Billy Binion reports at Reason: Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders Claims to Love ‘Economic Freedom’.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) made his case for democratic socialism yesterday in a speech at George Washington University and an interview on CNN's Anderson 360. Among other things, he called for a "21st Century Economic Bill of Rights" that guarantees "a decent job that pays a living wage," "quality health care," "a complete education," "affordable housing," "a clean environment," and "a secure retirement."

    Sanders, who is vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, pitched his policies as the only means to "achieving political and economic freedom in every community."

    Yes, Bernie's "freedom" involves the government giving you stuff, getting other people to pay for it. If you're lucky.


  • In our "Aieee, we're all gonna die" department, CBS News reports on a recent Taurid swarm study: Earth is approaching the same "meteor swarm" that may have caused Tunguska impact in 1908, when entire forest in Russia exploded.

    A swarm of meteors heading toward Earth could have the potential to cause a catastrophic impact, a new study from Western Ontario University says. The so-called Taurid swarm is a recurring event that some scientists believe could have played a role in the biggest Earth impact of modern times, in 1908, when a space rock slammed into Siberia with enough force to destroy an entire forest.

    What has become known as the Tunguska explosion of 1908 was so powerful that the blast leveled 80 million trees over an 800-square-mile area. It's considered to be a one-in-1,000-year event, according to Western Ontario University. But while the Tunguska explosion occurred just over a century ago, another such phenomenon could occur much sooner than its 1,000-year expectancy, the researchers say. That's why they're focusing new attention on the Taurid swarm.

    If you would prefer to read something a little less breathless and a little more science-based, (my old classmate) Kelly Beatty at Sky & Telescope has you covered.


  • So meteor swarms are (potentially) hazardous to your planet. Is that the reason we never see aliens? Maybe, but that's not the only possible explanation! Science Alert reports that A Physicist Has Proposed a Pretty Depressing Explanation For Why We Never See Aliens.

    The Universe is so unimaginably big, and it's positively teeming with an almost infinite supply of potentially life-giving worlds. So where the heck is everybody?

    At its heart, this is what's called the Fermi Paradox: the perplexing scientific anomaly that despite there being billions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy – let alone outside it – we've never encountered any signs of an advanced alien civilisation, and why not?

    The new "depressing" explanation is a two-parter: (1) "the first life that reaches interstellar travel capability necessarily eradicates all competition to fuel its own expansion" and (2) that's probably us.

    Why is this seen as "depressing"? It's science. Nobody finds Ohm's Law depressing.


Last Modified 2019-06-15 5:09 AM EDT

URLs du Jour

2019-06-13

[Amazon Link]

  • Bleeding Heart Libertarian contributor Roderick Long writes on a philosophical conflict of which I, and maybe you, were unaware: Randians vs. Stoics.

    Stoicism is undergoing a bit of a renaissance today, both in academic philosophy (partly because it’s seen as a way of mediating between the eudaimonistic, virtue-ethical Aristotelean approach and the deontological Kantian approach; partly because of Foucault’s role, in his later works, of reviving the “care of the self” tradition in ethics) and in works of popular psychology. (There’s also a striking similarity between the Stoic theory of the emotions and that of Sartre, though I’m not aware that anyone besides myself has commented on this.)

    Primarily in response to the popular-psychology use of Stoicism, Randian scholar Aaron Smith has an article up today warning against the perilous influence of the Stoa and urging the preferability of the Randian alternative.

    Interesting! Part of the conflict, of course, is due to Randians adopting the default position: "anything that isn't Objectivism sucks." Following the style of Ms. Rand.


  • Why, yes, I am old enough to remember the Fairness Doctrine. And I'm in agreement with Paul Matzko at Cato: The Fairness Doctrine Was Terrible for Broadcasting and It Would Be Terrible for the Internet.

    Skepticism of big tech companies is surging on both sides of the political spectrum, from Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren calling for breaking up Amazon to Republican Senator Josh Hawley advocating rules that would prohibit online viewpoint discrimination. This wave of techno-progressivism finds its latest expression in Slate journalist April Glaser’s article, “Bring Back the Golden Age of Broadcast Regulation.”

    Glaser argues that the problems of internet discourse—eg hate speech, haphazard content moderation, and conspiracy peddling—are so trenchant that government intervention is warranted. She calls for applying the rules that once governed mid-twentieth century radio and television broadcasting to the internet, the most important of which was the mandate that broadcasting be done in the “public interest, convenience, and necessity” as laid out in the 1934 Communications Act. Inspired by that mandate, reform-minded progressives at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted the Fairness Doctrine in 1949, which required broadcasters to provide multiple points of view when discussing political disagreements.

    The usually unspoken premise of calls for "fairness" is that the American people are too stupid and/or unsophisticated to shop the marketplace of ideas and make up their own minds about the quality and correctness of the views they encounter.

    I suppose that could be right. But that's kind of an argument against letting them vote, too.


  • Are NASA's human spaceflight priorities correct? Robert Zubrin, writing at National Review, argues, nay, NASA's Human Spaceflight Priorities Are Wrong.

    The Trump administration has proposed a bold new initiative, dubbed the Artemis Program, that will send astronauts to the Moon by 2024 and Mars by 2033. As detailed by NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine in a presentation on May 23, the program will include some 37 launches by 2028, kicked off by the maiden launch of the agency’s new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift booster in October 2020.

    Unfortunately, the program as currently conceived is very unlikely to succeed, as it appears to be designed primarily as a mechanism for distributing funds, rather than for accomplishing goals in space. This was made clear when Bridenstine said that a baseline condition for the program would be that all piloted missions would use the SLS booster and the Orion crew capsule, neither of which has yet flown, rather than much cheaper alternatives that have flown. Furthermore, at 26 tons the Orion is so heavy that the SLS cannot deliver it to low lunar orbit with enough propellant for it to fly home. So rather than using a SpaceX Dragon (which at 10 tons is still 50 percent larger than the Apollo crew capsule), which either SLS or the already operational and vastly cheaper ($150 million per launch, compared to over $1 billion for SLS) Falcon Heavy could readily deliver, NASA is proposing to build a new space station, called the Deep Space Gateway, in a high orbit around the Moon, as a halfway house accessible to Orion.

    Yes, unfortunately. NASA's plans seem to whipsaw with each new administration, never actually settling on any scheme long enough to actually accomplish anything. And the financing seems to be modeled on that of California High-Speed Rail. ("It's gonna cost more than we said, take much longer to build, and it's not gonna do what we promised.")


  • At Reason, Veronique de Rugy spells it out: Trump’s Tariffs Hurt American Freedom and Prosperity.

    The air always swirls with popular myths that, when repeated constantly, are taken by some to be indisputably true. One such myth today is that President Donald Trump is unique among presidents in standing up firmly to the Chinese and other foreigners to stop them from harming us economically with their import restrictions, export subsidies, and illegal immigration. According to that theory, the tariffs he uses to counter these foreign practices are to our benefit. As such, we should purportedly welcome them with gratitude.

    Trump is indeed unique among modern presidents in his eagerness to use tariffs. But his vaunted "toughness" in using them is nothing for us Americans to applaud: We should instead condemn their use. Trump's so-called standing up to foreigners is more like stomping on Americans' freedom and prosperity.

    The only upside: Trump has turned Democrats into free-trade advocates! Because Orange Man Bad! (But will they maintain their newfound wisdom once Trump is gone? Ha.)


  • New Hampshire Commie Public Radio triggered our LFOD Alert with a local story: Sununu Promises to Veto State Budget If It Keeps Democrats' Plan for Paid Family Leave. This is amusing:

    Democrats in the House and Senate want a paid family leave program funded by a mandatory payroll deduction, which the Governor calls an income tax. Democrats also want to freeze business taxes at current rates, reversing yet-to-take effect tax cuts favored by Republicans.

    Yeah, it's pretty outrageous that the Governor calls a mandatory payroll deduction an income tax. How dare he de-euphemize like that?!

    And, worse, he invokes LFOD:

    "With an income tax it will be vetoed," Sununu said. "That's an income tax in New Hampshire. I mean let's remember what New Hampshire is all about. Let’s remember what 'live free or die' is all about. Let's remember, ‘Why do we have opportunity today that other states don't?’"

    Which reminds me, I have to send in this quarter's estimated payment on NH's Interest & Dividends tax. Which is not an Income Tax, because… never mind.


Last Modified 2019-06-13 1:04 PM EDT

URLs du Jour

2019-06-12

[Amazon Link]

  • At National Review, Alexandra DeSanctis notes a strange, but convenient, disconnect in the rhetoric of our progressive friends. Abortion Politics: Progressives Use Corporate Influence.

    In the wake of outrage over abortion restrictions, corporations can be people once again. Afraid of losing access to “reproductive rights,” progressives have rediscovered their fondness for using corporate influence to cow their moral inferiors into submission.

    The latest culprit in need of chastisement is the pro-life movement, which after decades of persistent work has sustained several consecutive months of policy success, passing legislation in state after state to limit the killing of unborn human beings.

    There's a strange silence of the use of corporate money to influence political questions, when the questions are being influenced by the correct corporations in the correct way.


  • At the Free Beacon, Jeffrey Cimmino describes the vacuum chamber between the ears of a presidential candidate: Gillibrand Compares Pro-Life Viewpoint to Racism, Suggests Pro-Life Beliefs Are 'Not Acceptable'.

    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) compared pro-life beliefs to racism and suggested the pro-life viewpoint is "not acceptable" during an interview with the Des Moines Register.

    Gillibrand's comments came in response to a question about if having a litmus test for judicial nominees would threaten judicial independence. The senator has promised to only appoint justices who would uphold Roe v. Wade.

    "I think there's some issues that have such moral clarity that we have as a society decided that the other side is not acceptable. Imagine saying that it's okay to appoint a judge who's racist or anti-Semitic or homophobic. Asking someone to appoint someone who takes away basic human rights of any group of people in America—I don't think that those are political issues anymore," Gillibrand said.

    Conversations and discussions with people who view baby-killing as one of the "basic human rights" cannot be had.


  • Reason's Nick Gillespie describes the latest outrage committed in Bill DeBlasio's domain: New York City Landmarks Historic Bookstore The Strand Over Owner’s Objections.

    New York City's Landmarks Preservation Committee (LPC) just wouldn't take no for an answer. The group has conferred landmark status on the 119-year-old building at 826 Broadway, which has housed The Strand Bookstore since 1956. The owners of The Strand bought the building in the late 1990s and the third-generation owner of the store, Nancy Bass Wyden, opposed the action, telling Reason earlier this year:

    The Strand is not going anywhere. There's no need to protect it. Our family's been a great steward of the building. Landmarking would add another component of government. You add bureaucracy, you add committees, you add people having opinions about what we should do inside the store as well as outside the store. And that does not allow me the flexibility to change with the retail book environment and to serve our customers.

    Were I running Reason's website I would have been sorely tempted to put the word "owner" in sneer quotes in the headline. When the government can take over important decisions about your property, you don't really "own" it as much as you used to.

    (If you can't get to 826 Broadway, you can nevertheless fake it by ordering our Amazon Product du Jour.)


  • Scott Rasmussen reports on poll results at the Daily Wire: Will YouTube Censor Opposing Political Views?. You may not care about the poll results, but there's a valuable summary of the latest:

    Last week, YouTube announced sweeping changes to how it handles user content that it deems "supremacist," "hateful," or "harmful" to the community — and very few voters are confident that the platform will end up applying its new rules fairly.

    "YouTube has always had rules of the road, including a longstanding policy against hate speech," the company announced in a statement last week. "Today, we're taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status."

    The announcement came the same day that YouTube revealed that it had officially demonetized all of the videos produced by conservative comedian and commentator Steven Crowder because of what appears to be a new interpretation of its Community Guidelines that takes into account "harms" to the "broader community."

    "Even if a creator's content doesn't violate our community guidelines, we will take a look at the broader context and impact, and if their behavior is egregious and harms the broader community, we may take action," YouTube explained in a statement Wednesday. "In the case of Crowder's channel, a thorough review over the weekend found that individually, the flagged videos did not violate our Community Guidelines. However, in the subsequent days, we saw the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behavior, took a deeper look, and made the decision to suspend monetization. In order to be considered for reinstatement, all relevant issues with the channel need to be addressed, including any videos that violate our policies, as well as things like offensive merchandise."

    You would be hard pressed to find a more weaselly-worded statement. I would have gone with a more honest: "Never mind our 'guidelines'. We'll do whatever we feel like doing."


  • My local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, reports on the important area news: Free the Nipple volunteer earns President's Award.

    Maggie Fisher works daily toward her goal of bringing equality to women who desire to go topless in public places like the beach, the same as men.

    In essence, she is working to Free the Nipple, the name of the organization she volunteers for in New Hampshire.

    With FTN NH, Fisher logged 536 volunteer hours in the past year, and she has been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Medal Award. Many of her volunteer hours were spent engaging with the public on social media platforms by communicating with those who agree and disagree with FTN’s views on female toplessness in public as well as those who aren’t sure at what to think.

    That's President Trump issuing the award, folks.

    And yes, you can count as "volunteer hours" doing your "social media".


  • And finally, Mr. Ramirez cartoons on the Silicon Valley Monopoly.

    Silicon Valley Monopoly

    I'm OK with Google, but Ramirez is brilliant.


Last Modified 2019-06-13 10:16 AM EDT

URLs du Jour

2019-06-11

[Amazon Link]

  • At NR Sam Sweeney has advice for those concerned about Social Media and Censorship: Close Your Accounts (NRPLUS article).

    My advice: Delete your Facebook, yesterday. Don’t get your news from Twitter. The issues of free speech on social media will no longer matter to you. They don’t matter to me. I’ve made a decision not to subjugate myself to the whims of our new overlords. They can open their platform to everyone from neo-Nazis to Kim Jong-un, or they can have a litmus test that includes denouncing Donald Trump or the pope at regular intervals — a sort of school-bathroom pass fitting for our generation’s extended adolescence in which Mark Zuckerberg plays the schoolmarm. It won’t affect my life either way. In my own mind at least, I am free because these things no longer define my life. I am happier as a result. I can still read a book of some length, an ability I see dropping off sharply among my peers.

    Not having Facebook is the 21st-century equivalent of becoming a cloistered monk. If I can just stop opening Twitter, I will feel like I’ve replaced Saint Simeon on his pillar. Monastic jokes aside, let me tell you: Life doesn’t end when you close your social-media accounts. In fact, the day you close them is the day your life truly begins again.

    Might be good advice. I'm not ready to take it yet, but…


  • Nick Gillespie discusses a related topic at Reason: Are Google and YouTube Evil? No, But Don’t Let That Get in the Way of Your Feelings.. (Note that Nick proactively and efficiently confirms the validity of Betteridge's Law of Headlines in the headline itself.)

    By now, you probably know that YouTube is pure evil. Or maybe just dumber than a box of rocks. Either way, get ready for major political and regulatory action against Google, which has owned the video platform since 2006, and is now the target of a Department of Justice antitrust investigation and a congressional investigation along the same lines. Earlier today in an interview with CNBC, President Donald Trump praised the more-than-$9-billion in fines levied against the internet giant by the European Union since 2017 and declared, "Obviously, there's something going on in terms of monopoly."

    These days, whether you're a right-wing free-marketer or a left-wing democratic socialist, whether you're Tucker Carlson or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), you probably worry more about Big Tech than Islamic terrorism and agree that all or most of the so-called FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) need to be broken up, hemmed in, or regulated as public utilities. Hell, even the leaders of those companies are calling for regulation. A month ago, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai took to the op-ed pages of The New York Times to plead with Congress to pass "comprehensive privacy legislation" similar to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that would cover all online businesses. Ironically—or maybe strategically—Pichai didn't mention that a year after the GDPR's implementation, Google's marketshare had grown.

    My own feelings: they ain't evil, but they are neither trustworthy nor particularly admirable. And I kind of miss the days when Microsoft was the Great Satan.


  • If you've been wondering how much of the New York Times' 'Making Of A YouTube Radical' piece is dishonest, Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire will let you know: Everything About The NYT 'Making Of A YouTube Radical' Piece Is Dishonest.

    On Saturday, The New York Times published a nearly 5,000-word article featured at the top of its website on “the making of a YouTube radical.” The fact-free and defamatory rant smeared some of the most mainstream voices in political commentary and in many cases proved precisely the opposite of the points it purported to make.

    “Caleb Cain was a college dropout looking for direction,” writes Times columnist Kevin Roose. “He turned to YouTube. Soon, he was pulled into a far-right universe, watching thousands of videos filled with conspiracy theories, misogyny and racism.” Which YouTubers does the article identify as “far-right,” conspiratorial, misogynist, and racist? One photo featured the Daily Wire’s own Ben Shapiro, a nationally syndicated radio host and one of the most popular podcasters in the country. Another photo depicted Dave Rubin, a gay, self-described liberal whose centrist interview show offers a platform for voices on the Right and Left of the political aisle. Bewilderingly, the editors placed in the center of the cover photo montage an image of Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who spent much of the 1970s and ‘80s explaining basic economic concepts to live audiences on camera.

    Milton Friedman! Still perverting young minds!

    As is well known, reading Friedman is a gateway to even stronger stuff: Hayek, Mises, Sowell, McCloskey, Bastiat,…

    At least that's how it worked for me.


  • I've occasionally referred here to the late Richard Mitchell, the self-described "Assistant Circulation Manager" of the typeset-by-hand newsletter The Underground Grammarian. I was a dedicated subscriber from 1983 until the last issue in 1991. I also own Mr. Mitchell's books.

    At some point, an even more dedicated fan, Mark Andre Alexander, took advantage of Mr. Mitchell's laissez-faire attitude toward copyright, and put nearly the entire oeuvre on the web here.

    Mark tells his story at Quillette: How the 'Underground Grammarian' Taught Me to Tell Reason from Rubbish. He provides a number of pungent UG quotes, for example:

    Words never fail. We hear them, we read them; they enter into the mind and become part of us for as long as we shall live. Who speaks reason to his fellow men bestows it upon them. Who mouths inanity disorders thought for all who listen. There must be some minimum allowable dose of inanity beyond which the mind cannot remain reasonable. Irrationality, like buried chemical waste, sooner or later must seep into all the tissues of thought.

    Mr. Mitchell is sorely missed.


  • The Concord Monitor's "Granite Geek" is rightfully proud of… Finally, a historical marker that talks about something important.

    It took 10 months to get it done, but the Granite State is now officially a Geeky State: The latest New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker, celebrating the creation of the BASIC computer language at Dartmouth in 1964, has officially been installed.

    Everybody who has ever typed a GOTO command can feel proud.

    Indeed. BASIC wasn't my first computer language (that honor goes to a very obscure language called ALPS, developed at the University of Oklahoma for the refrigerator-sized Bendix G-15). But, yeah, I did a lot of stuff in the 1970s and early 1980s in various BASIC dialects.

    Tried to avoid GOTOs though.

The Door Into Summer

[Amazon Link]

Continuing on the reread-Heinlein project. This one is a favorite. Short, and simple. Or, as simple as a time-travel tale can be.

First published in 1956, it opens in the far future of … 1970. The hero and narrator, Daniel Boone Davis, is a genius engineer/inventor, working in partnership with his trusted pal Miles, in love with their robotics company's secretary, Belle.

This turns out to be a mistake, as Miles and Belle successfully conspire to wrest control of the firm from him. And when he credibly threatens to raise a stink, they dispose of him neatly, by putting him in "cold sleep", until the unimaginably distant future of … the year 2000.

Awakening in 2000, Dan is flummoxed by the incredible advances. But when he tries to get back into his engineering profession, he can't help but notice that some bright boy has long since stolen the ideas that only existed in his head. What's going on?

Nobody's made this into a movie, unfortunately, but you'll notice its sci-fi DNA percolating into a lot of other time-travel yarns, like Back to the Future and Futurama.

An Economist Walks into a Brothel

And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk

[Amazon Link]

I put this book on my "get at library" list thanks to a Reason podcast interview with the author, Allison Schrager. And it came in via Interlibrary Loan from Trinity College (the one in Hartford, not Dublin).

It's a look at a topic I've been interested in for a while, risk. It mainly centers around financial risk—that's Allison's professional home base—but it occasionally slops over into risks of death or injury as well. The approach is suitable for a dabbler (like me), and Allison's writing style is jauntily accessible.

She describes what risk is, why some degree of risk is inevitable, how to maintain a rational attitude toward risk, and the various strategies people use to mitigate or avoid risk: diversification, hedging, insurance, etc. And (last but not least) the recognition of uncertainty; you can't, nearly by definition, prepare for the unpredictable. The best you can do is stay flexible and willing to adjust your strategies.

She discusses (but doesn't write down) the Black-Scholes formula for option pricing. A worked-through example would have been appreciated, but I can see that some readers closing the book, saying "I was told there would be no math."

All that could have been pretty dry, but Allison had the bright idea of illustrating her topics with real-life examples from high-risk fields. Exemplified by the book's title: she visited a (legal) cathouse in Nevada, and discusses the trade-offs involved in working in that relatively safe environment vs. freelancing in other situations.

Further chapters visit horse breeders, magicians, professional poker players, movie financiers, and more. (The chapter on horse breeding is actually more explicit than the one with the brothel.)

Good book.

URLs du Jour

2019-06-10

[Amazon Link]

  • Kevin D. Williamson at NR notes a presidential candidate going Full Mussolini: Senator Warren Embraces Economic Nationalism.

    In a Democratic field that includes dingbat socialist Bernie Sanders, callow ward heeler Corey Booker, and eternal sophomore-class president Kirsten Gillibrand, it was perhaps inevitable that Elizabeth Warren would come to be known as the smart one. And yet, that reputation turns out to be unearned. She may walk tall with the dwarves, but in the great sprawling zany Disney World of American politics, she still isn’t tall enough to ride Space Mountain.

    Every couple of years, the Democratic party goes full national socialist and begins to lecture the nation on “economic patriotism” — creepily fascistic language at the best of times, but worrisome indeed for a party that has drifted into tolerating open anti-Semitism. “Economic patriotism” is what the Democrats talk about when they want to out-Trump Trump. That ridiculous dope Ted Strickland, once the governor of godforsaken Ohio, bellowed on the theme in 2012, giving a Democratic National Convention speech about “economic patriotism” and Mitt Romney’s alleged lack of it. (That was about five minutes after the last Democratic lecture about how questioning the patriotism of our political opponents is a crime against humanity.) Barack Obama, chin tilted up at 60 degrees in his trademark Mussolini pose, delivered a homily about “economic patriotism” in Georgetown in 2014 and was hectoring Americans about the virtues of nationalism just a few years before Democrats began denouncing Donald Trump as a Nazi for using the term.

    Warren's proposals, Kevin notes, include "a truly massive campaign of new corporate-welfare spending accompanied by a great deal of foot-stamping/first-pumping anti-corporation rhetoric."

    And she's the smart one.


  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie looks at the latest internecinity (not a common word, but should be): The Fight Conservatives Are Having Over Theocracy and Classical Liberalism Obscures How Beaten Their Movement Is.

    Watching an ugly, name-calling rift on the right between theocratic Catholics on the one hand and classical-liberalish evangelicals on the other, you could be forgiven for thinking that the conservative movement still has some intellectual life left in it. In the scant week since New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari attacked what he called "David French-ism" in a bilious article for First Things, the internet has exploded with dozens of pieces on the matter, including a long column in The New York Times by Ross Douthat, a detailed explainer in Vox by Jane Coaston, and an hour-long discussion of the stakes on a recent Reason podcast featuring Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Matt Welch, and me.

    But the deeper effect of the ideological slap fight is to underscore how social conservatives have lost essentially every culture-war battle they have prosecuted since the modern conservative movement got started with the launch of National Review in 1955. Whether they want to use power of the state to compel or restrict certain behaviors (as Ahmari argues) or believe they can win debates in a noncoercive marketplace of ideas (as National Review's David French, the specific target of Ahmari's ire, posits), both sides have wanted the same basic social and cultural outcomes over the past several decades, including a rejection of marriage equality, a ban on abortion except to save the life of the mother, the continued prohibition of most or all currently illicit drugs, an end to no-fault divorce, restrictions on the number and variety of immigrants, tighter controls on whatever they deem to be obscenity and pornography, a bigger role for religion in the public square, and an embrace of what they consider to be traditional sexual mores, marriage conventions, and gender roles.

    Eh, I dunno. I remember R. Emmett Tyrelly writing (our Amazon Product du Jour) The Conservative Crack-Up back in 1992, over a quarter-century ago. And somehow conservatives are still around. Current reports of their demise are at best premature.


  • Jonah Goldberg writes on the same topic in his column: Does Reality Change Ideas, or Vice Versa?.

    That's effectively two headline questions. I feel it's my duty to point out that Betteridge's Law of Headlines implies the answer to both is "No".

    It’s axiomatic that intellectuals like to deal with ideas. Ideas are to the intellectual what paint is to the painter and stone is to the mason. And ideas are supremely important. As the late Irving Kristol said, “What rules the world is ideas, because ideas define the way reality is perceived.”

    I believe that. But reality — i.e., the physical realm we live in — is often what brings new ideas to the fore. We certainly understand this in the world of science. Newton, Einstein, and Edison had ideas, and those ideas changed reality in ways that changed our ideas.

    Ever since the word “conservative” has had any meaning, conservatives have complained about moral licentiousness. Where they once complained about rising hemlines, they now complain about widespread pornography or celebrity sex tapes. As a conservative myself, I share some of those complaints. But what’s often left out of the conversation is the role technology plays in changing how we think about such things.

    A lot, as you might imagine. But discussions on both left and right seem to be stuck back decades, or even centuries.


  • [Amazon Link]
    And our Google LFOD News Alert rang for (of all places) a Los Angeles Review of Books article: One Feels a Malady: On Robert N. Watson’s “Cultural Evolution and its Discontents”. A new hardcover (link at right) will set you back a cool $91 at Amazon! I think this means it's a college textbook. Let's skip right to the goofy LFOD reference:

    But it turns out that culture, according to Watson, can easily reproduce the wrong mistakes, at least the wrong mistakes for the human beings who comprise the members of a culture, since the wrong mistakes are parasites within memeplexes, and we humans are their hosts. We use antibacterial soap, which makes us more vulnerable to disease because a wrong mistake has seized our imaginations — with the help of memeplex-like corporations defending and increasing their profits. We believe what cultural structures give us room to believe, and those structures defend themselves by making us believe in them in the manner of the three big religions or, to take an example that Watson recurs to, the religion of capitalism. (He also sees Soviet communism as a memeplex: the difference between capitalism and communism as memeplexes being, for Watson, that capitalism pretends it is the natural order of things, whereas communism presents itself as an intensely interventionist administrative system.) These are the discontents evolved by culture, “discontents” used in this way itself being a meme invented by Freud’s translator Joan Riviere. To quote Wallace Stevens, whom Watson loves to quote, they are why “[o]ne has a malady, here, a malady. One feels a malady.” The malady is the human experience of the downsides of the culture (Freud’s original word) or civilization or memeplex, which is our somewhat self-deluding compromise with reality. For Freud, these discontents come about because of the repression or redirection of our sexual drives. For Watson, they come about through the connivance of structures of power seeking to defend themselves by making us fear taxes, for example, or having us subscribe to slogans like “Better dead than red” or “Live free or die,” the New Hampshire state motto, about which Watson comments: “It matters, of course, who gets to define freedom.” If the National Rifle Association defines it, a more accurate motto might be “Live free and die.”

    I left a comment at the site objecting to the drive-by slam of our state motto. But I'm kind of boggled by the faux profundity. "Live free and die". Woohoo, that's supposed to be clever?

The Phony Campaign

2019-06-09 Update

It's been a couple weeks since our last phony update. And phoniness did not go on hiatus during that time. Let's open with a fine … nay, brilliant video from those wacky folks at Reason:

Uncomfortably verisimilar!

Our candidate lineup has remained unchanged since March. Beto! remains on deathwatch, however, flirting with our 2% inclusion threshold. The most likely candidate to appear… remains Tulsi Gabbard.

Mayor Pete maintains a slight lead in phony hit counts this week. Will President Orange regain his rightful lead soon? Stay tuned!

Candidate WinProb Change
Since
5/26
Phony
Results
Change
Since
5/26
Pete Buttigieg 8.0% +3.1% 2,170,000 -2,730,000
Donald Trump 46.5% -0.4% 1,850,000 -510,000
Bernie Sanders 8.3% -1.2% 464,000 +57,000
Joe Biden 15.4% +1.3% 275,000 -38,000
Elizabeth Warren 5.1% +1.4% 201,000 -78,000
Kamala Harris 6.3% -0.2% 102,000 +8,100
Beto O'Rourke 2.1% -0.3% 66,100 -6,700
Andrew Yang 2.3% -0.5% 21,600 -400

"WinProb" calculation described here. Google result counts are bogus.

It was really tough to avoid making this week's update exclusively about Joe Biden. Don't let the bogus Google hit count deceive you: Biden's phoniness over the past few days has been unmatched by any other candidate.

  • It's been less than a couple weeks since Paul Mirengoff wondered: Where’s Joe?. In reference to a WaPo story by Annie Linskey and Chelsea Janes documenting Biden's absence from campaign events:

    Why is Biden limiting his exposure so sharply? Linskey and Janes are too diplomatic, or partisan, to discuss the obvious reason — he’s a gaffe machine. Instead, they note that he has plenty of name recognition and leads in the polls. But if Biden were confident in his ability to face public scrutiny, he would be pressing home his advantage instead of avoiding the public.

    Biden’s backers say that the public has no doubt about where their man stands on the issues of the day. That statement is laughable, though Linskey and Janes don’t challenge it. Biden has stood on both sides of many important issues.

    Biden keeping himself out of the news? Ah, good times. (That link goes to the wannabe guillotine operators at Jacobin by the way.)


  • An old plagiarizer finds the habit hard to break, as reported by Business Insider: Joe Biden climate plan copies language from other organizations.

    Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden released on Tuesday a comprehensive proposal to combat global climate change, adding to the mix of candidates who have made rolling back dangerous emissions a central tenet of their campaigns.

    But multiple sentences in Biden's proposal appear to lift passages from letters and websites for different organizations. The copied sentences are particularly notable because of Biden's past history of plagiarism, which played a major role in tanking his 1988 presidential campaign.

    Biden's campaign says "oops, inadvertent, sorry." But CNN said, hey, what's the big deal? What would Democrats do without the MSM making excuses for them?


  • Of course, the big Biden phoniness, was, in comparison, an attempted triple Lutz ending with a facedown into a pile of zamboni shavings. Alexandra DeSanctis at NR observes the obvious. Joe Biden & Hyde Amendment Opposition: Former Vice President Was Never Pro-Life.

    In a catastrophic failure of moral and political judgment, Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden has buckled under pressure from abortion-rights activists and stated his newfound opposition to the Hyde amendment, a bipartisan rider that has prevented the direct public funding of abortion for decades.

    It is no great shock that the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination would feel obliged to uphold his party’s platform, which in 2016 was rewritten to formally reject the Hyde amendment as an unconscionable restriction of a woman’s right to abortion. (Arguing that a lack of federal funding to enable the exercise of a right is an unconstitutional limitation on that right likely would draw objections from Democrats if it were applied to, say, the Second Amendment.)

    Congratulations, Joe. You've won a spot on the phony all-star team. That's quite an accomplishment.


  • And going from dishonest, to stupid, to pathetic

    Stephen Miller commented: "Biden is the 15 year old kid who can’t take a hint that his bestest friend Barrry has moved on to chicks now that he’s a sophomore."


  • But speaking of the Hyde Amendment: Politico encourages us to Guess who else voted against federal funding for abortion?. (Written when Biden was FOR the Hyde Amendment.)

    THE THING ABOUT THE HYDE AMENDMENT … Over the last day, there’s been a pile-on on JOE BIDEN -- Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and others have ganged up against the former VP over his support of the Hyde Amendment, language that prohibits most federal funding for abortion.

    BUT … If you are or have been a member of Congress -- 15 people in this field -- and you’ve voted for big spending packages, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve also voted for the amendment. OF COURSE, Biden is actively supporting it, and that’s a bit unique. But this language has been a part of a lot of funding bills and gotten plenty of votes from Democrats over the years.

    AN EXAMPLE: ELIZABETH WARREN SAYS SHE DOESN’T LIKE THE HYDE AMENDMENT … Warren told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Wednesday night that “we do not pass laws that take away the freedom from the women who are most vulnerable.” Her team tweeted: “I will not support any effort to take rights away from women who are the most vulnerable. It’s time for Hyde to go. #WarrenTownHall”

    … BUT, OF COURSE, SHE’S VOTED FOR IT! It doesn’t take long to find an example of Warren voting for the Hyde Amendment. Take this bill, which funded a big chunk of the government last year.

    IT INCLUDED this language: “(a) None of the funds appropriated in this Act, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are appropriated in this Act, shall be expended for any abortion. (b) None of the funds appropriated in this Act, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are appropriated in this Act, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.”

    WARREN voted for this bill twice. So did Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Eric Swalwell and others. Bernie Sanders voted no. President DONALD TRUMP signed it into law.

    A long excerpt, but worthwhile. Note that the presidential role in federal funding of abortion is pretty much indirect, limited to what he or she will veto. If those Congresscritters and Senators really thought getting rid of Hyde was important, they'd stay in the legislative branch and vote appropriately.

    But they don't. Not really. It's all posturing and appeasement to the baby-killing mob.


  • Michael Graham of Inside Sources notes, and asks: Joe Biden's Draft Record Looks a Lot Like Donald Trump's. Do Democrats Care?.

    He was 6 feet tall and had an athlete’s build. He played football in high school and was active in sports throughout college. He spent one summer as a lifeguard at a local pool.

    But after he graduated college in the spring of 1968 and became eligible for the draft and —possibly — combat duty in Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that let him avoid military service.

    No, not bone spurs. Asthma.

    And his name was Joe Biden.

    Hint: Betteridge's Law of Headlines applies to Michael's question. Candidataes Buttigieg and Moulton have been playing up their own military service, denigrating Trump's lack thereof, and have been (as near as anyone can tell) silent on Wheezy Joe.


  • And it's been a long time since New York's junior Senator has appeared in our standings. Because, as I type, the Betfair bettors judge her to have a 0.24% shot at becoming our next president. (People with better odds than she: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson; Oprah Winfrey; Stacey Abrams; Nikki Haley; and many more.)

    But this is (nonetheless) on target, from Politico: NRA takes a dig at Gillibrand: 'She'll say anything' to get ahead.

    The National Rifle Association hit back at Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday, calling her out for changing her stance on gun policy and claiming "she'll say anything" to get ahead in the Democratic presidential primary.

    The tweet comes after the presidential hopeful's remarks on the NRA at a Sunday Fox News town hall in which she called the group "the worst organization in the country."

    "Gillibrand called us the worst org in the country, but when she represented NY20, she wrote us: 'I appreciate the work that the NRA does to protect gun owners rights, and I look forward to working with you for many years,'" the NRA tweeted. "Now that she’s looking to crack 1%, she’ll say anything."

    Darnit, I suspect Kirsten's showing in the polls would improve if she just said: "I will say anything to get elected. Please tell me what I should say."


  • And a nod to our current phony leader from Benjamin Horvath at the Federalist: Pete Buttigieg Has Nothing To Recommend Him Except Identity Politics.

    Also part of [Buttigieg's] schtick is to label himself a foil to Pence, a supposed bogeyman of LGBT people. Buttigieg announced his sexual orientation a few months before his re-election bid, just after huge public backlash to then-governor Pence’s signing of a statewide religious liberty law (that Pence quickly reversed). It was also right before the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which legalized same-sex marriage across all 50 states.

    Buttigieg speaks of the public announcement of his sexual orientation as if it were politically risky. One has to be naïve or ignorant of American politics to believe there was anything but upside to be gained by this timely announcement.

    The timing of his announcement allowed for a prepackaged media narrative: gay mayor wins landslide reelection in Pence’s deep-red Indiana. Predictably, the media has run with this narrative, with nary a mention that a Republican hasn’t won a mayor’s race in this city since Richard Nixon was elected president.

    Is it just me, or are people getting tired of Buttigieg already?



Last Modified 2019-06-10 5:45 AM EDT