Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

LinkSwarm for February 5, 2016

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Presidential elections, Islamic terrorism, gun rights, crooked locksmiths: Something for (almost) everyone in your Friday LinkSwarm:

  • So why did Hillary Clinton take $675,000 for three speeches Goldman Sachs? “That’s what they offered.” I actually like the refreshing honesty about that answer, since we already know Granny Crooked McCankles is all about the benjamins. But Hillary saying she hadn’t decided to run for President yet when she took the money? That’s just pissing on our leg and calling it rain…
  • Why is the Republican establishment willing to consider one heresy to their worldview (subsidizing the working poor) but not another (actually enforcing immigration law and securing the borders)?
  • An inside look at Boko Haram.
  • According to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz gave us ObamaCare. By voting to confirm John Roberts. Before Cruz was even in the senate. Hey, why should Ted Cruz even bother to run for President if he’s capable of time travel?
  • Remembering the genocide Muslim Turkey committed against Christian Armenians.
  • The gun rights movement continues to win victories around the country:

    To recap: Gun-control activists declared Virginia their proving ground and poured unbelievable amounts of money into a state-senate election; then they lost that election; then they bet big on executive actions instituting new gun control; they watched as those actions were not only reversed but gun rights were expanded.

    If we take Virginia as the bellwether that the gun-control activists envisioned, then gun control is dead as a 2016 issue.

  • And according to this legal paper by Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, lower courts are scrutinizing even modest post-Heller gun rights restrictions.
  • West Virginia is on the brink of becoming a right-to-work state.
  • Who knew New Hampshire had such a serious drug problem? Or that they were the hardest-drinking state in the union? (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty via his Morning Jolt.)
  • Old and Busted: “The solution to misguided speech is more speech.” The New Hotness: “Your non-liberal speech is toxic. Goodbye comments!”
  • Debunking the “BernieBro” myth social justice warrior types are trying to gin up.
  • Rick Santorum stops pretending to run for President.
  • Male yahoo employee claims illegal sex discrimination in Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s ranking system.
  • Feminists freak out over people daring to point out how just how unlikable Hillary Clinton is. Then again, when are feminists ever not freaking out?
  • How fake locksmiths are gaming Google maps to rip you off. It’s an eye-opening piece, and another reason you should join Angie’s List
  • “Let me please reintroduce myself…”

    Thursday, February 4th, 2016

    “…I’m a woman of wealth and taste…”

    Hillary, you don’t need to reintroduce yourself. The problem isn’t that we don’t know who you are. The problem is that we do know who you are, and entirely too well…

    More Analysis of the Iowa Caucuses

    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

    here are a few of the more interesting pieces pieces of Iowa analysis, along with a dollop of general Presidential Race news):

  • How Ted Cruz won Iowa.
  • Texas Monthly‘s Erica Grieder offers up a field guide to Ted Cruz for her fellow reporters. Including such nuggets as “Ted Cruz is not a fire-breathing extremist” (this is true; I’ve never once seen him breath fire) and “Cruz is smarter than us” (which is undoubtedly true for the vast majority of reporters covering him). While I have some quibbles here and there, the piece is well worth reading, especially if you’re unfamiliar with Cruz. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • More: “What they’re failing to perceive is that such an effort reinforced Cruz’s claim that he will work for the people. Trump has been making the same claim, and a lot of people believe him. But in Iowa, at least, Cruz had a chance to show the people that he meant it. That’s what clinched the caucus.”
  • “Cruz won Iowa the old-fashioned way: He earned it.”
  • 13 Quick Takeaways From The Iowa Caucuses. Including the fact that Hillary is a horrible candidate, and the media is far more obsessed with a Republican populist candidate that got 25% of the vote than the Democratic populist candidate that got 50%.
  • Cruz’s 51,000 votes were the most ever for a Republican in the Iowa caucus.
  • “The reason why we were reluctant to tip Cruz as the likely winner, however, was because we were all suckered by The Donald’s hype.”
  • Cruz 1, Ethanol Lobby 0.
  • Hillary Did Not Win Last Night.”
  • How Sanders caught fire in Iowa.
  • “Between the turnout and the result, Iowa’s caucuses provide an early indicator that Republicans are more excited and Democrats less enthusiastic than usual about 2016.”
  • Ace asks where were all those new voters Trump was supposed to bring in?
  • Frank Luntz says that Jeb Bush’s $100 million worth of anti-Rubio ads hurt Bush more than Rubio.
  • Rand Paul drops out.
  • Cruz gets endorsed by South Carolina congressman Jeff Duncan.
  • Winners, Losers, and Observations from Iowa

    Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

    Now that was an interesting Iowa caucus! On the Republican side, Ted Cruz came in first (8 delegates), Donald Trump second (7 delegates), with Marco Rubio nipping at his heels for third (7 delegates).

    On the Democratic side, it appears that Hillary Clinton eked out a historically narrow victory over Bernie Sanders. I say “appears” since last night it was reported that results from 90 precincts had gone missing. Given her serial history of lawbreaking, and the entire weight of the DNC all-in on dragging her over the finish line, would anyone put it past Hillary to monkey-wrench the process to avoid a narrow loss?

    Let’s take a look at last night’s biggest winners and losers:

  • Winner: Ted Cruz: Given no chance at the beginning of the cycle, or even a few months ago, Cruz pulled out a clear victory against a candidate given eight months of unprecedented free media coverage. As I noted while following his 2012 senate race, Cruz is a smart, disciplined and indefatigable campaigner, a true conservative, and will make a great President.
  • Loser: Donald Trump: See above. A novice politician pulling 24% and second place in the Iowa caucuses would normally be cause for celebration, but Trump roared into Iowa like a juggernaut on a wave of unbelievable media interest and limped out like a hobbled mule. For all the talk about Trump’s money making a difference, there are few signs any of it was spent on an effective ground game. And for once he wasn’t bragging after the results came in.
  • Loser: Jeb Bush: Remember a year ago how everyone was predicting Bush’s fundraising machine and organizational muscle would bulldoze his rivals aside? Not so much. Bush ended up spending $2,884 per Iowa vote to come in sixth.
  • Winner: Marco Rubio: A strong third keeps him in the game, and he’s well situated to pick up deep-pocketed Bush backers who aren’t turned off by the huge amounts of money they’ve already thrown away.
  • Losers: Governors running for President. It used to be that Governor was seen as the idle perquisite for running for President (Reagan, Bush43, Clinton, Carter, etc.), but not only did Jeb Bush come in sixth, John Kaisch, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, and Jim Gilmore (who we’ll mention only because he was a governor, since he got a whopping 12 votes in all of Iowa) all did even worse, Martin O’Malley came in an exceptionally distant third on the Democratic side, and Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki didn’t even make it to Iowa. Huckabee and O’Mally have suspended their campaigns, and the other governors should follow suit.
  • Loser: Rand Paul: Few expected Paul to win, but few expected him to do markedly worse than his father. He should drop out
  • Losers: The remaining Republican candidates. At this point there’s no path to victory for Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina or Rick Santorum. They should drop out as well.
  • Winner: Bernie Sanders: He went from being a crazy old socialist with no chance of winning to a crazy old socialist who fought the Clinton machine to a virtual tie.
  • Loser: Hillary Clinton: She desperately needed to win Iowa and got it, maybe (the Iowa Democratic Party is refusing to release actual vote totals, as opposed to precinct results), with the help of some missing ballots and unlikely coin flips, by the skin of her teeth, but she vastly underperformed in a race that was supposed to be cakewalk for her a year ago. “Her inability to ride a first-class ground organization to a decisive triumph underscores the candidate’s weakness and the lack of a message that resonates with primary voters.” And there were accusations that Hillary was using paid staffers as precinct chairmen.
  • It’s now a three man race on the Republican side, and a dog fight on the Democratic side.

    Iowa Caucus Update: CNN Projects Cruz Win in Iowa

    Monday, February 1st, 2016

    “CNN projects Ted Cruz wins…On the Republican side, with 99% of the expected vote in, Ted Cruz leads with 28%, followed by Donald Trump at 24% and Marco Rubio at 23%.”

    On the Democratic side, things are much closer:

    “With 81% of the expected vote in, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders only 50.1% to 49.2%.”

    Edited to add: Fox News also projects Cruz as the winner.

    LinkSwarm for February 1, 2016

    Monday, February 1st, 2016

    The Iowa Caucuses are today! Why they’re Monday rather than the usual Tuesday, I couldn’t tell you. (And speaking of elections, today is your last day to register to vote in the March 1 Texas primary.)

    Here’s a LinkSwarm with more than a dollop of presidential election news:

  • ObamaCare is an exercise in moving goalposts:

    Back in 2015 the CBO estimated 21 million Obamacare enrollees in 2016. They are now estimating 13 million will sign up this year. How many will actually sign up is not going to be known for another year or so, but I wouldn’t particularly bet on it being more than 21 million, and I wouldn’t particularly counsel against thinking that it’ll be less than 13 million.

    Oh, the news gets better. The original claim that 11 million people signed up for Obamacare in 2015 has likewise been revised by this report, which now apparently reports 9.5 million. And here’s something that will really reassure folks worried about our deficits: the original assumption was that there would be 15 million subsidized plans and 6 million unsubsidized ones in 2015, or 71%/29%. The actual totals were 11 million subsidized, 2 million unsubsidized, or 85%/15%. Let me put it a different way: the Obama administration has managed to somehow simultaneously drastically miss their signup goals AND do so in a way where there won’t even a commensurate savings for taxpayers.

  • “The Clintons have made careers of defying our assumptions about how low they can go.”
  • Hillary’s emails disqualify her from the presidency. “There is near certainty that at least the Russians and the Chinese but also the Iranians and North Koreans were reading all incoming and outgoing email to Hillary in real time from almost the moment she hooked up her ‘home brew’ server.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • More on the subject by Guy Benson at Townhall.
  • Bernie Sanders: The bum who wants your money. “Despite a prestigious degree, however, Sanders failed to earn a living, even as an adult. It took him 40 years to collect his first steady paycheck — and it was a government check.”
  • Republicans are more engaged in Iowa than Democrats.
  • Jim Geraghty offers up a forest of links why each of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio can win or lose tonight.
  • Ace of Spades is shocked, shocked that the Republican establishment is trying to take out Ted Cruz to help Marco Rubio.
  • Financial heavy hitter Sheldon Adelson is backing Cruz. (Hat tip: Conservatives4TedCruz.)
  • Watch Cruz turn around an Iowa farmer hostile over ethanol subsidies.
  • “If there is anyone with a chance of underperforming his 28 percent of the electorate (again, the new Register number), it is Trump. And if Trump does underperform, the question will be whether he falls enough for Cruz to catch him.” (Hat tip: Conservatives4TedCruz.)
  • Trump does poorly among Republicans with college degrees, but well among those with less education. “He is continually the candidate not only with the highest very favorable rating, but the highest very unfavorable rating. He is utterly unacceptable to a very significant portion of the Republican electorate.”
  • “Why there are so many things with titles like ‘Why I still believe Donald Trump will never be president.'”
  • “Jeb Bush kicks off 3 state farewell tour.”
  • Enivironmentalist predictions from 1970: “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • EU goes out of the way to insist that widespread sexual assault by Islamic men in Cologne had nothing to do with Islamic ‘refugees.’
  • Another day, another 100 Nigerians killed by Boko Haram.
  • Finland farked.
  • Tips for non-western immigrants to America. “Perhaps this little rhyme can help: To live here in the West, God willing, just say no to honor killing.”
  • A whole lot of hedge funds are shorting the Yuan.
  • Larry Correia reports from the SHOT show.
  • The last gunsmith. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Remembering Marvin Minsky, and how he cited Hayek in some of his work.
  • “Muslim Uber driver attacks pregnant woman’s service dog.”
  • Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association: The Ring Reaches Mount Doom

    Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

    While the rest of the country was tuned into The Trump Show playing before the Black Gate, Friedrichs vs. California, a plucky little court case with the power to unmake the Democratic Party, has finally reached Mount Doom.

    In brief, public school teachers in California seek to invalidate state law requiring that non-union members must nevertheless pay the public teachers union fees for collective bargaining and related expenses. Those related expenses are fairly broad and include public relations campaigns on issues to be collectively bargained.

    Snip.

    Overturning existing law altogether is much more difficult under the related principles of stare decisis and deference to precedent. But that’s what the Friedrichs Plaintiffs are looking for, and if they succeed the new rule – banning compelled contributions to any public union activity at all – would apply to every public union in the United States.

    Compelled union dues are heart and muscle of the Democratic Party, since unions dominate the top Democratic political donors list. As Scott Walker demonstrated, give workers the chance to keep their own money and they flee unions in droves.

    According the Legal Insurrection, oral arguments have been going extremely badly for unions. “The teachers [the anti-union side] seem to have at least five votes and likely seven. Depending how the decision is written the Court could even reach a unanimous decision holding that compelled contributions to public unions are unconstitutional.”

    Without the iron group of unions, not only is the Democratic Party critically weakened, but a host of previously difficult reforms (public pension reform, school choice) suddenly become possible.

    And there’s likely nothing Sauron can do about it…

    (Metaphor blatantly stolen from Walter Russell Mead.)

    LinkSwarm for January 22, 2016

    Friday, January 22nd, 2016

    Been a trying week. Have a Friday LinkSwarm, on me…

  • Mark Steyn reiterates his central thesis. Namely secular welfare state = low birth rates = import of Muslim immigrants = extinction of the west. “It’s Still the Demography, Stupid.”
  • Welcome to the ObamaCare gaming death spiral.
  • Krauthammer: Hillary’s email scandal is now now worse than what Snowden did, because she exposed information that was far more sensitive.
  • Mark Rich may be dead, but the Clintons are still raking in dough from his associates thanks to Clinton’s pardon of him.
  • Democrat-controlled Flint, Michigan knowingly poisons its citizens with unsafe drinking water.
  • Myth: Ted Cruz is unpopular outside the GOP: Fact: He has higher favorable ratings than Donald Trump or Jeb Bush.
  • “In today’s atmosphere there can be no greater reason to support Ted Cruz than the fact that so many entrenched Washington insiders hate him.”
  • National Review takes a short break from their Trump-bashing to look at how the mainstream media has made him such a big deal through saturation coverage. “The media that so thoroughly built up Trump as a contrast to his boring, predictable, consistently conservative GOP rivals might not find him so easy to tear down.”
  • “Are the Global Warmistas Simply Juicing Up the Latest Years’ Temperatures With ‘Adjustments’ While Reducing the Temperatures of Previous Years, To Always Make the Current Year ‘The Hottest’? Sure seems that way.”
  • Global Warming advocates latest excuse: stupid lying satellites.
  • Anti-GMO scientific papers may have manipulated data.
  • Female Muslim scholar says it’s just fine and dandy to rape non-Muslim women to humiliate them.
  • “Western Europe’s elites have pretended that importing millions of Muslims from countries ranging from Morocco to Afghanistan raises no issues and creates no problems. That this is untrue has been obvious for a long time.”
  • Warning: Pretty much every aspect of this story is horrifying and disgusting.
  • Law enforcement on Open Carry in Texas: “We have no concerns and we have had no problems.” (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • Slashdot: California Assemblyman Jim Cooper wants to add crypto-backdoors to your phone. Wanna guess which political party Cooper is a member of? Go ahead. Guess.
  • Remembering Sergei Korolev, the legendary “chief designer” of the Soviet space program. (Hat tip: Gregory Benford’s Facebook page.)
  • Science Fiction editor David Hartwell has died. He was a hugely important figure in the field…
  • Sanders Up 60% to 33% Over Clinton in NH

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    Bernie Sanders was already up over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, but not by this much:

    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has opened up his widest lead yet over rival Hillary Clinton in the crucial state of New Hampshire, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

    The new WMUR/CNN poll out this afternoon shows the Vermont lawmaker with a whopping 27-point lead over the former Secretary of State — 60-33 percent. That’s a climb of 10 percentage points for Sanders since mid-December and a drop of 7 points for Clinton. It marks Sanders’ highest support and widest lead in any poll in any state so far.

    The usual poll caveats and the fact that Sanders hails from neighboring Vermont applies. But that sort of result would have looked positively loony six months ago. Now? It’s just another data point in Hillary’s catastrophic collapse.

    Hillary can surviving losing to Sanders in New Hampshire, but I’m not sure she can survive getting walloped by that much…

    Texas vs. California Update for January 19, 2016

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    Been a while since I did a Texas vs. California update, due to Reasons, so here’s one:

  • Texas ranks as the third freest state in the union, behind New Hampshire and South Dakota. California ranks second to last, just ahead of Massachusetts.
  • Texas added 16,300 Jobs in November.
  • How’s this for heavy-handed symbolism? California’s legislature plans to close one of its doors to the public, but continue to allow access to lobbyists. Because you’ve always got to see your real boss when he comes around…
  • California’s unfunded liabilities for CalPERS and CalSTARS spiked by $24 billion is fiscal 2014/2015. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The much ballyhooed pension reform plan won’t make it on the ballot this year. Supporters are now aiming for 2018. Who knows how broke California will be by then… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • That’s probably because the game is rigged against pension reform. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Jerry Brown unveils a budget in California. The budget increases are relatively modest, by California standards, but $2 billion into the rainy day fund isn’t even remotely going to cover California’s huge unfunded pension gap, and most of the structural bloat in the budget remains.
  • More on the same theme:

    While all the numbers are constantly in flux, in 2014-15, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System saw its status fall from 76.3 percent funded to 73.3 percent, likely due to the fact that investment returns fell far below expectations. The long-neglected California State Teachers’ Retirement System, as of June 30, 2014, was 69 percent funded. Combined, the systems report unfunded pension promises of more than $160 billion.

    The current budget shows steep and consistent increases in state funding to the two systems. Whereas CalPERS is set to receive $4.3 billion in state contributions in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ends June 30, it could receive $4.8 billion the following year. CalSTRS is to receive $1.9 billion this year and about $2.47 billion next year.

    In comparison, CalPERS and CalSTRS received $3.1 billion and $1.26 billion, respectively, in 2011-2012.

    While it is perfectly reasonable for costs to rise over time, the rate that costs have risen for the two giant pension funds is mainly a consequence of California trying to play catch-up for years of inadequate forecasting and planning, aggravated by investment losses. But because the pension systems are run for public employees – CalPERS’ board is full of former public employee union leaders – the necessary changes and adjustments have been made far too late to avoid calamity.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • On the actual mechanics of pension reform, and the impossibility implementing them at the state level in California. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Part 2, examining the possibility of reform at the local level. (Ditto.)
  • “California government, however, serves one purpose. It always reminds America what not to do.” Also:

    California has given us three new truths about government.

    One, the higher that taxes rise, the worse state services become.

    Two, the worse a natural disaster hits, the more the state contributes to its havoc.

    And three, the more existential the problem, the more the state ignores it.

    California somehow has managed to have the fourth-highest gas taxes in the nation, yet its roads are rated 44th among the 50 states. Nearly 70 percent of California roads are considered to be in poor or mediocre condition by the state senate. In response, the state legislature naturally wants to raise gas taxes, with one proposal calling for an increase of 12 cents per gallon, which would give California the highest gas taxes in the nation.

  • Federal judge rejects San Bernardino’s bankruptcy proposal, saying it doesn’t contain enough information.
  • Sacramento continues to ignore the needs of rural residents. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Half of California’s driver’s licenses are issued to illegal aliens.
  • After years at the top of the relocation list, Texas was only the 9th biggest relocation destination in 2015.
  • On the other hand, Texas was still the top destination according to Allied Van Lines.
  • But businesses continue to flee California:

    In California, costs to run a business are higher than in other states and nations largely due to the states tax and regulatory policies and the business climate shows little chance of improving. It is understandable that from 2008 through 2015, at least 1,687 California disinvestment events occurred, a count that reflects only those that became public knowledge. Experts in site selection generally agree that at least five events fail to become public knowledge for every one that does. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that a minimum of 10,000 California disinvestment events have occurred during that period….For about 40 years California has been viewed as a state in which it is difficult to do business. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Administration’s less than candid approach regarding the business climate has misled the Legislature, the news media and the public about the flight of capital, facilities and jobs to other states and nations.

    The study also shows that Texas had the most new facilities opening up in the nation in 2014, with 689. California, despite being the most populous state, tied for 12th with 170.

  • 85% of Marin County’s special district workers collected over $100,000.” Bonus: Their pensions are underfunded too. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Troubled California Wine Retailer Files for Bankruptcy. Premier Cru owes customers almost $70 million for wines it never delivered.”
  • This county-by-county breakdown of recession recovery is full of (very slow loading) data, and I haven’t come close to digesting it yet.