Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

Still No Hard Evidence Russia Hacked The DNC

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

I’ve long been suspicious of the “Russia hacked the DNC” theory due to lack of supporting evidence. As I wrote previously:

Anyone could have hacked the DNC, just like anyone could have hacked Hillary Clinton’s illegal homebrew email server. It could have been the Russians, who regularly undertake malicious activity. But it could also be China, or a leak from within the DNC, or the Awan spy ring, who had access to DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz’s computers and tablets, as well as those of some 40 other House Democrats.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has long asserted that he did not receive the DNC materials from Russia, stating it was a leak rather than a hack.

But the “leak not a hack” explanation wasn’t useful for advancing the Russian Collusion fantasy, and so was ignored. I was looking forward to reading the Mueller Report to see the evidence for Russia hacking the DNC, only to find out that section was almost entirely redacted.

Now it turns out than not only did the FBI not examine the DNC servers, they didn’t even have a chance to read an unredacted report written by the firm that allegedly did so:

Despite the Russian ‘hacking’ claim the DOJ previously admitted the DNC would not let FBI investigators review the DNC server. Instead the DNC provided the FBI with analysis of a technical review done through a cyber-security contract with Crowdstrike.

The narrative around the DNC hack claim was always sketchy; many people believe the DNC email data was downloaded onto a flash drive and leaked. In a court filing (full pdf below) the scale of sketchy has increased exponentially.

Suspecting they could prove the Russian hacking claim was false, lawyers representing Roger Stone requested the full Crowdstrike report on the DNC hack. When the DOJ responded to the Stone motion they made a rather significant admission. Not only did the FBI not review the DNC server, the FBI/DOJ never even saw the Crowdstrike report.

The DOJ response, as posted by Conservative Treehouse:

Conservative Treehouse continues:

Yes, that is correct. The FBI and DOJ were only allowed to see a “draft” report prepared by Crowdstrike, and that report was redacted… and that redacted draft is the “last version of the report produced”; meaning, there are no unredacted & final versions.


This means the FBI and DOJ, and all of the downstream claims by the intelligence apparatus; including the December 2016 Joint Analysis Report and January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, all the way to the Weissmann/Mueller report and the continued claims therein; were based on the official intelligence agencies of the U.S. government and the U.S. Department of Justice taking the word of a hired contractor for the Democrat party….. despite their inability to examine the server and/or actually see an unredacted technical forensic report from the investigating contractor.

The entire apparatus of the U.S. government just took their word for it…

…and used the claim therein as an official position….

…which led to a subsequent government claim, in court, of absolute certainty that Russia hacked the DNC.

Think about that for a few minutes.

The full intelligence apparatus of the United States government is relying on a report they have never even been allowed to see or confirm; that was created by a paid contractor for a political victim that would not allow the FBI to investigate their claim.

So, despite nearly three years of investigation after investigation, we still have absolutely no concrete evidence that Russia hacked the DNC servers.

Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for June 17, 2019

Monday, June 17th, 2019

The lineup for the first two debates are set, Warren pulls ahead of Sanders for second place in early states, Castro and Klobuchar can’t even crack the top three in their own states, and Gabbard’s childhood in a white surfer dude’s Hari Krishna cult. It’s your Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update!

For those who missed Saturday’s post, the DNC debates are set, with Warren, O’Rourke, Booker, Klobucher, Castro, Ryan, Gabbard, Inslee, de Blasio and Delaney debating June 26, while Biden, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, Yang, Gillibrand, Hickenlooper, Bennet, Williamson and Swalwell are going at it June 27. Bullock, Moulton, Gravel and Messam are left out in the cold.


  • UT/Texas Tribune (Texas primary): Biden 23, O’Rourke 15, Warren 14, Sanders 12, Buttigieg 8, Harris 5, Castro 3, Gabbard 3, Booker 1, Delaney 1, Gillibrand 1, Inslee 1, Klobucher 1, Swalwell 1. Castro trying Gabbard for 7th in his home state is a pretty clear sign he’s going nowhere.
  • Fox: Biden 32, Sanders 13, Warren 9. Buttigieg 8, Harris 8, O’Rourke 4, Booker 3, Klobuchar 2, Yang 2, Castro 1, Delaney 1, Gillibrand 1, Ryan 1.
  • CNS/YouGov (early states): Biden 31, Warren 17, Sanders 16, Harris 10, Buttigieg 8, O’Rourke 5, Booker 2, Klobucher 2, Yang 1, Castro 1, Gillibrand 1, Delaney 1.
  • CNN (Nevada): Biden 36, Warren 19, Sanders 13, Buttigieg 7, Harris 6, Booker 2, O’Rourke 2, Yang 2.
  • Real Clear Politics
  • 538 polls
  • Election betting markets
  • Pundits, etc.

  • The Democratic Clown Car Rolls Into Iowa.”

    Former Representative Beto O’Rourke’s campaign rented a taco truck and dished out free chorizo. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s gang rattled little white bells. Former Representative John Delaney’s team had a bagpiper and a mini blimp overhead. Some of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s supporters wore bright feather boas, with a few women dancing up and down the street playing Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” on a portable speaker. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg hosted a barbecue at a park and played keys with a local band while wearing sunglasses. Senator Bernie Sanders marched from a McDonald’s alongside striking workers and activists.

  • “Latino leaders sound alarms over Trump reelection in 2020.”

    Interviews with more than a dozen strategists and organizers revealed rising alarm at the lack of attention being paid to Latinos in swing states where they could decide the outcome of the Democratic primary and the general election. Trump is counting on a slice of the Latino electorate to back him, announcing aggressive outreach plans to keep states like Florida in his column.

    But if Democrats fail to counter those efforts — by energizing younger Latinos and reaching members of the community who feel estranged by the president — those voters may simply sit out the election.

    I get the impression that Democrats feel their illegal alien Hispandering is all the outreach they need to Hispanic American citizens. I suspect they’re wrong.

    Castro was the first Democratic hopeful to issue an immigration plan and has visited Nevada the most, but his inability to eclipse low-single-digits has troubled activists. Elizabeth Warren has placed nearly 30 staffers in Nevada and is working to hire Latino interns and to set up caucus trainings in Latino communities. Cory Booker is doing Latino outreach through social media as well as digital and TV, notably appearing on the Univision show “Despierta America” the day he announced.

    Harris, whose campaign declined to say how many people it has in Nevada, has prioritized hiring Spanish-speaking organizing staff in the state and rolled out a paid fellowship program. She caught the attention of activists for providing headphones with real-time Spanish translation at an early Nevada town hall. Pete Buttigieg has no staffers on the ground, but his constituency director is Latino, and the campaign plans to hire a person dedicated to outreach to the Latino community.

    Front-runner Joe Biden has just four people in Nevada and has visited the state once. His campaign website, however, does provide a full Spanish translation. Some of the Latino operatives said they’re eager to see whether he tailors his speeches more to the experiences of black and Latino populations, in addition to white working-class voters.

    “What I have seen from Joe Biden is that he is running a campaign reminiscent of 1992 or 1993, the courting of the suburban white voter,” Salgado said.

    Isabel Aldunate, a Biden campaign spokeswoman, said: “Vice President Biden committed from Day One that Latinos will have a voice at the highest level of this campaign.”

    Sanders’ campaign would not disclose how many organizers it has in Nevada, but an adviser said its field staff would grow exponentially in the coming weeks. His pending immigration plan is being co-written by three undocumented immigrants and the campaign is collaborating with activist organizations on it. Ten percent of Sanders’ staff at its national headquarters are Dreamers or immigrants, according to the campaign.

    “It’s the backbone of this campaign to reach out to Latinos and immigrants and disenfranchised communities of all color,” said Chuck Rocha, a top adviser to Sanders.

    But the lack of an immigration plan from all but three Democrats — Castro, O’Rourke and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — is a troubling indicator, the Latino operatives said. Trump has made clear that he intends to run on an anti-immigration platform again, and Democrats have yet to show they’ll have an effective response.

    And by “anti-immigration” they, of course, mean “anti-illegal alien.”

  • Buttigieg, Biden and Harris are raking in Wall Street money:

    With millions of dollars on the line, top New York donors are already beginning to pick favorites, and three candidates are generating most of the buzz: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Senator Kamala Harris of California and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

    It is, at first blush, an unusual grouping, considering that the mayor of New York City (Bill de Blasio), the state’s junior senator (Kirsten Gillibrand) and a neighboring senator with deep ties to New York’s elite (Cory Booker of New Jersey) are all in the race and vying for their money.

    Interviews with two dozen top contributors, fund-raisers and political advisers on Wall Street and beyond revealed that while many are still hedging their bets, those who care most about picking a winner are gravitating toward Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, while donors are swooning over Mr. Buttigieg enough to open their wallets and bundling networks for him. These dynamics raise the prospect of growing financial advantages for some candidates and closed doors for others.

    “There is going to be a real income inequality,” Steven Rattner, a Wall Street executive and Democratic donor, said of the coming fund-raising results for the second quarter, which covers April through June. “You are going to see a big separation between the rich and the poor.”

  • The Democratic debates are going to be a fiasco.”

    There are now 24 declared candidates seeking to cashier President Trump — almost enough for a full Major League Baseball roster—and the flimsy standards the party set to get a slot on stage will be met by almost all of them. Instead of substantive debates between the leading candidates, the party is going to get a chorus line of never-gonna-be-presidents yapping at each other for two hours.

    Most of these people have no chance of becoming the nominee. They know it. The Democratic National Committee knows it. And the top tier candidates know it too. The debates should be structured as such, rather than like cattle-call auditions for The Voice.

    It is understandable, after the unity-destroying trainwreck of the 2016 primary, that the DNC didn’t want to appear to be needlessly excluding particular candidates so early in the process. But their rules for making the first two rounds of debates in June and July — 65,000 individual donations with 200 or more donors from each of at least 20 states, or hitting 1 percent or higher in three or more qualifying polls — turned out to be Maginot Line inadequate. With the increasing ease of dropping a few bucks into a campaign and the 24/7 attention already given to the 2020 election, it was inevitable that basically anyone with even the slightest national profile or resources could meet one of these two bars.

  • “A new poll from the Black Economic Alliance of 1,003 black Americans found that between 27% and 33% of those surveyed “have reservations” about or are “very uncomfortable” with Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg as presidential candidates.” That’s a weird way to phrase things, as Sanders (31%) and Harris (27%) fall into the same range.
  • 538 reminds us that early election polls are garbage.
  • Now on to the clown car itself:

  • Losing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Maybe? Still dithering. Says Hollywood should “stay and fight” in Georgia rather than boycott it over abortion. Pandering to local interests rather than the hard left base? That’s sort of a sign…
  • Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets a Yahoo finance interview and plugs a new book. Instead of telling you the title, I’d suggest checking the Barnes & Noble remainder table six months from now. “Bennet would rescind some of the Republican tax cuts from 2017, and spend more on education and infrastructure.” Of course he would. Bennet gets an attack ad from conservative Americans for Prosperity over corporate welfare, mainly to soften him up for the 2022 senate race, since his presidential campaign is going nowhere.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In. Twitter. Facebook. He promises to cure cancer; if Trump had said that in 2015 they’d still be crucifying him. The Washington Post puts up yet another “stop talking about electability and Joe Biden” piece, because we just haven’t had enough of those. It even quotes Amanda Marcotte, author of another piece on the same thing, because now even recycled garbage gets to be recycled again. “What “The West Wing” reveals about Joe Biden.” No, really, that’s a real CNN headline, and not an Onion or Babylon Bee parody. Polifact rates Biden’s statement that China has increased theft of U.S. technology under Trump as mostly true, but I would guess that it’s only they’ve been caught a lot more.
  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Why you shouldn’t count Cory Booker out of the 2020 presidential race.” Why? “His steady strategy of hiring prominent political operatives and building powerful grassroots organizations in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire could pay off big time months from now.” Maybe, maybe not, It’s not like the other candidates aren’t doing a lot of hiring in Iowa as well. Also this: “‘His team is playing the long game,’ added Antjuan Seawright, a South Carolina Democratic consultant. ‘The worst thing you can do in a race like this is peak too soon.'” No, the worst you can do is fail to make any impression whatsoever. Gets a CNBC interview. “Of all the Democratic presidential candidates, none delivers a speech any better than Cory Booker.” Color me skeptical. “Cory Booker can blame his campaign’s irrelevancy on his school choice flip-flop.” Eh, probably not, though standing firm might have garnered him a little more black support in polls. But “It’s easy to see why Booker’s campaign hasn’t lifted off yet: He’s utterly unremarkable and has no real constituency among the Democratic base” is dead on…
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Gov. Bullock demands entry into first DNC debate.” People in Hell want ice-water, too. Gets a New York interview that’s mostly about being excluded. It’s like the coach of 20-18 college basketball team complaining that they really should have been included in the NIT…
  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: In. Twitter. Facebook. “A Rough Transcript of Every Interview With Pete Buttigieg:”

    Is it true that you speak Norwegian?
    Ja, I am evasive in seven different languages.

    How do you plan to tackle income inequality?
    If I may, I’d like to speak to that very specific issue with a few glittering generalities.

    Go on.
    Freedom. Democracy. Bridges.

    Care to elaborate?
    Optimism. Honesty. A child’s lemonade stand.

    You have my vote.
    I know. If this piece were any fluffier, it’d have a thread count.

    “Mayor Pete’s Foreign Policy: One Good Idea and Lots of Bad Ones. The good one is congress stepping up to its constitutional duty on war and piece. The bad ones are all leftwing boilerplate or vague generalities. He also says that the United States has had gay presidents before. The technical term for this theory is “talking out your ass.”

  • Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro: In. Twitter. Facebook. He had a Fox townhall, which starts by him ignoring and deflecting a question about the Steele dossier. Has a plan to eliminate lead poisoning, which I’m sure will draw fire from those numerous pro-lead poisoning lobbyists.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: In. Twitter. Facebook. Got to be honest: I didn’t even expect him to make the debate stage, so his campaign has already exceeded my exceedingly low expectations. “New York Mayor Bill de Blasio takes his low popularity to the national stage.” “Bill de Blasio’s constituents appear to waver from being amused to appalled by his White House bid. Some of his past confidants have signaled they might sooner enlist with the LaRouche movement than take a job on his campaign.” More: “De Blasio shows every sign of suffering from a curse that has afflicted most every New York mayor who has aspired to higher office since 1868. The city’s tabloids are littered with the political carcasses of mayors whose aspirations were crushed as soon as they tried to set foot outside the city.” Also:

    It doesn’t help that De Blasio has a penchant for self-inflicted wounds. He’s so loathed by New York’s police union that when he visited South Carolina, the union’s president warned the sister organization down South that De Blasio would be “an unmitigated disaster… for any American who wants a functioning government.” A pre-campaign launch event at Trump Tower went sideways when protesters — and the operator of the building’s sound system — outwitted the mayor and the media dismissed the effort as opportunistic and incompetent.

    De Blasio’s actual launch was spoiled when invitations went out for an event in Iowa that listed him as already in the race, albeit with his name spelled wrong (something that happens a lot to the mayor).

    More from the ever-rich de Blasio-bashing genre: “Bill de Blasio Tries to Find Someone, Somewhere, Who Wants to Vote for Him.”

    Inside, de Blasio receives an endorsement, his first, from the Orangeburg mayor and lays out his case for why he, the 24th Democrat and sixth* white straight man in a row to declare a run for president, deserves their vote, having brought paid sick leave, higher wages, and universal prekindergarten to New York. “And when we put forward a nominee who has actually done things for working people,” he says, “working people are going to believe again!” He gets the kind of enthusiastic reception you’d never see at home, where he remains dogged by questions big and small: from violating ethics rules at his nonprofit; to his gym routine; to missing a 9/11 memorial commemoration; to rooting for the Red Sox; to his absence from City Hall; to the way he eats pizza.

    Afterward, in the church basement, the mayor holds a press conference with just three reporters present; an aide pointedly ignores the one from New York to call on one with the Times and Democrat, a 7,000-circulation local newspaper, who asks the mayor to expound on the virtues of visiting South Carolina.

    De Blasio would avoid the city press corps entirely if he could. The relations between them are way past repair, with reporters in New York finding him self-righteous, smug, with an inflated sense of his own importance, and he finding them in thrall to their corporate masters, in search of political gossip and cheap jokes about groundhogs.

    But the derision the city’s press has for de Blasio has seeped upward into the wider culture. “De Blasio PAC Spends $30 Million on Ads Urging Candidate Not to Embarrass Self by Running,” read a recent headline in The Onion. After noting that the mayor was polling at zero percent in New Hampshire, Stephen Colbert cracked, “He has nowhere to go but home.” Even Lloyd Blankfein piled on, tweeting, “On the bright side, if DeB gets elected prez, we New Yorkers will lose his undivided attention a year ahead of schedule.”

  • Maryland Representative John Delaney: In. Twitter. Facebook. Delany managed to make the debate stage as well, and will be using it to flack his far-less-insane-than-other-Democratic-plans there:

    “I look forward to laying out how my health care plan – ‘BetterCare’ – is both superior health care policy, and a much smarter way forward, than Senator Sanders plan, Medicare for All,” Delaney wrote on Friday.

    Delaney had a similar message for the California Democratic Party’s convention earlier this month. He’s all for universal health care, he assured his audience, but Medicare for All is the wrong way to achieve it. It’s just “not good politics,” he said. He was booed and an unimpressed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who had heard enough of his moderate takes, asked him to “sashay away” from the race.

  • Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets a Polifact profile that contains little new. She gets a Wall Street Journal profile (alternate source). She “staunchly” opposes impeachment and decries identity politics, both of which make her stand out in this crowd. Says she’s getting a boost from the Rogan interviews. But the most notable news is a long, interesting piece on her childhood as part of (to quote the piece) the “alt-right of the Hare Krishna movement.”

    When FiveThirtyEight asked 60 Democratic Party activists whom they didn’t want to win, Tulsi Gabbard came in first out of 17 candidates, a poll she used to rile up her own intensely motivated supporters, who tend to identify, proudly, as anti-Establishment outsiders. In May, Joe Rogan, whose podcast is listened to millions of times each month by MMA fans, stoner bros, and self-styled freethinkers, chose his candidate. “Tulsi Gabbard’s my girl,” he said. “I’m voting for her. I decided. I like her. I met her in person. Fuck it.”

    Snip. About the white “surfer dude” guru her parents followed:

    In 1970, the Honolulu Advertiser published a piece called “One Man Rules Haiku Krishnaites,” with the subhead “Absolute power of devotees.” In the photo beside the piece, [cult leader Chris] Butler is seated shirtless and smoking, hair skimming his shoulders and a sarong around his waist, staring alluringly into the distance, a mischievous smile on his face. It is the expression of less a guru than a playboy, and this is how Advertiser reporter Janice Wolf depicts him, a handsome dictator with the ability to hypnotize the two dozen 18-to-22-year-olds who live with him in his Quonset hut. One of the girls, an 18-year-old who also happened to have the Sanskrit name Tulsi, says he arranged her marriage to another member of the group. She and another girl, who say they would kill for him, describe his teachings. Among them: “Flowers scream when they’re picked. So do trees when they’re trimmed.” (“Tulsi and Boni were sitting on the lawn chewing blades of grass when they said this,” notes Wolf.)

    Butler taught vegetarianism, sexual conservatism, mind-body dualism, and disinterest in the material world. He taught a virulent homophobia, skepticism of science, and the dangers of public schools. He had been associated with Hare Krishna, and in fact claimed to have been given his Sanskrit name, Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa, by the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, but by the time he encountered the Gabbards, he’d started his own group. His teachings revolved around worship of Krishna but differed from those of Hare Krishna, in that he instructed his followers to learn from only a single guru — himself — and did not require them to shave their heads or wear robes. The lack of formal dress allowed the group an anonymity he encouraged. He forbade them from visiting India, which is not typical of Hare Krishna, and, also against Hare Krishna practice, married. His wife was one of his followers, Wai Lana, a popular yoga instructor who later had a long-running instructional yoga series on public television. (Abraham, Tulsi’s husband, has helped with filming Wai Lana’s videos; his mother also works for her.) Whenever Butler traveled, he’d have the homes he stayed in lined with tinfoil, to protect against electromagnetic radiation.


    It was the 1980s. Greg says he and Tulsi attended these gatherings together, and years later, when Abraham was born, he’d see him too. (Tulsi says that she did not attend gatherings like these.) Waiting four or five or six hours for Siddhaswarupananda’s entrance built a kind of thrilling pressure, and Greg remembers Sundays as “incredibly theatrical.” Devotees with radios would place themselves at various high points along the beach, operating as a security force. “You’re waiting hours and hours for this dude to show up, and then when he does, people go absolutely wild — it’s all your family and all your friends singing and dancing and chanting, you’re so excited,” says Greg. The guru would then address the crowd. He was good with the pregnant pause. He had the kind of easy confidence you’d expect from Krishna’s representative on Earth. He was also vulgar and vindictive. “He would start excoriating people for fucking up. Sound systems not working, cups of water not being cleaned, people dressed funny, driving poorly. He would publicly mock people. And when he would do that — that’s a form of Krishna’s mercy.” Everyone I spoke to who was raised in the group described, as children, hearing Butler call men “faggots” and women “cunts.” One time in Malibu, Greg recalls, Butler had passed a man on the beach in a thong on his way to the gathering; Butler then described in graphic detail what that man allegedly wanted his “boyfriend” to do to him. “That’s vivid as a kid,” says Greg, whose name is not really Greg; he does not want to be cut off from his family.

    Back in the ’70s, Butler went by the name “Sai Young,” a name he possibly picked because he was a gifted baseball player who had hoped to go pro. In their boyhood, according to his estranged brother Kurt, Chris was the handsome, popular one. Their father, a family physician named Willis Butler, took them, their mother, and their siblings to protest Vietnam well before it was socially acceptable to do so. Kurt remembers the whole family standing along a sidewalk on the edge of the University of Hawaii campus, holding signs that read stop the war and stop the bombing. From their cars, people threw garbage at the family. They yelled things: “Losers,” “Love it or leave it,” “Fucking commies.”

    Their father was, in fact, a communist. The Butler patriarch loved the Soviet Union, thought North Korea a workers’ paradise. When Kurt brought home a geography book from school that mentioned political repression in the USSR, his father called it “lying propaganda.” When, as an adolescent, Chris pointed out that the Viet Cong had committed atrocities, his father wouldn’t hear it. Chris sought refuge in psychedelics, Kurt wrote in an email to me, then in meditation. He began writing poetry. He began giving meditation classes. “The classes,” says Kurt, “gradually evolved into a full-fledged cult.”

    It’s so frigging weird you really need to read the whole thing, but it’s peripheral enough to the 2020 campaign that I don’t want to excerpt any more here. But it does give the impression of a woman who had no strong political commitments outside of the cult she grew up in until she joined the army…which was two years her first election as a state representative.

  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: In. Twitter. Facebook. “This Isn’t Going According to Plan for Kirsten Gillibrand.” (You don’t say.)

    This isn’t going well for Gillibrand. She has failed at some basics. For someone who’s always been a voracious fundraiser, she raised just $3 million in the first quarter of the year, less than half of what South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised. And she was weeks behind the self-help author Marianne Williamson and the automation alarmist Andrew Yang in getting the 65,000 donors needed to guarantee her a spot on the Democratic debate stage later this month. (Her campaign announced she finally passed that mark last weekend.)

    Gillibrand is a United States senator from New York, and this is the best she can do.

    She compared pro-life supporters to racists.

  • Former Tallahassee Mayor and failed Florida Senate candidate Andrew Gillum: Probably not. He’s raising money for Democrats in Florida, but a lot of it is going to travel expenses. Unless something happens, I’m going to move him down to the “Out of the Running” list next week.
  • Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel: In. Twitter. Facebook. Says his camapign will continue despite not being in the debates. Didn’t expect otherwise.
  • California Senator Kamala Harris: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Kamala Harris drops in the polls as Democratic rivals grab the spotlight.” More: “Her struggles were underscored this week when a new poll from UC Berkeley and The Los Angeles Times showed the senator in fourth place in California, her home state. At 13 percent, she’s even dropped below the cutoff for winning statewide delegates.” She says she doesn’t need any of that stinking congressional approval to rule by executive decree as President, and promises more soft illegal alien amnesty.
  • Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Quirky Hickenlooper may represent sanity for Democrats.” I think the Democratic Party base has made very clear they don’t want any of your stinking sanity.

    “The Democratic field has not only failed to oppose Sen. Sanders’ agenda, but they have actually pushed to embrace it,” he said at the National Press Club. “Democrats must say loudly and clearly that we are not socialists.”

    Nobody will confuse Hickenlooper for a disciple of Milton Friedman or Friedrich Hayek. He advocates what he calls “regulated capitalism,” pushed for several major tax-hike measures while he was governor, and proposes spending $100 billion annually in “climate financing” to developing nations.

    But he has a long history of supporting fossil fuel drilling. He opposes the absurdly expensive “Green New Deal,” “Medicare for all,” and supposedly “free” college for all (meaning financed by taxpayers). In May, he wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal in which he declared he is “running to save capitalism.”

    Don’t take this as an endorsement of Hickenlooper — he leans too far leftward on far too many issues for me. But he’s kind of the canary in the coal mine. If Hickenlooper’s modest nods to centrism are no longer welcome in the Democratic Party, the country is in trouble. It is not democratic socialism but democratic capitalism that has made this the most economically powerful nation on earth. While Communist and socialist nations like the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela mire their people in collapse and despair, the world’s free economies thrive.

  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Onion: “DNC Committee Throws Bound Jay Inslee Onto Melting Iceberg Before Pushing Him Out To Sea.” Inslee’s not winning firends back home in Washington state: “Governing by phone: Inside Inslee’s hectic first months on 2020 trail.”
  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: In. Twitter. Facebook. She’s in fourth place, behind Warren Biden and Sanders, in her home state.
  • Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam: In. Twitter. Facebook. Yep, he’s still running, despite not being in the debates. Had an interview on WBUR radio, which is evidently a Boston NPR station.
  • Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton: In. Twitter. Facebook. Didn’t make the debate, made the usual noises about it not bothering him, but he’s been lapped by Bill de Blasio and Eric Swalwell. He’s toast.
  • Former Texas Representative and failed Senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke: In. Twitter. Facebook. He jumps on the Tranny Train to ruin women’s sports. He partially flips his open borders flop: “Beto O’Rourke says illegal border crossings should not be decriminalized.” He campaigned in South Carolina. His Facebook ad purchases are down; trouble fundraising?
  • Ohio Representative Tim Ryan: In. Twitter. Facebook. He’s in the first round of debates. He held a town hall in Oskaloosa, Iowa, a town of some 11,000.
  • Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders: In. Twitter. Facebook. He’s coming for your health insurance. The Decline and Fall of Bernie Sanders. “The Dems, even the hard lefties, are looking for electability. And nobody really believes Bernie is it. Not against Biden. So portions of his base are switching to candidates who seemed like they might have a shot at breaking out, like Elizabeth Warren. That seems almost as delusional, but Warren, with her barrage of 5-year-plans, has swallowed a chunk of Bernie’s support.” Here’s a lefty complaining that he’ll get Elizabeth Warren elected by just not being socialist enough.
  • California Representative Eric Swalwell: In. Twitter. Facebook. Another one I was surprised managed to squeak into the debate. He said something stupid again, which is a dog-bites-man story.
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: In. Twitter. Facebook. She gets a tongue-bath of a profile in the New York Times. She calls herself “a capitalist to my bones,” which may be news to recent Bernie defectors.

    In March, Warren demonstrated her appetite for challenging the economic and political dominance of corporate titans by going directly at America’s biggest tech companies. In a speech in Long Island City, Queens — where local protesters demanded that Amazon drop its plan to build a big new campus — Warren connected the companies’ success at smothering start-up rivals to their influence in Washington. She remarked dryly that the large amounts that businesses like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple spend on lobbying is a “good return on investment if they can keep Washington from enforcing the antitrust laws.” She wants to use those laws to break up the companies instead — a move that no other major American politician had proposed.

    After Warren started talking about the four tech giants, along with other critics, the Trump administration let it be known that it was scrutinizing them for potential antitrust violations. Conservatives have suspected social media platforms of bias against them for years, and with concerns about privacy violations escalating, big tech was suddenly a bipartisan target. Warren has specifics about how to reduce their influence; she wants to undo the mergers that allowed Facebook, for example, to snap up WhatsApp, rather than compete with it for users. Warren could unleash the power to bring major antitrust prosecutions without Congress — an answer to gridlock in Washington that’s crucially woven into some of her other plans too. (Warren also favors ending the filibuster in the Senate.) Warren wants to prevent companies that offer an online marketplace and have annual revenue of $25 billion or more from owning other companies that sell products on that platform. In other words, Amazon could no longer sell shoes and diapers and promote them over everyone else’s shoes and diapers — giving a small business a fair chance to break in.

    She gets a similarly glowing profile in The New Yorker.

    Warren’s poll numbers have steadily climbed; in early June, two polls, one national and one in Nevada, had her in second, behind Joe Biden but ahead of Sanders, for the first time. With the help of advisers working from her headquarters, in Boston, Warren has been releasing a torrent of detailed policy proposals. She has issued a plan to dramatically reduce student debt and to offer free tuition at public colleges; a plan to unwind large agriculture conglomerates in order to make the market more equitable for family farms; a plan to require large corporations to pay more in federal taxes; a plan to dismantle the behemoth technology companies and regulate them like utilities; and new legislation to address opioid addiction, modelled on a bill passed by Congress in 1990 to combat the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic. She has announced an “Economic Patriotism” plan, intended to create opportunities for American workers, and has issued proposals targeted at Donald Trump, including one that would make it permissible to indict a sitting President.

    Together, the proposals promise a new level of government intervention in almost every aspect of economic life. Some of the ideas are pragmatic; others seem aimed more at marketing than at implementation. Regardless, “I have a plan for that” has become a rallying cry for her campaign—an echo of the way that “Nevertheless, she persisted” became a tagline for Warren supporters after Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, used it to describe Warren’s refusal to stand down during the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions, Trump’s former Attorney General. In May, the comedian Ashley Nicole Black wrote, on Twitter, “Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life?” Warren responded, “DM me and let’s figure this out.” Even Tucker Carlson, the right-wing Fox News host, recently opened his show with an eight-minute monologue touting Warren’s Economic Patriotism plan, saying that she sounded like “Donald Trump at his best.”

    Roger Simon thinks it’s Warren’s race to win.

  • Author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson: In. Twitter. Facebook. She’s in the debates and gets a PolitiFact bio. “We should not run this country like a business. We should run this country like a family.” Will she try to send Georgia to bed without supper? “Explaining Marianne Williamson, the Good Witch Who Cursed Me.” In 60 seconds. Exactly as insightful as you would expect a 60 second video listical from Jezebel to be.
  • Venture capitalist Andrew Yang: In. Twitter. Facebook. Speaking of PoliFact bios. “Why Andrew Yang Matters“:

    The 2020 campaign is now only a couple of weeks away from its first Democratic debates, on June 26 and 27, in Miami. So it’s the right time for candidates to begin rolling out their policy platforms.

    And none of them, not even the famously substantive Elizabeth Warren, has released more plans than Andrew Yang.

    Yang is a former technology entrepreneur who has attracted more than 100,000 individual donors — enough to qualify him for inclusion in the first debates — in large part because of his detailed platform. His website includes more than 100 proposals.

    Many of them revolve around Yang’s view that the American economy no longer works for the majority of people. He has proposed a universal basic income — $1,000 monthly checks for all adults — as well as more affordable college, a financial-transaction tax and rebuilding infrastructure. He has dozens of smaller ideas, too: free marriage counseling; more funding for autism; a ban on airlines removing passengers when they overbook flights; the return of congressional earmarks; and the extension of Daylight Saving Time to the entire year.

    He’s also come out in favor of several ideas that regular newsletter readers will recognize: Supreme Court term limits, ranked-choice voting and statehood for Washington and Puerto Rico.

    Finally, the speed and efficiency of federal bureaucracy can be extended to marriage counseling!

  • Out of the Running

    These are people who were formerly in the roundup who have announced they’re not running, or for which I’ve seen no recent signs they’re running:

  • Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti
  • Actor Alec Baldwin
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
  • Former one-term President Jimmy Carter
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr.
  • Former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine
  • Former Obama Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
  • Oregon senator Jeff Merkley
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama
  • Former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda
  • New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (constitutionally ineligible)
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
  • Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
  • Like the Clown Car update? Consider hitting the tip jar:

    The Group of Death and The Kiddie Table

    Saturday, June 15th, 2019

    The Democratic National Committee has announced the debate schedule and participants:

    June 26:

  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke
  • Cory Booker
  • Amy Klobucher
  • Julian Castro
  • Tim Ryan
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Jay Inslee
  • Bill de Blasio
  • John Delaney
  • June 27:

  • Joe Biden
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Kamala Harris
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Andrew Yang
  • Kirsten Gillibrand
  • John Hickenlooper
  • Michael Bennet
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Eric Swalwell
  • The order within each group is the order that 538 lists their poll averages, which probably overstates O’Rourke’s standing and understates Warren and Buttigieg’s standing in The Church Of What’s Happening Now, but is otherwise fairly accurate. Despite DNC attempts to balance out the two debates, it’s obvious that the second debate is The Group of Death, with four of the five most popular candidates, while Elizabeth Warren is exiled to the kiddie table debate. Moreover, they shoved the two most interesting weirdos (Williamson and Yang) into the Group of Death, along with both candidates from California and both candidates from Colorado. (The kiddie table got stuck with both candidates from Texas.)

    Left out: Steve Bullock, Seth Moulton, Mike Gravel, and Wayne Messam. Bullock and Moulton got late starts, and Gravel is a protest candidate. Messam missing the debate stage in his home state is a sign he should pull out, though he won’t.

    As frontrunner, Biden has the most to lose, and Biden and Sanders probably don’t benefit from having an early go at each other. Warren may benefit from being the oldest kid at the kiddie table (literally, in this case; she’s all of two years younger than Hillary Clinton, which means she’ll be two years older in 2020 than Hillary was in 2016), but that assumes that people tune in and she dominates the debate, neither of which is a sure thing. Everyone but Biden and Sanders is probably going to get time-screwed by the attention on the two front-runners, but maybe one of the long-shots (Yang?) can draw attention to themselves by wounding one of them. Theoretically Gabbard or Delaney has the same opportunity to blood Warren in the kiddie table debate.

    I am hard-pressed to think of many instances an inter-party Presidential debate really changed the trajectory of the race in a meaningful way. Reagan’s “I am paying for this microphone!” moment comes to mind, but he was already the frontrunner. Rick Perry’s brain freeze because he was hopped up on goofballs might have finished his campaign, but it’s hard to think of any real Democratic contender whose debate performance changed the outcome of the race.

    Normally a bad debate performance, or failing to make the debates entirely, would push most of the no-hope candidates out of the race, but this year feels different. With Gravel running his campaign entirely from Twitter and YouTube, what’s to keep other cash-poor campaigns from doing the same if they continue to get even a modicum of attention?

    What incentives do any of the clown car candidates have to drop out before Iowa? Any of them might suddenly get hot. Or at least they can keep telling themselves that…

    LinkSwarm for June 14, 2019

    Friday, June 14th, 2019

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Border control, Social Justice Warriors, Iran and Geto Boys all feature in today’s roundup…

  • The idea that we can go back to a “Pre-Trump Normal” is an illusion.

    Washington sophisticates, and the DC press corps in particular, are deeply parochial. Trump didn’t create worldwide skepticism about globalism, resentment of sinecured elites, or frustration with an out-of-touch cultural vanguard. He merely rode them to power.

    Politicians and pundits can disagree with this populist trend, but it’s electorally suicidal to ignore it. As I note in USA Today, one look around the globe shows that, in many ways, Trump is the new normal.

  • Iran evidently limpet-mined two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
  • One reason Iran is desperate: The Trump Administration’s sanctions are working:

    These actions on the part of Iran follow a series of sanctions from the US Treasury Department, which on Wednesday (June 12) imposed sanctions on a financial conduit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, and last week (June 7) sanctioned Iran’s largest petrochemical holding group.

    US officials are also considering sanctions against the Iranian financial body that was established as a trade channel with Europe – a move that would underscore US intolerance to any international workarounds to the Iran sanctions campaign.

    You don’t need to read the tea leaves closely to know the administration’s plan for its “maximum pressure” campaign. But one thing the tea leaves don’t show are plans for war. And the reason is simple: the sanctions are working to help achieve President Donald Trump’s priority goal, which is to undermine Iran’s influence and support for terrorism in the Middle East.

    The Treasury’s latest steps follow a State Department press briefing, during which its spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, listed the negative effects Iran sanctions were having on that country’s terrorist proxies and on its other actions in the region. She pointed to the Lebanese group Hezbollah’s “pleas for public donations via billboards, posters and collection cans” and stressed that “Iran is withdrawing Hezbollah fighters from Syria and cutting or canceling their salaries.” This is a big deal.

    She also pointed to Hamas’s austerity plan in Gaza and to the IRGC’s budget cuts for Iraq Shia militia groups. She highlighted fuel shortages in Syria due to the cut in Iranian oil supply and noted the IRGC cyber command “is short on cash.”

    Others have also picked up on this emerging trend: that Iran sanctions are starving Iran’s proxies of critical funds. The Washington Post reported that US sanctions against Iran have “curtailed” Iran’s finances to Hezbollah, which “has seen a sharp fall in its revenue and is being forced to make draconian cuts to its spending.” A fighter with an Iranian-backed militia in Syria told The New York Times that he lost a third of his salary and other benefits, lamenting, “Iran doesn’t have enough money to give us.”

    When he withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or what is often called the Iran nuclear deal, last year, President Trump made his top goal clear. Before even addressing Iran’s nuclear capabilities or speaking about working toward a new agreement, he emphasised Iran’s support for terrorism and plans for regional influence as among his key concerns and reasons for withdrawing from the deal. Working to undermine that behavior has been the administration’s top priority in its Iran policy.

    Sanctions are particularly taking a bite out of Hezbollah. One wonders, yet again, what the Obama Administration thought it was achieving with the insane and costly Iran deal…

  • Venezuelans reduced to barter.
  • This essay suggests that defeating Social Justice Warrior madness will be more difficult than we think, because it’s essentially a religious phenomena:

    The shock presidential election of 2016 might have prompted partisans on both sides to ask whether the vocabulary on which they relied had become a lifeless hindrance. On the Left, the Clinton political machine suffocated every dissenting voice within the Democratic Party, which denied its members the opportunity to rethink the identity politics death-grip that was strangling them. Then as now, Sanders, more smitten by Marx than the halfway-Nietzscheanism of identity politics, invited his fellow Democrats to step back from the brink. Alas, itself guilty of class privilege, the donor class of the Democratic Party living in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and in the wealthy enclaves surrounding New York City needed a fig leaf to cover its class sins—and, so did not, and will not, allow Sanders to win the Democratic nomination and thereby reveal their unrighteousness.

    The Democratic Party will again double down on the rhetoric of identity politics, lose the 2020 presidential election, and conclude—as it did with Russiagate—that some demonic force temporarily bent the arc of history in the wrong direction. The demonic force responsible this next time around? “Hate speech” from the lips of those in the center and on the Right who refuse to rehearse the Red Letter political liturgy identity politics tirelessly repeats—or bow before the false gods that identity politics worships.

    Partisans on the Right were given a gift: President Trump. He came into the Republican Party, and the Republican Party understood him not. Many did not want to receive this gift. Having read their Aristotle and Burke, and wishing to remain gentlemen, they withdrew from the political fray—preferring the decorous tyranny of candidate Clinton, the very paragon of identity politics, to the incivility of candidate Trump who, alone among Republican candidates, had the temerity to combat it. “Our tastes, not our ideas, define us”—that is what the 2016 election apparently taught the GOP.

    Now forming a Conservative Book Club of sorts, these gentlemen ponder great ideas, entice donors to fund their conferences and think tanks, and all the while enjoin us to believe the vocabulary of the pre-2016 Republican Party continues to be adequate to the troubles we face. It is not.

    Today, whether at conservative conferences or in conservative think tanks, the listener even moderately attentive to the conversation will hear of the perils of progressivism and of cultural Marxism, of the need to defend family values, of the importance of being pro-life, of the importance of free markets, and of the threat of multiculturalism. These terms—indeed the constellation these terms form—emerged during the Reagan Presidency, more than three decades ago. If the 2016 Presidential election tells us anything, it is that this verbiage has hardened into nearly lifeless political rhetoric, sustained on life support through institutional buy-in and the assurances of political philosophers sympathetic to conservatism who tirelessly promote the link between the veritable ideas they study and the political vocabulary that has been in place for decades is timeless.

    Times have changed, however. Philosophy must gently persuade; that is its privilege and its weakness. Philosophers are concerned with eternal truth. Partisans, by contrast, are concerned with timely rhetoric, opinion, and persuasion. They must engage in comparatively immediate combat. So long as conservatives inattentively conflate philosophizing and partisanship, they will continue to produce partisan vocabularies that masquerade as eternal truth—and partisans unable to respond in a timely manner to shifting times. To win, partisans must know when the weapons of their enemies have changed. Wars—and this is a crucial point to understand—are not won using weapons from earlier engagements. Only armchair soldiers and Conservative Book Club members have the luxury of replaying those battles.

    Neither liberals nor conservatives understand the weapon of identity politics, and the immense destruction it can cause. Identity politics does not simply parse different kinds of people. Identity politics is concerned with the relationship of transgression and innocence between different, purportedly monovalent, kinds of people. Identity politics is not just about who we are, it is about a moral stain or purity that defines who we are.

    The language of stain and purity, of transgression and innocence, is Christian language. Other religions are concerned with these categories as well, but our long familiarity with Christianity in America means that the invocation of these categories by the practitioners of identity politics derives from Christianity, and from Protestantism in particular. Surveys may indicate that America has lost or is losing its religion; the fever of identity politics that now sweeps the nation suggests these surveys are looking in the wrong place and asking the wrong questions. America has not lost its religion. America has relocated its religion to the realm of politics.

    Identity politics transforms politics. It turns politics into a religious venue of sacrificial offering. Ponder for a moment, Christianity. Without the sacrifice of the innocent Lamb of God, there would be no Christianity. Christ, the scapegoat, renders the impure pure—by taking upon Himself “the sins of the world.” By the purging of the scapegoat, those for whom He is the sacrificial offering purify themselves. Identity politics is a political version of this cleansing for groups rather than for individuals. The scapegoat in the case of identity politics is the white heterosexual male who, if purged, supposedly will restore and confirm the cleanliness of all other groups of communities. He is the transgressor; all others—women, blacks, Hispanics, LGBTQs—have their sins covered over by the scapegoat, just as the scapegoated Christ covered over the sins of all the descendants of Adam.

    The theological perversity of replacing the Divine Scapegoat of Christianity with the all-too-mortal white heterosexual male scapegoat does not imply that he is innocent. Rather, in identity politics, the white heterosexual male becomes more than who he really is—a member of a scapegoated group who takes away the sins of the world, rather than a mortal, like everyone else, involved in transgression, and searching for redemption. The mystery of transgression and innocence, however, cannot be resolved at the level of groups, because in reality not one of them is univocally pure or stained. But identity politics stands or falls on the claim that groups are such unities of transgressors or innocents. Therein lies its weakness, at which all the armament allied against it must be aimed.

  • Charles Murray changes his mind. “I want to shut down low-skill immigration for a while.”
  • “Open borders advocates are panicking after the arrest of Irieno Mujihca, the leader of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a pro-open borders group funded by globalist financier George Soros that has worked to undermine United States immigration policy and sponsor Central American caravans.”
  • Hispanics stick with Trump despite tough border stance.” Despite, or because? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Tech reporter Peter Bright has been arrested for soliciting sex with children online. He was employed by Ars Technica until recently. A federal complaint alleges that Bright sought to molest a 7- and 9-year-old and met with an undercover agent for this purpose, at which point he was arrested. It also states that Bright claimed to be in a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old.” Was he a “male feminist” and “anti-#GamerGater”? Of course he was.
  • Twitter suspends Project Veritas for revealing Pintrest block pro-life website Live Action as porn.
  • University of Alabama returns donor’s $21.5 million and takes name off law building, partially over Alabama’s abortion law, but partially just because he was kind of a dick.
  • “Agriculture Dept. Employees Are Really Upset They Might Have to Live Among the Rubes in Flyover Country.”
  • “The folks running The Bulwark must decide which they value more, being conservative or being anti-Trump. They have, I’d argue, already picked the latter.”
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez team up again on a bill to make birth control available over the counter.
  • “Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Everyone’s Pay Should Be Equal, But My Pay Should Be More Equal Than Others.‘”
  • New York Times leftist: “Hey Rep. Dan Crenshaw! If you really cared about 9/11 victims, you would have co-sponsored the 9/11 Victims Compensation fund!” Rep. Dan Crenshaw: “I did.” New York Times leftist: “Uhhhhh….” DELETE DELETE DELETE. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina indicted on 12 felony counts of voter fraud.
  • “President Donald Trump will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia later this month, the White House announced Monday, making him the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the nation’s highest military decoration.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • We could be heroes, just for one day… (Hat tip: @evangie.)
  • Woman kills boyfriend over alien reptile cult. “Shriner told she believed Rogers was a ‘Vampire Witch Reptilian Super Soldier.'” Plus: liquor and firearms! Going to use the “David Icke” tag even though he’s nowhere mentioned, as that’s how I keep track of all the reptoid news…
  • Bad Idea Theater: Netflix Roast of Anne Frank. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Must be The Onion or The Babylon Bee.” No, this is an actual thing that people actually did. (Indeed, Jewish comics seemed to be the driving force behind it.) I suspect it’s only the second unfunniest spoof on the Holocaust, behind Heil Honey, I’m Home, which was also a real thing.
  • I’ve managed not to have any news about Houston rap group Geto Boys in a LinkSwarm ever, and now two pieces drop this week. First, dwarf frontman Bushwack Bill (legal name Richard Shaw) has died at age 52 from pancreatic cancer. Now Scarface, AKA Brad Jordan, is running for Houston City Council. (Hat tip for both: Dwight.)
  • High School Valedictorian’s speech slams teachers and administrators for their utter incompetence and failure. Oh, did I mention it was in California?
  • How to assemble a P-47 on the ground with hand tools.
  • ThinkGeek, RIP.
  • “House Democrats Draft Legislation That Would Make It A Hate Crime To Eat At Chick-Fil-A.”
  • “Did Leonard Nimoy Fake His Own Death So He Could Seize Control of the Illuminati?” I’m gonna go with “No” here…
  • “England Forced To Crown Donald Trump As King After Strange Woman Lying In Pond Lobs A Sword At Him.”
  • A funny, heartwarming story that doesn’t start out that way at all.
  • I was sad because I had no shoes, but then I met a puppy who had no feet:

  • The Illegal Alien Crisis in Uvalde

    Thursday, June 13th, 2019

    A dispatch from Uvalde, Texas on what lack of adequate border controls means for this Texas town:

    Uvalde, Texas, is a small town of 17,000 inhabitants, and they are now overrun by illegal immigrants and an international cartel smuggling operation. Uvalde is 40-60 miles from the border, but it might as well be right at the border. “We are in no man’s land. The state is not doing anything; the federal government is not doing anything,” said the mayor, who is begging the politicians to get involved. “We are getting nothing. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen anything like this. The people in the communities are getting scared. What is coming that we don’t see? Who knows? People up north and in D.C. have no clue what is going on here. They don’t realize that these people are not being screened for diseases. We’re fed up.”

    Situated at the crossroads of major highways coming up from border towns in the Laredo and Del Rio border sectors, Uvalde has now become a dumping ground for migrants coming north. And they are not just coming from Central America. Del Rio has received hundreds of African migrants in recent weeks. Uvalde has a Border Patrol holding facility, and according to McLaughlin, whenever it is full, if the city doesn’t take charge, many immigrants are released in a Walmart parking lot. Mayor McLaughlin said his city must pick up the tab to have them bused to San Antonio. On Friday, local media reported how San Antonio has now received hundreds of African migrants.

    “In Uvalde, Border Patrol told us if we didn’t have buses ready right at the holding facility, they would have released them in a parking lot at a Walmart or a Stripes. This is what’s happening in outlying areas, but thanks to our working relationship with Border Patrol, we make sure to have buses ready. We just don’t have the facilities for them. We have to pay for these buses out of our pockets, and our citizens are mad.”

    But it’s the people they don’t see who concern residents of Uvalde the most. “In addition to those being released in parking lots to get bused into San Antonio, what we are really concerned about is the increased foot traffic to our community. We have checkpoints on highway 90 and 83. The migrants are walking around the checkpoints. Now we are starting to see more calls to police of people walking through the neighborhoods, [of] finding car doors open [and] storerooms open. The Border Patrol is seeing this on their cameras, but they just don’t have the agents to respond. The foot traffic around the checkpoints has increased by 100 percent.”

    Uvalde is about an hour from the border, and thus beyond the range of the “border surge” Governor Abbott pushed for. (Did you know that Democrats killed border surge funding in the last legislative session?)

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for June 10, 2019

    Monday, June 10th, 2019

    Biden flip-flops, the race tightens in Iowa, Bennet and Gillibrand qualify for the debates, de Blasio and Messam earn Iowa goose eggs, and Swalwell continues his All Cringe All The Time Campaign. It’s your Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update!


  • Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll: Biden 24, Sanders 16, Warren 15, Buttigieg 14, Harris 7, Klobuchar 2, O’Rourke 2. Biden has come back to the pack some, and that’s the best showing for Warren and Buttigieg I’ve seen in any poll. Also: “Two candidates — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam — were not listed by a single poll respondent as either first or second choice for president.”
  • The Economist/YouGov (page 95): Biden 27, Sanders 16, Warren 11, Buttigieg 9, Harris 8, Booker 2, De Blasio 2, O’Rourke 2, Bullock 1, Delaney 1, Gabbard 1, Hickenlooper 1, Klobuchar 1, Yang 1. 2% for De Blasio is 2% more than I (or just about anybody else) ever thought he would get. Nobody knows nothin’.
  • Reuters/IPSOS: Biden 31, Sanders 14, Warren 9, Harris 6, Buttigieg 5, O’Rourke 3.
  • Real Clear Politics
  • 538 polls
  • Election betting markets. They now have Buttigieg up over Sanders.
  • Pundits, etc.

  • “60% Of Voters Find Democratic Field Of Presidential Candidates ‘Underwhelming.'”
  • All the plans floated by various Democratic candidates will cost taxpayers trillions:

    The Democratic presidential contenders are ready to break the bank with expensive policy proposals that would add trillions of dollars to the deficit if enacted.

    The 2020 hopefuls are angling to one-up each other with big policy ideas that would overhaul the U.S. health care system, address climate change and provide free college tuition or erase student debt.

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Global Climate Mobilization” plan, hailed by environmental activists as the gold standard, would cost the U.S. government $3 trillion over the next decade.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (Mass.) proposal to eliminate tuition at public colleges and erase existing student debt carries a $1.25 trillion price tag.

    And Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” bill, co-sponsored by four other 2020 Democrats, would require $32 trillion in government spending, according to one study.

  • Most of the contenders (not including Biden or Sanders) appeared on the same stage in Iowa, with Warren and Booker marshelling the most supporters at the event.
  • The no-hopers are already whining about the third debate threshold.
  • Jim Geraghty says they should stop whining:

    Some Democratic presidential campaigns are like the protagonist in an M. Night Shyamalan movie: They’re dead already, they just don’t know it. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say they were never really alive.

    The first Democratic presidential primary debates will be held in two weeks. The threshold for participation is exceptionally low, particularly for any candidate who announced near the beginning of the year: Either reach just 1 percent in three surveys approved by the Democratic National Committee or have 65,000 or more donors that include 200 people from at least 20 states. If you think reaching that threshold is difficult, keep in mind, this limit has already been reached by Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, and Irving Schmidlap.

    (Okay, I threw Irving Schmidlap in there just to see if you were paying attention.)

    The latest polls show Schmidlap already running well ahead of Messam and Swalwell.

    If people wonder why complaints about fairness are so frequently ignored, it’s because of circumstances like this one. The DNC is being really generous, their thresholds are low, and if you can’t reach one percent — one percent! In either national or early primary state polls! — then no, you really don’t belong up there on that debate stage. You’re not supposed to run for president because you want a national reputation; you’re supposed to have a national reputation before you run for president. Presidential campaigns are not supposed to be publicity stunts or longer book tours. If you want to be the next commander in chief, I don’t want to year you whining about how hard all of this is. The job that you claim to be qualified for is going to have much tougher challenges than reaching one percent in a survey or attracting 130,000 donors.

    Cindy Adams snidely dismisses most of the field:

    A pen of donkeys will paw summer’s debate stage. Entrepreneur Yang figures his young grassroots fund-raising translates to a win. Lotsa luck. In BC, gladiators in Roman amphitheaters fought live animals. In 2020, Tiger Trump will swallow this creature like he’s granola.

    NYC’s savvy dude mayor, a “much-derided presidential candidate,” grabs attention — but, bleat the pros, “he’s running because he’s got no more day job.” Even Kevin Costner would nix playing him in a movie.

    Our only local woman to maybe break the gents barrier is Laurie Metcalf, who plays Hillary on B’way. Cutlery is out for struggling Kirsten Gillibrand, who once said she’s not around the state enough because she can’t be everywhere since she has children to raise. Now she’s around the country. So, pros ask, what’s with those kids?

    Former frontrunner Bernie Sanders’ base gets youngisher and whitisher. He’s sinking into the lavatory.

    Grampa Joe Boredom? Recalling his multiple heresies and zero accomplishments, the antis plan to make Bidenburgers out of him.

    Don’t book on Booker. Wall Street and Silicon Valley keep Cory funded but, despite showing African-Americans he’s their Medicine Man, he’s trailing.

    Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. Late start and zero name ID. While Montana made statehood 1889, the only other VIP from there was Gary Cooper. Also Dana Carvey.

    A chorus line of other whocares from whoknowswhere are also scratching around for whoknowswhy. They figure this eventually grabs them a book deal, speaking gig, bigtime p.r. or a free trip to Times Square.

    Supposedly 13 will be propped up for June 26’s debate: Biden, Bernie, Buttigieg, Beto, Booker, Kamala, Klobuchar, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard (who??), Jay Inslee, Marianne Williamson, Warren — and Yang — plus a partridge in a pear tree — with de Blasio and Gillibrand, still iffy.

    Beto O’Rourke. Do not bet-o on him. Waning in the polls. Anyway, who cares.

    Elizabeth Warren wows wonks with policy proposals and, for some reason, has a strong left-leaning organization in Iowa. But there’s also her “likability” — of which much there isn’t.

    Kamala Harris. Trailing. Main asset is strategic. If she does well in South Carolina, she might twinkle in home state California’s early primary.

    Buttigieg. Age 37. I mean, please. My pedicurist has a better shot. His college-educated white voters met the minimal polling threshold, but his résumé in public office is smaller than mine.

    Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. I mean, please. Paris Hilton has a better shot.

    If Hilton jumped in tomorrow, she’d be in the top eight easy…

  • 538 on what the candidates are saying and doing.
  • Now on to the clown car itself:

  • Losing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Maybe? “The Stacey Abrams Myth Becomes the Democratic Catechism.”

    The claims of voter suppression rest primarily on the fact that as Georgia secretary of state, Kemp enforced a statute passed by a Democratic-majority legislature and signed by a Democratic governor in 1997. It required the voting rolls to be periodically purged to remove names of voters who were dead, or who had moved away or were incarcerated. Under this law, 600,000 names of people who hadn’t voted in the last three elections were removed from the rolls in 2017 by Kemp’s office.

    Those who were removed got prior notification in the mail about the impending purge, and they were given a menu of options to retain their registration. Moreover, it took four years to complete the process by which a name was removed. The reason so many names were taken off in 2017 was that a lawsuit by the Georgia NAACP had delayed the routine enforcement of the law for years before the organization eventually lost in the U.S. Supreme Court.

    If you assume that most of the 600,000 were Democrats who were denied the right to vote — rather than voters who were deceased or who had moved or been jailed — that gives credibility to Abrams’s story. But there aren’t many people stepping forward since November 2018 to say they were wrongfully removed from the rolls, let alone the tens or hundreds of thousands necessary to substantiate Abrams’s claim that the election was stolen.

    The other argument that purportedly backs up the stolen-election claim is that lengthy lines caused by the closing of 212 precincts in the state since 2012 deterred Georgia voters from turning out. But Kemp had nothing to do with that, since all decisions on consolidating voting stations were made by county officials. Which means if there were fewer precincts and longer lines in Democratic-majority counties in Georgia, it was almost certainly due to the decisions made by local Democrats, not Kemp or a national GOP conspiracy.

    When examined soberly, Abrams’s claims evaporate. Kemp’s win was no landslide, but his 1.4 percent margin of victory didn’t even give her the right to demand a legal recount. Demographic changes may mean that Georgia is trending away from the red-state status it has had in the last decade, but Stacey Abrams lost because Republicans still can turn out majorities there even in years when the odds favor Democrats.

    But by continuing to swear to the lie that the election was stolen, Biden, Buttigieg, and every other Democrat who repeats that claim while paying court to Abrams and hoping to win African-American votes are poisoning the well of American democracy.

  • Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: In. Twitter. Facebook. He met the polling criteria for the first debate. “Bennet appears to be the 21st Democratic candidate to qualify for the first debates under one of the criteria, according to an estimated count from The Hill. So far only 13 appear to have met both criteria.” Five takeaways from his CNN town hall. Sanders goes too far on Medicare for all, Bennet backs the Georgia abortion boycott, opposes impeachment, criticizes Trump’s Mexico tariffs, and makes vague noises about building a “bigger coalition.” Among who? Gun owners? Pro-life advocates? Coal miners? People who want to stop illegal aliens from crossing the border? I’m sure they’ll all be just itching to pull that (D) lever. “Bennet hires Iowa state director, a former Indiana congressional campaign manager,” one Brian Peters.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In. Twitter. Facebook. Biden started the week bucking the most sacred of Democratic Party orthodoxy by backing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits, however imperfectly, federal funds being used for abortion. Naturally, Biden was forced to repent of his heresy days later due to pushback from other Democrats, including his own staff. National Review points out that Biden was never really pro-life:

    The last month has featured the former vice president switching his stance on Hyde no fewer than three times — he tried to explain away one of his U-turns by claiming he’d “misheard” the reporter’s question — before finally settling on opposition to it. He explained his final decision in a tweet that could just as easily have been written by an activist from NARAL.

    Biden’s rejection of his decades of support for Hyde betrays the reality: He was never actually pro-life. Though he has long had a reputation as “personally opposed” to abortion on religious grounds, his political actions have merited no such label. (Nor has he ever offered a sufficient explanation for why a man who believes, for whatever reason, that abortion kills innocent human beings ought to refrain from legislating that belief.)

    Joe Biden, plagiarist, take, what? Six? Seven? Ten? Back when Biden lied about marching for Civil Rights. After all these stumbled, other candidates are finally starting to attack him directly. “Joe Biden is a candidate of the oligarchy. Democratic primary voters will see through him.” More: “He is a consummate, long-time Washington insider, who has demonstrated in his long career that he often dances with the ones who brought him: wealthy donors and special interests.”

  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: In. Twitter. Facebook. He unveiled a stupid and unworkable housing subsidy idea. Cory Booker 2012: “Listen to me, the people dying in Chicago, the people dying in Newark are not being done with law-abiding gun owners. We do not need to go after the guns. A law-abiding, mentally stable American, that’s not America’s problem.” Now? Not so much.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock: In. Twitter. Facebook. Mr. Zero Percent protests too much. “The presidential campaign of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is fundraising off claims that Republican forces fear his candidacy — even though the attacks are to damage him in a Senate run if, as expected, he drops out of the White House race.” Also: “Jon Tester endorses fellow Montana Democrat Steve Bullock for president.” Because that was his problem, not enough endorsements from Montana.
  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana and presidential hopeful, and his husband have over $130,000 in student loan debt, according to financial disclosures reviewed by the AP on Sunday. A campaign spokesperson would not tell AP whether the loans belong to Buttigieg, his husband, or both.” Hey, that means I get to recycle this from last week:

    (More on his net worth.) He’s also appearing at Indiana University next week.

  • Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro: In. Twitter. Facebook. He offered a “policing reform” proposal, because he evidently doesn’t understand what the word “federalism” means. And of course he clothes it in the usual “hands up/don’t shoot” lies and it’s filled with social justice warrior “police racist” talking points.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: In. Twitter. Facebook. He flips reality on its head by insisting that antisemitism is a right-wing problem. “And so, to cope with the cognitive dissonance involved in Jews getting beaten up in deep blue New York, naturally he comforts himself with the belief that this is a right-wing problem. Somehow.” And that piece embeds this tweet:

    “The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council announced Wednesday that it is endorsing de Blasio and will send members to campaign for him in early voting states including New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.” Bread, know thy butter…

  • Maryland Representative John Delaney: In. Twitter. Facebook. He reiterated his opposition to “Medicare for All” (indeed, he called it political suicide for Democrats), and said that Bernie Sanders “has no business being the nominee of the Democratic Party.” For telling these truths he got attacked by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez:

    Then he challenged her to a debate. Good job! If you can reach those Democrats that don’t want Occasional Cortex to be the face of their party, you might start registering in polls…

  • Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gabbard said that immigrants fighting for the U.S. military are rejected for citizenship at a higher rate than civilians, and, weirdly, that actually appears to be true. But the law was changed in 2016. People evidently lined up for blocks to see her in New York City:

    I thought “how can we tell that’s not an Apple store opening?” but I slowed down the video and, yes, at least one person is in a Tusli t-shirt.

  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: In. Twitter. Facebook. She secured a spot in the first debate. “Over the weekend, we crossed 65,000 donors to our campaign—guaranteeing our spot at the first debates.” Really? Just now? A sitting senator from America’s fourth-most popular state, and it took her that long to cross the threshold. She unleashed a plan to legalize marijuana, which is possibly the first smart move she’s made in this campaign. (And how come pot-friendly governors Hickenlooper and Inslee aren’t making the devil’s lettuce issues in their campaigns?) “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Boneless Wonder.” Sample: “Kirsten Gillibrand announced on National Public Radio that the Church is wrong about abortion, homosexuality and the male priesthood.” But other than that, she’s totally Catholic…
  • Former Tallahassee Mayor and failed Florida Senate candidate Andrew Gillum: Probably not. He paid $5,000 for Florida ethics violations.
  • Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gravel now has six fulltime staffers, and 538 is now tracking his campaign. (Once again, I’m a trendsetter.) Speaking of 538, they do “How Mike Gravel Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary” for the lulz:

    Many things, most of them unlikely, would have to transpire for former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel to win the Democratic nomination for president.

    A few possibilities: All the other candidates drop out, and no successful write-in campaign is waged. A capricious President Trump orders a catastrophic invasion of another nation, lending massive credibility to Gravel’s perennial anti-war stance (he helped put the Pentagon Papers into the public record). The Democratic primary electorate all of a sudden decides that it would prefer an octogenarian candidate to the current septuagenarian front-runners. (Gravel is 89 years of age; meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is a youthful 77 years old, and Joe Biden is a spring chicken, at 76.)

    He just racked up his biggest endorsement yet: the guy who threw a shoe at Bush43.

  • California Senator Kamala Harris: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Kamala Harris seems to have invented a stock nonanswer for any question… and I think you can tell she doesn’t believe she can get away with it.” She bragged on her record as a prosecutor, which rather suggests she has no notable accomplishments as California Attorney General or U.S. Senator.
  • Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: In. Twitter. Facebook. He unveiled a plan for rural communities, which suggests he’s looking past the primary to the general election, which may not be the optimal strategy for someone currently topping out at 1%.
  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: In. Twitter. Facebook. His campaign is shaking its tiny fist at the DNC’s decision not to hold a climate change debate. The other Inslee news this week could be assembled from a book of Madlibs where the only words entered in every blank are “climate change.” (Example: “Inslee: Build U.S. foreign policy around climate crisis.”)
  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: In. Twitter. Facebook. She was on Face the Nation. Scanning. Vikings. I can win in red states. And then a lot of DNC-approved abortion pandering.
  • Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam: In. Twitter. Facebook. That “zero people picked him or de Blasio” poll news is in fact the only Messam news I could locate this week. There’s an absence of evidence on his campaign, but there is evidence of absence…
  • Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton: In. Twitter. Facebook. He’s not making the first debate. “Massachusetts congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Seth Moulton expressed opposition for the Hyde Amendment by comparing federally-funded abortions to funding the U.S. troops.” There’s not a facepalm big enough…
  • Former Texas Representative and failed Senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke: In. Twitter. Facebook. He’s all in on Iowa. “O’Rourke is also running a much more traditional Iowa campaign with a strong presence on the ground, probably only eclipsed by Elizabeth Warren’s efforts.” Heh: “Let’s hear it for the blank slate!” Unclear on the concept:

    He also released voting rights proposals that are mostly bad or ineffectual ideas, but does include term limits for senators and representatives.

  • Ohio Representative Tim Ryan: In. Twitter. Facebook. He wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment and impeach President Trump. Remember when Ryan ran to Nancy Pelosi’s right as a moderate alternative for speaker? It’s strange how all those “moderate” positions magically disappear when running nationally…
  • Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders: In. Twitter. Facebook. He gets a long profile in Time, of the “Does Bernie need to change” sort, with a heaping side-order of campaign trail color reporting.

    Sanders has changed the debate in great measure because he has never really changed himself. His consistency is the selling point—his mantras against billionaires stealing the American Dream, the system being rigged, working people needing to form a movement to take power back. And yet he is now running against nearly two dozen competitors, many of whom have chipped away at his distinctiveness by emulating his stances, and just being Bernie may not get the job done. Sanders is solidly in second place behind Biden in national and state polls. And while the movement he built in 2016 has proven durable, there are few signs that it’s growing. Between March and May, according to a national survey by Monmouth University, Sanders’ support dropped from 25% of likely Democratic votes to 15%, as several rivals increased their share.

    There is a feeling in Sanders’ orbit that he will, in certain ways, have to evolve if he wants to do more than change the conversation. Tell his story more. Navigate the shoals of racial and gender politics with greater awareness of contemporary expectations and his own blind spots. Overcome his self-image of being a solitary outsider—alone, unheard, disrespected—­and cultivate allies. “It’s one thing to talk to your 20% to 25% who are your core believers, but we’ve got to work on persuading people into the fold,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, told me. “And that’s why it takes, I believe, a continual evolution of the message, freshening up the message and also sharing more about him.”

    See, Bernie just isn’t touchy-feely enough for today’s modern Democratic Party pieties:

    After a few of these town halls, Sanders’ own stoicism makes more sense. He begins to seem almost a secular priest: People come to him with stories of despair, and he lifts their pain up into the air, to a place where it is no longer personal but something civic. He gives them the language and information to know it isn’t their fault. His speeches are like that hug in Good Will Hunting. It’s not your fault; it’s not your fault. The system did this. Big corporations did this. A bought-and-paid-for government did this. He connects their pain to the pain of others, and in the process that pain is remade, almost transubstantiated, into a sweeping case against a corrupt system. The priest, in this metaphor, doesn’t reveal himself because his job is to float above his own feelings, own needs, own desire to be liked. His job is to make space for, make sense of and make use of your pain.

    This covenant with his supporters is his great achievement. No rival for the Democratic nomination has anything quite like it. Even Steve Bannon, the right-wing populist who ran Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, admires it. Sanders’ agenda is “a hodgepodge of these half-baked socialist ideas that we’ve seen haven’t worked,” Bannon told me in his office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, sitting in front of a painting on which the words Follow your dreams were written above a monkey sitting on a Coca-Cola box. But, he said, “Bernie has done a tremendous job of galvanizing a segment that hasn’t gone away. I mean, he has a real movement.”

    Building a following fueled by pain and personal hardship is an especially big accomplishment for a candidate who is himself so emotionally inaccessible, reluctant to share more than the barest glimpses of his own history and inner life. “Not me. Us.” is his 2020 campaign slogan, and he means it. “Almost to a tee, what defines a politician is they love to tell their story,” Shakir told me. “He has absolutely zero inclination to do that. He abhors it.”

    Sanders seems to believe the public doesn’t have a right to know him more intimately—­even though there is abundant evidence that the essential character traits of our Presidents eventually shape all our lives: Bill Clinton’s appetites; George W. Bush’s certitude; Barack Obama’s instinct to hire bankers; Donald Trump’s narcissism. In our first interview, on a bench in the Des Moines airport, I asked Sanders a simple question: How did he first experience the idea that people blame themselves for systemic problems? “Well, before we get to me,” he said, “what the political revolution is about is the millions of people beginning to stand up …”

    Many of Sanders’ advisers are eager for the Senator to get more personal.

    And, of course, there’s the Old White Man issue for a party so blatantly racist aware of race as the Democratic Party circa 2019:

    With Trump in the White House, Democrats cannot ignore Macomb. But there are other votes that need to be courted. Minorities and women, and black women especially, are the lifeblood of the modern Democratic Party—and for them, Sanders’ way of diluting the truth about Trump voters can be troubling.

    The dilemma came to a head an hour later. We got off the bus at Detroit’s Sweet Potato Sensations, a bakery famous for its sweet-potato pies ($14 for a 9-in.). The audience was almost entirely African-American women. Sanders stood among them and took questions. A woman named Janis Hazel rose. She said she used to work for Representative John Conyers, a long-serving former House member from Michigan. Conyers (with Hazel’s assistance) had long ago proposed a bill mandating a commission to study how reparations for descendants of slavery might be undertaken in the U.S. Hazel asked Sanders whether he backed the idea, which Conyers had reintroduced each session until he resigned in 2017 over allegations of sexual harassment.

    Before she could finish, Sanders cut her off, undermining the proposal by reminding people that it is merely for a “study.” She tried to complete the question, and again Sanders jumped in. “Well, I’ve said that if the Congress passes the bill, I will sign it. It is a study.” He pivoted. “You know Jim Clyburn from South Carolina? Clyburn has a bill which I like. He calls it ‘10-20-30.’” The plan calls for 10% of all funds from certain federal programs to go to distressed communities to rebuild those communities.

    Afterward, Hazel told me she felt Sanders avoided her question. As it is, he had only recently come around to his tepid support for studying reparations. And his irritation at being pinned down on the issue was revealing. The dismissal of a mere “study” suggested an unfamiliarity with what advocates for reparations seek: a program so sweeping it would be impossible to administer without years of forethought.

    The interaction also called into question Sanders’ ability to navigate the complex social terrain that is the Democratic electorate in 2019. A room full of black women who didn’t seem bought into the Sanders agenda were trying to figure out, as all voters are, if he got them. There were a thousand ways in that moment to say, “Yes, I back reparations” or even, “No, I don’t, and here’s why,” and still convey your grasp of what lay beneath the question—­the desire to be seen and reassured that your community wouldn’t be forgotten. But Sanders didn’t do that.

    The Democrat who emerges to take on Trump in 2020 will have to compete for those Reagan Democrats and those black women, two tribes living in different worlds, a short distance apart on I-94. An issue like reparations is a perfect example of how difficult this can be; pleasing Detroit may hurt you a few exits to the north.

    In presidential elections past, the tension between what Macomb wanted and what Detroit wanted tended to be resolved in Macomb’s favor. But 2020 seems unlikely to repeat that history. It is being called the “woke primary” by people on the Republican side, because of the early pressure on candidates to take positions on questions of race and gender and identity—questions that matter to people other than white working-class men. The high maternal mortality rate for black women. Transgender rights. The question of when physical contact between men and women ­escalates from friendly to predatory. The problem of combating hate crimes.

    The woke primary is a challenge for Sanders. In part because he is an old-style leftist whose overriding lens is class, not identity. In part because woke culture often craves the kind of gesture­making to which he’s allergic. And in part because Sanders seems to struggle with the expectation that a 77-year-old white guy needs to learn, evolve and prove that he “gets it,” even if he was at Dr. King’s march.

    It seems a little early for this: “Is Bernie Sanders Finished? Democrats like him. They just show no signs of wanting to vote for him this time around.”

    That said: I think it’s starting to sink in that Senator Bernie Sanders is right at the fringes of plausibility. At best.That’s what I’m seeing from the mainstream media, some liberal bloggers and sophisticated polling analysis. Recent Iowa polls show Sanders at about 15%, essentially in a three-person race for second place with Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. That’s for a candidate who won half the vote there in 2016.And while Sanders is faring somewhat better nationally, that’s mainly because almost all the other candidates remain unknown to voters. As Nate Silver points out, only about 8% of Democrats say they’re definitely supporting Sanders. In other words, it’s entirely plausible that Sanders could fail to reach the delegate threshold in Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina (and possibly New Hampshire).

    I’m no Sanders fan, but all that is based on a bad poll or two and nothing else, which is pretty much meaningless at this point. He’s being more aggressive in South Carolina than he was in 2016. He also scolded Walmart.

  • California Representative Eric Swalwell: In. Twitter. Facebook. His “applause line” fell absolutely flat at that big Iowa event. Wonder Cringe Powers Activate!

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: In. Twitter. Facebook. Her slow but steady rise continues, and she appears to be eating into Sanders’ base. “Senator Warren’s ‘economic patriotism’ consists of calling the bosses at the Fortune 500 a**holes and then writing them a check for tens of billions of dollars. I suspect the gentlemen in pinstripes will find a way to endure the insult.” With all her plans, does Warren have a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell? “If I’m still the majority leader of the Senate, think of me as the Grim Reaper…None of that stuff is going to pass. None of it.” Also, her campaign unionized.
  • Author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson: In. Twitter. Facebook. Speaking of “all in on Iowa,” she moved to Des Moines. A bold move, but one when Chris Dodd did the same thing in 2007, it netted him 2% of the Iowa vote and zero delegates. Here are some excerpts from a Williamson speech that are half warmed-over “Democrats good, Trump bad” talking points and half something else:

    Too often the Democrats have been the party that stands for the right thing, but still cozies up to the forces that do the wrong thing, thinking that that’s okay because once we get in power we will do the right thing, and then we naively think that that doesn’t smell to people, that the putrid stench of that more complicated corruption will not be wafting into the nostrils of the average voter.

    In other words, too many Democrats are half-truth tellers, ladies and gentlemen, and Donald Trump will eat the half-truth tellers alive.

    She also talks about Trump using persuasion in a way that sounds like a funhouse mirror distortion of Scott Adams’ explanations of Trump’s techniques: “Trump has spoken to a very dark and primal place within the human psyche, a place of fear that becomes like an emotional knot in people’s brains and this knot cannot be unraveled by mere intellectual or rationalistic argument for I assure you the part of the brain that rationally analyzes an issue is not the part of the brain that decides who to vote for.”

    I’ll give her this: She’s different.

  • Venture capitalist Andrew Yang: In. Twitter. Facebook. Random man runs for President:

    In November 2017, Yang registered his presidential bid with the Federal Election Commission. In April 2018, he published a book titled, “The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future.” “We are in the third inning of the greatest technological and economic shift in human history,” Yang often says, arguing that job losses in swing states propelled Donald Trump to the presidency. To survive the invasion of intelligent machines, Yang argues, America needs an economic and social overhaul, which would be spurred by a government-sponsored universal payment of $1,000 a month to every American adult. Or, in the language of nerd: Yang is an underdog hero rising up to fight the robots and save humanity. His weapon: allowance for grown-ups.

    Yang now leads thousand-person rallies on the regular. Fans wave signs that say “MATH” to support the self-proclaimed candidate of numbers and data — the guy who wants to Make America Think Harder. “I’m going to be the first president in history to use PowerPoint in the State of the Union,” Yang announced to a crowd in Seattle in early May. “How do you feel about that?” Cheers. “Yeah, break out the PowerPoint chant! No — don’t do it —”

    Too late. Fists were already pumping in the air, demonstrating the demagogic potential of Microsoft Office Suite.

    “Yes, this is the nerdiest presidential campaign in history,” a triumphant Yang shouted. “We did it!”

    Another improbable thing Yang has done: catapulted himself, an entrepreneur with few claims to fame and no political experience, into the Democratic presidential conversation. After a viral campaign seeking $1 donations, Yang earned a place in the upcoming primary debates by accruing 65,000 individual donors two months ahead of the deadline. (He celebrated with a cartoon GIF of himself doing the robot amid cascading dollar bills.) CNN hosted a Yang town hall event in April. By the end of May, the polling average at RealClearPolitics showed Yang with 1 percent of the vote — which is small, yes, but puts him ahead of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), who has 0.4 percent, and not far behind such established politicians as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), who has 1.8 percent, and former Cabinet secretary Julián Castro, who has 1.2 percent.

    Conservative columnist Matthew Walther has characterized Yang as “Ross Perot for millennials” — “a soft reboot of the Texan businessman’s maverick populist wonkery.” Yang, too, is an improvisational outsider with an out-of-nowhere campaign. But he is also the product of so many colliding forces in contemporary America that comparisons to anyone who came before him are kind of useless. Yang’s ascent from anonymity has been instantaneous in a way that can only exist in the age of social media. (His fans, who call themselves the Yang Gang, sometimes Photoshop him into robot-fighting scenes from science fiction.) His staff credits podcasts for building Yang’s die-hard base almost overnight. Digital media shapes Yang’s worldview and his self-presentation; his website’s prodigious policy section could be recast as a Facebook-friendly listicle, something like “108 Big Ideas That Could Save America Right Now.” (Yes, he really has 108 policy proposals. At least, he did as of press time; the number changes frequently.) His tone blends irony and earnestness in the manner of late-night political comedy. And the source of Yang’s relentless focus — universal basic income — is, at the moment, popular in future-minded circles that take cues from the likes of Pierre Omidyar, Richard Branson and Elon Musk. Yang’s campaign belongs to a mode of popular American discourse that did not exist 20, 10 or even five years ago: He is an emblem of the everyman thinkers of the Internet age.

    Despite meeting both of the debate criteria, somehow MSNBC keeps leaving him off their charts. He doesn’t want to break up big tech.

  • Out of the Running

    These are people who were formerly in the roundup who have announced they’re not running, or for which I’ve seen no recent signs they’re running (and I’ve even gone back and put in names that were mentioned as possibilities for running that I’ve dropped, just for the sake of completeness):

  • Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti
  • Actor Alec Baldwin
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
  • Former one-term President Jimmy Carter
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr.
  • Former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine
  • Former Obama Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
  • Oregon senator Jeff Merkley
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama
  • Former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda
  • New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (constitutionally ineligible)
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
  • Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
  • Like the Clown Car update? Consider hitting the tip jar:

    I should really find some outlet to pay me to do these updates. PJ Media? Townhall? Daily Caller? Washington Examiner? Daily Wire? Breibart? Who pays the most?

    Oberlin College Slammed With $11 Million Verdict in Gibson’s Bakery Case

    Saturday, June 8th, 2019

    The jury found in Gibson’s Bakery’s favor in their libel and tortious interference case, and punitive damages could bring that up to $33 million. According to Legal Insurrection (which has done strong work following the trial):

    According to our reporter in the Courtroom, the jury awarded $11 million. Here are the details: Allyn W. Gibson was awarded $3 million, David Gibson $5.8 million, Gibson Bros. $2,274,500. Next Tuesday there will be a separate punitive damages which could be a double award (meaning tripling the $11 million to $33 million).

    (clarification) Meredith Raimondo was held liable on the libel and interference with business relations, but not intentional infliction of emotional distress. By stipulation, the college is responsible for any amounts awarded against her, so she will not pay anything out of pocket.

    We followed this case from the start of the protests, through the lawsuit process, and now trial. Here’s my statement:

    The verdict sends a strong message that colleges and universities cannot simply wind up and set loose student social justice warriors and then wash their hands of the consequences. In this case, a wholly innocent 5th-generation bakery was falsely accused of being racist and having a history racial profiling after stopping three black Oberlin College students from shoplifting. The students eventually pleaded guilty, but not before large protests and boycotts intended to destroy the bakery and defame the owners. The jury appears to have accepted that Oberlin College facilitated the wrongful conduct against the bakery.

    This is a huge blow to one of the Social Justice Warriors’ fondest goals: To falsely accuse ordinary Americans of racism in order to cow them into falling in line with far-left demands.

    Some background:

    The short version of this story is that the day after the 2016 election victory by Donald Trump, a black male Oberlin College student was stopped for shoplifting wine at Gibson’s Bakery and Market in downtown Oberlin, OH. Gibson’s had been in existence since 1885, was frequented by students, and also provided baked goods to the college dining halls. A scuffle ensued that was joined by two black female Oberlin College students accompanying the male shoplifter and apparently acting in concert with him. All three eventually would plead guilty to shoplifting and aggravated trespassing, and would avow that Gibson’s was not engaged in racial profiling.

    But before those guilty pleas, students at the college immediately declared that Gibson’s was guilty of racial profiling, and large protests were organized outside the bakery. Flyers were passed out claiming Gibson’s was “racist” and had “a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.” The Oberlin College Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo allegedly participated in handing out the flyers in front of the bakery. The Oberlin College Student Senate also passed a resolution claiming Gibson’s “has a long history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment of students and residents alike.” The college administration allegedly helped spread this student senate resolution.

    Students started a boycott of the bakery, initially joined in by the college. The college eventually resumed business with the bakery, but then terminated that business after the lawsuit was filed.

    Gibson’s and its owners sued the college and Raimondo for libel, tortious interference with business relationships and contracts, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. Gibson’s alleged long-term damage to its business and reputation for the allegedly defamatory accusations and other torts. The plaintiffs in closing argument asked the jury to award $12.8 million in compensatory damages.

    Naturally the Usual Idiots, starting with #BlackLivesMatter, made everything worse: “What could have been a simple shoplifting incident and arrest created a firestorm when Oberlin College students, including the Black Student Union, Student Senate and College Democrats, alleged racial profiling and launched a boycott of Gibson’s. Protests were launched outside the bakery.” Compounding the issue was the college repeatedly lying about the Gibsons, calling them racists without evidence and asserting “it was an employee of Gibson’s Bakery and a relative of the individual plaintiffs, Allyn D. Gibson, who left the safety of his business to violently physically assault an unarmed student.” The college also said that Gibson’s would have to stop prosecuting first-time shoplifters in order to resolve the dispute.

    No wonder they sued.

    One wonders how many lawsuits there will have to be before colleges realizing that waging social justice warfare exposes them to crushing legal liability…

    LinkSwarm for Friday, June 7, 2019

    Friday, June 7th, 2019

    Greetings, and welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Good economic news, Democrats behaving badly, and dispatches from the #NeverTrump wars.

  • “Unemployment for workers without bachelor’s degrees fell to the lowest rate on record in May, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday.”
  • “How The Media Covered Up The Real Collusion, Between Russians And The Hillary Campaign.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • President Donald Trump gets a big court win over House Democrats in the fight over the border wall, the judge ruling they have a lack of standing to sue over statutorily discretionary spending.
  • Seattle’s Minimum Wage Has Been a Disaster, as the City’s Own Study Confirms.”

    These findings, examining another year of data and including the increase to $13/hr, are unequivocal: the policy is an unmitigated disaster. The main findings:

    – The numbers of hours worked by low-wage workers fell by *3.5 million hours per quarter*. This was reflected both in thousands of job losses and reductions in hours worked by those who retained their jobs.

    – The losses were so dramatic that this increase “reduced income paid to low-wage employees of single-location Seattle businesses by roughly $120 million on an annual basis.” On average, low-wage workers *lost* $125 per month. The minimum wage has always been a lousy income transfer program, but at this level you’d come out ahead just setting a hundred million dollars a year on fire.

  • I’ve not been following the Sohrab Ahmari/David French contretemps, but Liel Leibovitz at Tablet has:

    We live, thundered Ahmari, in perilous times, with a progressive vanguard on the rise, dedicated to maximizing individual liberties at the expense of communal and traditional values.

    Even worse, today’s social justice warriors, Ahmari continued, see any dissent from their dogmas as an inherent assault. “They say, in effect: For us to feel fully autonomous, you must positively affirm our sexual choices, our transgression, our power to disfigure our natural bodies and redefine what it means to be human,” Ahmari wrote, “lest your disapprobation make us feel less than fully autonomous.” This means that no real discussion is possible—the only thing a true conservative can do is, in Ahmari’s pithy phrase, “to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good.”

    Needless to say, big battles like this one have little use for niceties. “Progressives,” Ahmari went on, “understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values.” Which is not to say they should be jettisoned; instead, Ahmari concluded, “we should seek to use these values to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral.”

    Almost immediately, French delivered his riposte. Ahmari’s call to arms, he wrote in his response, betrayed a deep misunderstanding of both our national moment and our national character. “America,” French wrote, “will always be a nation of competing worldviews and competing, deeply held values. We can forsake a commitment to liberty and launch the political version of the Battle of Verdun, seeking the ruin of our foes, or we can recommit to our shared citizenship and preserve a space for all American voices, even as we compete against those voices in politics and the marketplace of ideas.”

    Which means that civility is not a secondary value but the main event, the measure of most, if not all, things. Bret Stephens agreed: In his column in The New York Times, he called Ahmari—who was born Muslim in Tehran and had found his path to Catholicism—“an ardent convert” and a “would-be theocrat” who, inflamed with dreams of the divine will, had failed to understand that it was precisely the becalmed civilities of “value-neutral liberalism” that has made his brave journey from Tehran to the New York Post possible.

    What to make of this argument? Stephens and others clearly imply that behind Ahmari’s call to arms lurked a shadowy figure, draped in Catholic robes, who would force Americans to recite the catechism while banning abortions and forcing gays back into the closet. Scary, if true; ugly bigotry, if not.

    You don’t have to be conservative, or particularly religious, to spot a few deep-seated problems with the arguments advanced by French, Stephens, and the rest of the Never Trump cadre. Three fallacies in particular stand out.

    The first has to do with the self-branding of the Never Trumpers as champions of civility. From tax cuts to crushing ISIS, from supporting Israel to appointing staunchly ideological justices to the Supreme Court, there’s very little about the 45th president’s policies that ought to make any principled conservative run for the hills. What, then, separates one camp of conservatives, one that supports the president, from another, which vows it never will? Stephens himself attempted an answer in a 2017 column. “Character does count,” he wrote, “and virtue does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily.”

    To put it briefly, the Never Trump argument is that they should be greatly approved of, while Donald Trump should rightly be scorned, because—while they agree with Trump on most things, politically—they are devoted to virtue, while Trump is uniquely despicable. The proofs of Trump’s singular loathsomeness are many, but if you strip him of all the vices he shares with others who had recently held positions of power—a deeply problematic attitude towards women (see under: Clinton, William Jefferson), shady business dealings (see under: Clinton, Hillary Rodham), a problematic attitude towards the free press (see under: Obama, Barack)—you remain with one ur-narrative, the terrifying folk tale that casts Trump as a nefarious troll dispatched by his paymasters in the Kremlin to set American democracy ablaze.

    Now that this story has been thoroughly investigated and discredited, it seems fair to ask: Is championing a loony and deeply corrosive conspiracy theory proof of anyone’s superior virtue? The fact that these accusations were false implies that the Never Trumpers who made them early and often were among the political pyromaniacs, and are therefore deserving of the very obloquy that they heaped on Trump.

    There are problems with Ahmari’s view, not least that outside the realm of sex, almost nothing about today’s left is dedicated to “maximizing individual liberties” as opposed to enforcing in-group collectivism in the form of victimhood identity politics as a means of keeping a vast array of groups tied to the Democratic Party. But Leibovitz is dead-right in casting #NeverTrump’s vainglorious “Orange Man Bad” puffery as deeply unserious for advancing a conservative agenda.

  • “Progressive activists are planning to debate a resolution at this weekend’s California Democratic Party convention that accuses the Israeli government of fueling the rise of anti-Semitic hate crimes in the United States.” (Evidently the resolutions were defeated.)
  • “In 2018, Justice Democrats recruited 12 Democratic primary challengers and endorsed 66 other candidates. The only Justice Democrats-recruited candidate to win election to Congress that year was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Of those 66 endorsed, only 7 won the general election.
  • Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw explains what a dog’s breakfast the Democrats “immigration reform” proposal is:

  • “The Mexican government is reportedly offering a slate of immigration-related concessions to appease the Trump administration as it seeks to prevent the imposition of tariffs on exports to the U.S.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Texas Teacher To Trump: Please Help Me Fight Illegal Aliens In My School.”
  • Union members are getting tired of all the extreme environmentalist bullshit:

    Brian D’Arcy, business manager of the powerhouse International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Los Angeles, says that Garcetti’s move is just the latest on the environmental front that’s pushing his members toward the GOP — and into the arms of Trump, who effectively wooed blue-collar Rust Belt workers on his way to a 2016 presidential win.

    “I’m getting hate mail and blowback from our workers, saying the Democratic Party is doing nothing for us,’’ D’Arcy says, sitting surrounded by his union members in a hall in Los Angeles as they prepared to protest on the streets. Asked if members might gravitate toward Trump, D’Arcy sighed and said, “It’s already happening.”

  • A not-so-short history of hate crime hoaxes in the Trump era.
  • I missed this from last week: Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a government and Israel will be going to the polls again in September.
  • The EU, not Brexit, killed British Steel
  • Which gives me an excuse to post this:

  • You may not have noticed, but there’s a violent crackdown going on in Sudan, where somewhere between 46 (government figures) and 100 (everyone else) protestors have been killed. Sudan’s military regime want sharia law to be the basis of the country and protestors are having none of it.
  • Stephen Green proclaims that actually, a $999 monitor stand is everything right with Apple today:

    The last truly professional Mac desktop was the Westmere-powered beast from 2012. The 2013 Mac Pro, as much as I liked mine, was really a prosumer device. Those actual professional users rightly bristled at its lack of expandability, and Apple’s hopes for its all-new design were quickly crushed. The self-inflicted wound was so deep that two years ago Apple did something I can’t recall ever happening before: It issued a mea culpa to its pro user base, and promised an all-new Mac Pro years in advance, which they also promised would be a truly professional, modular, expandable machine. The company went so far as to bring some pro customers on as employees to help with the new Pro’s design.

    And, boy, did they deliver. As tech analyst Ben Thompson wrote on Tuesday, “It was fun seeing what Apple came up with in its attempt to build the most powerful Mac ever, in the same way it is fun to read about supercars.”

    Full pricing won’t be revealed until this Autumn, but you can bet that it’s going to priced like the supercar of workstations. I’ve seen estimates bandied about the tech-o-sphere that the starting price of $5,999 will balloon up to $25,000 or even $40,000 for a fully specced-out rig. “Would you like to buy a smaller Mercedes sedan, or a computer?” Before you gasp again, that top-end machine will be pretty much a Pixar animation studio in a box.

    In a Slashdot thread on the new MacPros, several commenters concluded that specing out a similarly loaded Windows or Linux workstation (1.5TB of RAM, 28-core/56-thread Xeon CPU, four high end GPUs, etc.) is going to cost you as much as Apple’s solution.

  • Baltimore got hit with a ransomware attack that crippled city government, then blamed the NSA, even though the specific vulnerability used was patched by Microsoft in 2017. They should blame their own horrible data security management.

    Baltimore’s ongoing ransomware dilemma is in many ways a product of more than a decade of neglect of the city’s information technology infrastructure. Since 2012, four Baltimore City chief information officers have been fired or have resigned; two left while under investigation.

    CIO Christopher Tonjes, who left in June of 2014, was forced to resign in the face of a Maryland attorney general’s investigation into claims his office had paid contractors for work they didn’t do. In 2017, CIO Jerome Mullen was fired in the midst of an investigation into alleged misconduct, including “inappropriate contact” with women in the mayor’s Office of Information Technology. He denied the accusations and cited “historic issues” with the city’s IT that had led to problems with the city’s 911 system (which was ceded back to the Police and Fire departments’ control in 2015) and a host of other IT missteps.

    In fact, the IT department languished following the departure of Mayor Martin O’Malley, who became Maryland’s governor in 2007. O’ Malley had instituted CitiStat, a data dashboard for monitoring things like police and city worker overtime pay, employee absenteeism, and (as it expanded) a host of service delivery and infrastructure issues. The system was immortalized in fictional form in the television series The Wire, and it relied on aggregated reports from city agencies, usually presented in PowerPoint format to the mayor in regular meetings. Little about the infrastructure used to create the data has changed in the last dozen years. An audit of the Baltimore Police Department last year found that precincts were still using IBM’s (Lotus) Notes databases developed by a consultant during the O’Malley administration to track data, and no standard reporting format was used. The versions of Notes used by the police department reached end-of-support in 2015.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)

  • This is unacceptable:

  • Speaking of unacceptable Fourth Amendment violations: a look at civil asset forfeiture in Texas. There should be ZERO cases where assets are seized without a criminal conviction.
  • Vice is laying off people left and right. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ, which says “because Vice is trash and that trash is on fire and that fire is burning money.”)
  • The fund that bought UK book dealer Waterstone’s is buying Barnes & Noble.
  • The Empower Texans 2019 Fiscal Index. Find out how your state congresscritter did.
  • How Hobart’s “funnies” helped clear obstacles off the beach on D-Day.
  • Oops!
  • Trump Derangement Syndrome, stabby Florida woman edition. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Tales From Toby’s Graphic Go-Kart, or how playing for Yes was like playing with Spinal Tap, and how Rick Wakeman was a carnivore while the rest of the band were vegetarians. Well, except that one time…
  • Modern D-Day Warriors Storm Washington To Demand Free Stuff From Government.”
  • Werewolf mouse.
  • Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for June 3, 2019

    Monday, June 3rd, 2019

    Biden continues to lead, the DNC raises the bar for Debate Three, Booker spurns his former best buds rabbi, Williamson attends the world’s lamest rave, and Swalwell and Gillibrand compete to see who can run the most cringe-inducing campaign. It’s your weekly Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update!


  • Harvard/Harris (go all the way to page 144): Biden 36, Sanders 17, Harris 8, Warren 5, Buttigieg 5, O’Rourke 4, Booker 3, Hickenlooper 1, Gravel 1, Ryan 1, Yang 1, Castro 1, Bloomberg 1, Inslee 1.
  • Morning Consult: Biden 38, Sanders 20, Warren 9, Buttigieg 7, Harris 7, O’Rourke 4, Booker 3, Bennet 1, Castro 1, Delany 1, Gillibrand 1, Hickenlooper 1, Klobucher 1, Yang 1, Williamson 1, Bullock 1, Ryan 1, Gabbard 1.
  • Real Clear Politics
  • 538 polls
  • Election betting markets
  • Pundits, etc.

  • The DNC announced that come the third Presidential debate, Democrats will need to score at least two percent in four polls, as well as “campaign contributions from at least 130,000 donors, including 400 unique donors in at least 20 states,” to make the debate stage.
  • Everyone know who Joe Biden is. Every other candidate in the race? Not so much.
  • 538 on what the candidates are saying and doing.
  • Now on to the clown car itself:

  • Losing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Maybe? The main news this week was a huge subpoena for campaign finances records stemming from last year’s losing gubernatorial campaign.

    The nationally watched race for Georgia governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, the winner, was decided months ago. But proxy battles emanating from it still rage on.

    Abrams’ campaign on Friday delivered more than 3,600 pages of bank records to the state ethics commission in response to a far-reaching subpoena looking to turn up campaign violations.

    But a lawyer representing Abrams’ campaign is pushing back on releasing communications with outside individuals and groups, and Abrams’ former campaign manager slammed the investigation as “political revenge” by Republicans.

    The subpoena was one of several targeting liberal groups connected to Abrams. Issued by David Emadi, the new head of Georgia’s ethics commission, it asked for banking records from Abrams’ campaign as well as communications between the campaign and several outside groups working to drive voter registration and turnout.

    Also see the news on Andrew Gillum below. Karl Rove systematically dismantles Abrams claims of “voter suppression” in her losing gubernatorial race.

  • Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: In. Twitter. Facebook. He had a CNN town hall. “If Bennet doesn’t get a noticeable bump in the polls — meaning going from somewhere under 1 percent to anywhere consistently over 1 percent — he probably won’t make it onto the June debate stage in the first round.” Gets a Business Insider profile, which reveals that he was born in New Delhi, India. He was chairman of the Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2013—2015, which included the 2014 election where Republicans regained nine seats to retake the majority. He did vote against restoring the Clinton-era cosmetic “assault weapons” ban in 2013. Both he and Hickenlooper are having trouble finding traction:

    Former governor John Hickenlooper, the wealthy white male moderate who progressives think is too close to the oil industry, and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, the wealthy white male moderate who progressives think is too close to Wall Street, have both struggled to meet the debate requirements set by the Democratic National Committee.


    But it’s on the donor front that things begin to look truly dire for both candidates. As of March 31, Hickenlooper had received contributions from just 1,093 unique donors, a review of Federal Election Commission disclosures shows. While that figure only includes less than a month’s worth of donations following his campaign announcement on March 4, it puts the governor on pace for only a fraction of the donors he needs to fully guarantee himself a spot on the debate stage in June and July, much less qualify for the September debate.

    Because he announced his presidential bid after the FEC’s first-quarter deadline, Bennet has yet to file a campaign-finance report. Neither campaign responded to a request for comment Wednesday on their total number of unique donors, or their reaction to the DNC’s new, higher threshold for the third debate.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In. Twitter. Facebook. Biden looks like a frontrunner in every respect except one: Where are the big crowds? Maybe that’s a reason he’s been strangely absent from the campaign trail. 538 wonders if the Biden bounce is over, but they’re talking about downward shifts of 1-3%, which strikes me as statistical noise. He offered an education policy proposal that shockingly calls for school choice. Ha! Just kidding! It’s the federal government airdropping more money. “Can Joe Biden be the future and the past?

    Biden sought to reassure people that he views the changing climate as an existential threat to the planet, something he would take seriously and deal with aggressively. He also told his audience that the “first and most important plank” of a Biden climate policy could be summed up in two words: “Beat Trump.”

    His argument was hardly specious. He pointed to all the things that he — and the 22 other Democrats seeking the party’s nomination — are talking about, all they would do if they gain power in 2020. “As long as Donald Trump’s in the White House,” he said, “none of these critical things are going to get done.”

    What was left unsaid but obvious was the bare-bones rationale for his candidacy, that he’s the candidate in the best position to deny Trump a second term. Biden will have to prove this over the coming months. He won’t be able to avoid his rivals, nor engage solely in a debate with the president. But right now, he wants Democrats to believe he has a far better chance of taking back the White House, if only because he would play well in the three states that secured Trump’s presidency: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.


    At a time when the Democratic Party is being reshaped, Biden is a link to what came before Trump. He calls himself an Obama-Biden Democrat, which can be an asset in the primaries but perhaps less so in the general election. He will not have negatives as high as Hillary Clinton had in 2016 (or Trump for that matter). But Obama, for all his esteem and popularity among Democrats, was part of what brought about the reaction that gave the country the Trump presidency.

    The biggest problem with Biden’s goal of being the candidate of both the past and the future is his inability to obtain the Time Stone…

  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: In. Twitter. Facebook. Booker was closed friends with an Orthodox rabbi he met at Oxford. Now they don’t even speak. Why? Booker supported Obama’s Iran deal. (It’s a long, interesting piece, assuming you can get around the Post paywall/adblocker blocker combo.) Booker wants you to know that his gun control proposals would totally end mass shootings. Which proposals? “My proposals. You know, proposals. That I have. That will totally work. Because I say so.”
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock: In. Twitter. Facebook. Impeachment? Nah. Says he can totally win back Trump states. You know, for Reasons. Bullock: “I’m against getting all dark money out of politics. Except all that sweet, sweet union money that benefits me personally. That stuff is A-OK!” He also hired ten more Iowa staffers.
  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: In. Twitter. Facebook. Buttigieg’s brother in law says he’s lying about his rags to riches story and being shunned by his family. The lefties at Truthout are unimpressed with Mayor Pete:

    The only millennial on Earth to sincerely describe themselves as a “laid-back intellectual,” Buttigieg has made it impressively far on identity alone. His website has a meme generator, for example, but no actual platform, leaving journalists to cobble one up out of tweets and interviews.

    What’s emerged in the past six months is a brazenly conservative agenda.

    To start, he doesn’t want single-payer health care because he can’t imagine a world without private insurance — one of the highest-profile symbols of the inhumanity of privatization. Instead, he wants “Medicare-for-all-who-want-it” to compete in the marketplace. “I don’t think we have to make it that complicated,” he says, sounding unnervingly like our current president.

    The rest of his policies are likely informed by his personal life (same-sex marriage) or his military career, the latter of which dominates his worldview. If he’s for gun control, it’s only because he “didn’t carry an assault rifle around a foreign country just to come home and see them used to massacre my countrymen.” Indeed, Buttigieg carried an assault rifle to oversee the murder of Brown people, not his own electorate.

    Buttigieg’s decorated service transforms him from a bootlicker into an actual boot-on-the-ground. He abandoned his elected duties to go to Afghanistan over a decade after everyone knew it was a phony war. Few “laid-back intellectuals” volunteer for war; fewer still come back believing in it. But Buttigieg can’t get enough: He’s afraid of Iran, blames Hamas for the devastating conditions in Gaza and thinks the U.S. has a lot to learn from how Israel “handles threats.”

    In April, he took it upon himself to suggest a “national service” program for every U.S. teenager. Maybe he means clean-up-your-rivers and volunteer-to-read service work, but it’s the military that swallows up his praise, and previous presidents’ time in the war machine that he idolizes. I can already see the Republicans back home in Mississippi nodding along.

    It’s always nice to have reminders that the hard left still hates ordinary Americans.

  • Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Houston Chronicle offers up the latest “Why isn’t Julian Castro doing better?” piece. (It’s a rich genre.)

    On paper, Castro checks so many boxes. He’s young, he’s Latino, he has as much experience as Beto and Mayor Pete, he can appeal to the right with his strong religious beliefs.

    But even Castro’s time as a former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development can be read as problematic.

    “Consider … his relationship with Hillary Clinton, his time in politics, and I think compared to the two others mentioned, Julián Castro is considered to be a part of the establishment that needs to change,” journalist Shahrazad Maria Encinias told me, via Facebook, echoing the sentiments of other journalists I reached out to in order to discuss Castro’s campaign.

    And, for that matter, many think that, despite Castro’s resume, there’s not a lot of “there” there.

    Also this: “I don’t know who would be identified as his base.” Wait, you mean twenty years of endless “Hispanics are a super-powerful political force just waiting for the right candidate to wake them up” pieces were just lies? (Spoiler: Yes.) He also promised not to take oil and gas money:

    Because oil companies are just lining up to donate to a guy polling at 1%. He’s scheduled for a Fox town hall on June 13.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: In. Twitter. Facebook. Daily Beast: “Here’s Why Bill de Blasio Thinks He Can Be President. And Here’s Why He’s Wrong.” It’s actually pretty weak tea by the standards of de Blasio-bashing. (Speaking of rich genres…) Oh, and NYPD cops hate him too. “‘As you can see, a President Bill de Blasio would be an unmitigated disaster, not just for union members, but for any American who wants a functioning government,’ NYC Police Union President Patrick Lynch wrote in a letter the union shared with media.”
  • Maryland Representative John Delaney: In. Twitter. Facebook. Naturally Delany is not happy that his dead-in-the-water campaign is going to be excluded from the third round of debates going forward.
  • Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Tulsi Gabbard Is Not A Centrist, No Matter How Much You Like Her.”

    When one examines Gabbard’s politics, the only difference between Gabbard and the right’s least favorite leftist ideologies is that she has spoken out articulately about online censorship and anti-interventionism.

    Both talking points, however, are a means of pushing economically and politically left-wing policy.


    Speaking of constitutional rights, Gabbard picks and chooses what to support. In the words of her own campaign website, Gabbard seeks to “ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited.”

    She has demonstrated her desire to disarm the American population by continually pushing gun control legislation, including H.R.5087, a congressional bill that proposes a full ban on all “semiautomatic assault weapons,” with a pages-long definition that effectively includes every semiautomatic weapon in existence.

    Her website also clearly states her support of the “concept of” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” a proposal that was (rightfully) relentlessly mocked by the right for its unrealistic goals and childish language (“cow farts.”)

    Gabbard’s public support of the same bill is overlooked however, because she is viewed as more mature, reasonable, and eloquent than Ocasio Cortez.

    But her goals are not much more grounded than those of Ocasio-Cortez. She is currently pushing the “OFF Fossil Fuels Act,” a bill that if passed would mandate a 100 per cent transition to “zero-emission” vehicles in just 16 years. The same bill would require that the United States transition to 100 per cent “clean energy” within the same 16-year period.

    Gabbard’s environmental goals practically mirror those of Ocasio-Cortez. She’s just less bombastic about it.

    Also look at Shoe0nHead’s callout to Gabbard as her queen in Saturday’s video if you haven’t already.

  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: In. Twitter. Facebook. Failure to launch:

    At this point, Gillibrand isn’t focused on winning the primary. She’s worried about surviving the next few months.

    Despite a soaring national profile in the U.S. Senate[{{citation needed}}], Gillibrand has failed to achieve liftoff as a presidential prospect. She has not broken 2 percent in a single national poll since officially declaring her candidacy in mid-March, and her 0.4 percent average in the RealClearPolitics aggregate of surveys places her behind the likes of Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard and even geeky long shot Andrew Yang.

    This is the point where I’d usually do a snip and quote another big block of biographic info on Gillibrand, but the pandering here is laid on too thick to let it pass: “Gillibrand gained national attention upon entering the political arena for possessing a rare combination of big brains [No], telegenic looks [she’s OK] and personal magnetism [No].” She’s “telegenic” only by “politics is Hollywood for ugly people” standards. She’s got middling blond sorority girl looks, her “soaring national profile” seems limited to a few political reporter fangirls, and before she launched her presidential campaign, the average non-New Yorker couldn’t have picked her out of a lineup. She’s a political lightweight that a small group of dedicated party hacks has insisted we treat as a heavyweight. She Peter Principled her way into a senate seat and her Presidential aspirations are laughable. She’s Beto O’Rourke without the gravitas and 90% less goofy charisma, and her campaign failure is entirely predictable. And if you thought she was a bad politician, you haven’t heard her singing:

    She seems like one of those drunks at karaoke night who is absolutely sure she’s nailing it, much to the amusement of everyone else. She’s also tried some tranny pandering.

  • Former Tallahassee Mayor and failed Florida Senate candidate Andrew Gillum: Probably not. Biggest news this week was him being hit with federal subpoenas over “his 2018 campaign for governor and his work with a Massachusetts nonprofit organization and a local public relations firm owned by one of his closest advisers.” If I were of a conspiratorial cast of mind, I’d view this and the Stacey Abrams subpoenas mentioned above as part of a coordinated effort against both. However, the rational part of my mind notes that one was state and the other federal, which tends to argue against such a conspiracy.
  • Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel: In. Twitter. Facebook. “89-year-old Mike Gravel trolls younger 2020 Democrats for polling beneath him.”

    The Klobuchar zero showing in that poll is probably an anomaly, but yeah, the others are toast.

  • California Senator Kamala Harris: In. Twitter. Facebook. LA Times: “After dazzling debut, Kamala Harris falls from top of presidential pack.” It was never that dazzling, and she was never at the top. She is racking up California endorsements, which are like the Arby’s coupons of politics; you keep them around because every once in a while they’re useful, but mostly they just lie around forgotten until getting tossed out long past their expiration date. Freakshow animal rights protestor grabs the mic from her on stage.
  • Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: In. Twitter. Facebook. He calls on his fellow Democrats to reject socialism or lose to Trump. This didn’t go over well:

  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: In. Twitter. Facebook. Released an immigration plan, which is your standard “everything Trump does is wrong, plus Amnesty” pander.
  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: In. Twitter. Facebook. She was on Pod Save America, which is big in lefty circles. It’s a whole lot of “Trump won the Midwest, but I can win the Midwest, because I’m the most Midwest Midwest from the Midwest.”
  • Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Center for Public Integrity offers nine random facts on Messam, including his record of political giving and the value of his house ($517,220). It’s not particularly interesting, but Messam news is thin on the ground…
  • Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton: In. Twitter. Facebook. Had a CNN town hall, where he pandered hard. “If this country wasn’t racist, Stacey Abrams would be governor.” 0-2. He does oppose “Medicare for all.”
  • Former Texas Representative and failed Senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke: In. Twitter. Facebook. In case you missed it, here’s my previous post on Kyle Smith’s takedown of Running With Beto, which dropped on HBO last week to rapturous applause from Beto fans, bemusement by a few political junkies, and complete indifference by everyone else. O’Rourke admits he was sometimes “a giant asshole” in it. He tripled his Iowa staff.
  • Ohio Representative Tim Ryan: In. Twitter. Facebook. Another guy who had a CNN town hall. He too performed the requisite diversity pandering (“white male ticket bad!”) and opposes Trump’s China tariffs. He says he’s qualified for the first debate.
  • Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders: In. Twitter. Facebook. Sanders is not doing so well now that he’s not running against Hillary Clinton. “In conversations recently with about a dozen voters who showed up at his events during his longest New Hampshire swing, it’s clear that the kind of ride-or-die support Sanders had in 2016 has dissipated a bit.” Reason covers his commie history.

    Sanders once identified as a socialist who, with reservations, admired the economic achievements of Cuba under Fidel Castro, of Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, and of the Soviet Union right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Running for office as a candidate for the Liberty Union Party in Vermont in the 1970s, Sanders sought a top tax rate of 100%, saying “nobody should earn more than $1 million.”

    Sanders wanted to stop businesses from moving out of their original communities, arguing that the ultimate solution to protect workers was national legislation that would “bring about the public ownership of the major means of production.” He favored the government seizure of “utilities, banks, and major industries,” without compensation to investors or stockholders.

    Shortly after he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981, Sanders told a room full of charity workers, “I don’t believe in charities,” because only the government should provide social services to the needy.

    He had a San Francisco “grassroots” fundraiser and a San Jose rally. He also took a jab at Biden for not attending the California State Democratic Convention.

  • California Representative Eric Swalwell: In. Twitter. Facebook. It’s like he’s trying to win a bet for running the most cringe-inducing campaign:

    He too had a CNN town hall. “The California congressman said he did not agree with Sanders’ proposal to extend voting rights to people currently in prison.” Also opposes eliminating private health insurance and impeachment. But should Swalwell obtaining these tiny clues temporarily blind you to the fact that he’s still an idiot, there’s also this: “The 38-year-old congressman said on Sunday night that he’s still paying off what was $100,000 in student loan debt.”

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: In. Twitter. Facebook. Warren’s radical wonkery offers “A vision of a government that is at once more responsive and more intrusive.” And radically bigger and more expensive. She proposed a blatantly unconstitutional wealth tax. Well, you can’t expect a former Harvard law professor to understand such arcane trivia as “the Constitution.” She’s all in on Iowa:

    At a half-dozen events in rural Eastern Iowa over Memorial Day weekend, paid organizers and volunteers swarmed every attendee, affixing brightly colored circles to them as proof their contact information had been secured. The sticker patrol circled the room before Warren spoke — and afterward in the selfie line — just in case anyone happened to slip through.

    The campaign’s hyper-vigilance about capturing data on every potential supporter isn’t unique to Iowa, but the sheer number of people dedicated to the task certainly is. Warren has made an early wager on the state unrivaled by other Democratic hopefuls, aiming to strike early in the nomination contest by out-organizing the competition.

    She already has more than 50 staffers in Iowa, and more are coming: A “significant” number of hires will be announced on June 15, according to Jason Noble, her Iowa communications director. The national campaign said its Iowa payroll would total at least 60 after the additions.

    Plenty of other Democrats are investing heavily and ramping up their presence in Iowa, including Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, and Kamala Harris. But no candidate has hired nearly as many staffers or made the Hawkeye State as central to their hopes for the nomination from the very start.


    But the up-front investment by Warren — who so far has lagged behind Biden, Bernie Sanders, Harris, O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg in fundraising — isn’t without risk. Committing to so many salaries from the outset could leave the campaign without much cash for TV and digital advertising in the critical weeks before voting begins. That danger is even greater given that Warren has sworn off high-dollar fundraisers.

    Warren’s camp says she’ll be fine, pointing out that she transferred $10.4 million from her Senate reelection account to give her a healthy financial cushion.

    Could work, or could leave her dead broke after coming fourth behind Biden, Sanders and (rolls dice) Klobuchar and no way to pivot to must-win New Hampshire.

  • Author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson: In. Twitter. Facebook. She appeared at a “rave.” I use quotes because “The event, ‘Ethereal Spring,’ is being thrown by Daybreaker, a three-hour sober morning rave held every few weeks in cities across the world. Like other Daybreaker events, this one consists of an hour-long fitness class followed by two hours of (sober, morning) dancing.” That resembles a “rave” about as much as an afternoon tea party resembles an orgy. (Cue a bitter old journalist penning the obligatory “Millennials Ruin Raves” piece.) Six paragraphs in we learn this takes place in Manhattan. Then Williamson talks about the importance of dancing. Welcome to Hell. She also gets a Washington Post profile. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know she was campaigning in Fairfield, Iowa, home to a lot of people who practice Transcendental Meditation. Om, om on the range…
  • Venture capitalist Andrew Yang: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Time headline proclaims “Inside Andrew Yang’s Outsider Campaign” but there’s precious little insider info:

    Yang, 44, was born in New York to two immigrants from Taiwan. He graduated from high school in Exeter, N.H., in 1992, got an undergraduate degree from Brown and went to law school at Columbia, which he graduated from in 1999. His career got off to a tough start: He spent mere months working as a corporate lawyer at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York before, he says, he quickly became bored with it. Next he launched a failed Internet company called Stargiving, which raised money for charity by auctioning off celebrity experiences. He worked for a mobile software company called Crisp Wireless as vice president of their business and legal department and at a health-care start-up called MMF Systems. Then he ran a tutoring company that was acquired by test-prep giant Kaplan in 2009 for an undisclosed amount. (On the trail, Yang refers to it as a “modest fortune.”)

    In 2011, Yang founded an organization called Venture for America. His vision was to train entrepreneurs and dispatch them around the country to help create job growth. He was later named one of the Obama White House’s Champions of Change for that work. Along the way, Yang married and had two kids, including an autistic son.

    In a way, Yang credits the latter experience with fueling his campaign for president. “As first-time parents, you don’t know what’s normal versus what’s not normal,” he recalls. ”Is it normal for a three-year-old to freak out when the texture of the ground changes?” It was a growing experience for him. Until then, Yang had suffered only minor adversity. The idea that a single mother would have to care for an autistic child with no resources was heartbreaking, he says, and helped shape his belief in universal basic income—the core of his platform and the idea that’s helped him gain traction.

    Also: “To win the nomination, Yang will have to convince Democrats that he’s got the best chance at beating Trump.” Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

  • Out of the Running

    These are people who were formerly in the roundup who have announced they’re not running, or for which I’ve seen no recent signs they’re running (and I’ve even gone back and put in names that were mentioned as possibilities for running that I’ve dropped, just for the sake of completeness):

  • Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti
  • Actor Alec Baldwin
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
  • Former one-term President Jimmy Carter
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr.
  • Former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine
  • Former Obama Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
  • Oregon senator Jeff Merkley
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama
  • Former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda
  • New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (constitutionally ineligible)
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
  • Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
  • Like the Clown Car update? Consider hitting the tip jar:

    Shoe0nHead Is Not Impressed With The 2020 Democrats

    Saturday, June 1st, 2019

    “I’m convinced that Trump had to win, in order for Democrats to attempt to get their shit together.”

    And how well are they doing at gathering said shit?

    Not so hot:

    “Identity politics is literally a cancer.”

    “Biden is gender-swapped Hillary. He’s Hillary in the Snapchat filter.”

    Yep. It’s “Orange Man Bad” and social justice warrior victimhood identity politics all the way down…