Monday, October 31, 2016

Donald Trump on Weiner Security Risk

Donald Trump on Anthony Weiner

Eric Holder on FBI Director Comey Reopening the Clinton Email Case

Ex Obama Attorney General Eric Holder bristled at FBI Director Comey reopening the Clinton Email case

Harry Reid on FBI Director Comey

Harry Reid on FBI Director James Comey

Perhaps Senate Minority Leader Reid is getting advice from his imaginary friends again. 

Benghazi Committee Chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC 4th) had a curt quip that marveled at how a Mormon could seem like he is on drugs for proposing such rubbish. 

Trey Gowdy on the Reopening of the Clinton Email Investigation

Trey Gowdy on the Clinton Emails

Joe Di Genova on the FBI Destruction of Clinton Email Laptops

Joe Di Genova on the FBI Destruction of Clinton Emails

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Libertarian Gary Johnson: Blazing New Paths to the White House?

Washington Post 202 Live Columnist James Hohman interviewing Gary Johnson 10/24/16 [Photo: BD Matt]

The 2016 Election should have been the year of the Libertarian.  It is a change election with voters who would welcome fiscal sensibility and social progress.  Both Democrats and Republicans have nominees who sport extremely high negative ratings and few people look forward to support those candidates. Nearly half of the electorate is to be open to voting for a generic third party candidate. Yet the Libertarian Party remain an also ran  which may win a few percent of votes with no chance of winning any Electoral College votes.

So why can’t Libertarians capitalize on this electoral environment and significantly gain ground in Election 2016?  These are things which the James Hohman 202 Live forum with Libertarian Party nominee Gov. Gary Johnson (L-NM) indirectly answered.

Two weeks before voters go to the polls en masse, Gary Johnson’s campaign was to have a press curated pep rally in Washington, DC.  This is no way to win but to garner a bit of the spotlight while raising consciousness towards Libertarian issues.

Gary Johnson grouping waiting outside Washington Post 10/24/16 [Photo Credit: BD Matt]

Even though Johnson was the two time Republican Governor of the Land of Opportunity, he is not a typical Washington politician.  Never mind the shabby chic attire of a blue blazer with faded blue jeans.  Johnson lacked skills to connect with crowds. Even though the 400 person audience was packed with Gary believers and the interview was streamed live, Johnson kept eye contact with his interlocutor rather than those who he seeked to sway. Johnson also seemed to often have his eyes closed. This forum was not an environment for a barn-burner speech but the offhand effect was not poised to connect with many new converts.

Johnson was not worried about being a spoiler in Election 2016, as he thought that he would do well among independents who are said to be the largest part of the electorate. Johnson’s strategy is epitomized in his observation that high water raises all boats and in this change election, if Johnson wins one state then he’ll win eight.  But Johnson/Weld is not positioned to win anywhere.  Johnson seems content to keep the Libertarian Party qualified on all 50 state ballots and then ride off into the sunset.

In contrast, Independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin (I-UT) has only been in the Presidential race since August, 2016 but he is positioned to win Utah and do well in the Mountain West. McMullin knew that he could not win Election 2016 but has a strategy to win some Electoral College votes and throw a close Presidential contest into the House of Representatives.

Gary Johnson rues not being included in the 2016 Presidential debates, unlike Reform Party nominee Ross Perot in 1992.  Johnson theorized that both parties saw Perot’s upstart candidacy as helping them so he got a place on the big stage.  Johnson maintains that he could not win Election 2016 without getting into the Presidential debates. But without him, Johnson characterized the Presidential debates as being rhetorical varieties of: “I want to kill you” without really talking policy.

Johnson’s brand of Libertarianism is liberal libertine.  Johnson is pro-choice on abortion because it is the law of the land, which he correctly notes is not Roe v. Wade (1973) but Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1991). Johnson followed with an applause line that he is pro-choice for everything. Yet Johnson’s “pro choice for all” perspective is impeached by his skepticism of religious liberty rights and the Supreme Court imposing same-sex marriage on all states. It seems that Johnson’s Libertarianism is rooted in a progressive Supreme Court rather than the primacy of the individual.  No wonder Johnson claimed during the Democrat primaries that he agreed with Bernie Sanders 73% of the time.

For a Libertarian, Johnson makes an unusual case for immigration.  The Libertarian Party nominee advocates embracing immigration and make it legally as easy as possible. Johnson claimed that there was sufficient vetting of Syrian refugees.  But then again, that is coming from a candidate made famous for his “What is Aleppo” answer.

Regarding immigration, Johnson’s view is that America should work with Mexico on quotas and border crossings.  However, Johnson’s rationale for free immigration is not for efficient economics and letting individuals decide, but prompted by pathos.  Johnson believes that America should not break up families, building a wall is nuts and that America has always encouraged immigration.  It seems Johnson forgot about the immigration freeze between 1940 and 1965.  These rationales sound more like a liberal Democrat than an orthodox Libertarian.

It was remarkable that Libertarian nominee waited 24 minutes into an hour interview to bring up drugs.  It seems that pot legalization is often the second thing out of a typical Libertarian’s mouth.  Johnson proudly assumed the moniker that he had been the “Highest Elected Official” to endorse marijuana legalization.  Johnson is jonesing for an America that treats drugs like a health policy issue rather than a law enforcement issue. Johnson expressed disappointment that every pot smoker had not chipped a dollar into his campaign coffers so he would have another $56 million.  Sorry, dude but you’ve got to save some coin for when you get the munchies.

Yet Johnson perseverated on the drug question to intimate far beyond pot legalization.  Johnson claims that public policies kill heroin users.  While Johnson would not go as far as to legalize cocaine, he said that it was less of a problem than methamphetamines because coke users will die young with a hole in their hearts. So better that coke users die from cardiac arrests than tolerating hillbilly heroin?

This fifteen minute pharmacological discussion may have affirmed the support of base Libertarians, but was “high” minded faculty room chat which did not impress unaligned voters in Election 2016 and seemed pie in the sky aside from the trend in states to legalize recreational pot.

Johnson pushed for a flat tax as a straight consumption tax would end the vagaries of the income tax code and would give pink slips to  80% of lobbyists.  Johnson’s cure for Social Security was to means test and allow for the direct direction of retirement investments.  While Johnson was skeptical of enacting the elimination of government agencies, he thought that HUD’s time had expired, questioned the relevance of most of Commerce and believed that the Department of Homeland Security should be broken up.

It was on civil liberty, particularly in the privacy realm, that Johnson embodied Libertarian philosophy, perhaps to a fault.  Johnson wanted the NSA to train its cameras off Americans and not run to a secret FISA court to do blanket spying on Americans. Johnson thinks that America is winning the Cyber War but it is a question of what we are doing. Johnson even went so far as to suggest that he would pardon Edward Snowden based on what he knows.

Johnson seems to take a lackadaisical approach to the election.  Johnson assures voters that Election 2016 is his swan song.  But if he is not elected, he looks forward to skiing for 120 days then riding the Continental Divide.

For political junkies, it is rare to hear a candidate offer new policies.  But intimate campaign events allow people to get an up close and personal and take their estimation of the candidate. For me, Johnson could not connect with a crowd and did not really seem to want to win.  His libertine Libetarianism (e.g.- abortion and drugs)  is an anathematic to a conservative leaning libertarian.  No wonder Johnson in fading in the polls as Election Day approaches.

It is a pity that Libertarians wasted this golden opportunity to become a viable third party as the Republican and Democrats face radical restructuring.  Instead, they opted for a C list name who does have some governing experience but seems little differentiated from liberal Democrat. More importantly, Johnson has little fire in the belly and seems to yearn post election freedom soaking in the Rocky Mountain High. What a waste!

Raymond Arroyo on Writing

Raymond Arroyo on Writing

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

On Exploding Cell Phones and Exploding Obamacare Premiums

As President Obama went out on the hustings for Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY), he offered some puckich perspectives about innovation and Obamacare.

This quip about smart phones catching fire seems particularly apt in assessing the challenges for Obamacare, as notices for premiums for the Affordable Care Act have gone out and the rate for the benchmark premium has increased by 145% in Phoenix. 

Speaker Paul Ryan echoed Obama's analogy but lamented that families can't just return their junky product to the source and choose another device. 

Paul Ryan on exploding cell phones and exploding Obamacare Rremiums

Tom Coburn on the DC Racket

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Pence for Fran Lebowitz's Thoughts

Vanity Fair's progressive provocateur Fran Lebowitz made some revealing remarks at the "third annual" New Establishment summit in San Francisco.

When commenting on anti-abortion activists in light of the 2016 Election cycle, Fran Lebowitz advocated for retroactive abortions for pro-lifers like Republican Vice Presidential nominee Governor Mike Pence (R-IN).

Fran Lebowitz advocates retroactive abortions for pro lifers life GOP VP nominee Gov. Mike Pence

How telling.  Pro choice politicians seem to consider abortion a sacrament, but it is usually placed on the euphemistic altar of protecting a "woman's right to choose" or the ironic yet pathos laden precept of  "womens' reproductive health."  Yet Lebowitz advocacy for retroactive abortions makes it clear that progressives favor eliminating enemies which get in their way.

Although it is the height of political season and clearly Lebowitz and Pence would be polar political opposites,  Lebowitz modest proposal gives lie to the loft rhetoric of "diversity".  Progressives look to identity politics, for externals like race or gender preference but are loathe to be tolerant of perspective which are not their own.

Moreover, Lebowitz's barbaric barb illustrates liberal fascism as was expounded upon by Jonah Goldberg's influential book  Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Change (2009).

Of course, Lebowitz is a literary commentator infused with New York values and an in your face attitude.  But based upon Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY)'s answer in the third debate about the Supreme Court, in which she rattled off a laundry list of liberal leitmotifs without once mentioning the Constitution, we can expect such vilest values to infect the New Establishment if it takes over the District of Calamity (sic).

Friday, October 21, 2016

VICE President Joe Biden on Sexual Assault

Vice President Joe Biden on alleged sexual assault by Donald Trump and Bill Clinton

VICE President Joe Biden's cognitive dissonance is rich, especially considering his own handsy public conduct.

Asides from being an odd messenger for Democrat's hands off approach to sexual assault, Biden's bluster blurted out an interesting admission.  If Ex President B.J. Clinton paid a price, was impeached and expressed deep sorry for Monica Lewinski, then it is a tacit admission of guilt.  By 1996 standards, it was a private affair and just about consensual sex between a 21 year old intern and her big boss, the President of the United States.  Hmm.

Debatable Humor for Election 2016

After enduring 4 1/2 hours of Presidential debates and a painful to watch Al Smith Dinner, we ought to try to laugh at Election 2016 so that we don't cry.

Camille Paglia on Decadence

Camille Paglia on Decadence

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Giuliani Jibes at Obama's Just-Us Department

Rudy Giuliani on Obama's Justice Department

"My vote can't be bought but it can be rented"

Hillary Clinton echoes ex Senator John Breaux on politicians being rented

As revealed through Wikileaks, transcripts of Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY)'s lucrative speaking engagements to banks had some embarrassing allusions.  

It was telling how Mrs. Clinton echoed former Senator John Breaux on how votes can not be bought but may be rented.  That seems particularly egregious considering the pay-for-play accusations of Clinton Foundation donors getting concierge service while Secretary of State Clinton was at Foggy Bottom.  

And it also calls into question former President Bill Clinton's lucrative speech  in Kazakhstan and Clinton Foundation donations before the State Department approved Russian affiliated company Uranium One taking control of 25% of America's uranium stock

Friedrich Nietzsche on Insanity

Friedrich Nietzsche on Insanity

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Baseball Bats, Civility and Wise Latinas

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently gave  the Robert A. Stein lecture before an audience of 2,700 people at the University of Minnesota on civility in public discourse. 


Sotomayor made an admission against interest as she recalled working with her  Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, with whom she could violently disagree.

Associate Justice Sotomayor on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Yet Sotomayor spoke also affectionately of her conservative colleague, noting that the death of Scalia was like losing a family member. Sotomayor insisted that despite their differences that she was a good friend of Scalia.

Notwithstanding her uncharitable impulses when butting heads with Scalia on the Supreme Court bench, the self labeled Wise Latina chides herself that: 

If we’ve lost anything, it’s remembering that differences don’t stand, necessarily, on ill will. If you keep that in mind, you can resolve almost any issue, because you can find that common ground to interact with each other.

To support civility, it might be wise for Sotomayor to consider how her progressive SCOTUS ally Ruth Bader Ginsburg discerns dissent before being driven to grab a baseball bat. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Temperament

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Temperament

John Locke on Truth

John Locke on Truth

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Raising Kaine on the Centrality of Faith in Public Life

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was picked by Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY) partly because he could appeal to some progressive Catholics who are drawn to his social justice warrior background.

 During the campaign, Kaine has claimed that he was a Pope Francis Catholic. During the Vice Presidential debate, Senator Kaine tried to do the typical CINO (Catholic-In-Name-Only) two step in which he claims to personally be a practicing Catholic but does not impose his views on others.

Even though Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin is not a Jesuit, he applied an Ignatian principle of discernment to Senator Kaine's contention that faith is central to his life. 

Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin analyzes how central is Tim Kaine's faith to his political life

Perhaps between campaign stops, it would be fruitful for Senator Kaine to read Bishop Tobin's books Effective Faith: Faith that Makes a Difference (2009) and Without a Doubt (2001) to discern how the faithful can effectively form minds, change hearts and enlighten the world in which we live.

Robert Fripp on Music

Robert Fripp on Music

Friday, October 14, 2016

Archbishop Chaput: "In a nation where 'choice' is now the unofficial state religion, the menu for dinner is remarkably small."

Wikileaks has released some batches of John Podesta's emails which reveal that Hillary Clinton confidants have some scathing views of Catholics.  Some had suggested that there should be a "Catholic Spring" to overthrow "a middle ages dictatorship" and impose a democratic cult which honors gender equality (and presumably progressive approaches to hot button social issues).  Other emails mocked how conservative Catholics were pseudo-intellectuals who spouted sophisticated sounding nonsense.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput responded to these scathing critques stemming from the highest echelons of Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential campaign.
Archbishop Chaput responds to Wikileaks Podesta emails mocking Catholics and commenting on the 2016 Election

It is quite  a clever turn of phrase of Archbishop Chaput to quip:"In a nation where 'choice' is now the unofficial state religion, the menu for dinner is remarkably small." Chaput pithily impeaches America's obsession with choice (abortion), reflects on dangers to America's tradition of religious liberty while lamenting the paucity of choices to be elected Commander-in-Chief.

Not withstanding the sardonic style of the riposte, Archbishop Chaput has consistently eviscerated both major party Presidential candidates, as seen from his recent speech at Notre Dame University.

We love to label in order to create intellectual order in our minds.  But terms like liberal and conservative do not translate well into Church politics.  Archbishop Chaput can be considered a conservative in Church circles, as he is cautiously embracing implementation of the New Mercy contained in Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.  However, it would be mistaken to automatically assume that Chaput is a political conservative or would ever vote for Donald Trump.

It is a pity that Archbishop Chaput was passed over to be named a Cardinal  by Pope Francis' recent announcement for the November 19th consistory.  Philadelphia, like the large Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is traditionally blessed with a Cardinal.  Pope Francis, however, chose three "red hats" which went to Dallas, Indianapolis and to Archbishop Blase Cupich from the longstanding Cardinal seat of Chicago.

On a Wealth of Information

Herbert A. Simon on a wealth of information

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Hits Keep Coming Via Wikileaks-- John Podesta on Hillary Clinton

Clinton confidant John Podesta on Hillary Clinton's political tin ear

In the continued Wikileaks revelations of John Podesta's emails, the Clinton confidant gave an internal analysis of Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY) that was scathing. 

Podesta admitted his candidate's political flaws of having a stiff, tone deaf style that is off-putting. These traits would ordinarily be fatal.  But it seems that the 2016 Democrat primaries were engineered Mrs. Clinton to win.  The Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has severe character flaws and his unconventional style is ripe for ridicule by a partisan press dedicated to coronating Hillary as the first elected woman President. 

Bob Dylan on Accolades

Bob Dylan on accolades

Bob Dylan (ne Robert Zimmerman) has been on the American cultural scene since 1959 performing his poetry and eclectic musical stylings.

Despite his stated aversion to accolades, Bob Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature.  This was the first time the award was given to a singer/songwriter.  The Nobel Committee recognized Dylan for "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition"

Machiavelli on Adversity

Machiavelli on adversity and danger

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hillary Clinton on Everyday Americans

Clinton Confidant John Podesta on Hillary Clinton and Everyday Americans

During one of Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's (R-NY) reintroduction to America (after her quarter century in the spotlight) tried to employ the conceit of identifying with Everyday Americans.

This political tact evolved in the General Election campaign to be Stronger Together.

But the Wikileaks release of Clinton confidant John Podesta's emails to the Clinton campaign tells quite a different story.

It is curious how Hillary Clinton has amassed a $250 million fortune since she and her husband former President B.J. Clinton left the White House are identified with everyday Americans yet foster such cynical contempt of the people that they supposedly champion.