Friday, December 30, 2016

Reality Finally Sets In for Hogan

from the Baltimore Sun
Gov. Larry Hogan, who refused to support Donald Trump's election, will attend his inauguration.

The Republican governor received an invitation and will attend the ceremony with his wife, Yumi Hogan, in Washington Jan. 20, the Governor's Office said Friday.

During the campaign, Hogan expressed disdain for Trump's candidacy and vowed not to vote for him even after Trump clinched the Republican Party's nomination.

Hogan announced that he had cast his vote for his father, former U.S. Rep. Lawrence J. Hogan Sr. The senior Hogan was also the last Republican to serve as Prince George's County executive.

After the election, Hogan congratulated Trump and predicted he would have a good working relationship with the White House. Hogan has called the vice president-elect, Mike Pence of Indiana, one of his closest friends among the nation's governors.

Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said Hogan is "committed to working with the incoming Trump administration just as he has successfully worked with the Obama administration to promote what is in Maryland's best interest."

Chasse said Hogan believes the areas where Maryland can work closely with the Trump administration include economic development and transportation infrastructure.

"He looks forward to having an open dialogue with the President-elect and his team," Chasse said. She declined to say whether the two have spoken since the election.

Hogan will join another renegade Republican governor, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, in attending the inauguration at Trump's invitation.

The Boston Globe reported that Baker, who had opposed Trump in harsher terms than the Maryland governor, said that after the election he had a brief but cordial telephone conversation with Trump.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Trump Meets w/Local Medical Experts

from the Baltimore Sun
Dr. Paul B. Rothman, the CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, met with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday along with other medical leaders to discuss reform efforts at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A senior transition official said Trump is considering a public-private option that would allow veterans to seek care from private hospitals.

"It's one of the options on the table," the official said. "Definitely an option on the table [is] to have a system where, potentially, vets can choose."

Rothman was joined by Dr. John Noseworthy, president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic; Cleveland Clinic CEO Delos "Toby" Cosgrove and Boston-based Partners HealthCare chief David Torchiana.

The meeting was held at Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., where Trump is spending the holidays.

"I am thankful and encouraged by the president-elect's interest in meeting with leaders from several of the country's health care and research institutions," Rothman said in a statement.

"I believe Mr. Trump's interest reflects his recognition of the critical importance of health care and biomedical research to the country," he added.

In a statement, the Mayo Clinic said Noseworthy accepted the invitation from Trump to "share his perspective on the future of health care delivery, research and excellence."

Neither statement offered details about the conversation.

Friday, December 23, 2016

What Constitutes a Successful Presidency?

Bringing Your Golf Handicap from a 17 to an "honest" 14

May the President bring it down to a 10 during his next 8 years in retirement...

I-95 from Aberdeen Proving Ground to be Designated Automated Vehicle Testing Corridor

From the Maryland Department of Transportation (via The Dagger):
Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn today announced that the state has submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to designate a portion of the Interstate 95 (I-95) corridor in Maryland as a future Automated Vehicle (AV) testing and deployment area. The application is in response to USDOT’s notice of intent to designate a select number of “proving grounds” across the country, which will help accelerate the development of AV technology to achieve a better understanding of the long-term impacts of self-driving vehicles. Maryland’s proposal includes the I-95 corridor from Aberdeen Proving Ground to the Fort Meade/University of Maryland region, and includes multiple public roadways, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall), and existing public/private research and testing facilities throughout this region.

“The I-95 Corridor in Maryland is the ideal one-stop-shop for real-world testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles,” said Transportation Secretary Rahn. “This corridor is strategically positioned along the thriving east coast and combines a wealth of existing facilities, along with unique testing opportunities at the Port of Baltimore and BWI Airport.”

Maryland’s proposal takes advantage of existing development, testing, partnerships and investments in AV technology along the I-95 corridor and includes:
• Existing facilities already developing and testing AV technologies, including Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County, the Center for Entrepreneurship in Howard County, and the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory in Prince George’s County;

• MDOT-owned facilities to provide future simulated and real-world testing environments, including the electronic toll lanes along I-95, the Port of Baltimore for freight operations, and BWI Marshall for passenger shuttle transportation; and

• Private-sector companies already planning development and manufacturing of AV components within the next two years.
The application does not allow immediate testing of self-driving vehicles on public roadways. Designated facilities should be ready to test AV technologies by January 1, 2018. Although no federal funding is associated with the initial designation, it could lead to future federal funding and economic development opportunities for Maryland. Eligible entities include test tracks/testing facilities, race tracks, cities/urban areas, highway corridors, and campuses.

“We are in the process of developing clear policies and procedures for companies eager to test AV technologies on public roads in Maryland,” said Christine E. Nizer, MDOT’s Motor Vehicle Administrator and Chair of the Maryland Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Working Group. “Self-driving vehicles have the potential to transform how we live and work, and while we are open for business and eager to realize the life-saving and economic benefits of this innovative technology, we will always ensure safety comes first.”

The application follows the recommendations of the Maryland Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Working Group, which was established by Secretary Rahn in December 2015. The Working Group handles strategic planning for MDOT concerning autonomous and connected vehicles. The group includes a diverse membership of transportation stakeholders, including elected officials, state and local agency representatives, highway safety organizations, representatives from the private sector and automotive industry. The group evaluates the latest research, tracks federal and state laws, policies and programs, and coordinates with other agencies, organizations and businesses to set the course for the future of automated and connected vehicles in Maryland.

USDOT will announce the initial list of AV Proving Grounds during the first quarter of 2017.
Welcome to the new rat race, my little Harford County guinea pigs! Don't get run over!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 in Perspective

from HotAir
National popular vote now final: Clinton finishes 2.1 points ahead, Trump has highest vote total ever for a Republican

Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight has been tracking the numbers day by day for weeks and says they’re now official.
All 50 states + DC now certified: Clinton: 65,844,610 (48.2%) Trump: 62,979,636 (46.1%) Others: 7,804,213 (5.7%)

Trump’s total of nearly 63 million votes is almost a million votes better than the second-largest total by a Republican in history. You might guess that that distinction belongs to Mitt Romney; after all, with the population increasing every four years, chances are that each successive nominee will bank more votes than the last. Not so, though. Romney has the third-most votes by a Republican in history. McCain has the fourth-largest amount. Second place belongs to George W. Bush, who received a little more than 62 million votes for his reelection bid in 2004, a gigantic improvement of nearly 12 million ballots over his 2000 total. Both parties’ voters were out in force in 2004 for the first presidential election since 9/11 and the Iraq war. It took 12 years of population growth before Republicans were able to improve on Dubya’s total, but Trump did it. Bush’s 2004 campaign does retain one title, though: It’s the only time in the last 25 years that a Republican has won the popular vote.

As for Hillary, her margin over Trump of more than two points was four times as large as that of Al Gore, the last popular-vote winner to lose the electoral college, who won by half a point in 2000. She finished with the third-most votes of any presidential candidate in history, just slightly behind Obama’s 2012 mark (by less than 60,000 votes) and more than 3.5 million votes behind his blockbuster 2008 total, which remains the biggest haul in American history. At 69.4 million votes, it’s possible that O’s 2008 benchmark will survive 2020 as well. As for which national pollster ended up getting closest to the mark, none were spot on — but the overall RCP average, projecting a win of 3.3 points by Clinton, wasn’t far from the target:

Only two polls measured correctly that Clinton would hit 48 percent and no poll had Trump doing as well as 46 percent. IBD/TIPP was the only one to have him as high as 45 percent — and ironically, IBD/TIPP was the lone survey that missed the mark overall by predicting that he would end up with more votes than Clinton. Tough year for the data nerds.

2016 Presidential Election - The Official Results

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trump Can End the War on Cops

from the Wall Street Journal
Trump Can End the War on Cops 
Stop treating police as racist and pushing lower hiring standards as a way to achieve ‘diversity.’


Donald Trump’s promise to restore law and order to America’s cities was one of the most powerful themes of his presidential campaign. His capacity to deliver will depend on changing destructive presidential rhetoric about law enforcement and replacing the federal policies that flowed from that rhetoric.

The rising violence in many urban areas is driven by what candidate Trump called a “false narrative” about policing. This narrative holds that law enforcement is pervaded by racism, and that we are experiencing an epidemic of racially biased police shootings of black men.

Multiple studies have shown that those claims are untrue. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. Yet President Obama has repeatedly accused the police and criminal-justice system of discrimination, lethal and otherwise. During the memorial service for five Dallas police officers gunned down in July by an assassin who reportedly was inspired by Black Lives Matter, Mr. Obama announced that black parents were right to “fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door”—that the child will be fatally shot by a cop.

The consequences of such presidential rhetoric are enormous, especially when amplified by the media. Officers working in high-crime areas now encounter a dangerous level of hatred and violent resistance. Gun murders of officers are up 68% this year compared with the same period last year.
Police have cut way back on pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement in minority neighborhoods, having been told repeatedly that such discretionary activities are racially oppressive. The result in 2015 was the largest national homicide increase in nearly 50 years. That shooting spree has continued this year, ruthlessly mowing down children and senior citizens in many cities, along with the usual toll of young black men who are the primary targets of gun crime. 

To begin to reverse these trends, President Trump must declare that the executive branch’s ideological war on cops is over. The most fundamental necessity of any society is adherence to the rule of law, he should say. Moreover, there is no government agency today more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police.

The nationwide policing revolution that originated in New York City in 1994—based on proactive enforcement—saved thousands of minority lives over 20 years, and provided urban residents with newfound freedom. While police agencies and their local overseers must remain vigilant against officer abuses, the federal government will no longer deem cops racist for responding to community demands for public order.
Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has imposed an unprecedented number of federal consent decrees on police agencies, subjecting those agencies to years of costly federal monitoring, based on a specious methodology for teasing out alleged systemic police bias. The department assumes that police activity like stops or arrests will be evenly spread across different racial and ethnic populations unless there is police racism. So if police stops are higher among blacks, say, the police, according to this reasoning, must be motivated by bias. 

But this analysis ignores the large racial differences in offending and victimization rates. Policing today is data-driven: Cops go where innocent civilians are most being preyed upon—and that is in minority neighborhoods. Under a Trump administration, police activity should be evaluated against a benchmark of crime, not population ratios.

The next administration should continue the new FBI initiative to collect and publish data on all officer use of force. But such information must be accompanied by information on local crime rates, since police force will occur most frequently where cops encounter armed and resisting suspects.

The next U.S. attorney general—Mr. Trump has nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions—should articulate the standards that will guide Justice Department lawyers in opening a civil-rights investigation of a police department, a process that has been shrouded in mystery.

An October purge in New York City illustrates why it is so important to appoint a leader for the Justice Department’s civil rights division who understands the realities of crime and policing. FBI agents and federal prosecutors based in New York had been investigating whether to criminally indict a New York police officer for the 2014 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner; the agents and lawyers had found little ground for doing so. Their reluctance to indict did not sit well with the Washington-based attorneys in Justice’s civil rights division. So U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch removed the New York team and replaced them with attorneys from the civil rights division. The Trump administration should closely review whatever charges result.

Crime-fighting is overwhelmingly a local matter. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, however, U.S. attorneys and federal agents worked successfully with local police forces to prosecute violent street crime under strengthened federal penalties for gun offenses and drug trafficking.

In recent years, though, attention to violent crime has slackened in many federal prosecutors’ offices, not coincidentally as Mr. Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder were criticizing federal gun- and drug-crime sentencing for contributing to the “mass incarceration” of minorities. The next Justice Department should review whether federal law-enforcement personnel in the most crime-plagued cities such as Chicago should refocus on fighting gun violence.

The current Justice Department has ordered more than 28,000 federal law-enforcement officers and prosecutors into “implicit bias” training—a form of sensitivity re-education aimed at teaching police how to combat their own alleged subliminal bias. The new attorney general should cancel this initiative and lift the pressure on local police departments to put their own officers through this wasteful exercise.

In October, the Justice Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommended that police agencies lower their hiring standards—including requirements that applicants have a clean criminal record—to achieve “diversity.” The thinking behind this recommendation must be repudiated. Lowered hiring standards are a recipe for corruption and tactical errors. The The Justice Department’s own research in Philadelphia suggests that minority officers are more likely than white officers to shoot unarmed black males.

Mr. Trump has rightly observed that “crime and violence is an attack on the poor,” adding that such violence “will never be accepted in a Trump administration.” If President Trump can restore the legitimacy of lawful proactive policing, fewer Americans will have to accept a life bounded by fear.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pugh Delivers Message to Trump from George Soros Fans

>from the Baltimore Sun
A civic activism group held a daylong summit in Baltimore Saturday, where new Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and others discussed ways to approach some of the city's systemic problems.

The Open Society Institute-Baltimore's Solutions Summit was held at the War Memorial building from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The group calls drug addiction, criminal justice and education issues the biggest problems affecting Baltimore and Maryland.

Participants in a series of forums discussed policies to address behavioral health, criminal and juvenile justice, jobs and racial equity.

Forum participants voted on the recommendations they want Baltimore's new mayor and City Council to consider.

Event speakers include Pugh, University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke (a former mayor) and Sherilynn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

There was food, performances from spoken word artists and displays of pieces from MICA's recent "Baltimore Rising" exhibit.

from the Baltimore Sun
Pugh hands Trump letter noting city's 'needs'

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh says she has given President-elect Donald Trump a letter describing the city's need for federal money.

Pugh, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican, met Saturday afternoon at the Army-Navy football game at M&T Bank Stadium.

"With @realDonaldTrump in Baltimore I delivered a letter noting importance of our infrastructure needs & need for investment of federal funds," Pugh tweeted after the encounter. She included a photo of the pair shaking hands.

The exchange came two days after the new Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to condemn Trump's rhetoric.

Trump campaigned on promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall along the Southwest Border and bar Muslims from entering the country.

In its first official act, the council approved a resolution Thursday opposing Trump's "divisive and scapegoating rhetoric, rooted in hate and prejudice."

Pugh had said she would try to persuade Trump to funnel more federal investment to the cash-strapped city.

Trump's attendance at the Army-Navy game was his first public appearance in Maryland since the election last month.

Nearly 200 protesters circled M&T Bank Stadium before his arrival. Marchers chanted "No Hate. No Fear. Immigrants are Welcome Here." and "We reject the president-elect," and wielded signs that read "Dump Trump," "Resist" and "Make Fascists Hide Again."

Friday, December 9, 2016

Selective Law Enforcement Has Consequences, Doesn't it?

from American Thinker
Mayor of Oakland warns against ‘scapegoating’ lavishly paid city employees who failed to inspect deathtrap warehouse in 30 years

The Ghost Ship warehouse/artists’ colony fire makes for a compelling drama. And everyone knows that for a drama, you need villains, especially when a tragedy is as vivid as the horrible deaths of 36 mostly young adult creative explorers.

The mainstream media found a ready made figure in Derick Almena, the man who rented the warehouse and set up the colony, whose solipsistic tweets focused on his own suffering not the fire victims.

His appearance on the Today Show could be a textbook example for PR consultants to use in warning their clients who have just experienced a disaster.
But now that the news is out that this obvious firetrap, complained about by neighbors, was never inspected in the last 30 years, people, including many Oakland residents, wonder why he city government allowed this predictable tragedy to unfold.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is understandably concerned about being perceived to have dropped the ball:
“I want to be clear that we will not scapegoat city employees in the wake of this disaster. What we will do is give them clarity and support that they deserve,” Schaaf said.
Support? Let’s start with financial support. Our own Michael Bargo, Jr. looked up the pay that is lavished on the senior officials who should not have allowed this to happen, and found some shocking information:
…in 2015, Craig K. Chew, the assistant chief of inspectors, made $362,211, $147,000 of which was "benefits." The Alameda County administrator Susan Muranishi made $729,162 in 2015, of which $313,503 was in "benefits," which included bonuses.

The Alameda County sheriff, Greg Ahern, made $627,935 in that one year.
For that kind of money, and that kind of job security (notice that nobody has whispered a word about firing or even disciplining the “public servants” who allowed this travesty to happen by failing in their basic job duty for decades), can't we expect a level of commitment to duty above and beyond the oridinary?

Do how did they do, these one percenters? The East Bay Express reports:
Last Saturday morning, as first responders began to enter its smoldering rubble in search of victims, several Oakland Fire Department employees looked up the warehouse’s fire-code inspection history. But when they attempted to pull records for 1315 31st Avenue from their own fire-prevention bureau’s files, they discovered nothing.

“It's not even in the system,” one firefighter said (he asked not be identified for fear of retaliation from the city for speaking out).

Since the tragedy, he and five other firefighters have explained to the Expresshow the department's building-inspection program, which should be the front line of fire prevention and safety, is dangerously under-staffed and disorganized.

In fact, there are just six fire inspectors for the entire City of Oakland, left to investigate more than 4,200 commercial and residential properties each year.

These firefighters also blamed Oakland Fire Chief Theresa Deloach Reed for failing to hire for key leadership positions in the fire prevention bureau.

For years, the OFD also has been chronically under-funded. Firefighters told the Express that they’re made to work long, grueling overtime hours, because there are too few emergency responders to adequately protect the city without extra shifts.
Maybe it is understaffed because it pays the second banana inspector $362,000? I wonder if really good assistant managers might be available for half that amount?

But what about all those other hard-working city employees, the ones down in the trenches? CBS SF Bay Area reports:
…it has become clear that while both child protective services and even Oakland police officers had been inside the Ghost City warehouse, no one had contacted building inspectors about what they saw.

It’s the old “that’s not on my job description” mentality. I have noticed over the course of my life that this attitude, related to the “work-to-rule” tactic often adopted by public employees who are unable to strike, is limited to public employees and also workers at large, bureaucratic organizations on their way to decline and bankruptcy, unless revived and culturally changed by someone like Mitt Romney. It is a very common cultural pathology of rigid, ineffective bureaucrcies.

I would really like to know if Mayor Schaaf thinks that the police and child protective workers who saw the interior of the death trap and did nothing should not be “scapegoated”?
Actually the problem is worse. The city of Oakland's liberal mayor was supporting the "starving artist cause" by ensuring that the government never enforced city ordinances that other "less enlightened mortals" must all follow, like building and fire codes. It's like their "sanctuary cities" that never enforce immigration law. Government officials are making HUGE salaries through non-enforcement of law. Are the resident who vote them in THAT stupid? Nope, they pay them to NOT provide public safety and provide the services that every other sane community demands. They are too cool and too hip to comply with common sense legal structures.

Geert Wilders Earns His Scarlet Letter

from the NY Times
AMSTERDAM — Geert Wilders, the far-right politician who is seen as a likely contender to become prime minister when Dutch voters go to the polls next year, was convicted on Friday of inciting discrimination and of insulting a group for saying that the Netherlands would be safer with fewer Moroccans.

The three-member judiciary panel found that Mr. Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom, had violated Dutch law for remarks he made on March 19, 2014, around the time of municipal elections in The Hague, but it elected not to convict him of inciting hatred and rejected the prosecutors’ request to fine him 5,000 euros, or about $5,300.

Mr. Wilders was found not guilty of hate-speech charges in connection with comments he made about Moroccans in a nationally broadcast TV program filmed at a public market a week earlier, but he was found to have violated laws on inciting discrimination when he led a crowd at a political rally in chanting “fewer, fewer” to the question, “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in this city and in the Netherlands?”

Mr. Wilders, whose defense team said he would appeal the decision next week, was not present when the verdict was read by the chief judge, Hendrik Steenhuis, at a secured courtroom on a military base near Schiphol Airport, outside Amsterdam.

The site was chosen to protect Mr. Wilders, who has been under constant guard because of death threats related to a long history of inflammatory comments, as well as the judge and prosecutors.

“The most important thing is that he is found guilty of group insult and inciting discrimination,” said a spokesman for the public prosecution service, Frans Zonneveld. “For now, we’re very satisfied that he has been found guilty of these two charges.”

In their ruling, the judges said that Mr. Wilders’s comments at the rally had contributed to the further polarization of Dutch society, and that mutual respect was imperative in the “pluralistic” Netherlands.

“He said that he was supported by millions of people and therefore was not to blame of offending a group,” Judge Steenhuis said. “It’s important to answer the question of whether he was guilty of this. That question is answered in our court system. We state that you cannot offend groups of people and discriminate against them.”

Mr. Wilders received no punishment.

Mr. Wilders, who has taken a page out of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s playbook and adopted the campaign slogan “Make the Netherlands Great Again,” has repeatedly made vitriolic and inflammatory remarks about Islam, the Quran, immigrants and Dutch minority groups. Since the election of Mr. Trump, the Party for Freedom has been surging in the polls.

“Three PVV hating judges declare that Moroccans are a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands,” Mr. Wilders said on Twitter almost immediately after the verdict was announced, using the Dutch acronym for his party. “Madness.”

Peter Kanne, a pollster with I&O Research, an independent Dutch polling organization, said the most recent data, released on Nov. 25, indicated that the Party for Freedom had gained support and was currently about even with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, the liberal party.

“What you see is that the trial of Geert Wilders is working to his benefit,” Mr. Kanne said by telephone on Thursday. “I don’t know if this will be a long-term effect, and we can’t tell if it will still be this way in one or two months.”

Those I&O Research interviewed about their support for the Party for Freedom said that Mr. Wilders’s trial was one of several topical factors that might influence their vote.

“A lot of people mentioned that they’re really getting angry that he is being accused and judged only for what he said,” Mr. Kanne said. “They think that he said something that is true, and they’re very angry that a politician cannot say that in a society where there is freedom of speech.”

Just before the official court proceedings began on Oct. 31, Mr. Wilders said on his blog that he would boycott what he called “a travesty” against freedom of speech.

He changed his mind, however, and appeared in court on Nov. 23 to testify during the defense’s closing arguments. Regardless of the verdict, he said, “no one will be able to silence me,” after describing how he has lived with constant protection since 2004 because he fears for his life.

“I need to use the only freedom that I still have to protect our country against Islam and against terrorism,” he continued, in remarks that were delivered in Dutch and published in full in English on his website. “Against immigration from Islamic countries. Against the huge problem with Moroccans in the Netherlands. I cannot remain silent about it; I have to speak out. That is my duty, I have to address it, I must warn for it, I have to propose solutions for it.”

Mr. Wilders said he could not be found guilty of racism, arguing that Moroccans were not a race. “Not a single nationality is a race,” he said. “Belgians are no race, Americans are no race. Stop this nonsense, I say to the public prosecutor. I am not a racist, and my voters are neither.”

In their ruling, the judges said that Mr. Wilders had “in a manner that was clear and explicit to everyone, identified a group of fellow citizens by referring to their common origin. He used their nationality as ethnic designation.”

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"Establishment" Retains Control of Maryland Republican Party

from the Baltimore Sun
Dirk Haire, longtime counsel to the Maryland Republican Party and to the campaign of Gov. Larry Hogan, will be the state GOP's chairman for the next two years.

Haire beat runner-up William Campbell by a 4-1 margin in the leadership election Saturday, said Joe Cluster, the state party's executive director. Campbell is a former Amtrak official who has run for state comptroller.

Cluster said Haire is a good choice for the role because he has worked closely with party leaders for a decade.

"It keeps continuity," Cluster said. "There's been a lot of efforts to build up the party, and he's been part of those efforts."

Haire was supported by state Del. Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in the election last month. Hogan opted not to make an endorsement in the party leadership contest.

Haire is a construction law attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP in Washington.

The state GOP is focused on 2018, when Gov. Larry Hogan tries to become the first two-term Republican governor in Maryland since Theodore McKeldin, who served from 1951 to 1959.

A Hogan win in 2018 would give Republicans a role in the next round of legislative and congressional redistricting in 2021. Democrats have dominated that process, turning a state that sent four Democrats and four Republicans to the House in 2001 to one that now sends seven Democrats and one Republican.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Maryland by more than two to one.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Maryland Republicans Eye New Leadership

from the Baltimore sun
A month after a presidential election in which voters reaffirmed Maryland's position as one of the bluest states in the nation, state Republicans will gather Saturday to choose new leadership — a contest likely to signal the direction the party will take heading into the 2018 governor's race.

Four candidates are running for a shot to lead the Maryland Republican Party, which will play a central role in working to re-elect GOP Gov. Larry Hogan and prove that his upset win two years ago in a Democratic state was not a fluke. The job will also involve bringing together a fractious party split even further this year by President-elect Donald Trump's campaign for the White House.

Some Republicans said they view the race as the latest internal struggle between long-established centrists and newcomers who backed Trump's campaign. Whatever the outcome, Republicans seem to agree that re-electing Hogan in 2018 is the paramount goal.

"2018 is the biggest election of our lives," said Brian Griffiths, a former member of the GOP's executive committee and influential blogger. "Once Governor Hogan wins, that means the Democrats will not control redistricting, and then we can draw fair congressional districts for the first time in generations."

Officials are due to draw new congressional and legislative districts during the term of the next governor in 2021. In the past, Democrats have dominated that process, which has allowed them to turn a state that sent four Democrats and four Republicans to the House in 2001 to one that now sends seven Democrats and one Republican.

A Hogan re-election would give Republicans some say in the next round of redistricting. The governor has backed an independent process, as is practiced in California, New Jersey and other states.

Hogan has not made an endorsement in the contest for the party chairmanship — even though it will be important for him to have an ally in the position. Steve Crim, Hogan's 2014 campaign manager and current political adviser, said the governor decided to stay out of the internal race because he "believes in grass roots-up leadership."

One candidate for the job, Sajid Tarar of Owings Mills, was the head of American Muslims for Trump. He spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this year, which Hogan decided against attending.

Tarar "is a terrific fit for the chairman of the party and is exactly what we need to show the world that we are indeed inclusive of everyone," said Joe Collins Jr., a member of the Baltimore City Republican Central Committee who helped organize Trump's campaign in Maryland.

"As far as I am concerned, there is no other qualified candidate to run the party, and the others running for chair are ancient relics of a party that is done with the same old cliches and busted ideas," he said.

Others — including state Del. Kathy Szeliga of Baltimore County, who ran a disciplined but ultimately unsuccessful campaign for Maryland's open Senate seat this year — are backing Dirk Haire, a lawyer and longtime party activist who has also served as Hogan's campaign attorney.

"He is smart and helpful and involved," Szeliga said. "He possesses all the qualities that I think are necessary."

The next chairman is to be selected by more than 300 county party officials on Saturday and will serve a two-year term. The winner will replace Diana Waterman.

"The biggest job of the next chairman and the next leadership will be to make sure that we re-elect Governor Hogan and hold our seats in General Assembly," Waterman said.

Maryland Republicans had an outstanding year in 2014. Not only did Hogan beat Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown in an upset, the party picked up several seats in the General Assembly.

Since those successes, the state GOP has also significantly improved its fundraising.

But while the wins had some state Republicans pining for a more purple Maryland, last month's presidential election appeared to deflate those aspirations. Democrat Hillary Clinton captured nearly 60 percent of the Maryland vote, giving her one of her largest margins of victory anywhere in the country.

State Republicans caution against reading much into the results in a presidential election year, when turnout is traditionally higher than in gubernatorial election years.

They also point to Hogan's high popularity, which has crested 70 percent in Baltimore, a Democratic stronghold, along with more traditionally Republican parts of the state.

Several Democrats, including Del. Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, are considering challenging Hogan in 2018.

The other candidates running for the Republican Party chairmanship include William Campbell, a former Amtrak official who has previously run for state comptroller, and William T. Newton, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Maryland's 7th Congressional District this year.

Tarar said he wanted to focus on expanding the party's tent, "opening up the doors for diversity," and building a connection between Trump's White House and the Hogan administration. He said he was disappointed Trump didn't perform better in Maryland, which has not backed a Republican for president since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

"I was hoping for and I was looking forward to the state of Maryland becoming a red state," he said. "That's one of the reasons why I'm running."

Haire agreed.

"Maryland has historically been a difficult state for Republicans," he said. "I believe we are making very good progress on changing that."

Is Donald Trump Heading Down the Dark Side?

from Young Conservatives
I am ecstatic for Carrier employees! Their bosses just decided to keep shop onshore. What a relief for hundreds of workers. Merry Christmas Indiana!

We don’t yet know terms of the public/private deal that was cut to make the company stay, but let’s hope every business is equally incentivized to keep Americans working in America.

Foundational to our exceptional nation’s sacred private property rights, a business must have freedom to locate where it wishes. In a free market, if a business makes a mistake (including a marketing mistake that perhaps Carrier executives made), threatening to move elsewhere claiming efficiency’s sake, then the market’s invisible hand punishes. Thankfully, that same hand rewards, based on good business decisions.

But this time-tested truth assumes we’re operating on a level playing field.

When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.

Politicians picking and choosing recipients of corporate welfare is railed against by fiscal conservatives, for it’s a hallmark of corruption. And socialism. The Obama Administration dealt in it in spades. Recall Solyndra, Stimulus boondoggles, and all their other taxpayer-subsidized anchors on our economy. A $20 trillion debt-ridden country can’t afford this sinfully stupid practice, so vigilantly guard against its continuance, or we’re doomed.

Reaganites learned it is POLICY change that changes economic trajectory. Reagan’s successes were built on establishing a fiscal framework that invigorated our entire economy, revitalized growth and investment while decreasing spending, tax rates, over-reaching regulations, unemployment, and favoritism via individual subsidies. We need Reaganites in the new Administration.

However well meaning, burdensome federal government imposition is never the solution. Never. Not in our homes, not in our schools, not in churches, not in businesses.

Gotta’ have faith the Trump team knows all this. And I’ll be the first to acknowledge concerns over a deal cut by leveraging taxpayer interests to make a manufacturer stay put are unfounded – once terms are made public.

But know that fundamentally, political intrusion using a stick or carrot to bribe or force one individual business to do what politicians insist, versus establishing policy incentivizing our ENTIRE ethical economic engine to roar back to life, isn’t the answer. Cajole only chosen ones on Main St or Wall St and watch lines stretch from Washington to Alaska full of businesses threatening to bail unless taxpayers pony up. The lines strangle competition and really, really, dispiritingly screw with workers’ lives. It’s beyond unacceptable, so let’s anticipate equal incentivizes and positive reform all across the field – to make the economy great again.

-Sarah Palin

Update 12/4/16

Trump recently Posted:
The U.S. is going to substantialy reduce taxes and regulations on businesses, but any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. ...... without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!

There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units etc., back across the border. This tax will make leaving financially difficult, but.....these companies are able to move between all 50 states, with no tax or tariff being charged.

Please be forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake! THE UNITED STATES IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Establishment Coalesces Around the Big Donor Corporatocracy

No Labels Values: A New Center in American Politics
By Bill Galston and Bill Kristol

The authors of this statement do not make an obvious team. Over the past four decades we have never voted for the same presidential candidate. We’ve worked in White Houses of different parties. One of us was a senior aide to a presidential candidate who sought to replace the president the other worked for.

We’ve differed on major policy issues. One of us vigorously backed the war in Iraq; the other just as vigorously opposed it. We’ve publicly debated many times, usually focusing on our differences. These disagreements persist.

But we write now to stress what we have always agreed on, because the times demand it. The basic institutions and principles of liberal democracy are under assault. Many of us who are defenders of this distinctive form of self-government have tended to take for granted widespread agreement on these principles; we have had confidence in the strength of these institutions. This is a complacency we can no longer afford.

So as a Democrat and a Republican, we want to say this: We stand together in defense of the institutions of world order conducive to peace, prosperity and freedom that the past 12 presidents, 6 of each party, have worked to build and uphold. We stand together in defense of constitutional, orderly, and civil self-government that respects civil liberties and equal rights and the rule of law, and rejects bigotry of every kind. We stand together in our conviction of the continued vitality of the American Dream, secured by engagement with a hopeful future based on pride in the accomplishments of the past.

And we stand together against an alternative right disdainful of the traditions of American conservatism and a vocal left that blends socialist economics with identity politics. We stand together against a dangerous impatience with the legal forms and constitutional constraints that are guarantors of our liberty. We stand together in defense of an open, generous liberal democracy as the strongest foundation for addressing the very real challenges that we face and the legitimate frustrations with the status quo that we feel.

Our form of government, in short, is fundamentally sound. Not so our parties and our politics. It is in this spirit that we make the case for a New Center, one that does not split the difference between Left and Right but offers a principled alternative to both. Its core tenets—Opportunity, Security, Accountability, and Ingenuity—can respond to the challenges of the present and chart a path to the future.

Opportunity means that all Americans should be able to go as far as their gifts and drive can take them. But gifts mean little without the chance to develop them, and drive means little without a chance to exercise those gifts. Equal opportunity does not mean equal results, but the invisible hand does not create equal opportunity. Nor does inclusion suffice in the absence of vigorous economic growth.

The policies best suited to enlarge opportunity are a matter of important debate, but we need such policies. Without them, too many Americans will feel excluded and will be excluded from the American Dream.

If opportunity is a distinctive principle of American government, security is a basic purpose of every government. The reasons are clear: not only do all peoples crave safety and stability, but also the lack of security generates fear. A fearful people cannot face the future with confidence. Fear can lead to the embrace of policies that are counter-productive, abroad as well as at home. We all know the line from Franklin Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We are apt to forget his explanation: fear “paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Fear is a problematic motivator and an even worse guide.

Although the quest for security is fundamental, a degree of risk and uncertainty is inherent in human life. This is why the quest for absolute security is self-defeating, at home and abroad. The harder we try, the greater the cost to other things we value, such as economic dynamism and productive relations with other nations.

Accountability is a basic principle of free governments and free societies. Through our collective choices, we create a framework of offices and institutions we believe are compatible with the public good, and we authorize individuals to act within this framework. The people have a right to expect that when powerful individuals are acting without regard to the public good or lack the competence to promote it, they will be held accountable for their mistakes. The 2008 financial bailout infuriated Americans across the political spectrum because it appeared to violate this principle. More broadly, many Americans have concluded that economic, social, and political elites are gaining wealth and power at the expense of ordinary people. Such a conclusion puts attachment to our governing institutions at risk.

Americans see ourselves as problem-solvers, and we’ve solved a lot of them over the centuries. If machines aren’t working, we fix them, and similarly for our institutions and policies. In the depths of the Great Depression, FDR called for “bold, persistent experimentation.” Ronald Reagan, who voted for FDR four times, emphatically agreed. The American ingenuity that has produced a stream of world-changing inventions can also reshape the way we govern ourselves. If our budget process no longer works the way it was intended, we can fix it. If our political parties have forgotten how to cooperate and even how to govern, we can do something about that too.

Americans do not believe that the status quo is the best we can do. We will tolerate mistakes along the way, but we will not tolerate the unwillingness of those in power to institute needed reforms. We know that American ingenuity, which usually finds a way to succeed in the private and voluntary sectors, can be effective in our public life as well.

Opportunity, security, accountability, ingenuity–these are the pillars of a New Center. We do not know what policies a New Center will yield. Nor can we predict what institutional form or even party alignment it will take. But the alternative to a coherent and effective New Center is a degree of public discontent that could end by undermining democratic self-government itself. For the sake of liberal democracy and republican self-government, we should take Lincoln’s words to heart: “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”
They propose no 'specific' reforms to the current "broken" system. By THAT omission, we rightly understand that these self-declared "reformers" have absolutely no intention of holding future leaders "accountable". Their project is to perpetuate the extremely 'lucrative' brokeness in the system.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Green Party Sells Out to Hillary's Corporate Donors

Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, announced November 23 that she wanted to seek 2016 recounts in three battleground states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

In less than 24 hours, she had raised more than the stated $2.5 million goal to do so. She then changed the goal to $4.5 million as the donations continue to roll in. As of November 25, Stein had raised more than $5.4 million with a $7 million goal.
She has formally asked for a Wisconsin recount, which will be conducted starting next week.

The election results in all three states were very close, although Donald Trump leads in all three states (Michigan is still so tight that the Associated Press has not formally called it, but Trump was declared victor in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania). That propelled Trump to an Electoral College victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton (were Clinton to have won all three states, she would be president.)

Trump’s lead in Michigan: 12,882 votes. His lead in Wisconsin: 24,081. His lead in Pennsylvania: 68,814. Stein received 1.39 million votes in the 2016 presidential election overall.

The Stein efforts come on the heels of a group of professors and lawyers urging the Clinton campaign to seek recounts in those three states after uncovering what they claim are anomalies in the Wisconsin returns. However, other data experts have said any anomalies can be explained by demographic variables and have ridiculed the accusations.

Some thought the Stein fundraising was wrong – or even a scam – because of how difficult it would be to overturn the results.

The renewed scrutiny on the election results from the three states gained more prominence November 22 when New York Magazine ran an extensive article entitled, “Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing State.”

The article reported that a group of data experts and lawyers “which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” Halderman then wrote a detailed explanation of his theories on

The group’s central theory is that a foreign government could have hacked the election because of what they argue are suspicious patterns in voting results in Wisconsin (which other data experts say can be explained away by education and race variables). The Clinton campaign and various intelligence agencies have accused the Russian government of staging a series of hacks that hurt Clinton’s chances during the campaign, including hacking into the emails of her campaign chairman, John Podesta. The group seeking the recount has not proven any election hacking or manipulation.

In a statement, Stein said, “After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable.”

Twitter was burning up with news of the Stein efforts. Some found the fundraising ironic because they believe Stein and other third-party candidates cost Clinton the election. Indeed, Stein received more votes in Michigan and Wisconsin than Trump’s margin of victory.

On the crowdfunding website, Stein wrote on November 23 that Wisconsin’s recount had now been funded (the deadline for a recount request is November 25), but more money was needed to fund recounts for Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Stein fundraising site says:
Congratulations on meeting the recount costs for Wisconsin. Raising money to pay for the first round so quickly is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the power of grassroots organizing.

Now that we have nearly completed funding Wisconsin’s recount (which is due on Friday), we can begin to tackle the funding for Michigan’s recount (due Monday) and Pennsylvania’s recount (due Wednesday). The breakdown of these costs is described below.

On November 23, the Stein/Baraka Green Party Campaign launched an effort to ensure the integrity of our elections. With your help, we are raising money to demand recounts in these three states where the data suggests a significant need to verify machine-counted vote totals.

The website says Stein is not seeking the recounts to help Hillary Clinton. Rather, the site says, “These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is.”

The website also says that the organizers can’t guarantee a recount will happen and pledged “to use the money for election integrity efforts and to promote systemic voting system reform” if recounts don’t happen or more than enough money is raised.
The corporations own the Green Party now. Ralph Nader must be so proud!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Media Obsessed with Race, Unlike Trump

...Not if You Stop Reacting to Fake News from the Left! Donald Trump DISAVOWED these nutjobs!

from the Wall Street Journal
Since when does a weekend gathering of “nearly 275” white nationalists in a country of more than 320 million people warrant front-page coverage in major newspapers? Since the election of Donald Trump, apparently.

The same media outlets that insisted Mr. Trump wouldn’t beat Hillary Clinton have spent the past two weeks misleading the public about why he did. Breathless coverage of a neo-Nazi sideshow in the nation’s capital—where antiracism protesters almost outnumbered attendees, according to the Washington Post—helps liberals illustrate their preferred “basket of deplorables” explanation for Mrs. Clinton’s loss.

The reality is that Mr. Trump didn’t prevail on Election Day because of fake news stories or voter suppression or ascendant bigotry in America. He won because a lot of people who voted for Barack Obama in previous elections cast ballots for Mr. Trump this time. In Wisconsin, he dominated the Mississippi River Valley region on the state’s western border, which went for Mr. Obama in 2012. In Ohio’s Trumbull County, where the auto industry is a major employer and the population is 89% white, Mr. Obama beat Mitt Romney, 60% to 38%. This year, Trumbull went for Mr. Trump, 51% to 45%. Iowa went for Mr. Obama easily in 2008 and 2012, but this year Mr. Trump won the state by 10 points. Either these previous Obama supporters are closet racists or they’re voting on other issues.

“Trump switched white voters in key states who were blue-collar primarily—coal counties, manufacturing counties,” the Republican strategist Whit Ayres told me this week. “These are blue-collar whites who voted for Barack Obama. And that’s a very uncomfortable thing to admit by the left. It’s much easier to say a ‘basket of deplorables’ elected Trump. But I’m sorry, that just does not conform to the data in those states that made a major swing from one party to the other.”

Part of Mr. Trump’s strategy was to turn out lots of Republicans who stayed home in 2012, but the president-elect appears to have won white voters by a margin similar to that of Mr. Romney. However, Mr. Trump was able to muster an Electoral College majority by taking advantage of lax support for Mrs. Clinton in the metro areas of large, consequential states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. That the Democratic nominee failed to speak to the concerns of Obama voters is not the fault of the alt-right.

“Trump swept the areas that keep the lights on and the motors turning,” demographer Joel Kotkin wrote recently. “Trump seized on the widespread sense that American life was destined to get worse from generation to generation. Americans wanted opportunity for the next generation, not a managed decline.” The press mostly missed this story because it was so focused on the candidate’s tone and temperament. What mattered most to the media was Mr. Trump’s character flaws—and it was inconceivable that voters would have different priorities.

Around two-thirds of the electorate consistently told pollsters that the country was moving in the wrong direction. Mr. Trump represented change. Millions of people in the nation’s interior ultimately decided that they didn’t have the luxury of obsessing over his personal shortcomings. They haven’t had a raise in a decade. College is no longer affordable. Health-care costs were supposed to come down, but premiums have risen. Mr. Trump, they decided, may be crude and unpolished in manner, but he also sounded like someone who could shake things up in Washington. By contrast, a vote for Mrs. Clinton was a vote for more of the same.

Not everyone on the left is blaming racist voters for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat. Sen. Bernie Sanders credited Mr. Trump with understanding “the anger and angst and pain that many working class people are feeling” and added, “I come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to where I came from.” It’s no coincidence that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader from San Francisco, is now facing a leadership challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents areas that flipped from blue to red this year.

Yet regardless of the facts, most liberals and their friends in the media continue to view Mr. Trump’s victory through a self-serving racial lens. Today, race is the Democratic Party’s organizing principle. Group identity is a doctrine and group grievances are to be nurtured and exploited politically no matter the damage to civil discourse. It’s the type of thinking that allows the left to be outraged that the likes of Steve Bannon have Mr. Trump’s ear, and indifferent that the likes of Al Sharpton have had Mr. Obama’s.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Return to Nationalism?

from PJ Media
Move the clock back to November, 2013. It's a year after Obama has won a second term in the White House and it looks like the Democrats will control Federal power forever. There is talk of a permanent Democratic majority cemented into place by a liberal Supreme Court that will last for decades. Glenn Reynolds noted that in the absence of any conceivable reversal, all the rubes could do -- they had not yet been dubbed the Deplorables by Hillary Clinton -- was exhibit a truculence or spirit of passive resistance he described as "Irish Democracy".

Perhaps the most dramatic formulation of "Irish Democracy" is from the movie Michael Collins in which the character playing Eamon de Valera writes after the failed Easter Rising: "We must act as if the Republic is a fact. We defeat the British Empire by ignoring it". Irish Democracy is slow but it works.

Fast forward to November, 2016 and Obama has been ignored. An insurgency is in full cry and the Democratic Party feels like the authorities in 1954 Algiers who realize that years of the mission civilisatrice have not turned the Arabs into Frenchmen. The 2016 elections were shocking because they showed how fake decades of "gains" proved to be.

The liberal mission civilisatrice has apparently failed. The candidate who could not win, won. The candidate who could not lose, lost. All the shibboleths that could not possibly be rejected were pulled down into the mud. Now it was the liberals who had to resort to Irish Democracy. The cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton lectured vice president elect Mike Pence. "We are the diverse Americans who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents." Why? Because they could and because they had no choice.

One might add the cast of Hamilton was not just "alarmed and anxious" but thoroughly bewildered. How the uprising could happen without any warning has sent shock waves through the Left. There may be more to come. Nigel Farage warned that elections in Austria and Italy may confirm the trend.

If Liberals don't understand what happened they will be at a loss to fight it. Saying no no no no no no! is not enough. Unless they know the disease they can't seek the cure. Lecturing people from the stage may make them feel good, but it is what got them into trouble in the first place. The instinct to repeat the same failed tactics more frequently and insistently is unlikely to lead to a different result.

Perhaps the liberal project does not want to know what the matter is because they fear what they will find, although many already probably suspect what it is. The Leftist impulse is founded on the conviction they have a special position in the "arc of justice", a privileged vantage in the moral universe, a place in the vanguard of history. To suddenly admit they don't, to admit that they are no better than anyone else and possibly a good deal worse is not an easily correctable fault.

The compulsion to assert a special moral place underlies the bizarre moral posturing of Hamilton and the theatrical passage of the torch of the West from Obama to Angela Merkel during his European farewell tour. If you're not special maybe you're a Deplorable too. Perish the thought. So, like superheroes in some Marxist play whose pasteboard wings have fallen off they cannot improvise without changing the script. But they have to change the script; to throw away the cardboard props and laugh if they are move on. The liberal impulses will fare better without their dated historical baggage.

One of the literary precursors of the the left was The crisis of liberalism is bigger than Trump. It represents the exhaustion of an intellectual impulse than ran out of gas in the 20th -- the previous -- century. Maybe the Left should recast itself as a purely religious or ethical project since Achilles heel of liberalism is a Marxist tainted economic model that nobody even pretends works. They've been focused on pure redistribution for years. Someone should decide to be the new Marx. The old one is getting long in the tooth.

Their greatest strengths are fostering a sense of belonging, a life-purpose and a kind of ethics, which have been compromised by its attempts to hitch graft this belief system to a centralized state. The only thing that still works on the Left is its impersonation of Judaeo-Christianity, and even that is weakened by its crazy insistence on atheism, which should be optional, since religion is the only thing the Left has to sell. The reason the Left has been losing ground to Islam is it doesn't work as an economic system yet it hasn't paid enough attention to being a religion.

In the end the human impulse may boil down to two major tracks. The first can be called the "God really exists" path. In that model there is a real God and real Truth which humanity can find. The other track is the one Western liberalism has historically taken: "let's pretend God exists" which sees the universe as an objectively meaningless void in which it is the duty of man to create an artificial moral habitat in an otherwise immoral vacuum to amuse ourselves while we forget everything ends in the Big Crunch.

Nobody knows which of these world views is true. But conservatives may have an affinity for the first track while liberals emotionally attach to the second. It's the eternal issues which divide. The rest is transient and this dichotomy will probably define politics for the rest of the 21st century. The historical task of liberalism is to take up the cudgels for the proposition that all men are created to join a collective. The other side is already taken.

Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor who saw his task as relieving man of the burden of meaningless freedom -- since all choices are ultimately futile -- and enclosing him in a bubble of perfect assurance. Only the Inquisitors knew the assurance was fake and nobly took the secret despair upon themselves to spare the masses the agony of doubt.

In socialism's 1930s heyday cadres were exhorted to bear on their shoulders the task of murder, genocide, deceit etc -- so that the masses might be happy in their simple hopes for a Worker's Paradise. The ones in the know knew it would never come. The Grand Inquisitor wore Chekist uniform but was otherwise the same. In 2016 the Inquisitors no longer shoot people but they still kept the secret. The reason the liberal project will never perform an autopsy on itself is because that would reveal there's no there there. It's the pretend that counts. The big secret the Left doesn't never wants to face is there's no "arc of history" they control.

Still there are always enough people who would rather be ruled by Grand Inquisitors than bear the burden of freedom to keep a leftist project alive indefinitely. Life in a community is simple. And perhaps they are on the correct side after all. There may be nothing beyond the Big Crunch and the Big Pretend. So let's pretend.

But some will always aim to misbehave, and aim for more, like the Deplorables who want to be free either because really they are free or aren't educated enough to know they're not. And to be truly free requires betting that their choices count, actually count. Some people insist of think themselves as being in a real universe with a real God and a real Devil. It's not for everyone. But it is for some. The tables are always open in Pascal's casino.

Pass on the Torch of the West to Angela Mr. President. The janitor will be along to pick up the cardboard wings after the show.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Virtue Signalling Leftists Riot Over Media Generated Trump Caricature

from NBC News
Demonstrators with signs reading "Not my president!" clogged streets in New York City on Saturday during a fourth day of anti-Trump protests nationwide, a day after a person was shot during a protest in Portland, Oregon.

Two 18-year-old men detained early Saturday were arrested later in the day in connection to the shooting on Portland's Morrison Bridge, which occurred after 1 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) Saturday, police said. It was unclear whether the shooting was politically motivated.

"Preliminary information indicates that a suspect was in a vehicle on the bridge and there was a confrontation with someone in the protest," Portland police said in a statement. "The suspect got out of the vehicle and fired multiple shots injuring the victim." The victim is expected to survive, police said.

The arrests were made after an off-duty officer spotted a suspect vehicle and detained four people who are believed to be "criminal gang associates," police said. A firearm was found in the vehicle, police said.

Earlier, police reported that "burning projectiles" were being thrown at officers during one of three demonstrations that occurred simultaneously in the city.

The gunshots came on the fourth night of protests in Portland. Protesters hit the streets again Saturday on a fifth night of demonstrations since the election. There were three arrests, police said.

On Thursday, a similar rally boiled over into what police described as a "riot" after some demonstrators armed with bats smashed stores and cars, and others lit fires.

Elsewhere overnight Friday, marchers blocked a major roadway in the Miami area and hundreds gathered in Atlanta, Boston and other cities.

By early Saturday in New York, a total of 11 arrests were reported.

A larger protest that was organized Saturday afternoon began in Manhattan's Union Square and ended at Trump Tower in midtown, where demonstrators stopped and chanted in front of the skyscraper where Trump resides and was meeting with visitors. A law enforcement source said the protest at its peak had an estimated 25,000 participants.

"We reject the president-elect!" the crowd chanted along Fifth Avenue.

Among the sea of police officers, protesters and gawkers at Trump Tower were some familiar faces.

Filmmaker Michael Moore showed up at the president-elect's iconic Fifth Avenue landmark, live-streaming his visit as he made his way as far into the building as he could before security stopped him.

Trump is is an "illegitimate president and does not have the vote of the people," Moore told NBC News as he ascended up the floors of the ornate building that bears Trump's name in gold on the front of it.

Moore, who was wearing a safety pin as a show of solidarity for minorities and women who feel threatened after Trump's election, was stopped on the fourth floor when he asked to meet with Trump.

"You'd have a to check with his staff," a secret service agent told him.

Moore settled on leaving a handwritten note for Trump that said: "Mr. Trump I'm here. I want to talk to you" before he got into a debate with a Trump supporter in a "Make America Great Again" hat and then left the building.

Other big names seen at the building Saturday included chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus and interim leader of the U.K. Independence Party Nigel Farage.

The visitors come as Trump is picking his transition team, which Trump put Vice President-elect Mike Pence in charge of on Friday.

When asked if he was there for transition talks, Farage told NBC News: "We're just tourists."

But the protests outside also drew some in favor of Trump, and they held signs that read, "He is My President," "Hillary for Prison" and "Crybabies."

Another protest took place Saturday morning in downtown Los Angeles, where approximately 8,000 gathered — according to the LAPD — after more than 180 people were arrested Friday night.

Demonstrators hit the streets in Miami, Birmingham, Alabama, and Fresno, California, as well as internationally. Hundreds reportedly gathered in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gates, some with anti-Trump messages.

In Indianapolis, three people were arrested and two police officers were injured after rocks were thrown at police during an anti-Trump demonstration downtown, police and NBC affiliate WTHR reported.

A vigil to promote solidarity after the election was held at Lafayette Park adjacent to the White House Saturday. Those in the crowd held LED tealights and glow sticks, and sang songs like "Hallelujah," All You Need Is Love" and "Imagine."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Why All the Political Confusion This Year?

1 Corinthians 13:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Democrats Trying to "Get Out the African-American Vote" or KKK?

from CNN
Police are investigating the burning of a black church in Mississippi during which vandals spray-painted "Vote Trump" on an exterior wall.

A 911 call reporting the fire at Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville came in at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.

Most of the damage to the 111-year-old church was to the sanctuary, pastor Carilyn Hudson said at a news conference.

"We do believe that God will allow us to build another sanctuary in that same place," she said, though the extent of the damage was unclear.

There were no reports of injuries; no one had been in the building since about 1 p.m. Tuesday, Hudson said.

from the Washington Times
Democrats’ fears are coming true about Hillary Clinton’s limited appeal among blacks, as numbers from early-voting states show the bloc isn’t as fired up for the Democratic nominee as it was for President Obama.

In key battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, early voting patterns show that blacks aren’t casting ballots in the same numbers they did four years ago, when they helped propel Mr. Obama to re-election.

The president is working furiously in the last week of the campaign to spur blacks and young people to vote. At a rally for Mrs. Clinton in North Carolina on Wednesday, he criticized state officials as trying to suppress the black vote and accused Republican nominee Donald Trump of trying to intimidate blacks from voting.

“Donald Trump is calling on his supporters to monitor ‘certain areas,’” Mr. Obama said at the University of North Carolina. “Where are those ‘certain areas’ he’s talking about?”

The problem for Mrs. Clinton is critical in Florida, the biggest battleground prize, where blacks have accounted for 11.58 percent of all early voters this year. University of Florida political scientist Dan Smith reported on his ElectionSmith blog that in 2012, blacks made up 15.83 percent of early voters in Florida.

In North Carolina, black turnout is down 16 percent from four years ago. Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College, in Salisbury, North Carolina, said registered Democrats are 4.2 percent behind their same-day total numbers from 2012, while registered Republicans are 4.5 percent ahead of their pace four years ago.

He noted a “steady continuation” of a trend in absentee ballots that bodes ill for Mrs. Clinton in North Carolina: “white voters overperforming their 2012 numbers and black voters underperforming their 2012 numbers.”

Mr. Bitzer said in an interview that the big deficit among black voters has been “slowly chipped away” in the past two days, but it’s still behind the pace of four years ago.

“It is an important part of the Democratic coalition that Secretary Clinton needs,” he said. “I think visits like the president’s to North Carolina send a signal that there’s still work that needs to be done.”

Mr. Obama made his third trip of the campaign Wednesday to North Carolina, a state he won in 2008 but lost in 2012. He called Mr. Trump “somebody who vilifies minorities, vilifies immigrants, vilifies people of the Muslim faith.”

“If you accept the support of Klan sympathizers … then you’ll tolerate that support when you’re in office,” Mr. Obama said, referring to the endorsement of Mr. Trump this week by The Crusader, a publication with KKK ties.

The Trump campaign called The Crusader “repulsive” and said its views “do not represent” Trump supporters.

The president also blasted state officials for having enacted a law that required strict voter ID and cut back on early voting. It was overturned by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July, with a judge calling the Republican-supported measure “one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”

“They don’t want you to vote,” Mr. Obama said. Mr. Trump “has been getting help from Republican politicians in this state who have been trying to keep you from voting. What’s been going on here in this state has been really troubling. It was one of the worst voter suppression laws in the country, here in North Carolina. Not back in the 1960s — now.”

In an interview earlier in the day with radio host Tom Joyner, Mr. Obama acknowledged that black turnout in early voting states is lagging.

“I’m going to be honest with you right now, because we track, we’ve got early voting, we’ve got all kinds of metrics to see what’s going on, and right now, the Latino vote is up. Overall vote is up,” Mr. Obama said. “But the African-American vote right now is not as solid as it needs to be.”

The radio show has a largely black audience.

North Carolina is a must-win state for Mr. Trump, and early voting among white voters is up about 15 percent from four years ago. The president said black voters must turn out at the polls for Mrs. Clinton the same way they did for him.

“I know that a lot of people in the barber shops and the beauty salons and, you know, in the neighborhoods who are saying to themselves, ‘Well, you know, we love Barack. We especially love Michelle. And so it was exciting and now we’re not excited as much,’” the president told Mr. Joyner.

“You know what? I need everybody to understand that everything we’ve done is dependent on me being able to pass the baton to somebody who believes in the same things that I believe in. So if you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, then you are going to go and vote,” he said.

A President Trump, he said, would “reverse everything I’ve done over the last eight years.”

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, which tracks black political participation, released a survey Monday showing that an “overwhelming majority” of black voters consider the presidential race “a high-stakes election.”

The report said 75 percent of blacks in Western states consider the election “very important,” compared with 90 percent of blacks in the Midwest, 89 percent in the Northeast and 83 percent in the South. The study didn’t compare those percentages with voter attitudes in the 2012 election.

But the report also noted that Mrs. Clinton “may not be as popular as Barack Obama among black voters.”

“In fact, 67 percent of all black voters described President Obama as someone they like very much, while Clinton garnered this response from only 29 percent of all black voters,” the report said.

Black voters gave Mr. Obama 95 percent support in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012. Given those high levels, Mrs. Clinton’s team has been concerned from the start about how to attain a similar level of support to preserve Mr. Obama’s winning coalition of minorities, women and young voters.

Leaked emails from the personal account of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, show that well-connected Democrats have been voicing concern for months about her campaign’s lack of effective outreach to black voters.

Frank White Jr., who raised $2.3 million for Mr. Obama’s reelection four years ago, wrote to Mr. Podesta earlier this year with a warning about black voters.

“I’m hearing the same complaint in political circles that I continue to hear while fundraising. ‘The campaign doesn’t value black folks and takes us for granted,’” Mr. White wrote. “Can I make a suggestion? A black campaign vice chair or senior adviser would go a long way during the primary and send the message that Hillary puts her actions where her mouth is, and actually does appreciate the black vote.”

Mr. Podesta replied, “Right now I think we should do this right after Super Tuesday.”

In February, Clinton campaign official Sara Latham advised Mr. Podesta to reach out to various black leaders, saying “there are five calls that would be extremely helpful.”

The list included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whom she said “has declined all of our overtures to publicly endorse” but whose approval ratings in South Carolina, a key primary state, are “through the roof.”

She also asked Mr. Podesta to call former NAACP CEO Ben Jealous (“rumored to publicly support Bernie”), a reference to Mrs. Clinton’s primary rival, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

The campaign also wanted Mr. Podesta to win over Democratic National Committee Black Caucus Chairwoman Virgie Rollins, who was said to be “supportive but wants a higher level touch.”

The fourth black leader on Mr. Podesta’s list was former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. “He is with us,” but it is worth “a call,” Ms. Latham wrote.

Finally, there was the Rev. Al Sharpton. “We all know about the Rev,” Ms. Latham wrote. “Doubtful he publicly endorses, but I think it’s worth circling back before the meeting and making a direct ask.”
Cui bono?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Black Turnout Falls in Early Voting, Boding Ill for Hillary Clinton

from the NY Times
African-Americans are failing to vote at the robust levels they did four years ago in several states that could help decide the presidential election, creating a vexing problem for Hillary Clinton as she clings to a deteriorating lead over Donald J. Trump with Election Day just a week away.

As tens of millions of Americans cast ballots in what will be the largest-ever mobilization of early voters in a presidential election, the numbers have started to point toward a slump that many Democrats feared might materialize without the nation’s first black president on the ticket.

The reasons for the decline appear to be both political and logistical, with lower voter enthusiasm and newly enacted impediments to voting at play. In North Carolina, where a federal appeals court accused Republicans of an “almost surgical” assault on black turnout and Republican-run election boards curtailed early-voting sites, black turnout is down 16 percent. White turnout, however, is up 15 percent. Democrats are planning an aggressive final push, including a visit by President Obama to the state on Wednesday.

But in Florida, which extended early voting after long lines left some voters waiting for hours in 2012, African-Americans’ share of the electorate that has gone to the polls in person so far has decreased, to 15 percent today from 25 percent four years ago.

The problems for Democrats do not end there. In Ohio, which also cut back its early voting, voter participation in the heavily Democratic areas near Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo has been down, though the Clinton campaign said it was encouraged by a busy day on Sunday when African-American churches led voter drives across the state.

The disappointing black turnout so far could foreshadow a larger and more intractable problem for Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party as they rethink their place in a post-Obama era. One of the biggest uncertainties Democrats have been forced to confront in this election is whether Mr. Obama’s absence from the ticket would depress black enthusiasm, which was at historic levels in 2008 and 2012 and would have been difficult to replicate under even the best of circumstances.

The Clinton campaign believes it can close the gap, especially in North Carolina and Florida, by Election Day. And Democrats are seeing substantial gains in turnout for other key constituencies like Hispanics and college-educated women, which have the potential to more than make up for any drop-off in black voting.

But this election could determine if the Obama-era level of participation among blacks is sustainable. It could also show that the Democratic Party, which has benefited enormously from population shifts that have left the country more diverse, is facing a demographic reckoning of its own.

“We’ve had back-to-back elections in this country of high turnout where black voters have set the pace, and it’s going to be really interesting to see if that continues post-Obama,” said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster and the author of “A Black Man in the White House,” which draws on his research of voters over the last eight years to examine the Obama phenomenon and the resulting backlash.

“That is the big X-factor,” Mr. Belcher added. “Can we disconnect our mobilization, our messaging from the cult of the candidate?”

Working in Mrs. Clinton’s favor even if her share of the black vote declines is the fact that she has built a political coalition different from Mr. Obama’s. She is counting on an electorate that is more Hispanic and includes more white voters — especially college-educated women — who would have considered voting Republican but are repelled by Mr. Trump.

Marc Farinella, who ran Mr. Obama’s North Carolina campaign in 2008, said it was obvious the level of energy had fallen among African-Americans. But, he added, “I’m not entirely sure it’s completely necessary for her.”

“She’s got other dynamics and advantages that Obama didn’t have,” he said.

In few places are the disadvantages Democrats face more pronounced than in North Carolina. Though a federal court curtailed the Republican-backed law that reduced the number of days of early voting, localities were left to decide how many polling places they would open.

In Guilford County, about an hour’s drive west from the state capital, the population is roughly one-third black. For the first week of in-person early voting there, voters could go only one place to cast a ballot, the Guilford County Courthouse in the county seat, Greensboro. In 2012, there were 16 locations.

The banner headline on the local newspaper, The News & Record, captured the funk: “Ballot Box Blahs,” it said Tuesday. A total of 88,383 ballots were cast in the first 12 days of early voting this year, down from 100,761 in the first 12 days of 2012.

The black vote was also lagging, at 34 percent of the turnout this year, compared with 40 percent in 2012.

Some black voters, like Ronald Brooks, said they simply needed more time to make a decision this year. It was just easier, Mr. Brooks said, in 2008 and 2012, when he had voted for Mr. Obama.

Mr. Brooks, 31, a mental health worker, was still weighing his options on Tuesday morning. He said he was worried about Mrs. Clinton’s trustworthiness, given that she had set up a private email server as secretary of state. “What were you trying to hide?” he said.

His hesitation reflected a generational divide among African-Americans: Older voters have an affection for Mrs. Clinton and her husband, and a fear of Mr. Trump, that many younger voters do not share.

Democrats in North Carolina have been fighting other efforts they believe are intended to disenfranchise blacks. A federal district judge scheduled a hearing for Wednesday morning in a suit by the state N.A.A.C.P. charging that at least three North Carolina counties, prompted by Republican challenges, have illegally struck 4,500 residents from voter rolls.

The state N.A.A.C.P. president, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, said the purges were little more than election trickery aimed at disenfranchising legally registered voters. “It’s sickening and disgusting, what is going on,” he said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College, said the racial composition of the early-voting electorate in the state so far is off from 2012. White voters make up 72 percent of those who have cast ballots; black voters are 22 percent. In 2012, early voters were 67 percent white and 27 percent black.

Inside the Clinton campaign, crunchtime has begun. Addisu Demissie, the campaign’s national voter outreach and mobilization director, said in an interview on Tuesday that he felt good about where North Carolina stood, given how the election rules had changed. There and in other states like Florida and Ohio, he added, the campaign believes it is in a strong position to leverage its organizational advantage over Mr. Trump.

“We need to continue to work,” Mr. Demissie said. “We know that most people are driven by deadlines,” he added, “and we will see, as we have seen in this campaign at every point, a ramp-up in activity and in engagement from us as the deadline approaches.”

Florida has emerged as another potential soft spot of black support, despite efforts by the state to make it easier for more people to vote early. It added five more days of early voting, plus a sixth on the final Sunday before the election in many of the largest urban areas like Miami.

Yet African-Americans are underperforming their participation rates from 2012. Daniel A. Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, compared the early voting so far in minority-heavy Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties with that in 2012. He found that of those who have cast ballots this year, 22 percent were black, 40 percent were white and 31 percent were Hispanic. In 2012, the breakdown was 36 percent black, 35 percent white and 23 percent Hispanic.

“If the Clinton campaign doesn’t ramp it up,” Professor Smith said, “Florida will be in doubt.”

Still, Mrs. Clinton maintains a huge organizational advantage, not to mention a likely lead among the people who are now voting in the critical Western battlegrounds of Colorado and Nevada, where Democrats have cast more ballots. And in a sign of how narrow Mr. Trump’s path is, Mrs. Clinton could lose Florida, North Carolina and Ohio and still beat him.