Category: Politics

New Hampshire Votes

Last night we had another early primary, this time in New Hampshire. It went pretty much as the polls predicted. On the Republican side, Trump won, Kasich came in second and Rubio a surprisingly distant fifth. Sanders beat Clinton handily.

A few points:

It tells you a lot about the Democratic Party that Sanders walloped Clinton, beat her by twenty points. And yet Clinton actually won more delegates, according to CNN. The reason is that New Hampshire has eight “superdelegates” — party bigwigs who will vote with the establishment. In 2008, you may remember that the superdelegates became a big deal. For a while, it looked like Clinton would lose the primary vote but win the nomination due to the superdelegates. It will be interesting to see if that dynamic plays out again. I predict a rebellion at the convention if Clinton wins because she locked up the party establishment early. Sanders still trails nationally so I still expect Clinton to win outright. But the gap is closing, as you can tell by the increasingly desperate cries of the Clinton supporters (e.g., Steinem and Albright castigating young women for supporting Sanders).

If the GOP doesn’t get their act together, there’s a very good chance Trump will be the nominee and a very good chance Clinton will be the next President. Last night’s tally was a paradigm of everything going on right now. Trump only got a third of the vote. His negatives among GOP voters are actually very high. But the difference is that the faction supporting Trump are supporting Trump. The non-trump vote is divided among seven different candidates. So Trump walked away with the state and nine of its twelve delegates while getting less of the vote than Clinton did.

So who is the non-Trump candidate? Rubio was supposed to be surging. He finished fifth. Was it the gaffe at the debate? Everyone is claiming it was and I’m happy to eat some crow on that. But we tend to get too wedded to narratives in political season. Throughout this election cycle, Rubio has always been the candidate of tomorrow and tomorrow never seems to come. He may just not be that good a candidate, debate gaffe or no debate gaffe.

Kasich finished second but that’s because he bet everything on New Hampshire. He has minimal national presence and will almost certainly be finished by Super Tuesday.

It’s time for Fiorina to drop out. She’s going nowhere. It’s also time for Christie to drop out. I like the big guy and think he’d be a formidable national candidate, potentially swiping blue states from the Democrats. But New Hampshire was supposed to be his big breakthrough and it wasn’t. I also think it’s time for Carson to drop out. Carson is a nice man but he’s not happening.

That would leave us with a field of Trump, Kasich, Cruz, Bush and Rubio. It would free up 15% of the vote and give a Trump alternative a real chance to emerge. Will the GOP man up? Will the non-candidates drop out? On such decisions will the fate of the 2016 election turn.

Libertarians for Sanders? Naaah.

With Rand Paul out, a lot of libertarians, conservative-libertarians and lib-curious are fumbling around for a new candidate. Ted Cruz looked like he might pick up the liberty vote for a while with his opposition to surveillance. But then he backed out of criminal justice reform and started striking an aggressive tone on foreign policy. Donald Trump is a fool. Hillary Clinton is a power-hungry shill. Rubio doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. So where do we turn? Andrew Kirell asks if it’s … Bernie Sanders

While Sanders’s economic policies deeply conflict with libertarians—single-payer health care, government-funded college tuition for all, etc.—he is their only remaining ally on a slew of other big issues.

And, besides, “there’s this little thing called Congress,” as Michael noted. “Any radical law he tries to pass will run through an obstacle course.”

So the logic goes: With a Republican-controlled Congress—or one remotely close to its current makeup—President Sanders would have a tough time getting his most radical economic policies passed, leaving him to fight for the civil liberties causes that matter to liberals and libertarians alike: e.g., reforms to the criminal justice system, the ongoing drug war, and the government’s surveillance efforts.

In other words, backing a Sanders presidency would mean wagering that Sanders’s most left-wing economic policies wouldn’t come to fruition. And that he’d pull a conservative Congress to the left on civil liberties issues, with the help of cross-partisan allies like Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee.

The case for Sanders is this:

  • He’s way better on civil liberties that Clinton. Also marijuana, war, surveillance and criminal justice reform. He’s better than her on gun control, although he’s moved Left on that recently. Against the Republicans, he’s better on civil liberties but worse on the second amendment.
  • You talk about gridlock? Bernie Sanders and a Republican Congress would give you gridlock on just about every economic issue.

So that’s the libertarian case for Sanders. It’s tempting in this kind of anti-liberty field. But the case against is strong as well:

  • Sanders would be 75 years old on inauguration day. His health appears good but it could decay suddenly (to be fair, this is also a concern with Trump and Clinton). This could mean a sudden shift to a Vice President and God knows who Sanders will pick for that. If he picks Clinton, he could get a head cold and find himself removed from office.
  • We can not assume that a Republican Congress will continue indefinitely. A Sanders presidency combined with a Democratic Congress could be dangerous.
  • Sanders would appoint at least one, maybe two or three justice to the Supreme Court, maybe even one for a retiring conservative. This could be good if he focuses on civil liberties. More likely, he’d appoint some social justice types who would stand back while the federal government did whatever it wanted.
  • Sanders has zero foreign policy experience. This has become obvious in the debates. While his philosophy is better than Clinton’s, his lack of any credentials could be a problem. Foreign policy is not something you learn on the fly. I could see a Sanders administration being completely feckless and ineffective. Being against stupid foreign adventures is good. Being able to do that and deal with aggressive foreign powers is better.

That lost one is a big point for me. The one arena where the President has the most authority is foreign policy. It’s a big reason I oppose Trump and a big reason I’m partial to Rubio. Almost every other deficiency in a President can be papered over by a reasonable Congress. But foreign policy is the one place where it can’t.

As I said from the beginning, I prefer Sanders’ honest socialism over Clinton’s dishonest mercantilism. But if its Sanders versus a reasonable Republican, I don’t think you can make the case for Sanders. Not for a conservative and probably not for a libertarian and probably not for this conservative-libertarian.

Yet Another Republican Debate

I was in and out, catching parts of last night’s Republican debate. I missed what the media are assuring me today is the end of Marco Rubio’s campaign: when Chris Christie called him out for repeating the same canned talking points over and over and Rubio responded by … repeating his talking points.

Strictly on points, that was a big deal. Christie has been making this point for a while — and it’s a good one — that he (and Kasich and Bush) have a lot more experience in getting things done while Rubio (and Cruz) are mostly good at making speeches. Rubio does tend to fall back on canned speeches and his record of accomplishment is thin. He isn’t very good at improvising, something that has hurt him in direct interactions with voters and party stalwarts.

But …

This really crosses me as inside-the-beltway media stuff. I really don’t think the voting public is going to care very much whether Rubio is repeating himself. If this were debate club, Christie would have won, but it’s not. Repeating talking points is part of politics (Christie should know, as he never forgets to remind us that he was appointed as a federal prosecutor after 9/11). And Rubio gave an answer on abortion — talking about the rights of the woman the rights of the fetus being in contention — that was off the charts with conservatives in my Twitter feed. I disagree with Rubio on abortion, but his answer, pre-packaged or not, really resonated with GOP base. That’s what they’ll remember.

The other highlight was Jeb Bush finally landing a punch on Donald Trump. Bush hit the Donald hard on Trump’s abuse of eminent domain and the Donald had no answer, eventually turning on the audience as they booed him. I think the second place finish in Iowa and the leveling of the polls is getting to Trump. He’s still leading in New Hampshire, but if he loses, we could see an epic meltdown.

Overall, I think this is still a three-man race, with Christie as a possible dark horse should the leaders falter. I expect Trump to win New Hampshire. But the race is anyone’s to win right now.

Establishment? Moi?

I didn’t watch the Democratic debate last night because … well, I had better things to do. Apparently, it was quite contentious. But one point that came up was whether Clinton is part of the establishment.

Sanders: “I will absolutely admit that Secretary Clinton has the … support of far more governors, mayors, members of the House [of Representatives]. She has the entire establishment or almost the entire establishment behind her. That’s fact. I don’t deny it. I’m pretty proud that we have over a million people who have contributed to our campaign — averaging 27 bucks apiece.”

Clinton: “Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment … And I’ve got to tell you that I — [applause] it’s really quite amusing to me.”

Let me break that down for you. Sanders made the incredibly reasonable point that Clinton is in with the entire party establishment (including have already secured many superdelegate votes), has been walking the innermost halls of power for 25 years and has received six figure speaking fees from Wall Street interests. Clinton’s response?

She has two X chromosomes.

Clinton always plays the gender card when she’s cornered. And Sanders has her cornered on this issue. Clinton’s entire campaign is establishment politics. The reason she says she should be President is because she can “get things done” and “knows the ropes” and “has experience”. That’s the basic definition of establishment.

Clinton’s supporters — including her mouthpieces at Vox — are trying to argue that Sanders is establishment as well because he’s in Congress almost as long as Clinton has been around and has gotten a lot of money from unions. They have a small point. But there is a huge difference between being a third party crackpot Senator from Vermont and a first lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State who was given $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs for … well, I’m sure for no reason at all.

Establishment politicians are unpopular. And Clinton wants to have it both ways: playing up her experience and insider knowledge while pretending that she’s not really the establishment. Normally, she would get away with it. The fawning media would fall in line. The feminists would say, “well, of course no woman could possibly be establishment.” But Sanders, God bless the old crank, won’t let her get away with it.

Fundamentally transformed!

Only idiotic progressives think that paying lawless people not to commit crimes is a good idea. America is fundamentally being transformed. I guess like the town leaders of Afghanistan, the leadership of DC has opted to pay off the warlords to not loot them. What could go wrong with this proposal? I think, if you base it on historical events in the western world, the people that will be fleeced to pay for this brilliant idea already have a name for this practice they can use: Danegeld. You can’t make up this level of stupid, I tell you.

Bernie and Cruz Take Iowa

Well, take is perhaps a generous word. Bernie Sanders finished the night neck-and-neck with Clinton. Clinton will win slightly more delegates (based partly on winning six straight coin flips). But this is a big blow. A large part of Clinton’s campaign has been, essentially, “This is happening. Stop squirming.” Sanders’ tie disrupts that narrative. He’s likely to win New Hampshire going away. But I think he will have a problem winning Super Tuesday. In the end, this is still Clinton’s nomination to lose.

So why did Bernie win? Two reasons, I think. One, Clinton is a lousy candidate, as I’ve noted many times. This is the third time she’s been handed an election on a silver platter and blown it. But second, Bernie is … and I hate to say this … running a very enjoyable campaign. He’s positive, he’s refusing to mudsling and he’s running impressive patriotic ads. I still disagree with every iota of his economic policy. But I can see why a lot of Democrats are supporting him.

On the Republican side, Cruz won by several percentage points, with Rubio placing a surprisingly strong third. Trump’s numbers plunged in the last week. That might be because he skipped the debate. But it also might be because people are getting serious about voting. And I’ve said many times, the Republican Party may flirt with crazy. They may get in the backseat of a car with it and unhook its bra. But in the end, they will go with a nice sensible candidate they can take home to meet their mother.

Trump’s campaign has also been built a lot on his inevitability. And he still hold big leads nationally and in the upcoming primary states. Iowa is, at best, a shaky predictor of Presidential elections. But this is a sign that Trump is not inevitable.

PS – Oh, Huckabee and O’Malley dropped out. I note that just in case you forgot they were running.

Update: Lee loved this Downfall parody when Clinton’s 2008 nomination went up in flames. I still find it hilarious. I think Clinton is still going to win. But I imagine something like this played out in Clinton HQ last night.

Iowa Votes

Well, after a runup that seems to start shortly after I was born, we will finally get the first votes cast today in Iowa. It will be a while before we know what happens. I will post updates as events warrant.

This election cycle defies prediction, but I’ll make one anyway. Clinton narrowly edges Sanders, something like 49-45. Trump wins Iowa but with a smaller margin than expected. Something like Trump 25, Cruz 22, Rubio 17. He will then say something outrageous so that the media will give him free campaign ads talk about it until New Hampshire.

We might see one or two candidates drop out after Iowa, but I suspect most of them will hang on until New Hampshire and possibly South Carolina.

Series Review: Making a Murderer

So you’ve probably heard something about Netflix’s documentary series Making a Murderer. The series centers around Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man with a long criminal history who was convicted of a sexual assault he did not commit in 1985. After his exoneration, he sued Manitowoc County and the sheriff, alleging misconduct in the initial investigation and prosecution.

In the middle of this, a young photographer, Teresa Halbech, went missing. Avery was the last person she supposedly saw and police found her car and burned bone fragments on his property. He and his nephew were convicted of murdering her.

Avery insists on his innocence and claims he was railroaded again because of the lawsuit. The documentary goes through his case, from the previous charge, to the investigation, through the trial and the first round of appeals. It has caused an online sensation, with numerous blogs discussing the case and a White House petition for Avery and his nephew to be pardoned.

This review is going to be very spoilery. I’m going to discuss the case as if you’ve watched the documentary or read some of the coverage. So if you haven’t and plan to, you might want to bookmark this and come back in ten hours.

Read more… »

The road to hell and all that jazz…

The other day I was having a discussion with your usual idiotic collectivist retard whom couldn’t contain his admiration and fawning over Bernie Sanders and his idiotic socialist beliefs. Of course I pointed out how the stupid shit they believe is what will finally make the world a just and good place, always results in misery and evil. We discussed the good old USSR, China, Cuba, and of course, the more modern incarnations such as North Korea, Venezuela, and the western shitholes that decided to embrace a less virulent form of the disease which only differs from communism and fascism in how fast they reach the end result. The poor idiot would not be dissuaded. Mention the over 100 million killed and the billions turned into slaves of an uncaring state? A litany of excuses. Point out that the pursuit of equality of outcome, something that is impossible to do, and frankly more evil than the inequality it pretends to want to address? Even more excuses. Call attention to the fact that collectivism will always create a miserable entity with an elite on top that rack all the benefits and the rest serving as dispensable serfs of the state? And I got even more excuses, including the usual trope about how we have never seen the real outcome of collectivism in practice, because the reason that every collectivist experiment eventually degenerates into what we see in Venezuela, is only because the right people were not put in charge. And yes! Bernie would be the right person finally.

Man, did that poor idiots head explode when I pointed out that no, the big lie isn’t that we have not had the right people in charge, but that what we see is really what collectivism will always produce. There is no right leadership that will suddenly prevent collectivism from resulting in economic devastation and the destruction of life, and that is simply because while it pretends to be the solution to injustice, it is nothing but another vehicle to split people into the elite/aristocracy and the serfs. Sure, it does a great PR job by claiming it can create heaven on earth – and it does so because it is the new religion – but it can’t and will never deliver anything but pain and suffering. That’s because of the simple problem that always gets ignored: you will eventually run out of other people’s money with which to pretend you are a benevolent entity when you buy your power. What we see now in Venezuela is what happens once you have no more sheep to fleece. It’s not an accident that Chavez’s only child is a billionaire, Maduro’s and those he has chosen to bless, and a few people that help keep the serfs in line through force are loaded, while the rest are living in hell on earth. It’s what socialism will always end up as. Outside of the family unit, where some kind of instinct or true bond exists that allows most of us to make sacrifices for others, collectivism breaks and actually produces a system that has no equal in its ability to inflict pain, misery, and yes, even death. Read some history. And I don’t mean the propaganda the collectivist agents of the KGB have flooded the planet with in order to capitalize on the envy and greed of so many fools out there.

And before any of you followers of the religion of collectivism try to pretend the model was working in Europe or elsewhere, let me tell you that the cracks are not only there, but the writing is on the wall. The elite in Europe have even decided that to keep their power they are willing to make your lives even more miserable, if not outright sacrifice it, by doubling down on the idiocy while importing some of the planet’s most miserable people. I am sure you true believers, in a great tribute to Heinlein and his famous quote, will blame it all on “bad luck”. The universe is not a just place, and that is actually something sad, but you should fear, nay loathe, anyone that tells you they want to fix that. That’s because in the end, they will do far more harm than any incidental good they happen to cause, on the way to the inevitable. If you want to help others and buy into collectivism, do it with your own money and time. Leave the rest of us alone. Slavery is supposed to be an evil thing, but the collectivists seem unwilling to admit that the indentured servitude they have foisted on the productive is nothing but another form of slavery.