Saturday, November 30, 2019

Katie Bell Make a Wish

Who'd you rather?


Big Bear's Heaviest November Snowstorm in 50 Years

At ABC 7 Los Angeles:


Dancing Christmas Globes

At Drunken Stepfather, "RINGING IN THE CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN WITH A DANCE OF THE DAY."

Shop Black Friday Weekend Sales

Well, how was your Black Friday shopping?

I watched football all day yesterday, and ate leftovers, lol.

At Amazon, Black Friday Shopping in Camera and Photo.

And, Shop Grocery and Gourmet Food.

More, Kindle Store Savings.

Plus, Mountain House Essential Bucket.

Also, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Men's Relaxed Fit Jeans.

Here's more, Samsung UN65RU8000FXZA Flat 65-Inch 4K 8 Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR and Alexa Compatibility (2019 Model).

BONUS: Gordon Wood, The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States.


Friday, November 29, 2019

Hey, Hands Off the Hallmark Channel!

My wife loves the Hallmark Channel, and I've watched numerous weepy holiday dramas with her.

Leave the network alone.

It's one of the last television outlets that consistently promotes traditional conservative courting rituals and family values.

At Instapundit, "EVERYTHING IS PROBLEMATICAL: Hallmark Channel Under Assault by Race Hustlers and LGBTQ Cult, ‘Too White’."

Mary Grabar, Debunking Howard Zinn

She debunks Zinn's Marxist interpretation of Columbus' discovery of America, among other things.

Great counter-propaganda holiday reading.

At Amazon, Mary Grabar, Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America.



Holiday Gift Ideas

At Amazon.

Also, Sebastian Gorka, The War for America's Soul: Donald Trump, the Left's Assault on America, and How We Take Back Our Country.

Shop Desktops

At Amazon, Desktops Under $500.00.

And shop books.

Black Friday Tool Girls

At Drunken Stepfather, "TOP 10 GIRLS WITH TOOLS WHO SHOULD HAVE USED A GEEK KEY FOR BLACK FRIDAY OF THE DAY."

That's a promotional post, but folks gotta make some money. (*Shrugs.*)

Tessa Fowler

She's a good lady.

Troubling New Era in Mexico

At World Policy Review, "It’s a New and Troubling Era in Mexico Under AMLO":

MEXICO CITY—Some welcomed the return of the left to the height of political power in Mexico nearly a year ago as a promising new chapter in the country’s history. Yet 12 months into Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s presidency, drug violence and attacks on freedom of speech have spiraled and the economy has stagnated, adding to the sense that Mexico is floundering. While all these challenges existed before AMLO—as he is better known in Mexico—took office, the bigger concern now is the way his government is seeking to address them.

There is no mistaking that this is a new era for Mexican politics. Gone are the globally minded, centrist administrations that swapped power in the years following Mexico’s transition from one-party rule to free elections in the 1990s. In their place is a self-styled champion of the people whose inward-looking economic vision harkens back to the country’s statist past. AMLO openly dismisses a role for experts and civil society in policymaking, calling them “neoliberal nostalgics,” while lacing his public rhetoric with an almost religious call of devotion to his presidency—all with the passionate approval of his unwavering political base.

“There is much about AMLO that is reminiscent of the populists that came through the Institutional Revolutionary Party in the latter half of the 20th century,” says Alberto Fernandez, a political analyst and columnist for the magazine Letras Libres in Mexico City, referring to Mexico’s former ruling party, the PRI. “But he’s also more individualistic than they were—he expects the public to believe in his personal moral vision rather than in the democratic institutions Mexico has been trying to build over the past two decades.”

Amid widespread dissatisfaction among voters heading into last year’s presidential election, AMLO won a landslide victory, vowing to reduce inequality, fight corruption and put an end to years of deadly drug violence. Like many Latin American populists, he put neoliberalism and corrupt, privileged elites at the center of his critique of the policy path Mexico has followed over the past two decades. He promised nothing less than the country’s “fourth transformation”—a brash reference to the seminal events in Mexican history, from its independence from Spain in 1810, to the War of Reform that led to separation of church and state in the mid-19th century, to the revolution of 1910 that ended decades of dictatorship and established a constitutional republic.

Yet his actual policy positions were always vague. Corruption would be “eradicated,” AMLO insisted, but he has left the previous administration’s plans for an independent anticorruption commission in limbo. Next year, he will slash the budgets for the attorney general’s office, the National Electoral Institute and the Supreme Court, institutions that, while flawed, have been key building blocks in Mexico’s democracy. The drug cartels would be fought with “hugs, not bullets,” AMLO declared, yet they continue to wreak havoc, with the recent massacre of a Mormon family of nine, including six children, in the state of Sonora drawing international headlines. With nearly 26,000 homicides documented by federal authorities as of October, 2019 looks likely to end as Mexico’s most violent year in recent memory.

In March, AMLO announced that the era of neoliberalism, the great scourge of the Latin American left, was over. Yet his budgeting plans have been far from progressive. He has drastically reduced spending on health and education, among other areas, in favor of costly infrastructure projects, including a new international airport and what many economists view as a dubious attempt to revive Mexico’s debt-ridden and unproductive state energy giant, Pemex. A number of international organizations have subsequently downgraded their forecasts for Mexico’s growth this year to as low as 0.2 percent amid a decline in oil output and slumping construction and service sectors—its worst year since the global financial crisis.

“There are three major issues with AMLO’s diagnosis of the economic challenges Mexico faces,” says Macario Schettino, an economist at the Technological Institute of Monterrey in Mexico City. “The idea of regaining energy sovereignty is misplaced and has paralyzed the country’s landmark energy reform of 2013. Secondly, redirecting public funds to Pemex and poorly designed direct cash transfer programs has seen government ministries lose up to 30 percent of their budgets. Thirdly, the business community is losing confidence, and we are seeing a significant reduction in private investment.”

AMLO has attempted to compensate for the economic slump and spiraling crime rates with token gestures to his base: frequent popular referendums on everything from infrastructure projects to indigenous rights bills, the reduction of salaries for bureaucrats, and the controversial offer of political asylum to ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales. With a current approval rating at 58 percent, he clearly maintains a close bond to many of his supporters, a phenomenon Fernandez attributes to dissatisfaction with prior governments, notably the scandal-ridden term of AMLO’s predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto.

Pena Nieto and his party, the PRI, successfully pushed through a series of long-hoped-for institutional reforms early in his presidency, yet they ended up flailing because of political foot-dragging and poor implementation. His administration then became mired in a series of corruption and human rights scandals, which at least partly contributed to the desire for change that led AMLO to power.

“For many citizens, Pena Nieto’s term really destroyed any notion that the current political system was working for them,” Fernandez says. “AMLO came along with a very simplistic diagnosis of what was wrong with the country, and it appealed to many.”

Two decades after the formal end of one-party rule, Mexico’s democracy remains fragile, hamstrung by the weak rule of law. Slow but steady progress was being made in the form of increasingly competitive elections, newly independent institutions and a growing role for civil society in public policymaking. Perhaps the most concerning element of AMLO’s presidency so far is his disregard for these gains—and for democratic institutions as a whole.

AMLO says he plans to hold a popular referendum in 2022 to determine if he should continue as president through 2024, the official end of his term under the constitution. Yet his budget cuts to the National Electoral Institute, known as the INE, could also strip the body, which was founded in 1996, of its independence. The INE is responsible for both organizing and financing elections at all three levels of government, along with setting campaign funding limits and allocating public resources to political parties...
Keep reading.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

At Amazon, Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine.



Evelyn Taft's Thanksgiving Forecast

Well, I've posted on the Thanksgiving snowmageddon already, but I can't resist Ms. Evelyn.




BONUS: Danielle Gersh's forecast this morning.

Shop Black Rifle Coffee

For Thanksgiving.

At Amazon, Black Rifle Coffee Company CAF Caffeinated AF Medium Roast Ground Coffee, 12 Ounce Bag.

Katie Bell Thanksgiving

Well, she's really giving this Thanksgiving, man.


Storm Pounds California Travelers on Thanksgiving

A white Thanksgiving is giving Californians a fresh take on the holiday.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Shopping Today

At Amazon, Today's Deals.

See especially, Pelican 1510 Case With Foam (Black).

More, Ergodyne N-Ferno 6802 Thermal Winter Trapper Hat, Black, Large/X-Large.

Plus, Carhartt Men's Quilted Flannel Lined Sandstone Active Jacket.

Still more, Parker 2020376 Jotter Gift Sets Pen, Stainless Steel, Ball Point.

Here, Xbox One S 1TB Console - Fortnite Battle Royale Special Edition Bundle.

And, CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Blueberry Crisp - (2.4-Ounce Protein Bar, 12 Count).

Also, Samsung UN65RU7100FXZA Flat 65'' 4K UHD 7 Series Smart TV (2019).

BONUS: Charles Murray, Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class.

Lena Gercke

At Drunken Stepfather, "LENA GERCKE SLUTTY PHOTOSHOOT OF THE DAY."

Plus, "Steplinks of the Day."

Rain and Snow for Thanksgiving

Here's the forecast, "Megan Parry's Thanksgiving Eve Forecast."

And at the Los Angeles Times, "Is the Thanksgiving week storm approaching Southern California really a ‘bomb cyclone’?"

And, "Rain and snow likely to break California’s most enduring Thanksgiving tradition: perfect weather":

SAN FRANCISCO —  Trolling the East Coast and Midwest with tales of Thanksgiving dinner while wearing shorts under sunny skies is a California tradition.
But this year is going to be different.

Forecasters are warning of a stormy Thanksgiving holiday week marked by rain across the state and snow levels so low in elevation they could close major freeways like Interstates 5, 15 and 80. The storm is expected to bring such cold temperatures that snow may accumulate even on the floor of high-desert cities such as Lancaster, Hesperia and Barstow. Up to 2 feet of snow could hit Big Bear and Wrightwood and up to 4 feet around Lake Tahoe and Mammoth.

The forecast has holiday travelers checking their plans and hosts fretting about whether turkey al fresco for 20 could end in disaster. Just two years ago, Los Angeles sat down to a Thanksgiving feast just after the high temperature hit a crispy 92 degrees — an all-time record. This year, San Diego could be facing one of its coldest Thanksgivings since records began being kept in 1874, with a forecast high of just 60 degrees.

“Everybody can definitely break out their Uggs and Lands’ End parkas,” climatologist Bill Patzert said. L.A.'s high temperature on turkey day could remain in the 50s; San Francisco, possibly in the 40s.

And with rain probably persisting in Southern California into Thanksgiving evening, with a slight chance of thunderstorms, the holiday week might lead to the discovery of new roof leaks.

“Put your water buckets next to your turkey,” Patzert said.

But as you imagine a rain-slicked ride to your holiday dinner or a soggy drumstick, there is something positive to say about the wet Thanksgiving forecast. “This could put an end to the fire season. This is large enough, if it delivers,” Patzert said.

Much of California has been abnormally dry so far this autumn, leaving vegetation tinder dry and threatening to keep fire danger high until rains arrived. Some of California’s most recent destructive fires have hit during November and December while rainfall has been absent, such as the Camp fire that ignited on Nov. 8, 2018, destroying much of the town of Paradise and killing 86 people, and the Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, which began on Dec. 4, 2017, burning more than 1,000 structures and killing two.

Fire danger continued on Monday, with a fast-moving brush fire threatening numerous homes in Santa Barbara. The Cave fire was being pushed down from Los Padres National Forest toward communities by powerful winds. Highway 154 was closed, and officials were dealing with spot fires breaking out dangerously close to homes. Firefighters are hoping they can hold off the blaze until the rains arrive.

Until this storm, the fall of 2019 has been among the top five driest starts to the water year across Northern California, which began Oct. 1, said Nina Oakley, regional climatologist for the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno.

Sacramento has reported no measurable precipitation between Oct. 1 and Sunday — a parched situation that has occurred in only four other years since records began being kept in 1877, Oakley said. San Francisco has seen only 0.03 inches in the same time period...
More.

Megan Parry's Thanksgiving Eve Forecast

Well, you've heard the news by now, here and elsewhere. It's going to be a snowy Thanksgiving.

Here's the lovely Ms. Megan, for CBS News 10 San Diego:



Dana Perino on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' (VIDEO)

She's really smart, and this is a great discussion.

Obama disses Bernie and Joe.



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Annie Jacobsen, Surprise, Kill, Vanish

*BUMPED.*

At Amazon, Annie Jacobsen, Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins.



Revamping the B-1 Bomber for Modern War

A great piece, at the National Interest:


Monday, November 25, 2019

Democrats 'Rethink' Primary Campaign Strategy Around Race and Identity

I don't think they're really "rethinking" things so much as officially abandoning any effort to appeal to working class voters, especially white working class men in the Rustbelt. Frankly, this is like a replay of 2016, but with some scenes re-shot. More identity politics racism. More cowbell.

At Politico:



Jennifer Lopez is GQ's Icon of the Year.

What that means? (*Shrug.*)

At Drunken Stepfather, "JENNIFER LOPEZ OLD TITS IN GQ OF THE DAY."


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Professor Won't Be Fired for Alleged 'Racist, Sexist, Homophobic' Social Media Posts

It's Professor Eric Rasmusen, who teaches at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.


The administration's statement:
On the First Amendment

This message was sent to the Kelley School of Business community Nov. 20, 2019.

Professor Eric Rasmusen has, for many years, used his private social media accounts to disseminate his racist, sexist, and homophobic views. When I label his views in this way, let me note that the labels are not a close call, nor do his posts require careful parsing to reach these conclusions. He has posted, among many other things, the following pernicious and false stereotypes:
*That he believes that women do not belong in the workplace, particularly not in academia, and that he believes most women would prefer to have a boss than be one; he has used slurs in his posts about women;
*That gay men should not be permitted in academia either, because he believes they are promiscuous and unable to avoid abusing students;
*That he believes that black students are generally unqualified for attendance at elite institutions, and are generally inferior academically to white students.
Ordinarily, I would not dignify these bigoted statements with repetition, but we need to confront exactly what we are dealing with in Professor Rasmusen’s posts. His expressed views are stunningly ignorant, more consistent with someone who lived in the 18th century than the 21st. Sometimes Professor Rasmusen explains his views as animated by his Christian faith, although Christ was neither a bigot nor did he use slurs; indeed, he counseled avoiding judgments. Rhetorically speaking, Professor Rasmusen has demonstrated no difficulty in casting the first, or the lethal, stone.

His latest posts slurring women were picked up by a person with a heavily followed Twitter account, and various officials at Indiana University have been inundated in the last few days with demands that he be fired. We cannot, nor would we, fire Professor Rasmusen for his posts as a private citizen, as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids us to do so. That is not a close call.

Indiana University has a strong nondiscrimination policy, and as an institution adheres to values that are the opposite of Professor Rasmusen’s expressed values. We demand tolerance and respect in the workplace and in the classroom, and if Professor Rasmusen acted upon his expressed views in the workplace to judge his students or colleagues on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation, or race to their detriment, such as in promotion and tenure decisions or in grading, he would be acting both illegally and in violation of our policies and we would investigate and address those allegations according to our processes. Moreover, in my view, students who are women, gay, or of color could reasonably be concerned that someone with Professor Rasmusen’s expressed prejudices and biases would not give them a fair shake in his classes, and that his expressed biases would infect his perceptions of their work. Given the strength and longstanding nature of his views, these concerns are reasonable.

Therefore, the Kelley School is taking a number of steps to ensure that students not add the baggage of bigotry to their learning experience:
* No student will be forced to take a class from Professor Rasmusen. The Kelley School will provide alternatives to Professor Rasmusen’s classes;
* Professor Rasmusen will use double-blind grading on assignments; if there are components of grading that cannot be subject to a double-blind procedure, the Kelley School will have another faculty member ensure that the grades are not subject to Professor Rasmusen’s prejudices.
If other steps are needed to protect our students or colleagues from bigoted actions, Indiana University will take them.

The First Amendment is strong medicine, and works both ways. All of us are free to condemn views that we find reprehensible, and to do so as vehemently and publicly as Professor Rasmusen expresses his views. We are free to avoid his classes, and demand that the university ensure that he does not, or has not, acted on those views in ways that violate either the federal and state civil rights laws or IU’s nondiscrimination policies. I condemn, in the strongest terms, Professor Rasmusen’s views on race, gender, and sexuality, and I think others should condemn them. But my strong disagreement with his views—indeed, the fact that I find them loathsome—is not a reason for Indiana University to violate the Constitution of the United States.

This is a lesson, unfortunately, that all of us need to take seriously, even as we support our colleagues and classmates in their perfectly reasonable anger and disgust that someone who is a professor at an elite institution would hold, and publicly proclaim, views that our country, and our university, have long rejected as wrong and immoral.

Lauren Robel
Executive Vice President and Provost

Kara Del Toro in Sheer Gown

At Taxi Driver, click through at the link:


Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

Meanwhile, at Legal Insurrection, "Branco Cartoon – Fuddy Duddy."

And Theo Spark, "Cartoon Roundup..."

More, via Ben Garrison:



Declining Public Support for President Trump's Impeachment

This is the Emerson poll everyone was citing yesterday, which includes the significant drop off in support for impeachment among independents.

The Democrats are losing on this.


Alex Biston's Sunday Forecast

It's clear out this morning, but it's going to get cold and rainy later in the week.

Here's the wonderful Ms. Alex, for CBS News 2 Los Angeles:



Instagram Sisters

At Drunken Stepfather, "TWO SLUTTY SISTERS ON THE GRAM OF THE DAY."

Saturday, November 23, 2019

How Republicans Won Phase One of Impeachment

From Mollie Hemingway, at the Federalist:


Alex Biston's Saturday Forecast

It's clear skies this weekend, but a cold front is moving in from the north, with rain and snow down to 2,000 feet in the mountains expected by late week.

Here's the beautiful Ms. Alex, for CBS News 2 Los Angeles:



Kristin Cavallari Soaks Up the Sun

At London's Daily Mail:


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Dua Lipa

At Drunken Stepfather, "DUA LIPA OF THE DAY."


Cab Driver Stabbed to Death in Downtown Los Angeles (VIDEO)

Man, it's a rough job.

At CBS News 2 Los Angeles:



Shop Today

It's getting toward shopping season!

You can support this blog by making purchases through my Amazon links.

It's appreciated.

Also, Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar - Maple Fingerboard - Polar White.

And, Mountain House Essential Bucket.

Plus, Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath - TOP SELLER.

More here, CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Blueberry Crisp - (2.4 Ounce Protein Bar, 12 Count).

BONUS: Greg Lukianoff, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.

Homeless People Are Honored Guests at Orange County Home

Something on the bright side.

At LAT:


Abigail Ratchford Carwash (VIDEO)

I used to post this lady all the time, but she's since had some cosmetic surgery, or something.

In any case, fabulous flashback:



Nice Lady

Seen just now. Click to enlarge:


Progressive Anti-Semitism

From Blake Flayton, a sophomore at George Washington University, at NYT, "On the Frontlines of Progressive Anti-Semitism":

At many American universities, mine included, it is now normal for student organizations to freely call Israel an imperialist power and an outpost of white colonialism with little pushback or discussion — never mind that more than half of Israel’s population consists of Israeli Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, and that the country boasts a 20 percent Arab minority. The word “apartheid” is thrown around without hesitation. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is repeatedly dragged into discussions ranging anywhere from L.G.B.T.Q. equality (where to mention Israel’s vastly better record on gay rights compared with that of any other country in the Middle East is branded “pinkwashing”), to health care to criminal justice reform.

At a recent political club meeting I attended, Zionism was described by leadership as a “transnational project,” an anti-Semitic trope that characterizes the desire for a Jewish state as a bid for global domination by the Jewish people. The organization went on to say that Zionism should not be “normalized.” Later, when I advised a member to add more Jewish voices to the organization’s leadership as a means of adding more nuance to their platform, I was assured that anti-Zionist Jews were already a part of the club and thus my concerns of anti-Semitism were baseless.

I expected this loophole, as it is all too common across progressive spaces: groups protect themselves against accusations of anti-Semitism by trotting out their anti-Zionist Jewish supporters, despite the fact that such Jews are a tiny fringe of the Jewish community. Such tokenism is seen as unacceptable — and rightfully so — in any other space where a marginalized community feels threatened.

All of this puts progressive Jews like myself in an extraordinarily difficult position. We often refrain from calling out anti-Semitism on our side for fear of our political bona fides being questioned or, worse, losing friends or being smeared as the things we most revile: racist, white supremacist, colonialist and so on. And that is exactly what happens when we do speak up...
More.

Elise Stefanik, Sole Republican Woman on Intelligence Committee, Stood Up to Adam Schiff During Marie Yovanovitch Testimony (VIDEO)

Schiff's a bully and a clown.

At Fox News, "GOP Rep. Stefanik mocks Schiff, reads his tweets and interviews about whistleblower testimony."


Santa Clarita Shooting

Terrible.

But what's also terrible is leftist exploitation of the tragedy, again.

At LAT, "Teen who opened fire at Saugus High dies of self-inflicted wound; guns are seized from his home," and "Santa Clarita shooting: Detectives probe how teen got gun as community mourns."




Jonah Goldberg Attacks Michelle Malkin

Ace has the write-up, "Jonah Goldberg Calls Michelle Malkin 'Anti-Semitic' and 'Alt-Right'; Calls a Critic 'Troll Bitch'."

The 2020 Campaign Comes for College Students

At Politico, "The Rise of the Battleground Campus":
TEMPE, Ariz.—The vibe at Arizona State University’s sprawling main campus of palm trees and succulents was part carnival, part political convention. Hip hop and dance pop blasted from speakers as students handed out free popcorn and cotton candy on the lawn near the student union. Young men and women played bean bag and ball-toss games typically reserved for child birthday parties or the state fair, while cheerful, clipboard-toting activists in T-shirts and flip-flops urged them to register to vote.

This mixing of junk food and civic zeal was a poll-tested and focus-grouped enterprise, as carefully constructed as a 30-second television advertisement. It was all part of September’s National Voter Registration Day, a 7-year-old aspiring holiday. It’s little known among people who aren’t election officials, political activists—or the college students in their sights. At ASU, the civic zeal regularly spills over into the rest of the week and well into the next, as young liberals seek to register as many students as possible, and while young conservatives seek to remind them that not every 20-something has to be a liberal. This year, there were so many volunteers registering their classmates in preparation for the state’s Democratic primary in March and the general election in November 2020 that canvassers had trouble finding a single student who hadn’t already been approached...
Keep reading.

The Executive Branch and the Vision of the Founders

Attorney General William Barr's speech to the Federalist Society, "Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society's 2019 National Lawyers Convention."


Paige Spiranac

At Drunken Stepfather, "PAIGE SPIRANAC – THE RIGHT KIND OF GOLFER OF THE DAY."


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Jennifer Delacruz's Veterans Day Forecast

Should be a beautiful day! Have a great Veterans Day!

Here's the lovely Ms. Jennifer, for ABC News 10 San Diego:



Elizabeth Warren Too Far Left?

You don't say?

At LAT, "Does her healthcare plan make Warren too liberal to win?":

WASHINGTON  —  Among her many proposals, an interviewer asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, which three would she like to sign into law first?

Her anti-corruption plan, an end to the Senate filibuster and a wealth tax, the Massachusetts senator responded Thursday to Angela Rye, the liberal activist and CNN commentator.

Notice something missing?

Warren never wanted health care to dominate her campaign. After a week in which her detailed, sweeping Medicare for all plan has done exactly that, she’d still prefer to focus elsewhere.

The issue threatens significant harm to her presidential ambitions. Her inability to escape it provides a clear lesson in the power that activists wield to box in candidates on issues they care about.

THE ACTIVIST TRAP

In 2018, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) gave clear instructions about healthcare to her candidates: Put Republicans on the defensive; focus on GOP efforts to wipe out protections for people with preexisting health problems; don’t get drawn into a debate over Medicare for all.

That strategy worked: Democrats swept to a majority in the House, capturing 40 seats — one of the largest electoral waves since World War II — and healthcare played a major role.

That game plan remains available to the Democratic presidential candidates; the Trump administration has given them plenty of ammunition. For example, administration lawyers in July asked a federal court to declare the Affordable Care Act invalid — protections for preexisting conditions and all — and a decision in that case could come any day.

Instead, the candidates have largely done the opposite of what Pelosi recommended. They’ve occasionally attacked Trump over his efforts to take health coverage away from millions of potential voters, but they’ve more often gone after each other on their respective plans to expand coverage.

The path they’ve taken illustrates a key dynamic that shapes primary campaigns, often regardless of candidates’ wishes, said Patrick J. Egan, a political scientist at New York University who studies the way parties define themselves to voters through ownership of specific issues.

“Both parties’ coalitions include single-issue activists” who “propel policy agendas and major legislation that contributes substantially to the party’s brand,” Egan said in an email.

That can help a party cement its position because the public generally trusts each party more on the issues it “owns,” such as “terrorism and crime for the Republicans and the environment and health care for the Democrats,” he said.

But that can be a two-edged sword. Activists “wield an immense amount of influence in party primaries” because they can help marshal volunteers, grassroots donors and energy, Egan noted. At the same time, however, they push policies that are “often more extreme than the public wants” — huge tax cuts for the wealthy, in the case of Republicans, for example, and Medicare for all in the current Democratic debate.

What’s the evidence that Medicare for all is “more extreme” than voters want? Some of the best information comes from a new study of voters in four key electoral battlegrounds — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota — that the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Cook Political Report released Thursday.

Trump carried three of those four states in 2016 and almost surely needs to win them again for reelection. Currently, he’s deeply unpopular in the states he won: 57% disapprove of him in Wisconsin; 58%, in Michigan; 61%, in Pennsylvania, the survey found. Across the four states, half of voters say they “strongly disapprove” of Trump.

The poll also found Democrats have an edge in enthusiasm in those states and that Trump is the biggest motivator for voters.

Another piece of good news for Democrats: Health care ranks with the economy as the most important issue for voters in all four states, and a majority of voters disapprove of how Trump has handled the issue.

The bad news? A majority of voters in those states also say that a national Medicare for all plan that would eliminate private insurance — the sort of plan Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders advocate — would be a “bad idea”: 56% in Pennsylvania, 58% in Michigan, 59% in Wisconsin, 60% in Minnesota.

Even among Democratic voters, Medicare for all is not a top priority: About 60% of Democrats in the four states call it a good idea, but that’s notably less than the support for proposals such as a path to citizenship for undocumented residents or a ban on assault weapons.

Warren’s a smart politician, and for months she steered as clear of the healthcare debate as she could. Even as her advocacy of highly specific policy ideas fueled her steady rise in the Democratic race, she demurred when pressed on the specifics of healthcare.

“No one’s raised it,” she told reporters early this year when asked why she hadn’t released a specific healthcare plan. The consistent message from Warren’s campaign was that Medicare for all was “Bernie’s issue,” not theirs...
More.

Evo Morales Coup d'Etat in Bolivia? (VIDEO)

Following-up, "Latin America Primed to Explode."

Morales has stepped down. Not sure if it's an actually coup or just a regular mass protest bringing down the regime.

At the Washington Post, "After Morales' resignation, a question for Bolivia: Was this the democratic will, or a coup?":


Bolivians awoke Monday, leaderless and dazed, to the smoldering embers of the torched homes of socialists after the resignation of longtime president Evo Morales, the leftist icon driven from office amid accusations his party stole last month's election. As South America's poorest nation processed the fast-moving events of the day before, its citizens confronted a key question: Had democracy failed, or prevailed?

Morales, who transformed Bolivia during his nearly 14 years in office, called the pressure that forced him out on Sunday a "coup." Early in the day, the Organization of American States said it had found "clear manipulation" of the October 20 election. Violence that had simmered since the vote escalated. The heads of the armed forces and police withdrew their support, andthe opposition unfurled a wave of attacks on Morales' socialist allies.

By late Sunday, all four socialist officials in the constitutional chain of command - the president, the vice president and the heads of the senate and chamber of deputies - had resigned. What was left of congress was set to meet on Monday to pick an interim leader.

Carlos Mesa, the former president who finished second to Morales in the Oct. 20 vote, rejected the word "coup." He called it a "democratic popular action" to stop a government that was seeking to install itself as authoritarian power.

Mesa said Monday Bolivia's legislature should select a new president to lead until the country could hold new elections, required within 90 days. Mesa said Sunday that no one from Morales's Movement for Socialism (MAS) should be picked as interim leader, but he insisted Monday that MAS members should not fear persecution.

"The clear will of the democratic opposition is to build a new democratic government, respecting the constitution," he said.

Jeanine Añez, the fiercely anti-Morales second vice president of the senate, said Monday she would accept a caretaker presidency if offered. Some opposition officials rallied around her, arguing that constitutionally, the job should fall to her. My "only objective would be to call elections," she told reporters.

Yet Bolivia was confronting deep divisions and lingering violence - with the strong possibility of more. Overnight, with Morales' whereabouts unknown, opposition protesters looted and burned the homes of socialist politicians - including Morales. At least 20 MAS officials sought asylum in the Mexican Embassy. La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla Herrero said 64 buses had been burned since Sunday. Schools and businesses were closed Monday, and transportation was shut down.

Some in the opposition where clearly out of for vengeance against a government that had ruled South America's poorest country since 2006. Right-wing leader Luis Fernando Camacho called Sunday evening for two more days of protests and said he would present proposals for the prosecution of Morales, his former vice president, Alvaro Garcia Linares, and MAS legislators.

"Let's start judgments of the criminals of the government party, putting them in jail," he said in a video statement.

Two members of the electoral tribunal - its former president Maria Eugenia Choque and former vice president Antonio Costas - have already been detained. An election official in Santa Cruz, Sandra Kettels, was arrested Monday morning. The prosecutor's office hasannounced warrants against all electoral officials.

"A night of terror," the national newspaper La Razón declared. On Monday, angry Morales supporters set up barricades to block roads leading to the El Alto-La Paz airport, the Associated Press reported.

Morales claimed late Sunday that an arrest warrant had been issued against him. Vladimir Calderón, the head of the national police, denied Sunday that an arrest order had been issued. But Calderón resigned on Monday, adding to the confusion on the ground.

Morales and his opposition blamed each other for the violence...
More.

Latin America Primed to Explode

From Moisés Naím and Brian Winter, at Foreign Affairs, "Why Latin America Was Primed to Explode: Economic Malaise, More Than Foreign Meddling, Explains the Outpouring of Rage":

In a world aflame with protest, Latin America stands out as a raging ten-alarm fire. From Bolivia to Ecuador, Haiti to Honduras, the closing months of 2019 have seen enormous, sometimes violent demonstrations prompted by a truly dizzying array of grievances, including electoral fraud, corruption, and rising fuel and public transportation prices. Even Chile, the region’s ostensible oasis of calm and prosperity, erupted in protests and riots that left 20 dead and forced President Sebastián Piñera to declare a state of emergency. It is now an open question whether any country in the region can be considered truly stable.

The rapid spread across social media of images of burning buildings and besieged riot police has inspired widespread talk of a conspiracy: specifically, that the protests throughout the hemisphere are being orchestrated from Venezuela and Cuba. These socialist dictatorships, the thinking goes, are hell-bent on distracting from their own domestic crises by destabilizing democracies in the region governed by center-right parties, such as Ecuador and Chile. Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro seemed to confirm the theory when he told an audience that “the plan is going exactly as we hoped,” with “the union of social movements, progressives, and revolutionaries . . . of all of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Maduro has a long history of overstating his influence in the region, hoping to appear all-powerful in the eyes of his countrymen and the world. He has extra incentive to do so now, given Venezuela’s severe economic and humanitarian crisis and the ongoing threat to his rule from Juan Guaidó, who is recognized as the country’s legitimate president by dozens of governments, including the United States. Cuba is also facing hard economic times, owing in part to sanctions from the Trump administration. That said, numerous credible voices, including Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie and Luis Almagro, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, have denounced what they see as clear Venezuelan and Cuban interference in the region’s recent unrest. And at the peak of the rioting in Ecuador in early October, that country’s interior minister said that 17 people had been arrested at the airport, “most of them Venezuelans . . . carrying information about the protests.”

At this early stage, it is impossible to say how important foreign interference has been in igniting or sustaining the protests. According to the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, Chilean police have identified several Venezuelans and Cubans who participated in violent attacks in Santiago in mid-October, to cite one example. But the scale and unrelenting nature of the protests, which brought more than one million of Chile’s 18 million citizens into the streets on October 25, suggest that the root causes are large and structural. The focus on conspiracy theories, moreover, risks giving politicians and other elites a handy scapegoat.

Whether or not foreign agitators lit the sparks, much of Latin America was already primed to combust. After a commodity boom in the early years of this millennium raised expectations higher than ever, much of Latin America has entered a long period of disappointing growth. Against the backdrop of stagnating wages and rising costs of living, indignities such as inequality and corruption have become more difficult for many people to swallow. At the same time, Latin Americans have become some of the world’s most dedicated users of social media. They watched as protests erupted from Hong Kong to Beirut to Barcelona. Some doubtlessly wondered: Why not us, too?

HARD UP, FED UP

The protests now raging across much of Latin America originated from different sparks but are connected by a single common denominator: economic malaise. On average, Latin American and Caribbean economies will grow just 0.2 percent in 2019, the worst performance of any major region in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. By contrast, emerging markets globally are expected to expand by 3.9 percent this year, building on several years of solid growth despite headwinds from the trade war between the United States and China.

To understand why Latin America’s economic slump has generated such outrage, one need only rewind to the beginning of this decade, when the region was outperforming the rest of the world...
More.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Lea Thompson Compilation

At Celeb Jihad, "LEA THOMPSON NUDE COMPILATION."

Evan Mawdsley, The War for the Seas

At Amazon, Evan Mawdsley, The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II.



Gamer Girlfriend

On Twitter:


President Trump Gets Warm Reception at Alabama-LSU Game

At the Epoch Times, "Trump Gets Warm Welcome, Chants at Alabama-LSU Game."


Backlash in Boise Against California Transplants

Here's a downside to those Californians looking for redder pastures out of state.

Following up from yesterday, "Conservatives Flee California."

At LAT, "‘Go back to California’: Wave of newcomers fuels backlash in Boise":

BOISE, Idaho —  This city sure knows how to roll up the welcome mat — that is, if you happen to move here from California.
Just consider last week’s mayoral election. It was the most competitive race in recent memory, a referendum on growth in the rapidly expanding capital of Idaho. And candidate Wayne Richey ran on a very simple platform: Stop the California invasion.

His basic plan to fulfill that campaign promise? “Trash the place.”

Richey figured that would be the best way to keep deep-pocketed Golden Staters from moving to his leafy hometown. He blames them for pushing home prices and rents up so high that Boiseans can’t afford to live here on the meager wages most Idaho jobs pay.

At a candidate forum in late October, he had a terse answer for the question: “If you were king or queen for the day, what one thing would you do to improve Boise?”

“A $26-billion wall,” he said, laughing, drawing out each word for maximum emphasis. As in build one. Around Idaho.

California bashing is a cyclical sport with a long history in the heart of Idaho’s Treasure Valley. Growth spurts have more than doubled Boise’s population since the 1980 census. Four months before federal counters hit the streets here that year, a Washington Post headline crowed, “To Most Idahoans, A Plague of Locusts Is Californians.”

In this current wave, California concerns have made their way into a heated mayor’s race. They have taken up residence on Nextdoor social networks.

And they erupted into a recent tweet storm that swirled around two beloved institutions, Boise State University and football. The electronic uproar caused residents all the way up to Mayor David Bieter to defend their city’s welcoming nature and insist that they like Californians, really they do, despite evidence to the contrary.

The Twitter squall started in late September, when former Boise State University football player Tyler Rausa went out to his car one day. There he found a professionally printed card, white with an elegant charcoal gray and gold border. It had a nicely centered, two-line message in all capital letters.

GO BACK TO CALIFORNIA

WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE

He posted it online with a very short response: “Hmmmm didn’t think I’d ever find this on my car in Boise. #ThankYou.”
Keep reading.


Arnold Schwarzenegger Claims Greta Thunberg as One of His Heroes

Big mistake. At Instapundit, "GET WOKE, GO BROKE: How Climate Activist Arnold Schwarzenegger Became Box Office Poison."

ICYMI: "Greta Thunberg Mural Goes Up in San Francisco (VIDEO)."

Greta Thunberg Mural Goes Up in San Francisco (VIDEO)

The climate change movement has its cult of personality in Little Greta.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, "Giant Greta Thunberg mural going up in Union Square."

And from Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, "RIDE THE CLIMATE CHANGE RECURSION!"



Saturday, November 9, 2019

Conservatives Flee California

I'd bail out right now if I could. I've got a decade until retirement, that is, unless I get a golden parachute early retirement package from my college.

Not sure where we'll move, but out of state is a definite destination when the time comes.

At LAT, "California conservatives leaving the state for ‘redder pastures’":

The Volkswagen SUV whizzed past the Texas state line, a U-Haul trailer in tow, as it made its way toward Amarillo.

“Yay!” Judy Stark cried out to her husband, Richard, as they officially left California. The pair bobbed their heads to ’50s music playing on the radio.

Like many voters who lean to the right in California, the retired couple have decided to leave the state. A major reason, Stark and her spouse say, is their disenchantment with deep-blue California’s liberal political culture.

Despite spending most of their lives in the Golden State, they were fed up with high taxes, lukewarm support for local law enforcement, and policies they believe have thrown open the doors to illegal immigration.

Just over half of California’s registered voters have considered leaving the state, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times. Republicans were nearly three times as likely as their Democratic counterparts to seriously have considered moving — 40% compared with 14%, the poll found. Conservatives mentioned taxes and California’s political culture as a reason for leaving more frequently than they cited the state’s soaring housing costs.

Stark and her husband decided it was time to put their Modesto home up for sale about six months ago. After doing some research online, she came across the website Conservative Move, which, as its name suggests, helps conservatives in California relocate from liberal states to redder ones, such as Texas and Idaho.

Pulled over at a Pilot truck stop just outside Amarillo, Stark said she was excited to be hours from their final destination, Collin County, near Dallas. The pair purchased a newly constructed three-bedroom home in McKinney for about $300,000. In much of California, Stark said, a similar home would run about twice as much.
“We’re moving to redder pastures,” Stark, 71, said by phone. “We’re getting with people who believe in the same political agenda that we do: America first, Americans first, law and order.”
Keep reading.

Alex Biston's Saturday Forecast

It's nice and mild this weekend, and not windy so far.

Here's the lovely Ms. Alex, for CBS News 2 Los Angeles:



House Republicans Plan to Call Hunter Biden in Upcoming Public Impeachment Hearings

Well, this oughta be good.

At the Epoch Times, "Republicans Request Hunter Biden, Whistleblower, DNC Consultant Testify in Impeachment Inquiry."

More at Memeorandum.

Jojo Levesque

At Taxi Driver, "Jojo Levesque in White Top."


Cindy Crawford in Black and White

At Taxi Driver:


Germany's Unsettled Identity

At the New York Times, "Germany Has Been Unified for 30 Years. Its Identity Still Is Not":

BERLIN — Abenaa Adomako remembers the night the Berlin Wall fell. Joyous and curious like so many of her fellow West Germans, she had gone to the city center to greet East Germans who were pouring across the border for a first taste of freedom.

“Welcome,” she beamed at a disoriented-looking couple in the crowd, offering them sparkling wine.

But they would not take it.

“They spat at me and called me names,” recalled Ms. Adomako, whose family has been in Germany since the 1890s. “They were the foreigners in my country. But to them, as a black woman, I was the foreigner.’’

Three decades later, as Germans mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, the question of what makes a German — who belongs and who does not — is as unsettled as ever.

The integration of East and West has in many ways been a success. Germany is an economic and political powerhouse, its reunification central to its dominant place in Europe.

But while unification fixed German borders for the first time in the country’s history, it did little to settle the neuralgic issue of German identity. Thirty years later, it seems, it has even exacerbated it.

Ethnic hatred and violence are on the rise. A far-right party thrives in the former East. Ms. Adomako says she is still afraid to go there. But she is not the only one who feels like a stranger in her own land.

Germany’s current effort to integrate more than a million asylum seekers welcomed by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 is just the most immediate challenge. It is compounded by past failures in a country that opened a regular path to citizenship for the children of immigrants only in 2000.

In the decades since the wall fell, Germany’s immigrant population has become the second largest in the world, behind the United States. One in four people now living in Germany has an immigrant background.

But that is not the story Germans have been telling themselves.

Two decades after the country stopped defining citizenship exclusively by ancestral bloodline, the far right and others have started distinguishing between “passport Germans” and “bio-Germans.”

The descendants of Turkish guest workers who arrived after World War II still struggle for acceptance. Jews, most of whom arrived from the former Soviet Union, are wary after a synagogue attack in the eastern city of Halle last month shocked the country that had made ‘‘Never Again’’ a pillar of its postwar identity.

Not least, many East Germans feel like second-class citizens after a reunification that Dr. Hans-Joachim Maaz, a psychoanalyst in the eastern city of Halle, calls a “cultural takeover.”

Across the former Iron Curtain, a new eastern identity is taking root, undermining the joyful narrative that dominated the reunification story on past anniversaries.

“It’s an existential moment for the country,” said Yury Kharchenko, a Berlin-based artist who defiantly identifies as a German Jew despite — and because of — the armed guards outside his son’s nursery in Berlin. “Everyone is searching for their identity.”’

Overcoming the past, especially the Nazi ideology that gave rise to the Holocaust, has been a guiding precept of German identity since World War II. In West and East alike, the ambition was to create a different, better Germany.

The West resolved to become a model liberal democracy, atoning for Nazi crimes and subjugating national interests to those of a post-nationalist Europe.

The East defined itself in the tradition of communists who had resisted fascism, giving rise to a state doctrine of remembrance that effectively exculpated it from wartime atrocities.

Behind the wall, the East was frozen in time, a largely homogeneous white country where nationalism was allowed to live on...
Still more.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Trump's Campaign Says Election Is His to Lose

A great piece, at McClatchy, "Trump’s well-oiled campaign has everything planned — except Trump":

President Donald Trump fiddled for months with a 2020 election message that would be ready for primetime. His top two campaign aides — Jared Kushner and Brad Parscale — sought a message that would resonate with the president’s core political base and also reach skeptical independents.

Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and most trusted adviser devising the campaign’s strategy, and Parscale, his campaign manager, turned to Larry Weitzner, a top political advertising consultant behind many of Trump’s 2016 ads.

Weitzner produced a spot with a new slogan: “He’s no Mr. Nice Guy.”

Trump loved it. He called Parscale and told him to air it during the World Series.

One year away from a referendum on his presidency, Trump and his campaign are embracing elements of his political identity that have sharply divided the nation. The same instinctive, mercurial president remains at the helm. But this time he sits atop a campaign infrastructure fueled by an unprecedented war chest, a sophisticated digital operation and a disciplined staff.

“We’re going to be attacked. We don’t care. But we’re not going to be nice about it,” said Katrina Pierson, a senior advisor to Trump’s reelection campaign, about the slogan her bosses loved so much.

But Trump’s senior aides have a slogan of their own that reminds them of their task: Only Trump can beat Trump. The race, in their minds, is his to lose.

Trump’s allies worry those same political instincts that won him the presidency also led to the impeachment inquiry — a strategy to collect opposition research on a political opponent gone too far, involving foreign powers, that might have circumvented the official campaign.

Some aides fear that Trump’s effort to compel Ukraine, and possibly China, to investigate and release information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his family is just one example of his unpredictability.

Indeed, it is the first time in modern political history that a president has been subject to an impeachment inquiry during his first term.

“On issue after issue the president has accomplished the things that he ran on despite the most devastating headwinds that any president has ever faced with a Democrat Party doing everything they can to nullify the election of 2016 since day one,” said Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, who participates in daily calls with Kushner and Parscale on strategy.

Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union chairman and a White House ally, said the president is favored to win — if he can stay focused on his agenda and good news on the economy while fighting the impeachment inquiry.

“Are you asking me if I wish the president would stay on message? My answer would be one word: Yes,” he said...
More.

Kendall Jenner Pool Photos

At Celeb Jihad, "Kendall Jenner Pool Pics."

'Brain Stew'

From yesterday's drive-time, Green Day, via Jack F.M.


Thats All
Genesis
9:55am

Broken
lovelytheband
9:51am

Desire
U2
9:48am

American Girl
Tom Petty
9:45am

Brain Stew
Green Day
9:41am

Sweet Dreams
EURYTHMICS
9:38am

Legs
ZZ Top
9:34am

Jumper
Third Eye Blind
9:21am

Sweet Emotion
Aerosmith
9:17am


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Jennifer Delacruz's Sunday Forecast

I mentioned the nippy mornings we're having. It's warm in the daytime, cool in the evenings, and downright chilly early A.M.

Here's the spectacular Ms. Jennifer, for ABC News 10 San Diego: