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The Current Crisis

Hillary: The Unease Grows

By 6.17.15

What did I tell you a couple of weeks ago? In fact, what have I been suggesting for months? Hillary is going to have a very tough time winning her party’s nomination. Since we have been appraising her looming presence on the campaign trail a growing list of scandals have been revealed. They have surprised even me, though, truth to tell, any seasoned Clinton watcher has seen their precursors reaching all the way back to her Arkansas days. Lying, secreting evidence from investigators, funny money (and lots of it), campaign contributions from shady characters (some foreign, some felons), and being asleep at the switch during Benghazi. I suppose her Benghazi contretemps was an evolutionary breakthrough for Hillary, but then she had never been secretary of state before.

Campaign Crawlers

Boomer Losers

By 6.17.15

The Republican Party may be busily packing candidates into a clown car — yesterday it neared, finally, the “dirty dozen” required to hold either an in-depth debate on the merits of marijuana legalization or our own First Annual Republican Hunger Games (the clearly better idea, given how quickly it’d narrow the field) — but the Democrats seem to be struggling with their own field’s drawbacks. Namely, that no one currently running for the Democratic Presidential nomination is able to remember where they put their keys without one of those Brookstone echolocaters and a staff of twelve.

Main Street U.S.A.

What This Country Needs

By 6.17.15

“The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!”
—  Hamlet
, Act I, Sc.5

The Amazing Media Machine, dripping oil and self-satisfaction, roared to new life with Jeb Bush’s declaration of his presidential candidacy. At last — something to talk about. We have Jeb — “Jeb!” as the campaign button puts it — “stronger than you think” and “doing almost everything to de-emphasize his inheritance,” tossed again by waves of controversy over immigration and the core curriculum and, to get down to it, running for president.

Always with the candidate analysis! As with Bush, so with Hillary Clinton: the questions repeated ceaselessly. Can they? Can’t they? Why and wherefore? As with these chosen two, so with everybody else: Old Man Sanders and his fuzz-cheeked fans; Marco Rubio and his speed boat; Scott Walker vs. the unions.

Special Report

Limits to the Left’s Subjectivism?

By 6.17.15

The Rachel Dolezal story has put the Left in an awkward spot. An obviously white woman who has long presented herself to the world as black, Dolezal is testing the Left’s commitment to its own radical subjectivism.

Frustrated by comparisons of Dolezal to the transgenderism they embrace, many liberals have declared the two cases completely different. But they have failed to show one, at least not a substantial philosophical difference. In both cases, a human being seeks to erase an immutable trait in order to assert a “self-definition” that exists in the mind, not the body.

If humans have a right to define the “authentic self” without regard to their given human nature, why should that right be restricted to one fixed trait but not all of them? The Left has no answer to this question. All it can do is flail and argue that being transgender is somehow morally better than being transracial because the former is more trendy and societally approved.

Free Market Accountability Project

Confiscatory Sanders

By 6.16.15

Just when you think it can’t get any more anti-business, anti-jobs, anti-growth, anti-capitalist and just plain economically nonsensical among presidential candidates than Hillary Clinton’s ’s “Don’t let anyone tell you, you know, corporations and businesses create jobs,” along comes Vermont senator and self-defined socialist Bernie Sanders running for the Democratic presidential nomination with the statement that there’s nothing wrong with the federal government taxing away 90 cents out of every dollar earned at top income levels.

Campus Scenes

Student Loan Debt: To Forgive and Forget

By 6.16.15

“You’d have to be made of stone not to feel for these students,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said as he announced an Obama administration decision to forgive as many as 350,000 loans taken out by students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges. “Some of these schools have brought the ethics of payday lending into higher education.”

I do feel for any adults who took out loans to pay for college courses that they expected to help land them jobs — but didn’t. If the government forgives their debts, then they still never will get back their time or restore their hopes.

But also, I feel for taxpayers, for whom the Corinthian forgiveness tab could reach as high as $3.5 billion. David A. Bergeron of the Center for American Progress told the New York Times he expects the tab to be less than $1 billion, but I wonder whether it could grow, given the administration’s decision to expand the new debt forgiveness terms to debtors from other schools. Question: If Washington can forgive loans for bad schools, why leave out students who went to good schools?

Political Hay

Donald Trump and the American Dream

By 6.16.15

Donald Trump will be announcing for president today, according to a source close to the Trump camp.

Apparently, the conventional wisdom that Trump was just making presidential noises because he always does turned out to be…well….flat wrong.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Trump has released papers showing his net worth to be $9 billion. A release that is being made in anticipation of his announcement today. Apparently the conventional wisdom over the years that had people either insisting he wasn’t really a billionaire at all (as did a New York Times “business reporter” who quoted anonymous sources insisting Trump was “not remotely close to being a billionaire”) or worth a paltry $4.1 billion (as Forbes magazine does this minute) were…well…flat wrong.

The Public Policy

Pension Roulette

By 6.16.15

Many states, counties, and cities are in a budget vise caused by funds they are required to set aside to pay pensions for retired public employees. California may be in the worst shape.

Ever since Jerry Brown—in his first incarnation as Governor (1975-79) —approved collective bargaining by public employee unions they have used the union dues the state deducts from public employee paychecks to fund legislators’ election campaigns. 

Over the last 40 years the legislature has been dominated by Democrats in all but a few years. It is not much of a stretch to say it is more-or-less owned by the public employee unions, on the one hand, and the environmental lobby, on the other.  

A Further Perspective

Micro-Totalitarianism

By 6.16.15

The political left has come up with a new buzzword: “micro-aggression.”

Professors at the University of California at Berkeley have been officially warned against saying such things as “America is the land of opportunity.” Why? Because this is considered to be an act of “micro-aggression” against minorities and women. Supposedly it shows that you don’t take their grievances seriously and are therefore guilty of being aggressive toward them, even if only on a micro scale.

You might think that this is just another crazy idea from Berkeley. But the same concept appears in a report from the flagship campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana. If you just sit in a room where all the people are white, you are considered to be guilty of “micro-aggression” against people who are not white, who will supposedly feel uncomfortable when they enter such a room.

Political Hay

Five Reasons Why Republicans Won’t Nominate Jeb Bush

By 6.15.15

Today marks the entry of Jeb Bush into the 2016 Republican presidential race. Although the former Florida governor has instant name recognition and vast resources, they will not be enough for Republicans to pick him as their nominee for the White House. I believe this to be so for the following five reasons.

1. Illegal Immigration is Act of Love

At a town hall meeting in April 2014, Bush told Shannon Beam of the Fox News Channel the following about illegal immigration, “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.”

Suffice it to say there many conservatives who do not view illegal immigration as an act of love nor an act of commitment to one’s family. No doubt there are many conservatives who would like to see border crossing from Mexico to the United States be treated as a felony under the law.

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