Scenes From The Hillary Clinton Dirty Tricks Shop

April 29th, 2016

Hillary Clinton, with her slender elected delegate and huge superdelegates leads over Bernie Sanders, is the presumptive Democratic nominee. She got there in large measure with the fundraising infrastructure her husband built for his successful presidential run, a veritable stranglehold over the DNC apparatus and a naked willingness to pander to just about every faction in the Democratic Party’s coalition.

But there’s also growing evidence that Clinton had another advantage over Sanders: Her willingness to use dirty tricks and outright fraud to secure the nomination.

Here are just a few examples:

  • A Clinton super PAC is spending $1 million on social media Astroturf trolls to “correct” Bernie Sanders supporters. (Now every time someone posts a pro-Hillary message, you should ask “How much are you getting paid to troll for Hillary?”)
  • I wonder if that Astroturf army were among the ones who got numerous pro-Sanders Facebook groups taken down by posting porn? “According to eyewitness reports, the pages were flooded with pornographic images in coordinated fashion and then flagged for obscene content, prompting Facebook to remove them.” Sort of like Nixon’s old “Ratfucking” tactics against George McGovern updated for the Internet age.
  • The Sanders campaign has argued that the “Hillary Victory Fund, a joint-fundraising committee for the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and 32 state Democratic Parties, may have committed ‘breaking campaign finance laws serious apparent violations’ of campaign-finance laws.”
  • There’s at least some circumstantial evidence Democratic Party operatives have been manipulating actual vote totals in various venues to put Hillary on top. Take, for example, these screen shots that show Sanders leading certain counties in this week’s primaries in early returns, with subsequent updates that not only show Hillary leading, but actually show fewer Sanders votes than the last update. Just glitches? Maybe. But it’s mighty strange that every single election night “glitch” in Democratic primaries has seemed to favor Hillary.
  • There are unconfirmed reports that the Clinton campaign is calling up Sanders supporters to tell them Sanders has dropped out. For what it’s worth, these kind of reports seem to surface in every recent presidential election.
  • Don’t think that Hillary’s dirty tricks campaign will end at the primary. Clinton toady and current Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order giving over 200,000 ex-felons the right to vote in a naked attempt to deliver Virginia to Clinton in November.
  • The fact that Clinton would resort to dirty tricks, even going in as they heavy favorite, should surprise absolutely no one who has paid attention to career over the years.

    Venezuela Runs Out of Money to Print Money

    April 28th, 2016

    The Magic Power of Socialism™ has finally dragged Venezuela far enough down the slope that the economy is going to hell at an ever accelerating rate.

    First and foremost, the country is so boned that they can’t even afford to print money anymore.

    In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business.

    Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.

    Snip.

    Last month, De La Rue, the world’s largest currency maker, sent a letter to the central bank complaining that it was owed $71 million and would inform its shareholders if the money were not forthcoming. The letter was leaked to a Venezuelan news website and confirmed by Bloomberg News.

    “It’s an unprecedented case in history that a country with such high inflation cannot get new bills,” said Jose Guerra, an opposition law maker and former director of economic research at the central bank. Late last year, the central bank ordered more than 10 billion bank notes, surpassing the 7.6 billion the U.S. Federal Reserve requested this year for an economy many times the size of Venezuela’s.

    When you run out of money to print money, perhaps you should take that as a sign the express train to you socialist paradise has permanently derailed.

    As part of its ongoing economic collapse, Venezuela’s government is now going from a four-day workweek to a two day workweek. Given the bang-up job the socialists have done running the economy, I suspect that will hurt less than the shortages of food and toilet paper.

    No wonder the people are flocking to sign a recall petition to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro. But that’s not an easy road either:

    His adversaries first need to collect nearly 200,000 signatures, representing 1% of the nation’s more than 19 million voters. The National Electoral Council, which is closely allied with the government, has 20 days to authenticate them. If that drive is successful, the opposition must then collect nearly four million signatures over three days before the end of the year to trigger an actual recall vote. To win that new election, they would have to garner more votes than the 7.5 million Mr. Maduro got in the 2013 election.

    Typically this is the point (or long past it) where a third world nation’s military would declare “enough!” and depose El Presidente themselves. So far neither armed forces leader Vladimir Padrino Lopez nor National Guard leader Nestor Reverol have shown any signs of doing so…

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    Cruz Picks Carly Fiorina as VP

    April 27th, 2016

    Ted Cruz has named Carly Fiorina as his Vice Presidential running mate. Assuming, of course, he gets the nomination.

    Fiorina is OK, but there are better candidates, and candidates that help you more in the general election. Of course, Cruz has to get the nomination first. Can he pick up more Republican women with the pick? Maybe, but I’d be surprised if it really moves the needle. Fiorina’s own campaign didn’t set the world on fire, and if women weren’t already alienated by Donald Trump, I don’t see Fiorina pulling them into the Cruz camp.

    I do see four potential positives:

    1. It helps put Trump’s very good Tuesday night (where he won every state) in the shade.

    2. Maybe it gives women voting for John Kasich an excuse to vote Cruz?
    3. Maybe it forces the press to cover Fiorina going after Trump full-bore.
    4. Maybe it makes Cruz slightly more competitive in California.

    Can it keep Trump from getting a first ballot win? Maybe, though Trump was already slightly off pace to clench anyway. But I’m not sure it alters the fundamental dynamics of the race.

    Good Analysis of the Failure That is ObamaCare

    April 27th, 2016

    I know I just haven’t harped enough on the tremendous, stinking heap of fail that is ObamaCare, but just in case anyone was unclear on that, here’s Marc Thiessen with a solid rundown:

    Historian David Maraniss notes, in Sunday’s Post, that President Obama came to office with the goal of changing “the trajectory of America” and leaving “a legacy as a president of consequence, the liberal counter to [Ronald] Reagan.”

    On the foreign-policy front, he is the anti-Reagan for certain. Reagan defeated Soviet communism and left us a safer world; Obama presided over the rise and metastasis of the Islamic State and left us a far more dangerous one.

    Domestically, Ronald Reagan told the American people: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’ ” Obama wanted to convince Americans that they were not terrifying. And the way he was going to do it was through the only great liberal legislative achievement of his presidency: Obamacare.

    He failed. Even before he leaves office, Obamacare has begun unraveling.

    The law was passed over the objections of a majority of Americans, it is still opposed by a majority of Americans — and their opposition has been vindicated. Last week, UnitedHealth Group announced that, after estimated losses of more than $1 billion for 2015 and 2016 under Obamacare, the company was pulling out of most of its ill-fated exchanges.

    In fact, commercial insurers across the country are hemorrhaging money on Obamacare at alarming rates. Health Care Service Corp. (which owns Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) has lost “well north of $2 billion” in its first two years — twice as much as UnitedHealth. Highmark, the nation’s fourth-largest Blue Cross plan, lost nearly $600 million in 2015. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has projected it will lose more than $400 million in the first two years, and the company has said it may leave the exchanges entirely next year.

    The president promised these insurers taxpayer bailouts if they lost money, but Congress in its wisdom passed legislation barring the use of taxpayer dollars to prop up the insurers. Without the bailouts, commercial insurers are being forced to eat their losses — while more than half of the Obamacare nonprofit insurance cooperatives created under the law failed.

    So what happens now? Because commercial insurers are not going to keep bleeding cash to prop up Obamacare, they have three choices: 1) scale back coverage, 2) raise prices or 3) get out of the exchanges entirely. More and more are going to choose option 3.

    Does this mean that Obamacare is finally entering its “death spiral”? Not exactly. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague Scott Gottlieb explains, while commercial insurers are starting to leave Obamacare, they are being replaced by Medicaid health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering skimpy plans that mirror what they offer in Medicaid — our nation’s emergency health insurance program for the poorest of the poor.

    This is a catastrophe for people stuck in Obamacare. According to a 2014 McKinsey survey, about three-quarters of those in the exchanges were previously insured on commercial plans, either through their employers or the individual market. They were doing fine without taxpayer-subsidized insurance but were pushed into Obamacare. They now face rising premiums and smaller provider networks — and as commercial insurers flee, they will increasingly be stuck in horrible, Medicaid-style plans.

    This is not what the president promised when he sold Obamacare to the American people.

    Snip.

    With Obamacare, Obama wanted to restore America’s faith in big government. Instead, the opposite has happened. Today, 69 percent of Americans say big government is “the biggest threat to the country in the future” (ahead of big business or big labor). That figure, which is slightly down from 72 percent in 2013, is higher under Obama than it has been since Gallup began asking the question about 50 years ago. Obamacare has done more to discredit big government than 1,000 Reagan speeches ever did.

    That, in the end, will be Obama’s enduring domestic legacy.

    Read the whole thing.

    Presidential Race Update for April 26, 2016

    April 26th, 2016

    Today primary voters go to the polls in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. A few Presidential race updates:

  • Tonight’s primaries “look very favorable for Trump,” but they are generally closed primaries. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Technically all Pennsylvania’s Republican delegates are uncommitted, but (Lionel Hutz voice) there’s uncommitted (shakes head) and uncommitted (nods vigorously). Here’s a guide to which delegates are supporting who. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Thomas Sowell: “For conservatives especially, there is finally a real choice for a change — and a sharp contrast with Donald Trump. Senator Ted Cruz has a track record that leaves no doubt as to his adherence to conservative principles. And he is as thoroughly versed in the issues facing this country as anyone who has run for President since Ronald Reagan.” (Hat tip: Conservatives 4 Ted Cruz.)
  • “Moderates will need to abandon John Kasich and unite behind Cruz in order to defeat Trump.”
  • “The excessive and fawning coverage given to Kasich has deformed the GOP race…Kasich serves as a useful proxy for the media, which leans consistently to the left — a way for them to criticize the GOP without having to do so directly.”
  • Shall Not Be Questioned weighs in Pennsylvania candidates from a Second Amendment perspective.
  • Basketball coach Bobby Knight to campaign for Trump in Indiana. Yes, all the chair throwing jokes have already been made. The Knight/Trump comparisons are apt to a point, but Trump would never have lasted six years at West Point… (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • “Greece, EU/IMF lenders resume talks over bailout reforms”

    April 25th, 2016

    That’s an actual headline today. I throw in “today” because that same headline could have been run just about any time over the past five years, because Greece is endlessly willing to talk as long as they keep getting bailout money.

    The one thing they have proven absolutely unwilling to do is actually implement reforms, at least any reforms that would involve the government spending less money than it takes in. Instead they’ll ask for more debt write-downs, write-offs and haircuts for lenders rather than stop spending other people’s money.

    And I could have written the preceding paragraph any time over the last five years or so as well…

    Cruz-Kasich Detente in Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon

    April 24th, 2016

    Ted Cruz and John Kasich have evidently come to an understanding about clearing the way for the other to fight Donald Trump in the states they’re respectively strongest in:

    Tonight, Kasich for America chief strategist John Weaver issued the following statement:

    “Donald Trump doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans – not even close, but he currently does have almost half the delegates because he’s benefited from the existing primary system. Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the Party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee.”

    Blather about Kasich’s awesomeness snipped.

    Due to the fact that the Indiana primary is winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district, keeping Trump from winning a plurality in Indiana is critical to keeping him under 1237 bound delegates before Cleveland. We are very comfortable with our delegate position in Indiana already, and given the current dynamics of the primary there, we will shift our campaign’s resources West and give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana.

    In turn, we will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon, both areas that are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Gov. Kasich is performing well. We would expect independent third-party groups to do the same and honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns.

    This is a smart move against Trump, and one that keeps Cruz’s real hopes (and Kasich’s delusional ones) alive.

    This is not only the strangest Presidential election of our lifetimes, it’s probably the strangest Presidential election since 1876 (the last time the House of Representatives choose Republican Rutherford Hayes over Democrat Samuel Tilden due to double sets of returns from southern states still undergoing reconstruction), and possibly since 1860…

    Ted Cruz Cleans Up On Delegates Yet Again

    April 24th, 2016

    Once again, Ted Cruz has outflanked the Donald Trump Campaign:

    While Donald Trump is winning big delegate states and trumpeting his presumptive-nominee status, GOP presidential rival Sen. Ted Cruz and his campaign are quietly fighting — and winning — delegate support, the latest coming Saturday night in Maine.

    Cruz won 19 of 20 delegates Saturday night at the Maine GOP convention.

    Snip.

    On Saturday, the Cruz campaign picked up a total of 65 delegates, including nine in three Minnesota congressional districts, one in a South Carolina congressional district and at least 36 of 37 national delegates in Utah, after winning the state’s GOP caucus last month, according to Politico.

    Again, none of this matters if Trump can secure a first ballot victory at the Republican convention. But if he doesn’t, Cruz is exceptionally well-positioned to become the Republican nominee on the second or third ballot.

    Trump is great at getting free media attention, but he sucks at actually dealing with the Republican grassroots. That, his inability to hire and lead a first-rate campaign team, and his unwillingness to learn from his mistakes, could very well cost him the nomination.

    De Blasio: Kickbacks, Unions, Cops, Hookers, Horses

    April 24th, 2016

    Just because current New York mayor Bill De Blasio is a left-wing loon doesn’t mean he’s not also corrupt up to his eyeballs:

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has his sights set squarely on the political operative turned chief executive.

    It’s a sprawling probe, but the main line appears to be following the money trail the Daily News’ Greg B. Smith, NY1’s Grace Rauh and others have extensively tracked since de Blasio ran for mayor in 2013.

    That was when a union run by his cousin and a top donor to him both wrote six-figure checks to an anti-carriage horse group run by big developers that days later cut checks for the exact same amount to another group — very ironically named New York City Is Not For Sale — that promptly spent the cash, not disclosed until well after the damage was done, on TV ads that brought down then-frontrunner Christine Quinn.

    Wait, Democrats and unions involved in corruption? What are the odds?

    That happened just as de Blasio found religion on the carriage-horse issue, repeatedly vowing to end on “day one” of his administration an industry that very few New Yorkers saw as a scourge but that would open up what’s now vastly valuable land where the stables now sit on Manhattan’s Far West Side. The developer behind that push, Steve Nislick, wrote a “Shermanesque” statement to the Voice of the People last year vowing he wouldn’t personally profit from their closing.

    And it’s not just ponies: “The feds are also looking at how the city helped turn a nursing home for AIDS patients into luxury condos and at a series of scandals involving hookers for top cops and diamonds for their wives.” Among many other transgressions.

    That cops and hookers scandal (which took place on a plane to Las Vegas, a nice plus for a juicy sex and corruption story) involved Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, both of whom are De Blasio donors.

    Given that Bharara took down former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, there’s a good chance he’ll succeed in taking down De Blasio. Then it might finally be Andrew Cuomo’s turn in the barrel…

    (Hat tip: Instapundit’s Twitter feed.)

    Reminder: Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday Starts Today

    April 23rd, 2016

    Today starts the Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday the Texas legislature passed last year.

    The following items qualify:

    Less than $3000

  • Portable generators
  • Less than $300

  • Hurricane shutters
  • Emergency ladders
  • Less than $75

  • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)
  • First aid kits
  • Fuel containers
  • Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
  • Hatchets
  • Axes
  • Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
  • Nonelectric coolers and ice chests for food storage
  • Nonelectric can openers
  • Portable self-powered light sources (hand cranked flashlights)
  • Portable self-powered radios, including two-way and weather band radios
  • Reusable and artificial ice products
  • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Tarps and other plastic sheeting
  • The sales tax holiday lasts through Monday. At the very least make this your weekend to buy batteries…