The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bernie Sanders Odds

For John, BLUFSenator Sanders is still a long shot.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for his blog, FIVE THIRTY EIGHT, Mr Nate Silver gives us "What Happens If Bernie Sanders Wins Iowa".

The lede plus one:

If you’re dreaming of Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton, you know how the movie begins (he wins Iowa on Monday1), how it ends (he accepts the nomination to a Simon & Garfunkel tune), and one of the major plot lines (black, Hispanic and moderate Democrats, who for now prefer Clinton to Sanders, begin to #feelthebern).  You also know who the hapless villain is:  Democratic party elites (aka “the establishment”), who will be fighting Sanders every step of the way.

Otherwise, the details are fuzzy. We’re not quite sure how Sanders pulls off this Wes Anderson caper.

At the link is a chart of "white liberal" Democrat voters, who are Senator Sanders' base.  In order, the first five are Vermont (59%), New Hampshire (54%), Iowa (50%), Massachusetts (50%) and Oregon (48%).  Louisiana is bottom, with 15%.

In case you didn't realize it, Vermont was, at the 2010 Census, 95.3% Caucasian.  One percent Black. And 1.3% Asian.  But it does have a lot of refugees from New York City.

Here is the final paragraph:

None of that would necessarily matter. Iowa should be one of the half-dozen or so most favorable states in the country for Sanders; New Hampshire is one of the few that ranks even higher for him.  If Sanders can’t win Iowa, he probably won’t be winning other relatively favorable states like Wisconsin, much less more challenging ones like Ohio and Florida.  His ceiling wouldn’t be high enough to win the nomination unless something major changes.
Regards  —  Cliff

  Mr Silver's footnote—"Such as a federal indictment of [Ms] Clinton."

Suffolk University and Redistricting

For John, BLUFIt is hacks, all the way down  Of course not my Rep and Senator, but all those others.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This was a page one, top of the fold, article in today's Edition of The Boston Globe"Suffolk president in standoff with trustees over job".  The reporter is Ms Laura Krantz.

I read through the article and turned to page 12 to continue reading and then I found out what is happening.  It is "hackorama".  My guess is that since former Attorney General and losing Gubernatorial Candidate Martha Coakley is looking for a job, one is being created for her by the defenestration of current Suffolk University President Margaret McKenna.

At the beginning of the article I cared.  Now I don't.

It is amazing to me that Democrats and their fellow travelers here in our Fair Commonwealth complain about the need for a more neutral redistricting, but yet allow, nay, encourage by their voting back in time and time again the same hacks, terrible gerrymandering here in Massachusetts.

Moving on, since there is little I can do except try to elect more Republicans to the General Court.

Regards  —  Cliff

Is HUD Mismanaged?

For John, BLUFOld Fighter Pilot saying—"Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with an axe".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That is what the Daily Caller is saying.

"There’s Some Hot Competition For America’s Worst Federal Agency".

Here is the lede:

Ask Americans what the worst federal agency is and odds are it will be the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but there is another that may actually be worse: the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
I know that HUD is trying to get a handle on data regarding Homelessness, but they are not making it easy on the suppliers of data, the people down at the street level trying to understand the scope of the problem.

And I am not sure Congress should get off scott free.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

We Need to Reexamine Progressivism

For John, BLUFStrangely, the Democrats stole and distorted the name Liberal, but are really just Progressives.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Jonah Goldberg, writing in The National Review, gives us "Just Because Trump Is ‘Anti-PC’ Doesn’t Mean We Should Celebrate His Vulgarity".

Yes, The National Review has been a little on the anti-Trump side of things.  Mr Goldberg takes a little while to warm to his topic, but he does well at it.

The thing that caught my attention in the article was his discussion of Progressivism, which appear a little over 100 years ago and its sub-factor, Eugenics (and other things).  He was referencing a recent review of Professor Thomas Leonard’s Illiberal Reformers:  Race, Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era.  Mr Goldberg, of course, saw it as a more scholarly followup to his own book, Liberal Fascism.  The discussion of the book review is a quick way to see that not everything that came down the pike as Progressivism was good for the nation or good for the individual citizen.

Mr Ed Driscoll posted on this at the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Like the minimum wage, designed, at the time, to force out minorities and small shop owners.
  By the way, while avoiding, by and large. the label Progressive, Democrats have claimed and warped the term Liberal.  I think Mr Rush Limbaugh, and others, should reclaim "Liberal" for the Republicans and stick the Democrats with "Progressive", good and hard, to partially quote Columnist H. L. Mencken.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

One Drop [Mis]Rule

For John, BLUFI used to claim, based on the one drop rule, that I was sure I was a Black, Japanese, Jew, until my Aunt Edra told me to knock it off.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is why the issue of Race irritates me.  We pigeon hole people and then they can't get out.  Why is President Obama "Black"?  His Father was from Africa, but he has no family history of being a slave or of suffering under Jim Crow.

This item, by Professor Ann Althouse, makes the case for the ridiculousness of our current Race classification.

White woman with a black husband has 2 children through the implantation of embryos that the clinic identified as a mix of "Hispanic and Caucasian."

She doesn't like having to explain this to those who aren't close to her and she's put in the position of having to identify them by race, including filling out a form that had no "mixed" or "other" category. So she identified them as black. She asks the NYT "Ethicist" if she did the right thing and gets a very long involved answer that includes:

Someone might insist that [identifying them as black] was just plain wrong unless they have some actual African ancestry, insisting on the crazy one-drop rule. But adopted children often take on the ethnicity of their parents, so if you and your husband think of his blackness as in part cultural, he is surely entitled to pass it on to his children....
Ah, a cultural thing.  Like the recent Ancestry dot Com adds where someone says he thought he was German when his ancestry was actually Scotch.  Which is why we are all Irish on St Paddy's Day.

On the other hand, if you can't think of yourself as first and foremost American, you might consider emigration as a solution.  We would miss you and feel sorry you left, but we should all live where we are comfortable.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That she wrote the NYT Ethicist suggests the woman is unlikely some light weight.  She reads The Old Gray Lady.  Probably a Progressive, but someone who reads, thinks and asks questions.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Bad News Out There

For John, BLUFOn the other hand, if you are not a Single-Malt drinker, you don't care.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Important news from The Wall Street Journal.

"How to Survive a Single-Malt Drought".

Here is the sub-headline:

Soaring demand for single-malt Scotch is sucking distilleries dry. Here's a list of aged whiskies to stock up on before they disappear.
I didn't actually see the list.

My thanks to my friend Zyg for this.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Changing of the Guard—Lowell Election Commission

For John, BLUFPeople is what makes the City Work.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is two weeks late, but still timely, with an election coming up on 1 March.  Don't forget to vote!

What made the Lowell Election Commission meeting different was a Hail and Farewell following the meeting.

The Hail was to Ms Bev Anthes, who is the newest member of the Election Commission.  She joins Mr Tom O'Brien as a Republican member of the Election Commission.  The Democrat Members are Mr Thel Sar and Mr Joseph Mullen.

The Farewell was for Mr Pat McCartin, who has served for several years.

And a thanks to the Staff at the Elections and Census Office for setting up this event.  That would be Ms Eda Jane Matchak, Ms Mo Oulette and Ms Stephanie Jarosz.

Regards  —  Cliff

  And, if you wish to vote for "The Donald" in the primary and you are a registered Democrat, you only have a short time to change your registration to Unenrolled.  Click here to change Party Registration on line.
  Thank you very much, Pat.

Clinton Downfall?

For John, BLUFThis could be ugly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill we have a guest contribution by Former Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-N.Y.), "We are witnessing the end of the House of Clinton".

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Suppressing Free Speech, Indirectly

For John, BLUFEverything is politics and it never ends.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller and Reporter Kathryn Watson, we have "California AG Threatens Non-Profit Donors’ First Amendment Rights".
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is being deluged with requests from non-profit officials to withdraw her “unconstitutional” demand for public disclosure of donor names because it creates a “back door” around the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

Harris’ critics claim her demand violates the First Amendment and privacy laws, compromises donor privacy and security, and makes it easier for government officials and agencies to pressure dissenting groups challenging particular policies and programs.

Non-profit donor disclosure discourages contributions and undermines the Citizens United ruling that upheld political contributions by corporations and unions as exercises of First Amendment speech that government agencies like the Federal Election Commission cannot limit.

This is an indirect approach to defeating the US Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United.  I applaud the California Attorney General for her ingenuity,  I am disappointed that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with Ms Harris.

This Government intrusion into the lives of private citizens, this "criminalization of opinion" must be resisted.  There must be no more Lois Lerners.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Aliens in the Land

For John, BLUFOur Faith calls us to be open.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing in The Pilot, the Archdiocesan Paper here in Boston, we have this item by Mr John H Garvey, datelined 24 January 2016—"You Shall Not Oppress an Alien".

Here is how Mr Garvey, President of Catholic University of America renders the passage, Exodus 23:9:

You shall not oppress a resident alien,
If you go to the Douay-Rheims Bible it is:
Thou shalt not molest a stranger, for you know the hearts of strangers: for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Here it is in the New American Bible:
You shall not oppress a resident alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
Which then links to Exodus 22:20:
You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt.
Any way you cut it, we are being admonished to not mess with those who are resident aliens.  We are asked to remember how we suffered in the land of Egypt.  Not us specifically, but those who went before us in Faith.

So, while there is no requirement to throw open our borders to folks migrating here, there is a call to show some respect to those who are here as aliens.  I would even take that to mean illegal aliens.

Regards  —  Cliff

  For those who wish to read it in the King James Version, the one Paul used when he preached, "Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ms Clinton and her EMails

For John, BLUFThe coverup is worse than the crime.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for Pajama Media, Mr Stephen Kruiser, Tuesday, expanded on a Washington Post article by Mr Chris Cillizza.  The WaPo article talks to the question asked of Ms Clinton by Moderator Chris Cuomo, and the back and forth.

The title of the Kruiser article is "'WaPo': Hillary 'STILL Doesn't Have A Good Answer' on Emails".

Here is the main point from Mr Kruiser:

On a serious note, her flailing, constantly evolving, responses to this scandal should be a stand-alone story.  Sure, the MSM is dealing with important issues like Marco Rubio's footwear and Ted Cruz's tithing percentages, so a looming indictment might not seem sexy or newsworthy enough.  It's tempting to blame the Trump Hair and Donkey Extravaganza for distracting the press, but we all know they'd be largely giving Hillary a pass on this even in his absence.

To his credit, Chris Cillizza is the one member of the hackmedia who has stayed on the story.

There are three things in this issue:
  1. Did Ms Clinton violate federal law with regard to protecting classified information and preserving historic records?
  2. Did Ms Clinton exercise extremely poor judgement in trying to run her official EMails off of a personal server, in contravention of good practice?
  3. Does Ms Clinton lack the ability to deal with a problem in a sufficiently open way to build confidence in her leadership, domestically and internationally?
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Indicting Those Who Expose Evil

For John, BLUFIt is good to have friends in high places.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Ed Driscoll, blogging at Instapundit, talks to the much talked about indictment of the anti-abortion videographers, tells us there might have been a conflict of interest:
HOUSTON GRAND JURY INVESTIGATES PLANNED PARENTHOOD, INDICTS … ACTIVISTS:  “Perhaps that might be in part because one of the Harris County prosecutors serves as a board member for the Planned Parenthood clinic at the heart of this matter…Texas Governor Greg Abbott pledged that the state’s investigation into Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast will continue regardless of the grand jury’s actions.  Perhaps Abbott might want to take a look at the conflict of interest in this indictment as well.”
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Terrorism Returns

For John, BLUFLet's hope it doesn't come here to Lowell.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Terrorism is not new for the United States.  Writing specially for The Tampa Bay Times, Mr Gary R. Mormino gives us "Perspective:  Lessons from anarchy, Ybor and the original age of terror".

Terrorism as a tactic goes back over 100 years in the United States.

But, even though the article focuses on Ybor City, just north of Tampa, Florida, it points out that from the late 1800s to the first two decades of the 20th Century, terrorism was a world wide phenomenon.

Terrorism is a tactic, used to achieve certain social, religious or political goals.  It was a terrorist event, an assassination, that sparked off World War One.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sexual Assault in Germany

For John, BLUFIt is the old mote/beam thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Foreign Policy, and Sumi Somaskanda, we have "Nein Doesn’t Mean Nein".  The Author argues that sexual assault is endemic in German Culture and not unique to Immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East.  The sub-headline is "Germany’s sexual violence problem is far bigger than the assaults committed by migrants in Cologne."

This doesn't speak well for Western Culture.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Mayors Speak Up

For John, BLUFThis problem of terrorism in the United States will not magically go away any time soon.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the computers of Ben Wofford and Manuela Tobias, we have a Politico item headlined "Mayors:  We’re More Scared of Terrorism Than Ever".  The sub-headline is "But we’re sick of the fear mongering—that means you, Mr. Trump.  We need real help."

The lede:

Amid an election cycle dominated by fear of global terrorism threatening Americans at home, mayors of dozens of cities across the United States told Politico they feel a growing apprehension about attacks on their citizens—and a mounting anxiety that they do not have the resources to prepare for it.
It is interesting that the Nation's Mayors are starting to look at Terrorism, yet the Federal Government is still focused on gun violence.

Mayors who look back in their history a hundred years know that we have had terrorism, often labeled anarchy in our past and it, by and large, fell to the Mayors to deal with it.  For a small snapshot, here is an article from The Tampa Bay Times about Ybor City and its relationship to Anarchy, back in the day.

A key point was made by one mayor, who noted that terrorists aren't just looking for size, but for significance.  An attack on the Mall of America would have a bigger impact that an attack on New York City.

“Terrorists don't pick their targets based upon the size of the city, but upon the value of the target,” wrote one mayor. “Distribute money by likely targets not city size.”
Terrorism hasn't gone away.  And even after Daesh is defeated in Syria and Iraq dregs of it will remain and those dregs will continue to cause trouble for a while.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Poor Mr Trump.  First he appears to flinch in front of Fox's Megan Kelly and now this.  Truth be told, Mr Trump's campaigning is not creating terrorism.  Rather, the treat comes from a religion which shall not be named, but with an apocalyptic vision, and whose members are doing what they can to make that apocalyptic vision a reality.

Monday, January 25, 2016

When Innocent Isn't Good Enough.

For John, BLUFRules are what give us a culture and civilization.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Campus rape is a scourge and must be fought.  On the other hand, our legal history shows that when one makes an exception to our legal protections, it eventually goes bad.

Here is a Column by Mr Ashe Schow, in the The Washington Examiner, "Student cleared of rape still not welcome at his college."

A 19-year-old Roanoke College student was accused of rape in March 2015 by a college freshman. He was charged by the district attorney, but it took a jury just 25 minutes to find him not guilty at the end of a trial that lasted one day. A campus sexual misconduct hearing also found him not responsible.

Case closed, right? Wrong, of course.

When the student, who is from Zimbabwe, re-enrolled in Roanoke, campus activists started an online petition in an effort to bar him from campus, citing safety concerns.  This just goes to show that students who are accused of sexual assault on college campuses are often considered guilty-until-proven-innocent, and even then are still considered guilty.

I hope these folks don't show surprise or outrage at the Salem Witch Trials.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  On the other hand, it appears that for the same age group, off campus (non-student) rape is more frequent.

Drug Murders

For John, BLUFThe line "politics is a blood sport in Lowell", doesn't compare to politics in Mexico.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This item has been in my "to do" queue for about three weeks—"Mexican Mayor Is Killed a Day After Taking Office".

This is our next-door neighbor, Mexico, and good government is fighting a tough battle with corrupt drug cartels.  This woman was killed a day after taking office.

The source is The Old Gray Lady.  The lede plus two:

The mayor of a city south of Mexico's capital was shot to death on Saturday, less than a day after taking office, officials said.

Gunmen opened fire on Mayor Gisela Mota at her house in the city of Temixco, said the government of Morelos state, where Temixco is located.  Two presumed assailants were killed and three others detained following a pursuit, said Morelos security commissioner Jesus Alberto Capella.  He said the suspects fired on federal police and soldiers from a vehicle.

On his Twitter account, Morelos Gov. Graco Ramirez attributed Mota's killing to organized crime, without citing a particular drug cartel or gang.  Cartels seeking to control communities and towns have often targeted local officials and mayors in Mexico.

Who caused Mayor Gisela Mota's death?  Drug users in the US (and other nations).  No drug black market means no corrupt cartels.

The more serious problem is that this corruption could come to these United States.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Conservatives, Misunderstood

For John, BLUFI am not sure this book is the straight word.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a review of the E J Dionne, Jr, book "The Triumph of the Hard Right".  The title of the book is Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism—from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond and the publisher is Simon and Schuster.  It is a 532 page book and is selling for $30 in the dead tree version.

The Reviewer is Garry Wills, not to be confused with Columnist George Will.

Here is the lede plus one:

Everybody told everybody early in this year’s presidential campaign (during what was called Trump Summer) that we had never seen anything so sinisterly or hilariously (take your choice) new.  But Trump Summer was supposed to mellow into Sane Autumn, and it failed to—and early winter was no saner.  People paid to worry in public tumbled over one another in asking what had gone wrong with our politics.  Even the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, joined the worriers.  After Mitt Romney lost in 2012, he set up what he called the Growth and Opportunity Project, to reach those who had not voted Republican—young people, women, Latinos, and African-Americans.  But its report, once filed, had no effect on the crowded Republican field of candidates in the 2016 race, who followed Donald Trump’s early lead as he treated women and immigrants as equal-opportunity objects of scorn.  Now the public worriers were yearning for the “good old days” when there were such things as moderate Republicans.  What happened to them?

The current Republican extremism has been attributed to the rise of Tea Party members or sympathizers. Deadlock in Congress is blamed on Republicans’ fear of being “primaryed” unless they move ever more rightward.  Endless and feckless votes to repeal Obamacare were motivated less by any hope of ending the program than by a desire to be on record as opposing it, again and again, to avoid the dreaded label RINO (Republican in Name Only).

In a way, I am kind of lost here.  I am a Tea Party Republican, but I don't think of myself as an extremist.  I know extremism when I see it.  Martin Bormann is an Extremist.  Professor Bill Ayers is an Extremist.  I believe in the rule of law.  Unlike Ms Whoopi Goldberg, I have never suggested I would leave the country if this or that candidate were elected President.

Maybe it is a lower case "e" extremism.

Frankly, it seems that Mr Wills wants Republicans who are Moderate Democrats.  What kind of an option would that offer the voters?  None.  And where would Conservatives go?

Here is a quote from the Book Review:

It is appropriate that this feeling has been in alliance with the Confederate South, the loser of a war it still thinks it should have won.  The rest of the Republicans may not be as racist as the South, but they cannot prevail at the federal level without it.
Does Mr Wills not remember the racism that surfaced in Boston during the busing crisis?  That was Democrats.  Racism in inherent in the Democrat party.  The suppression of the Second Amendment in Chicago is because of racism, is it not?  This is just not a balanced look.

Then there is the paragraph intro:

This feeling that superior people have license to circumvent democracy is still with us…
Was this not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the beginning of the Obama Administration?  This idea that the Democrats play by the rules and the Republicans don't is rubbish.

I do agree with Mr Wills regarding racism in the United States:

The idea that America has somehow outgrown or transcended racism is an ever-renewable delusion. Some hoped that the election of a black president would mark the end of racism. But in fact it blew on the embers of racism we have beneath us all the time.
Then Mr Wills wonders off into birtherism.  Give me a break.  Is Barack H Obama not still President, seven years after being sworn in.  All those Republicans who wonder about President's place of birth or his religion still pay taxes.  They still sign up for the military, or continue their military service.  They do not use their Second Amendment gun rights to retreat into the woods in guerrilla bands.

The issue of racism is an issue of fairness, of equal rights, to all.  This is something Republicans believe in.  Interestingly enough, members of the "right" are concerned about oppressive use of the police powers, which puts them in the same camp as minorities.

And, of course, in this Presidential Race it is the Conservative Republicans who have a Black and two Hispanics in the race. 

Yes, I will pony up $15.99 for the Kindle version of this book, just not right now.  I have a couple of books I am working right now.

That said, frankly, the Review is not what encourages me.  Rather, it is the Author, Mr Dionne, and the need to keep looking to see how the other side views one.  No party operates in a vacuum.  Even a dictatorship needs to worry about who might be lurking in the shadows.

Regards  —  Cliff

  This link is behind a pay wall, at least at this point.  In a short time it may be open to all.
  Yes, Virginia, People from Cuba are Hispanic.

Excellent Ad

For John, BLUFAnd funny.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog of Moe Lane.

" Marco Rubio shows us how to troll the Washington Post."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Eight Days to Iowa Caucus

For John, BLUFIowa will give us a clue as to voter unrest.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Des Moines Register, out in Iowa, has made its endorsements:

Ms Hillary Clinton

Senator Marco Rubio

In the mean time, over at The Hill, reporters Amie Parnes and Jonathan Easley tell us "Clinton, liberals pile on Sanders over ‘establishment’ remarks".
Hillary Clinton is defending her role as the “establishment candidate” against rival Bernie Sanders with only 10 days to go before the Iowa caucuses.

The Clinton counter-attack, backed aggressively by liberal interest groups, comes as she and Sanders battle furiously ahead of the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, where some polls show Sanders rising ahead of the presumed Democratic frontrunner.

She isn't?

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bloomberg to the Rescue?

For John, BLUFThe thing is, Mayor Bloomberg is no Mayor Giuliani.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is Law Professor Ann Althouse on the rumor that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering entering the Presidential Race—"Galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side...".

The quote is from The Old Gray Lady and Reporters Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman.

Professor Althouse says:

He is kind of a combination of Trump and Sanders, isn't he?  America wants Bloomberg... it's easy to extrapolate, no?
Then she posts a poll, with these results (as off about 2200 on Saturday):

This race just gets more and more interesting, more and more fun.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Trump Coalition

For John, BLUFOr, this is a little scary.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"How Donald Trump defeats Hillary Clinton".

The sub-headline is

Obama’s black supporters are crucial to a Trump win, and pollsters say he has a chance with this bloc.
That is interesting.  The source is Politico and the Reporter is Mr Ben Schreckinger.  Here is the lede plus 2:
If Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States, there will be plenty of surprises along the way.  One of the biggest will be the help he gets from black voters.

According to Republican pollsters and Trump’s allies, the GOP poll-leader — who has been dogged by accusations of racism, most recently for tweeting out a chart that exaggerated the share of murders committed by blacks — is poised to out-perform with this demographic group in a general-election matchup with Hillary Clinton.

“If he were the Republican nominee he would get the highest percentage of black votes since Ronald Reagan in 1980,” said Republican messaging guru Frank Luntz, referring to the year Reagan won 14 percent of that bloc of voters.  “They listen to him.  They find him fascinating, and in all the groups I have done, I have found Obama voters, they could’ve voted for Obama twice, but if they’re African-American they would consider Trump.”

I admit that I like the idea of Black voters moving into play.  I would think that it would be good for Republicans, but also good for Democrats.  It might help the more conservative wing of the Democrat Party to balance out the progressive wing.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ban Trump!

For John, BLUFAn inability to distinguish.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

As we know, or maybe we don't, the British Parliament has debated whether or not to ban Mr Donald Trump from the shores of the Island, for his comments about holding up Muslim Immigration until the legislators figure out what is going on and how to screen out possible terrorists.

Here is a comment from the Blog Order, Order, "Dromey Would Ban Trump, Welcome Dictators and Head-Choppers".  That would be Labour Party MP Jack Dromey.  So, the British Labour Party is siding with American Democrats.  Nice.

Hat tip to Guido Fawkes.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Snow Storm of EMails

For John, BLUFCoverups, all the way down.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Tax Prof Blog we have a link to an Editorial in The Washington Examiner.  It is, after all, Day 989 if the IRS Scandal.

"The dog keeps eating IRS hard drives"

In Oscar Wilde's comedy, "The Importance of Being Earnest," Lady Bracknell is indignant to hear that Jack Worthing is an orphan. "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

If only one could enjoy a similar belly laugh over President Obama's IRS repeatedly losing hard drives loaded with data related to scandals at the agency. To lose one might be regarded as suspicious happenstance; to lose two looks like conspiracy.

And it isn't just the IRS.  It appears that DOS wants an added month from the courts for the next dump of EMails from Ms Hillary Clinton.  They are blaming the snow storm.

This is from The [Manchester] Guardian, "Hillary Clinton emails: State Department seeks extension for release".

The US State Department asked a judge on Friday for a one-month extension to finish publicly releasing thousands of emails sent by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, in part because a winter storm closed government offices.

The department said in a federal court filing it needed until 29 February after realizing this week that it had “overlooked” emails amounting to 7,254 printed pages that it should have already shared with other agencies for them to review for sensitive information.

It said expected heavy snow in Washington DC had interrupted delivery of these emails to other agencies. Many federal offices closed early on Friday afternoon.

They couldn't have used EMail to solve this?  I know DoD is clamping down on the use of EMail (see below), but still, …

As one of my friends noted in an EMail this morning:

Please don't tell me that State is sending over 7,000 pages over to the various agencies to be declass vice scanning and sending over in PDF, as 3 or so gigabytes, or searchable PDF?  Crazy
Well, yes, there is the fact that DoD is putting limits on mail folders.  From The Army Times
“Since February 2015, the number of Defense Enterprise Email mailboxes [with] more than four gigabytes had been increasing at a rate of approximately 4,000 accounts per month,” said John Howell, Army product director for enterprise content collaboration and messaging.
In a time of limited budgets the servers needed for this EMail are too costly and unsustainable.

Yes, the Washington Times Editors have it—"careless" or "conspiracy".

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

GOP Debate Issues

For John, BLUFDo Republicans trust anyone in the Mainstream Media, given its "left leaning" tilt?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"How the RNC squashed its only conservative-media debate".

The article is from Politico and Reporters Hadas Gold and Shane Goldmacher.  So, you know there is a lot of gold in this article.

Here is the heard of the story:

But what really changed the game, according to the Times’ Solomon and others involved in the process, was the CNBC debate on Oct. 28 — a forum whose format, questions and moderators infuriated the Republican campaigns so much that candidates began to move against the RNC.

After that debate, a widely panned event marked by contentious questions that angered the candidates, the campaigns took the unprecedented step of holding multiple meetings among themselves and drafting a never-sent letter of demands for future debate hosts as they tried to take control of the debate process out of the party’s hands.

Suddenly, the RNC was no longer talking about a grass-roots debate.  It was consumed by the effort to calm its 2016 field and retain its lead role in the debate process.  And less than a week after the CNBC debate, RNC chief operating officer Sean Cairncross was made the lead point person on all future debates, moving Spicer out of the role.

“After that, I was told the RNC’s tolerance for risk-taking was lower, even though they loved the idea of a grass-roots debate,” Solomon said.

At the same time, Fox Business Network had been lobbying the RNC for another debate, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations.  After the network’s successful first turn at hosting a forum on Nov. 10, the RNC agreed to let the Fox family take on another.  By late November, the deal was done.

The RNC announced on Dec. 8 that Fox Business would host a Jan. 14 debate, putting the final nail in the coffin of the conservative-media debate planned for Liberty University.

It was pretty clear that the CNBC conducted debate did not make CNBC more popular with the Republican Candidates.  And there has been contention between the Candidates and the National Committee.  I think an important note was "tolerance for risk-taking was lower".  The Republicans are in uncharted territory and the stakes are high, so risk taking is being minimized.  The problem is that there are risks in many directions.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

George Soros on Presidential Campaign

For John, BLUFDiehard Believers for Hillary.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

One of the things about growing older is worrying about being able to note the point when one slides into a condition that does not relate to reality.  Apparently, Mr George Soros missed it.

From Forbes, Mr Antoine Gara ("I cover the good, the bad and the ugly of finance.") gives us "Hedge Fund Billionaire George Soros:  'Donald Trump Is Doing The Work Of ISIS'"

George Soros, the world’s richest hedge fund billionaire, has no shortage of opinions when it comes to both politics and the global economy.  Famed for making a billion dollars by “breaking” the Bank of England in 1992, Soros is in a semi-retirement, but his prognostications still move markets.  And he remains a top contributor on the U.S. political scene, where he supports liberal candidates and causes.

On Thursday evening at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros used a 45-minute interview with Bloomberg TV’s Francine Lacqua to create an explosion of headlines on both the political and economic front.  “Donald Trump is doing the work of ISIS,” Soros said, citing the anti-immigrant vitriol that’s been a hallmark of the Trump campaign as he’s risen in Republican primary polls.  He levied a similar critique against candidates such as Ted Cruz, and said Hillary Clinton would win the general election in a landslide.

Or maybe I am drifty.

On the other hand, The Daily Mail says that Germany has misplaced 600,000 of 1.1 million refugees.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Lone Eagle Goes Isolationist

For John, BLUFNot all our heroes were right all the time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This article by Mr Michael E. Ruane, with a dateline of 21 January, reminds us that on this date (23 January) "75 years ago, Charles Lindbergh urged Congress to stay out of WWII".
It was Jan. 23, 1941 — 75 years ago Saturday — and the American mega-celebrity was about to tell Congress that the country’s entry into the war raging in Europe would have little effect on the outcome, and would be a disaster for the country.
I think that Colonel Lindbergh was saying what he thought was our best foreign policy.  I also think that he was wrong.  And, notwithstanding President Franklin D Roosevelt forbidding him from going on active duty, he did support our war effort, including going to the Southwest Pacific, helping pilots learn how to get more out of their P-38s.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 22, 2016

Secretary Clinton and Foreign Intelligence

For John, BLUFHunny Bunny needs to act.  She can't ride this out.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday I had a post in which I suggested (pretty much declared) that Ms Hillary Clinton had made a mistake having her EMail on a home server but that her major problem was that she tried to hide this error and thus it is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.  I mentioned President Richard Nixon, of which it has been said "the coverup is worse than the crime".

From Ms Debra Heine, writing for Pajamas Media, we have "Robert Gates:  'Odds Are Pretty High' That Russia, China and Iran Compromised Hillary's Server".

Mr Robert Gates as a former Secretary of Defense and a former Director of the CIA.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates believes that "the odds are pretty high” that countries like Iran, China, and Russia hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server when she was secretary of State.

Gates made the statement on Hugh Hewitt's radio talk show on Thursday, where he discussed his new book “A Passion for Leadership,” as well as a host of other issues in the news.

That is the danger.  And, if it has been hacked by experts Ms Clinton might never have noticed it.

I don't think it is too late for Ms Clinton to make a clean breast of it, but she has to go all the way and not quibble about this or that detail.  And she has to do it pretty soon.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  On the other hand, it is possible that they is holding back on the advice of her lawyer.  The concern would be that if she admitted an error it would be the basis for an indictment.  That would be a good reason to say nothing.

Krugman Abroad

For John, BLUFProfessors get special consideration, even when wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I like to think that Professor Paul Krugman, who writes for The Old Gray Lady, is delusional.  And, I guess that means so are the editors of The Old Gray Lady.  On the other hand, some like him and and thus we got, today, "How Change Happens".  This is Professor Krugman saying that you can't be even handed about the two major political parties here in these United States.  In the mind of Professor Krugman, one is good and the other is evil.
There are still quite a few pundits determined to pretend that America’s two great parties are symmetric — equally unwilling to face reality, equally pushed into extreme positions by special interests and rabid partisans.  It’s nonsense, of course.  Planned Parenthood isn’t the same thing as the Koch brothers, nor is Bernie Sanders the moral equivalent of Ted Cruz.  And there’s no Democratic counterpart whatsoever to Donald Trump.
And, of course he is correct.  Planned Parenthood grew out of a Eugenics view of the human race and a plan to reduce the Black population in the United States.  Today it is still involved in the killing of babies still in the womb.

Fair is fair.  Over three-quarters of Americans believe abortion should be legal.  At the same time over three-quarters think it is wrong.  Those are some numbers to work with.

But back to the article, here is the second paragraph:

Moreover, when self-proclaimed centrist pundits get concrete about the policies they want, they have to tie themselves in knots to avoid admitting that what they’re describing are basically the positions of a guy named Barack Obama.
It think that is just hooey.  If one thinks that President Obama represents the hopes of all then one doesn't understand why Candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are doing so well.  They are, if nothing else, the product of seven years of President Barrack H Obama.

I like to think that Professor Krugman is a product of Princeton University, and if he was here at UMass Lowell he would have a sense of how Americans think.  On the other hand, maybe not.  Maybe the many Professors, Associate Professors and Administrators here at UMass Lowell think like Professor Krugman.  I hope not.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mistakes Were Made

For John, BLUFThere is dumb and there is illegal and then there is Hunny Bunny.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I always thought that the number one lesson learned from the collapse of the Nixon Administration was that the "coverup is worse than the crime".  There are a number of quotes on this, including this one from Republican Senator Howard Baker:

It is almost always the cover-up rather than the event that causes trouble.
However, this seems to be a lesson not learned by the Honorable Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State.

For the last ten months there has been a controversy regarding Ms Clinton's use of her private EMail server for her official email communications.

Frankly, conducting Government business on your home computer is against the law.  There are reasons for this.  One is because of the danger of classified information leaking to our enemies.  Another is the fact that public records are supposed to be preserved for historic (and transparency) reasons.

And, it isn't just classified information, but also information of some classification that has been caveated as a Special Access Program or Sensitive Compartmented Information.  And, in the Department of State, and other Departmentds, there is the designation of Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU).  Just because SBU is not classified does not mean it should be handled carelessly.

One of the things about unclassified information is that if you add up the right parts you can obtain information the other side might not wish you to have.  During the Cold War

Kremlinology was the art and science of finding out who was in charge by watching who sat where during May-Day Parades (and a lot more Open Source (OSINT).  A more historic example is when a French newspaper reporter exposed the existence, in the 1920s, of a Versailles Treaty forbidden General Staff, but listing who had which job.  He did this by studying who stood or or sat next to who at wakes and weddings and all the fine affairs.  Unclassified information revealing Classidied.

Finally, there are a cloud of people I know who believe that if this had been them, they would have swung.  People who are careful about Classified information.  For example, my son bought a bigger cell phone so it would be less likely he would accidentally carry it into a SCIF (a special, Compartmented Information Facility).  I would guess that a poll of active duty and retired military and civilian Department of Defense works and State Department employees would find 80%± agreeing that Ms Clinton did wrong and should punished.

My view is that she should make a clean breast of it, apologize to everyone, actually that she did wrong and then move on.  It is not that I think she should go scott free, but I would rather see the voters defeat her at the polls rather than run her out of the race on a technicality.  On the other hand, if she is unable to come clean, she should not be President and all the media should tell her so.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Wasn't Ms Clinton a lawyer on the staff of the House Watergate [Judiciary] Committee?

  For example, 18 U.S. Code § 798 - Disclosure of classified information

  The problem is, often an accumulation of unclassified data can lead to drawing conclusions regarding classified activities.

  As per 44 US Code § 2115.   In fact, my thesis at the Army War College, 105 pages on the strategic importance of the Philippines was written from all unclassified sources, but when I turned it in it was stamped CONFIDENTIAL, because, in the aggregate, it proved to be Classified, at least according to those who reviewed it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Registry of Journalists

For John, BLUFWould it include Freelancers like City Life hosts and co-hosts?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Twitchy "LOL.  Journalists are concerned over a proposed ‘Responsible Journalism Registry Law’ in S.C."
Journalists seem concerned that a new proposed law in South Carolina to create a state registry of journalists might somehow violate the 1st Amendment.

Sheesh, all this new law does is create a database of names.  There’s not even a waiting period or a prohibition against assault-journalists! And from the little we know about the law, it still allows Americans on the terror no-fly list to still publish their opinions.  So, what’s the big deal?

Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts we could let the local Chief of Police keep the list.

Yes, if you were wondering, the person who has submitted this, State Rep Michael A Pitts, is a member of the NRA, a retired Police Officer and a member of the Army Reserve.

And, he is innovative and has a great sense of humor.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Senator Cruz on New York Values

For John, BLUFSenator Cruz actually nails it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz has taken a lot of heat for his comment about New York Values. Could we pause a moment and think about this?  Yes, a decade and a half ago New York City led the nation in standing tall, after terrorists flew airplanes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.  But, since then, since America's Mayor, Rudi Guillani was Mayor of NYC, we have had a change.  The voters gave New York Andrew Cuomo as Governor and gave New York City Bill de Balsio as Mayor.

But, before we get to Governor Andrew Cuomo, let us talk about Gov. David Paterson and his quip about Radio Host Rush Limbaugh’s plans to move out of New York:

If I knew that would be the result, I would’ve thought about the taxes earlier.
It is a good line, but one expects it is also how he feels.

Then, back in January of 2015, Governor Cuomo says of Conservative Republicans:

Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay?  Is that who they are?  Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
I am not "anti-gay", but I am pro-life and I believe assault rifle bans are frivolous.  And I believe a lot of New Yorkers are with Governor Cuomo.  And I don't believe Governors should be inviting his opponents to leave the State.

As for the Mayor of New York City, I think it is agreed by most observers, that he is a Progressive.  He has some good ideas, but he has some bad ones. Here is part of a Wash Post editorial board appraisal of Mayor de Blasio back two years ago ("How ‘progressive’ is Bill de Blasio?"):

To the Democratic left, Mr. de Blasio looks like an authentic liberal antidote to the Obama administration’s compromises — and a harbinger of progressive revival nationwide.
To be fair, Senator Ted Cruz did apologize for his remarks, in his own way, as noted by Blogger and Law Professor Ann Althouse.  The thing is, I haven't seen the Governor Cuomo apology from last January for suggesting all conservatives should leave the Empire State.

And, to show that New York is still a State where the rights of the individual are subordinated to the power of the Government (does that not suggest Progressive?) we have this from Popular Science last week.  "New York Considers Mandating Back Doors into Phones".

Here is the lede:

With a bill reintroduced last week, a New York Assemblyman wants to make it easy for the government to get inside smartphones.  It’s a proposal that would mandate smartphone manufacturers be able to unlock the phones they make.  The bill comes from Assemblyman Matthew Titone, of Staten Island’s North Shore, and was first introduced last summer.  It’s sat in the Consumer Affairs and Protection committee since, so it’s still a long way from becoming law.  A cryptographic back door would be bad for cryptography, privacy, and consumers.
Yes, Virginia, he is saying that if there is a back door for police there is a back door that can be hacked by the Chinese, which will build upon the information hacked from the Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  And that means not Conservative values.

I am not espousing Senator Cruz, but fair is fair and he nailed New York fair and square.

Even if my wife disagrees.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse re the Candidate Cruz apology and to the InstaPundit for the item on back doors for phones.

Regards  —  Cliff

  In order to protect myself from those who would scream "racial discrimination" I will refrain from characterizing the terrorists, but let it suffice to note they were Caucasians.

Constitutional Convention?

For John, BLUFThe Danger is, those delegates can propose whatever they want.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While I don't agree with everything Taxes Governor Greg Abbott proposes, as listed by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds in his USA Today piece on Monday, "Blow up the administrative state", there is a lot to be said for the concept of returning power to the States and the People.  In the name of efficiency we have taken away part of our Democracy, and emasculated the US Congress.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to amend the Constitution.  His proposed changes:
  • Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one state. (✓)
  • Require Congress to balance its budget. (≈)
  • Prohibit administrative agencies — and the un-elected bureaucrats that staff them — from creating federal law. (✓)
  • Prohibit administrative agencies — and the un-elected bureaucrats that staff them — from preempting state law. (✓)
  • Allow a two-thirds majority of the states to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision. (≈)
  • Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law. (X)
  • Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution. (✓)
  • Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds. (✓)
  • Allow a two-thirds majority of the states to override a federal law or regulation. (≈)
One thing I would add to this list is the right of the People to sue government entities AND government officials if they show malfeasance in office.  In particular, if the government official uses his or her office to harm someone, that someone should have redress in the courts.  This goes double for Prosecutors, Government personnel presenting before Administrative Law Judges and for IRS personnel.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Our Future With Iran

For John, BLUFAllow trade and eschew diplomatic relations.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Free-lance Reporter Michael J. Totten is a level headed viewer of the scene, so his opinion is to be valued.  Here, writing for World Affairs Journal, he looks at our relationship with Iran—"Iran’s Hostage Victory" Here is the start of the article:
During Sunday’s Democratic primary debate, Senator Bernie Sanders argued that it’s time to bring Iran in from the cold.  “I think what we’ve got to do is move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran,” he said.

If Iran had a representative government, if it wasn’t ruled by Ayatollah Khomeini, his dark theocratic Guardian Council and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the United States and Iran would restore normal relations almost as a matter of course.

Iran would, in all likelihood, take its proper place as one of America’s premier allies in the Middle East alongside the Kurds and the Israelis.  The extreme and often fantastical anti-Americanism so endemic in the Arab world is far weaker among the Persians, Azeris and Kurds who make up the Iranian nation.

Iran right now is like Poland under the Warsaw Pact—a would-be friendly nation occupied and ruled by a hostile regime.  Good and proper relations will have to wait until the government is overthrown or reformed out of all recognition like Vietnam under its current communist-in-name-only government.

I am going with Michael here, and not Bernie.

Regards  —  Cliff

Faith-Derangement Syndrome

For John, BLUFActually, I feel a little sad for Mr Tayler.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yes, that is how Reporter Jeffrey Tayler, of Salon describes Senator Marco Rubio's mental state.  Of course to be fair, this Hot Air review of the Salon piece was written by Blogger Ed Morrissey.  Here is the headline—"Salon: Rubio’s disqualified because of his “bizarre religious faith” … Catholicism".

A must read for understanding how some beliefs are OK (atheism) and some aren't (there is a God).

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I could be wrong, but I think Captain Ed suffers from the same "faith-derangement syndrome" as Senator Rubio and your Faithful Blogger.

More Mass Immigration for Europe

For John, BLUFThe issue isn't immigration, it is assimilation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The source is Bloomberg, so we can assume it is accurate.  "Davos Boss Warns Refugee Crisis Could Be Precursor to Something Much Bigger".

Here is the lede plus one:

As the crash in commodities prices spreads economic woe across the developing world, Europe could face a wave of migration that will eclipse today’s refugee crisis, says Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

“Look how many countries in Africa, for example, depend on the income from oil exports,” Schwab said in an interview ahead of the WEF’s 46th annual meeting, in the Swiss resort of Davos.  “Now imagine 1 billion inhabitants, imagine they all move north.”

Africa is actually 1.1 Billion inhabitants, but I can't envision them all moving North.  That would empty the Continent and make it available for other peoples to move in.  But, it does sound like a Camp of the Saints scenario.

While Dr Klaus Schwab may be exaggerating in his assessment, we should appreciate his assessment that the mass migrations out of Africa [and the Middle East] are not over.

But, the migrations aren't the problem.  The fact is that what makes the United States attractive to immigrants (economically or politically or both) comes out of our culture.  Lose the culture, lose the benefits.

There are actually two problems.

The first is that we are having a culture clash, as migrants from different cultures move into the West and fail to assimilate.  In the United States we have space for small groups who follow a different culture.  But, in small numbers and tucked away in special places (e.g., the Amish, communities like Kiryas Joel), not demanding the larger culture conform to their needs.

The second is the problem that Islam has not yet come to terms with its own internal contradictions, particularly as it pertains to Daesh, but also al Qaeda.  In its more "orthodox" forms it doesn't deal well with Western or Modern views of women or sexual orientation or economics or the freedom to be different.  And it appears not to care.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Ask yourself why the US, Canada and Australia are doing better, human rights wise and economically, than Sudan or Iran or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Hackers Abounding

For John, BLUFWhy can't she just admit it was a mistake.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from Reporter Chris Smith of Boy Genius Report (BGR)"Teen who hacked CIA director’s email hits Director of National Intelligence next".

Remember the teenage hackers who managed to break into CIA director John Brennan’s email account several times?  It looks like they’re back doing the same sort of activity, and this time they’ve targeted Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The news comes from Motherboard, which has been in contact with members of the “Crackas With Attitude” hacker group.  A hacker identified at “Cracka” said he broke into various accounts connected to Clapper, including home telephone, Internet, personal email, his wife’s Yahoo email, and Verizon FiOS account.

OK, so if some hacker took down the Director of Central Intelligence, what are the odds some hacker took down the Secretary of State's home system?  Some Hacker who hacks for the fun of it, or the challenge, would be good news.  Not so good news would be a hacker from Russia or China or North Korea or Daesh, or France.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Hint:  High.

Private Enterprise in Space

For John, BLUFThe Chinese are apparently following suit and bring on commercial enterprise in its space program.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Alan Boyle and Geek Wire we have this good news—"Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser mini-shuttle will join NASA’s space cargo fleet".

NASA says it will add Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser space glider to its cargo-carrying lineup of robotic spaceships as early as 2019.  It’s likely to be the first winged vehicle to fly in orbit for NASA since the space shuttle fleet’s retirement in 2011.
Regards  —  Cliff

Cyber Warfare Testing

For John, BLUFIf you are connected to anything but your own generator and your own well you are vulnerable.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While people here in the United States complacently think that our electric power grids and communications (and water, unless you live in Flint, Michigan) are safe and sound, others are observing that Russia appears to be using Ukraine as their cyber testing range.  While I am doubtful of a Cyber Pearl Harbor, I have no doubt that the Russians and the Chinese are working on ways to knock out our systems.

From the on-line presence, The Register, we have Kiev airport goes dark after 'BlackEnergy-linked' power outage.


IT systems at Kiev's main airport were floored over the weekend, sparking a renewed warning from Ukraine's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UA) about further BlackEnergy malware-based attacks.

“Attention: system administrators present a short list of indicators [that] network systems and networks [have been] compromise[d] with BlackEnergy malware,” CERT-UA said in an advisory (according to Google translation of Ukrainian language original here).

“We recommend checking the log files and information flows for the presence / absence of these indicators,” it added.

Malware similar to the BlackEnergy pathogen that reportedly affected three Ukrainian power utilities last month was detected last weekend on computers at Kiev's main airport, Boryspil, according to the airport's press service, Reuters reports.

The BlackEnergy malware and hackers were “clearly” behind power outages in western Ukraine, a SANS expert recently concluded.

Given the way sensitive data on millions of Federal Employees, and their families, has been exposed from the computers of the Office of Personnel Management, it is time to get serious about cyber security.  Some have been talking about it for several decades, but it appears few are doing anything about it.  Perhaps we need new senior managers, with a new awareness of the current situation.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 18, 2016

Making Poison Gas

For John, BLUFEvery young boy or girl needs a chemistry set.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Out of the UK, the local on line newspaper, Cheswick W4, reported "Cranbrook Road distillery evacuated after new gin recipe goes wrong".  As the person reporting this via EMail noted, "Our local gin maker accidentally produced mustard gas".

For those of you not in the know, mustard gas is nasty stuff, and killed and injured many during WWI.

I don't drink gin, so I wouldn't know if it was good or bad, but the person calling to my attention his village newsletter item does vouch for them making a fine gin.

Here is the article lede plus one:

The Chiswick based gin distillery Sipsmith's had to be evacuated after a they accidentally made mustard gas during an attempt to make a new flavour according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Workers at the site on Cranbrook Road were trying to create a new mustard flavoured drink but ending up with a by-product of a gas which is better known from trench warfare in the First World War.

If you wish to check out the story in The Daily Mail,Click Here.

And, as a side note, although it will never come here, it is reported that Daesh is producing small batches of Mustard Gas. Regards  —  Cliff

The Economy and the Race for President

For John, BLUFIf the President actually believes his rhetoric, it is a problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday, writing at Real Clear Politics, Ms Salena Zito gave us "Obama Sired America's Discontent".

Ms Zito is a Columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  If you don't like what she says you can EMail her at

Here is how this column starts out:

Commuters driving Pittsburgh's old Lincoln Highway alignment last week caught the last glimpse of the pillars of steam from the Shenango coke plant on Neville Island.

Nearly 60 years after the furnace started producing coke for the once-booming steel industry that personified America's strength and work ethic, it is closing — affecting 173 union and non-union employees — as yet another business that made things ends its run.

Days later, Pittsburgh-based Koppers, which converts steel-production waste into carbon-based chemicals for aluminum, vinyl and wood preservatives, announced that 52 employees would lose their jobs when it shuts its Clairton plant this spring.

Both life-changing events for long-term employees served as bookends to President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday.  Among the many things he mocked in it:  anyone who denies that he led a national economic resurgence.

“Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction,” he said.  He shamelessly went on to embellish statistics, claiming 14 million new jobs, including 900,000 manufacturing jobs.

Afterward, FactCheck.orgshowed that it's more like 9 million jobs, many of them lower-paying service jobs.  And, over Obama's time in office, manufacturing jobs have plummeted by 230,000.

In short, if you “made” something in the Obama economy, you lost your job; if you “served” someone, you got a job — but probably needed two, so you could make ends meet.

I like this column because (1) it reflects the economic facts and (2) it echoes what I have been saying—Mr Trump's candidacy was the result of Mr Obama's time as President.  Without Mr Obama there would be no Mr Trump, no Doctor Carson, no Senator Sanders in the race at this point.  Maybe not even a Senator Ted Cruz.

Regarding the economy, there is still a lot of misunderstanding out there.  Early this morning The Old Gray Lady posted to its web page a story on "French President Declares Economic Emergency".  The lede was:

French President Francois Hollande pledged Monday to redefine France's business model and declared what he called "a state of economic and social emergency," unveiling a 2-billion-euro ($2.2 billion) plan to revive hiring and catch up with a fast-moving world economy.
A "fast-moving world economy"?  China's economy is in trouble and while Iran just got a $1.8 billion infusion from the United States, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in trouble, as are other Gulf States, as oil prices sag.  And, there are the PIIGS.  How are they doing?  The US U-6 Unemployment figures, as Senator Bernie Sanders likes to point out, are not good.  They represent a lot of people dropping out of the labor force and living off of savings or cutting way back to live off their spouse's income or going on welfare.

By the Conventions it may all sort out and give us standard politicians, but there is no guarantee.  The People may say differently.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Couldn't Happen to a Better Person

For John, BLUFThe Democrats seem to have their own internal divisions.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

As Radio Reporter Gabriel Heatter used to say, "There is good news tonight".

From The Hill"In primary challenge, Wasserman Schultz faces unprecedented test".

And, I suspect, this is not just good news for Republicans.

For Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the problems with the left just keep coming.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) chief has infuriated many Democrats with her handling of the party’s presidential primary debates.  She drew further howls from liberals for deeming a whole generation of young women "complacent" about their abortion freedoms.

And now she's facing a primary challenge from a liberal Wall Street reformer who says she's a corporate shill detached from her district.

The challenge highlights the difficulty facing Wasserman Schultz as she juggles her dual roles as Florida representative and head of the DNC — duties that sometimes come into conflict.

Timothy Canova, a professor at the Shepard Broad College of Law in Florida's Nova Southeastern University, says Wasserman Schultz's positions on trade, criminal justice, consumer protection and drug policy reform — among others — are evidence that she's sold out to corporate interests at the expense of her constituents.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Primaries and Nominations

For John, BLUFWhy you pay for Party Primaries—Woodrow Wilson and his ilk.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In The [Lowell] Sun is a book review that might be of interest.

"'Primary Politics':  If you love politics, you will love this book".

Primary Politics:  Everything You Need to Know about How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates
by Elaine C. Kamarck

Paperback:  240 pages
Publisher:  Brookings Institution Press; second edition (November 19, 2015)
ISBN-10:  0815727755
ISBN-13:  978-0815727750

The short book review does a good job of covering the book, and primaries, excerpt for a mischaracterization of the 1972 Democrat Convention.  The published review reads:
The 1972 Convention was also tumultuous, with groups who were formerly kingmakers believing they were being marginalized in favor of newer groups like organized labor, minorities and women, who would eventually become half of the party's delegates.
In fact, organized labor was one of those groups which lost power to newer constituencies, such as minorities and women.  The shift in power was good for the nation as a while, as it spread political power out to the People and away from political elites.

Regards  —  Cliff

Keeping The Internet Free

For John, BLUFSome people just can't take a joke.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Another timely item from a week ago.  Reporter Sim Chi Yin, writing for The New York Times, tells us "A German's Video Likens Mao to Hitler, and China Wants Him Punished".  Herr "Christoph Rehage's comparison of Mao to Hitler in a YouTube video prompted warnings that he could be punished under Chinese law."
When Christoph Rehage, a German writer and online satirist on Chinese affairs, joked on Weibo in July that the Communist hero Lei Feng and the female warrior Mulan could have a great baby together, reaction from some quarters was swift.

Mr. Rehage said he received death threats from Chinese who viewed his comments as a slur against cultural heroes. Sina shut his Weibo account, which he said had about 100,000 followers.

"It was a very tasteless joke that I made," Mr. Rehage conceded by telephone from Germany, where he has returned after studying Chinese and cinematography in Beijing.

But when Mr. Rehage called Mao Zedong "China's Hitler" in a YouTube video in December, he said, reaction became "ridiculous."

Mr. Rehage noted that both Mao and Hitler were responsible for the deaths of millions.

An influential Communist Party website called for him to be punished under Chinese law, despite the fact that Mr. Rehage lives in Hamburg. Coupled with events like the recent disappearances of five people connected to a Hong Kong publisher of books critical of Beijing, the episode has raised questions about China's reach across borders.

While some may shrug their shoulders, thinking that Mr Rehage is safe in Germany, in fact it means all of us are a little less safe.  The Chinese continue to assert that national sovereignty should apply to cyber space.  On the other hand, this is not a view that allows for two way thinking and acting.

As one person noted:

The Chinese effort to shift administration of the Internet from ICANN (the Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Numbers, essentially the administrator of the Internet) to the International Telecommunications Union is the larger policy step that is designed to prevent precisely this sort of activity.  Our conceding to this effort enables the Chinese (and Russians and others), in a way that will both ultimately vitiate the vitality of the Internet AND leave us arguably more vulnerable to all sorts of both obnoxious and threatening behavior.
And I don't think the current Administration understand this.

The Internet is, on the one hand, robust, but on the other hand it is a delicate flower.

Regards  —  Cliff

Culture Clash

For John, BLUFBlow-ins just don't understand.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This item, from Richard Fernandez and The Belmont Club, is a week old, but still timely—"Stand by for Collision".

Here is the lede:

One of the more interesting aspects of the European cover-up of mass sex assaults by so-called refugees is that it abets abuse inflicted on Muslim women as well.  Before the story of the Cologne attacks broke, Katin Bennhold of the New York Times wrote a piece on the abuse of refugee women on the migrant trail.  The story should have set alarm bells ringing in the West about what was coming up the trail towards them but it didn't.
While it is clear that there are important cultural differences between immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East and those with so called Western Values, what is not clear is if the national elites of Western nations (1) recognize this and (2) are willing to cross some values to deal with this issues.  With regard to US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, there is recognition.  What is not clear is if he has a solution that does not involve the use of a sledge hammer.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 15, 2016

What is Race in America?

For John, BLUFConfused?  Join some of the rest of us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for the TheNew Yorker, 13 Jan 2016, Mr Jelani Cobb tries to mess with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley—"The Complicated History of Nikki Haley".

I guess she is a "minority", since he says she is, but what is she?  She isn't Black and doesn't really look Asian.  She is, per Mr Cobb, Indian-American, but not that kind of Indian.

MrCobb writes as though the Republicans have been the party in control in South Carolina since before there was aRepublican Party. And while we are at it, and the Writer brought it up, does President Obama really represent the Black struggle in America?  He may be embraced by Black Democrats, but Dr Condi Rice better represents that Black struggle.

I am guessing race authenticity is validated by one's political party.  When I think of Governor Nikki Haley I don't think of a racial minority, but that is OK, since she's a Republican and thus unable to be, authentically, a member of a [racial] minority, like Dr Ben Carson or Seanators Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

I guess I could be disgusted, but I am just bemused.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Will Rogers on Presidential Elections

For John, BLUFElections are good, if housecleaning is needed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This morning's Fortune Cookie from World Software Tool and Die.
On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.
— Will Rogers
Will Rogers is one of my favorites.

Regards  —  Cliff

Nikki Haley Response From Red State

For John, BLUFNot every R likes Mr Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for Red State, Blogger Moe Lane talks about "Nikki Haley’s response to Donald Trump. …And, oh, yeah, Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.".

This was reported out by Mr Ed Driscoll, a savvy PJM Commentator.

here is the background:

Look, folks, this is not difficult to parse. Barack Obama’s part in tonight’s festivities – his very relevance – is fading away. You can almost visibly see it vanish. He can talk about executive orders and grand plans all he likes, but in one year and eight days he will no longer be President of the United States, and will start being somebody else’s problem. So naturally Nikki Haley is not going to waste too much time on a has-been. It’s like kicking a cloth doll. What’s the point?
But, here is the meat of the issue:
Which is interesting, because the speech was only incidentally about Barack Obama’s State of the Union. Well, maybe a bit more than ‘incidentally;’ but this speech was primarily to let Donald Trump know that after Iowa and New Hampshire comes South Carolina. And that Nikki Haley has no intention whatsoever to make life easy for Donald Trump while he’s down there.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s some excerpts from her prepared remarks:

  • "Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.”
  • “In many parts of society today, whether in popular culture, academia, the media, or politics, there’s a tendency to falsely equate noise with results.”
  • “Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.”
And Governor Haley did an Excellent job.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff